RIF Bill in Senate Today – Charter Schools Bill Goes to Governor – House Loads Up Gifted Education Bill
Missouri NEA Legislative Update, Week 19, No. 2, May 15, 2012
By Otto Fajen, MNEA Legislative Director
ACTION ALERT: REDUCTION IN FORCE BILL TO BE DEBATED BY SENATE
The Senate is expected to debate HCS/HB 1526 (Scott Dieckhaus) on May 16. The perfected HCS/HB 1526 damages the reduction in force (RIF) requirements by undermining respect for certification, experience and commitment to the district, while forcing districts to create an entirely new system to determine layoff priorities and leaving districts vulnerable to various legal challenges in implementing this new, untested mandate.
The Association strongly opposes the bill.
An extremist group known as Students First, centered in Sacramento, California, has hired numerous lobbyists in Missouri and is pushing the various changes in tenure and evaluation policy contained in the various versions of HB 1526 and in SB 806 (Jane Cunningham).
ACTION NEEDED: YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY DONE SO, please call, write or e-mail to urge your state senator to oppose HCS/HB 1526.
The following link will connect you to the MNEA Legislative Action Center Action Alert on HCS/HB 1526.
Type in your zip code and the alert will automatically be directed to your state senator. The Action Alert contains a brief summary and a brief, editable message box to help you send an email to your state senator on the issue.
YOUR MESSAGE WILL HAVE A GREATER IMPACT IF YOU PERSONALIZE THE MESSAGE AND ADD YOUR OWN CONCERNS REGARDING THE BILL.
CHARTER SCHOOLS BILL PASSES HOUSE, WILL GO TO GOVERNOR
The House gave final approval to SS/SCS/SB 576 (Bill Stouffer) on May 15 by a vote of 99-54. Since the House made no changes to the bill, the bill has been finally passed in the same form by both chambers and will be printed in final form and sent to the Governor for his approval or veto.
The bill provides for expansion of charter schools and charter school accountability and transparency. In floor debate, Rep. Clem Smith and Rep. Sara Lampe spoke to concerns regarding the impact of expansion of charter school authority in urban and rural school districts across the state.
The Association opposes expansion of charter school territory or sponsorship until charter schools are shown to meet the same standards of accountability, transparency and respect for the rights of students, parents and staff as are applicable to district schools.
HOUSE LOADS UP GIFTED EDUCATION BILL
The House approved SB 599 (Kurt Schaefer) on May 15 after adopting five amendments. The bill requires each school district to include in its annual school accountability report card whether it has a state-approved gifted education program or services and the number of students served. The Association supports the original bill.
The following amendments were adopted by the House, and the Senate has refused to concur and asks the House to recede from its position or grant a conference to discuss the disposition of the House amendments.
HA 1 (Paul Fitzwater) excludes a certain environmental fine payment from a certain district’s local school revenue deduction in the school funding formula.
HA 2 (Dave Hinson) requires DESE to provide support for career-related student organizations.
HA 3 (Rick Stream) adds his HB 1337 regarding CPR courses and graduation requirements, along with Rep. Neth’s language to allow districts to offer PE or fine arts credit for ballroom and other dancing classes.
HA 4 (Eric Burlison) requires more detailed tracking of post-secondary success of gifted students and includes Rep. Nasheed’s HB 1609 regarding personal study plans for high-school and post-secondary education or career plans.
HA 5 (Ward Franz) adds his HCS/HB 1169 to modify provisions relating to the investigation of an incident arising from spanking in a school or the use of reasonable force to protect persons or property. The requires the district to report to local law enforcement, rather than the juvenile office.
STUDENT TRAVEL HARDSHIPS DEBATED BY SENATE
The Senate debated HCS/HB 1789 (Rodney Schad) on May 15 but did not bring the bill to a vote. The bill revises the law regarding travel hardships for public school students. The bill requires granting of hardships when a student lives more than ten miles from the nearest district school and at least five miles closer to a school in a neighboring district. The SCS version increases the thresholds to at least seventeen miles from the nearest district school and at least seven miles close to a school in a neighboring district.
Amendments dealing with DESE support for career-related student organizations and requiring that DESE issue accreditation standards and related documents by official state rule were ruled out of order. Sen. David Pearce offered an amendment to remove the new hardship mandate and “grandfather” students and siblings who have existing hardship waivers, even if the district of residence changes bus routes or other factors that might eliminate the grounds for the waiver in a later year.
CPR REQUIREMENT DEBATED BY SENATE
The Senate debated SCS/HB 1337 (Rick Stream) on May 15 but did not bring the bill to a vote. The SCS version provides that high schools may provide instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation but does not add this instruction as a graduation requirement.
HIGHER EDUCATION BILL IN CONFERENCE
The House and Senate conferees on SB 455 (David Pearce) met on May 15 to decide which House amendments to the bill would be removed and which ones will stay in the final (conference committee) version of the bill. Controversial amendments were removed, including a new tax credit for sporting events, diversion of payroll withholding taxes for college tuition, the provisions of HB 1918 (Todd Richardson) revising authority for property ownership by community colleges and a provision banning funding for the Sue Shear Institute at UMSL. The conference committee version will include two technical amendments and the provisions of SCS/SB 563 (Bob Dixon) to modify the term lengths of the board of governors of Missouri State University so that no more than three members’ terms expire in any given year.
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The Senate Education Committee was scheduled to vote on HCS/HB 1273 (Mike Kelley) in executive session on May 15, but no motion was made to approve the bill, so no vote was taken. The bill requires the State Board of Education to promulgate rules allowing school boards to lease advertising space on the interior and exterior of school buses.