Missouri State Senate

House Committee Substitute

HCS/SS/SCS/SB 894 - This act renders several alterations to the state’s education policy.

Section 160.775: This act requires every school district to adopt an anti-bullying policy no later than September 1, 2007. The act defines the term "bullying" and asserts that the policy shall not contain specific lists of protected classes of students. The policy shall require district employees to report any bullying instance of which the employee has firsthand knowledge.

This section is similar to SB 674 (2006).

Section 161.213: This act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop guidelines for high-quality early childhood education no later than June 30, 2007. The standards shall be applicable to all public school pre-kindergarten programs that receive Title I or Missouri preschool project funds. Such guidelines shall include, but not be limited to: access for all children whose parents or guardians choose to participate; focus on cognitive, language, physical, and social/emotional development; assessment of needs of children and their families; highly qualified and/or properly certified teachers; and delivery of comprehensive services supported by strong and accessible technical assistance and professional development.

In developing such standards, the department shall involve various early childhood stake holders, as specified in the act.

Unless otherwise prohibited by federal law, public school districts shall not be prohibited from charging tuition for early childhood education programs.

This section is similar to the HCS/SB 947 (2006) and the HCS/HB 1511 (2006).

Section 161.670: This act requires the State Board of Education to establish a virtual public school by July 1, 2007.

Any student in kindergarten through grade 12 may enroll in a virtual public school, regardless of the physical location within the state in which the student resides. State school aid will treat the student as part of the enrollment of the district in which the student physically resides at the choice of the student’s parent or guardian. The virtual school will report aid-related data to the district of residence. The school district will receive 15 percent and the virtual school will receive 85 percent of the state aid attributable to the student. A full-time equivalent student is one who completes six credits per regular term, and each virtual course counts as one class.

The virtual school must comply with all laws applicable to school districts, including the state accreditation program, adequate yearly progress, annual performance report, teacher certification, and curriculum standards. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must ensure that multiple providers are available from whom the curriculum may be obtained.

This section is similar to SB 912 (2006) and the HCS/HB 1275 (2006).

Section 163.021: This act requires any school district that levies an operating levy for school purposes that is less than the performance levy to provide written notice to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education asserting whether or not such district is providing an adequate education to the students of the district. If a district asserts that it is not providing an adequate education, such inadequacy shall be deemed to be a result of insufficient local effort. The performance levy is $3.43.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any Special School District.

This section contains an emergency clause with an effective date of July 1, 2006.

Section 1: This act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a "ready to work" endorsement program no later than June 30, 2007. The program will award a certificate to students who complete the program. The act delineates the program's components and the stakeholders who shall be involved in policy development.