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2019 Key Education Legislation

Bills below, which become law, are effective August 28, 2019, unless otherwise noted.
Please note that the links below are to the Missouri General Assembly’s website.

SB 17 (Romine)
Under current law, any person retired from the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) may be employed by an employer included in the retirement system in a position that does not normally require a Missouri teacher certification. Such a person may earn up to 60% of the statutory minimum teacher salary without a discontinuance of the person's retirement allowance.

If any such person is employed in excess of the limitations, the person shall not be eligible to receive the person's retirement allowance for any month during which the person is employed.

This act exempts any person retired and currently receiving a retirement allowance from PSRS employed by a public community college from such provisions of law.

Signed by Governor, 7/10/19

SB 101 (Riddle)
This act requires the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to establish, subject to appropriations, a statewide hearing aid distribution program to provide financial assistance to certain low-income individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to obtain hearing aids. All assessment for need and distribution of hearing aids shall be performed by licensed audiologists or hearing instrument specialists. This act creates a dedicated "Statewide Hearing Aid Distribution Fund", which shall not include any funds from the Assistive Technology Trust Fund or the Deaf Relay Service and Equipment Distribution Program Fund. The Commission may accept gifts, donations, grants, and bequests for the program.

Signed by Governor, 7/11/19

SB 275 (Sater)
Currently, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education pays sheltered workshops an amount determined by a set formula, but no less than an amount equal to $21 for each six-hour or longer day worked by a handicapped worker. This bill adds the requirement that the six-hour or longer day must occur in a standard work week of up to and including 38 hours worked. For a handicapped worker employed by a sheltered workshop for less than a 38-hour week or a six-hour day, the workshop receives a percentage of the corresponding amount normally paid based on the percentage of time worked by the handicapped employee.

Signed by Governor, 6/24/19

SB 306 (White)
This act allows remote registration of a student if one or both of the child's parents are being relocated to Missouri under military orders. Proof of residency shall not be required at the time of registration, but shall be required within 10 days of the student's attendance.

Signed by Governor, 7/9/19

HB 77 (Black)
Currently, any teacher retired from the Public School Retirement System of Missouri may be employed in a position covered under the Public Education Employee Retirement System (PEERS) without stopping their retirement benefit. Such teacher may earn up to 60% of the minimum teacher's salary as set forth in Section 163.172, RSMo, and will not contribute to the retirement system or earn creditable service.

The employer's contribution rate will be paid by the hiring employer. If such person is employed in excess of these limitations, the person will not be eligible to receive their retirement allowance for any month the person is employed and such person shall contribute to the retirement system if he or she is in an eligible position.

This act exempts any person retired and currently receiving a retirement allowance from PSRS employed by a public community college from such provisions of law.

Signed by Governor, 4/16/19

HB 604 (Henderson)
School Transfer Law
State Board of Education Powers: This provision allows the State Board of Education to lapse the corporate organization of all or part of an unaccredited school district.

Tuition: The board of education of each district in Missouri that does not maintain a high school offering work through grade 12 shall pay tuition as calculated by the receiving district as outlined in the bill, and provide transportation for each student resident therein

who has completed the work of the highest grade offered in the schools of the district and who attends an accredited public high school

Transportation: For transferring students, the district of residence is required to provide transportation only to school districts or approved charter schools designated by DESE

Transfer and Transient Student Data: DESE shall compile and maintain student performance data scores of all transient and transfer students enrolled in districts other than their resident districts and make the data available on the Missouri Comprehensive Data System. Personally identifiable information shall not be accessible on the database.

Student Transfers: Any student may transfer to another public school in the student's district of residence if such student is enrolled and has attended, for the full semester immediately prior to requesting the transfer, an attendance center, as defined in the bill, that is located within an unaccredited district and that has an annual performance report score consistent with a classification of unaccredited. Any student who is eligible to transfer within his or her district but who is unable to do so due to a lack of capacity in the attendance centers in his or her district of residence may apply to DESE or its designee to transfer to: 1) An attendance center that is located within an accredited district that is located in the same or an adjoining county and that has an APR score consistent with a classification of accredited; or 2) An approved charter school located in another district in the same or an adjoining county.

Eligible Districts: By July 15, 2019, and by January 1 annually, each district eligible to receive transfer students shall report to DESE the number of its available enrollment slots in accredited schools by grade level. Each unaccredited district shall report the number of available enrollment slots in the district's accredited attendance centers.

Charter School Lottery Preference
Allows a charter school to also give preference for admission to students who will be eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program

A+ Scholarships
This provision modifies the A+ Schools program by adding a requirement that high schools in the program shall demonstrate a commitment to ensure that all students earn credits towards any type of college degree while in high school. The Department of Higher Education shall establish a procedure for the reimbursement of the cost of tuition, books, and fees for any dual-credit or dual-enrollment course offered to a student in high school in association with a public community college or vocational or technical school.

