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SB701 SUB1 Senate Bill 701 History

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SB701 SUB1
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

FOR


Senate Bill No. 701

(By Senator Plymale)

____________

[Originating in the Committee on Education;

reported March 24, 2005.]

____________




A BILL to amend and reenact §18-2E-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to the process for improving education; eliminating requirement that statewide assessment occur at specific grade levels; eliminating certain assessment provisions for grades kindergarten through second grade; limiting the use of any assessment for grades kindergarten through second grade; eliminating obsolete language requiring a study; and requiring an Algebra I end-of-course exam.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18-2E-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2E. HIGH QUALITY EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS.

§18-2E-5. Process for improving education; education standards and accountability measures; Office of Education Performance Audits; school accreditation and school system approval; intervention to correct impairments.

(a) Legislative findings, purpose and intent. -- The Legislature makes the following findings with respect to the process for improving education and its purpose and intent in the enactment of this section:
(1) The process for improving education includes four primary elements, these being:
(A) Standards which set forth the things that students should know and be able to do as the result of a thorough and efficient education including measurable criteria to evaluate student performance and progress;
(B) Assessments of student performance and progress toward meeting the standards;
(C) A system for holding schools and school systems accountable for student performance and progress toward obtaining a high quality education which is delivered in an efficient manner; and
(D) A method for building the capacity and improving the efficiency of schools and school systems to improve student performance and progress.
(2) As the constitutional body charged with the general supervision of schools as provided by general law, the State Board has the authority and the responsibility to establish the standards, assess the performance and progress of students against the standards, hold schools and school systems accountable and assist schools and school systems to build capacity and improve efficiency so that the standards are met, including, when necessary, seeking additional resources in consultation with the Legislature and the Governor.
(3) As the constitutional body charged with providing for a thorough and efficient system of schools, the Legislature has the authority and the responsibility to establish and be engaged constructively in the determination of the things that students should know and be able to do as the result of a thorough and efficient education. This determination is made by using the process for improving education to determine when school improvement is needed, by evaluating the results and the efficiency of the system of schools, by ensuring accountability and by providing for the necessary capacity and its efficient use.
(4) In consideration of these findings, the purpose of this section is to establish a process for improving education that includes the four primary elements as set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection to provide assurances that the high quality standards are, at a minimum, being met and that a thorough and efficient system of schools is being provided for all West Virginia public school students on an equal education opportunity basis.
(5) The intent of the Legislature in enacting this section and section five-c of this article is to establish a process through which the Legislature, the Governor and the State Board can work in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration intended in the process for improving education to consult and examine the performance and progress of students, schools and school systems and, when necessary, to consider alternative measures to ensure that all students continue to receive the thorough and efficient education to which they are entitled. However, nothing in this section requires any specific level of funding by the Legislature.
(b) Unified county and school improvement plans. -- The State Board shall promulgate a rule consistent with the provisions of this section and in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code establishing a unified county improvement plan for each county board and a unified school improvement plan for each public school in this state. Each respective plan shall be a five-year plan that includes the mission and goals of the school or school system to improve student, school or school system performance and progress, as applicable. The plan shall be revised annually in each area in which the school or system is below the standard on the annual performance measures. The revised annual plan also shall identify any deficiency which is reported on the check lists identified in paragraph (G), subdivision (5), subsection (j) of this section including any deficit more than a casual deficit by the county board. The plan shall be revised when required pursuant to this section to include each annual performance measure upon which the school or school system fails to meet the standard for performance and progress, the action to be taken to meet each measure, a separate timeline and a date certain for meeting each measure, a cost estimate and, when applicable, the assistance to be provided by the department and other education agencies to improve student, school or school system performance and progress to meet the annual performance measure.
The Department shall make available to all public schools through its web site or the West Virginia Education Information System an electronic unified school improvement plan boilerplate designed for use by all schools to develop a unified school improvement plan which incorporates all required aspects and satisfies all improvement plan requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
(c) High quality education standards and efficiency standards. -- In accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, the State Board shall 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 performance and progress;
(12) School and school system performance and progress;
(13) A code of conduct for students and employees;
(14) Indicators of efficiency; and
(15) Any other areas determined by the State Board.
