SB 677 Modifies provisions relating to school accreditation for failing school districts
Sponsor: Pearce
LR Number: 5303S.06P Fiscal Note available
Committee: Education
Last Action: 5/9/2012 - HCS Voted Do Pass H Elementary and Secondary Education Committee Journal Page:
Title: SS SCS SB 677 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: Emergency Clause

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Current Bill Summary


HCS/SS/SCS/SB 677 – This act modifies provisions relating to elementary and secondary education.

LAPSE OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT: This act removes the two-year waiting period that exists between the classification of a school district as unaccredited and the lapse of the district's corporate organization. Instead, when the State Board of Education classifies a district as unaccredited, it must review the governance of the district to establish the conditions under which the existing school board will continue to govern or determine the date on which the district will lapse and determine an alternative governing structure for the district.

This act changes the timing and purpose of the hearing that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must conduct. The Department must conduct at least two public hearings, which must be regarding the accreditation status of the district. Also, the hearings must provide an opportunity to convene community resources that may be useful or necessary to support the school district as it attempts to return to accredited status.

When it classifies a district as unaccredited, the State Board of Education may appoint a special administrative board to oversee the district. If a special administrative board is appointed, the board must consist of at least five members, the majority of whom must be district residents. In addition, the board members must reflect the population characteristics of the district and collectively possess strong experience in school governance, management and finance, and leadership. A special administrative board will be responsible for the operation of the district until it is classified as provisionally accredited for two successive school years, at which time the State Board of Education may provide for a transition back to local governance, as described in the act.

If the State Board determines an alternative governing structure, it must provide a rationale for its decision and review and recertify the alternative form of governance every three years. In addition, the State Board must create a public comment method, establish expectations for academic progress by creating a time line for full accreditation, and provide annual reports to the General Assembly and Governor on the district's progress, as described in the act.

A special administrative board appointed under this act will retain the authority granted to a school board under the laws of the state in effect at the time of the district's lapse. A special administrative board may enter into contracts with accredited districts or other education service providers to delivery high quality educational programs. In addition, if a student graduates from a school operated under a contract with an accredited district, the student will receive his or her diploma from the accredited district.

Neither the special administrative board nor its members will be deemed to be the state or a state agency for any purpose. Furthermore, the state, its agencies and employees, will have absolute immunity from liability, as provided in the act.

This act modifies the requirement that provisionally accredited and unaccredited districts develop a plan to divide up the district if the district cannot regain accreditation. It increases the length of time a district has to develop such a plan from three years to five years. In addition, any student who resides in the new district will have the right under section 167.131 to attend another district until the new district achieves accreditation without provisions with a minimum of nine accreditation standards met.

Nothing in this act will supercede, or be construed to supercede, provisions of Sections 167.131 and 167.241. Also, no action of the State Board of Education will be contrary to the provisions of Sections 167.131 and 167.241.

This act repeals the authorization for the serving members of an special administrative board to appoint a school superintendent if the State Board of Education appoints a successor member to replace the chair of the special administrative board.

These provisions are similar to SCS/HCS/HB 1174 (2012). (Sections 162.081 and 162.083)

COMPOSITION OF A BOARD OF ARBITRATION FOR A BOUNDARY LINE CHANGE: This act prohibits a current or retired school administrator from serving on a board of arbitration to determine whether to change a school district boundary line.

This provision is also contained in SCS/HCS/HB 1789 (2012). (Section 162.431)

KANSAS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF EDUCATION: This act modifies the composition of the Kansas City School District board of education. Beginning in 2014, school board member elections will be held biennially in even-numbered years on the primary election day, instead of on the municipal election.

Beginning with the election in 2014, the school board will consist of seven members, instead of the current nine members. The district will be divided into six subdistricts. Six board members will reside in and be designated by subdistrict, as described in the act. However, the subdistrict members will be elected by the voters of the entire school district. The seventh member will be an at-large member. If a vacancy on the school board occurs, the vacancy will be filled by the mayor of Kansas City appointing a qualified individual if the vacancy occurs more than one hundred five days prior to the time of holding a primary election. (Sections 162.481 & 162.491)

VIRTUAL EDUCATION: This act allows students to enroll in a school district other than their school district of residence or a charter school for the purpose of attending virtual courses or programs. Admission must be based on the time of submission of an application. Each virtual school can enroll no more than one percent of the combined total statewide audited membership of all school districts. School districts or charter schools must give a preference to a sibling of students who are already enrolled. In addition, a student who enrolls in another school district or charter school for attendance in a virtual program may remain enrolled until completion of all grade levels offered or until withdrawal. For purposes of state school aid, the student will be included in the average daily attendance of his or her school district of residence. The school district of residence must pay the district or charter school providing the virtual education an amount equal to seventy-two and one half percent of the previous year's statewide average current expenditure per average daily attendance but not to exceed the school district's current expenditure per average daily attendance, provided that the total amount paid by any district shall not exceed the total amount of state aid due to a district under the foundation formula.

