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AAEA Legislative Update

AAEA Legislative Update

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AAEA Legislative Update

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  1. AAEA Legislative Update

  2. ACT 37 of 2011 A driver of a motor vehicle shall not use a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle when passing a school building or school zone during school hours or when children are present and outside the the building, except for an emergency purpose. 

  3. Act 46 of 2011 This Act extends, for two years, the provision that each public school district provide a common spring break.  A week-long holiday for spring break shall be scheduled for five (5) consecutive school days beginning on the Monday of the thirty-eighth week of the school year.  Districts are not required to have a spring break but, if one is scheduled, it needs to be during the thirty-eighth week. An advisory committee shall report to the Senate and House Committee on Education on any findings and recommendations regarding the impact on the common spring break.

  4. Act 65 of 2011 Under this new law, the first day of the school year for student attendance in the public elementary and secondary schools of the State of Arkansas shall begin on or after the Monday of the week in which August 19 falls; not earlier than August 14; and not later than August 26.  For 2011-2012, the earliest day for student attendance is Monday, August 15. 

  5. Act 66 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act, sponsored by ATRS, allows members of the military reserve and national guards from other states to also be able to purchase ATRS service; on a one-year for one-year basis; at acturial cost. 

  6. Act 69 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act requires ATRS members to purchase service (out-of-state or private school experience) at the real (actuarial equivalent of benefits) value to the member. (Previously members received a 55% discount) This Act also gives members a year to submit to ATRS a reasonable payment plan to purchase the service.  This Act also limits the purchase of private school service to 15 years.

  7. Act 138 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act limits the number of years to five (5) that the ATRS, a benefit participant, or an employer may look back when adjusting records, correcting overpayments, correcting contribution calculations, or correcting benefit calculations to the System.  Exceptions exist for fraud, criminal acts, and intentional concealment.

  8. Act 162 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act expands a ATRS member's options for distribution of T-DROP upon retirement.  Retirees now have the authority to split their balance by leaving 100%, 75%, 50%, or 25% with ATRS to become part of their monthly benefit and roll the remaining balance to another retirement plan. 

  9. Act 163 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act states that an ATRS member shall not accumulate additional service credit during the time that payments under a contract buyout agreement or court-ordered payments are paid to the member by the employer unless the member continues to work on-site for the employer. Used to prevent settlement spiking above what was actually due the member.

  10. Act 166 of 2011 This Act establishes the framework for the Positive Youth Development Grant Program.  This program would provide funds, through competitive grants, for research-based after-school and summer programs. ADE, with advice and assistance from Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, shall develop rules. Preference shall be given to applications that are developed collaboratively by schools and community based programs such as Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and 4-H Clubs. At present, there are no funds appropriated for this program. 

  11. Act 186 of 2011 This Act corrects a typographical error in a law passed in 2009 regarding teacher salary supplements.  Before this correction, a school district technically was prohibited from paying a licensed employee additional salary increases as a supplement to the salary schedule unless the employee was employed an additional time period longer than the period covered by the salary schedule or required to perform duties in addition to the employee's regular teaching assignments.  Example:  Providing additional compensation to teachers in fields where there is a shortage of applicants.   

  12. Act 196 0f 2011 This Act requires health insurance plans offered by the State to include coverage for autism spectrum disorders, more specifically coverage for the treatment known as "applied behavior analysis." • Annual limitation of $50,000. • Limited to children under eighteen (18) years of age. • This law does not affect any obligation to provide services under an IEP according to IDEA. • This additional coverage will cause health insurance premimums to increase $3.50-$4.00 per month.  

  13. Act 204 of 2011 "The Athlete Agent Reform Act of 2011." This Act reforms the athlete agent laws of Arkansas to protect student athletes from unscrupulous actions by athlete agents. • Notice shall be provided to the education institution by the agent prior to contacting the student-athlete. • Makes it a Class D felony to provide goods or services to the student-athlete in exchange for a contract. • Agent registration can be revoked for up to 5 years for violations of the requirements of this law. 

