2009 SC Legislative Wrap-up (K12 EDUCATION)

South Carolina Expectation Advisory

In December and January the Voice posted summaries of legislation introduced in the South Carolina State Legislature.

Here, six months later, is an overview of the status of those and other bills relating to K-12 Education policy.

(Also look for upcoming reviews of Charter School bills, Tax bills, and Budget & Spending bills):

S. 99 Constitutional amendment – high quality education

This Joint Resolution provides that the general assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools and shall establish, organize, and support public institutions of learning that will provide a high quality education, allowing each student to reach the highest potential. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 134 School discrimination on religious viewpoints

This legislation enacts the Religious Viewpoints Anti-discrimination Act, which prohibits a school district from discriminating against a student based on religious viewpoint. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 143 SC School Facilities Infrastructure Act

This legislation provides for the issuance of general obligation bonds and special source bonds and notes by the South Carolina School Facilities Infrastructure Authority for the construction of school facilities. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 151 Home schoolers to participate in interscholastic activities

This legislation permits home school students to participate in interscholastic activities of the school district in which the student resides pursuant to certain conditions. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 175 School district requirements

This legislation eliminates the maintenance of effort. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 234 Dorchester School District 2 Report on Impact of Development

This legislation requires Dorchester School District 2 to report on the impact of development on schools within the school district. This bill became law without the Governor’s signature.

S. 235 Dorchester School District 2 to Impose Impact Fees on New Residential Dwellings

This legislation allows Dorchester School District 2 to impose impact fees on new residential dwellings to apply revenue toward new and existing bond payments. This bill became law without the Governor’s signature.

S. 242 Close TERI program

This legislation closes the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) Program to new participants effective July, 1 2009. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Subcommittee and did not receive any further action.

S. 244 Recorded vote for board and commissions voting

This legislation provides that each State board and commission shall take a recorded vote of an action it takes when awarding compensation or methodology for computing compensation or bonuses. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 266 Model dating violence policy for school districts

The legislation requires the Department of Education to develop a model dating violence policy to assist school districts in developing such policies and sets requirements for school districts. The bill is currently on the Senate Calendar and the Education Committee’s amendment has been adopted.

S. 302 General Education Development (GED) Pilot Program

This legislation establishes the General Education Development (GED) Pilot Program to allow students, ages sixteen through nineteen, currently enrolled in a high school and who are one to two years behind in high school graduation requirements, the opportunity to remain a high school student while receiving appropriate instruction to receive a GED diploma. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 319 Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

This legislation authorizes the Governor to execute the compact with other compact states as well as provides that the State Superintendent of Education is the compact commissioner of this state. Among other things, this legislation establishes a council on educational opportunity for military children, provides for the council’s membership, appointments, terms, quorum, leadership, filling of vacancies, and powers and duties, as well as provides the terms of the compact. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 352 SC Joint Committee on School District Consolidation

This Joint Resolution creates the SC Joint Committee on School District Consolidation and directs the committee to conduct a study of the current organization of school districts throughout SC and develop a comprehensive plan for the consolidation of school districts. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 379 School district flexibility

This Joint Resolution allows local school districts and special schools to transfer funds among appropriated revenues in order to ensure the delivery of academic and arts instruction for Fiscal Years 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, allowing for the suspension of certain professional staffing ratios as well as delaying the issuing date for teaching contracts and renegotiating salaries for retired and TERI teachers below the minimum salary requirements, suspending certain formative assessments and allowing school districts to purchase the most economical type of bus fuel. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Subcommittee and did not receive any further action.

S. 395 EFA revision

This legislation provides for comprehensive revisions to provisions of the Education Finance Act of 1977. The legislation revises the manner in which weightings used to provide for relative cost differences between students are determined. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 442 Aiken County Board of Education

This legislation revises the Aiken County Board of Education’s authority with regard to administrative area offices and area advisory councils. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 520 School choice bill

This legislation enacts the SC Educational Opportunity Act and provides scholarships for low-income students and tax credits for home school and other students. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Subcommittee and, based on the request of the lead sponsor, will remain there for review.

