Legislative Issues Ethics Form Requirements, Act No. 2012-509 Only those educators making $75,000 or more annually must file an ethics form - with the exception of any full-time employee serving as a supervisor.
Head Injuries Act. No. 2012-314 Each local school system must have a head injury policy. New this year – Any athlete who is suspected of sustaining a head injury in practice or a game must be removed from participation immediately and may not return to play the day of the injury. The athlete cannot return until he/she is evaluated by a doctor and receives a written clearance to return to play.
Teacher Gifts Act. No. 2012-433 $25 per occasion and no more than $50 per year – This amount is tied to the Consumer Price Index, which means the Legislature will not have to annually adjust this amount when the cost of living increases. The Ethics Commission will let the public know when the amount increases.
School Grading System, Act. No. 2012-402 State school superintendent must develop a grading system for public schools. Grading system to be in place by the 2013-2014 school year.
Farm to School Program, Act. No. 2012-437 Allows local CNPs to contract with local farmers for their produce. Law requires education of food service directors on the small purchase threshold and how to promote this program; implementaion of food prep training for service staff to accommodate sourcing fresh and local foods; and encourages the use of local farmers, processors, and supplies when buying farm products for lunchrooms.
School Age of Attendance, Act. No. 2012-295 Changes the school start age from seven years of age to six years of age. However, this law also gives an opt out - meaning any parent, legal custodian, or guardian may opt out of enrolling their child in school by notifiying the local school board in writing that the child will not be enrolled in school until the child is seven years of age.
National Board Certified Teachers Funds, Act. No. 2012-263 All NBCTs will be paid the full $5,000 promised salary supplement by the ALSDE for the fiscal years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. All suplements must be paid by September 30, 2012.
School Bus Drive Physical Exams, Act. No. 2012-372 All drivers must have physicals before August 14, 2012, and once every two years thereafter. New drivers must have physicals before they can be hired. Classroom Supply Money, Act No. 2012-414 Every state-earned Foundation program unit will receive $300 in school supply money. Money is subject to the local school budget committee process.
TRS New Defined Benefit Plan, Act. No. 2012-377 This law does not go into effect until January 1, 2013. Tier 1 Member - Any member of the retirement system who had service for which he or she received credit in the TRS or in the ERS prior to the effective date of this act. Tier II Member- Any member of the retirement system who first began eligible employment with a TRS or an ERS participating employer on or after the effective date of this act and who had no eligible service with the TRS or ERS prior to the effective date of this act. This law does not apply to any employee who has ever been in the TRS prior to January 1, 2013. Even if a former employee withdrew all retirement funds from TRS, they are still grandfathered in the original TRS plans.
Flexible School Calendar, Act. No. 2012-9482 School start date - 2012-2013 school year - Not prior to Monday, August 20, 2012; 2013-2014 - Not prior to Monday, August 19, 2013. School End Date - 2012-2013 school year - Prior to Friday, May 24, 2013; 2013-2014 school year - Law expires November 30, 2013, so there is not a state-mandated end date for the 2013-2014 school year. The law is estimated to save $10 million in utility costs for schools in August and estimated to generate an additional $12 million in revenue from increased tourism.
Some bills AEA defeated that would have hurt education in Alabama:
HB 159-160 - Cash payments to corporations from income tax meant for schools - a raid of the ETF
Charter Schools - Defeated Diversion - Governor Bentley's plan to take school funds for non-school purposes
For more information on the Foundation Program, class sizes, state funded units, local budgets, and budgets in general, simply click on the above links.
SB310 Students First Act