HB 42 -- SCHOOL TRANSFER BILL
Our public schools in St. Louis and Kansas City have been struggling for a number of years. Each year that action is delayed, the problem is worsened. More and more students are added to the list of those unprepared for the workforce, additional training or college.
Two years of discussion and legislative compromise have led to House Bill 42. The student transfer process in the bill is an immediate treatment of the symptom. All children deserve high-quality education in their neighborhood schools, regardless of their address. Therefore, additional provisions in the bill begin to implement corrective solutions for the problem, not just treat the symptom.
Much misinformation has circulated regarding the implementation of the bill and fiscal impact on the state, primarily due to a fear that private school students will flock to the newly created charter schools, resulting in fewer dollars for existing public schools. In fact, history has shown that in areas where both charter and private schools exist, private school students have not moved to charter schools. Another concern is that home school students will be able to access virtual schools using public funds, again resulting in less money for our public schools. On the contrary, the bill requires that transfer students be currently enrolled in the public school district, having attended for at least one semester to be eligible to transfer to a virtual school.
There is no additional cost to the state for a student to transfer from a traditional public school to a charter or a virtual school. And, there is no additional cost to the district to transfer a student to a virtual school.
When a district loses its accreditation, an education transfer authority is created to manage the transfer process. The transfer process will work as follows:
* First, students will transfer to an accredited building in the same school district.
* After all available seats are filled in the district, students may apply to attend school in an accredited district, attend an approved charter school or attend a virtual school.
o Accredited Districts -- The receiving school district may determine the tuition.
A fund has been created to help with the cost of transportation.
o Charter Schools -- Charter schools will be allowed to open/expand in any unaccredited district, provisionally accredited district in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Kansas City Public School District, and Jackson County (minus districts with enrollment less than 3500).
o Virtual Schools -- Allowed in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Kansas City Public School District and Jackson County and in any unaccredited school building. The student must be currently enrolled in the school district and must have attended at least one semester to qualify to attend virtual school. There is a zero fiscal note on this virtual school option.
Other provisions in the bill include:
* Assistance teams for borderline and underperforming school districts
* Attendance center classification
* Establishment of "School Transfer and Improvement Task Force"
* Establishment of "Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia"
* Hiring of a dyslexia specialist by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
* Free tutoring, extended learning time, and educational services in unaccredited districts
Conference Committee Substitute: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills151/billpdf/ccs/HB0042S.PDF