HB 2304 Modifies provisions relating to elementary and secondary education

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Current Bill Summary

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SCS/HCS/HB 2304 - This act modifies provisions relating to elementary and secondary education.

SHOW ME SUCCESS DIPLOMA PROGRAM (Section 160.560)

This act establishes the Show Me Success Diploma Program as an alternative pathway to graduation for high school students. A student may earn the Show Me Success Diploma beginning at the end of the 10th grade. By July 1, 2023, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall develop detailed requirements for students to become eligible for the Show Me Success Diploma.

Students who earn a Show Me Success Diploma may elect to remain in high school. Alternatively, a student having earned the diploma may instead enroll in a qualifying postsecondary educational institution. For each student enrolled in such an institution, an amount equal to 90% of the pupil's proportionate share of the state, local, and federal aid that the district or charter school receives for such student shall be deposited into a higher education savings account that lists the student as the beneficiary.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SB 660 (2022).

ADULT HIGH SCHOOLS (SECTIONS 160.2700 & 160.2705)

For a school to meet the definition of "adult high school" under current law, the school shall offer on-site childcare for children of enrolled students, in addition to other requirements provided in current law. This act repeals the on-site requirement for such childcare.

Additionally, current law prohibits adult high schools from offering a majority of instruction online or remotely. This act provides that synchronous instruction connecting students to a live class at a Missouri adult high school shall be treated as in-person instruction.

Further, current law prohibits any person from establishing, operating, maintaining, or advertising a childcare facility without a license, with an exception for any private, elementary, or secondary school system providing childcare to children under school age. This act provides that adult high schools shall be deemed a "secondary school system" for purposes of such exception.

These provisions are identical to HB 2325 (2022) and HB 2492 (2022) and are substantially similar to SB 1052 (2022), HB 2618 (2022), HB 151 (2021), HB 624 (2021), HCS/HB 733 (2021), and HCS/SB 323 (2021).

MISSOURI ADVISORY BOARD FOR EDUCATOR PREPARATION (Section 161.097)

Under this act, the Missouri Advisory Board for Educator Preparation (MABEP) shall include at least three active elementary or secondary classroom teachers and at least three faculty members within approved educator preparation programs. The MABEP shall hold regular meetings that allow members to share needs and concerns and plan strategies to enhance teacher preparation.

Under the act, the State Board of Education shall, in consultation with MABEP, align literacy and reading instruction coursework for teacher education programs. All reading and special education certificates shall include training as outlined in the act.

This provision is identical to a provision in the perfected SS/SCS/SBs 681 & 662 (2022).

SCHOOL INNOVATION WAIVERS (Section 161.214)

Under this act, a school intervention team, which shall mean a group of persons representing certain schools as set forth in the act, may submit a state innovation waiver plan to the State Board of Education for certain purposes, including improving student readiness for employment, higher education, vocational training, technical training, or any other form of career and job training; increasing the compensation of teachers; or improving the recruitment, retention, training, preparation, or professional development of teachers.

The Board may grant school innovation waivers to exempt schools from requirements imposed by current law, or from any regulations promulgated by the Board or the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. If a school innovation waiver is granted to a school district or group of school districts, the waiver shall be applicable to every elementary and secondary school within the school district or group of school districts unless the plan specifically provides otherwise.

Any plan for a school innovation waiver shall contain certain information as described in the act, including the specific provision of law for which a waiver is being requested and an explanation for why such provision of law inhibits the goal stated in the plan. The plan shall also demonstrate that the intent of the law can be addressed in a more effective, efficient, or economical manner and that the waiver or modification is necessary to implement the plan.

In evaluating a plan submitted by a school innovation team, the Board shall consider whether the plan meets certain criteria set forth in the act. The Board may propose modifications to the plan in cooperation with the school innovation team.

Any waiver granted under this act shall be effective for no longer than three school years, but school innovation waivers may be renewed. No more than one school innovation waiver shall be in effect with respect to any one elementary or secondary school at one time.

The Board shall not authorize the waiver of any statutory requirements relating to teacher certification, teacher tenure, or any requirement imposed by federal law.

These provisions are identical to provisions contained in the perfected SS/SCS/SBs 861 & 662 (2022).

READING INTERVENTION (Section 161.241)

The State Board of Education, in collaboration with the Coordinating Board for Higher Education and the Commissioner's advisory council established by the act, shall develop a plan to establish a comprehensive system of services for reading instruction. The State Board of Education shall also create an Office of Literacy and shall take other actions relating to improving literacy set forth in the act.

The act also creates the Evidence-based Reading Instruction Program Fund, to be used for purposes set forth in the act.

