Welcome to Rodel’s Legislative Monitor, your resource for learning about state legislation related to public education. Below you will find education legislation that saw activity as of January 2017, the start of the second half of the 149th Delaware General Assembly.
Click the hyperlinks in the “Legislation” column for more information such as the current status in the legislative process, full text, and fiscal note. Visitors can now also sort columns by date, number, or sponsor. Synopses include all amendments that have passed or been placed with the bill. This language may summarize the official synopsis of the legislation.
Did we miss a piece of legislation? Let us know. Check back for weekly updates when the legislature is in session.
|HS1 for HB85||Williams||06/09/2017||
This bill eliminates the use of an enrollment preference for students living within a five-mile radius of a charter school. For any charter school using the five-mile preference at the time of enactment, the school is required to eliminate the preference through notification to the authorizer prior to the 2018-19 school year.
This bill creates a mechanism by which school boards may increase funds for a school district without a referendum. School district may increase the tax rate for operating expenses every two years no more than three percent, or the percent change in inflation, whichever is higher. School boards must seek a referendum in order to increase the tax rate by more than those provisions.
|SB62 w/ SA4||Lopez||06/05/2017||
This bill aligns requirements for initial licensure for school nurses to the unique role they play in Delaware public schools. It requires school nurses to hold a Bachelors Degree in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university, maintain a registered nurse license, and be certified in CPR and in the use of an AED. It also requires school nurses to complete 90 clock hours of training approved by the Department of Education. And finally it requires schools nurses to complete three years of supervised clinical nursing experience and achieve a passing score on the NCLEX exam before a provisional or initial license can be granted.
This Amendment does all of the following: (1) On lines 3 through 5 and 13 through 15, removes defining language to the type of training required to give the Department the ability to continually revise the training requirements of school nurse licensure to keep pace with the ever evolving nursing field. (2) On lines 1 through 2, 6 through 7, 11 through 12, and 16 through 17, makes technical corrections. (3) On lines 8 through 10 and 18 through 20, allows for a school nurse employed before the effective date of this Act to follow the new criteria rather than the criteria that was in place at hire. This allows for more flexibility for current school nurses.
This bill confirms licensing requirements for school nurses are established by the Professional Standards Board, and evaluation criteria for school nurses are established by the district or charter school.
|HB176 w/ HA1||Hudson||06/05/2017||
This bill gives local school boards or charter school boards more discretion on a case by case basis to suspend students for the possession of a deadly weapon other than a firearm in a Safe School or Recreation Zone. This bill is the result of a case in the Brandywine School District.
This amendment makes a technical correction.
This act authorizes teacher candidates who will participate in the “alternative routes” for teacher licensure and certification program hired after July 1 of a school year to fulfill the 120 hour seminar/practicum requirement prior to the start of the following school year.
This bill would allow for a student to participate in the Inspire Scholarship Program for eight continuous semesters instead of the current six. This would allow a student to use Inspire Scholarships for each of the semesters during a traditional college program
This bill phases out the school property tax credit for residents age 65 or older, by eliminating eligibility for those born after 1967 (currently age 50). The fifteen year provision allows time for residents to adjust their long range financial plans. This bill does not affect anyone currently eligible for the credit.
This Act updates the school stability law for children in the custody of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) following passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA requires Delaware to eliminate the provision “awaiting foster care placement” under § 202(c), Title 14 in accordance with the federal McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act by December 10, 2017, and instead create a distinct provision regarding school stability for children in the custody of DSCYF. This Act clarifies that children in the custody of DSCYF remain entitled to attend their school of origin if it is in their best interests to do so, or are eligible for immediate enrollment in a new school. Sections 1, 2, and 3 of this Act take effect on the effective date of final regulations published in the Register of Regulations and promulgated under authority granted by § 202A(d) of Title 14, which is created by Section 2 of this Act.
This act consolidates Delaware law related to child abuse and child sexual abuse training and detection, suicide prevention, bullying, criminal youth gang detection, and teen dating violence and sexual assault into one subchapter of Chapter 41, Title 14 of the Delaware Code and develops a non-academic training program that coordinates the trainings school district and charter school employees are required to receive. This Act applies to all public schools, including charter schools and vocational technical schools.
