Senate Committee Reports Delay for Exchange Student Issue
The Senate Education Committee met this week to amend a new section of the budget that would bar school districts from collecting a foundation allowance for students who also pay tuition. The change was added at the last-minute during budget negotiations in June. This would impact the almost 100 districts that operate student exchange programs with students from across the globe. Participating districts expressed concern that at the time of the budget amendment, school budgets for their exchange programs had already been set. The loss of revenue would impact the districts in other areas. The legislation, SB 1098, is sponsored by Senator Rick Jones and would delay the implementation of the new section until next school year.
Cyber Participation Change Added to Bill
The Senate Education Committee reported a bill that included an amendment to address the pupil accounting issue MDE created with the release of the new Pupil Accounting Manual. The new pupil accounting change barred students entering cyber schools mid-year from being counted in membership at the next count date. MDE directed the cyber schools to pursue a legislative change in order to change their interpretation of current law.
The original bill, sponsored by Rep. Frederick, aimed to increase students access to AP courses and examinations associated with testing out of college level courses. The amendment that was added to address the cyber school strikes the requirement for cyber schools to
ensure participation in 1098 hours of instruction
. The requirements for cyber schools would become the same as traditional brick and mortar schools. which is to simply
provide 1098 hours of instruction.
This is problematic because of the delivery model of cyber schools. Traditional brick and mortar schools ensure participation by having teachers get up in front of a classroom every day. Cyber schools do not. Passage of this amendment would make it difficult to track the quality of education being provided by cyber schools.