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MSBA Legislative Resolutions

The MSBA Delegate Assembly approved the following resolutions at the October 4, 2013 Delegate Assembly.

Conditions of Children

Bus Passenger Safety – MSBA supports legislation that would protect students and adults on school buses from assaults by increasing the criminal sanctions for such actions.

Child Nutrition Programs - MSBA supports legislation that would allow for efficient, economical school nutrition programs that provide access to healthy food to all children.

Mental Health – MSBA supports funding for school-based mental health services for students.

Oversight of Pre-Kindergarten Education Programs – MSBA supports the consolidation of responsibility for pre-kindergarten programs to one state agency, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Pre-Kindergarten Education Programs – MSBA supports legislation that will provide adequate funding and technical support to all school districts to offer quality voluntary pre-kindergarten education programs including Parents As Teachers programs.

Residency – MSBA supports legislation that clarifies the definition of residency of students for school district attendance purposes.

Safe Schools – MSBA supports legislation that would expand the current law to require prosecutors, in addition to juvenile authorities, to notify school districts when a student in the district has been charged with and the disposition of a misdemeanor or felony, regardless of whether or not the student is a juvenile or an adult.

Sharing Information for Student Transition in Special Education – MSBA supports legislative efforts that would streamline the sharing of information among public school districts and state and local mental health and social service agencies to track special education students after graduation to see how they are adjusting to life. Sharing client lists, addresses and so forth is needed to ensure the students and their families are receiving the services they need.

Student Dress - MSBA supports legislation that gives school districts the authority to prohibit student dress that could pose a health or safety hazard, is contrary to the district’s educational mission, or otherwise disrupts the educational process.

Student Retention and the High School Diploma – MSBA believes all students should be required to stay in school until the age of 18 years for the purpose of earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. Therefore, we urge the legislature to require all students to remain in school until they turn 18 or have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Student Safety – MSBA supports legislation to ensure a safe educational environment for all children free from sexual harassment, bullying/cyber bullying, misconduct or other harmful acts.

Curriculum and Accountability

Board Member Training – MSBA supports legislation that would create consequences for failing to obtain mandatory school board training. MSBA supports legislation to require funding for mandatory school board training provided exclusively by the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

Curriculum Decisions – MSBA recognizes the value of local autonomy in the development of curricular goals and objectives, and strongly believes that the ultimate decisions establishing curriculum must be made at the local level to meet or exceed state and national standards.

Kindergarten Readiness Assessment – MSBA supports implementation of standardized kindergarten readiness assessments.

Student Achievement – MSBA recognizes that the purpose of public education is to improve the achievement of all students and help every student reach their potential. MSBA supports legislation to fund state and local programs to eliminate disparity in achievement among all students.

Student Assessment Costs – MSBA supports legislation to require the state and/or the federal government to fully fund the costs of the state and/or the federally mandated student assessment program.

Federal

Affordable Care Act - MSBA supports federal legislation or regulations that allow districts to decide whether to offer substitute employees health insurance, regardless of the number of hours worked by these employees.

E-Rate (commonly used name for the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)) – MSBA supports federal legislation allowing for continued full funding of the E-Rate program and flexibility in utilization of the funding, in order to better meet the technology needs of all school districts.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act - MSBA supports federal legislation or regulations that clarify when districts may share with parents recordings of personally identifiable students involved in misconduct.

Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision – MSBA supports federal legislation to amend the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision to remove the Social Security provisions that unfairly exclude government pension recipients from fully accessing earned Social Security benefits.

Health Insurance Taxation – MSBA opposes any taxation of employer-provided health insurance benefits.

Higher Education – MSBA supports federal legislation to expand and continue the Higher Education Act to encourage students to enter the teaching profession and offer federal student loan forgiveness to teachers.

Internet Sales Tax – MSBA supports legislation that would remove restrictions on the ability of states to collect sales tax revenue related to Internet transactions.

