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Introduced Version House Bill 4306 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted
H. B. 4306


(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss, and Delegate Ashley)
[By Request of the Executive]
[Introduced February 9, 1998; referred to the
Committee on Education then Finance.]



A BILL to amend and reenact section five, article two-e, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to amend and reenact section ten, article nine-a of said chapter, related to establishing a process for improving education; providing legislative intent for establishing a process for standards, assessment, accountability and capacity building to provide assurances that a thorough and efficient system of schools is being provided; requiring the state board to periodically review and update high quality standards for student, school and school system performance and processes; requiring a standard for effective school system participation with their assigned regional education service agency; requiring the state board to establish a system of education performance audits for determining school accreditation and school system approval; holding schools and school systems accountable for efficient use of existing resources to meet or exceed standards, and targeting additional resources when necessary; requiring early detection and intervention programs to help underachieving schools and school systems to improve performance; providing for creation and operation of an office of education performance audits under the direction of the state board independently of the department of education and the state superintendent; providing certain duties; allowing the state board discretion in determining the size of standards compliance review teams for conducting on-site reviews; providing for establishment of a trained cadre for selection of review team members; providing for reimbursement of county boards for substitute costs to replace employees while serving on review teams; reporting of findings to state board; providing for school accreditation and school system approval status; eliminating probationary accreditation and approval status; requiring school and school system improvement plans; providing for temporary accreditation status for below standard schools and school systems and requiring that improvement plans be modified and approved by state board; providing conditional accreditation and conditional approval status for schools and school systems with an approved improvement plan if they are meeting plan objectives and time lines; requiring improvement to full accreditation within a date certain to be specified in the plan; specifying failure to obtain plan approval and failure to meet plan objectives as circumstances for seriously impaired or nonapproval status; providing for state board to appoint a team of improvement consultants to recommend correction of serious impairments and nonapproval; requiring temporary approval status for school systems if progress to correct a seriously impaired school is not made within six months of receipt of recommendations from the state board and requiring consultation and assistance to the county board to make improvements; requiring correction of a serious impairment by a date certain as set by the state board; providing for nonapproval of a school system for failure to correct a serious impairment by the date certain as set by the state board; permitting full approval of school systems with schools on conditional accreditation status; requiring the state board to declare a state of emergency when school systems are given nonapproval and to intervene in the school system if progress to correct the emergency is not made within six months of receipt of recommendations from the state board; describing processes for strategically targeting resources; requiring the state board to make certain recommendations to the Legislature, county boards, schools and communities on methods for strategically targeting resources; authorizing the state board to designate allocations of funds from the general school fund to address specific improvement needs subject to certain legislative committee review; and removing balances in the general school fund from allocation through the allowance to improve instructional programs.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section five, article two-e, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that section ten, article nine-a of said chapter be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 18. EDUCATION.

ARTICLE 2E. HIGH QUALITY EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS.

§18-2E-5. Process for improving education; office of education performance audits; education standards; school accreditation and school system approval; intervention to correct impairments.

(a) Legislative intent. -- The purpose of this section is to establish a process for improving education that includes standards, assessment, accountability and capacity building to provide assurances that a thorough and efficient system of education schools is being provided for all West Virginia public school students on an equal education opportunity basis and that the high quality standards are, at a minimum, being met. A system for the review of school district education plans, performance-based accreditation and periodic, random, unannounced on-site effectiveness reviews of district education systems, including individual schools within the districts, shall provide assurances that the high quality standards established in this section are being met.
(b) High Quality Education Standards. -- On or before the first day of November, one thousand nine hundred ninety- six, The state board shall, in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, establish and adopt and periodically review and update high quality education standards for student, school and school system performance and processes in the following areas:
(1) Curriculum;
(2) Workplace readiness skills;
(3) Finance;
(4) Transportation;
(5) Special Education;
(6) Facilities;
(7) Administrative practices;
(8) Training of county board members and administrators;
(9) Personnel qualifications;
(10) Professional development and evaluation;
(11) Student and school performance;
(12) A code of conduct for students and employees; and
(13) Any other such areas as determined by the state board.
