Legislative Learning and Advocacy Update

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our Legislative Learning and Advocacy event last Saturday at Eason Elementary. The conversations and knowledge in the room were insightful.

We want to keep you informed of bills currently being discussed at the State House impacting our District. We will be posting updates to our website and encourage you to reach out to your legislators with questions, concerns, or suggestions. Thank you again for your support and advocacy on behalf of our students and staff.

Below are some details on bills that are of immediate importance to Waukee CSD.

SF2164 is good news for WCSD. We will receive an additional $10.00 for each of our students, each year, going forward.

  • The Governor signed SF 2164 transportation and per-pupil equity into law this week. It provides $7.2 million in additional funding for the 204 school districts spending more than the average to bus students. The statewide average is $347.65 per-pupil. It also includes $10 more per pupil for per-pupil equity. That will cost the state an additional $5.9 million.

SF2360 – for those especially interested in behavior support, this is designed to be a step in that direction. Some have also included this as youth mental health support, however, we need to be careful to not simply lump misbehavior and mental health concerns into the same bucket. Some students with mental health needs have no outward “behavior issues,” and some students who exhibit “behavior issues” do not have mental health concerns. Some students, of course, exhibit both and many of our students exhibit neither.

  • SF 2360 (Appropriations; Successor to SF 2190) Classroom behavior: Requires teacher preparation programs to include the development of individualized education programs and other strategies on behavioral interventions. Directs the DOE to develop standards on responses to imminent threats of bodily injury at school. Requires teacher preparation programs to include strategies on using the least restrictive environment as of July 2021. It allows a teacher to clear a classroom (“classroom clear”) if a student’s behavior presents an immediate danger but not just to calm a student down. It requires schools to notify parents about the situation. It requires teachers to report violent acts to the principal and allows the teacher to make a report to the DPS. Therapeutic Classrooms: Establishes grants for therapeutic classrooms and allows schools to collaborate on the creation of therapeutic classrooms. Includes provisions on funding and transportation. School Immunity: Grants immunity from civil liability for a school district and the board of directors, and for non-public schools, for physical contact between a student and school employee that is covered by immunity provisions for the school employee. Appropriations: Appropriates $1.58 million for the therapeutic classrooms’ incentive fund and $500,000 for the transportation claims reimbursement.

HF2497 – allows districts to access the 5% of Dropout Prevention/Modified Allowable Growth that exists in Code, but was frozen at a District’s then percentage a few years back. We were at 3.6% when the freeze occurred. As the needs of our students dynamically change, this additional access to funds would be helpful to provide added support. Moving from 3.6% to 5.0% is a gain in early intervention/at-risk/dropout prevention dollars of approximately $1.1 million dollars for WCSD.

  • HF 2497 At-Risk Supplemental allows the supplemental school aid for at-risk students to be increased to 5% of a school district’s regular program cost if approved by the School Budget Review Committee. Effective for the 2021-22 school year.

SSA – was supposed to be set two weeks ago. The House is at a 2.5% increase. The Governor recommended a 2.5% increase. The Senate is at a 2.1% increase. We are working to set and publish budgets that are on a strict timeline, so it would be very helpful if they could get this completed.