2017 Legislative Summary
This was a challenging year!
Major focus was on funding this year: We sought an increase in funding; received a decrease in the growth factor, and then ended the session where we started – no decrease; yet no growth.
LAN made major effort to establish a 2017 legislative agenda to work cooperatively with individual CBO’s for a joint proposal that would attempt to meet their needs yet keep parity between all CBO/ABE providers, in addition to serving all ABE providers.
Major disappointment: At the end of the day; that didn’t work as well as intended. When no increase in ABE funding was provided, there was an effort similar to last time - to provide “one-time” funding (again) for the next two years for the same 3 CBOs. In addition, there was talk of creating either a task force or focus group to review the existing formula to assess whether the formula is still equitable or whether the formula is outdated, particularly as it pertains to CBOs not affiliated with school districts.
LAN also spent a great deal of time on the GED/High School Equivalency testing issue which was a result of privatization. There were technical changes made to performance tracking system; authorization for the Commissioner of Education to replace the GED test with another high school equivalency measure in consultation with ABE stakeholders; and the appropriation for this next biennium. “Commissioner-selected high school equivalency” will be replaced whether “General Education Development” or “GED” where those terms exist in statute today.
HF1400 signed into law. Reimbursement for adult basic education components in Nursing Assistant Training Programs. Modifies the entities eligible for reimbursement from a nursing facility for additional adult basic education training elements of a nursing assistant training program. Nursing assistants no longer receive reimbursement, and only the adult basic education training program that trained the nursing assistant, or the program’s fiscal agent, is eligible for reimbursement from the nursing facility. Clarifies that the reimbursement for adult basic education components cannot exceed 30 percent of the total costs of training and testing, and clarifies what these costs include. (Pat Thomas worked on this with her local legislators.)
Quick note on some changes impacting teachers in HF 2:
Repeal of the last-in first-out teacher layoff default; establishment of a tiered licensure system, and establishes the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) and transfers all teacher licensure responsibilities to the PELSB from the Depart. Of Ed and the Board of Teaching.
2017 Interim activities in preparation for the 2018 Legislative Session:
The LAN Legislative Committee appointed a subcommittee to develop member education information and plan fall meetings with key legislators.