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 2018, 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.
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This act increases the eligibility for a child with a disability to be eligible for free appropriate public education from the end of the school year in which the child attains the age of 21 to the end of the school year in which the child attains the age of 22.
This bill will increase the public transparency of education funding information by directing the Department of Education to: 1. Establish, in collaboration with stakeholders, a statewide approach for districts and charter schools for reporting expenditures at the school level and the school’s share of central office expenditures so that per-pupil expenditure data is consistent and comparable across the State. 2. Report per-pupil expenditure data with key information that provide context on differences in funding such as school type, student demographics, and student outcomes. 3. Provide optional trainings to increase understanding of the data. As a result, this bill is intended to enable all taxpayers, parents, and schools to understand their school spending and resources in order to make data-driven decisions for students.
This act requires each public school district to equip the schools with an adequate number of panic buttons that may be used to immediately alert local law enforcement authorities of a security threat at a school. Once activated, the required silent alarm system will immediately alert authorities without simultaneously activating an audible alarm within the school building.
This act establishes the Delaware School Safety and Security Fund to allow eligible public schools to compete for grant awards to partially or fully fund projects intended to improve school safety or security. The Department of Education shall administer the competitive grant program. This act further requires all funding to be awarded by a five-member committee consisting of representatives from the Department of Education, Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Office of Management and Budget, the Governor’s office, and the Delaware Association of School Administrators. Awards granted under this Section shall be limited to a maximum of $50,000 per school, with priority given to applications addressing a current unresolved safety or security issue, or an issue which would significantly improve the safety and security of the public school relative to the size of the investment.
|HS1 for HB346||Bentz||04/02/2018||
This Act establishes the High Needs Educator Student Loan Payment Program. The Program allows qualified applicants to apply for a payment from the State to the applicant’s lending agency, to pay a portion of the applicant’s student loan debt. The purpose of the Program is to encourage Educators to work and remain working in certification areas in which Delaware has a shortage and to encourage Educators to work and remain working in Delaware’s hardest-to-staff Schools. The amount of the award shall be no less than $1000 and no more than $2000. This substitute redesignates the chapter where this language will be placed in the code
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 42 percent of all face-to-face contact between individuals and law enforcement officers occurred during a traffic stop. This act requires the Department of Transportation (“department”) to examine applicants for a driver’s license regarding their knowledge related to traffic stops by law-enforcement officers by including at least two questions on the subject in any examination given to applicants. Also, this act makes clear that students in a state-approved driver education course must demonstrate knowledge related to traffic stops by law-enforcement officers. Also, this act requires defensive driving courses approved by the department to educate individuals in these courses on traffic stops by law enforcement officers and to examine these individuals in the subject by including at least two questions on the subject in any examination given to the individuals.
This bill changes the time of school board and school referendum election from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
This act creates the Delaware Advance Scholarship Program. The goal of this act is to encourage Delaware students with intellectual disabilities to pursue studies for a comprehensive certificate or degree at a Delaware institution of higher education in order to promote economic self-sufficiency. This will result in an economic benefit to the state in the form of a more diverse, well-prepared workforce that is less reliant on government support. This act follows the Higher Education Opportunities Act of 2008, which authorizes comprehensive transition and post-secondary programs as a pathway to higher education for students with intellectual disabilities. The program will be effective beginning in the 2018 through 2019 academic year.
This act requires that the Office of Child Care Licensing include application forms, the specific requirements to obtain a license, and due process provisions in regulations to ensure that child care providers have clear notice of what is required, the opportunity to comment on proposed changes, and an opportunity to correct minor deficiencies before they are posted on the Office of Child Care Licensing’s website as an instance of noncompliance. This act also repeals language regarding implementation of the current section that is no longer necessary. This act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
|SS1 for SB143||Townsend||01/25/2018||
This bill amends the membership of the Behavioral Health Consortium to include two members of both the House and Senate, a member from the Ability Network of Delaware, and the Mental Health Association in Delaware. The bill also extends the date the first report is due from March 1, 2018 to April 16, 2018.
|Behavioral Health Consortium Mission and Objectives|
|HA1 to HB283||Briggs King||01/09/2018||
In the 149th General Assembly House Bill No. 64 amended Title 29, Section 5120 to insure that mothers who are full-time state employees may have up to six weeks of unpaid leave following the newborn(s) discharge from the hospital even if their FMLA benefits have been exhausted. This bill clarifies that school district employees are entitled to the same unpaid leave.
This amendment removes an unnecessary clause from the bill. The Merit Employee Relations Board of State Personnel Office is not applicable to school district employees.
