SCS/HS/HCS/HB 306 - This act modifies provisions related to expanding choices in education.
CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING
This act modifies the calculation of the amount a school district with one or more pupils attending a charter school shall pay to the charter school.
Under this act, provisions of current law setting forth aid payments for charter schools shall only apply to school years ending on or before June 30, 2022, for non-metropolitan school districts and on or before June 30, 2024, for metropolitan school districts.
For school years beginning on or after July 1, 2022, or July 1, 2024 for metropolitan schools, each charter school and each school district responsible for distributing local aid to charter schools shall include as part of their annual independent audit, an audit of pupil residency, enrollment, and attendance in order to verify pupil residency in the school district or local education agency.
A school district having one or more resident pupils attending a charter school shall pay to the charter school an annual amount equal to the product of the charter school's weighted average daily attendance and the state adequacy target, multiplied by the dollar value modifier for the district, less the charter school's share of local effort, plus all other state aid attributable to such pupils, plus local aid received by the school district, divided by the total weighted average daily attendance of the school district and all charter schools within the school district, per weighted average daily attendance of the charter school. Local aid is defined as all local and county revenue received by the school district and charter schools within the school district, per weighted average daily attendance of the charter school.
A charter school that has declared itself a local educational agency shall receive all state aid calculated under this act from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and all local aid calculated under the act from the school district. A charter school shall receive an annual amount as set forth in the act.
School districts shall withhold from January local effort payments an annual administrative fee for the administrative costs incurred related to the charter schools in the district. The fee shall equal .25% of the sum of the prior year's state aid received by the school district, the prior year's state aid received by the charter schools within the school district, and the prior year's local aid received by the school district and the charter schools within the school district, calculated as described in the act.
By December 31st each year, school districts shall transmit to the Department a calculation of monthly local aid owed to the charter school. The Department shall calculate the amount of such fee and publish such calculation by January 15th annually.
Each month, the school district shall pay the amount of local aid calculated to be owed to the charter school. If any payment of local aid is due, the school district shall make such payments on the twenty-first day of each month, beginning in July of each year. If the school district fails to make timely payments to the charter schools, the Department shall impose any penalty deemed appropriate.
Each school district shall, as part of an annual audit, include a report converting the local aid received from an accrual basis to a cash basis. Such report shall be made publicly available on its district website.
The Department shall be required, under this act, to conduct an annual review of any payments made in the previous fiscal year to determine whether there has been any underpayment or overpayment. Such review shall include a calculation of the amount of local aid owed to charter schools using the first preceding year's annual audit. The school district shall pay to the charter school the amount calculated by such review. In the event of an underpayment, the school district shall remit the underpayment amount to the charter school. In the event of an overpayment, the charter school shall remit the overpayment amount to the school district. If the school district or charter school fails to remit any required payment, the Department shall impose any penalty deemed appropriate.
If a prior year correction of the amount of local aid is necessary, the school district shall recalculate the amount owed to the charter school or provide a bill to the charter school for any overpayment amount.
The Department's annual review shall also assess whether each public school and charter school receiving stand and local aid provide similar amounts and quality of services to schools and pupils, as described in the act. Such results shall be a public record and distributed to the General Assembly.
Beginning February 1, 2024, for non-metropolitan school districts and February 1, 2026, for metropolitan school districts, each school district that contains charter schools and each charter school shall, as part of the annual audit provided to the Department, report the number of students with an individualized education plan, the costs incurred for providing special educational services as described in the act, the amount of funds reimbursed for high needs students under current law, and the amount of funds received under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. On or before February 14th of each year, the Department shall calculate the net cost for providing special educational services for each school district that has charter schools operating within the school district and for each charter school.
From each school district's February local aid payments to charter schools, such district shall withhold the annual administrative fee and the net cost for providing special educational services, as calculated under the act, for the district and each charter with total special educational services costs exceeding total special educational services funding. Each charter school shall be paid the amount withheld as such school's prior year net cost for providing special educational services by February 28th. Remaining local aid funds shall be allocated per weighted average daily attendance to the district and each charter school.