S. 561 Public schools

This legislation provides that the General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools and shall establish, organize and support public institutions of learning that will provide a high quality education, allowing each student to reach his highest potential. The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 588 Extends teacher contracts from April 15th to May 15th

This Joint Resolution extends the date by which a school district must decide whether to employ a teacher for the 2009-2010 school year from April fifteenth to May fifteenth, and provides that a teacher has ten days following receipt of written notification of an offer to accept the contract. The legislation provides that a school district may uniformly negotiate salaries below the school district salary schedule for the 2009-2010 school year for retired teachers who are not participants in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) Program. The bill has been signed by the Governor.

S. 595 GED

This legislation provides that regulations concerning application for the General Education Development (GED) diploma allow candidates to be 16 years of age or older. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 607 Public School Choice Program Act

This legislation enacts the Public School Choice Program Act. The legislation requires the State Department of Education to provide school districts with information concerning school choice program research, requires the department to develop an inventory of available public school choice options and make the list available to districts and to the General Assembly. Also, the legislation requires each school district to convene a school choice committee, to determine the membership of the committee, and to develop a school choice option plan that must be submitted to the department. The bill was reported favorably by the Senate Education Committee.

S. 656 Kindergarten

This legislation allows children who have substantially completed an out-of-state or private kindergarten program or first grade with a different age requirement to attend kindergarten or first grade in SC. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 696 School report cards

The legislation provides the requirement for the results of a school’s report card to be advertised in a local newspaper to be waived if an audited newspaper of general circulation in a school district’s geographic area has previously published the entire school report card results as a news item. The bill was signed by the Governor.

S. 812 School attendance

This legislation provides that parents must arrange for the student to attend a school in the adjacent county rather than the school authorities. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 873 Public school curriculum

This legislation provides that curriculum used to teach students about the origins of mankind must maintain neutrality between religious faiths and between religion and non-religion. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 874 School Children’s Religious Liberties Act

This legislation enacts the School Children’s Religious Liberties Act and provides that a school district shall treat religious viewpoints expressed by students concerning an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner as non-religious viewpoints expressed by students on the same subject. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

S. 875 Scientific education

This legislation provides that the State Board of Education and district and school governing authorities shall facilitate scientific education including controversial scientific education. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3009 Repeal TERI program

This legislation provides for the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) Program to be closed to new participants effective July 1, 2009. The legislation repeals the TERI Program effective July 1, 2014, for all purposes except the distribution of program accounts existing on that date. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3052 York County school districts

This legislation authorizes the Boards of Trustees of the York County school districts to establish the opening date for school to begin. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action

H. 3095 Teacher continuing contracts

This legislation increases the induction contract period for teachers from one year to five years. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3096 Definition of teacher and required classroom time

This legislation revises the definition of the term “teacher” by requiring certain minimum time in the classroom among other criteria. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3100 School opening dates

This legislation deletes the requirement that a school may not open for students before a certain date. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3102 Average daily membership of 10,000 students

This legislation provides that a school district must maintain an average daily membership of ten thousand students or greater in order to receive state funding. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3107 $200 tax credit for private schooler or home schooler for supplies

This legislation provides that a person who sends his child to private school or home schools his child is allowed a State individual income tax credit equal to two hundred dollars per child to be used to purchase books and supplies. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3112 Constitutional amendment – high quality education

This Joint Resolution proposes to amend the State Constitution so as to require the General Assembly to provide for a high-quality education, allowing each student to reach his highest potential. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3120 Pupil-teacher ratios

This legislation requires the board of trustees of each school district to attain an average pupil-teacher ratio in kindergarten through grade six of each school in the district of 25:1 based on average daily membership in the particular grades. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3125 Revise State School Facilities Bond Act and create School Facilities Infrastructure Act

This legislation revises the state School Facilities Bond Act, so as to provide that, beginning with fiscal year 2009-2010 and continuing for a period of four fiscal years thereafter, an additional three hundred million dollars in school facilities bonds may be issued over this five-year period. The legislation enacts the SC School Facilities Infrastructure Act, establishes the SC School Facilities Infrastructure Authority and to provide for its governance, powers, and duties. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3151 No student in 7-12 grades retained in current grade other than for reason documented in IEP

This legislation provides that no student enrolled in grades seven through twelve may be retained in his present grade for the next school year either at his current school or at another school other than for academic or health reasons which are documented in the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or in other records applicable to the student. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3179 Creates Farm to School Program

This legislation creates the South Carolina Farm to School Program within the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. This program fosters a direct relationship between South Carolina farms and schools to provide schools with fresh and minimally processed foods for student consumption. The bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3180 Allows school board to choose alternative 4-day school weeks

