MSTA continues to track bills that have passed at least one chamber
As bills continue to advance through the legislature, the end date for this year’s session is quickly approaching. With six weeks left in the session, below you will find a list of bills that have received the approval of at least one chamber. All bills listed below will need to pass in both chambers, and if changes are made, they will need to be adopted in the chamber where the bill originated or both sides will meet to adopt a compromise version of the bill. If passed, they will be sent to the governor for his consideration. The legislative session concludes on May 14 at 6:00 p.m.
HB151 (Shields) allows a school district that enters into an agreement with another district to share a superintendent to receive an additional $30,000 per year in state aid for up to five years. The bill directs districts to spend the additional compensation and half of the savings from sharing a superintendent on teacher salaries or counseling services. The bill also provides a definition for a “school innovation team” and for a “school innovation waiver” and allows school innovation teams to submit a plan to the State Board of Education for a state innovation waiver for a variety of purposes.
HB228 (Basye) prevents any public school district and charter school from prohibiting a parent or guardian from audio recording any meeting held under the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or a Section 504 plan meeting (Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973).
HB306 (Griesheimer) requires school districts and charter schools to establish a state-approved gifted program if 3 percent or more of the students are determined to be gifted. Districts and charter schools with average daily attendance of more than 350 students are required to have a teacher certificated to teach gifted education. In districts with an average daily attendance of 350 or less any teachers providing gifted instruction are not be required to be certified to teach gifted education but must participate in six hours per year of professional development.
HB349 (Christofanelli) would allow any taxpayer who contributes to the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program to claim a tax credit equal to 100 percent of the total contribution to fund a new voucher program in Missouri. Under the bill, the voucher program would begin at $50 million in the first year and could ultimately expand to $75 million each year. The legislation would allow new non-profit organizations called Education Assistance Organizations to oversee the distribution of public funds.
For students to qualify for the program, they must be a resident of a county with a charter form of government, or any city with a population of at least 30,000 and either have an individualized education plan or come from a household whose total income does not exceed 200 percent of the income standard used to quality for free and reduced price lunches. The student must also have attended a public school for at least one semester during the previous year or is eligible to begin kindergarten or first grade.
Based on MSTA Adopted Resolutions, MSTA testified in opposition to HB349 and continues to oppose new voucher programs that allow public dollars to be spent on private education. Missouri students, parents and taxpayers demand accountability and local control of the tax dollars that are spent in public education. HB349 would allow taxpayer monies to go to private institutions that have no oversight from Missouri citizens or elected officials.
HB387 (Bailey) defines restraint and seclusion and requires school districts, charter schools, or publicly contracted private providers to include in policy a prohibition on the use of restraint and seclusion, including prone restraint as defined by the bill, for any purpose other than situations or conditions in which there is imminent danger of physical harm to self or others. Any incident requiring restraint or seclusion shall be monitored by school personnel with written observation.
HB543 (Pollitt) would allow open enrollment of students in Missouri public schools. The legislation would dramatically change Missouri’s public school enrollment policies by allowing K-12 students to attend a school in a nonresident district. The bill creates a parent public school choice fund that would reimburse parents for the costs of transportation of the student enrolled in a nonresident district and reimburse districts for certain special education costs. The reimbursement rate for transportation costs would be calculated by the round-trip distance from the residence of the parent or guardian to the nearest nonresident districts bus stop location and calculated at 37 cents per mile. This fund would be created with a one-time $30 million appropriation from the General Assembly.
School districts would not be required to accept nonresident students into the program. In the first two years of the program, districts could limit transfers out of the district to a maximum of 5 percent of the previous year’s enrollment. After two years, a district could not limit students’ ability to leave the district. The bill outlines the time frame for students to enroll in a nonresident district. Districts that accept transfer students are not required to provide special education services for children who do not reside in the school district if they determine that the school is unable to provide appropriate special education services. If a nonresident student receives special education services at the transfer school, the nonresident school will receive reimbursement from the parent public school choice fund for the costs of the special educational services for a student with an IEP, if such funds are available.