Currently, to be eligible for the program, a student must have attended a high school in Missouri for at least three years prior to graduation. This act provides that the student must have attended a high school in the state for at least two years.

Missouri Religious Studies Act
This provision changes current language from "students or parents" to "any person" in regards to public schools and the prevention of discrimination on the basis of religion.

Holocaust Education and Awareness
Modifies the definition of holocaust as used in the Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission Act. Under current law, as used in the Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission Act, the term "holocaust" is defined as the period from 1933 through 1945 when 6 million Jews and millions of others were murdered in Nazi concentration camps as part of a structured, state-sanctioned program of genocide. This act removes "in Nazi concentration camps" from the definition of "holocaust".

School Turnaround Act
Beginning September 1, 2020 and subject to appropriations, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall use an outcome-based measure to set criteria for the designation of schools in need of intervention and specifies a time line for the initial remedial year. The bill specifies that before August 30, 2020, DESE must identify two or more approved independent school turnaround experts of which schools in need of intervention may partner. The bill specifies that DESE shall award contracts to independent school turnaround experts and that governing boards shall not be required to pay independent school turnaround experts. The bill also establishes the "School Turnaround Fund" for the payment of contracts. The bill specifies that DESE shall review school turnaround plans within 30 days of submission. Criteria for approval is specified in the bill as well as an appeal process. The bill establishes the "School Intervention Fund," to fund interventions identified in approved school turnaround plans. The bill specifies that a school in need of intervention that does not meet the exit criteria within three school years may petition DESE for an extension to continue school improvement efforts for up to two years. The bill, requires that before November 30, 2021, DESE shall report to the Joint Committee on Education on the implementation of the School Turnaround Act.

Prevention of Sexual Misconduct in Schools
This provision requires full disclosure between school districts about a former employee when requested, specifically regarding any confirmed violation of a board policy related to abusive behavior toward a student. Additionally, any school, before offering employment, must contact the district or charter school that previously employed the prospective hire and request information. It also increases the training hours for initial school board members from 16 to 18 hours and 30 minutes, and further requires that the training include two hours and 30 minutes of sexual harassment training. Additionally, returning board members must take at least one hour of refresher training annually.  

The bill defines "screened volunteer" and requires a criminal background check to be conducted on any screened volunteer before they are left alone with a student or have access to student records. This provision defines "sexual harassment" and requires that schools provide age appropriate sexual harassment training to students in grades six and up. The training will be developed by DESE. This bill adds school personnel, contractors, and volunteers that establish relationships through a school or school activity to the definition of those responsible for the care, custody, and control of a child for certain sections of statutes relating to child abuse as outlined in the bill.

Early Learning Contracting
Allows children who attend early childhood education programs that are under contract with school districts or charter schools that have declared themselves as a local education agency to be included in the average daily attendance of the school district or charter school.

Financial Institutions Tax
Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to remit to schools the revenues such schools would have received from income taxes on certain financial institutions.

Travel Hardship Transfer
Allows a student residing in an unincorporated area of Maries county to apply for a reassignment by the Commissioner. A student will be eligible to apply to be reassigned by the Commissioner if the student has applied for enrollment in a public school in his or her district of residence, but was denied and that student lived at least 15 miles from the district and within five miles closer to another district.

Certified Teacher Externships
Provides a definition for "teacher externship" and requires that the Department of Economic Development and DESE shall adopt requirements for teacher externships along with an equivalency schedule to allow externship hours to be considered for increases similar to graduate-level coursework on the salary schedule for districts before July 1, 2020.

St. Louis Hearing Officers
Allows the St. Louis City elected board the power to appoint hearing officers to hear cases of teacher dismissal.

Social and Emotional Learning Pilot
Requires DESE to establish a voluntary pilot program, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, to provide for mental and emotional health education in elementary schools in the state. The purpose of the program is to determine whether and how to implement an elementary mental and emotional health education program statewide.

School Start Date
Beginning with school year 2020-21, this provision modifies the law governing school start dates by removing the option that school districts may set an opening date more than 14 calendar days prior to the first Monday in September.

Alternative Methods of Instruction
Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, this bill also allows a district to use an alternative instruction plan approved by DESE for up to 36 hours due to inclement weather, as specified in the bill.

School District Bidding
Currently, any school district authorizing the construction of facilities that may cost more than $15,000 must advertise in a newspaper and comply with certain bidding requirements. This bill raises the expenditure to $50,000.

Agriculture Education Pilot
Authorizes DESE to develop a pilot program, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, to provide for agricultural education in elementary schools in the state. The purpose of the program is to determine whether and how to implement an elementary agricultural education program statewide.

Signed by Governor, 7/11/19