SB695 (Wallingford), an MSTA legislative priority was approved by the Senate and sent to the House. SB695 would require the governor to appoint a teacher representative to the State Board of Education. The teacher representative would attend all board meetings and participate in deliberations. However, the teacher representative would not have the right to vote on any matter or be counted for purposes of establishing a quorum. The teacher representative must be a resident of Missouri and be certified to teach, have at least five years of teaching experience, employed full time as a teacher in the state and not be on leave. The teacher must also have the written support of his or her local school board.
The teacher representative would serve a four-year term and future appointments would be made in a rotation from each Congressional district, beginning with the First Congressional District and then progressing in numerical order. In the event of a vacancy in the position of teacher representative, the governor would appoint a replacement by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The teacher representative would not be permitted to participate in closed meetings of the board, unless authorized by the seated members of the board. The bill includes a sunset date of Aug. 28, 2026, unless renewed by the legislature.
Currently, the board is made up of eight citizens appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Members serve staggered, eight-year terms so that one term expires each year. No more than four members of the board may belong to the same political party. No more than one member of the board may reside in the same county or Congressional district. When terms expire, members continue to serve until being replaced or reappointed.
Sen. Gary Romine added an amendment to the bill to include language from SB794, also supported by MSTA. The language in the amendment would make important changes to the appointment process and incorporate greater accountability and input from the Missouri Senate in the appointment process. When the Senate is not in session, appointments made by the governor would not be allowed to be sworn into office until the Senate is notified in writing, and the governor is prohibited from withdrawing or rescinding the appointment unless such action is authorized by the Missouri Senate.
The amendment also adds language that would prohibit the appointment of more than two “independent” members to the State Board of Education. At any meeting of the board, five members who have received the advice and consent of the Senate would be necessary to constitute a quorum to conduct business. Appointees are also required to be sworn in during open session of the board and the oath of office must be administered by the president or vice president of the board.
This week the Senate gave initial approval to SB603 (Onder) that changes the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MoVIP) to The Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program and allows any eligible student to enroll in program courses of his or her choice to be paid by the school district or charter school. The student must have been enrolled full-time in a public school, including a public charter school, for at least one semester immediately prior to enrolling in the program. The course must also be approved by the school principal.
A school district or charter school shall pay 14 percent of the state adequacy target for any single year-long course and no more than 7 percent of the state adequacy target for any single semester-long course. School districts and charter schools may negotiate with the course providers for a lower cost. Payment for a full-time virtual school student shall not exceed the state adequacy target. If a student who is a candidate for A+ tuition reimbursement enrolls in a course under the act, the school shall attribute no less than 95 percent attendance to any such student who has completed such course. Individual learning plans must be developed for all students enrolled in more than two full-time program courses.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will establish an authorization process for course providers and authorize those providers that submit all necessary information and offer courses that align to state academic standards. The bill also requires the State Board of Education to provide an easily accessible link for course vendors on the program website, allowing anyone to submit a course for approval. The bill requires vendors to accept monthly payments for students enrolled in their courses. Courses already approved through MoVIP will automatically be authorized to participate in the program.
The Senate will need to take a final vote on the bill after a fiscal review before it is sent to the House for consideration.
This week the Senate Education Committee held hearings on bills dealing with teacher certification and improving access to early childhood education.
HB1665 (Swan) would allow the State Board of Education to grant an initial visiting scholar certificate as a license to teach in public schools. The applicant must be employed in a content area in which the individual has an academic degree or professional experience.
He or she may only teach classes for ninth grade or higher and the hiring school district must verify that the applicant will be employed as part of a business-education partnership initiative designed to build career pathways systems for students. The certificate will last for one year and the applicant can renew it a maximum of two times if certain requirements are met.
SB728 (Wallingford) allows children who attend early childhood education programs that are under contract with school districts or charter schools that have declared themselves as a local education agency to be included in the average daily attendance of the school district or charter school.
This bill is designed to help a small portion of school districts that want to have early childhood education programs, but don’t have the space necessary for a quality program, to enter into a contract with a provider for these services and still allow the district to receive state aid.
HB2411 (Pike) was presented in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. This bill defines a school librarian as a teacher who holds a certificate to teach and is certified as a library media specialist by DESE. A school library information and technology program is defined in the bill as a school-based program that is staffed by a school librarian and provides a broad, flexible array of services, resources, and instruction that support student mastery of the essential academic learning requirements and state standards in all subject areas and the implementation of any school improvement plan of the district. School boards would be required to provide adequate resources and materials for the operation of school library information and technology programs for the proper education of the district’s students. The school librarian through the school library information technology and technology program will collaborate as an instructional partner to help all students meet their goals and help high school students in developing plans for graduation from high school and higher education institutions.
The school librarian’s duties may include but are not limited to collaborating with schools to integrate information and technology into curriculum and instruction, providing information management instruction, helping teachers and students access the highest quality information, instructing students in digital citizenship, and creating a culture of reading in the school community.
Prior to July 1, 2019, DESE is required to develop a process for recognizing a school district’s school library information and technology program. MSTA resolutions support a full-time certified library/media specialist per attendance center to provide library-specific programs. MSTA testified in support of the bill.
MSTA members might notice some major exterior changes during upcoming Capitol visits. Phase II of the $40 million State Capitol Project will continue until late 2020. The south lawn will be closed and turned into a construction staging area to store heavy equipment and materials. The south circle drive will also be closed to the public. Visitor access will remain at the south side first floor door that faces High Street, commonly referred to as the carriage entrance. Parking will be further stressed with these changes, and members are encouraged to arrive in Jefferson City early to secure parking and get through security before your scheduled visit. This will be the first major construction project at the Capitol since it was completed in 1917.
Information regarding parking and tips for your visit can be found at msta.org/capitol-visits.
HB1348 (Black) specifies that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall handle career and technical student organization funds as it deems necessary.
HB1387 (Spencer) allows school districts to be excused from compliance, including withholding designated professional development money, in the event of withholding of funds by the governor. MSTA testified in opposition.
HB1861 (Dohrman) requires every superintendent and assistant superintendent to enter into a written employment contract with a school district before beginning employment. The requirements of the contract are described within the bill.
HB2129 (Cookson) requires that beginning in school year 2019-20, students in public or charter high schools shall receive 30 minutes of instruction providing information on decisions about organ, eye, and tissue donation before graduation. Schools shall include the instruction in any existing curriculum for a subject selected by the school. Instruction shall be based on a program established by Gift of Life, Inc. or a nationally recognized program that provides unbiased information on organ, eye, and tissue donation.
HB2192 (Redmon) authorizes the treasurer of a seven-director school district, when entering into a bond to the State of Missouri, to use one or more sureties instead of the two or more sureties required by current law.
HB2411 (Pike) see related story on school librarians.
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