These provisions are identical to provisions contained in the perfected SS/SCS/SBs 861 & 662 (2022).

COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION GRANT PROGRAM (Section 161.380)

This act establishes the Competency-Based Education Grant Program. By application, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall award grants from the fund to eligible school districts for the purpose of providing competency-based education programs. The Department shall facilitate the creation, sharing, and development of course assessments, curriculum, training and guidance for teachers, and best practices for the school districts that offer competency-based education courses.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SB 660 (2022).

COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION TASK FORCE (Section 161.385)

This act establishes the Competency-Based Education Task Force to study and develop competency-based education programs in public schools. The Task Force shall conduct interviews and at least three public hearings to identify promising competency-based education programs and obstacles to implementing such programs. Before December 1st of each year, the Task Force shall present its findings and recommendations to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Joint Committee on Education, and the State Board of Education.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SB 660 (2022).

GIFTED CHILDREN (Section 162.720)

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 15th of each year.

Under this act, if 3% or more of students enrolled in a school district are identified as 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 starting in the 2024-2025 school year.

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.

This provision is identical to the perfected HB 2366 (2022) and substantially similar to SB 806 (2022).

COMPETENCY-BASED HIGH SCHOOL CREDITS (Section 162.1255)

Under this act, school districts and charter schools shall receive state school funding under the foundation formula for high school students who are taking competency-based courses offered by their school district or charter school.

Attendance of a student enrolled in a competency-based course shall equal the product of the district or charter school's prior year average attendance percentage multiplied by the total number of attendance hours normally allocable to a non-competency-based course of equal credit value.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SB 660 (2022).

READING INTERVENTION (Sections 167.268, 167.640, 167.645, & 170.014)

The act changes the term "reading intervention plans" to "reading success plans" throughout the act and applies provisions regarding such plans to charter schools. The development of guidelines for formulating policies for such plans is changed from the State Board of Education to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Each school district and charter school shall have on file a policy for reading success plans. The reading success plans shall provide all parents and guardians of students with a plan that includes suggestions for regular parent-guided home reading.

Each school district and charter school shall provide intensive reading instruction to students as set forth in the act.

These provisions are identical to provisions contained in the perfected SS/SCS/SBs 861 & 662 (2022).

The act repeals provisions relating to reading assessments and now states that school districts and charter schools shall assess all students enrolled in kindergarten through 3rd grade at the beginning and end of each school year for their level of reading or reading readiness. Additionally, all school districts and charter schools shall assess any newly enrolled student in grades one through five for their level of reading or reading readiness.

At the beginning of the school year, each school district and charter school shall provide a reading success plan to any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading or has been identified as being at risk of dyslexia.

Each school district or charter school shall ensure the parent or guardian of any student in kindergarten through 3rd grade who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading and shall provide them information listed in the act.

If a student has a substantial reading deficiency at the end of 3rd grade, promotion or retention of the student shall be discussed by the student's parent or guardian and appropriate school staff. School districts and charter school shall provide students identified as having a substantial reading deficiency with certain services as set forth in the act.

Each school district and charter school shall ensure that intensive reading instruction is provided through a reading development initiative to each kindergarten through 5th grade student who is assessed as exhibiting a substantial reading deficiency. Such instruction shall comply with criteria listed in the act.

Each school district and charter school shall provide professional development services to enhance the skills of elementary teachers in responding to children's unique reading issues and needs to increase the use of evidence-based strategies.

These provisions have a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023.

EPINEPHRINE ADMINISTRATION BY PERSONS TRANSPORTING SCHOOL CHILDREN (Section 167.630)

This act provides that a school's agent trained by a nurse and contracted for the transportation of school children shall have the discretion to administer an epinephrine auto syringe on any student who is having a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. The act also provides that the agents shall be immune from civil liability for administering an auto syringe under the act.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SCS/SB 958 (2022) and similar to SB 1170 (2022) and SB 1210 (2022).

RECOVERY PROGRAMS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS (Section 167.850)

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 are 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 must include a financial plan outlining anticipated public and private funding that will allow the recovery high school to operate and meet the school’s educational and recovery criteria. The district or districts may partner with one or more local nonprofit organizations or other local educational agencies regarding the establishment and operation of a recovery high school. 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 30th 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.

Pupil attendance, dropout rate, student performance or statewide assessments, or other data considered in the Missouri school improvement program and school accreditation shall not be attributed to general accreditation of either a sending district or the district or districts operating the recovery high school and may only be used by the Commissioner in the renewal process for the recovery high school.

School districts may enroll their students in a recovery high school by entering into an agreement with the 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 school 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 1st 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.