This process requires schools to first collect and publicly report disaggregated student discipline data, and solicit feedback from students, staff, families, and community representatives. This Act furthers those goals by requiring schools that suspend at a high rate or that show significant suspension disparities to take meaningful corrective action by implementing plans to reduce these numbers and by replacing out-of-school suspensions with more effective and restorative discipline interventions. The schools in need of intervention are defined schools with high rates of suspension in the following categories: (1) All students. (2) Students belonging to 1 or more subgroups, such as students of specified racial subgroups or with disabilities. (3) Schools with a significant disparity in suspension rates between racial subgroups or between students with disabilities and students without disabilities.
This act will improve guidelines for training by school districts and charters as it pertains to School Resource Officers (SRO), their duties and training when interacting with students with disabilities. The limitations and prohibitions described in this section are in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other constitutional, statutory, or regulatory rights otherwise conferred by federal or state law or regulation.
|HS1 for HB143 w/HA1||K. Williams||05/01/2017||
This Act removes the provisional license and re-establishes a 3 tiered licensure system. An initial license provides for two years for the initial licensee to obtain a passing score on an approved performance assessment. This Act provides for reciprocity for a state-created and approved performance assessment from another state or jurisdiction to meet the performance assessment requirement. This Act also eliminates the general knowledge exam for licensure. The Department will be responsible for training local district and school staff on the performance assessment. For enactment, any individual provided an initial license prior to the enactment date will not be subject to the requirement of obtaining a passing score on a performance assessment. Additionally, any individual provided a provisional license prior to the enactment date will be reissued an initial license and the 2 year requirement for meeting the performance assessment will become effective commencing on the new issue date. The remainder of the bill makes conforming changes to cross-references and license designations.
This amendment clarifies implementation of this Act to ensure those educators already on an initial license with multiple years to pass a general knowledge exam, such as School Nurses and Skilled and Technical Science Instructors, are no longer obligated to meet the requirement of passing a general knowledge exam and also clarifies that those educators currently on an initial license are not required to pass an approved performance assessment for movement to a continuing license.
This act creates the Complete Your Degree Grant Program. Under this program, state funds may be provided to help eligible students who have completed at least 30 credit hours return to school and complete an associate degree.
This bill would allow Delaware residents two new deductions from personal income tax. The first is a deduction from taxable income of up to $2,500 for contributions to a “529” College Savings Plan. The second is a deduction from taxable income of up to $2,500 for contributions to a “529A” Savings Account – a special account for meeting the needs of certain individuals with disabilities. Under this act, a Delaware resident taxpayer would be eligible for the deduction regardless of whether they made a contribution to a 529 or 529A plan sponsored by the State of Delaware or another state or institution, so long as the plans met federal criterion.
This bill would create an end date for the special filing deadline created by school board vacancies that arise after the second Friday in February. The new end date for these vacancies would be the first Friday in March. Any vacancies that arise after the first Friday in March would be filled by the remaining members on the School Board for the remainder of the fiscal year.
This act establishes an Educational Support Professional of the Year award program throughout the state. Through this legislation, the state will formally honor and recognize the work educational support professionals, such as paraprofessionals, food service workers, custodians, and secretaries do to enhance school communities in Delaware.
|HB126 w/ HA1||Lynn||04/07/2017||
Persons seeking employment who are in need to child care services in order to obtain employment, to retain employment, or to obtain training leading to employment are eligible to apply for child care assistance under the Child Care Subsidy Program. This legislation codifies the federal intent that families be eligible to continue receiving assistance for 90 non-consecutive days in a year, and extends that eligibility to families who want to start receiving assistance in order to seek employment for up to 90 days.
This Amendment changes the proposed nonconsecutive 90-day job search period to a consecutive 90-day job search period to conform to current Division of Social Services Child Care policy.
This legislation requires that all full-time employees of the state, including employees of school districts, continuously in the employ of the state for at least one year, shall be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child six years of age or younger. Both parents would be eligible for such leave. This act takes effect January 1, 2019.
