P.O. BOX 2120



June 4, 2004



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Final Legislative Reports for the 2004 General Assembly


This memorandum provides information regarding legislation passed by the 2004 session of the Virginia General Assembly that is of interest to school superintendents and division personnel.


The final legislative reports for the 2004 General Assembly are posted on the Department of Educations website at: This site provides links to two reports:


       2004 Legislative Tracking Reports


These reports reflect final action on education-related legislation tracked by the Department of Education. The history of any bill or resolution, all amendments, and the text of the final version are available by clicking on the bill or resolution number shown in the Legislative Tracking Report.


       Final 2004 General Assembly Session Legislative Report (PDF)


This report provides a summary of each bill and the section of the Code of Virginia that was affected. You may access information about each bill and its text by clicking on the bill number.


Required Actions


All legislation becomes effective on July 1, 2004, unless otherwise indicated. Any information about actions that may or must be taken by local school boards is included in the summary of each bill. These bills include:


Administrative Issues/FOIA


SB 404 States that compulsory attendance requirements are satisfied for students age 16-18 when they are actively pursuing a GED while incarcerated in an adult correctional institution.


SB 562 Expands the current record exemption under the Freedom of Information Act for records of designated internal auditors of any school board or local governing body having the authority to conduct confidential investigations.


Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Observance


SB 230 Creates the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Program to assist students enrolled in public schools in Virginia between 1954 and 1964 closed to avoid desegregation.


Career and Technical Education


HB 40 Establishes a unit of agriculture education specialists within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to assist local school divisions.


HB 637 Transfers the regulatory responsibility for private career schools from the Board of Education to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.


Charter Schools


HB 380 Amends the charter schools statute. The provisions of the bill sunset on July 1, 2009.






HB 1013 Creates the At-Risk Student Academic Achievement Program and Fund to provide noncompetitive grants to public school divisions.




HB 1257 Requires school divisions to adopt certain procedures for awarding verified credits in science and history/social sciences in accordance with Board of Education guidelines to eligible transition students.


SB 438 Requires local school boards to notify parents of rising eleventh and twelfth graders regarding graduation requirements, the remaining credits the students need to graduate, and the number of years students may attend school.


SB 553 Authorizes local school boards to establish joint or regional schools for the provision of programs that lead to a high school diploma and may also lead to a postsecondary credential.


Health and School Safety


HB 286 Permits off-duty law enforcement officers to possess a weapon on school property.


HB 869 Expands the definition of firearm for school reporting purposes in 22.1-277.07 of the Code of Virginia to include the possession of knives.


HB 1080 Requires a court intake officer to notify the division superintendent of the filing of a petition against a juvenile in cases involving criminal street gang activity.


HB 1117 Authorizes school divisions to establish disciplinary policies prohibiting the possession of firearms on school property, school buses, and at school-sponsored activities and to discipline students violating these policies.


HB 1445 Requires school crossing guards to whom hand-held stop signs are supplied by their school divisions to use them to control traffic at school crossings.


SB 593 Adds prohibited gang participation to those crimes that require the intake officer to notify a school superintendent that a petition has been filed alleging that a student committed a crime.


SB 607 Prohibits the granting of an initial license to some methadone clinics located within one-half-a mile of a school or day care center.


SB 633 Requires that a public school student who is 18 or over and arrested for certain offenses be reported to the division superintendent.




HB 576 Authorizes local school boards to contract with turnaround specialists to address conditions at a school that impede educational progress and student academic success. Establishes a middle school teacher corps to provide instruction in subjects where there is a critical need.


HB 1015 Amends the family life education curriculum to include steps to avoid sexual assault, and the availability of counseling.


HB 1018 Requires school divisions to provide students with alternatives to animal dissection.


SB 315 Authorizes the Board of Education to assist local school boards in the development and implementation of a green schools program in Virginia.


Local School Boards/Divisions


HB 318 Provides for supplemental pay at the discretion of the school division to full-time public school employees who are deployed to active duty service by the armed forces of the United States or National Guard.


HB 575 Permits the Board of Education to waive the requirement that school divisions provide additional teaching days to compensate for school closings resulting from a declared state of emergency.


HB 978 Directs the Board of Education to promulgate regulations providing for a process for school divisions to submit proposals for their consolidation.


HB 1038

SB 576 Requires each public school board and each administrator of every private or parochial school to post, in each of their schools, a notice regarding the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse.


HB 1256

SB 452 Clarifies the circumstances in which state basic aid funding would be reduced because of school closings due to severe weather conditions or other emergency situations.


HB 1443 Ensures that students whose parents are deployed outside the United States will continue to be admitted to public schools in the commonwealth without tuition.


SB 270 Revises provisions addressing the public school enrollment of homeless children to reflect requirements of federal law.


SB 335 Restricts service of a summons on school property to a sheriff or deputy in certain cases.


Special Education


HB 1047 Addresses the financial and legal responsibility of school divisions for special education services for certain individuals with disabilities who are placed across jurisdictional lines pursuant to the Comprehensive Services Act.






Standards of Quality/Standards of Accreditation


HB 769 Requires local school boards to include curricula that promote knowledge of entrepreneurship and small business ownership within the career and technical education program.


HB 1014

SB 479 Reorganizes and amends the Standards of Quality.


HB 1254 Requires the Board of Education to post disaggregated Standards of Learning assessment scores and averages on the Department of Educations website.


HB 1294 Enhances the Board of Educations authority to take action against a school division with chronically low-performing schools as a result of the failure to implement the Standards of Quality.


SB 416 Requires the Board of Education to provide for timely review by school divisions and reporting by the Department of Education of the Standards of Learning test scores.


Student Conduct


HB 513 Directs the Board of Education to include self-defense in guidelines providing standards for school board student conduct policies.


HB 1326 Strengthens the mechanisms for enforcement of the compulsory attendance law.


HB 1331 Requires the Board of Education to include hazing in its guidelines and model policies for codes of student conduct.




HB 573 Directs the Board of Education to require passage of the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) as a condition of initial licensure for principals and other school leaders, as may be determined by the Board, on and after July 1, 2005.


HB 1048 Places a restriction on three-year local eligibility licenses issued to classroom teacher candidates.


HB 1171 Directs local school boards to survey annually their respective divisions to identify critical shortages of teachers and administrative personnel by subject matter, and report the shortages to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Virginia Retirement System.


SB 145 Provides that a local school board may hear a recommendation for dismissal of a teacher and make a determination whether to make a recommendation to the Board of Education regarding the teachers license at the same hearing or hold a separate hearing for each action.


HJ 117 Encourages school boards to use performance-based contracts to evaluate division superintendents.


I hope this information will assist you in planning and implementing the state legislative changes with your school boards. Technical assistance to implement the new legislative responsibilities is available from the Department of Education.


Please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Anne Wescott, assistant superintendent for policy and communications, by telephone at (804)225-2403 or by electronic mail at if you need additional information.