Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

March 30, 2007

Senate Education Committee bill hears education reform bills

The Senate Education Committee took up several bills at its Wednesday, March 28, hearing relating to education reform in Missouri’s urban communities. The bills focused on improving urban education in the state.

The first bill to be heard was SB688, sponsored by Sen. Mike Gibbons (R-Kirkwood), which would establish a task force to address ways to improve urban education. The 10-member task force would study and analyze issues and challenges of the educational system in urban areas of Missouri. Gibbons explained that the task force would provide a means for generating additional legislation that could work toward improving education in certain areas in the state.

A similar piece of legislation was heard during the committee hearing. SB652, sponsored by Sen. Maida Coleman (D-St. Louis), also would establish a task force to focus on improving education service delivery.

SB690, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis), would make significant changes by creating the “Metropolitan School District Improvement Act,” which would apply only to the St. Louis public school district. The bill would implement teacher assessments; student assessments to determine proficiency in core areas; and a pilot program for mega-looping. It also would offer performance pay for teachers; award performance pay to schools that show improvement in testing; create alternative schools for students who cannot be served in a traditional classroom environment; provide a subsidy for early childhood education; require schools to adopt dress codes and evaluate the appropriateness for school uniforms; create a tax credit for contributions made to the extended day child care fund; and lengthen the school day and school year.

SB551, sponsored by Coleman, would repeal the statute authorizing the creation of the transitional school district in the city of St. Louis.

Finally, SB448, also sponsored by Coleman, would create a procedure for recalling school board members. A recall election would require a petition signed by at least 25 percent of the number voting in the last school board election.

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