Citizens for Educational Choice Overview
The CEC was very active before the session in meeting with legislators. There was a move to have more funding allocated to private school through Education Savings Accounts which was ultimately vetoed by the Governor. Attempts to increase allocation for Required Services was met with resistance. However, CEC did submit the request to HB 1 with Rep. Zeringue but this was not accepted.
Citizens for Educational Choice succeeded in STOPPING LEGISLATION
Opposed HB 4 Rep. Tarver would have eliminated the non-public school appointee to the BESE Board. CEC provided testimony at two committees and ultimately the bill did not move.
Opposed HB 974 Rep. Edmonds was an attempt to privatize the school nutrition programs. CEC successfully testified in committee opposing removing the appointee. CEC was also able to get a religious exemption for the privatization but it was ultimately not needed.
Funding Remains the Same; Continued EANS Funding
The Required Services, School Lunch Salary Supplement and the Textbooks allocations remained the same. However, major funding remains in EANS (Emergency Assistance Non-Public Schools) under the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) of over 50 million dollars
School Safety Become Major Issue at End of Session
The session ended with a flurry of resolutions to study school safety, in light of Uvalde, including quarterly active shooter drills, safety audits, and a study to access impact of arming teachers and resource personnel.
Education Savings Accounts Fail
A major move to allow for Education Savings Accounts using the State portion of the MFP, about $5400, to follow students who can’t read at 3rd grade level and students exceptionalities, to private schools and tutoring vendors passed but was vetoed by Governor Edwards. All ESA’s have been vetoed.
Anti-Vaccination Legislation Fails
Legislation HB 427 Rep. Amedee to prevent schools from sponsoring vaccine drives was amended however so they can still have drives on site but must medical professionals on site plus double verifications. It must have a registered nurse or licensed medical physician and dual authentication by in person of or verbal phone call of the parent. It did not make it through the process however.
- In addition, HB 54 Rep. Bagley as “enrolled” and passed by both houses and sent to the Governor for signing but was vetoed. It now specifically refers only to “public educational institutions.” So, with HB 531’s not making it out of committee, the law as to admitting or not admitting students who are unvaccinated into nonpublic schools remains the same.
More Teacher Cost for Certification/Employment Verification
Act 745 Rep. Frieberg
- Another important bill that will have impact is HB 156 Rep. Frieberg which will now require another teacher certification background check and could cost each teacher about $80.00.
- This came as a result of an audit by the FBI of the DOE and said you could not use the background check for both employment and teacher certification which the FBI refers to as dual purposes.
Move to Fund University Lab Schools
Act 768 Senator Cathey
- Senator Cathey SB 126 was amended to allow for University Lab schools in other locations only if there are facilities and the local governing authority approves. It has been enrolled.
Removes Licensing and Reporting Requirements for Private School Raffles
HB 620 Rep. Stefanski removes the requirements for licensing and reporting for raffles in private schools. CEC sought to amend to include other private entities but the amendment was not accepted.
Enhanced Documentation of Bullying
Act 697 Sen. Jackson requires enhanced bullying documentation and this applies to private schools.
More Training Required in Public Schools in Many Areas
- Act 448 Rep. Nelson requires reading instruction test for certification of teachers
- Act 333 Rep. Bryant requires meeting for teacher evaluation of student growth targets and requires a sit-down meeting to decide
- Act 502 Sen. Hewitt allows two units of computer science in order for TOPS eligibility and this would have applicability for private schools.
- Act 180 Sen. Jackson requires assault awareness/prevention and report reporting for public schools.
- Act 622 Rep. Marino requires identifying dyslexia student at all grade levels in public schools
- Other areas included suicide prevention classes, autism screening and eating disorder classes in public schools.