Districts that participate in open enrollment may limit the number of students that they allow to transfer into the district by adopting a policy that outlines the standards for acceptance and rejection of transfer applications, including building capacity and class-size limitations. The program would begin in the 2022-23 school year.
MSTA opposes this legislation. MSTA Adopted Resolutions support each local school district developing a written policy for transfer and assignment of students within a district and to any other school district. In states where open enrollment has existed, including Iowa, there has been a trend toward consolidation of rural schools. The sponsor of the legislation admitted during debate that school consolidation is a possible outcome from this new program.
HB811 (R. Black) This bill will allow retired PSRS members working in PEERS positions to earn up to the annual earnings limit applicable to a Social Security recipient. The bill expands critical shortage employees to work for four years instead of two years and reinstates the 2.55 percent retirement benefit factor for PSRS members who have 32 years or more of service.
SB152 (Hoskins) establishes the Show Me Success Diploma Program as an alternative pathway to graduation for high school students. Students may earn the Show Me Success Diploma beginning at the end of a student’s 10th grade year. The bill establishes the Competency-Based Education Grant Program. DESE will 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. Also included in the bill is a requirement that if 3 percent or more of students enrolled in a school district or charter school are determined to be gifted, the district or charter school is required to establish a state-approved gifted program for gifted children. The bill also requires individualized health care plans to be developed by school district nurses in consultation with a student’s parent or guardian and appropriate medical professionals that address procedural guidelines and specific directions for particular emergency situations relating to the student’s epilepsy or seizure disorder.
House Approves budget
The House finalized their work on the state budget and sent it to the Senate for their consideration.
The House version of the budget fully funds the school foundation formula and also includes an additional $2.5 million for school transportation above the governor’s recommendations. The bill includes $2.5 million for a Reading Literacy Program for St. Louis and $200,000 for the Missouri Scholars and Fine Arts Academies. An additional $2 million was added for Parent Education Development Screening to help screen young children for delayed development and provide assistance.
Two controversial provisions remained in the bill. First is $2 million for an organization in the city of St. Louis that is focused on improving public schools by investing in strategic planning, data analysis, teacher and leadership development, and school and district redesign. This money will most likely go to The Opportunity Trust, that is an out of state organization that is meddling in the operation of the St. Louis Public Schools as well as the Normandy school district. The goal of The Opportunity Trust is to undermine public education and work toward the privations of schools. The second controversial section designates $5 million for deferred maintenance for charter schools.
Finally, language was added to the bill would reduce federal funds available under the Cares Act if a district did not have in-person learning for 45 percent of the time. Schools that did not meet this threshold would see their available federal funds reduced by 10 percent.
Specific budget items that remained unchanged include:
- $8.5 million increase in funding over last year to fully fund the school foundation formula
- $1 million for School Innovative Waiver Program to improve student readiness and teacher recruitment and development.
- $8.4 million for Early Childhood Special Education
- $4.3 million in federal funds to implement a comprehensive literacy program
- $2 million for Early Childhood Development, Education and Care Fund for parent education and developmental screenings
- $1.36 million to begin a phased approach to enhance school improvement efforts
Workforce development legislation allowing waivers for districts heard in both Senate and House committees
SB265 (Eslinger) was heard and voted do pass out of the Senate Education Committee this week. The bill would allow districts to apply for school innovation waivers, addresses student academic plans, mandates completion of the free application for federal student aid, and makes modifications to work after retirement provisions for PSRS/PEERS.
SB265 would allow districts to form school intervention teams that would submit a state innovation waiver to the State Board of Education for the purposes of 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.
A school innovation waiver granted by the State Board would allow schools or districts to be exempt from certain requirements imposed by current law or state regulation. Any school innovation waiver granted to a school district or group of school districts shall be applicable to every elementary and secondary school within the school district or group of school districts if outlined in the plan.
