The Iowa Senate passed, SF 438, a bill designed to return more control to public schools and accredited non-public schools, by a party-line 32 to 17 vote on Wednesday.

The bill sponsored by State Senator Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton), the Senate Education Committee Chair who also managed the bill on the Senate floor, removes several state K-12 education regulations:

  • SF 438 strikes a requirement that parents who have children enrolled in a public or accredited nonpublic school provide evidence to the school that their student has had a dental screening. It also strikes a provision that a school ensures compliance with the law, but states they only have to provide parents with information about the state requirement. It also sets aside the requirement that schools provide access to dental screening services if an enrolled student has not received one. Dental screening providers, not schools, offer evidence of completed dental screening to the state.
  • The bill also strikes a requirement that school districts conduct an evaluation and assessment regarding the implementation of an environmentally preferable cleaning policy. Prior to this, schools that opted out of compliance had to purchase only cleaning and maintenance supplies approved by the Iowa Department of Administrative Services.
  • This legislation also removes the responsibility for parents to provide evidence of required vision screenings to schools and instead says providers have to give that evidence to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
  • It also removes the responsibility of schools to have to ensure compliance with the blood lead screening and instead requires schools to provide information about it.
  • It also strikes the requirement that public schools and accredited nonpublic schools provide the Department of Public Health with a list of enrolled Kindergarten students.
  • SF 438 also strike a provision requiring school boards to have rules regulating the loading and unloading of pupils from a school bus stopped on the highway during inclement weather.
  • The bill also allows money from the sale of school buildings and property into any school district fund provided the school board offers a public hearing with proper notice.
  • The bill also strikes from the law the requirement that school districts publish a notice in a local newspaper prior to entering into a loan agreement for an equipment purchase.
  • The legislation also removes the requirement that a school district collect information from parents or guardians of kindergarten students regarding preschool attendance, factors identified by the early childhood Iowa office, and other demographic factors.
  • SF 438 also eliminates the requirement that school districts report community strategies results, the early childhood assessment results, and the preschool information collected to the department of education each year.
  • The bill also allows school districts to charge employees for the cost of registry checks.
  • The legislation also repeals the requirement that school districts file an energy audit of their property with the economic development authority.

The Senate Education Committee recommended passage in late February by a party-line 10 to 5 vote.

Photo: McKinley Elementary School located in Davenport, Iowa (Credit: Farragutfull, CC-By-SA 3.0)

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