This provision is identical to SCS/SB 769 (2022).

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT IN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (Sections 167.903, 167.907, & 167.908)

Under this act, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall establish a process by which each student prior to 9th grade shall develop an individual career and academic plan of study, with help from the student's parent or guardian and the school's guidance counselors.

Before a student finishes 12th grade, the student shall declare the student's postsecondary plans as part of the student's individual career and academic plan. Such declaration shall include items set forth in the act.

The act also states that no student shall receive a certificate of graduation from any public school or charter school unless the student has completed and submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A student is exempt from this requirement under certain circumstances listed in the act.

These provisions shall become effective on July 1, 2023.

Finally, this act requires the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development to establish a procedure for providing the means and capability for high school students enrolled in certain career and technical education programs to complete an application for aid through the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

These provisions are identical to SCS/SB 703 (2022).

SUBSTITUTE TEACHING (Sections 168.036 & 168.037)

This act creates a 4-year certificate for individuals that want to substitute teach. Applicants for certification must complete a background check and also have at least 36 college hours or have completed a 20-hour online training. Individuals must also have a high school diploma or equivalent. An alternative route to certification is provided for qualified individuals with technical or business expertise or Armed Forces experience and a superintendent sponsorship.

Until June 30, 2025, this act allows retired teachers that have a substitute certification to substitute teach part-time or as a temporary substitute and not have those hours and salary affect their retirement allowance.

Substitute certificates will expire if the individual fails to substitute teach for at least 5 days or 40 hours in a calendar year. No individual under 20 years old may substitute in 9th through 12th grade.

The act also requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop and maintain an online substitute training program with twenty hours of training related to subjects appropriate for substitute teaching. The act authorizes school districts to develop district specific orientations lasting two hours.

Beginning January 1, 2023, the act authorizes substitute teachers that apply for a fingerprint background check the opportunity to submit the results to up to five different school districts for a specified fee.

The act adds a web-based survey to be developed and maintained by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that will collect information from substitute teachers at the end of each day of teaching. Districts will provide links to substitute teachers to access the survey, which will contain questions regarding the support and interaction with school staff, student health and safety issues, among other relevant questions.

The act requires school districts and charter schools to annually provide the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with information relating to substitute teaching as outlined in the act.

Section 168.036 contains an emergency clause.

These provisions are similar to HB 1998 (2022), HB 1592 (2022) and to HCS/HB 608 (2021).

TEACHER AND SCHOOL EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT SYSTEMS (Sections 169.560 & 169.596)

Currently, any teacher retired from the Public School Retirement System can be employed in a position covered under the Public Education Employee Retirement System without stopping their retirement benefit. Such teacher may earn up to 60% of the minimum teacher's salary as set forth in statute and will not contribute to the retirement system or earn creditable service.

This act allows such teacher to earn up to the annual earnings limit applicable to a Social Security recipient before the calendar year of attainment of full retirement age under federal regulations.

Additionally, under current law a retired teacher or a retired noncertificated employee who is receiving a retirement benefit from the Public School Retirement System is allowed to work full time for up to 2 years for a school district covered by such retirement system if the system has a shortage of certified teachers or noncertificated employees.

This act allows such employees to work full time up to 4 years for such districts.

These provisions are substantially similar to HB 2114 (2022).

COMPUTER SCIENCE COURSES (SECTION 170.018)

This act modifies the definition of "computer science course" by including any elementary, middle, or high school course that embeds computer science content within other subjects.

This act requires, for all school years on or after July 1, 2023, certain coursework and instruction in computer science and computational thinking in public and charter high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. Courses and instruction offered under this act must meet certain standards established by the State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

This act requires school districts to submit to the Department certain information related to its computer science courses and demographic enrollment information for such courses. Such information shall be posted on the Department's website by September 30th of each school year.

On or before June 30th annually, the Department shall publish a list of computer science course codes and names with a course description and shall indicate which courses meet or exceed the Department's computer science performance standards.

The Department shall appoint a computer science advisor to implement these provisions of the act.

Beginning July 1, 2023, computer science courses successfully completed and counted toward state graduation requirements shall be equivalent to one science or practical arts credit for the purpose of satisfying admission requirements at any public institution of higher education in the state.

These provisions are identical to the perfected HB 2202 (2022) and substantially similar to SCS/SB 659 (2022).

COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION TASK FORCE (Section 170.036)

This act establishes the "Computer Science Education Task Force". The Task Force shall develop a strategic plan for expanding a statewide computer science education program, as described in the act.

The Task Force shall hold its first meeting within one month of the effective date of the act and shall present a summary of its activities and recommendations for legislation to the General Assembly before June 30, 2023. The Task Force shall dissolve on June 30, 2024.

