Today the State Board of Education heard proposed criteria that would indicate when a school district under the governance of an appointed or Special Administrative Board is ready to return to an elected board. The Board directed Department staff at its February meeting to develop these conditions.
“What we’re trying to build is something that will serve the kids in these districts,” said State Board member Vic Lenz. “What do we need to make these school districts function in the very best possible way?”
The Missouri School Improvement Program resource, process and performance standards and indicators were used to identify criteria that would need to be met to make the transition to local control. The conditions would be viewed cumulatively rather than as a checklist. There are five key categories:
- Leadership – The district demonstrates compliance with laws and regulations, retention of effective building and district leaders, and development and implementation of a comprehensive school improvement plan.
- Finance – The district demonstrates stability, have acceptable audit results and have no significant compliance issues.
- Effective Teaching and Learning – The district demonstrates sustainable academic progress, including alignment among curriculum, instruction, assessments and staff professional development, as well as Annual Performance Reports at or above the accredited level for the most recent three years.
- Climate/Culture – The district demonstrates a culture focused on student learning, high expectations, and physical and emotional safety for students.
- Parents and Community – District leadership demonstrates collaboration with students’ families and community members, and the community must support the return of district governance back to a locally elected board.
“This is a complex issue,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “We are seeking to identify those conditions that – when present – would reflect that the district is well-positioned for a transition in governance.”
Three Missouri school districts are currently under the governance of an appointed board: St. Louis Public Schools, Riverview Gardens School District and the Normandy Schools Collaborative. Although Missouri statute allows for a different timeline and review of the appointed board in each of those districts, the proposed conditions for a return to local governance would apply to all the districts.
Community members who wish to comment on the conditions for transition to a locally elected board may email SABcomments@dese.mo.gov by May 13, 2016.