SB 370 – This act modifies provisions relating to school enrollment. Current law provides that the school board of an unaccredited school district must pay the tuition and transportation for resident students who attend an accredited school in another district of the same or an adjoining county. This act establishes a scholarship program to allow resident students of an unaccredited district to enroll in a nonpublic school, charter school, virtual school, or accredited school district. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will administer the scholarship program.
CHARTER SCHOOLS - Charter schools may enroll a nonresident pupil from an unaccredited district and may accept the pupil's scholarship. This act also allows charter schools to charge tuition. (Sections 160.410, 160.415, 160.420)
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM - The scholarship amount depends on the geographic location of the student's school district of residence. For the St. Louis City School District and Kansas City School District, the amount would be the cost of attendance at the receiving school, or two-thirds of the district of residence's per pupil expenditure, whichever is less. For all other districts, the scholarship amount will be the per pupil expenditure of the receiving school or the pupil's district of residence, whichever is less.
The student may use the scholarship at an accredited nonpublic school, virtual school, charter school, or accredited school district that accepts him or her. An accredited district is not required to accept the student unless the student is able to demonstrate that he or she has already been rejected by seven other schools. At that time, an accredited district is required to admit the student.
The student's parent or guardian must notify the student's school district of residence and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by January 15 of the intent to change the child's enrollment on an application prescribed by the Department. If a parent fails to provide notification by January 15, he or she may do so until March 15 provided that the parent has good cause to do so, as described in the act. The parent or guardian may withdraw the request at any time prior to the start of the school year.
An unaccredited district must report annually to the Department the number of its resident pupils who use a scholarship. The unaccredited district must report to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education the number of its resident pupils who enroll in another educational option under this section and the amount of the scholarship paid on behalf of each student. The Department must withhold the weighted state aid attributable to the pupil from the district of residence's state aid payments. The local county assessor and collector must withhold all local effort attributable to such pupils and forward it to the Department. The Department will use these funds to pay the appropriate scholarship amount to the receiving schools, as described in the act. For each student who receives a scholarship, the Department may receive an administrative fee of up to five hundred dollars, to be paid from the money withheld from the school district of residence. (Section 167.131)
ADMINISTRATION OF MAP TEST - Any accredited school district that enrolls nonresident students under this act must administer the MAP test to them. The results must be reported in aggregate form. Any nonsectarian nonpublic school may inform and advise transfer students about the MAP test and refer them to the local school district; it may also administer the MAP test for those transfer students. (Section 167.131)
RECORDS - School districts must keep a record of all transfers requested into and out of the district. These records must be reported annually in the school report card, posted on the school district's website, and reported annually to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (Section 167.131)
TRANSPORTATION - Current law requires the unaccredited district to pay for the student's transportation. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be responsible for coordinating transportation for the transfer students. The student's parent or guardian may transport the student to the receiving district without reimbursement. In addition, the parent may transport the student to and from a point on a regular school bus route of the receiving district. (Sections 167.131, 167.241)
LENGTH OF TRANSFER PROGRAM - Student transfers will continue until the unaccredited district has been classified as accredited for five consecutive years. However, any pupil who has enrolled in another school may continue to attend that school and complete all grade levels offered in the school or school district. (Section 167.131)
PLACEMENT OF TRANSFER STUDENTS - When a pupil transfers into an accredited district, it must provide the pupil and parent with a written explanation of the enrollment and grade level placement policies. It must review the pupil's course work, test scores, and transcript, as described in the act. The district must provide a determination of the placement to the student and parent within thirty calendar days of the request for enrollment. (Section 171.171)