(c) Performance Measures. -- The standards shall assure that all graduates are prepared for gainful employment or for continuing post-secondary education and training and that schools and school districts are making progress in achieving the education goals of the state. Each school district shall submit an annual improvement plan designed around locally identified needs showing how the education program of each school in the district will meet or exceed the high quality standards. A performance-based accreditation system shall be the only statewide system used for accrediting or classifying the public schools in West Virginia. The state board shall establish a schedule and shall review each school within a district and each county board for accreditation based on information submitted to the board under the performance-based accreditation system as set forth in subsection (c) of this section.
(c) On or before the first day of September, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six, the state board shall, in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, establish by rule a system which measures the quality of education and preparation of students at each school based on measures of student and school performance, including, but not limited to, the following:
The standards shall include measures of student performance when a thorough and efficient system of schools is being provided and of school and school system performance and processes that enable student performance. The measures of student performance and school and school system performance and processes shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The acquisition of student proficiencies as indicated by student performance by grade level measured, where possible, by a uniform statewide assessment program;
(2) School attendance rates;
(3) Student dropout rate;
(4) Percent of students promoted to next grade;
(5) Graduation rate;
(6) Average class size;
(7) Pupil-teacher ratio and number of exceptions to ratio requested by county boards and number granted;
(8) Number of split-grade classrooms;
(9) Percentage of graduates who enrolled in college; the percentage of graduates who enrolled in other post-secondary education; and the percentage of graduates who become fully employed within one year of high school graduation all as reported by the graduates on the assessment form attached to their individualized student transition plan, pursuant to section eight of this article and the percentage of graduates reporting;
(10) Pupil-administrator ratio;
(11) Parent involvement;
(12) Parent, teacher and student satisfaction;
(13) Operating expenditures per pupil;
(14) Percentage of graduates who attain the minimum level of performance in the basic skills recognized by the state board as laying the foundation for further learning and skill development for success in college, other post-secondary education and gainful employment and the grade level distribution in which the minimum level of performance was met; and
(15) Percentage of graduates who received additional certification of their skills, competence and readiness for college, other post-secondary education or employment above the minimum foundation level of basic skills; and
(16) Effective school system participation with their assigned regional education service agency
.
(d) Assessment of school and school system performance and processes
. -- The state board of education shall establish by rule in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, a system of education performance audits which measures the quality of education and the preparation of students based on the standards and measures of student, school and school system performance and processes, including, but not limited to, the standards and measures set forth in subsections (b) and (c) of this section. The system of education performance audits shall assist the state board in ensuring that the standards and measures established pursuant to this section are, at a minimum, being met and that a thorough and efficient system of schools is being provided. The system of education performance audits shall include: (1) The assessment of student, school and school system performance and the processes in place in schools and school systems which enable student performance; (2) the review of school and school system education improvement plans; and (3) the periodic, random unannounced on-site review of school and school system performance and compliance with the standards.
(e)
Uses of school and school system assessment information. -- The state board shall use information from the system of education performance audits to assist it in ensuring that a thorough and efficient system of schools is being provided and to improve student, school and school system performance, including, but not limited to, the following: (1) Determining school accreditation and school system approval status; (2) holding schools and school systems accountable for the efficient use of existing resources to meet or exceed the standards; and (3) targeting additional resources when necessary to improve performance. Primary emphasis in determining school accreditation and school system approval status will be based on student, school and school system performance on annual measures selected by the state board. The state board shall make accreditation information available to the Legislature, the governor, and, subject to the provisions of the freedom of information act, to the general public and any individuals who request such information. Based on the assessment of student, school and school system performance, the state board shall establish early detection and intervention programs to assist underachieving schools and school systems to improve performance before conditions become so grave as to warrant more substantive state intervention, including, but not limited to, making additional technical assistance, programmatic, monetary and staffing resources available where appropriate.
