March 6, 2015
Dear BVSD Weekly Legislative Update reader:
Senate Bill 173, "A Bill for an Act Concerning Expanding Protections for Student Data Security," sponsored by Sen. Chris Holbert (R-Highlands Ranch) and Representative Dan Pabon (D-Denver), was unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee with amendments on Thursday evening, March 5. The bill now proceeds to the Senate Second Reading Calendar where it may be debated by the full Senate acting as a "Committee of the Whole." If it clears Second Reading, S.B. 173 will go on the Senate Third Reading Calendar for a formal roll call vote. If successful in passing the Republican controlled Senate, it will then head to the Democratic controlled House of Representatives.
One of the amendments that passed on a 5-4 vote may prove problematic in that it would bar vendors from maintaining records for more than three years. Because school districts need to maintain student records for more than three years, this amendment could create an unfunded mandate for all school districts. It could do this by creating a situation that would require districts to set up their own back up record system to maintain records past three years. Senator Mike Johnston (D-Denver) articulated the need to keep data longer than three years and that "shadow IT systems" would need to be funded and created by district IT staff with dollars redirected from other operational needs and possibly, for some districts, from instructional sources.
Discussions will occur among supporters of S.B. 173 to see if perhaps what was intended by this amendment was simply to eliminate data by no later than three years after the student has graduated. The good news, from BVSD's point of view, is that while this one point still needs to be hammered out, there clearly exists a strong public coalition and a broad bipartisan support level among legislators for S.B. 173. The ultimate goal is a law that more fully protects students' individual data privacy while not also saddling Colorado's 178 school districts with another unfunded mandate.
BVSD Chief Information Officer Andrew Moore, working through a policy committee of the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), is playing a key role in shaping this important legislation. He led off testimony in support of the bill and most of its proposed amendments while occasionally being called back to the witness table to answer clarifying questions. A draft of the bill with its proposed Senate Education Committee amendments included may be found here. Please note that a bill is not officially amended until Second Reading when the "committee report" is adopted by the full body operating as a "committee of the whole."
ChalkbeatColorado covers PK-12 education issues throughout Colorado including one of the most in-depth and acurate PK-12 news to be found anywhere during the session. This week, BVSD Communications draws your particular attention to a March 5 story by reporter Todd Engdahl entitled, "Data privacy bill advances with a complication."
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