This legislation provides that a school district may propose an alternative school schedule plan that provides for the operation of schools on a four-day weekly calendar. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3181 EFA Revision

This legislation provides for comprehensive revisions to provisions of the Education Finance Act of 1977. The legislation revises the manner in which weightings used to provide for relative cost differences between students are determined. The legislation provides that allocations made to school districts under the Education Improvement Act must be disbursed directly to individual schools without regard to designated purpose in the same manner and formula as contained in the Education Finance Act. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3202 DOE to develop model dating violence policy

This legislation requires each school district to establish a policy for responding to incidents of dating violence and to provide dating violence education to students, parents, staff, faculty and administrators, in order to prevent dating violence and to address incidents involving dating violence. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3229 Offense of disturbing school

This legislation provides that first and second offense violations for disturbing schools must be tried in Magistrate’s Court and third and subsequent offenses must be tried in General Sessions Court. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3230 School district employee screenings against registry for child abuse

This legislation increases from five years to ten years the timeframe that DSS must keep information concerning reports classified as unfounded. When DSS receives a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, whether or not the information related by the reporter appears to indicate a violation of criminal law, this legislation provides that DSS must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of that information within 24 hours of DSS receiving the report. When the report is of alleged sexual abuse, DSS must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency within 24 hours of receipt of the report and a collaborative investigation must begin. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3250 Twenty-first century scholars program

This legislation allows an eighth grade student who is eligible for free or reduced lunch and who meets certain conditions to receive, upon graduation, an annual tuition scholarship to a public or private institution of higher learning. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3266 “The K-12 Game” education lottery

This legislation provides for additional funding for public K-12 schools from the proceeds of a new designated lottery game to be named “The K-12 Game”. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3282 Physical education in schools

This legislation requires the physical education course in secondary schools to be taught over six semesters. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3340 School district may not have multiple school districts within its boundaries

This legislation provides that on July 1, 2011, the area of each county of this State also must be constituted as a school district and a county may not have multiple school districts within its boundaries. The bill further provides that the General Assembly by local law before July 1, 2011, shall provide for the governance, fiscal authority, and administrative and operational responsibilities for a countywide school district where no provisions of law now apply. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3352 School districts and special schools to transfer funds among appropriated revenues

This Joint Resolution allows local school districts and special schools to transfer funds among appropriated revenues in order to ensure the delivery of academic and arts instruction during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years. The legislation allows school districts for fiscal years 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 to suspend certain professional staffing ratios, to transfer funds, to delay the date that teacher contracts are issued, and to negotiate salaries for retired and TERI teachers below minimum salary requirements. The legislation allows school districts for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years to furlough teachers and school and district administrators upon certain conditions. The legislation provides certification and reporting requirements. The legislation establishes the authority to suspend certain formative assessments and allows school districts to purchase the most economical type of bus fuel for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years. The bill was signed by the Governor.

H. 3384 No school operating funds for professional fees and memberships

This legislation provides that a school district may not use funds appropriated for school operating purposes to defray the costs of professional fees and memberships on behalf of its teachers and administrators. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3385 75% operational expenditures in classroom

This legislation provides that at least seventy-five percent of the education operational expenditures of each school district must be used for classroom instructional expenditures. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3387 Certain school administrators must spend amount of time teaching

This legislation requires a school administrator of a school that maintains an average daily membership of 300 students or less to spend at least 30 hours a week in a classroom as the primary instructor and to spend at least 30 consecutive minutes in the classroom with the same group of students for the periods of instruction related to a particular subject or course. The bill excludes principals from these requirements, but it does include assistant principals. The legislation was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3430 School districts to collaboratively develop and implement a plan to centralize

This legislation requires the school districts within that county to collaboratively develop and implement a plan to centralize all procurement, personnel, and financial matters into one county office. A county may not have multiple offices to oversee these operations. Each county office must have no more than one administrator to supervise a staff of no more than ten people. If the school districts within a county fail to implement these provisions by July 1, 2010, the State Superintendent of Education shall appoint an administrator and staff to centralize these operations. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3456 School district administrators’ compensation package

This legislation provides that a compensation package offered to a school district superintendent may not exceed ninety five percent of the salary of the State Superintendent of Education. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3458 Independent auditing firm to conduct a financial and management audit of SDE

