Public hearings, proposals and payments
Committee members will decide whether or not to change the current financial requirement for school boards to conduct a public hearing on certain purchases.
House Bill 1200 would require school boards to hold a public hearing on any proposed purchase, lease or issue of capital outlay certificate that would exceed $250,000, which would change the current public hearing requirement level of 1.5% of the taxable valuation of taxable property in the district.
The bill has the potential to require public hearing on most purchases, including textbooks or technology enhancements, especially in larger districts.
“School board members are entrusted to make purchases that enhance a school district,” Executive Director Wade Pogany said. “Changing the current method to what’s proposed would hamper many school boards from moving forward on decisions that improve their district.
Pilot program proposes preparation
House Bill 1183 is another in a list of special project funding bills the committee has heard so far in session.
The bill would appropriate funds for a computer and Internet access into the homes of preschool aged children to prepare them for school as part of a home-based educational technology program. HB 1183 does not have a dollar amount attached to it or how the funds would be provided.
“Along with many of the special project bills that have been proposed it’s a good idea, but there’s still some questions about its funding source and how it would work logistically,” Pogany said.
Small schools, big decisions
After receiving the approval of Senators, Senate Bill 96 makes its way to the other side of the legislature.
The bill would allow school districts with an enrollment under 100 to remain open if they are exercising joint powers or intergovernmental cooperation in education, which would allow districts to share services and costs. Districts could share teachers, courses or curriculums among other services while students remain in their home district.
House Education committee members deferred action on a bill that also would have an effect on smaller school districts last week until SB 96 had its hearing.
House Bill 1213 would reduce the amount of state aid and eliminate the small school adjustment after school district drops under 100 total students for two consecutive years, but allow districts to remain open and not consolidate.
“There’s a lot of merit to both bills and we’d prefer the ‘Under 100’ rule be repealed altogether,” Pogany said. “Senate Bill 96 offers smaller school districts a great opportunity to continue to provide the quality education they have been and keep students in their home district.”
For updates on the bills check the ASBSD blog and bill tracker.