(f)
Office of Education Performance Audits. -- To assist the state board in the operation of the system of education performance audits and in making determinations of the accreditation status of schools and the approval status of school systems, the state board shall establish an office of education performance audits which shall be operated under the direction of the state board independently of the functions and supervision of the state department of education and state superintendent. The office of education performance audits shall report directly to and be responsible to the state board in carrying out its duties under the provisions of this section. The office shall be headed by a director who shall be appointed by the state board and shall serve at the will and pleasure of the state board. The salary of the director shall not exceed the salary of the state superintendent of schools. The state board shall organize and sufficiently staff the office to fulfill the duties assigned to it by this section and the state board. Employees of the state department of education who are transferred to the office of education performance audits shall retain their benefit and seniority status with the department of education. Under direction of the state board, the office of education performance audits shall receive from the West Virginia education information system, staff research and analysis data on the performance of students, schools and school systems, and shall receive assistance from the state department of education and the state school building authority staff to carry out the duties assigned to the office. In addition to other duties which may be assigned to it by the state board or by statute, the office of education performance audits shall also:
(1) Review assessment tools, including tests of student performance and measures of school and school system performance, and recommend any improvements or additions deemed necessary;
(2) Consider multiple assessments and make recommendations to the state board as it deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, a state testing program developed in conjunction with the state's professional educators with assistance from such knowledgeable consultants as may be necessary, which may include criterion referenced tests;
(3) Assure that all statewide assessments of student performance are secure;
(4) Review all accountability measures, such as the accreditation and personnel evaluation systems, and recommend to the state board any improvements or additions deemed necessary;
(5) Administer processes for the accreditation of schools and the approval of school systems, and recommend appropriate accreditation and approval action to the state board;
(6) In conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, determine what capacity may be needed by schools and school systems to meet the standards established by the Legislature and the state board, and recommend to the school, school system and state board, plans to establish those needed capacities;
(7) In conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, determine whether statewide system deficiencies exist in the capacity to establish and maintain a thorough and efficient system of schools, including the identification of trends and the need for continuing improvements in education, and report those deficiencies and trends to the state board;
(8) In conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, determine staff development needs of schools and school systems to meet the standards established by the Legislature and the state board, and make recommendations to the state board, the center for professional development, regional education service agencies, higher education governing boards and county boards of education; and
(9) In conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, identify exemplary schools and school systems and best practices that improve student, school and school system performance, and make recommendations to the state board for recognizing and rewarding exemplary schools and school systems and promoting the use of best practices. The state board shall provide information on best practices to county school systems and shall use information identified through the assessment and accountability processes to select schools of excellence.
(g)
Accountability process. -- Information on the performance of students, schools and school systems, the processes in place in schools and school systems which enable student performance, and the education improvement plans of schools and school systems, shall be reviewed by the office of education performance audits in accordance with rules adopted by the state board. The information from these reviews shall be submitted annually to the state board to assist it in ensuring that a thorough and efficient system of schools is provided, including, but not limited to, determining the accreditation status of schools and the approval status of school systems. At the direction of the state board or by random selection by the office of education performance audits, an unannounced on-site review shall be conducted by the office of education performance audits of any school or school system for purposes, including, but not limited to, the following: (1) Verifying data reported by the school or county board; (2) documenting compliance with policies and laws; (3) evaluating the effectiveness and implementation status of school and school system education improvement plans; (4) investigating official complaints submitted to the state board that allege serious impairments in the quality of education of schools or school systems; and (5) investigating official complaints submitted to the state board that allege that a school or county board is in violation of policies or laws under which schools and county boards operate. The random selection of schools and school systems for an on-site review shall use a weighted random sample so that those with lower performance indicators and those that have not had a recent on-site review have a greater likelihood of being selected. On-site reviews shall be conducted by an education standards compliance review team appointed by the state board. The teams shall be composed of an adequate number of persons who possess the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to make an accurate assessment of education programs and who are drawn from a trained cadre established by the office of education performance audits. The state board shall have discretion in determining the number of persons to serve on a standards compliance review team based on the size of the school or school system as applicable. The teams shall be led by a member of the office of education performance audits. County boards of education shall be reimbursed for the costs of substitutes required to replace county board employees while serving on an education standards compliance review team. The education standards compliance team shall report the findings of its on-site reviews to the state board for inclusion in the evaluation and determination of a school's or county board's accreditation or approval status as applicable.
