EDUCATION & SCHOOL LAW
SB 450 – Provides that any school district in St. Charles County that becomes an urban school district because of the 2010 federal decennial census will retain terms of three years for its school board members. In addition, school board member elections will continue to be held at the general municipal election in April of each year. Contains an emergency clause. (Signed 4/2/12)
HCS/SCS/SB 562 - Allows the board of governors of Missouri Western, the University of Central Missouri, Missouri State University, Missouri Southern State University; the board of regents of Southeast Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University, or Harris-Stowe State University; or the board of curators of Lincoln University to convey or transfer the title to certain real property, except in fee simple, without authorization from the General Assembly until August 28, 2017. (Signed 7/5/12)
HCS/SCS/SB 563 - Modifies provisions relating to higher education.
MISSOURI HIGHER EDUCATION SAVINGS PROGRAM - Requires the board of the Missouri Higher Education Savings Program to study investment plans of other states. The board must contract with or negotiate to provide benefit options like other states’ qualified plans for the purpose of offering additional options for members of the plan for any new contracts entered into after August 28, 2012.
Other topics addressed by the bill include:
ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE RESEARCH PROJECTS
CREATION OF A HIGHER EDUCATION CAPITAL FUND - The General Assembly may appropriate moneys to the fund to provide matching funds to public colleges or universities for capital projects.
CREATION OF A MISSOURI SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS INITIATIVE
AUTHORIZATION FOR ACCREDITED MISSOURI COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TO ISSUE A DOCUMENT THAT VERIFIES AND ACKNOWLEDGES COMPLETION OF A SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK PROGRAM
This section contains an emergency clause.
QUALIFICATIONS OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY BOAD OF REGENTS - This section contains an emergency clause.
TERMS OF MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF GOVERNORS - Currently, six of the nine members’ terms of the Missouri State University board of governors expire in 2011.
This section contains an emergency clause.
CHANGES IN LAWS RELATING TO TITLE TO SCHOOL PROPERTY FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICTS
HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION LICENSE PLATES - Only a community college, four-year public or private institution of higher education, or foundation or organization representing the institution located in Missouri may itself authorize, or by the director of revenue be authorized, to use the school’s official emblem to be affixed on multiyear personalized license plates. This act also requires applications for certain license plates be reviewed in the same legislative session in which the application is reviewed.
VIRTUAL NETWORK FOR ENTREPRENEURS (MERVN) - Requires Missouri small business technology development centers to manage a virtual network for entrepreneurs.
AUTHORIZATION FOR LAND CONVEYANCES BY MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF GOVERNORS (Signed 7/5/12)
SS/SCS/SB 576 - Modifies laws governing charter schools. The State Auditor may audit any charter school in the same manner as any agency of the state.
In addition to the St. Louis City and Kansas City School Districts, charter schools may be operated in unaccredited districts. Charter schools may be operated in districts accredited without provisions if under specified circumstances. Sponsorship provisions are modified.
In an unaccredited or provisionally accredited district where a charter school is sponsored by an entity other than the local school board, when the district becomes classified as accredited, a charter school may continue to be sponsored by the entity sponsoring it prior to the classification of accreditation. Such a school will not be limited to the local school board as a sponsor.
The mayor of St. Louis City may request a two-year private vocational or technical school or the Missouri Charter Public School Commission to sponsor a workplace charter school.
When a charter school chooses to affiliate with a four-year college or university, the college or university will no longer be required to be located within the county in which the school district lies or in an adjacent county.
A charter school sponsor must develop policies and procedures for the following: the review of a charter school proposal; the granting of a charter; the performance framework of a charter; the renewal, revocation, and nonrenewal processes; additional criteria for oversight of the charter; and procedures to be used when a school closes. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is required to provide guidance to sponsors in developing these procedures and policies.
Currently, the State Board may suspend a sponsor’s ability to sponsor a school for a period of one year. This act modifies the State Board’s existing monitoring and suspension authority and instead requires the State Board to evaluate sponsors, as described in the act, to determine compliance with sponsorship standards every three years. If the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education determines that a sponsor is in material noncompliance with sponsorship duties, it must be notified and given remediation time. If compliance does not improve, the Commissioner of Education must conduct a public hearing and recommend corrective action to the State Board of Education. The State Board will have final determination over corrective action. If the State Board removes sponsorship authority for any currently operating charter school, the Missouri Charter Public School Commission will become the school’s sponsor.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must establish an annual application and approval process for all entities eligible to sponsor charter schools. Ail information and guidelines for eligible sponsors must be made available by November 1, 2012.