Any institution of higher education with its primary campus located in Missouri with an approved teacher education program may sponsor virtual charter schools. Virtual charter schools are subject to all charter school laws. They may only offer instruction in a virtual setting using technology, intranet and internet methods of communication.

This act is similar to HB 1629 (2012), SB 735 (2012), SB 329 (2011) and HB 463 (2011). (Section 162.1250)

ASSIGNMENT OF A PUPIL TO ANOTHER DISTRICT BASED ON TRANSPORTATION HARDSHIP: Currently, the Commissioner of Education may assign a pupil to another district based on an unusual or unreasonable transportation hardship. This act allows the parent or guardian of a child to apply, and requires the Commissioner to assign the pupil to another district, if the following conditions are met: the actual driving distance from the pupil's residence to the attendance center in his or her district of residence is at least seventeen miles by the shortest route; the attendance center to which the pupil would be assigned is at least seven miles closer in actual driving distance than the attendance center in the district of residence; and the pupil's attendance will not cause the classroom in the receiving district to exceed the number of students per class as determined by the receiving district. The commissioner must assign pupils in the order in which the applications are received.

For a pupil to be eligible to be assigned to another district, the pupil must have been enrolled in and attending a public school in his or her school district of residence. A pupil who has been paying tuition to attend a school district other his or her district of residence will also be eligible to apply to the Commissioner of Education for a transportation hardship assignment. Pupils who become eligible for kindergarten or first grade will be eligible to transfer. A pupil not enrolled in a public school district will become eligible to transfer after he or she enrolls in and attends a public school in the district of residence for a full school year.

The assignment will continue until the pupil, and any sibling of the pupil who attends the same attendance center, completes the course of study in the receiving district. If a parent or guardian withdraws a pupil from a hardship assignment, the granting of any future application will be discretionary. For any pupil who was assigned to another district by the Commissioner prior to August 28, 2012, the assignment will apply to the pupil's siblings and also remain in effect until the pupil completes the course of study in the receiving district.

Currently, the tuition amount cannot exceed the pro rata cost of instruction. This act specifies that the tuition amount will be the lesser of the two districts' current expenditure per average daily attendance. Pupils with an individualized education program will only be included in the pupil count of the student's district of residence. If there is disagreement as to the tuition amount, the facts will be submitted to the State Board of Education.

This provision is identical to a provision contained in SCS/HCS/HB 1789 (2012). (Section 167.121)

COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS FOR STUDENT ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: This act requires each school district to establish a comprehensive program for student academic progression which includes standards for evaluating each student’s performance; specific level of reading performance for each grade level, including when remediation will be required; and appropriate alternative placement for a student who has been retained for two or more years. A district must allocate its remedial and supplemental instruction resources to students who are not reading at the required level by the end of third grade and to students who do not meet the district's standards for progression. Student progress will be monitored using district performance levels and the state assessment for reading. If a student is not meeting proficiency requirements, a plan for targeted instruction must be developed. If a student's deficiency remains unremediated, he or she may be retained. All students who do not meet minimum standards for reading will continue to receive additional instruction until they are reading at grade level, graduate from high school, or are no longer subject to compulsory school attendance.

Any student in kindergarten through third grade who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading will be given intensive instruction as soon as the deficiency is identified. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, retention will be required of students who are "below basic" in reading by the end of third grade. Parents must be notified in writing about the deficiency, the type of services currently being provided, the services that are proposed, and other specified information. Promotion decisions must not be made solely on age or other factors that constitute social promotion except for good cause. Good cause exemptions from retention are specified as well as the procedure for requesting an exemption.

Students who are retained must be given intensive intervention for their specific deficiencies. By school year 2016-2017, each district must review student progress monitoring plans for struggling readers and intensive programs for others. Midyear promotion to fourth grade is allowed under certain specified circumstances. This act lists instructional options that parents may choose including an initiative targeted to third graders at risk of being retained and an intensive acceleration class for students who score below the basic level on the reading portion of the state assessment.

Each district must annually report individual results to each parent and the aggregated data to the State Board of Education within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The State Board of Education is authorized to enforce the act, and the Department must provide any needed technical assistance to district school boards.

This act repeals the provisions that require a student to read no more than a year below grade level by the fourth grade or be retained.

These provisions are identical to HB 1425 (2012). (Section 167.650, repeal of sections 167.640 & 167.645).

This act contains an emergency clause on sections 162.081 and 162.083.

MICHAEL RUFF