SB 493 - This act modifies provisions relating to elementary and secondary education.
SCHOOL ACCREDITATION: This act requires the State Board of Education to adopt, through administrative rule, accreditation classifications for school districts of accredited with distinction, accredited, provisionally accredited, and unaccredited. In addition, the State Board of Education must accredit individual school buildings within a school district when a district becomes provisionally accredited or unaccredited. This act establishes annual performance report scores that are consistent with the accreditation classification categories, as noted in the act. The State Board must develop criteria to allow districts with annual performance report scores above ninety to be classified as accredited with distinction. The State Board of Education must consider three years of accreditation data when making an accreditation classification.
When the State Board of Education classifies a district as provisionally accredited, it must intervene in the district with individualized improvement measures based on the district's and community's needs. At such time, it must also assign an accreditation classification to each of the provisionally accredited district's schools and may transfer any underperforming school to the statewide achievement district. If a provisionally accredited district does not show any growth within five years, the State Board of Education must classify it as unaccredited and then transfer the district's underperforming schools to the jurisdiction of the statewide achievement district.
If an unaccredited district does not demonstrate sustained improvement and regain provisional or full accreditation within five years of being classified as unaccredited, the State Board of Education must lapse the district and either attach its territory to another district or districts, or establish one or more school districts within its territory.
Currently, when the State Board of Education lapses an unaccredited district with a population in excess of five thousand students and seeks to attach its territory to another district or districts for school purposes, the school board of the receiving district must approve it. This act repeals this requirement. (Section 162.081)
ACHIEVEMENT DISTRICT: This act creates a statewide achievement school district effective January 1, 2015. The State Board of Education will transfer underperforming schools located in unaccredited school districts to the jurisdiction of the achievement district, which will administer and oversee them.
The achievement district will be governed by a three member board, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Members will serve a six year term. The governing board must select a president from the members by July 31, 2015. The governing board must also select a chief executive officer who must have recognized administrative ability and who will have all powers and duties of a superintendent of schools.
The duties and powers of the achievement district are described in the act. Neither the achievement district nor the State Board of Education will be considered a successor entity to the school district for purposes of employment contracts, unemployment compensation, or any other purpose.
When an underperforming school is transferred to the jurisdiction of the achievement district, the state aid and local effort of the district in which the underperforming school is located will be divided equitably between the district and the achievement district on a weighted average daily attendance basis. (Section 162.1110)
STUDENT TRANSFERS: This act modifies the student transfer provision in section 167.131. Currently, the school board of a 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 districts and K-8 districts that do not offer high school grades. This act differentiates between a K-8 district that does not offer high school grades and a district classified as unaccredited by the State Board of Education. (Section 167.131)
The school board of an unaccredited district must pay the tuition and transportation of resident students who attend a public school in another accredited district of the same or an adjoining county. Transfer students may not enroll in a provisionally accredited district. Before a student may transfer to another accredited district, the student's unaccredited district of residence must identify if there is space available in another accredited school. If capacity exists, the student will attend that school, provided the student meets any admissions requirements if the school is a magnet school or maintains a competitive admissions process.
To be eligible to transfer to another district, the parent or guardian of a student must provide proof that the student resided in the unaccredited district for at least twelve months prior to requesting the transfer. Any student who has already transferred must maintain residency in the unaccredited district. If the student withdraws from the accredited district, he or she will be ineligible to transfer to another district.
By August 1, 2014, each local school board must establish criteria for the admission of nonresident pupils from unaccredited districts and adopt and publish a policy for reasonable class sizes and reasonable student-teacher ratios. When adopting its policy, each school board must consider previous years of student enrollment, student-teacher ratios, and class sizes. The policy must also take 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.
If the unaccredited district becomes provisionally accredited or accredited, any student who has transferred to an accredited district may remain enrolled there through graduation or the district's highest grade level of enrollment offered. (Section 167.132)
TRANSPORTATION: Currently, the school board of an unaccredited district must designate accredited districts to which it will provide transportation for transfer students. This act adds a statutory reference to section 167.132. (Section 167.241)
This act contains an emergency clause.