This Joint Resolution directs the State Budget and Control Board to engage a qualified independent auditing and consulting firm to conduct a financial and management audit of the State Department of Education and any other related entities it considers necessary, including a review of school district records, in order to perform a comprehensive analysis of the state budgetary process in regard to education funding and the manner in which education services are delivered for the purpose of reducing waste and duplication within this system and making it as fiscally effective as possible. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3462 New construction of a school facility must comply with design requirements imposed by a committee of SDE

This legislation provides that new construction of elementary, middle, and high school facilities must comply with specified design and architectural requirements imposed by a committee of the State Department of Education (SDE). The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3478 Teacher bonus program

This legislation provides that the Department of Education must develop a classroom teacher bonus program to reward exemplary classroom teachers for outstanding performance. The legislation provides that the bonus may not exceed five percent of the teacher’s salary for the previous fiscal year. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3529 South Carolina Classroom Priority Act

This legislation enacts the SC Classroom Priority Act and provides that at least sixty-five percent of the education operational expenditures of each school district must be used for classroom instructional expenditures. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3537 School district audits

This legislation provides that the Legislative Audit Council shall conduct a management performance audit of one-fifth of the school districts in South Carolina selected at random by the State Department of Education. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3543 Department of Education to develop dating violence policy

This legislation requires the State Department of Education to develop a model dating violence policy to assist school districts in developing their own policies for reporting and responding to dating violence. Among other things, the bill outlines what must be included in the policies, and it provides reporting and publication requirements. The bill was given second reading by the House and did not receive any further action.

H. 3724 Revises weightings relative to cost difference between students

This legislation provides for numerous revisions to the Education Finance Act of 1977. The legislation revises the manner in which weightings used to provide for relative cost differences between students are determined. The legislation revises the manner in which school district funding is distributed under the act, including: eliminating the Index of Taxpaying Ability; replacing “base student cost” with “weighted student cost” computed under a modified formula; and requiring the General Assembly, beginning with fiscal year 2010-2011, to provide allocations to schools based on the full amount of weighted student cost. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3737 Public School Choice Program Act

This legislation enacts the Public School Choice Program Act and requires the State Department of Education to provide school districts with information concerning school choice program research. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action

H. 3802 SC Educational Opportunity Act

This legislation enacts the SC Educational Opportunity Act and establishes conditions under which a student is eligible to receive a scholarship or tuition grant and a person who pays tuition for that student is eligible for a tax credit for the payment of that tuition. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action

H. 3812 Teachers receive a one-time $7,500 salary supplement

This legislation provides that teachers who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards shall receive a one-time $7,500 dollar salary supplement, beginning on July first of the year following the year they achieved certification for the initial ten-year certification period. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3858 Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act

This legislation prohibits a school district from discriminating against a student based on religious viewpoint. The legislation allows a student to express his religious viewpoint, express his religious beliefs in homework and classroom assignments, and organize and participate in religious student gatherings to the same extent as secular noncurricular groups. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3866 SC High School Dropout Prevention Act of 2009

This legislation requires any high school student during a school year who has cumulatively failed to pass at least two units of instruction required for a high school diploma in the student’s program of study or who has scored in the 25 percentile or lower on applicable end-of-year assessment tests to meet with his high school guidance counselor and his parents or legal guardian before the start of the next school year. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3873 Creates the Virtual Head Start Committee under SDE

This legislation creates a Virtual Head Start Committee under the administration of the State Department of Education whose purpose it is to establish an Internet library of interactive lessons designed to give caregivers of children aged zero to six an opportunity to practice daily teaching methods intended to focus and improve early childhood education and development. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 3961 Public schools

This Joint Resolution requires the General Assembly to provide the opportunity for a high-quality education for all children of the State. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 4021 Special Needs Scholarship Program

This legislation establishes the Special Needs Scholarship Program which provides special needs students with the option to attend a public or nonpublic school of their choice. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 4061 Statewide millage for the purpose of raising revenue for public school operations

This legislation provides that the General Assembly annually by Joint Resolution shall impose a statewide millage on all real and personal property subject to property tax in this state for the purpose of raising revenue for public school operations. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and did not receive any further action.

H. 4118 School districts

This legislation requires each county to have one school district. The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee and did not receive any further action.

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