HSTA’s ConAm, testing limits bills progressing

HSTA continues to advocate for several bills that will address needs identified by our members through our Government Relations Priorities. We had several bills submitted on behalf of HSTA. We are also following, supporting, and sometimes opposing other bills. Here is an update on the main bills (ss of mid-afternoon Friday, April 6) we are advocating for:

Additional public schools funding, ConAm question: Poses a ballot question to the public about whether to establish an additional dedicated funding source for public education by levying a surcharge on investment real properties (Sen. Kidani and Rep. Woodson introduced) SB2922 passed EDU and JDC in the Senate, and EDN in the House, next if the Senate approves the language there will be a floor vote. If the Senate doesn’t agree with the language, it will go to conference committees that include House and Senate members to work on the details on the language before deciding whether to pass it out of conference committees to the floor.

Read the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s story about the HSTA’s Constitutional Amendment that won approval from the House Education Committee Wednesday

Paid family leave: Establishes the Prepaid Family Leave Implementation Board to assist the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in establishing paid family leave for all workers in Hawaii. (Sen. Tokuda and Rep. Johanson introduced) SB2990 passed LBR and WAM in the Senate, and passed LAB and FIN in the House; the companion bill HB2598 passed House LAB and FIN committees, and passed Senate LBR and WAM. These bills will now go to conference committees for legislators to agree on common language before passing them on to a floor vote.

Charter school facilities funding: This bill will provide additional funding for public charter schools to use for facilities, including rent and maintenance. (Rep. Woodson introduced) HB2508 has passed the House in EDN and FIN, passed Senate EDU, and has a hearing in WAM on April 6.

Testing limits: Limits testing time in schools by limiting the number of tests that can be given in any school year, requires a survey of testing time in the public school system, and requires the BOE/DOE to notify students and parents of their right to opt out of statewide standardized testing. (Sen. Shimabukuro and Rep. Johanson introduced) SB2080 unfortunately did not pass the EDU committee in the Senate and has been deferred; however, HB2117 passed LAB, EDN, and FIN in the House, passed EDU and WAM in the Senate and is now waiting for conference committee assignments.

NBCTs: Updates the statute establishing National Board Certified Teacher bonuses to match STRIVE HI 3.0 and funds NBCT bonuses for public school teachers (including public charter schools), as well as school psychologists who have national certification. (Sen. Kidani and Rep. Woodson introduced) SB2383 passed Senate EDU and WAM, and House EDN and FIN committees, and next will go to conference committees for appropriation amounts to be agreed on; HB2162 passed House EDN/LAB and FIN committees, and passed Senate EDU and will be heard in WAM Committee on April 6.

Public school teacher on Board of Education: (non-voting member) Amends the Board of Education membership by inviting the exclusive representative for bargaining unit 5 (teachers and other personnel of the Department of Education) to appoint a non-voting public school teacher representative to the Board. (Sen. Kidani and Rep. Gates introduced) SB2380 passed Senate EDU/LBR and WAM and the House EDN and FIN; HB2049 passed the House EDN committee and but has died.

Provide funding for SPED teachers to use for resources: This funding once came from the federal government but doesn’t anymore. We are asking for $1,690 per SPED teacher. (Sen. Dela Cruz introduced) SB2521 has passed EDU and WAM in the Senate and EDN in the House, but FIN never put it on their agenda, so the proposal died.

School budgeting: We wanted to increase schools’ direct control of funding and resources to 90 percent (But this bill keeps it the same at 70 percent, with 20 percent going to SPED at the school level.) HSTA is planning to amend and wants the higher amount. (Rep. Nakashima introduced) HB2079 has been waiting for a hearing in EDN, but has not shown up on any hearing notice. It looks like this bill died in committee.

Heat abatement: Appropriates funds to the Department of Education to install air conditioning in public schools that prioritize the project. (Sen. Espero and Rep. Woodson introduced) SB 2411 has not shown up on a hearing notice in EDU. It looks like this bill died in committee; HB 2510 passed EDN, but was not heard in the FIN committee in the House, thus it is effectively dead.

Teacher tax credit: Establishes an income tax credit of up to $500 for classroom supplies purchased out-of-pocket by teachers. (Rep. Ing introduced) Unfortunately this bill was deferred, and is effectively dead for this session.

Weighted Student Formula: Establishes study of small/rural schools and their use of WSF to fund positions to see if these funds are allowing enough positions at a school to meet student learning needs. (Sen. English and Rep. DeCoite introduced) SB2680 passed the EDU committee, but never received an hearing in WAM in the Senate; HB2260 unfortunately did not pass the EDN committee in the House and has been deferred. Members of the House Education Committee felt the Committee on Weights should be the ones to decide how much goes to small/rural schools as their base funding, not the Legislature. Thus this bill died.