Missouri State Senate Sends Student Transfer Bill to House

MO State Capitol

Last week, the Missouri State Senate passed SB 493 regarding student transfers from unaccredited districts.  The bill was heavily amended from the version first introduced.  In addition to a committee substitute being presented, the bill also added 17 of 20 amendments during debate on the Senate floor.  An amendment offered by Senate Maria Chappelle- Nadal, and adopted by the Senate, changed the charter school accreditation provisions in the original bill.  Rather than the State Board of Education accrediting charter schools the sponsor will now create a system of accreditation consider the following:

  • The charter school’s compliance with terms of the charter school’s legally binding performance contract.
  • The charter school’s annual performance report results based on performance standards; graduation rate, if applicable to the school; participation in the statewide assessment system; the charter school’s longitudinal success; measurement of pupil progress; and if the school is identified as a persistently lowest achieving school by the Department.
  • Certain organization and financial criteria and whether the school has been placed on probationary status.
  • Three years of performance data must be used.

The following provisions for charter schools were also contained in the amendment:

  • When a sponsor notifies a charter school of closure, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must withhold funds from the school to assure all obligations of the school have been met. For all new charters and renewal charters after the effective date of this act, if the Department is unable to withhold sufficient funds prior to closure, the charter school’s sponsor will be responsible for all expenditures associated with the charter school’s closure.
  • Currently, a charter must be a legally binding performance contract. This act modifies this requirement so that a charter must include a legally binding performance contract.
  • Currently, the State Board of Education must approve a charter by December 1 of the year prior to the proposed opening date of the charter school. Instead, the State Board of Education is required to approve a charter by January 31 of the year that is the proposed opening date of the charter school.
  • Under current law, when a sponsor approves a charter and submits the application to the State Board of Education, it must include a statement of finding that the application meets statutory requirements. This act requires the sponsor to prepare the statement of finding.
  • When a local school board sponsors a charter school, it may only submit an estimate of the district’s weighted average daily attendance for the current year. The school board will be prohibited from using a weighted average daily attendance count from any preceding year for purposes of determining state aid.

The bill now goes to the House where it will be referred to the House Education Committee for a hearing.

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