This act changes the term of a school board member from five years to four years. While longer board member terms enable school board members to have more years as experienced board members, this must be weighed against the goal of providing the community with sufficient opportunities to run for school boards, and to replace school board members. In addition, shorter board member terms can increase the number of candidates who run for office, as a longer term can prevent some individuals from choosing to run for this office.
This Amendment changes the applicability of this Act from elections held on or after January 1, 2018, to elections held 90 days or more after the enactment of this Act.
|HA1 to HB286||K. Williams||01/09/2018||
Enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act amended the Individuals with Disability Education Act (“IDEA”) by mandating that special education teachers must have obtained full certification and may not be working under emergency certifications. This act creates a mechanism that is in compliance with federal requirements to enable educators to obtain a certificate of eligibility in the areas of special education. This act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual. Amendment adds the phrase charter school.
This act implements the recommendations of the March 2015 Autism Educational Task Force report. It allows for and provides adequate resources for all students with ASD in Delaware by eliminating the distinction between DAP-approved programs and other in-district options and by providing in-state experts at a lower cost than out-of-state residential treatment and consultants. The pilot program created under this act makes changes that recognize and support the need for specialized technical assistance and training staff to be available to build capacity for teachers in all districts and other programs educating students with ASD. The pilot program created under this act establishes a technical assistance team of educational autism specialists numbering a ratio of one for every 100 students (currently estimated at 15 positions). The fiscal mechanism to support the pilot program will be accomplished through mandated district participation that is consistent with the current needs-based funding system in Delaware and by redirecting state spending towards lower cost, community-based supports from out-of-state residential placements. The number of training specialists will be phased in over several years or until the pilot program ends.
In order to support enrichment activities such as field trips for students at high-poverty schools, this bill would require the State to provide $25 per student to high poverty schools to be used for the purpose of educational and enrichment field trips.
|HS1 for HB287||K. Williams||01/09/2018||
This Substitute Bill makes the following changes to House Bill No. 287: 1. It changes the name of the new diploma to a “Diploma of Alternate Achievement Standards” instead of a “Diploma of Modified Performance Standards.” 2. It adds a requirement that a student must be eligible to take a statewide alternate assessment to receive the new diploma. 3. The Act takes effect in the academic year after enactment.
This act replaces the term “Certificate of Performance” with “State of Delaware High School Diploma of Modified Performance Standards.” Doing so provides the opportunity for schools to award students who meet the requirements of their Individualized Education Plans (“IEP”) a high school diploma. This high school diploma will be awarded on the same criteria for which some students with special needs are currently issued a Certificate of Performance. This act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
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.
|HA3 to HB260||Longhurst||07/07/2017||
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 amendment changes the effective date of the Act from January 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019.
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 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 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.
This act removes the ability of members of the Interagency Resource Management Committee to appoint designees to serve in their stead.
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 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 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 concurrent resolution establishes a Task Force to investigate the cost of special education and make recommendations related to cost efficiency.
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 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.
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 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.
|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 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
|SS1 for SB85||Henry||06/05/2017||
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.
This Substitute Bill makes the following changes to Senate Bill No. 85: 1. References the existing definition of “disruptive behavior” in Title 14. 2. Includes “disability” as a category for data collection. 3. Extends by 1 year the years stated in the requirements to retain the same time frames. This is necessary because this Act will be enacted in 2018, not 2017 when it was drafted. 4. Clarifies what information is required for reports and provides deadlines for the required plans and reports. 5. Clarifies that schools must develop plans and strategies with stakeholder input. 6. Clarifies content for professional development.
|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.
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 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 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.
|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.
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.
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 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 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.
|HS1 for HB49||Jaques||02/07/2017||
This Act requires all new school construction and schools undergoing major renovations to incorporate the following safety features: a secured vestibule to be used as the primary entrance to screen visitors, installation of ballistic resistant glass or other ballistic resistant materials in all areas used to screen visitors, installation of a panic button or intruder alert system, and classroom doors that can be locked on the outside with a key or magnetic card locking system. Further, the Act provides that the Office of Management and Budget Facilities Management Section shall coordinate a review of construction plans with the Department of Homeland Security to verify compliance with this Act and evaluate the security and safety of new schools and schools planning major renovations. This bill is a substitute for and differs from House Bill 49 by using industry standard terms, requiring the installation of a panic button or intruder alert system, requiring that the Department of Education and Comprehensive School Safety Program annually provide best practices for ballistic and alarm capabilities to school districts and Facilities Management, and ensuring compliance with fire prevention regulations.
|“Delaware bill mandates school safety measures.” The News Journal. 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|
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 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.
|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.