The standards shall assure that graduates are prepared for continuing post-secondary education, training and work and that schools and school systems are making progress toward achieving the education goals of the state.
(d) Annual performance measures. -- The standards shall include annual measures of student, school and school system performance and progress. The following annual measures of student, school and school system performance and progress shall be the only measures for determining school accreditation and school system approval:
(1) The acquisition of student proficiencies as indicated by in accordance with the following:
(A)
student performance and progress in grades three through eight, inclusive, and grade ten shall be measured Student proficiencies shall be measured by a uniform statewide assessment program at the grade levels determined by the State Board;
(B) The indicators for student progress in reading and mathematics in grades kindergarten through second grade shall be measured by the informal assessment established by the West Virginia Department of Education or other assessments, as determined by the school curriculum team. If the school fails to meet adequate yearly progress in reading or mathematics for two consecutive years, the county superintendent, the school principal and the school curriculum team shall decide whether a different assessment should be used to verify that benchmarks are being met. If the county superintendent, the school principal and the school curriculum team differ on what assessment is used, then each entity shall have one vote. The State Board may not use any assessment in grades kindergarten through second grade for the purpose of determining school accreditation or school system approval;
(C)
Furthermore, The State Board may require that student proficiencies be measured through the West Virginia writing assessment at any of the grades that are determined by the State Board to be appropriate;
(D) It is the intent of the Legislature that in the future a grade eleven uniform statewide assessment be administered in lieu of the grade ten uniform statewide assessment; The state board shall perform an analysis of the costs and the benefits of administering the grade eleven uniform statewide assessment in lieu of the grade ten uniform statewide assessment. The analysis shall include a review of the need for end of course exams in grades nine through twelve. The State Board shall report the results of the analysis to the legislative oversight commission on education accountability.
(E) Effective with the school year beginning two thousand seven and each year thereafter, the State Board shall establish and require the use of an end-of-course exam for Algebra I. Each student's score on the Algebra I end-of-course exam shall be reported on the student's transcript. The State Board may not use the Algebra I end-of-course exam results for the purpose of determining school accreditation and school system approval; and
(F) The State Board may provide other testing or assessment instruments applicable to grade levels kindergarten through grade twelve through the statewide assessment program for optional use by each school as determined by the school curriculum team to measure student performance and progress;
(2) Only for schools that do not include grade twelve, the school attendance rate which shall be no less than ninety percent in attendance. The following absences shall be are excluded:
(A) Student absences excused in accordance with the State Board rule promulgated pursuant to section four, article eight of this chapter;
(B) Students not in attendance due to disciplinary measures; and
(C) Absent students for whom the attendance director has pursued judicial remedies compelling attendance to the extent of his or her authority; and
(3) The high school graduation rate which shall be no less than eighty percent, or if the high school graduation rate is less than eighty percent, the high school graduation rate shall be higher than the high school graduation rate of the preceding year as determined from information on the West Virginia Education Information System on the fifteenth day of August.
(e) Indicators of exemplary performance and progress. - The standards shall include indicators of exemplary student, school and school system performance and progress. The indicators of exemplary student, school and school system performance and progress shall be used only as indicators for determining whether accredited and approved schools and school systems should be granted exemplary status. These indicators shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The percentage of graduates who declare their intent to enroll in college and other post-secondary education and training following high school graduation;
(2) The percentage of graduates who receive additional certification of their skills, competence and readiness for college, other post-secondary education or employment above the level required for graduation; and
(3) The percentage of students who successfully complete advanced placement, dual credit and honors classes.
(f) Indicators of efficiency. -- In accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, the State Board shall adopt by rule and periodically review and update indicators of efficiency for use by the appropriate divisions within the Department to ensure efficient management and use of resources in the public schools in the following areas:
(1) Curriculum delivery including, but not limited to, the use of distance learning;
(2) Transportation;
(3) Facilities;
(4) Administrative practices;
(5) Personnel;
(6) Utilization Use of regional educational service agency programs and services, including programs and services that may be established by their assigned regional educational service agency, or other regional services that may be initiated between and among participating county boards; and
(7) Any other indicators as determined by the State Board.