(h) School accreditation. -- The state board annually shall review the information from the system of education performance audits submitted for each school and shall issue to every school: (i) Full accreditation status, or (ii) probationary temporary accreditation status, conditional accreditation status, or shall declare the education programs at the school to be seriously impaired.
(1) Full accreditation status shall be given to a school when the school's performance on the standards adopted by the state board pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of this section above indicators is at a level which would be expected when all of the high quality education standards are being met.
Probationary (2) Temporary accreditation status shall be given to a school when the measure of the school's performance is below such level the level required for full accreditation status. Whenever a school is given probationary temporary accreditation status, the county board shall implement an improvement plan which is designed ensure that the school's education improvement plan is revised to increase the performance of the school to a full accreditation status level. within one year The revised plan shall include objectives, a time line, a plan for evaluation of the success of the improvements, cost estimates, and a date certain for achieving full accreditation. The revised plan shall be submitted to the state board for approval.
(3) Conditional accreditation status shall be given to a school when the school's performance on the standards adopted by the state board is below the level required for full accreditation, but the school's education improvement plan has been revised to achieve full accreditation status by a date certain, the plan has been approved by the state board and the school is meeting the objectives and time line specified in the revised plan.
(d) (4) The state board shall establish and adopt standards of performance to identify seriously impaired schools and the state board may declare a school seriously impaired whenever extraordinary circumstances exist as defined by the state board.
These circumstances shall include the failure of a school on temporary accreditation status to obtain approval of its revised school improvement plan within a reasonable time period as defined by the state board and the failure of a school on conditional accreditation status to meet the objectives and time lines of its revised school improvement plan or to achieve full accreditation by the date specified in the revised plan. Whenever the state board determines that the quality of education in a school is seriously impaired, the state superintendent, with approval of the state board, shall appoint a team of three improvement consultants to make recommendations within sixty days of appointment for correction of the impairment. Upon approval of the recommendations by the state board, the recommendations shall be made to the county board. If progress in correcting the impairment as determined by the state board is not made within six months of receipt of the recommendations, the state superintendent shall state board shall place the county board on temporary approval status and provide consultation and assistance to the county board to: (1) (i) Improve personnel management; (2) (ii) establish more efficient financial management practices; (3) (iii) improve instructional programs and rules; or (4) (iv) make such other improvements as may be necessary to correct the impairment, which may include improvements at the school and/or school system levels, including, but not limited to, the transfer or dismissal of personnel, the reallocation of funds, or other measures necessary to improve student performance. If the impairment is not corrected within one year of receipt of the recommendations by a date certain set by the state board, the district county board shall be given probationary approval status or nonapproval nonapproved status.
(e) (i) Transfers from seriously impaired schools. -- Whenever a school is given probationary status or is determined to be seriously impaired and fails to improve its status within one year, any student attending such school may transfer once to the nearest fully accredited school, subject to approval of the fully accredited school and at the expense of the school from which the student transferred.
(f) (j) School system approval. -- The state board shall annually review the information submitted for each school system from the system of education performance audits and issue one of the following accreditation approval levels to each county board: (1) Full approval, (2) conditional temporary approval, (3) probationary conditional approval, or (4) nonapproval or nonapproved.
(1) Full approval shall be given to a county board whose education system meets or exceeds all of the high quality standards for student, school and school system performance and processes adopted by the state board and whose schools have all been given full or conditional accreditation status. Full approval shall be for a period not to exceed four years.