Medicaid – MSBA supports full federal funding of school-based Medicaid services.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – MSBA supports federal legislation to amend the ESEA to address the barriers facing local education agencies (LEAs) in the successful and effective implementation of ESEA, particularly those provisions related to adequate yearly process, including calling upon the Congress, the Missouri General Assembly and the DESE to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to accomplish the following:

a. Fully fund, at federal and state levels, the programs that will enable the public schools to meet the requirements imposed by the legislation and standards.
b. Avoid stigmatizing groups of students as responsible for failure of particular schools to make annual progress.
c. Create positive incentives for states, schools, students and parents to meet and exceed the challenges created by the legislation and standards.
d. Eliminate negative, impossible sanctions and standards, such as school transfers and loss of funds that will not address the challenges faced by the public schools.
e. Federal and state dollars must support the “identified schools” in order to provide help where it is needed.
f. Take a common sense approach to AYP by using a reliable longitudinal measure of each child’s academic achievement.
g. Redefine accountability to place responsibility on appropriate entities, such as state education agencies.
h. Oppose utilization of competitive grants to distribute funding for Title I and other formula grants and support a method of equitable distribution of funding.
i. Oppose utilization of high stakes assessments that do not conform to an accepted set of accessibility standards. 

Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education - MSBA supports federal legislation or regulations that would clarify that the Office for Civil Rights’ mission is to encourage and enforce school district compliance with specific civil rights laws and regulations.  MSBA supports federal legislation that directs OCR to work cooperatively and preventively with school districts to obtain compliance.

Special Education – MSBA supports legislative and regulatory changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that:

a. Eliminate unnecessary administrative process requirements.
b. Designate appropriate state and local agencies to have primary financial responsibility for providing select “related services” and/or reimbursing local school districts.
c. Maintain safe learning environments for all students and staff. Expand incentives to improve recruitment and retention of teachers.
d. Provide for full funding of federal and state commitments to special education programs.
e. Eliminate financial burden on districts providing services to non-resident students.

Finance

A+ Schools Program – MSBA supports additional funding for the A+ Schools Program.

Diversion of Existing Revenue – MSBA strongly opposes any attempt to divert revenue committed to or intended for public education.

General Obligation Bonds – MSBA urges the General Assembly to submit to voters a constitutional amendment permitting the passage of school bond issues by a simple majority vote. MSBA urges the General Assembly to submit to voters a constitutional amendment permitting the increase of a school district’s bonding capacity to 20%.

Health Insurance – MSBA supports legislation providing a statewide health insurance solution for school districts, such as a mutual insurance pool, to help manage health insurance costs.

Medicaid – MSBA strongly supports changes to Missouri’s rules and regulations to allow for maximization of federal Medicaid revenue to school districts.

Motor Fuel Tax Exemption – MSBA supports legislation that would exempt public school districts from paying state motor fuel tax for fuel consumed by school buses.

Non-Public School Funding – MSBA opposes the use of vouchers, tax credits, deductions for tuition and related educational expenses, and other similar credit systems to support non-public schools.

Prevailing Wage – MSBA urges the General Assembly to exempt the maintenance and construction of school facilities in third- and fourth-class counties from the state prevailing wage act.

Priority in Appropriations – MSBA believes all current and future mandated programs should be adequately funded with state and/or federal resources.

Property Tax Reassessment Cycle – MSBA supports the current law requiring that reassessment be conducted on a two-year cycle and urges the General Assembly to establish penalties for failure to comply with this law. MSBA supports legislation that would require county officials to certify a school district’s assessed valuation in a more timely fashion in order to comply with state law regarding setting of tax rates.

Public School Funding – The MSBA supports adequate and equitable public school pre-kindergarten – 12 state and federal funding to allow all school children in every school district the opportunity to achieve state and federal student performance standards. MSBA urges the General Assembly to take all actions necessary to provide sufficient state revenues to adequately fund the foundation formula, transportation, and all other categoricals for the public schools of Missouri and encourages the Governor not to reduce such funding after it has been appropriated.

a. MSBA supports legislation in the General Assembly to adopt a balanced state budget based upon the most current revenue information available at the time of adoption. MSBA supports legislation that would prevent the Governor from withholding monies appropriated by the General Assembly for public schools.
b. MSBA supports changes in the state’s Foundation Formula which remove the penalties for districts that have a decreased summer school enrollment.
c. MSBA supports legislation mandating accurate real property assessments.
d. MSBA supports legislation providing relief to districts with tax-exempt property.
e. MSBA supports amending the Missouri Constitution to authorize local boards of education to set a minimum levy as defined by the state funding formula for school districts.
f. MSBA supports increasing state revenues available to adequately fund public education by bringing certain taxes on tobacco, alcohol and Internet sales to a level consistent with the national average.
g. MSBA supports the return to the maximum funding level prescribed by law for the transportation of students.
h. MSBA opposes tax reform legislation that compromises growth in General Revenue.

