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MASA Legislative Priorities and Platform

 

 

MASA Legislative Priorities and Platform for 2018 - 19

MASA members voted to approve the 2018-19 Priorities and Platforms at the MSBA/MASA Conference, Sept. 27-30, 2018.

The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) represents the majority of school administrators serving school districts in Missouri. The MASA legislative platform covers a multitude of issues that our members have identified which they support and oppose. 

 

MASA Legislative Priorities

2018 - 2019

 

The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) represents an overwhelming majority of school administrators serving school districts in Missouri. The MASA Legislative Platform covers a multitude of issues that our members have identified which they support and oppose. While the following pages detail these positions, the following three provisions represent the association’s priorities for the 2018 Legislative Session.

 

Closing the Gap on Education Funding: Last year, the Missouri General Assembly was able to fully fund the foundation formula for the second consecutive year despite increased weighted average daily attendance as a result of changes to the thresholds and the inclusion of early childhood education in every school district’s attendance calculation. While this investment provides valuable resources to local schools, Missouri still ranks near the bottom nationally in the percentage of state funding schools receive and school transportation stands at $198 million underfunded. As a result, we urge the General Assembly to continue to meet the call of the state’s foundation formula and begin prioritizing the closure of the current transportation funding shortfall.

 

Maximizing Public Education’s Role in Workforce and Economic Development: With leaders in Jefferson City focusing on workforce development, we believe that public schools in Missouri must play a key role in improving the economic climate of the state. For the last decade, rather than focusing on the skills that students need to be successful in college or the workforce, our schools have been forced to focus efforts on performing well on state and federally mandated standardized testing. The regimented system that has been created is a detriment to student engagement and success, teacher recruitment and retention, and the development of our state’s workforce. We urge the General Assembly to support efforts both legislatively and by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that: 1.) Allows schools to implement a local accountability model that is specialized to the community needs of the district 2.) Promotes school districts to develop career pathways, internships, and apprenticeships at the high school level that are aligned to local workforce needs 3.) Allows school districts to focus their efforts to help kids be successful in their post-secondary endeavors as opposed to mandatory standardized test results.

 

Restoring the State Board of Education and Naming Permanent Leadership at DESE: The instability in the State Board of Education and subsequent lack of permanent leadership at the Department of Elementary of Secondary Education has stalled a number of initiatives to improve the education system in the state of Missouri, primarily the development of a new Missouri School Improvement Plan that maximizes the state and local flexibility provided in the repeal of No Child Left Behind. We call for the appointment and confirmation of members of State Board of Education that will hire a commissioner that can renew initiatives to move education forward and work in conjunction with school districts to take full advantage of a new accountability system to meet the needs of Missouri students and communities.

 

MASA Legislative Platform 

2018-19

 

Education Policy

Continuous improvement of the public education system being necessary to student success,

MASA Supports:

  • Creating approved pilot programs that would exempt districts from certain aspects of the state school improvement program in exchange for a continuous improvement effort that promotes financial and organizational efficiency while focusing on the unique needs of their communities;  
  • Limiting charter school expansion until additional and effective accountability and transparency measures are placed on existing charter schools;
  • Replicating programs that have been proven effective in meeting the needs of students, specifically students that live in poverty or are considered “at-risk”;
  • Providing specialized training for administrators, teachers and staff who work in high poverty areas or with diverse student populations that focus on the unique situations children face in their communities and culture;
  • Dedicating funds for programs that train administrators to deliver effective and constructive teacher evaluations;  
  • Offering incentives and policy changes to assist the recruitment of talented college students into the education profession and retain them once they become teachers;  
  • Defining the parameters by which employees may collectively bargain including (1) ensuring the Board of Education as the decision-making body on any issue that may reach an impasse between administration and a bargaining group; (2) identifying issues and topics which may be the subject of bargaining negotiations; (3) clarification to the definition of labor organization; (4) setting stringent and significant penalties for anyone participating in a school strike; and (5) defining “good faith bargaining”;  
  • Continuing the independent governing structure of the PSRS/PEERS retirement systems;
  • Reinstatement of the 2.55 multiplier for PSRS members who have 31 years of service or more;
  • Ensuring changes to work after retirement rules do not place a financial burden on school districts and provides maximum flexibility to allow school districts to fill positions where few quality applicants may exist;
  • Increasing Missouri’s graduation rates by offering incentives for students to stay in school and/or disincentives for dropping out;
  • Ensuring students who graduate from a Missouri High School be eligible for all state financial aid made available by the state of Missouri;
  • Ensuring the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has the resources needed to intervene and assist low performing school districts; and
  • Continuing the current independence, structure, and governance of the Missouri High School Activities Association (MSHSAA).

