The State Board of Education has now missed two of 11 meetings scheduled for this year, because it doesn’t have enough members for a quorum. The board is made up of eight members with no more than four from the same political party. Currently there are only three sitting members on the board.
Between July 31 and Dec. 1, the governor appointed 10 people to fill five vacancies that existed through resignations, expired terms and two that he removed in the effort to remove the former commissioner, Margie Vandeven. In December, a board of five Greitens’ appointees and three holdover members voted 5-3 to fire Vandeven.
Appointments that are made when the legislature is out of session are sworn into office and can perform the full duties of the office, but must be confirmed by the Senate in the first 30 days of any session.
Minutes before the 2018 legislative session convened, Greitens withdrew his nominees and once the Senate was in session, reappointed the five previous nominees. Although interim appointments can serve and vote in the capacity of the office, they must be confirmed in the first 30 days of any session. Appointments made during session must be confirmed before they can act in an official capacity. Until the Senate approves appointments to the State Board of Education, there are now only three members of the eight-member board who are able to take votes, not enough to conduct regular business or hire a new commissioner. Although the five pending appointees are no longer allowed to vote until confirmed or rejected during the legislative session, their prior decisions will continue to be in place and the hiring of a new commissioner will be on hold until there are at least two more members of the board confirmed.
Decisions that have been put on hold since the State Board does not have a quorum include: changes to school accountability system (MSIP 6), charter school renewals, and decisions on governance issues for St. Louis Public Schools now that it is no longer unaccredited. This is on top of hiring a new Commissioner of Education.
The board is required to meet twice a year. Either the Senate will confirm enough members to establish a quorum, or the governor will once again make interim appointments when the legislative session has ended.
SB695 (Wallingford) continues to move through the legislative process and was placed on the Senate calendar, awaiting debate from the full Senate. SB695 requires the governor to appoint a teacher representative to the State Board of Education.
The teacher representative would attend all board meetings and participate in deliberations. However, the teacher representative would not have the right to vote on any matter or be counted for purposes of establishing a quorum.
The bill states that the teacher must be a resident of Missouri, certified to teach, have at least five years of teaching experience, employed full time as a teacher in the state and not on leave. The teacher must have the written support from his or her local school board before being appointed.
The teacher representative’s term would be for four years and subsequent appointments shall be made in rotation from each Congressional District, beginning with the First Congressional District and continuing in numerical order. In the event of a vacancy in the position of teacher representative, the governor would appoint a replacement by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The bill also includes a sunset date of Aug. 28, 2026, unless renewed by the legislature.
Rep. Becky Ruth presented HB1830 in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. Currently, the minimum teacher’s salary is $25,000. Beginning in school year 2019-20 the bill would increase the minimum teacher’s salary to $28,000. In school year 2020-21 the minimum salary would be $30,000, and in year 2021-22 the minimum teacher’s salary would be set at $32,000. Currently, the minimum salary for a teacher with a master’s degree and at least 10 years’ experience is $33,000; beginning in the school year 2019-20 this bill increases the minimum salary to $36,000; $38,000 in school year 2020-21; and $40,000 in school year 2021-22. While districts continue to struggle with funding in many parts of the state, Missouri teachers are professionals who deserve to be paid a professional salary. MSTA testified in support.
The future of this legislation is uncertain, but there are resources available to MSTA members throughout the year regarding the salaries in your district. MSTA’s Salary and Research Department provides answers to important finance questions that MSTA members may have. MSTA’s Missouri Salary Schedule and Benefit Report summarizes the salary schedule and benefit practices of Missouri schools – district by district. It also features other financial information about Missouri schools. Teachers, superintendents, and board members all use this report to compare their district’s salary and benefit information to similar districts in the state, within their region, and/or of similar size. Armed with this knowledge, many districts make the changes to their salaries that allow them to be more competitive and attract those quality teachers that can make a tremendous difference in the lives of the students they are serving.
The MSTA Salary and Research Department has dedicated school finance consultants who are experts in school finance and have extensive experience working with school budgets, the foundation formula, school boards and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In addition to the Missouri Salary Schedule and Benefit Report, the department can provide a financial analysis, and both in-person and online workshops for members regarding salary negotiations, finance 101, and district-specific salary workshops.
The House sent to the Senate the following bills related to education:
HB1370 (Sommer) requires every school district and charter school to maintain an accountability portal for the public. By Sept. 1, 2019, each public school district and charter school must develop, maintain, and make available all publicly available income, expenditure, and disbursement information for the current fiscal year. The data on the portal must be updated quarterly and remain available for at least 10 years.
If the expenditure and revenue information is not provided on a school district’s website, then there may be a link provided to the information which is stored on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) website. Additionally, the bill requires by Jan. 1, 2019, that DESE create a template for voluntary use by any school district needing assistance in developing an accountability portal. In the event that a school district or charter school does not maintain a website, the information must be maintained through DESE.
HB1408 (Spencer) changes the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program (MoVIP) to The Missouri Course Access Program (MCAP). The bill requires school districts and charter schools to permit any K-12 student to enroll in up to two MCAP courses of his or her choice if the student has attended such district or charter school for at least one semester, the course is unavailable in the school district or charter school or there is a scheduling conflict, and the school counselor has advised the student based on the counselor’s assessment of whether enrollment in a particular course is in the student’s best interests.
The school district or charter school shall pay the costs of the courses for the student directly to the provider. Tuition is limited to the market necessary costs, and capped at 14 percent of the state adequacy target for a year-long course and 7 percent for a semester long course.