Retirement Funding – MSBA supports legislation which ensures the future solvency of the Public School and the Public Education Employee Retirement Systems. MSBA encourages PSRS/PEERS implement alternative solutions to maintaining benefits and fiscal sustainability of the retirement systems, while reducing the immediate and growing financial impact on public school districts and their employees.

School Facilities – MSBA supports legislation that establishes adequate state and federal funding for school districts for the renovation and construction of school facilities, including funding to support sustainable development and accommodation of the latest technologies. MSBA supports efforts to allow local school districts to pursue a wide variety of funding sources to support improving school facilities. 

Tax Abatement – MSBA urges the General Assembly to strengthen laws controlling tax increment financing (TIF), urban redevelopment corporations, and enterprise zones so that school districts have control over their duly authorized revenues. This includes, but is not limited to, Chapter 353, Chapter 100, TIF projects and the Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Act (MODESA). Specific issues to be addressed should include:

a. The terms blight and conservation shall be redefined in a more restrictive manner;
b. The municipality that sponsors a TIF, and/or Chapter 353, and/or Chapter 100 projects shall be required to disclose all financial information and any other significant changes and amendments related to these developments at the time that they are proposed;
c. Replacement revenues for the merchants and manufacturers tax shall be excluded from TIF, and/or Chapter 353, and/or Chapter 100 projects;
d. School districts and other taxing entities will be parties with legal standing to participate in proceedings relating to any application for, or grant of property tax exemptions or abatements with respect to, property located within the boundary of such a taxing entity, including the right to appeal any grant of tax exemption or abatement and participate as a necessary party in any appeal by the taxpayer.
e. School districts and other taxing entities should continue to receive at least the amount of taxes assessed in the year immediately preceding the year of the industrial development project.
f. One hundred percent (100%) of economic activity taxes described in Section 99.845 (3 RSMo. shall be allocated and paid to the special allocation fund to be used to discharge the TIF obligations.
g. If a redevelopment project, or portion thereof, is sold while redevelopment projects costs and obligations are outstanding, then the recipient of the proceeds of such sale, at the closing of such sale, shall pay into the special allocation fund an amount equal to the then outstanding redevelopment project costs and obligations attributable to the redevelopment project, or portion thereof, as the case may be, that was sold, at which time such redevelopment project costs and TIF obligation shall be discharged.
h. Residential projects shall not be funded by TIF, and/or Chapter 353, and/or Chapter 100.
i. The use of TIF for conservation districts and/or economic development of green field sites can only be done with explicit school board approval. To amend the TIF and MODESA statutes so that all require 50% payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) unless waived all or in part by the school district.
j. Representation on the TIF board should be proportional to the impact on the taxing jurisdiction.
k. Improving disclosure of subsidies by measuring the impact of subsidies on school revenue by collecting accurate and timely data on property tax abatements and TIF and showing the aggregate data by each school district.
l. Giving local school boards veto authority over their portion of the tax abatement.

Tax Credits – MSBA supports legislation creating reasonable standards for tax credit programs, ensuring accountability and capping the potential reduction of state revenue. MSBA supports the suspension of the issuance of all tax credits until the statutory funding obligations of the state are met.

Title I Allocations – MSBA supports legislation requiring DESE to return to using free and reduced lunch count rather than census poverty data as the basis for determining Title I allocations to school districts under 20,000 total population.

Utility Deregulation – MSBA opposes any legislation designed to deregulate utilities that would have an adverse impact on school district funding.

Governance

Campaign Contribution Limits - MSBA supports reasonable limitations on campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures in order to promote grassroots involvement in state government.

Charter Schools – MSBA believes that all charter schools should be authorized solely by local boards of education and subject to the same accountability standards as other Missouri public schools.

Conflicts of Interest - MSBA supports clarification of conflicts of interest statutes concerning school board members and school employees.

