The 2012 General Assembly session will likely be highly eventful for K12 education compared to recent years. We reported on potential legislation that may reshape continuing contract law and we expect to see more movement around Republican Governor Bob McDonnell’s original “Opportunity to Learn” choice trifecta: charter schools, virtual schools, and college lab schools. We also anticipate a private school tuition tax credit bill to make its way to the Governor’s desk.
Adding a dramatic layer this year is the 20/20 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. The divide gives Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (R) the *tie-breaking vote, effectively handing Republicans control of both chambers. Back in early December, remarking on the inevitable budget-induced education debates, outgoing Sen. Edd Houck (D-Spotsylvania) predicted, “I suspect that this may be a year where [education groups will be] playing an awful lot of defense.”
The session begins in just nine days and, given this is a budget session, will run for eight weeks instead of six.
Noteworthy among the pre-filed bills, HB 15 (Habeeb, R-Salem) and HB 86 (Greason, R-Potomac Falls) aim to repeal the “Kings Dominion Law” and leave it up to local school boards to set school calendars. HB 76 (Habeeb) pushes back the deadline by which teachers without continuing contract status must be informed of non-renewal from April 15th to June 15th (likely related to new teacher evaluation guidelines where academic progress counts 40% of the evaluation). Del. Habeeb has also filed HB 78 requiring school divisions to report instructional spending. Although HB 78 does not specify an optimal instructional amount, 65% is expected to be added in later.
VER will be tracking and reporting on education-related legislation throughout the session, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here are the pre-filed bills:
- HB 4 Child abuse or neglect; athletic coach or director of public school, etc. required to report to DSS.
- HB 15 School calendar; local school boards responsible for setting and determining opening of school year.
- HB 43 School calendar; local school boards responsible for setting and determining opening of school year.
- HB 76 Teachers; date changes for contract renewal for those without continuing contract status.
- HB 78 Instructional spending; local school board to report expenditures annually.
- HB 86 School calendar; local school boards responsible for setting and determining opening of school year.
- HB 93 Pupil transportation; insurance requirements.
- HB 94 School boards, local; meeting procedures.
- HB 96 Accreditation of schools; delayed implementation of certain statutes and regulations.
- HB 110 Student driver education; instruction on organ donation.
*Update: Bolling issued a memo outlining his voting power. Short version: he can’t vote on budget, taxes, and amendments to the state constitution.