SB 342 – This act requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to ensure that school districts implement specific criteria relating to the enrollment of foster care children.
School districts will be required to: facilitate the timely enrollment of foster care children; facilitate the student placement process so that foster care children are not disadvantaged by variations between school districts; facilitate the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic, and social activities; facilitate the on-time graduation of foster care children; provide for uniform collection and sharing of information between and among schools, foster care children, and families; and promote flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, foster parents, and the student to achieve educational success for the student.
When a foster care student transfers before or during the school year, the receiving school district must initially honor the placement of the student in educational courses based on the student's enrollment or assessments conducted in the sending district. The receiving district may perform subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement. The receiving district must initially provide comparable services to a foster care student with disabilities based on his or her current IEP and provide accommodations under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The receiving district may conduct subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement.
Schools must waive specific courses required for graduation if similar course work has been satisfactorily completed in another school or provide reasonable justification for denial of a waiver. If the school district does not grant a waiver, it must provide an alternative means of acquiring required course work so graduation may occur on time. Receiving schools must accept end-of-course exams required for graduation from the sending school, national norm-referenced achievement tests, or alternative testing in lieu of testing requirements for graduation.
If a foster care student transfers at the beginning or during the senior and is ineligible to graduate from the receiving school, the sending and receiving school must grant a diploma to the student from the sending school, provided the student meets the sending school's graduation requirements.
This act is substantially similar to HB 419 (2011) and provisions contained in HCS/SB 147 (2011) and HCS/SB 243 (2011).