These provisions are identical to the perfected HB 2202 (2022) and substantially similar to SCS/SB 659 (2022).

WORKFORCE DIPLOMA PROGRAM (SECTION 173.831)

This act establishes the "Workforce Diploma Program" within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma and in developing employability and career and technical skills through campus-based, blended, or online modalities.

Before September 1, 2022, and annually each year after, the Department shall issue a request for qualifications for interested program providers to become approved providers to participate in the program. Each approved program provider shall meet qualifications set forth in the act, including having at least two years of experience in providing adult dropout recovery services.

The Department shall announce approved program providers prior to October 16th each year, and approved program providers shall begin enrolling students before November 15th each year. Approved program providers shall maintain approval without reapplying annually unless the provider has been removed pursuant to this act.

All approved program providers shall comply with requirements set by the Department to ensure an accurate accounting of a student's accumulated credits, an accurate accounting of credits necessary to complete a high school diploma, and any coursework to be aligned with the academic performance standards of this state.

Subject to appropriations, the Department shall set and pay approved program providers for meeting certain milestones. However, no approved program provider shall receive funding for a student if such provider already receives federal or state funding or private tuition for such student. Additionally, no approved program provider shall charge student fees of any kind, including textbook fees, tuition fees, lab fees, or participation fees, unless the student chooses to obtain additional education offered by the provider that is not included in the program.

In order to receive payments, approved program providers shall be required to submit monthly invoices to the Department before the eleventh calendar day of each month for the milestones met by students in the previous month. The Department shall pay approved program providers in the order in which invoices are submitted until all available funds are exhausted.

The Department shall also provide a written update to approved program providers by the last day of each month, which shall include the aggregate total dollars that have been paid to the providers, and the estimated number of enrollments still available for the program year.

Prior to July 16th of each year, each approved program provider shall report certain information set forth in the act to the Department for each individual participating student, on a student-by-student basis, including the total number of students who have been funded through the program, the total number of credits earned, the total number of employability skills certifications issued, the total number of industry-recognized credentials earned, stackable credentials, and technical skill assessments, the total number of graduates, the average costs per graduate, and the graduation rate.

Additionally, prior to September 16th of each year, each approved program provider shall conduct and submit to the Department the aggregate results of a survey of each individual participating student, on a student-by-student basis, who graduated from the program of the provider. This act provides that the survey shall be conducted in the year after the student's graduation year and the following 4 consecutive years. The survey shall include certain data collection elements as provided in the act, including employment status, wage, access to employer-sponsored health care, and postsecondary enrollment status.

The Department shall review data from each approved program provider, at the end of the second fiscal year of the program, to ensure that each provider is achieving minimum program performance standards. Any provider failing to meet such standards shall be placed on probationary status for the remainder of the fiscal year. If a provider fails to meet the standards for two consecutive years, such provider shall be removed from the approved program provider list.

Additionally, this act provides that no approved program provider shall discriminate against a student on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexuality, gender, or age.

If an approved program provider determines that a student would be better served by participating in a different program, the provider may refer the student to the state's adult basic education services.

Further, the act creates the "Workforce Diploma Program Fund" in the state treasury. The fund shall consist of grants, gifts, donations, bequests, and moneys appropriated for purposes of the program.

Finally, the program shall sunset on August 28, 2028, unless reauthorized by the General Assembly.

This provision is identical to a provision in HB 2325 (2022) and is similar to SB 957 (2022), SB 139 (2021), and SB 839 (2020).

LITERACY ADVISORY COUNCIL (Section 186.080)

The Commissioner of Education shall establish a Literacy Advisory Council. The Council shall include members representing stakeholder groups listed in the act. The Council shall provide recommendations to the Commissioner and the State Board of Education regarding any identified improvements to literacy instruction and policy for students as set forth in the act.

This provision is identical to a provision in the perfected SS/SCS/SBs 681 & 662 (2022).

VEHICLES USED TO TRANSPORT SCHOOL CHILDREN (Sections 302.010 & 304.060)

This act modifies a definition of "school bus" to include only vehicles designed for carrying more than 10 passengers.

The act also provides that school districts shall have the authority to use vehicles other than school buses to transport school children, specifies that the State Board of Education shall not adopt rules or regulations governing the use of transportation network companies for the transportation of school children, repeals the requirement that drivers of non-school-bus vehicles transporting school children have a school bus driver's license endorsement, and provides that the vehicles other than school buses shall meet any additional requirements of the school district.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SCS/SB 958 (2022).

JAMIE ANDREWS


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