  14. Act 224 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act repeals the right of a ATRS member to rescind retirement, go back to work, and obtain additional service credit. However, retired ATRS are still able to return to work, under certain limitations, and receive both a retirement check and a paycheck.   

  15. Act 225 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act removes the anti-spiking provisions for a major gap of employment under ATRS. This Act attempts to bring fairness to this process by allowing non-complete years to be used in the final average salary calculation, and also provides that if there is an eight (8) or more years difference between two of the salaries in the anti-spiking calculation, that the anti-spiking formula will not be used to reduce the next salary.  Final salary shall not exceed 120% of base year, unless the salary is $5000 or less.

  16. Act 266 of 2011 This Act was "clean-up" legislation sponsored by the ADE to incorporate the calculation of miscellaneous funds, as amended in 2009, into the definitions in current Arkansas code relating to bonded debt assistance. 

  17. Act 288 of 2011 This Act amends current school district textbook requirements to include digital resources. Under the old law, districts were required to provide traditional textbooks.  Under this new law, districts can choose to provide instructional materials in digital format in lieu of traditional textbooks.

  18. Act 433 of 2011 This Act appropriates $300,000 for the School Bus Safety Equipment Grant Program.  This appropriations bill continues the grant program (Act 1207 of 2009) to provide school districts with safety equipment (cameras and electronic warning devices) for school busses.  The grant program is administered by the Arkansas Division of Academic Facilities and Transportation.  Watch for details in a Commissioner's Memo.

  19. Act 513 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) After July 1, 2011 colleges may only add new employees into ATRS if the employee is: • Already vested with ATRS. • A full-time employee. • Makes an irrvocable election to stay in ATRS while employed at an public college in Arkansas. This Act also prohibits stacking of salary at a college and a public school for the purpose of boosting the final average salary. 

  20. Act 557 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act clarifies the designation of option beneficiaries by eliminating certain people who previously could be designated as a beneficiary. More specifically, this Act eliminates the provision that allows for the retirant to name someone other than a spouse as beneficiary unless that person is a dependant child of the retirant that has been adjudged physically or mentally incapacitated by a court of competent jurisdiction.   

  21. Act 559 of 2011 An Act to authorize a statewide parcel mapping grant program through the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems. At least 40% matching funds from counties participating in the project. Matching funds may be provided by counties, affected school districts, and affected cities.

  22. Act 565 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act defines what "termination" is at it applies to eligibility for ATRS retirement. "A member of the ATRS shall terminate covered employment and remain terminated during the member's applicable termination separation period to become and remain eligible for retirement." Termination does not mean: • Taking a leave of absence. • Performing job duties or services with remuneration. • Providing "volunteer" activities at an ATRS-covered employer.

  23. Act 586 of 2011 This Act establishes a superintendent mentoring program, developed and sponsored by the ADE, for first-year Arkansas superintendents. All training that is currently required for first-year superintendents shall be incorporated into this mentoring program. A first-year superintendent shall complete this mentoring program within twelve (12) months of obtaining employment as a superintendent to maintain his or her superintendent's license.

  24. Act 593 of 2011 This Act directs the Interim Senate Committee on Education and the Interim House Committee on Education to jointly study issues relevant to the adoption of an extended school year and report findings to the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore not later than October 1, 2012.  The Act includes an outline of topics to be studied such as cost, impact on school personnel, curriculum and instruction, impact on the tourism and hospitality industry, expansion of current curriculum, increased accountability, comparison of instructional time with other industrialized nations, etc. 

  25. Act 600 of 2011 This Act requires that all civil actions brought against an organization that regulates extracurricular interscholastic activities in grades 7-12 in both public and private schools, if the organization's main administrative office is located in Pulaski County; and all other actions required by law, to be brought in Pulaski County.