Any waiver granted under this act shall be effective for no longer than three school years, but school innovation waivers may be renewed. The State Board is not authorized to grant a waiver for any statutory requirements relating to teacher certification, teacher tenure, or any requirement imposed by federal law.
The bill also includes language that requires all students to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), unless they have committed to enlist in the armed forces of the United States.
Under the bill, current work after retirement changes would be made to the PSRS/PEERS system that would allow for the current critical shortage provision to allow a school district to hire a superintendent under critical shortage, and allow retirees serving in a critical shortage position to work up to four years instead of the current
MSTA testified in support of the legislation, allowing districts greater flexibility to meet the needs of students, while ensuring protections to Missouri education professionals. Retirement changes in the bill would benefit students, teachers and maintain the strength and security of the retirement system.
SB265 is substantially similar to HB101 (Pollitt) which was voted do pass out of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee this week.
House Elementary and Secondary Education
HB64 (Pike) Currently, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will reimburse school districts for the costs of special education for high-needs children with an individualized education program exceeding three times the current expenditure per average daily attendance as calculated on the District Annual Secretary of the Board Report for the year in which the expenditures are claimed. The bill states that any money reimbursed to a school district with 500 or less students is excluded from such calculation. This bill specifies that a school district must submit the cost of serving any high-needs student with an IEP to DESE.
HB465 (Pike) allows the professional development training in youth suicide awareness and prevention to contain at least one unit relating to stress management strategies for students and faculty. MSTA testified in support.
HB872 (Pike) Beginning with the 2021-22 school term a school district’s half day education programs will only make up days or hours of school that are required of the district due to inclement weather on a proportional basis. MSTA testified in support.
HB580 (Riggs) requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to submit an annual report to the General Assembly beginning on June 30, 2022. The report will indicate the number of elementary and secondary students who reside in a residence with limited or no access to the Internet. The report must indicate the total number of pupils statewide and by school district. Voted do pass.
HB581 (Riggs) establishes the “21st Century Missouri Education Task Force.” The mission of the Task Force is outlined in the bill and includes, but is not limited to, evaluation of current educational process and funding including the use of technology and artificial intelligence to improve student outcomes. The Task Force will make recommendations for legislation as well as submit a report outlining a summary of task force activities to the General Assembly before August 28, 2022. Voted do pass with committee substitute.
HB608 (E. Lewis) provides a new four-year certification method for individuals that want to substitute teach. The State Board of Education will issue certificates with a background check and a sponsorship by a public school district. Applicants for certification must also have at least 36 college hours or have completed a 20-hour online training and have a high school diploma or equivalency. Individuals must also complete a two-hour orientation containing instruction on classroom management and developed by the district that sponsors them. Voted do pass with committee substitute.
HB101 (Pollitt) see earlier story. Voted do pass with committee substitute.
HB828 (Dinkins) reinstates the 2.55 percent multiplier for Public School Retirement System of Missouri members who have 32 or more years of creditable service. Voted do pass with committee substitute.
SB259 (O’Laughlin) allows a recovery charter high school to be operated in an urban school district containing most or all of Kansas City. A recovery high school is defined as a charter school for students in grades nine through twelve who are in recovery from substance use disorder or dependency. Such charter school must educate all available eligible students who are in recovery from substance use disorder, substance dependency, or co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); must meet state requirements for awarding a high school diploma; and must support students in working a strong program of recovery.
SB265 (Eslinger) see above story. MSTA testified in support.
SB259 (O’Laughlin) see summary above. Voted do pass with committee substitute.
SB265 (Eslinger) see story above. Voted do pass.
SB218 (Luetkemeyer) modifies the calculation of the amount a school district with one or more pupils attending a charter school shall pay to the charter school. 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 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. Voted do pass with committee substitute.