Conditional approval shall be given to a county board whose education system meets at least ninety-five percent of the high quality standards adopted by the state board and in which at least ninety percent of the schools have been given full accreditation status provided no school is seriously impaired. Conditional approval shall be for a period not to exceed one year: Provided, That for counties that have fewer than ten schools, the state board may grant conditional approval without regard to the ninety percent based on the total quality of the county education program.
(2) Temporary approval shall be given to a county board whose education system is below the level required for full approval. Whenever a county board is given temporary approval status, the county board shall revise its school system improvement plan to increase the performance of the school system to a full approval status level. The revised plan shall include objectives, a time line, a plan for evaluation of the success of the improvements, a cost estimate, and a date certain for achieving full approval. The revised plan shall be submitted to the state board for approval.
Probationary approval shall be given to a county board whose education system has met less than ninety-five percent of the high quality standards, or which has eleven percent or more schools in the district given probationary status or serious impairment. Probationary approval is a warning that the county board must make specified improvements. If the number of schools in the district given probationary status is not reduced to a number that would allow full accreditation to be granted in the following year, the county board shall be automatically given nonapproval. In addition,
(3) Conditional approval shall be given to a county board whose education system is below the level required for full approval, but the county's school system improvement plan has been revised to achieve full accreditation status by a date certain, the plan has been approved by the state board and the county board is meeting the objectives and time line specified in the revised plan.
(4) Nonapproval Nonapproved status shall be given to a county board which fails to submit an annual program plan or fails to demonstrate a reasonable effort to meet the high quality standards and gain approval of a school system improvement plan or revised school system improvement plan within a reasonable time period as defined by the state board or fails to meet the objectives and time lines of its revised school system improvement plan or to achieve full approval by the date specified in the revised plan. The state board shall establish and adopt additional standards to identify school districts systems in which the program may be nonapproved or nonapproved and the state board may issue nonapproval nonapproved status whenever extraordinary circumstances exist as defined by the state board. (g) Whenever nonapproval nonapproved status is given to a county school system, the state board shall declare a state of emergency in the district and may intervene in the operation of the district to school system and shall appoint a team of improvement consultants to make recommendations within sixty days of appointment for correcting the emergency. Upon approval of the recommendations by the state board, the recommendations shall be made to the county board. If progress in correcting the emergency as determined by the state board is not made within six months of receipt of the recommendations by the county board, the state board shall intervene in the operation of the school system to cause improvements to be made that will provide assurances that a thorough and efficient system of schools will be provided. This intervention may include, but is not limited to: (1) Limit (i) Limiting the authority of the county superintendent and county board as to the expenditure of funds, the employment and dismissal of personnel, the establishment and operation of the school calendar, the establishment of instructional programs and rules and such other areas as may be designated by the state board by rule; (2) take (ii) taking such direct action as may be necessary to correct the impairment; and (3) declare (iii) declaring that the office of the county superintendent is vacant.
(h) To assist the state board in determinations of the accreditation status of schools and the approval status of school districts under this section, the state board shall from time to time appoint an education standards compliance review team to make unannounced on-site reviews of the education programs in any school or school district in the state to assess compliance of the school or district with the high quality standards adopted by the state board, including, but not limited to, facilities, administrative procedures, transportation, food services and the audit of all matters relating to school finance, budgeting and administration.
The teams shall be composed of not more than ten persons, not more than half of whom may be members of or currently employed by the state board, who possess the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to make an accurate assessment of such education programs. The education standards compliance team shall report the findings of its on-site reviews to the state board for inclusion in the determination of a school's or district's accreditation or approval status as applicable. The state board shall encourage the sharing of information to improve school effectiveness among the districts.
The state board shall make accreditation information available to the Legislature, the governor, the general public and to any individuals who request such information.
(i) The state board shall fully implement the accreditation system under this article for all schools on the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-one, and may pilot test the system prior to that date. The state board shall adopt rules in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code necessary to implement the provisions of this article.