Consolidation of Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Higher Education – MSBA opposes a merger between DESE and DHE.

Educational Placements – MSBA opposes legislation that would erode or remove a school district’s authority to make educational decisions, including placement decisions, for students in residential treatment facilities.

Efficient Board Meetings – MSBA supports revisions to the Missouri Sunshine Law that allows school boards to operate efficiently, such as allowing school board members to participate in roll call votes when taking part in board meetings via electronic means.

Election Dates – MSBA opposes a reduction in the number of dates available to school districts for bond and levy elections.

Home Schooling – MSBA supports legislation to require parents of children attending home schools to annually notify the district where such children reside.

Interdistrict Choice – MSBA believes that any legislation which would permit parents to select schools outside of their district must:

a. Not foster racial, social or economic segregation.
b. Address all financial issues including the determination of how state and local funds will follow nonresident students and hold districts harmless from loss of funds.
c. Assure that administrative issues such as space availability and transportation are defined by the receiving districts.
d. Not be part of any tax credit, deduction for tuition and related educational expenses, and other similar credit systems, or any voucher program.
e. Require students to make at least a one-year commitment.

Judicial System – MSBA supports maintaining a non-partisan state judicial system.

Local Control – MSBA supports legislation and regulations that would:

a. Expand the management and control of local schools by local boards of education.
b. Decrease bureaucracy and administrative burdens at the state, federal and local levels.
c. Remove legislative and regulatory restrictions on local school district budget development.
d. Limit the erosion of local control and increase the level of local coordination and collaboration.

Public School Retirement System Board – MSBA supports creation of designated seats for school board members on the Board of Trustees of the Public School Retirement System (PSRS). MSBA supports representation on the PSRS Board of Directors by school board members who are not members of or receiving monetary benefits from the PSRS system.
MSBA opposes modification to PSRS contribution percentages until such time as the PSRS board representation is proportional to the contribution split between employees and employers, such that if the school districts’ contribution rate is 50%, school board representation on the PSRS Board should be 50%. MSBA supports PSRS/PEERS continuing as an independently managed system.

 Reform to Missouri Human Rights Act – MSBA supports a revision to the Missouri Human Rights Act to define “employer” as a business and not an individual and to prohibit punitive damages against a public entity.

School Board Recall – MSBA opposes legislation that allows for the recall of local school board members.

School Innovation – MSBA supports legislation that allows school districts to operate efficiently and establish innovative educational practices.

School Start Dates – MSBA opposes legislation that would restrict the authority of the local board of education to set the start date for its schools.

Students Living on Military Bases – MSBA supports students living on military bases attending their resident school districts.

Transfer from Unaccredited Districts – MSBA urges the legislature to take all necessary steps to ensure that:

a. School districts have the discretion to accept or to not accept the transfer of students from unaccredited schools.
b. School districts that exercise their discretion to accept transfer students from unaccredited schools will do so in a non-selective and non-discriminatory manner.
c. School districts that accept transfer students from unaccredited schools will receive prompt and guaranteed payment of local and state funding for the transfer students.

Term Limits - MSBA supports repeal of the current term limits for members of the Missouri General Assembly.

Personnel

Career Ladder – MSBA supports reinstatement and adequate state funding of the Career Ladder program to help school districts retain excellent teachers.

Certification – MSBA supports the authority of the State Board of Education to establish teacher certification requirements and urges the State Board of Education and higher education institutions to continue to provide greater flexibility in certifying professional educators, particularly in critical need areas.

Collective Bargaining – MSBA supports legislation providing guidelines for public sector collective bargaining including a prohibition on binding arbitration and strikes.

Employment – MSBA urges the General Assembly to replace lifetime tenure for teachers with annual or multi-year contracts.

Immunity – MSBA urges the General Assembly to enact legislation providing immunity for school employees and volunteers acting within the scope and course of their employment and service.

Salary Schedule – MSBA believes each school district should establish its own salary schedule or other system of compensation for certified and non-certified staff that, when possible, recognizes an employee’s impact on student achievement. 

Unemployment Compensation Law – MSBA supports revisions to the unemployment compensation law to prohibit substitute employees from being eligible for unemployment benefits.