SB 456 – Currently, the school board of a school district that does not maintain an accredited school is required to pay the tuition and transportation of resident pupils who attend an accredited school in another district of the same or an adjoining county. This provision of law currently applies to both unaccredited school districts and K-8 school districts that do not offer high school grades.
This act differentiates between a K-8 school district that does not offer high school grades and a school district classified as unaccredited by the State Board of Education. This act specifies that the school board of an unaccredited district must pay the tuition and transportation of resident pupils who attend an accredited school in another district of the same or an adjoining county. A resident pupil of an unaccredited district may attend a school in another accredited district in the same or an adjoining county if the student was enrolled in and attending a public school in the district during the school year when the district lost its accreditation, or years subsequent to the year in which the district lost its accreditation. Pupils who reside in the unaccredited district who become eligible for kindergarten or first grade after the effective date of this section are also eligible to transfer. Before a student may transfer, the unaccredited district must determine whether it has sufficient capacity in a magnet school or school with an open admissions policy that has met standards on its annual performance report equivalent to the classification of accredited under the Missouri School Improvement Program in the previous school year and that offers the student's grade level of enrollment. If there is capacity, the student must remain in the school district and attend that school provided the student meets the school's regular admissions criteria. Any district that receives transfer students will not be required to include those student's scores on the statewide assessment in that district's scores for three years.
The rate of tuition to be charged is the lesser of the nonresident tuition established by each district, or in the absence of nonresident tuition, the lesser of the two districts' average expenditure per pupil for the most recently completed year for which data are available. The residence district shall also pay the cost of education in the receiving district for any student with an IEP accepted in the receiving district.
By June 30, 2012, each district must establish criteria for the admission of nonresident pupils from unaccredited districts. The primary criteria must be the availability of highly qualified teachers in existing classroom space. Each district must establish criteria for calculating available seats, taking into account the district's resident student population growth or decrease, such that the receiving district is not required to employ additional teachers or construct additional classrooms. In addition, resident pupils must not be displaced from the school building to which they are assigned. The receiving district will be responsible for assigning a student to a particular building.
When a student from an unaccredited district has been accepted in an accredited district, he or she may complete the educational program in the building to which he or she has been assigned, even if the district of residence regains accreditation. Upon a student's transition from an educational program in the building to which the student was assigned to a program in another building if the student's district of residence has regained accreditation, the student must return to his or her district of residence.
This act contains an emergency clause.
This act is substantially similar to SCS/SB 14 (2011), HB 763 (2011) and provisions contained in HCS/SB 243 (2011) and HCS/SB 147 (2011).