(k) Capacity. -- The process for improving education is a process for strategically targeting resources to improve the teaching and learning process. The school and school system improvement planning processes are intended as school and school system mechanisms to strategically target resources to the teaching and learning process to improve student, school and school system performance, and shall be required by rules adopted by the state board. When deficiencies are detected through the assessment and accountability processes, the revision and approval of school and school system improvement plans shall ensure that schools and school systems are efficiently using existing resources to correct the deficiencies. When the state board determines that schools and school systems do not have the capacity to correct deficiencies, the state board shall work with the county board to obtain the resources necessary to increase the capacity of schools and school systems to meet the standards and, when necessary, seek additional resources in consultation with the Legislature and the governor. The school and school system improvement plan rules adopted by the state board shall provide avenues for schools and county boards to request and receive technical assistance in developing their improvement plans.
The state board shall recommend to the Legislature, county boards, schools and communities methods for strategically targeting resources to eliminate deficiencies identified in the assessment and accountability processes by:
(1) Developing and implementing mechanisms linking performance, fiscal responsibility and fiscal accountability;
(2) Examining reports and improvement plans regarding the performance of students, schools and school systems relative to the standards and identifying the areas in which improvement is needed;
(3) Determining the areas of weakness that appear to have contributed to the substandard performance of students and/or the deficiencies of the school or school system;
(4) Determining the areas of strength that appear to have contributed to exceptional student, school and school system performance and promoting their emulation throughout the system;
(5) Requesting technical assistance from the school building authority in assessing or designing comprehensive educational facilities plans;
(6) Recommending priority funding from the school building authority based on identified needs;
(7) Requesting special staff development programs from the center for professional development, higher education, regional education service agencies and county boards of education based on identified needs;
(8) Designating the allocation of balances which accrue in the general school fund, in addition to any appropriation made for such purpose, to schools or school systems, or both, to address specific improvement needs subject to review of the legislative oversight commission on education accountability. A designated allocation may include funds for the payment of stipends or substitute coverage, or both, for identified best practice schools to enable the staff of the school to share expertise with another school or school system in an identified area of need;
(9) Submitting requests to the Legislature for appropriations to meet the identified needs for improving education;
(10) Directing county boards of education to strategically target their funds toward alleviating deficiencies;
(11) Ensuring that the need for facilities in counties with increased enrollment are appropriately reflected and recommended for funding;
(12) Ensuring that the appropriate person or entity is held accountable for eliminating deficiencies; and
(13) Ensuring that the needed capacity is available from the state and local level to assist the school or school system in achieving the standards and alleviating the deficiencies.
ARTICLE 9A. PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPPORT.
§18-9A-10. Foundation allowance to improve instructional programs.
(a) For the school year beginning on the first day of July,
one thousand nine hundred ninety-four ninety-eight, and thereafter, the sum of the allocations shall be in an amount at least equal to the amount appropriated by the Legislature, in addition to funds which accrue from balances in the general school fund, or from appropriations for such purposes:
(1) One hundred fifty thousand dollars shall be allocated to
to each county;
(2) Distribution to the counties of the remainder of these funds shall be made proportional to the average of each county's average daily attendance for the preceding year and the county's second month net enrollment. Moneys allocated by provision of this section shall be used to improve instructional programs according to a plan for instructional improvement which the affected county board shall file with the state board by the first day of August of each year, to be approved by the state board by the first day of September of that year if such plan substantially complies with standards to be adopted by the state board: Provided, That notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, moneys allocated by provision of this section may also be used in the implementation and maintenance of the uniform integrated regional computer information system; and
(3) Up to twenty-five percent of this allocation may be used to employ professional educators and/or service personnel in counties after all applicable provisions of sections four and five of this article have been fully utilized: Provided, That for the school year beginning on the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six, only, up to an additional twenty-five percent of this allocation may be used to employ classroom teachers, as defined in section one, article one, chapter eighteen-a of this code, and/or service personnel in counties after all applicable provisions of sections four and five of this article have been fully utilized: Provided, however, That service personnel employed with the additional twenty-five percent for the school year beginning on the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six, only, may not include directors, coordinators or supervisors.
