New laws for back to school

New laws for back to school

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hoosier students have started returning to the classroom, marking a new academic calendar as well as the first school year under Indiana’s new two-year budget.

In this budget, the Indiana General Assembly increased K-12 support by $763 million, including a $20 million increase for school safety grants.

During the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers also passed new measures aimed at enhancing Hoosier student’s safety and education.

In response to last year’s tragedy where three children lost their lives while crossing a highway to get on a school bus, the General Assembly passed a bill addressing school bus safety. The MAXSTRONG Act increases the penalties for drivers who violate school bus stop laws as well as requires schools to minimize bus stops that require children cross highways or high-speed areas.

Through Senate Enrolled Act 325 and House Enrolled Act 1004, lawmakers also expanded the list of services for which schools can use a Secured School Safety Grant, a matching grant that helps improve safety in Hoosier schools. Now, this program can be used to fund initiatives such as the one-time startup costs of an active alert warning system.

HEA 1004 also requires public schools and accredited nonpublic schools to conduct at least one active-shooter drill each year.

To ensure Hoosier students are prepared to enter the workforce, legislators created a measure to help more students graduate with real-world work experience. Under this law, high schools may replace standard high school courses with career and technical education and work-based courses.

As part of the required high school curriculum, public schools will also now administer the U.S. citizenship test. While students are not required to pass the test, lawmakers hope this test will increase Hoosier students’ awareness of how our country operates.

These are just a few of the new measures and positive changes you can expect to see as students return to school. For more information on these actions and other aimed at enhancing the safety and success of Hoosier schools, click here.