SB 1077 - This act authorizes innovation schools, as defined in the act. The local board of education of a metropolitan school district, urban school district, or any school district located in whole or in part within St. Louis County may enter into a cooperative agreement with a leadership committee, as defined in the act, in order to develop an innovation plan and establish an innovation school located within the district. The initial innovation plan shall be for a term of 10 years and may be renewed in 5-year intervals. The innovation plan may be altered at any point.
To the extent possible, the innovation plan shall grant the innovation school autonomy in order to foster an environment of innovation. The plan shall also grant the innovation school autonomy, to the extent possible, regarding the proposed school's focus, curriculum, educational programming, personnel selection and evaluation, calendars and scheduling, and budgeting policies. No individual hired to teach at the innovation school is required to be licensed to teach in Missouri or shall be subject to provisions relating to teacher employment in metropolitan school districts.
Enrollment in the innovation school shall be available only to students who reside within the boundary of the school district establishing the innovation school. The innovation plan shall establish attendance criteria and parameters for enrollment. Students who reside within 2.5 miles of the school shall be given first priority in enrollment on a first come, first served basis. When 65% of the enrolled students are those that reside within 2.5 miles of the school, the remaining slots may be awarded by means of a lottery system available to any student who resides within the school district. The innovation plan shall also include a student transportation policy.
The leadership committee shall demonstrate in the innovation plan that the committee has secured sufficient funding in order to fund a significant portion of the startup costs and capital outlays of the innovation school.
In developing the innovation plan, the leadership committee and school board shall not waive any requirements contained in the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act or the Every Student Succeeds Act, or waive any federal requirement that results in a loss of federal funds. Certain state laws and regulations shall not be waived, including those related to the statewide assessment system as well as any requirements for providing a minimum school day and school term.
For the purposes of calculation and distribution of state aid, pupils enrolled in an innovation school shall be included in the pupil enrollment of the school district that establishes the innovation school. The innovation plan shall specify the financial agreement between the school board and the leadership committee, with specific provisions as set forth in the act.
The innovation school, the school's employees, and the leadership committee shall not be deemed to be the state or a state agency for any purpose. The state of Missouri, its agencies, and its employees shall be absolutely immune from liability for any and all acts or omissions relating to or in any way involving the innovation school, the leadership committee, its members, or its employees. The leadership committee and the innovation school which it governs shall not be considered a successor entity for the purpose of employment contracts, unemployment compensation payments, or any other purpose.
The State Board of Education, whose decision shall be final, shall resolve any dispute arising between the leadership committee and the local board of education of the school district that establishes an innovation school.
Teachers employed by an innovation school may earn tenure, if agreed to in the innovation plan. Tenured teachers who were employed in the school district prior to teaching at the innovation school may retain their tenure rights if they stop teaching at the innovation school and return to the district. A teacher receiving retirement benefits may, without losing his or her retirement benefits, teach on a full-time or part-time basis in an innovation school if certain circumstances exist as described in the act.
The State Auditor may audit the innovation school and leadership committee at any point after which any state funds have been remitted to the innovation school.
The school district that establishes an innovation school may sell or lease a school building owned by the district to the innovation school at or below market value, or at no cost.
This act is similar to provisions contained in HCS/HB 2200 (2018).