Prior to the use of any funds from this section for personnel costs, the county board must receive authorization from the state superintendent of schools. The state superintendent shall require the district board to demonstrate: (1) The need for the allocation; (2) efficiency and fiscal responsibility in staffing; and (3) sharing of services with adjoining counties and the regional educational service agency for that county in the use of the total local district board budget. District boards shall make application for available funds for the next fiscal year by the first day of May of each year. On or before the first day of June, the state superintendent shall review all applications and notify applying district boards of the distribution of the allocation: Provided, That for the school year beginning on the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-three, only, the state superintendent shall review all applications and notify applying district boards of the distribution of the allocation on or before the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-three. Such funds shall be distributed during the fiscal year as appropriate. The state superintendent shall require the county board to demonstrate the need for an allocation for personnel based upon the county's inability to meet the requirements of state law or state board policy: Provided, however, That the funds available for personnel under this section may not be used to increase the total number of professional noninstructional personnel in the central office beyond four. Such instructional improvement plan shall be made available for distribution to the public at the office of each affected county board.
(b) Commencing with the school year beginning on the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-three, an amount not less than the amount required to meet debt service requirements on any revenue bonds issued prior to the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred ninety-four, and the debt service requirements on any revenue bonds issued for the purpose of refunding revenue bonds issued prior to the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred ninety-four, shall be paid into the school building capital improvements fund created by section six, article nine-d of this chapter, and shall be used solely for the purposes of said article. The school building capital improvements fund shall not be utilized to meet the debt services requirement on any revenue bonds or revenue refunding bonds for which moneys contained within the school building debt service fund have been pledged for repayment pursuant to said section.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to implement certain recommendations of the Commission on Educational Quality and Equity. The 1982 circuit court opinion in Pauley v. Bailey found the system of schools in West Virginia to violate the thorough and efficient and equal protection guarantees of the West Virginia Constitution. A Master Plan for Public Education was approved by the circuit court in 1983 as a guideline for correcting these violations. In continuing action in the case last April before Judge Robinson, the plaintiff's motion that the court appoint a special master or commissioner to oversee implementation of the Master Plan was continued to March 16, 1998. The Commission on Educational Quality and Equity was established in June 1997 under Executive Order 9-97 through collaboration between the Legislature, the Governor and the West Virginia Board of Education. The Commission's charge was to examine the issues raised by the court decisions and craft solutions within the boundaries of fiscal responsibility that would build upon and continue the progress underway to improve the quality and equity of education in West Virginia. The Commission recommended an update of the Master Plan with a Process for Improving Education consisting of standards, assessment, accountability and capacity building. This bill establishes the core statutory framework for the Process for Improving Education.

The bill builds upon the current system of school system plan review, performance-based accreditation and on-site reviews to create a system of education performance audits. An Office of Education Performance Audits would assist the State Board in the operation of the system and would report directly to the State Board. The intent is to separate the promotion and advocacy roles of the State Superintendent and West Virginia Department of Education from the assessment and accountability functions necessary under the process for improving education to ensure that existing resources are efficiently targeted to improve teaching and learning and additional resource needs will be accurately identified and provided in consultation with the Governor and the Legislature. The levels of accreditation status of schools and approval status of school systems are modified to focus more on planning and progress on improving education with greater assistance by the state board to meet or exceed the state standards. The State Board is required to intervene in the operation of a school system if it is below standard, fails to gain approval or meet the objectives of its local improvement plan, becomes nonapproved and fails to show progress within six months on improvement recommendations made to it by the state board. The time lines established in a school or school system improvement plan for fully meeting the state standard may exceed the current one-year limit. The plans are subject to approval by the State Board. The State Board is given authority to allocate balances in the General School Fund to meet specific identified needs. These balances are currently distributed under Step 7 of the school aid formula along with other appropriations by the Legislature. The State Board is also required to make other recommendations to increase the capacity of schools and school systems to improve student performance.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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