Modifies the framework of a charter school’s charter. The charter will be a legally binding performance contract that describes the obligations and responsibilities of the school and the sponsor This act modifies the definition of “high risk” student.
This act eliminates judicial review for the disapproval of a charter.
Charter schools must conduct a background check of education personnel, including through the employee criminal history background check and the Family Care Safety Registry.
Charter schools with local educational agency status must comply with all federal audit requirements for such charters.
Charter schools must establish baseline student performance during the first year of operation and collect student performance data, as described in the act, throughout the duration of the charter to annually monitor student academic performance, based upon grade levels offered by the school.
The performance standards for alternative and special purpose charter schools that target high-risk students must be based on measures defined in the school’s performance contract with its sponsors.
Charter schools are required to comply with all applicable federal and state special education laws including IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Allows proposed or existing high risk or alternative charter schools to include alternative arrangements for students to obtain credits for satisfying graduation requirements in the charter application and charter. Alternative arrangements may include credit for off-campus instruction, embedded credit, work experience, independent studies, and performance-based credit options. Upon approval of the charter by the State Board of Education, any alternative arrangements will be approved at the same time.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must conduct a study of any such charter school granted alternative arrangements for students to obtain credit to assess student performance, graduation rates, educational outcomes, and entry into the workforce or higher education.
Removes the requirement that a charter school become a local educational agency for the sale purpose of direct access to federal grants and allows the school to become an agency if the sponsor and the governing board reach a written agreement to become an agency.
Sponsors must annually review the charter school’s compliance with statutory standards including statewide assessment participation, completion of the annual report card, data collection, a method to measure pupil progress, and publication of the charter school’s annual performance report. Sponsors must have intervention policies to give schools notice of contract violations or performance deficiencies, as described in the act. A sponsor must have a policy to revoke a charter if there is evidence of underperformance or a violation of the law or the public trust that imperils students or public funds, as described in the act.
Limits the length of probationary status for a charter school to no more than twelve months, provided that no more than one designation of probationary status is allowed for the duration of the charter contract.
Removes judicial review of a sponsor’s final decision to revoke a charter. Instead, the decision to revoke a charter will be subject to an appeal to the State Board of Education, which must then determine whether the charter will be revoked.
Sponsors must conduct a renewal process of charter schools based on objective evidence, as described in the act, including annual performance report results. Beginning August 1 during the year in which a charter is up for renewal, a sponsor must demonstrate to the State Board of Education that the charter school is in compliance with federal and state law and the school’s performance contract, including academic performance requirements. The sponsor must also submit a revised charter application to the State Board of Education, which must determine if the sponsor has demonstrated compliance. If compliance is demonstrated, the State Board must renew the charter.
Requires charter schools whose mission includes student drop-out prevention or recovery to enroll nonresident pupils from the same or an adjacent county who reside in residential care facilities, transitional living group homes, or independent living programs whose last school of enrollment is in the school district where the charter school is established, who submit a timely application. Charter alternative and special purpose schools may also give a preference for admission to high-risk students, as defined, when the school targets these students through its proposed mission, curriculum, teaching methods, and services.
Charter schools may limit admission based on gender if the school is a single-gender school.
If a student attending a charter school moves so that he or she no longer lives in the school district where charter schools may operate, he or she may complete the current semester at the charter school and will be considered a resident student. The parent or legal guardian will be responsible for the student’s transportation.
If a change in school district boundary lines occurs so that a student no longer lives in a school district, or if action by the State Board of Education occurs under Section 162.081 where charter schools may operate, the student may complete the current academic year at the charter school. The parent or legal guardian will be responsible for the student’s transportation.
The Foster Care Bill of Rights will apply to charter schools.
Contains requirements to be included in a request for proposals if a proposed charter school intends to contract with an education services provider for substantial educational services, management services, or both.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education may withhold funding at an adequate level during a charter school’s last year of operation until the Department determines that school records, liabilities, and reporting requirements, including a full audit, are satisfied.
By October 1, 2012, and each October 1 thereafter, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must identify charter schools experiencing financial stress using information from the report required by Section 162.821.
Parameters for financial stress are defined in the act.
By November 1, the sponsor must notify the governing board of a charter school if it is identified as experiencing financial stress. The governing board must develop and approve a budget and education plan, which must be submitted to the sponsor within forty-five days. Requirements for what must be included in the plan are described in the act. The sponsor may make suggestions to improve the plan.
The Department may withhold any payment of financial aid until such time as the charter school is in compliance with these requirements.