The Department shall adjust the net cost calculation based on the information reported to it under the act. Such adjustments may be based on underreporting or overreporting of the number of students with an individualized education plans, the cost to provide services, failure to draw high needs funds, failure to draw all available Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds, and costs determined to be excessive by the Department.
February local aid payments shall not be considered when calculating payments or withholdings from the calculations of February local aid payments.
These provisions are similar toHCS/HB 137 (2021) and HB 1664 (2021) and to provisions in HCS/SS/SCS/SB 528 (2020), SCS/SB 734 (2020), HCS/SS/SCS/SB 570 (2020), and HCS/HB 1664 (2020), and SB 527 (2020).
A+ PROGRAM REIMBURSEMENT
Current law provides that the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development shall establish procedures to reimburse the costs of tuition, books, and fees to certain community colleges, vocational schools, and technical schools for high school students who meet requirements provided in current law, including meeting a minimal grade average set by the Department. This act provides that, when determining the grade average of students in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, the Department shall apply the student's highest available grade average to avoid adverse impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any rule requiring a student to obtain an algebra end-of-course examination score or a similar test score shall be waived for students who were high school seniors in the 2020-21 school year.
This provision contains an emergency clause.
EXTENDED LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES ACT
This act establishes the "Extended Learning Opportunities Act".
Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, the State Board of Education and each local school board shall routinely inform students and parents of the ability to earn credit through extended learning opportunities, which the act defines as out-of-classroom learning experiences approved by the Board, a school board, or a charter school to provide enrichment, career readiness skills, or other approved educational opportunities.
Board, public school, and charter school employees may assist students and parents in enrolling in such programs. Such opportunities shall not require the permission of the student's school so long as the student and at least one parent sign an agreement detailing all program requirements.
Extended learning opportunities shall count as credit toward graduation requirements and the achievement of state standards. Students shall submit a written request and proof of completion to a school administrator to receive credit.
The Board shall adopt, and each local school district shall distribute and implement, policies related to the approval of extended learning opportunities by outside entities, a list of approved entities, a process for requesting credit, criteria for the approval of extended learning opportunities by districts and charter schools, and criteria for awarding a certificate of completion and credit.
Entities approved by the Board shall be qualified to offer extended learning opportunities for all districts and charter schools.
A student awarded a certificate of completion and credit shall be considered to have completed all coursework for the particular course of study. Opportunities that satisfy all required coursework for a high school course shall count toward credit for graduation.
Policies and procedures adopted by the Board and by schools shall provide students an equal opportunity to participate in extended learning opportunities and shall satisfy existing timelines and requirements for transcribing and reporting credits. (Section 160.565)
SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY BOARD
This act establishes the School Accountability Board, composed of members as described in the act. Members shall be appointed by January 1, 2022. A chairperson and vice chairperson shall be appointed from among the members by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, with authority to make such appointments alternating every two years. Each member shall serve at the pleasure of the official who appointed the member. The Board shall advise the State Board of Education and Department on matters pertaining to the development and implementation of the state's school improvement program through activities described in the act, including presenting findings and recommendations related to school and district accountability and improvement to the State Board of Education at least once per quarter.
These provisions are similar to provisions in SCS/SB 400 (2021).
Under current law, when a sufficient number of children are determined to be gifted and their development requires programs or services beyond the level of those ordinarily provided in regular public school programs, school districts may establish special programs for such gifted children. Approval of such programs shall be made by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education based upon project applications submitted by July 15 of each year.
Under this act, if 3% or more of students enrolled in a school district are determined to be gifted, the district is required to establish a state-approved gifted program for gifted children. If a school district has an average daily attendance of 350 students or fewer, the district's gifted program shall not be required to provide services by a teacher certified to teach gifted education. Any teacher who provides gifted services through the program, and is not certified, shall annually participate in at least 6 hours of professional development focused on gifted development. These provisions shall apply to school years beginning on or after July 1, 2023.
Approval of such programs shall be made by the Department based upon project applications submitted at a time and in a form determined by the Department.
