Legislative Monitor

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.

Also, make sure to check out these additional links in order to know your legislator and learn how a bill becomes law in Delaware. Be sure to check out our recap blogs of the 149th General Assembly.

Bill Sponsor Date Added Synopsis Resources
HB34 Baumbach 03/31/2017 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.
HB98 Jaques 03/31/2017 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.
HB99 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.
HB 67 Jaques 03/27/2017 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.
HB 70 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. “Bi-partisan bill would bring back cursive to schools.” The News Journal. 2017
HB 64 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.
HB88 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.
HS1 for HB85 w/ HA1 Williams 03/27/2017 This bill eliminates the use of an enrollment preference for students living within a 5-mile radius of a charter school. For any charter school using the 5-mile preference at the time of enactment, the school is required to eliminate the preference through notification to the authorizer prior to the 2018-2019 school year.

This amendment removes the language that would allow a charter school to provide a preference only for students living in that portion of a non-contiguous school district where the charter school is located.

HB 60 Kowalko 02/07/2017 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.
HB 55 Heffernan 02/07/2017 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.
SB 18 Hocker 02/07/2017 This act requires public schools to begin their school year after Labor Day. “Delaware split on school before Labor Day.” The News Journal. 2017
SB 19 McDowell 02/07/2017 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.
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.
HB 49 Jaques 02/07/2017 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.
HB 50 Jaques 02/07/2017 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
HCR 4 Briggs King 02/07/2017 This resolution proclaims January 22 through 28, 2017 as National School Choice Week.
HB 17 Dukes 01/25/2017 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 23 w/ H1 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.
HJR 3 Jaques 01/25/2017 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 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

“State of the State’s Landscape Report: State-level Policies Supporting Equitable K-12 Computer Science Education.” BNY Mellon. 2017

HB 24 Matthews 01/25/2017 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.
HB3 Heffernan 04/07/2017 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.
HB126 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.

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