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MASA Legislative Platform

The MASA Legislative Priorities for 2017-2018 were adopted by the membership of the organization during the annual business meeting on October 6, 2017, at Tan-Tar-A Resort.  Legislative priorities are proposed and drafted annually by the MASA Legislative Committee.  The document is then distributed to the MASA membership for comment.  After making modifications after this comment period, the priorities were presented at the business meeting for consideration.  The document received the unanimous support of those present at the meeting.

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. While the following pages detail these positions, the following three points represent the priorities for the 2018 Legislative Session.

 

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Continued Funding of the State Foundation Formula: Last year, the Missouri General Assembly made a historic move to fully fund the state’s formula for the first time since the current formula was created. We recognize this commitment was made possible through tough budget decisions in other portions of the state budget and offer our appreciation to the General Assembly. In fiscal year 2019, statutorily required recalculations within the formula and increased weighted average daily attendance (WADA) due to existing pre-school programs receiving state funding will call for additional appropriation to fully fund the formula. Failure to appropriate the necessary funding will result in state funding shifting between school districts. We support the appropriation of the necessary amount of state funding in order to continue the full funding of the formula.

 

Responsible Fiscal Discipline: We understand that Missouri’s budget is in a challenging position and additional spending increases or revenue reductions will only exacerbate these challenges. For these reasons, we offer our assistance to help solve the state’s long-term budget problems and urge the General Assembly to avoid new, unnecessary spending or additional revenue reductions in all areas of the budget. Specifically, in regard to the education sector, the creation of new voucher schemes or the development of virtual school open enrollment will hurt the state’s ability to fund schools and the rest of state government.

 

Local Control: For the last decade, schools have been forced to focus on state and federally mandated standardized testing rather than offering students an educational experience that allows them to be successful. This regimented system has been a detriment to student engagement, teacher recruitment and retention, and the development of our state’s workforce. Rather than opening additional, unaccountable charter schools, we urge the General Assembly to work in cooperation with educators, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and local communities and businesses to create a system of public education that moves control of our schools back to their local communities, reduces the harmful role of standardized testing, and meets the needs of our students, workforce, and communities.

 

MASA Legislative Platforms

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) establishing 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) establishing a process that does not exclude any teacher 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;
  • 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 until funding can be dedicated to effective teacher evaluation and evaluator programs;
  • 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.

School 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;
  • A plan to fully fund the transportation formula as well as Parents as Teachers;
  • Ensuring that a long-term plan is developed to fund early childhood education programs in all school districts;
  • Funding the Small School appropriation for the formula;
  • Increasing the bonding capacity for school districts;
  • Increased funding and the creation of initiatives to provide training to school districts and administrators in order to utilize the resources available in their community to provide mental healthcare to students;
  • Developing a definition consistent with the Missouri Constitution in order to determine “new construction and improvements” within the assessed value of state-assessed property;
  • 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;
  • Funding of the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program rather than the establishment of statewide open enrollment policies to virtual charter or virtual private schools;
  • 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;
  • 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;

Download the platform and priorities.

2017-18 Priorities

2017-18 Platform