 

MASA Opposes:

  • Basing a teacher’s pay, a district’s salary schedule, layoffs, or tenure solely on teacher evaluations;
  • Establishing an arbitrary percentage of student performance that must be used in employee evaluations;
  • Reducing the probationary period for teachers; and
  • Using outside arbitrators to resolve employment disputes.

 

Finance

Resources being necessary to carry out the charge of public education in the state of Missouri,

 

MASA Supports:

  • Ensuring the foundation formula continues to be fully funded;
  • Fully funding the transportation formula;
  • Ensuring that a long-term plan is developed to fund Parents as Teachers and early childhood education programs in all school districts;
  • Funding the Small School appropriation for the formula;
  • Increasing the bonding capacity for school districts;
  • Reforming Missouri’s tax credit programs by:
    • Placing a sunset clause on all current and future tax credit programs;
    • Making all new tax credit programs subject to the appropriations process;
    • Prohibiting the use of multiple tax credit programs on the same project, particularly the stacking of the low-income tax credit with the historic preservation tax credit;
    • Conducting a standardized, annual review of tax credit programs to monitor and report on each tax credit’s return on investment;
    • Tying the caps of tax credit programs to funding of categorical education spending;
    • Modifying the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit to increase the number of eligible participants; and
  • ​​​​​​​Placing a portion of the savings from tax credit reform to be dedicated to funding the improvement of school facilities and infrastructure;
  • Requiring the unanimous support of all taxing jurisdictions for any tax abatement project. If unanimous support cannot be achieved, the issue should either be put to a vote of the people in the affected taxing jurisdictions or schools should be given the ability to opt out of the abatement;
  • Providing resources to provide targeted professional development to school districts and their administrators so they may utilize the unique resources in their community to better address the mental healthcare of their students;
  • Reinstating flexibility of professional development funds to allow for alignment with district needs;
  • Consideration of revenue enhancements such as a sales tax on Internet sales tax, tobacco taxes, alcohol taxes or a general sales tax to provide long-term funding for Missouri public schools;
  • Using uniform assessment processes by county assessors to provide consistent appraisals throughout the state and penalizing assessors that fail to meet the requirements;
  • Allowing voters to approve bond issues with a simple majority;
  • Providing additional funding for technology, MOREnet, math and science equipment, Safe Schools Grants and alternative education programs;
  • Creating state funding for school facility replacement and/or improvement;
  • Exempting education spending from proposals, like the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights that seek to put a cap on state spending;
  • Ensuring districts maintain discretion to evaluate the quality of virtual education offerings and the flexibility to make enrollment decisions that are in the best interest of students;
  • Changes to the transportation hardship law that do not financially burden either the sending or receiving district;

 

MASA Opposes:

  • Diverting state funds from the public schools by any means including tuition tax credits/vouchers;
  • Revenue reductions that impact the state’s ability to fund public education;
  • Mandating open enrollment of students to attend schools in districts in which their parents do not pay property taxes;
  • Any effort to reduce the amount of funding available to districts for summer school;
  • Mandating programs without appropriating the necessary funds to implement and sustain the programs;
  • Any effort to change the current process for determining the taxable assessed value and tax status of senior citizen living facilities in Missouri;
  • Imposing property tax reductions, freezes or limits;
  • Transforming the early childhood special education program from a required to a voluntary program;
  • Replacing the Missouri income tax with a sales tax;
  • Forcing consolidation of school districts;
  • Limiting the ability of school districts to seek civil, equitable and other legal remedies.