  26. Act 613 of 2011 If a law enforcement officer, investigator from the Crimes Against Children Division of the Arkansas State Police, or an investigator from DHS requests to interview a student during the course of an investigation of suspected child maltreatment and a parent, guardian, custodian, or person standing in loco parentis is named as an alleged offender, the principal or principal's designee is prohibited from notifying the parent, guardian, custodian, or person standing in loco parentis. The investigator shall provide the school with written documentation that notification is prohibited.

  27. Act 633 of 2011 This Act requires, by January 31 of each year, each county treasurer to provide an annual summary report of all proceeds generated from ad valorem taxes and distributed by the county to a school district for the period January 1-December 31 of the preceding calendar year to the: • State Treasurer. • Department of Education. • Superintendent of the school district to which the URT    proceeds are distributed. There is a penalty for failure to comply. This is an attempt to make the 98% calculations more accurate.

  28. Act 701 of 2011 An Act to provide oversight of and accountability for state desegregation funding. Districts must categorize and describe revenues and expenditures of those funds according to the uniform chart of accounts. Explanation of how each expenditure was necessary in order to comply with the district's obligation under the federal court order, settlement agreement, or court-approved remedial plan.

  29. Act 725 of 2011 This Act requires the Education Adequacy Sub-Committee to review legislation enacted and rules promulgated during the biennium to determine the impact on educational adequacy-related public school costs. This Act also changes the deadline for submittal of the educations adequacy recommendations from September 1 to November 1. Shall publish a draft report 14 days before report is submitted to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

  30. Act 739 of 2011 This Act established performance ratings for education service cooperatives. • Each ESC shall be evaluated during the 2012-2013 school year and at least once each five-year period. • The report shall identify each ESC as being in one of five category levels with Level 5 being an "ESC of excellence" and Level 1 being an "ESC in need of immediate improvement." • An ESC that recives a Level 1 rating for two (2) consecutive years shall have their base funding withheld or be taken over by the ADE.   

  31. Act 743 of 2011 This Act establishes a framework in which the Department of Career Education, in collaboration with ADE and ADHE, shall develop college and career readiness program standards for career and technical education program of study courses.   All public school students shall be provided a rigorous career and technical education program of study.  Frameworks for these programs of study will include: professional deveopment opportunities; accountability and evaluation systems; clear content standards; comprehensive guidance counseling and academic advisory systems; innovative/creative instructional approaches; technical skills assessments.

  32. Act 755 of 2011 This Act, sponsored by Governor Beebe, lowers the sales tax on food and food ingredients from 1.875% to 1.375%. Fiscal Impact:  Loss of $20,000,000 in general revenue.

  33. Act 757 of 2011 This Act creates a sales tax holiday for clothing (less than $100 each), clothing assessories or equipment (less than $50 each), school supplies, school art supplies, and other school instructional materials. • Every year from the first Saturday in August through the following Sunday. (the first Saturday/Sunday weekend) • 2011 -- August 6-7.

  34. Act 770 of 2011 This Act requires educators to receive teen suicide awareness and prevention in-service training. • Two (2) hours once every five (5) years. • May be accomplished through self-review of ADE approved materials. • Counts towards the 60 hours of PD.

  35. Act 772 of 2011 Jonathan's Law A soccer goal in a public recreation area (this includes sports fields and school playgrounds) shall be anchored according to the Guidelines for Movable Soccer Goal Safety promulgated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, or the guidelines adopted by the Department of Health.  AR Department of Health will develop and adopt guidelines. Note: There are severals options other than permanent anchoring (i.e. sandbags). 

  36. Act 784 of 2011 This Act adds "school counselor" to the list of professionals that the Child Abuse Hotline will accept a report of injury to a child's intellectual, emotional, or psychological devemopment as evidenced by observable and substantial impairment of a child's ability to function normally.  The law listed "teacher" and "school nurse" before this amendment.

  37. Act 835 of 2011 This Act requires a school district to include in its student discipline policies a provision prohibiting students from wearing, while on the grounds of a public school during the regular school day and at school-sponsored activities and events, clothing that exposes underwear, buttocks, or the breast of a female.  These provisions shall not apply to the costume or uniform worn by a student while participating in a school-sponsored activity or event. School districts shall specify in policies the disciplinary actions for violations of this law. 