This bill expands the list of persons eligible to participate in the Ada Leigh Soles Memorial Professional Librarian and Archivist Incentive Scholarship Program to include employees of non-public libraries in Delaware that join the Delaware Library Consortium.
This act establishes the ability to grant a waiver for participation in interscholastic sports when a child exercises the right for choice from one school to another school of choice provided the standards for the waiver are met. In addition, this act takes into consideration a new charter school or newly added grades to a charter school.
|HA1 to HB99 w/ HA1||Williams||03/31/2017||
This bill would require that a resident 65 years of age or older claiming a tax credit against school taxes must be a resident of the state for at least 10 years before qualifying for such credit. The current requirement is only for three-year residency. This change will be effective for tax and fiscal years after January 1, 2017. Those residents who would have become eligible over the last three years under the prior version of the statute will remain eligible.
This amendment retains the 3-year residency requirement for eligibility for anyone moving into the State before December 31, 2017. Anyone establishing residency after that date must be a resident for 10 years rather than 3 before becoming eligible. The amendment also corrects a typo in the original bill.
As a public school safety measure, this bill requires that any door to a classroom will be equipped with a lock that can be locked from either side of the door. The act permits schools five years from the date of enactment to bring existing structures into compliance with this requirement. New construction and major renovations must comply immediately.
|HB88 w/ HA1||Matthews||03/27/2017||
This act allows for juniors and seniors majoring in education at a Delaware college or university to be paid $83 per day as substitute teachers, the same rate paid to those who hold a bachelor’s degree but not a teaching license.
This amendment allows qualifying students enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education in Delaware or other jurisdictions to be substitute teachers.
|HB 70 w/ HA1||Bennett||03/27/2017||
As cursive writing is still an imperative skill in many professions, this bill makes teaching cursive writing a requirement for all public schools in Delaware.
Amendment changes beginning school year from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
|“Bi-partisan bill would bring back cursive to schools.” The News Journal. 2017|
|HB 64 w/SA2||Briggs King||03/27/2017||
This bill provides that mothers who are full-time state employees (which would include school districts) may have up to six weeks of unpaid leave following the newborn(s) discharge from the hospital for cases of mononamniotic twins, or multiples of three or more, even if their FMLA benefits have been exhausted.
This act requires public schools to begin their school year after Labor Day.
|“Delaware split on school before Labor Day.” The News Journal. 2017|
This bill requires all new school construction or major renovation to include the following safety features: an intruder alarm, bulletproof glass in entrance areas and interior doors and windows, and doors lockable with keys on both sides. Further, the bill would require all new school construction plans to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget’s Facilities Management Section for compliance with these requirements as well as with Crime Prevention through Environmental Design principles.
|“Delaware bill mandates school safety measures.” The News Journal. 2017.|
|HCR 4||Briggs King||02/07/2017||
This resolution proclaims January 22 through 28, 2017 as National School Choice Week.
This act seeks to ensure that every public school in the state has a school nurse. This act provides a mechanism to allow a district or a charter school that currently does not have a school nurse to receive state funds. This act also permits districts that receive these funds to levy a “match tax” to pay for the local share of that school nurse.
|“A nurse in every Delaware school.” The News Journal. 2017|
|HB 51||K. Williams||02/07/2017||
In 2016, the Legislature provided a reimbursement for teachers employed in Delaware who had to pay the one-time licensure fee. By using “teacher,” we inadvertently excluded specialists including school media specialists, school counselors, school nurses, et cetera. This bill changes “teacher” to “educator” for purposes of the reimbursement.
This act will seek to diminish the performance gap in literacy skills by creating a three-year pilot program for disadvantaged students in primary grades in Delaware public schools. The state will provide $1 million in grant funding per year, over a three-year period, to support the pilot program. Under the act, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College, and the University of Delaware are invited to help collect and analyze data to assess the program.