(g) Assessment and accountability of school and school system performance and processes. -- In accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, the State Board shall establish by rule a system of education performance audits which measures the quality of education and the preparation of students based on the annual measures of student, school and school system performance and progress. The system of education performance audits shall provide information to the State Board, the Legislature and the Governor, individually and collectively as the process for improving education council, upon which they may determine whether 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 progress based on the annual measures set forth in subsection (d) of this section;
(2) The evaluation of records, reports and other information collected by the Department upon which the quality of education and compliance with statutes, policies and standards may be determined;
(3) The review of school and school system unified improvement plans; and
(4) The on-site review of the processes in place in schools and school systems to enable school and school system performance and progress and compliance with the standards.
(h) Uses of school and school system assessment information. -- The State Board and the process for improving education council established pursuant to section five-c of this article shall use information from the system of education performance audits to assist them in ensuring that a thorough and efficient system of schools is being provided and to improve student, school and school system performance and progress. Information from the system of education performance audits further shall be used by the State Board for these purposes, 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 and progress.
The State Board shall make accreditation information available to the Legislature, the Governor, the general public and to any individual who requests the information, subject to the provisions of any act or rule restricting the release of information.
(i) Early detection and intervention programs. -- Based on the assessment of student, school and school system performance and progress, the State Board shall establish early detection and intervention programs using the available resources of the Department of Education, the regional educational service agencies, the Center for Professional Development and the Principals Academy, as appropriate, to assist underachieving schools and school systems to improve performance before conditions become so grave as to warrant more substantive state intervention. Assistance shall include, but is not limited to, providing additional technical assistance and programmatic, professional staff development, providing monetary, staffing and other resources where appropriate and, if necessary, making appropriate recommendations to the process for improving education council.
(j) Office of Education Performance Audits. --
(1) To assist the State Board and the process for improving education council in the operation of a system of education performance audits, the State Board shall establish an Office of Education Performance Audits consistent with the provisions of this section. The Office of Education Performance Audits 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 and the process for improving education council created in section five-c of this article in carrying out its duties under the provisions of this section.
(2) The office shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by the State Board and who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the State Board. The annual salary of the Director shall be set by the State Board and may not exceed eighty percent of the salary cap of the State Superintendent. of schools.
(3) The State Board shall organize and sufficiently staff the office to fulfill the duties assigned to it by law and by the State Board. Employees of the State Department of Education who are transferred to the Office of Education Performance Audits shall retain their benefits and seniority status with the Department of Education.
(4) Under the 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 and progress of students, schools and school systems, and shall receive assistance, as determined by the State Board, from staff at the State Department of Education, the Regional Education Service Agencies, the Center for Professional Development, the Principals Academy and the State School Building Authority to carry out the duties assigned to the office.
(5) In addition to other duties which may be assigned to it by the State Board or by statute, the Office of Education Performance Audits also shall:
(A) Assure that all statewide assessments of student performance used as annual performance measures are secure as required in section one-a of this article;
(B) Administer all accountability measures as assigned by the State Board, including, but not limited to, the following:
(i) Processes for the accreditation of schools and the approval of school systems; and
(ii) Recommendations to the State Board on appropriate action, including, but not limited to, accreditation and approval action;
(C) Determine, in conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, what capacity may be needed by schools and school systems to meet the standards established by the State Board, and recommend to the State Board and the process for improving education council, plans to establish those needed capacities;
(D) Determine, in conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, whether statewide system deficiencies exist in the capacity of schools and school systems to meet the standards established by the State Board, including the identification of trends and the need for continuing improvements in education, and report those deficiencies and trends to the State Board and the process for improving education council;
(E) Determine, in conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, staff development needs of schools and school systems to meet the standards established by the State Board, and make recommendations to the State Board, the Process for Improving Education Council, the Center for Professional Development, the Regional Educational Service Agencies, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the county boards;
(F) Identify, in conjunction with the assessment and accountability processes, exemplary schools and school systems and best practices that improve student, school and school system performance and make recommendations to the State Board and the process for improving education council 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; and
(G) Develop reporting formats, such as check lists, which shall be used by the appropriate administrative personnel in schools and school systems to document compliance with the various of the applicable laws, policies and process standards as considered appropriate and approved by the State Board, including, but not limited to, the following:
(i) The use of a policy for the evaluation of all school personnel that meets the requirements of sections twelve and twelve-a, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code;
(ii) The participation of students in appropriate physical assessments as determined by the State Board, which assessment may not be used as a part of the assessment and accountability system;
(iii) The appropriate licensure of school personnel; and
(iv) The school provides multicultural activities.
