KSBA Governmental Relations Director Eric Kennedy noted that many bills during the 2017 session that would have impacted public education did not pass, but will make a return appearance. “All of these are long-term issues, and all filed by Republicans, so they will all be coming back next year,” he said.
Most prominent among these bills is HB 151, the so-called “neighborhood schools” bill, which would have given students the right to enroll for attendance in the school nearest to their home, by travel distance, with some exceptions made for schools with academic or skill prerequisites. Though most of the discussion centered on Jefferson County, the bill applied statewide and would have affected all districts.
Other bills that did not pass but are likely to return include:
SB 20, an omnibus juvenile justice reform bill. Among other things, this would have required the development and reporting of plans to address disproportionate minority contact with juvenile justice and school discipline systems, and limited the permissible use of physical restraint by school personnel.
SB 217, a bill aimed at reforming the teacher tribunal process. Kennedy said he hopes that now that the legislature has dealt with charter schools, there will be more focus on reforms in both the tribunal and teacher tenure laws.
HB 58, the “Tim Tebow” bill, which would have allowed homeschooled students to participate in public school extracurricular athletics.
HB 307, addressing screening of students for dyslexia, and training of teachers in dyslexia and response to intervention.
HB 454, which would have required school districts to establish an “essential skills” (sometimes termed soft skills) curriculum.
The list of likely returnees also includes a couple of health-related measures, one that would have required all districts to be smoke-free; and another that would have mandated all schools to obtain an automated external defibrillator.