SB 314 – This act creates the Missouri Preschool Plus Grant Program as a pilot program within the Missouri Preschool Project. The program will serve up to 1250 students with preschool services and will be administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in collaboration with the Coordinating Board for Early Childhood. School districts that are classified as unaccredited and non-sectarian community-based organizations located within such school districts may receive grants. Grants run for three years and are renewable. At least fifty percent of the placements must be offered through non-sectarian community-based organizations. Children who are one or two years away from kindergarten entry may participate in the program. Children of active duty military personnel will receive admission preference.
If a school district becomes classified as provisionally accredited or accredited, it may complete the length of an existing grant and be eligible for one additional renewal for three years. The program must comply with current early childhood standards. Community-based organization grantees may employ teachers with at least an associate's degree provided they show they are on the path to obtaining a bachelor's degree within five years. School districts and non-sectarian community-based organizations must collect short-term and long-term data about student performance where feasible. The Department must make a good faith effort to collect long-term student performance data as required in the act for students who attend non-public schools.
The Department will accept applications in a competitive bid process to begin implementing the program in the 2010-2011 school year. The program will be funded through general appropriations and will not be funded through money from the Gaming Commission Fund. The General Assembly must appropriate an amount sufficient to adequately fund the program, which shall be at least $5 million in any fiscal year.
The provisions of this act will expire in six years unless reauthorized.
This act is substantially similar to HB 1131 (2009) and a provision contained in HCS#2/SS/SB 291 (2009), SS/SCS/SB 726 (2008) and is similar to SB 779 (2008) and a provision contained in SB 690 (2007).