In addition to existing criminal background check requirements, charter schools must ensure that a Family Care Safety Registry check is conducted for employees.
Creates the Missouri Charter Public School Commission. It will have nine members, all appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate
The Commission may approve proposed charters for its sponsorship, as described in the act. (Signed 6/27/12)
HCS/SS/SCS/SB 595 - Transfers the administration of special education due process hearings from the State Board of Education to the Administrative Hearing Commission. Prohibits commissioners who conduct due process hearings from having previously worked for a school district, an organization engaged in special education parent and student advocacy, the State Board of Education, or the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, either as an employee or as an independent contractor or consultant, within the last five years. A commissioner also cannot have performed work for a parent or a student as a special education advocate within the last five years or been a party to a special education proceeding as an attorney, parent or child. The Administrative Hearing Commission must conform to all practices, procedures, filing deadlines, and response times of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act when conducting due process hearings.
At least three of the commissioners must be trained in special education law, who will be the only commissioners to hear special education matters. Required training of these commissioners is specified.
When a commissioner renders a final decision, it cannot be amended or modified.
This act contains an emergency clause for Sections 621.253 and 621.255. (Signed 7/5/12)
CCS/SB 599 – (See also SSC/HCS/SCS/SB 635) Modifies provisions relating to education. Include provisions relating to:
GIFTED EDUCATION NOTICE TO COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT - A report of any child abuse arising from school personnel following district’s policy on spanking or the use of reasonable force to protect person or property. Investigation must be conducted by the law enforcement in the county.
PROCEEDS OF THE DOE RUN SETTLEMENT
STANDARDS FOR AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS (See also CCS/HCS/SCS/SB 631)
CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION INSTRUCTION - By public and charter schools serving grades nine through twelve.
CAREER AND TECHNICAL STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND EDUCATION - Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide staffing support, including statewide coordination for career and technical student organizations, for career and technical education programs approved by the department.
This act contains an emergency clause for Section 1. (Signed 7/10/12)
CCS/SS/SB 665 – Allows community college districts to only own real property within their boundaries. (Signed 7/10/12)
SCS/HCS/HB 1042 - Modifies provisions relating to higher education. Includes provisions relating to the:
COORDINATING BOARD FOR HIGHER EDUCATION - THE NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF REGENTS and the MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF GOVERNORS (Signed 6/7/12)
HB 1188 -Allows school boards to authorize a school nurse to maintain a supply of asthma-related rescue medications at the school. A school nurse or other employee trained and supervised by the nurse may use the medication on a student he or she believes to be having a life-threatening asthma episode. A trained employee will be held harmless from civil liability if the medication is administered in good faith and according to standard medical practices. (Signed 7/5/12)
HB 1577 -Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to ensure that school districts implement specific criteria relating to the enrollment of foster care children.
School districts will be required to: facilitate the timely enrollment of foster care children; facilitate the student placement process so that foster care children are not disadvantaged by variations between school districts; facilitate the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic, and social activities; facilitate the on-time graduation of foster care children; provide for uniform collection and sharing of information between and among schools, foster care children, and families; and promote flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, foster parents, and the student to achieve educational success for the student.
When a foster care student transfers before or during the school year, the receiving school district must initially honor the placement of the student in educational courses based on the student’s enrollment or assessments conducted in the sending district. The receiving district may perform subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement. The receiving district must initially provide comparable services to a foster care student with disabilities based on his or her current IEP and provide accommodations under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The receiving district may conduct subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement.
Schools must waive specific courses required for graduation if similar course work has been satisfactorily completed in another school or provide reasonable justification for denial of a waiver. If the school district does not grant a waiver, it must provide an alternative means of acquiring required course work so graduation may occur on time. Receiving schools must accept end-of-course exams required for graduation from the sending school, national norm-referenced achievement tests, or alternative testing in lieu of testing requirements for graduation.
If a foster care student transfers at the beginning or during the senior and is ineligible to graduate from the receiving school, the sending and receiving school must grant a diploma to the student from the sending school, provided the student meets the sending school’s graduation requirements. (Signed 6/25/12)
SCS/HCS/HB 1789 - Modifies provisions relating to travel hardships of public school students. Prohibits a current or retired school administrator from serving on a board of arbitration to determine whether to move a school district boundary line. For any pupil who was assigned to another district based on a transportation hardship by the Commissioner of Education prior to August 28, 2012, the assignment will apply to the pupil’s siblings and also remain in effect until the pupil completes the course of study in the receiving district. (Vetoed 6/27/12)