JFC Budget: Accountability, Standards and Notice of Educational Options

School Accountability (Report Cards)

The JFC proposal deletes the governor’s provision requiring a school’s and district’s level of performance be identified using a letter grade (A-F) system and instead requires utilizing a 5 “star” system.  5 stars would be used for schools and districts that “significantly exceed expectations” with 1 star for schools and districts that “fail to meet expectations” on the report cards.  The WASB views this as an improvement.

The JFC approved the governor’s proposal to adjust how performance scores would be weighted to account for student poverty rates and the length of time a student has been educated in the school system, beginning with report cards issued in September 2016.  In determining a school’s performance or a school district’s improvement, DPI must take into account the percentage of economically disadvantaged pupils enrolled in the school or school district and the length of time a pupil was enrolled in the school or school district.

The proposal would weight pupil achievement and growth scores based on the percentage of pupils who are economically disadvantaged (currently they are weighted 50/50 for all districts).  It would give greater weight to growth in schools and districts with higher student poverty rates. The WASB has concerns with how the change in weighting will play out. According to DPI, the schools that will see the most benefit will be large urban districts and those that will be most hurt are small rural districts.

The JFC approved the governor’s recommendation that each school (public, independent charter, voucher) must provide a copy of the school’s accountability report to the parent or guardian of each pupil enrolled in the school.

Academic Standards

The JFC approved the governor’s recommendation that prohibits the state superintendent from requiring a school district to adopt or implement any Common Core standard. The bill also prohibits the state superintendent from giving effect to any Common Core standards currently in effect, and prohibits the state superintendent from adopting or implementing any new Common Core standards.

Each school board must also notify parents or guardians of enrolled pupils of the academic standards to be used by the district for the upcoming school year.  This can be done electronically, including on the district’s website.  A notice identifying the academic standards adopted by the school board for that school year must be included as an item on the agenda for the first school board meeting of the school year.  The WASB opposes these mandates as unnecessary and burdensome.

Notice of Educational Options

The JFC budget also requires each school board, independent charter school and private voucher school to annually provide to the parent or guardian of each enrolled pupil of the educational options available to that child (including public schools, independent charter schools, private voucher schools, virtual charter schools, full-time open enrollment, youth options, course options, and options available for homeschoolers) and to post this information on the school district’s Internet site. The bill requires the state superintendent to provide this same information, on a statewide basis, on DPI’s Internet site.

It also requires each school board to annually by January 31 publish a class 1 notice and post on its internet site a description of educational options (including public schools, independent charter schools, private voucher schools, virtual charter schools, full-time open enrollment, youth options, and course options) that includes the most recent school accountability (star) rating for each school (public, independent charter, voucher) in the district’s boundaries.

The WASB opposes these notification mandates as unnecessary and burdensome.