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Charter Schools Bulletin: Select Acts Impacting Education

8/22/2014

The following is a brief outline of some Acts of the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, which may impact charter schools. This summary was prepared by Lee Reid and Jaimmié Collins of the Adams and Reese Charter School Team.

Admissions/Enrollment/Attendance

  1. Act No. 411 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 407)
    This statute provides the eligibility criteria for admission or readmission to a public school and prohibits the denial of admission or readmission based on certain characteristics. This specifically includes students who have voluntarily withdrawn from school.
  2. Act No. 515 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 533)
    This statute makes a change in the Compass program by prohibiting the inclusion of test scores of a student who has excessive absences (ten or more unexcused absences in any school semester in that year) in the value-added model for purposes of teacher evaluation.
  3. Act No. 530 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 968)
    This statute provides that a traditional high school or charter school may establish a dropout prevention and recovery program for eligible high school students. This can include contracting with an education management organization.
  4. Act No. 483 – Effective June 5, 2014 (SB 191)
    This statute provides for equal recognition of International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and dual enrollment courses for purposes of determining school performance scores and letter grades.
  5. Act No. 717 – Effective June 18, 2014 (SB 533)
    This statute provides for a local enrollment coordination process for publicly funded early childhood care and education in geographic areas where no such coordination function exists.

Employees/Personnel

  1. Act No. 547 – Effective June 9, 2014 (HB 171)
    This statute requires school boards and charter school governing authorities to offer to their employees the opportunity to participate in the La. Public Employees Deferred Compensation Plan.
  2. Act No. 617 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 305)
    This statute prohibits providers of elective abortions and their affiliates from delivering any instruction or materials in schools, including charter schools.
  3. Act No. 136 – Effective August 1, 2014 (SB 128)
    This statute provides for licensure as a specialist in school psychology by the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Licensed specialists in school psychology provide services to schools and families that enhance the competence and well-being of children.

Instruction/Curriculum

  1. Act No. 506 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 178)
    This statute requires instruction on dating violence in public schools, including charter schools, for grades 7 through 12 for teachers and students. It also requires revision of student codes of conduct, collection of data relative to the number of incidents and reports of such data to local school boards.
  2. Act No. 517 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 542)
    This statute requires instruction relative to CPR and automated external defibrillators to be integrated into the curriculum of an existing required course of study in public high schools, including charter schools. This instruction shall be integrated into the curriculum of an existing course such as health education or physical education.
  3. Act No. 425 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 876)
    This statute permits education of students regarding the greetings and displays associated with traditional celebrations in winter in public schools, such as “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Hanukkah”, “Happy Holidays”, or “Happy Kwanza”. Displays relating to a traditional celebration may not encourage adherence to a particular religious belief.
  4. Act No. 643 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 944)
    This statute establishes a high school career option program comprised of challenging academic courses and modern career and technical studies aligned with demand in Louisiana. A career diploma shall be considered and recognized by all public post-secondary education institutions, given the same status as a regular diploma, for purposes of the school district accountability system.
  5. Act No. 532 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 988)
    This statute permits local school boards or charter schools to develop and implement curriculum content and methodology in lieu of that recommended by the State Department of Education or the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Student Records/Information

  1. Act No. 677 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 1283)
    This statute provides limitations and prohibitions on the collection and sharing of student information and provides penalties for violations. By January 1, 2015, each local education agency must make information about the transfer of personally identifiable student information available on their websites. This information shall include, but is not limited to, a profile of which authorized recipient, a signed agreement between the local education agency and the authorized recipient and a complete list of the data to be transferred.
  2. Act No. 837 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 1076)
    This statute imposes significant new restrictions on the transfer of personally identifiable student information and requires the use of a unique identification system for student data no later than July 1, 2015.
  3. Act No. 699 – Effective August 1, 2014 (SB 312)
    This statute enacts the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” for public schools. Parents of public school children have the right to examine classroom materials and their child’s school records, including academic records, medical or health records, etc. This Act does not reference charter schools.

Buses

  1. Act No. 654 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 600)
    This statute prohibits school bus drivers from loading or unloading students in a manner or location that results in students crossing lanes of traffic. It also prohibits school bus drivers in certain parishes from picking up or dropping off children at school while the bus is in a lane of traffic.
  2. Act No. 257 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 795)
    This statute sets limits on the model age of school buses used to transport students. This statute could be applicable to charter schools as a regulation of student safety. Requires that school buses being used to transport students not be more than 25 years old and requires that active or backup school buses must be 15 or fewer years old.

Buildings

  1. Act No. 543 – Effective July 1, 2014 (HB 1271)
    This statute provides for allocations of certain public school funds to building renovation and replacement purposes in certain school districts, and provides legal and policy requirements for loans to a school facility account made by a charter operator.
  2. Act No. 482 – Effective June 5, 2014 (SB 179)
    This statute provides an updated definition of “eligible funded student” as it relates to the Course Choice Program. It aligns the Course Choice statutes with the approved 2014-2015 Minimum Foundation Program formula.

Students with Exceptionalities

  1. Act No. 833 – Effective August 1, 2014 (HB 1015)
    This statute provides for determinations for grade level promotion of certain students with exceptionalities regarding performance on state tests and prohibits test results of certain students from being used in school accountability calculations.

Charter School Applications

  1. Act No. 729 – Effective June 19, 2014 (SB 36)
    This statute requires notification regarding submission and status of certain charter school applications. The chartering authority must notify each state senator and state representative in whose district the charter school is to be located.

Grade Point Average

  1. Act No. 733 – Effective June 19, 2014 (SB 98)
    This statute provides that a five-point scale shall be used when calculating the grade point average for certain honors courses, as it relates to TOPS requirements.