The bill requires the State Board of Education to provide an easily accessible link for course vendors on the MCAP website, allows anyone to submit courses for approval, and requires vendors to accept monthly payments for students enrolled in their courses under the tuition limits established by the bill.
HB1415 (Lauer) allows a teacher to count hours spent in a local business externship as contact hours of professional development. It also provides students the opportunity to choose between the ACT WorkKeys assessment or ACT (including ACT Plus Writing) assessment in any school year in which DESE directs a state-funded census administration of the ACT assessment, or in which a school district directs the administration of the ACT assessment.
HB1665 (Swan) allows the State Board of Education to grant an initial visiting scholar certificate as a license to teach in public schools. The applicant must be employed in a content area in which the individual has an academic degree or professional experience. He or she may only teach classes for ninth grade or higher and the hiring school district must verify that the applicant will be employed as part of a business-education partnership initiative designed to build career pathways systems for students. The certificate will last for one year and the applicant can renew it a maximum of two times.
HB1420 (Pfautsch) extends the sunset for the early learning quality assurance report pilot program from Aug. 28, 2016 until Aug. 28, 2019.
MSTA Capitol visits have begun, with more regions scheduled to attend. The historic Capitol in Jefferson City can be an intimidating place, but it is a great opportunity to connect with other members and your elected officials. Each visit begins with a short briefing from MSTA lobbyists covering the latest information regarding the state budget and current status of pending legislation.
It is a rewarding experience to visit with legislators, explaining to them the hard work you put in each day to inspire and educate students, and show them you are truly professionals. Members have a chance to interact with their legislators, participating in conversations about the important link between their schools and the success of their local community and the impact proposed legislation could have on all stakeholders. There are amazing and innovative things happening in schools across the state and by sharing your unique perspective with legislators, you gain a voice. Capitol visits are also an opportunity to network with other MSTA members to collaborate on projects and share accomplishments and challenges.
To make your Capitol visit as successful as possible, visit the MSTA website and review the MSTA Capitol Visits pamphlet. This short brochure contains information to prepare you for your day. Members should call their elected official prior to their visit and see when they have time to briefly meet with teachers from their district. The initial MSTA briefing usually lasts about an hour, so plan accordingly. MSTA Capitol visits are a great way to be an advocate for your profession and share your unique story.
House Elementary and Secondary Education
HB1245 (Bangert) Before Jan. 1, 2019, the State Board of Education must convene a work group to explore a course offering that would cover topics related to exploring various career and educational opportunities, as specified in the bill. In addition to the topics covered, the course should focus on career readiness and emphasize the importance of work ethic, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. The course should also demonstrate that graduation from a four-year college is not the only path to success and discuss other pathways. MSTA testified in support.
HB1573 (Rowland) public schools are required to be in session for a minimum of 174 days and 1,044 hours. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, this bill changes the requirement to a minimum of 1,044 hours of actual pupil attendance with no minimum number of required school days except for kindergarten pupils who must be provided a minimum of 522 hours of actual pupil attendance with no minimum number of days. MSTA testified in support.
HB1830 (Ruth) Currently, the minimum teacher’s salary is $25,000. Beginning in school year 2019-20 this bill increases the minimum teacher’s salary to $28,000; $30,000 in school year 2020-21; and $32,000 thereafter. Currently, the minimum salary for a teacher with a master’s degree and at least 10 years’ experience is $33,000; beginning in the school year 2019-20 this bill increases the minimum salary to $36,000; $38,000 in school year 2020-21; and $40,000 in school year 2021-22. MSTA testified in support.
SB964 (Eigel) This act creates the Advisory Council on Special Education to be comprised of 12 individuals appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Advisory Council shall develop, and recommend for adoption by the State Board of Education, an alternative assessment for special education students, alternative academic achievement standards for high school students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, and modified assessment and learning standards.
Any significantly delayed student, as defined in the bill, in grades 7-12 may take a modified assessment in place of a statewide summative assessment and learn under the modified learning standards developed by the Advisory Council. No school district shall permit more than 5 percent of the total number of students in the district to take the modified assessment.
The Advisory Council shall dissolve one year after presenting the assessments and standards to the State Board and making any requested modifications.
SB873 (Schupp) This act requires that before Jan. 1, 2019, the State Board of Education convene a work group to explore a course for ninth grade students that covers topics related to exploring various career and educational opportunities, as specified in the act. The course shall focus on career readiness and emphasize the importance of work ethic, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. MSTA testified in support.
SB640 (Sater) This act requires public schools, including public charter schools, to allow students to possess and self-apply sunscreen without a parent or physician’s approval. If a student needs assistance applying sunscreen, a school employee may help apply the sunscreen if the parent or guardian has given written consent. Schools and school employees shall not be liable for any adverse reaction caused by the sunscreen or for discontinuing the application of the sunscreen at any time.
SB924 (Rowden) This act provides that the State Board of Education may grant an initial visiting scholars certificate as a license to teach in public schools. The hiring school district shall verify that the applicant will be employed as part of a business-education partnership initiative designed to build career pathways systems for students. The applicant shall also be employed in a content area in which the individual has an academic degree or professional experience. He or she may only teach classes for ninth grade or higher for which the applicant’s degree or professional experience qualifies him or her. The certificate shall last one year, and the applicant may renew the certificate up to two times if certain requirements are met.
SB681 (Hummel) This act requires a student to receive instruction in Braille reading and writing as part of his or her individualized education plan, unless, as a result of an assessment, instruction in Braille or the use of Braille is determined not appropriate for the child.