SCS/SB 7 - 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 allow continued governance by the existing local board of education under specific terms and conditions. If the State Board appoints a special administrative board to oversee the district, 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 repeals the requirement that provisionally accredited and unaccredited districts develop a plan to divide up the district if the district cannot regain accreditation within three years of the loss of accreditation.
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.
When a school district receives students from another district as a result of a boundary line change, consolidation, annexation, dissolution, or action of the State Board of Education, as described in the act, the statewide assessment scores and all other performance data of the students received by the district will not be used for three years when calculating the receiving district's performance for purposes of the Missouri School Improvement Program.
This act contains an emergency clause.
This act is identical to provisions contained in SCS/HCS/HB 388 (2013), SS/SCS/SB 210 (2013), and SCS/HCS/HB 76 (2013), and is substantially similar to HB 50 (2013), SS/SCS/SB 125 (2013), SS#2/SCS/HCS/HB 1174 (2012) and SS/SCS/SB 677 (2012) and contains provisions identical to SB 168 (2013).