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Reimagining Education

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Bills to watch in 2020

The landscape for education legislation in Missouri in 2020 is beginning to take shape!

Here is a rundown of the education reform bills that have been pre-filed at this point.

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

Two bills have been filed (one in the House and one in the Senate) that would create Missouri’s first Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program.

With an ESA, families would no longer be limited to the offerings of their assigned neighborhood schools. Instead, they would have the freedom to customize the best learning environment for their child based on their needs.

In the House, Rep. Phil Cristofanelli has filed HB 1733. This bill would create an ESA program for any student living in a county with a charter form of government or any city with at least 30,000 residents.

Sen. Andrew Koenig’s SB 707, creates a similar program but limits student eligibility to students with special needs, students in foster care, students of military personnel and students who have been bullied.

Charter school legislation

There have already been a lot of bills filed for 2020 that deal with a variety of issues surrounding charter schools, some that would expand educational opportunity and others that would have a devastating impact on Missouri’s successful charter school sector.

Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin and Sen. Bill Eigel have filed bills, SB 603 and SB 649, that would expand where charter schools can be created to cities with a population of 30,000 or greater or charter counties. These bills also address charter school admissions and charter school funding.

Sen. Ed Emery and Rep. Holly Rehder have both filed bills, SB 525 and HB 1487 that would allow the creation of a charter school in the Kansas City area that would only serve students in recovery from substance abuse.

Sen. Emery has also filed two other charter related bills. SB 527 is a comprehensive bill that addresses a variety of issues including regulating charter sponsors and charter school contracts. SB 734 addresses the charter school funding gap and ensures that charter school students get the same funding as district students. In the House, Rep. Doug Richey has filed HB 1664 which also addresses charter school funding.

Two bills have been filed that would have a negative impact on charter schools.

Sen. Gary Romine, a long-time opponent of charter schools, has filed a bill that would essentially phase out the very idea of charter schools in Missouri. His bill, SB 534, would erase 20 years of charter school successes in Kansas City and St. Louis City.

In the House, Rep. Crystal Quade, has filed HB 1479 which would limit the ability for new charter schools to open. Her bill adds an additional requirement for any new charter school to be approved by voters in the school district after receiving approval from the state.

Other education reform bills

Rep. Cristofanelli has filed HB 1732 that would more clearly define superintendent contracts, and limit the severance package paid to any superintendent who is terminated for cause.

Rep. Judy Morgan has filed HJR 73 which proposes a constitutional amendment to increase the minimum amount of state revenue spent on education from 25% to 33%.

Other education bills

  • HB1262 – Requires school districts to provide instruction in cursive writing
  • HB1275 – Changes the laws regarding school reporting requirements to law enforcement
  • HB1279 – Requires school districts to implement policies requiring accommodations for breast-feeding mothers
  • HB1280 – Creates new provisions relating to the Missouri school improvement program
  • HB1281 – Modifies provisions relating to school suspensions
  • HB1298 – Modifies provisions relating to school teacher and employee retirement allowances
  • HB1301 – Modifies provisions relating to school protection officers
  • HB1304 – Prohibits the use of a hand-held wireless communication device within a school zone
  • HB1317 – Modifies provisions relating to services and programs for gifted children
  • HB1318 – Allows school districts to install and operate school bus safety cameras to detect violations that require a driver to stop for a school bus that is receiving or discharging students
  • HB1336 – Requires each local school district and charter school to have on file a policy for reading success plans for certain students
  • HB1345 – Allows school districts to offer elective social studies courses on the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament
  • HB1346 – Requires school districts to display “In God We Trust” in prominent locations in all schools
  • HB1349 – Requires all students attending public high schools to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before graduating
  • HB1350 – Specifies that a school board may vote to remove its operating levy from a certain definition related to tax increment financing for redevelopment projects
  • HB1470 – Requires teachers and principals to complete two hours of suicide prevention education each school year
  • HB1480 – Authorizes Greene County and any city within the county to, upon voter approval, levy a sales tax dedicated to early childhood education programs
  • HB1490 – Requires school districts to implement policies requiring accommodations for breast-feeding mothers
  • HB1537 – Modifies provisions relating to prefilled epinephrine auto syringes in schools
  • HB1540 – Permits recording of IEP or Section 504 meetings by a student’s parent or legal guardian
  • HB1561 – Allows students to apply sunscreen at school
  • HB1565 – Modifies provisions governing school district course materials or instruction on human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases
  • HB1575 – Requires children in the City of St. Louis and Kansas City school districts to enroll in a school by the age of five
  • HB1624 – Establishes a “Council for Community Education” within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • HB1625 – Creates subdistricts within certain school districts
  • HB1636 – Allows schools with a four-day school week to set an opening date more than fourteen days before the first Monday in September
  • HB1661 – Creates subdistricts within certain school districts
  • HB1682 – Prohibits vapor product usage in indoor areas of public schools or on school buses
  • HB1729 – Modifies provisions relating to school bus registration fees
  • HB1803 – Establishes the offenses of harassment of a school or recreation athletic official and entry or remaining on site of a school or recreation athletic contest after being forbidden
  • HB1808 – Requires school districts to include instruction on the use and effects of vapor products
  • SB528 – Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to transfer any excess foundation formula funding to the School Transportation Fund
  • SB536 – Requires the State Board of Education and the Career and Technical Advisory Committee to establish a statewide plan for career and technical education certificates
  • SB582 – Allows school districts and charter schools to receive state school funding under the foundation formula for high school students who are taking competency-based credit
  • SB626 – Requires every school in the St. Louis City school district to use a response-to-intervention tiered approach to reading instruction for students struggling to read
  • SB627 – Creates seven subdistricts within the St. Louis City school district
  • SB645 – Requires school districts with a certain number of gifted students to establish a state-approved program for such students
  • SB660 – Authorizes the Gasconade R-II school district, which crosses county boundaries, to use the county that yields the highest dollar value modifier under the school foundation formula
  • SB751 – Prohibits any rule or regulation from requiring authorized common carriers to provide restroom facilities unless the length of the trip exceeds the length of the school district’s longest bus route
  • SB755 – Exempts information pertaining to the salaries and benefits of certain members of the Board of the Public School Retirement System (PSRS) from confidentiality
  • SB786 – Modifies provisions governing school district and charter school course materials and instruction on human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases
  • SB787 – Requires all public and charter schools, and institutions of higher education to print the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on either side of student identification cards
  • SB582 – Allows school districts and charter schools to receive state school funding under the foundation formula for high school students who are taking competency-based credit

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