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14 education bills only need Gov. Pence's signature

Vada Schafer, a student at Shepherd Community Center's preschool, is pleased with the clown she colored in during a visit by Gov. Mike Pence in 2014.
Vada Schafer, a student at Shepherd Community Center's preschool, is pleased with the clown she colored in during a visit by Gov. Mike Pence in 2014.
Scott Elliott

As the Indiana General Assembly finished the first half of its 2014 work at the end of January, Chalkbeat was tracking 43 education-related bills had passed either the House or Senate.

Two more education-related bills — one on guns at school and another on athletic concussions — were added to our list in February. Of those 45 total bills, here’s where we stand today: 14 have been passed by both the House and Senate and are headed to Gov. Mike Pence for his signature, 19 passed the Senate and House and have either been assigned or appear headed to a conference committee and another 12 did not advance and are dead for this session.

Lawmakers have until this Friday, March 14, to iron out the differences between bills passed in the House and Senate and to approve the final versions of any remaining bills.

Here’s a look at where the education bills all stand:


These bills have passed both the House and Senate, with both houses agreeing on the same version so they will not need to to a conference committee. They only need Gov. Mike Pence’s signature:

  • School safety division. Senate Bill 344 would establish a school building safety division within the Indiana Department of Education.
  • Complexity index. Senate Bill 363 would make changes to the way school poverty is calculated for some school districts.
  • Veterans to teachers. Senate Bill 331 is designed to ease the transition from military service to teaching.
  • Voucher special education. Senate Bill 282 would send extra special education funding to private schools when students in special education use vouchers to attend them.
  • Allergic reaction injections. Senate Bill 245 allows school districts to keep EpiPens and administer them if needed.
  • Charter school accountability. Senate Bill 205 would limit charter school contracts to seven years and requires sponsors to close schools that don’t meet minimum standards. The bill also establishes a means for determining if schools stay in state takeover.
  • State fair absences. Senate Bill 114 would allow excused absences from school for children participating in the state fair.
  • School resource officers. Senate Bill 85 would allow grants for law officers in schools to be used for training the officers and requires them to be employed by a law enforcement agency.
  • Bond refunding. House Bill 1340 would allow for bonds to be refunded when schools consolidate.
  • Bus out of service order. House Bill 1303 would provide for additional notifications if a bus is ruled out of service during inspection.
  • Student athlete health awareness. House Bill 1290 aims to educate coaches and others of the risks of sudden cardiac arrest for athletes.
  • Career and technical diploma. House Bill 1213 would create a new career and technical diploma.
  • School transfers. House Bill 1079 would allow the siblings of a student who has transferred from one district to another to have preference for making the same transfer.
  • Career and technical education. House Bill 1064 would create a study of the return on investment of career and technical education programs in Indiana.


These bills have passed both the House and Senate, but amendments mean the versions differ. One side of the legislature can agree to the other side’s version. Or the bills can be considered by a conference committee, made up of members of both the House and Senate, to work out the differences. The final versions then must again be passed by the House and Senate. These bills have either already been assigned to a conference committee or are expected to be:


These bills did not advance:

  • Cursive writing. For the third consecutive year, a bill passed the Senate requiring schools to teach cursive handwriting, and for the third straight year it died without a vote in the House on Senate Bill 113.
  • Teacher choice program. Senate Bill 264 would have made highly rated teachers who took jobs at D- or F-rated traditional public or charter schools eligible for extra pay.
  • Various education matters. Senate bill 284 included several education provisions, mostly dealing with issues of unions and their contracts.
  • School bus safety. House Bill 1042 would have allowed traffic cameras on school buses.
  • Athletic participation. House bill 1047 would have allowed virtual charter school students to participate in sports at their local public school districts.
  • Teacher preparation program. Senate Bill 204 would have required teacher education programs to submit data about their graduates to the Indiana Department of Education and establishes a rating system. A similar bill, House Bill 1388, passed the House and Senate and is headed to a conference committee.
  • Music curriculum. Senate Bill 276 would have required schools to assure music is part of the curriculum, including ensembles.
  • School bus driver physicals. Senate Bill 278 would have required school bus drivers to undergo physical exams.
  • Winter holiday traditions. Aimed at protecting Christmas traditions, Senate Bill 326 would have permitted schools to teach about winter holidays and use holiday symbols.
  • Expanded background checks. House Bill 1233 would have required school employees receive an expanded background check every five years. It was defeated in a floor vote by the Senate, 24-23.

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