Information contained in the reporting formats is subject to examination during an on-site review to determine compliance with laws, policies and standards. Intentional and grossly negligent reporting of false information are grounds for dismissal.
(k) On-site reviews. --
(1) The system of education performance audits shall include on-site reviews of schools and school systems which shall be conducted only at the specific direction of the State Board upon its determination that the performance and progress of the school or school system are persistently below standard or that other circumstances exist that warrant an on-site review. Any discussion by the State Board of schools to be subject to an on-site review or dates for which on-site reviews will be conducted may be held in executive session and is not subject to the provisions of article nine-a, chapter six of this code relating to open governmental proceedings. An on-site review shall be conducted by the Office of Education Performance Audits of a school or school system for the purpose of investigating the reasons for performance and progress that are persistently below standard and making recommendations to the school and school system, as appropriate, and to the State Board on such measures as it considers necessary to improve performance and progress to meet the standard. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, the following:
(A) Verifying data reported by the school or county board;
(B) Examining compliance with the laws and policies affecting student, school and school system performance and progress;
(C) Evaluating the effectiveness and implementation status of school and school system unified improvement plans;
(D) Investigating official complaints submitted to the State Board that allege serious impairments in the quality of education in schools or school systems;
(E) 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; and
(F) Determining and reporting whether required reviews and inspections have been conducted by the appropriate agencies, including, but not limited to, the State Fire Marshal, the Health Department, the School Building Authority and the responsible divisions within the Department of Education and whether noted deficiencies have been or are in the process of being corrected. The Office of Education Performance Audits may not conduct a duplicate review or inspection of any compliance reviews or inspections conducted by the Department or its agents or other duly authorized agencies of the state, nor may it mandate more stringent compliance measures.
(2) The Director of the Office of Education Performance Audits shall notify the county superintendent of schools five school days prior to commencing an on-site review of the county school system and shall notify both the county superintendent and the principal five school days prior to commencing an on-site review of an individual school: Provided, That the State Board may direct the Office of Education Performance Audits to conduct an unannounced on-site review of a school or school system if the State Board believes circumstances warrant an unannounced on-site review.
(3) The Office of Education Performance Audits shall conduct on-site reviews which are limited in scope to specific areas in which performance and progress are persistently below standard as determined by the State Board unless specifically directed by the State Board to conduct a review which covers additional areas.
(4) An on-site review of a school or school system shall include a person or persons from the department of education or a public education agency in the state who has expert knowledge and experience in the area or areas to be reviewed, and who has been trained and designated by the State Board to perform such those functions. If the size of the school or school system and issues being reviewed necessitate the use of an on-site review team or teams, the person or persons designated by the State Board shall advise and assist the Director to appoint the team or teams. The person or persons designated by the State Board shall be the team leaders.
The persons designated by the State Board shall be responsible for completing the report on the findings and recommendations of the on-site review in their area of expertise. It is the intent of the Legislature that the persons designated by the State Board participate in all on-site reviews that involve their area of expertise, to the extent practicable, so that the on-site review process will evaluate compliance with the standards in a uniform, consistent and expert manner.
(5) The Office of Education Performance Audits shall reimburse a county board for the costs of substitutes required to replace county board employees while they are serving on a review team.
(6) At the conclusion of an on-site review of a school system, the Director and team leaders shall hold an exit conference with the Superintendent and shall provide an opportunity for principals to be present for at least the portion of the conference pertaining to their respective schools. In the case of an on-site review of a school, the exit conference shall be held with the principal and curriculum team of the school and the superintendent shall be provided the opportunity to be present. The purpose of the exit conference is to review the initial findings of the on-site review, clarify and correct any inaccuracies and allow the opportunity for dialogue between the reviewers and the school or school system to promote a better understanding of the findings.