This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the Smarter Balanced assessment system.
|“Lawmakers again eye school testing opt out bill.” Associated Press. 2017.|
This act increases the age requirement for compulsory school attendance in Delaware from 16 to 18 years of age. The age increase is phased in over a two-year period; accordingly, there is a one-year interim period where the compulsory school attendance age requirement will be 17 years old. The act further provides that a child may be exempt from the age requirement for compulsory school attendance if the child has received a high school diploma or a certificate of performance or obtains permission to withdraw from school from the superintendent of the district in which the child is enrolled or from the president of the board of the charter school in which the child is enrolled. The act preserves the exemption under which a child may be excused from compulsory attendance upon request of the child’s parent or legal guardian coupled with supporting written documentation from a qualified health professional.
|“School dropout age could rise to 18 under new bill.” Delaware Public Media. 2017.|
This joint resolution directs the Department of Education to present its plan for compliance with the new federal education law—“Every Student Succeeds Act” or “ESSA”—at a meeting of the education committees of both chambers of the General Assembly prior to the completion of the state plan and its submission to the federal Department of Education.
|HB 23 w/ HA1||Matthews||01/25/2017||
This act requires that any student over the age of 16 who wishes to leave school prior to graduation must obtain the written consent of the parent or guardian, and attend an exit interview where information is supplied regarding the likelihood of diminished earning potential and the increased likelihood of unemployment associated with dropping out. The school is also directed to explore whether there are support services, interventions or programs that might assist the student in remaining enrolled. The intent is to lower the dropout rate and encourage students to complete high school.
This amendment clarifies that written consent is only required for students who have not reached the age of majority. It also limits the burden on schools by clarifying that a school must make three attempts to contact and schedule an exit interview with a parent or guardian. If the parent or guardian is unreachable or uncooperative the school has no further obligations under this subsection.
|HS 1 for HB 12||K. Williams||01/25/2017||
This bill provides state funding to kindergarten through third grade for basic special education. State funding already occurs for intensive and complex special education during these grades. Currently the basic special education funding runs from fourth through 12th grade. This bill is an effort to promote earlier identification and assistance for basic special education needs which should then mitigate costs over the long term. Pursuant to its terms, funding for K-3 special education will be phased in gradually over four years.
This bill increases the minimum age of required school attendance from 16 to the age of 17. The minimum age for truancy has also been increased accordingly.
|HB 15 w/ SA 1||Heffernan||01/25/2017||
This bill creates a requirement that all public high schools, including charter schools, shall offer at least one computer science course at the high school level by the 2020-21 school year. Also, this bill creates a requirement that, by the 2018-19 school year, a computer science course may satisfy one year of the total credit requirement in mathematics, excluding Algebra I, Geometry, or Algebra II or the equivalent courses. The State Board of Education shall develop guidelines addressing how computer science courses can satisfy graduation requirements.
The amendment allows a public high school (including charter) to request waiver of the requirement if it would be a financial or programmatic burden to the school. The request must be submitted by the Secretary of Education, who will approve or deny.
|“Delaware high schools could be required to offer computer science course.” Education Week. 2017|
This bill requires a conference with the parent or guardian of a student who has been absent without excuse for five days from school. A needs assessment will be performed to determine what supports or services will help the student and family improve school attendance. Moving the intervention forward to the fifth unexcused absence rather than the 10th may help to improve outcomes for Delaware’s students and help prevent students from disengaging from the school community and dropping out of school.
This concurrent resolution establishes the Veterans Higher Education Task Force to study and make findings and recommendations regarding veterans’ access to higher education in Delaware.
This bill creates the Grant-In-Aid Committee. The committee is a joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives. The purpose of the committee is to review requests for grant-in-aid and to develop the grant-in-aid appropriations bill.
This bill expands the population of war veterans who are eligible to be awarded a high school diploma.
|HB229 w/ HA1||Jaques||07/07/2017||
This bill concerns sick leave payout for retired State Troopers who became reemployed in public education. Specifically, this bill adds language to the code that would treat retired State Troopers the same as other educational employees as it relates to sick leave payment upon separation from educational employment.
This amendment will cap the total number of days a State Police Officer can receive compensation for unused sick days at 90 days, whether claimed in full following retirement from DSP or in combination with a second state job.
This act removes the ability of members of the Interagency Resource Management Committee to appoint designees to serve in their stead.