These provisions are identical to SCS/SB 151 (2021) and are similar to SB 645 (2020), HB 112 (2019), HCS/SS/SB 218 (2019), HB 136 (2019), HB 1435 (2018), and HB 1030 (2017).
MISSOURI EDUCATION PROGRAM
This act modifies the name of the Missouri Education Savings Program to the Missouri Education Program and modifies the definition of "eligible education institution" for purposes of the Program to include eligible educational institutions, rather than institutions of postsecondary education, as defined in Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. (Sections 166.400, 166.410, 166.415, 166.420, 166.425, 166.435, 166.440, 166.456, 166.502, and 209.610)
These provisions are substantially similar to provisions in SS/SCS/SB 152 (2021) and are similar to provisions in SCS/HCS/HB 1540 (2020), HCS/HB 2068 (2020) and HCS/HB 2261 (2020).
RECOVERY HIGH SCHOOLS
Under this act, the Commissioner of Education may approve and authorize up to four pilot recovery high schools to be established and operated by individual public school districts or groups of such districts. Recovery high schools shall serve as an alternative public high school setting and recovery program for students in recovery from substance use disorder or substance dependency, or such a condition along with co-occurring disorders as described in the act, who would academically and clinically benefit from placement in the recovery high school and who is committed to working on their recovery.
Districts seeking to operate a recovery high school shall submit proposals to the Commissioner by December 1st in the year prior to the first school year in which the school would begin operation. The proposal shall detail how the school will comply with the existing requirements for public high schools as well as how the school will be accredited by a recovery school accreditation organization as described in the act. The proposal may contain requests for waivers of existing regulations, which shall be deemed granted if the proposal is approved by the State Board of Education with the recommendation of the Commissioner.
The Commissioner of Education may specify an authorization period for the recovery high school which shall be no less than four years. By June 03th annually, the school district or group of school districts, in consultation with the recovery high school, shall submit to the Commissioner an analysis of school outcomes, as described in the act. The Commissioner shall review the analysis, renew recovery high schools meeting the requirements of the act and the requirements of the school's proposal, and may include new terms and conditions to address areas needing correction or improvement. The commissioner may revoke or suspend the authorization of a recovery high school not meeting such requirements.
School districts may enroll their students in a recovery high school by entering an agreement with district or districts operating the school. Parents of eligible students and eligible students over the age of 18 may seek to enroll in the school. A recovery high shall not limit or deny admission to an eligible student based on race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, income level, proficiency in the English language, or athletic ability.
Recovery high schools shall adopt a policy establishing a tuition rate by February first of the preceding school year; that the sending district shall pay the tuition rate or an amount of per-student state and local funding as described in the act, whichever is lower; and that the sending district will remain responsible for special education and disability expenses in excess of the tuition paid.
The Commissioner may enter into an agreement with the appropriate official or agency of another state to develop a reciprocity agreement for otherwise eligible, non-resident students seeking to attend a recovery high school in Missouri. A recovery high school may enroll otherwise eligible students residing in a state other than Missouri, pursuant to such reciprocity agreement. Such reciprocity agreement shall require the out-of-state student's district of residence to pay to the recovery high school an annual amount equal to 105% of the recovery high school's tuition rate. Eligible students from states with which the Commissioner does not have a reciprocity agreement may attend a recovery high school provided such student pays 105% of the recovery high school's tuition rate. No student enrolled pursuant to a reciprocity agreement shall be considered a resident pupil for purposes of calculating state aid.
These provisions are identical to SCS/SB 259 (2021).
STATE CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECKS
This act requires school districts to conduct state criminal history background checks consisting of open records on any person who is 18 years of age or older, who is not counted by the district for purposes of average daily attendance, and who requests enrollment in a course that takes place on school property, during regular school hours, with students counted in the district's average daily attendance. Such checks shall be processed through the Highway Patrol prior to enrollment, and the prospective enrollee shall pay a fee as described in the act. A person shall be prohibited from enrolling in such a course if he or she has been convicted of any crime or offense which would currently prevent the issuance of a teaching certificate.
These provisions are identical to SCS/SB 136 (2021) and are similar to HB 1483 (2020), HCS/HB 836 (2019), and HB 2479 (2020).