(7) The Office of Education Performance Audits shall report the findings of an on-site review to the county superintendent and the principals whose schools were reviewed within thirty days following the conclusion of the on-site review. The Office of Education Performance Audits shall report the findings of the on-site review to the State Board within forty-five days after the conclusion of the on-site review. A copy of the report shall be provided to the Process for Improving Education Council at its request.
(8) The Legislature finds that the accountability and oversight of the following activities and programmatic areas in the public schools is controlled through other mechanisms and that additional accountability and oversight are not only unnecessary but counter productive in distracting necessary resources from teaching and learning. Therefore, notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the following activities and programmatic areas are not subject to review by the Office of Education Performance Audits:
(A) Work-based learning;
(B) Use of advisory councils;
(C) Program accreditation and student credentials;
(D) Student transition plans;
(E) Graduate assessment form;
(F) Casual deficit;
(G) Accounting practices;
(H) Transportation services;
(I) Special education services;
(J) Safe, healthy and accessible facilities;
(K) Health services;
(L) Attendance director;
(M) Business/community partnerships;
(N) Pupil-teacher ratio/split grade classes;
(O)Local school improvement council, faculty senate, student assistance team and curriculum team;
(P) Planning and lunch periods;
(Q) Skill improvement program;
(R) Certificate of proficiency;
(S) Training of county board members;
(T) Excellence in job performance;
(U) Staff development; and
(V) Preventive discipline, character education and student and parental involvement.
(l) 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 one of the following approval levels: Exemplary accreditation status, full accreditation status, temporary accreditation status, conditional accreditation status or seriously impaired status.
(1) Full accreditation status shall be given to a school when the school's performance and progress meet or exceed the standards adopted by the State Board pursuant to subsection (d) of this section and it does not have any deficiencies which would endanger student health or safety or other extraordinary circumstances as defined by the State Board. A school that meets or exceeds the performance and progress standards but has the other deficiencies shall remain on full accreditation status for the remainder of the accreditation period and shall have an opportunity to correct those deficiencies, notwithstanding other provisions of this subsection.
(2) Temporary accreditation status shall be given to a school when the school's performance and progress are below the level required for full accreditation status. Whenever a school is given temporary accreditation status, the county board shall ensure that the school's unified improvement plan is revised in accordance with subsection (b) of this section to increase the performance and progress of the school to a full accreditation status level. 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 and progress are below the level required for full accreditation, but the school's unified improvement plan meets the following criteria:
(A) The plan has been revised to improve performance and progress on the standard or standards by a date or dates certain;
(B) The plan has been approved by the State Board; and
(C) The school is meeting the objectives and timeline specified in the revised plan.
(4) Exemplary accreditation status shall be given to a school when the school's performance and progress meet or exceed the standards adopted by the State Board pursuant to subsections(d) and (e) of this section. The State Board shall promulgate legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a, designated to establish standards of performance and progress to identify exemplary schools.
(5) Seriously impaired accreditation status shall be given to a school whenever extraordinary circumstances exist as defined by the State Board.
(A) These circumstances shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
(i) The failure of a school on temporary accreditation status to obtain approval of its revised unified school improvement plan within a reasonable time period as defined by the State Board;
(ii) The failure of a school on conditional accreditation status to meet the objectives and timeline of its revised unified school improvement plan; or
(iii) The failure of a school to meet a standard by the date specified in the revised plan.
(B) Whenever the State Board determines that the quality of education in a school is seriously impaired, the State Board shall appoint a team of improvement consultants to make recommendations within sixty days of appointment for correction of the impairment. When the State Board approves the recommendations, they shall be communicated to the county board. If progress in correcting the impairment as determined by the State Board is not made within six months from the time the county board receives the recommendations, the State Board shall place the county board on temporary approval status and provide consultation and assistance to the county board to assist it in the following areas:
(i) Improving personnel management;
(ii) Establishing more efficient financial management practices;
(iii) Improving instructional programs and rules; or
(iv) Making any other improvements that are necessary to correct the impairment.
