2007 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Representative Fleming
AN ACT TO CREATE THE "MISSISSIPPI STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT GUARANTEE IN EDUCATION ACT"; TO PROVIDE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A SCHOOL BOARD TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ACHIEVEMENT GUARANTEE CONTRACT PROGRAM; TO PROVIDE FOR THE TERMINATION OF A STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT GUARANTEE CONTRACT; TO PROVIDE FOR FUNDING TO EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT PARTICIPATING IN THE ACHIEVEMENT GUARANTEE CONTRACT PROGRAM; TO AMEND SECTION 37-151-77, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known as the "Mississippi Student Achievement Guarantee in Education Act."
SECTION 2. As used in this act, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(a) "Class size" means the number of students assigned to a regular classroom teacher on the third Friday of September.
(b) "Low income" means the measure of low income that is determined by the State Department of Education.
(c) "Department" means the State Department of Education.
SECTION 3. (1) The school board of any school district in which a school during the previous school year had an enrollment of at least fifty percent (50%) low-income students is eligible to participate in the achievement guarantee contract program.
(2) In any year, if eligible school districts apply for more achievement guarantee contracts than are possible with the funds specifically appropriated for this program, the department shall determine which school boards to contract with based on the number of low-income students in kindergarten and Grade 1 enrolled in the schools and on the number of rural and urban school districts currently participating in the achievement guarantee contract program.
(3) A selected school district may enter into an achievement guarantee contract on behalf of no more than ten (10) schools.
SECTION 4. (1) An achievement guarantee contract shall require the school board to take the following actions in each participating school:
(a) Class size - reduce each class size to fifteen (15) students according to the following schedule:
(i) In the first year of participation, in no less than kindergarten and Grade 1 classes.
(ii) In the second year of participation, in no less than kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2 classes.
(iii) In the third year of participation, in no less than kindergarten and Grades 1, 2 and 3 classes.
(b) Expanding services in education and human services, which shall include:
(i) Keeping school buildings open to accommodate before school and after school enrichment programs.
(ii) Collaborating with community organizations to make educational and recreational opportunities, as well as a variety of community and social services, available in the school to all school attendance area residents.
(c) Reviewing the curriculum of the school, which shall include:
(i) Providing a rigorous academic curriculum designed to improve students' academic achievement.
(ii) In consultation with the department, and with the participation of the school's professional staff and school district residents, a review of the school's current curriculum to determine how well it promotes academic achievement.
(iii) If necessary, an outline of any changes to the curriculum to improve academic achievement.
(d) Providing opportunities for staff development and accountability, which shall include:
(i) The development of a one-year program for all newly hired licensed staff which helps them make the transition from their previous employment or school to their current employment.
(ii) Providing time for employees to collaborate and plan.
(iii) Requiring that each teacher and administrator submit to the school board a professional development plan that focuses on how the teacher or administrator will help improve student academic achievement. The plan shall include a method which the staff member will receive evaluations from a variety of sources on the success of the staff member's efforts.
(iv) Regular reviewing staff development plans to determine if the plans are effective in helping to improve student academic achievement.
(e) Establishing an evaluation process for licensed staff which accomplishes the following:
(i) Identifies individual strengths and weaknesses.
(ii) Clearly describes areas in need of improvement.
(iii) Includes a support plan that provides opportunities to learn and improve.
(iv) Systematically documents performance in accordance with the plan.
(v) Allows licensed staff members to comment on and contribute to revisions in the evaluation process.
(vi) Provides for the dismissal of licensed staff members whose failure to learn and improve has been documented over a two-year period.
(2) Each achievement guarantee contract shall include all of the following:
(a) A description of how each school will implement each of the elements under subsection (1) of this section, including any alternative class configurations for specific educational activities which may be used to meet the class size requirements.
(b) A description of the method that the school district will use to evaluate the academic achievement of the students enrolled in the school.
(c) A description of each school's performance objectives for the academic achievement of the students enrolled in the school and the means that will be used to evaluate success in attaining the objectives. Performance objectives shall include the following:
(i) Where applicable, improvement in scores of tests administered to students under the statewide testing program established under Sections 37-16-1 through 37-16-13.
(ii) The attainment of any educational goals adopted by the school board.
(iii) Professional development objectives.
(d) A description of the methods by which the school involves students, parents or guardians of students and other school district residents in decisions affecting the school.
(e) A description of any statute or rule that is waived under Mississippi law if the waiver is related to the contract.
(f) A description of the means by which the department will monitor compliance with the terms of the contract.
SECTION 5. (1) At the end of each school year, the department may terminate an achievement guarantee contract if a school board has failed to fully comply with the requirements of Section 4 of this act. Before July 1 of each year, a committee consisting of the State Superintendent of Public Education, the chairpersons of the Education Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives or their designees, and the individual chiefly responsible for the evaluation as appointed by the department shall review the progress made by each participating school. The committee may recommend that the department terminate a contract if the committee determines that the school board has violated the contract or if the school has made insufficient progress toward achieving its performance objectives. The department may terminate the contract if it agrees with the committee's recommendation.
(2) The department shall arrange for an annual and independent evaluation of the program.
SECTION 6. (1) The department, using any available funds specifically appropriated for the achievement guarantee contract program, shall pay to each participating school district Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) multiplied by the number of low-income students enrolled in kindergarten and Grades 1 through 3 in each participating school covered by achievement guarantee contracts.
(2) The department shall cease payments under this section to any school district if the school board withdraws from the contract before it expires.
(3) The department shall promulgate rules to implement and administer the payment of state aid under this section.
SECTION 7. Section 37-151-77, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-151-77. To qualify for funds provided in this chapter, each school district shall not exceed a pupil-teacher ratio based on enrollment in Grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 as follows: 27:1.
For kindergarten and Grades 5 through 12, pupil-teacher ratio shall be determined based on appropriate accreditation standards developed by the Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation.
For schools having executed an achievement guarantee contract with the State Department of Education, the pupil-teacher ratio of the participating school shall be determined in accordance with Section 4(1)(a) of House Bill No. ____, 2007 Regular Session.
Any local district may apply to the State Board of Education for approval of a waiver to this section by submitting and justifying an alternative educational program to serve the needs of enrollment in Grades kindergarten and 1 through 4. The State Board of Education shall approve or disapprove of such waiver forty-five (45) days after receipt of such application. If a school district violates the provisions of this section, the state aid for the ensuing fiscal year to such school district shall be reduced by the percentage variance that the actual pupil-teacher ratios in such school district has to the required pupil-teacher ratios mandated in this section. Provided, that notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the State Board of Education is authorized to waive the pupil-teacher requirements specified herein upon a finding that a good faith effort is being made by the school district concerned to comply with the ratio provisions but that for lack of classroom space which was beyond its control it is physically impossible for the district to comply, and the cost of temporary classroom space cannot be justified. In the event any school district meets Level 4 or 5 accreditation standards, the State Board of Education may, in its discretion, exempt such school district from the maximum pupil-teacher ratio in Grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 prescribed herein.
SECTION 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.