Senate Bill No. 228
(By Senators Kessler (Acting President) and Hall,
By Request of the Executive)
[Introduced January 21, 2011; referred to the Committee on Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-8B-1, §18-8B-2, §18-8B-3 and §18-8B-4, all relating to school dropout prevention and recovery; creating the Local Solution Dropout Prevention and Recovery Act; providing legislative findings and purpose for Local Solution Dropout Prevention and Recovery Act; requiring State Department of Education to develop statewide student profile system to include early warning indicators for at-risk students; establishing pilot sites to test individual statewide student profile system; creating special revenue fund in State Treasury for Local Solution Dropout Prevention and Recovery Fund; providing application process for schools, groups of schools or school districts to become designated dropout prevention and recovery pilot projects; providing State Board of Education legislative and emergency rule-making power to develop and implement dropout prevention and recovery pilot program, application and award process; and requiring the State Board of Education to provide the Legislature with annual reports regarding the dropout prevention and recovery pilot project.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-8B-1, §18-8B-2, §18-8B-3 and §18-8B-4, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8B. LOCAL SOLUTION DROPOUT PREVENTION AND RECOVERY ACT.
This article shall be known as the “Local Solution Dropout Prevention and Recovery Act.”
§18-8B-2. Legislative findings and purpose.
(a) Legislative findings. -- The Legislature finds that:
(1) High school graduation is an essential milestone for all West Virginia students and impacts the future success of the individual, community and state;
(2) There are significant correlations between educational attainment and labor market outcomes, greater labor force participation rate, increased employment rates, improved health, and decreased levels of poverty and crime. The negative impact on these linkages is most evident in the absence of high school completion;
(3)Dropping out of school is a process, not an event, with factors building and compounding over time;
(4)Students at risk of not completing high school can be identified as early as sixth grade using the indicators of attendance, behavior and course failures. Therefore, a comprehensive graduation plan must include a comprehensive systemic approach that emphasizes early interventions;
(5) Research identifies a number of effective strategies for engaging students that have the most positive impact on improving high school graduation rates. Some of these strategies are school-community collaboration, safe learning environments, family engagement, early literacy development, mentoring and tutoring services, service learning opportunities, alternative and nontraditional schooling, offering multiple pathways and settings for attaining high school diplomas, after-school opportunities, individualized instruction and career and technical education.
(6) Schools cannot solve the dropout problem alone. Research shows when educators, parents, politicians, business leaders, faith-based leaders, human service personnel, judicial personnel and civic leaders collectively work together they are often able to find innovative solutions to address school and community problems; and
(7) Increasing high school graduation rates is an important factor in preparing a college and career-ready citizenry. Higher education institutions, including community and technical colleges, are essential partners in creating local and statewide solutions.
(b) Intent and purpose. -– The intent and purpose of this article is to:
(1) Provide the resources to develop a comprehensive statewide individual student profile system to assist in identifying students at-risk of not graduating from high school;
(2) Provide for the establishment of Local Solution Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot programs, increase graduation rates and reduce the number of dropouts from West Virginia schools;
(3) Provide schools and communities with opportunities for greater collaboration to plan and implement systemic approaches that include evidence-based solutions for increasing graduation rates and reducing the number of dropouts;
(4) Provide a testing ground for innovative graduation programs, incentives and approaches to reducing the number of dropouts;
(5) Provide information regarding the effects of specific innovations, collaborations and policies on graduation rates and dropout prevention and recovery; and
(6) Document educational strategies that increase graduation rates, prevent dropouts and enhance student success.
§18-8B-3. Comprehensive individual student profile system; local solutions dropout prevention and recovery fund; application; state board rule.
(a) The Department of Education shall develop a comprehensive statewide individual student profile system that will include early warning indicators for students at risk of not completing high school, a multifaceted assessment system to quantify and qualify students’ intellectual abilities, talents, performance indicators and student portfolios.
(b) Pilot sights will be established by the Department of Education to test the comprehensive statewide individual student profile system.
(c) There is hereby created in the State Treasury a special revenue fund to be known as the "Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Fund." The fund shall consist of all moneys received from whatever source to further the purpose of this article. The fund shall be administered by the state board solely for the purposes of this article. Any moneys remaining in the fund at the close of a fiscal year shall be carried forward for use in the next fiscal year. Fund balances shall be invested with the state's consolidated investment fund and any and all interest earnings on these investments shall be used solely for the purposes that moneys deposited in the fund may be used pursuant to this article.
(d) A school, a group of schools or a school district, in collaboration with a community or state partner, whether the community or state partner be a public, private, for profit or nonprofit entity, may apply to become a Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot in accordance with this article.
(e) The state board shall promulgate a rule, including an emergency rule if necessary, in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement the provisions of this article. The rule shall include provisions for at least the following:
(1) A process for a school, a group of schools or a school district to apply to become a Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot that encompasses at least the following:
(A) The manner, time and process for the submission of an application;
(B) The contents of the application, which must include a general description of the dropout prevention and recovery strategies and plan that the school, group of schools or school district seeks to institute; and
(C) Factors to be considered by the state board when evaluating an application which shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
(i) Meaningful involvement of community organizations as outlined in the dropout prevention and recovery plan and evidenced by letters of support;
(ii) Support from parents, students, the county board of education, the local school improvement council and school business partners;
(iii) The level of staff commitment and support to apply to become a Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot as determined by a vote by secret ballot at a special meeting of school employees to vote on the plan; and
(iv) The potential for an applicant to be successful in building community awareness of the high school dropout problem and developing and implementing its dropout prevention and recovery plan;
(2) Standards for the state board to review applications for designation as a Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot and to make determinations of the applicants to be selected; and
(3) The number or geographic locations of Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilots to be established.
(f) The state board shall review applications in accordance with the standards adopted by the board and determine whether to designate the applicant as a Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot. The state board shall notify an applicant of the board’s determination within sixty days of receipt of an application.
§18-8B-4. Progress reviews and annual reports.
(a) At least annually, the state board or its designated committee shall review the progress of the development or implementation of a Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot program. If, following such a review, the state board determines that a designated school, group of schools or school district has not made adequate progress toward developing or implementing its plan, the board shall submit a report to the designated school, group of schools or school district identifying its areas of concern. The state board or its designated committee may conduct an additional review within six months of submitting a report in accordance with this section. If, following such additional review, the state board or its designated committee determines that the designated school, group of schools or school district has not made adequate progress toward developing or implementing its program plan, the state board may revoke the designation as a pilot program and withhold all future funding of the designated school, group of schools or school district’s plan.
(b) The state board shall provide an annual report on Local Solutions Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot programs and plans to the Legislative Oversight Commission for Educational Accountability.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the Local Solutions Dropout and Prevention Pilot program to reduce the number of high school dropouts in West Virginia.
§18-8B-1, §18-8B-2, §18-8B-3 and §18-8B-4 are new, therefore strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.