(C) If the impairment is not corrected by a date certain as set by the State Board:
(i) The State Board shall appoint a monitor who shall be paid at county expense to cause improvements to be made at the school to bring it to full accreditation status within a reasonable time period as determined by the State Board. The monitor's work location shall be at the school and the monitor shall work collaboratively with the principal. The monitor shall, at a minimum, report monthly to the State Board on the measures being taken to improve the school's performance and the progress being made. The reports may include requests for additional assistance and recommendations required in the judgment of the monitor to improve the school's performance, including, but not limited to, the need for targeting resources strategically to eliminate deficiencies;
(ii) The State Board may make a determination, in its sole judgment, that the improvements necessary to provide a thorough and efficient education to the students at the school cannot be made without additional targeted resources, in which case, it shall establish a plan in consultation with the county board that includes targeted resources from sources under the control of the State Board and the county board to accomplish the needed improvements. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow a change in personnel at the school to improve school performance and progress, except as provided by law;
(iii) If the impairment is not corrected within one year after the appointment of a monitor, the State Board may make a determination, in its sole judgment, that continuing a monitor arrangement is not sufficient to correct the impairment and may intervene in the operation of the school 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, establishing instructional programs, taking such direct action as may be necessary to correct the impairments, declaring the position of principal is vacant and assigning a principal for the school who shall serve at the will and pleasure of and, under the sole supervision of, the State Board: Provided, That prior to declaring that the position of the principal is vacant, the State Board must make a determination that all other resources needed to correct the impairment are present at the school. If the principal who was removed elects not to remain an employee of the county board, then the principal assigned by the State Board shall be paid by the county board. If the principal who was removed elects to remain an employee of the county board, then the following procedure applies:
(I) The principal assigned by the State Board shall be paid by the State Board until the next school term, at which time the principal assigned by the State Board shall be paid by the county board;
(II) The principal who was removed shall be eligible for all positions in the county, including teaching positions, for which the principal is certified, by either being placed on the transfer list in accordance with section seven, article two, chapter eighteen-a of this code, or by being placed on the preferred recall list in accordance with section seven-a, article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code; and
(III) The principal who was removed shall be paid by the county board and may be assigned to administrative duties, without the county board being required to post that position until the end of the school term;
(6) The county board shall take no action nor refuse any action if the effect would be to impair further the school in which the State Board has intervened.
(7) The State Board may appoint a monitor pursuant to the provisions of this subsection to assist the school principal after intervention in the operation of a school is completed.
(m) Transfers from seriously impaired schools. -- Whenever a school is determined to be seriously impaired and fails to improve its status within one year, following state intervention in the operation of the school to correct the impairment, any student attending the school may transfer once to the nearest fully accredited school in the county, subject to approval of the fully accredited school and at the expense of the school from which the student transferred.
(n) School system approval. -- The State Board annually shall review the information submitted for each school system from the system of education performance audits and issue one of the following approval levels to each county board: Full approval, temporary approval, conditional approval or nonapproval.
(1) Full approval shall be given to a county board whose schools have all been given full, temporary or conditional accreditation status and which does not have any deficiencies which would endanger student health or safety or other extraordinary circumstances as defined by the State Board. A fully approved school system in which other deficiencies are discovered shall remain on full accreditation status for the remainder of the approval period and shall have an opportunity to correct those deficiencies, notwithstanding other provisions of this subsection.
(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 unified county improvement plan in accordance with subsection (b) of this section to increase the performance and progress of the school system to a full approval status level. The revised plan shall be submitted to the State Board for approval.
(3) Conditional approval shall be given to a county board whose education system is below the level required for full approval, but whose unified county improvement plan meets the following criteria:
(i) The plan has been revised in accordance with subsection (b) of this section;
(ii) The plan has been approved by the State Board; and (iii) The county board is meeting the objectives and timeline specified in the revised plan.
(4) Nonapproval status shall be given to a county board which fails to submit and gain approval for its unified county improvement plan or revised unified county improvement plan within a reasonable time period as defined by the State Board or which fails to meet the objectives and timeline of its revised unified county improvement plan or fails to achieve full approval by the date specified in the revised plan.
(A) The State Board shall establish and adopt additional standards to identify school systems in which the program may be nonapproved and the State Board may issue nonapproval status whenever extraordinary circumstances exist as defined by the State Board.
