HB 0609 Relating to Schools
Sponsor:YATES Handling House Bill:
Committee:EESC LR Number:L1400.01I
Last Action:02/13/95 - Referred H Education-Elementary & Secondary Comm.
Effective Date:
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Current Bill Summary

HB0609 Yates, M Zane et al


HB 609 -- St. Louis School Desegregation

This bill sets time and financial limits on the state's liability for court-ordered desegregation in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

The bill establishes a commission in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to oversee the "Unitary Financial Assistance Act" implemented by the provisions of the bill. The commission is composed of 8 members, including the department's financial director, representatives from the Attorney General's and State Treasurer's offices, a member of the St. Louis School Board, two state representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House, and two state senators appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate. The commission will cease to exist upon satisfactory completion of its charge or in the year 2000, whichever occurs first.

The state is directed to continue payments to the St. Louis School District in accordance with court order L(1570)87 (capital improvements). For the 1995-96 school year, the state will pay $16,994,085. In subsequent years, such payments to the district will be annually reduced by 20% until the 2000-01 school year when the state's payment of obligations related to the settlement plan and intra-city budgets will be deemed fully satisfied.

The state will continue to pay for asbestos abatement and construction of the science center magnet school as specified under court order L(2090)88. For the 1995-96 school year, the state will pay $18,635,419 to the district representing its share of the total magnet plan budget. No school or program that does not commence as a magnet school or program by the beginning of the 1996-97 school year will be entitled to receive magnet start-up costs.

To continue to be eligible for magnet costs, schools that had been in operation as a magnet for 3 or more years at the end of the 1994-95 school year must meet their court-ordered county white enrollment target of 12%. Magnet schools that have not commenced before the 1995-96 school year or have not yet been in operation for 3 years at the conclusion of the 1994-95 school year must also meet their court-ordered percentage of county white students upon completion of their third year as a magnet.

Any magnet schools that fail to attract or retain court-ordered county white enrollments in 2 successive years will have their state funding from the magnet funding formula reduced by one-- half. In the succeeding year, any such school will have its funding reduced to 25% of such funding. In the second succeeding year, any such district will receive normal state funding. Beginning in school year 2000-01, state funding for all St. Louis magnet schools will be reduced according to this schedule.

Beginning in the 1997-98 school year, the voluntary inter-- district transfer program (VIDT) will be reduced by one-half to approximately 7,500 students. No new city students will be accepted into the program until this level is achieved. The reduced level will be maintained through the 2000-01 school year when the state may terminate its support. However, no action will be taken that prohibits city students enrolled in the program from graduating from participating suburban districts.

The state is required to pay the St. Louis school district an amount equal to its savings from reduced VIDT transportation and tuition costs realized in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 school years to compensate for increased enrollments in city schools. State payments for VIDT students attending vocational schools will continue for five years. In the 2000-01 school year such payments will be reduced to 50% of the amount expended in the 1999-2000 school year. In the 2002-03 school year such payments will be reduced to 25% of the 1999-2000 payment and will be discontinued in subsequent years.

Any reduction in the amount the state appropriates for school desegregation that is attributable to this bill is to be annually appropriated to St. Louis school districts. One-half of this amount is to be used for capital improvement and student resources in the St. Louis Public School District. The remaining one-half is to be equally divided between the district for student job training and the cooperating suburban school districts for VIDT phase-out costs.