  38. Act 871 of 2011 This Act phases out 40% pullback. Districts that typically defer revenue receipts will convert to a cash basis.  Districts that typically accrue revenue receipts will, beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, begin a phase-out reduction.  Pullback will be 36% in 2011-2012, 32% in 2012-2013, and so on.   Declining balances attributed solely to a school district's compliance with the requirements of this law shall not be considered an indicator of fiscal distress.     

  39. Act 878 of 2011 This Act increases the amount of time that the Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner has to respond to a school district that submits a resolution to contract with a school board member or a family member from 10 days to 20 days. 

  40. Act 879 of 2011 This comprehensive Act makes several changes in current law regarding "postsecondary preparatory programs." • Revamps the current College Preparatory Enrichment Program (CPEP) and gives priority for approval and funding to a "postsecondary preparatory program" operated by a partnership between a school district and institution of higher education. • Allows such programs to be operated during the summer, on Saturdays, and before/after school hours. • Allows NSLA funding to be used to operate a "postsecondary preparatory program."

  41. Act 899 of 2011 This Act allows to Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board to consider "other criteria" in addition to the ACT to determine what students will be required to take remedial courses. This Act also allows this Coordinating Board to establish minimum scores and criteria to allow simultaneous enrollment in college-level credit and remedial courses. 

  42. Act 902 of 2011 This Act is called the "Supplemental Educational Services Transparency Act." • Supplemental service providers shall submit an annual report to the ADE showing improvement in student achievement by race and gender, student attendance rates, funds received per student, the total number of contracts held with school districts, the total number of students served, and the results of parent satisfaction surveys.  • School districts shall include the provider's report on the district's web site.   

  43. Act 906 of 2011 Not later than the 14th day before the 1st day of school, a parent of multiple birth siblings who are assigned to the same grade level and school (PK-6) may request in writing that the school place the siblings in the same or separate classrooms. The school shall honor the parents' request unless the request would require the district to add an additional class.  After 30 instructional days, the school can change the requested placement if it has proven to be disruptive to the child's or classroom's learning environment or the school's educational or disciplinary environment.

  44. Act 907 of 2011 This Act in an attempt to clarify Arkansas' antibullying policies. • Bullying of a public school student or employee is prohibited. • School administrators shall promptly investigate, make a record of the investigation and any disciplinary action taken. • School board shall adopy policies to prevent bullying. • School districts shall provide training on compliance with antibullying policies to all employees responsible for reporting or investigating bullying. 

  45. Act 973 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) This Act clarifies that the onset of a disability must occur while employed as an active member in order to qualify for disability retirement under ATRS.

  46. Act 974 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) The Act increases the number of days employed (from 120 to 160) to earn credited service under ATRS each fiscal year.  This Act also allows a contributory member who accrues less than one-fourth (1/4) year of service credit in a fiscal year to accumulate and carry forward days of service until the first fiscal year in which the member accrues the minimum number of days of service to receive one-fourth (1/4) year of service credit.

  47. At 976 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) Under this Act, a member or surviving spouse who elects to receive a refund of member contributions also cancels all the member's service credit, including noncontributory service credit, in the ATRS system. 

  48. Act 977 of 2011 (Teacher Retirement) Under this Act, if an ATRS member accrues a mininum of 15 years of actual, contributory service, regardless of noncontributory service accrued in combination with the contributory service, the member shall receive the maximium lump-sum death benefit.  Under the old law, death benefits were calculated based on a ratio established between contributory and non contributory years of service. 

  49. Act 984 of 2011 Under this Act, a school district may create and implement a program to authorize the parent of a child enrolled in the school district to act as a monitor in a school bus. 

  50. Act 985 of 2011 This Act requires school districts to update school policies when a law regarding child abuse and is a law that "relates to public schools" is amended or added to the Arkansas Code.