Lame Duck Update
With Tuesday’s election results transferring control of nearly all statewide offices from Republicans to Democrats for the first time in decades on January 1, we expect an increased flurry of last-minute legislative activity in the upcoming lame duck session as Republicans now have a limited timeframe in which to move their legislative priorities while they still maintain control of the Governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature (See attached Karoub Report for election details).
A number of non-school related items will be under consideration during the anticipated four week lame duck session beginning on 11/27 and running likely through 12/20, and with lame duck session comes unpredictable horse trading an deal making to secure votes for various pieces of legislation as time runs out for the Governor and many outgoing legislators to act on their priorities as this session and their time in office both come to a close.
With respect to education policy in particular we anticipate action on the following:
- House Bills 5707 and 6401 would continue to cap the percentage of student growth utilized in year-end evaluations at 25% rather than the upcoming 40% for FY 2018-2019 currently in state law. However, it is likely that the Legislature will attempt to tie some form of accountability to that legislation in order to garner support for passage, such as an A-F letter grading system.
- Representative Kelly has indicated a desire to take testimony on House Bills 6314 and 6315, allowing school districts to create Public Innovative Districts (PIDs). School districts could apply to the State Superintendent to create a PID, and some of the provisions of PIDs would be as follows:
- Schools would submit a description of the instructional program to the State Superintendent that would be implemented, including personalized, competency-based education and interest and support for partnerships between the school district, parents, and the community,
- The description would include expected benefits of innovative practices for students, defined as student-centered, competency-based, and not bound by time or place,
- Approved PIDs would be required to meet certain requirements for renewal,
- An Education Accountability Policy Commission would be created to oversee PIDs,
- A PID could adopt and implement alternative assessments of pupil progress that meet ESSA requirements, and could operate year-round without restrictions on start date,
- A PID could offer extended learning opportunities to meet educational goals or objectives of the school, and
- Student progress would be tracked based on student competencies rather than instructional hours as a basis for awarding credit, with assignment of mentors to students.
- We also expect legislative activity clarifying treatment of cyber schools under the Pupil Accounting Manual.