Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Action Packed Day at the GA

The 7:30 Education Reform Subcommittee took a number of significant actions this morning.
They reported, on a 7-0 vote, Del. Farrell’s HB 172, which requires the Board of Education to develop regulations for expedited retakes of SOL tests.

Del. Dickie Bell’s HB 324, which establishes an independent virtual school that all students can enroll in rather than their public school, was reported on a 5-2 vote.

And, perhaps, most significantly, Delegate Greason’s HB 930, which reduces the number of SOL tests and establishes a Standards of Learning Innovation Committee to address ongoing SOL reform, was reported.  I’ll offer more on this bill when the amended bill is available, but Delegate Greason did a commendable job of involving the stake-holders, including VEA, in the crafting of his bill.  Delegates Greason and Krupicka worked across party lines on this important legislation.  This bill will go the full committee tomorrow morning.

Several bills VEA opposed were considered by the Senate Finance Committee this morning.

Senator Newman’s SB 89, which would have reduced the quality of the disability coverage provided to employees in the Hybrid retirement plan, was defeated on a 6-11 vote.

Senator Obenshain’s SB 457, which would make it so that local school boards would not be required to provide VRS retirement benefits to charter school  teachers, was killed on a 6-11 vote.

In the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education, Del. Bacote’s HB 993 was tabled on a voice vote.  This bill would have required training in human trafficking for those seeking to gain or renew a Virginia teacher’s license.
Finally, on the Senate Floor, Delegate Newman’s SB 465, which would have initially delayed moving schools into the Opportunity Education Institute by one year, but then hastened the process in future years, was defeated 20-21 vote, with Lieutenant Governor Northam breaking the tie.

Senator Miller’s SB 324, which delays implementation of the A-F school grading scheme by three years, passed 23-17.
Senator Hanger’s SB 499, which delays the state-takeover of schools by the OEI by on year, passed the Senate 25-15.

Big day!