This act provides school-based speech-language pathologists and audiologists who hold a current Certificate of Clinical Competence in speech-language pathology, (“CCC-SLP”) or audiology (“CCC-A”), issued by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and who hold a current state license to practice from the Delaware Board of Speech Pathologists, Audiologists and Hearing Aid Dispensers with a base salary level of Master’s Plus 30 credits.
This act extends the enrollment reduction requirements and clarifies that enrollment shall not exceed 1,250 students as of the 2017-18 school year and each school year thereafter.
This concurrent resolution establishes a Task Force to study and make recommendations regarding the impact of consolidating school districts in the state of Delaware.
This bill requires the Division of Public Health and the Department of Education to collaborate with local school districts to find ways to help improve the indoor environment in schools. The bill also requires the Division of Public Health to establish an online portal on the DHSS website through which it will provide technical expertise and exchange information with local school districts in order to help improve the air quality and overall indoor environment in schools. The bill also requires the Department of Education to notify local school districts of the portal every year.
This act provides for the expense of State government after June 30, 2017, on a temporary basis as appropriated under the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget and for granting authority to continue appropriation lines in the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, the Fiscal Year 2017 Bond and Capital Improvements Act, and the Fiscal Year 2017 Grants-in-Aid Act.
This bill creates a 3-year exemption for public school construction from prevailing wage requirements. Also the public school will prepare cost study comparison reports for the Controller General’s Office to compile and report to the General Assembly.
|SB111 w/ SA1||Townsend||07/07/2017||
This bill establishes the Behavioral Health Consortium that will provide oversight and coordination of the State’s private and public bodies to address behavioral health issues in Delaware.
This amendement identifies the DDOE as an agency that the Consotrium will engage with, and clarifies that the representative of the education community must be someone who works directly to improve behavioral health in a Delaware school district.
This House joint resolution directs the Department of Education, with the assistance of the Delaware State Board of Education, to promulgate regulations that include specific guidelines to prohibit discrimination in school district employment practices or educational programs and activities for students on the basis of any legally-protected characteristic, including gender identity or expression.
Since 1996, students across Delaware have participated in school choice. Currently, reorganized school districts, vocational technical school districts, and charter schools do not follow the same processes thus causing confusion and barriers for families seeking to access choice for their children. This act aims to streamline the school choice process, making it easier and clearer for parents, guardians, and school administrators to navigate. This act requires reorganized school districts, vocational-technical school districts, and charter schools to use a standard online application receipt and processing tool approved by the Department that is offered at no charge. It also clarifies that the application deadlines apply to all students, regardless of age or school. Additionally, it will prohibit schools from asking for additional information that does not directly pertain to an enrollment or program criterion. The bill will make the timing uniform for the ranked waitlist process. It aligns the sibling preference across all school types and eliminates the separate charter school April 1st enrollment requirement of 80% and moving to May 1st to allow for parents to make a final, informed decision. Under this bill, in the event of a mid-year termination of a pupil’s enrollment, the sending reorganized school district, vocational-technical school district, or charter school and the receiving reorganized school district, vocational-technical school district, or charter school shall enter into an agreement providing for the pro-ration of student funding based on a formula prescribed by the DDOE.
This bill converts the senior property tax credit from a credit against the school taxes imposed and collected at the county level to a means-tested refundable income tax credit to be administered by the Department of Finance, Division of Revenue. For eligible seniors who do not file a personal income tax because their income falls below the threshold set by the Code, the Division will issue a rebate in the amount for which that person is eligible. The Division is authorized to promulgate whatever forms or rules are necessary to administer this section. The tax credit will become effective as early as tax year 2019 upon certification by the Secretary of Finance that systems are in place for the Division of Revenue to administer the credit.
The Delaware Advisory Council on Career and Technical Education received $331,700 out of the Delaware General Fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. Based upon a simple cost benefit analysis weighed against the budget issues Delaware is facing, it is clear these funds would produce greater benefits if utilized elsewhere. This bill will eliminate this annual expenditure by terminating this Committee via a total repeal of Chapter 86 of Title 14 of the Delaware Code.
This concurrent resolution establishes a Task Force to investigate the cost of special education and make recommendations related to cost efficiency.