(B) Whenever a county board has more than a casual deficit, as defined in section one, article one of this chapter, the county board shall submit a plan to the State Board specifying the county board's strategy for eliminating the casual deficit. The State Board either shall approve or reject the plan. If the plan is rejected, the State Board shall communicate to the county board the reason or reasons for the rejection of the plan. The county board may resubmit the plan any number of times. However, any county board that fails to submit a plan and gain approval for the plan from the State Board before the end of the fiscal year after a deficit greater than a casual deficit occurred or any county board which, in the opinion of the State Board, fails to comply with an approved plan may be designated as having nonapproval status.
(C) Whenever nonapproval status is given to a school system, the State Board shall declare a state of emergency in the school system and shall appoint a team of improvement consultants to make recommendations within sixty days of appointment for correcting the emergency. When the State Board approves the recommendations, they shall be communicated to the county board. If progress in correcting the emergency, as determined by the State Board, is not made within six months from the time the county board receives the recommendations, 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, the following:
(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 any other areas designated by the State Board by rule, which may include delegating decision-making authority regarding these matters to the State Superintendent;
(ii) Declaring that the office of the county superintendent is vacant;
(iii) Delegating to the State Superintendent both the authority to conduct hearings on personnel matters and school closure or consolidation matters and, subsequently, to render the resulting decisions and the authority to appoint a designee for the limited purpose of conducting hearings while reserving to the State Superintendent the authority to render the resulting decisions;
(iv) Functioning in lieu of the county board of education in a transfer, sale, purchase or other transaction regarding real property; and
(v) Taking any direct action necessary to correct the emergency including, but not limited to, the following:
(I) Delegating to the State Superintendent the authority to replace administrators and principals in low performing schools and to transfer them into alternate professional positions within the county at his or her discretion; and
(II) Delegating to the State Superintendent the authority to fill positions of administrators and principals with individuals determined by the State Superintendent to be the most qualified for the positions. Any authority related to intervention in the operation of a county board granted under this paragraph is not subject to the provisions of article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code;
(o) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the State Board may intervene immediately in the operation of the county school system with all the powers, duties and responsibilities contained in subsection (n) of this section, if the State Board finds the following:
(1) That the conditions precedent to intervention exist as provided in this section; and that delaying intervention for any period of time would not be in the best interests of the students of the county school system; or
(2) That the conditions precedent to intervention exist as provided in this section and that the State Board had previously intervened in the operation of the same school system and had concluded that intervention within the preceding five years.
(p) Capacity. -- The process for improving education includes a process for targeting resources strategically to improve the teaching and learning process. Development of unified school and school system improvement plans, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, is intended, in part, to provide mechanisms to target resources strategically to the teaching and learning process to improve student, school and school system performance. When deficiencies are detected through the assessment and accountability processes, the revision and approval of school and school system unified 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 develop or secure 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 State Board shall recommend to the appropriate body including, but not limited to, the process for improving education council, the Legislature, county boards, schools and communities methods for targeting resources strategically to eliminate deficiencies identified in the assessment and accountability processes. When making determinations on recommendations, the State Board shall include, but is not limited to, the following methods:
(1) Examining reports and unified improvement plans regarding the performance and progress of students, schools and school systems relative to the standards and identifying the areas in which improvement is needed;
(2) Determining the areas of weakness and of ineffectiveness that appear to have contributed to the substandard performance and progress of students or the deficiencies of the school or school system;
(3) Determining the areas of strength that appear to have contributed to exceptional student, school and school system performance and progress and promoting their emulation throughout the system;
(4) Requesting technical assistance from the school building authority in assessing or designing comprehensive educational facilities plans;
(5) Recommending priority funding from the school building authority based on identified needs;
(6) Requesting special staff development programs from the center for professional development, the principals academy, higher education, regional educational service agencies and county boards based on identified needs;
(7) Submitting requests to the Legislature for appropriations to meet the identified needs for improving education;
(8) Directing county boards to target their funds strategically toward alleviating deficiencies;
(9) Ensuring that the need for facilities in counties with increased enrollment are appropriately reflected and recommended for funding;
(10) Ensuring that the appropriate person or entity is held accountable for eliminating deficiencies; and
(11) 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.
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