Legislative Report - Week of 2/6
By Anne Nesse, Education Portfolio
House Education Meeting 2/6/23 3PM, takes an important look at locally elected school board responsibilities and the non-discriminatory rights of all students.
We submitted written and virtual testimony on SB 2750, which prohibits charging fees or requiring participation in fundraising activities as a condition of participating in interscholastic activities. The law also includes authorization to use moneys in Statewide Education Initiatives, Account for costs incurred by school districts, and public charter schools as result of this law. The law does not prohibit communities from raising such monies needed to fund the law. Our testimony made clear that the LWV, since its founding, has believed in the fundamental right of equal rights by law, to a non-discriminatory public education, without asking families to pay additional fees for education or recreational services. There was only positive testimony on this Bill, with some concern about the high potential cost. A number of school districts have already begun, and are succeeding in eliminating “pay to play” fees. Here is a link to the live recording of this hearing, with LWV testimony in the last few minutes. I was able to add my personal experience of coaching after school interscholastic activities, in two areas: team critical thinking and problem solving competitions in Odyssey of the Mind, and instructing after school string orchestra. Here is the recording of public hearing of this Bill, held first on the agenda.
A public hearing was held on HB 2751, to establish a Task Force to study and collect data on school starting times. Much convincing long term medical, health, and educational data was presented, as to why High School and Middle School students should not start school before 8:30AM, while younger grade levels can usually adapt.
A public hearing was held on HB 2753, allowing a district school board to choose to provide directors with a monthly stipend, and requires the board to provide reimbursements for actual and necessary expenses if board does not provide stipend. There was little data presented about the difficulty of filling school board vacancies. The amount of work required to be a school board member was considered significant enough to warrant a modest salary of some kind. Details and potential consequences of this Bill have yet to be worked out.
A public hearing was held on HB 2669, declaring children who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind have the same rights and potential as children who are not. Requires school districts to provide children who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind with hearing and vision screenings and assessments, communication and language support and access to relevant services and programs at the earliest possible age and throughout education experience.
Our next news in education will cover 2/7-2/13, as we are changing our sequence of reporting.