LESN Listserv: Archived Postings By Topic & Date


The Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN) listserv is a vehicle for legislative education staff nationwide to discuss current education issues and for NCSL and ECS to disseminate relevant information regarding timely and important topics in education. In addition, it serves as a tool to inform network members about upcoming events and meetings. The list is a free and private listserv to be used only by legislative education staff, NCSL and ECS. To sign up for the listserv, contact adrienne.fischer@ncsl.org.

Listserv Address: Educ-l@lists.ncsl.org

LESN Listserv Guidelines






Number of responses

Links to Responses and Attachments

February 2018

Hold harmless provisions for declining K-12 enrollment

Background: To protect school districts and charter schools during times of declining enrollment, the State of Nevada maintains a hold-harmless provision for state K-12 education funding.  Specifically, school districts and charter schools with current enrollment of less than or equal to 95 percent of the prior school year’s enrollment must utilize the enrollment number from the immediately preceding school year for purposes of apportioning state funding.  This hold-harmless provision does not apply to school districts or charter schools that deliberately cause a decline in the enrollment by eliminating grade levels, moving into smaller facilities, or other means. (Nevada Revised Statutes 387.1223)

Questions: Does your state have a similar provision to provide K-12 funding that would not otherwise be provided due to declining enrollment?  If your state has such a provision:

a. Please provide a brief overview of your state’s hold-harmless provision, including the statutory reference.
b. How is the additional funding provided under your state’s hold-harmless provision distributed (flat per pupil amount, larger enrollment count utilized, etc.)?
c. How much has your state spent under its hold-harmless provision for the past three years?
How do the requirements of your state’s hold-harmless provision differ for school districts and charter schools?
How do the requirements of your state’s hold-harmless provision differ for brick & mortar (physical) schools and virtual (online) schools?

16 (15 states)


February 2018

ESSA – Requirement to Report School-level Finance Data

Background: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states and local education agencies (LEAs) to report “[t]he per-pupil expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds, including actual personnel expenditures and actual non-personnel expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds, disaggregated by source of funds, for each local educational agency and EACH SCHOOL in the State for the preceding fiscal year.” (Emphasis added.) States and LEAs must report online school-site per-pupil expenditures beginning with 2018-19 school year data. 

Questions: Does your state already collect school-level finance data? If so, are the data publicly available online? Has your state studied or introduced legislation addressing the school-level per-pupil expenditure reporting requirement? If so, has your state appropriated, or plan to appropriate, any funds to implement the requirement?  

12 (10 states)


February 2018

Joint School Board Agreements

Background: I am drafting a bill in to allow school boards to enter into joint agreement with other school boards to share certain administrative positions such as Superintendents, school business officials, etc. 

Question: Does your state have anything like this?

14 (14 states)


February 2018 Qualified tuition plans (529) for K-12

Background: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made a few changes to federal law re: Qualified Tuition Plans, also known as Section 529 Plans. One such change is that federal law now allows up to $10K per tax year, per beneficiary, to be disbursed for expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school. (Formerly, such disbursements were limited to qualified higher education expenses.)

Questions: Is your state considering legislation to address this change? If so, please provide context. If legislation has been introduced, please provide a link to the legislation or attach a PDF.

9 (6 states)  

February 2018

Student teachers: background checks and loopholes

Background: My state utilizes the point of student teachers/newly certified teachers applying for a job with the employer as the point where background checks are required. This creates a loophole whereby a teacher can be certified in another state having the same policy but not have started teaching (so no requirement yet for a background check). They can be allowed to teach for emergency/short-term purposes in my state, and completely avoid the background check.
Questions: Have any states figured out a way to close that loophole? Are there any states that do not require student teachers to have background checks prior to student teaching?

15 (12 states)

Wisconsin requires background checks in the licensure or permit process, so even persons teaching under a short term permit must have the check. Our statutes require the licensing authority, the Department of Public Instruction, to conduct a background investigation of each applicant for issuance or renewal of a license or permit, including a license or permit issued to a pupil services professional, and for a faculty member seeking to teach in a public high school without a license or permit. Sec. 118.19(10)(b)1, Wis. Stats

January 2018 Local superintendent salaries

Have any states capped local superintendent salaries at a maximum amount? Specifically, have any states capped local superintendent salaries not to exceed state employee salaries, such as the governor or state agency leads?
Example: Gov. Chris Christie implemented a policy capping the salary of local superintendents in 2011. The cap was raised in April 2017, but is still in effect (NJAC 6A:23A- 1.2,3.1)

23 (19 states)  

January 2018

"State takeover" of school districts 

What language do states have in their code specific to the state (whether it is the Governor/State Department of Education or another entity) taking operational control away from a school district.  Is there a specific procedure outlined, are there parameters around what this control looks like?

25 (18 states)