Fairfax County Public Schools Legislative Initiatives

Fairfax County Public Schools Legislative Initiatives

The Fairfax County School Board asked lobbyist Judith Singleton to push for nine initiatives this session. Below is a list of what they were and how they did. A complete description of each bill can be found on the school system’s Web site at www.fcps.edu, under "Legislative Update."

* Equal Taxing Authority, HB 1397, by Del. Robert Hull (D-38) and SB 1111, by Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31): would have given the state's 95 counties the same taxing authority available to its 39 cities and towns. Failed.

* Student Drug Testing Results, HB 1843, by Del. Gary Reese (R-67): would have allowed a local school board to require a student who has been found to be in possession of or to have used illegal substances on school property and has been required by the school board to be drug tested, to disclose the results for the sole purpose of determining punishment. Failed.

* Appropriate Learning Environment, HB 1493, by Del. Kris Amundson (D-44) and SB 710 by Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36): would have amended the Standards of Quality (SOQ) to state that the quality of education depends on the provisions of the appropriate learning environment within schools built and equipped as necessary to deliver the instructional program the SOQ mandates. Passed as amended.

* Education of Students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), HB 2442 by Del. James Dillard (R-41). HB 2636 by Del. Marian Van Landingham (D-45) was incorporated into this bill: amends the SOQ to require local school boards to identify students with limited English proficiency and enroll such students in appropriate instructional programs and establishes in the Code of Virginia the current budget appropriation of the state share of funding for 10 full-time equivalent instructional positions for each 1,000 identified LEP students. Passed.

* Alternative Standards of Learning Assessments for LEP Students, HB 2441 by Dillard: would have directed the Virginia Board of Education to provide, as necessary for LEP students, alternative Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments designed to provide reliable information regarding the students' mastery of subjects other than English. Failed. The alternative tests are required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, however, and at the end of January, the state Board of Education adopted a federal compliance document proposing the development and administration of the alternative tests.

* Freedom of Information Act Exemptions, HB 1651 by Del. David Albo (R-42): secures for local school divisions the exemption already provided by the state and local governments for protecting confidential information obtained during an active investigation of individual employment discrimination complaints. However, information from inactive reports may be disclosed while protecting the identity of the individuals involved. HB 2492 by Del. Tom Bolvin (R-43) adds current risk management exemptions of confidential information related to an investigation of a claim or potential claim against a public body's insurance policy or self-insurance plan. Passed.

* Annual Reporting of State and Local Expenditures for the SOQ, HB 2151 by Del. Tom Rust (R-86): directs the state Department of Education to calculate annually whether each local government has provided its required share of the funding deemed necessary for providing an educational program meeting the SOQ. Passed.

* Notification of Reduction in Teaching Force, HB 2254 by Del. Vivian Watts (D-39) establishes a permanent and uniform time period by which local school boards must notify those teachers who may be subject to a reduction in force due to a decrease in the school board's budget as approved by the local governing body. Passed.

* Instructional and Administrative Personnel Working after Retirement, HB 2438, by Dillard: clarifies that those individuals who continue to receive a service retirement allowance while hired by a local school board as an instructional or administrative employee may work an unrestricted number of one-year contracts, providing that all applicable conditions of the legislation are met. Passed.