Parent Choice In Low-performing School Districts
The bill identifies a school district that is accredited with priority improvement plan or accredited with turnaround plan for 5 consecutive school years as a chronically low-performing school district. A chronically low-performing school district must establish a parent choice program under which it creates a parent choice account for the parent of each student who resides within and is enrolled in the school district. The school district must deposit into each account the per-pupil amount of the state share of total program and the per-pupil share of categorical program funding, as applicable to the student, that the school district receives for the school year and may deposit the per-pupil amount of the local share of total program that the school district collects for the school year. If the school district does not deposit the per-pupil amount of the local share, it is not authorized to collect property tax for that school year, but the state share is calculated as if the school district collected the property tax.
A parent may withdraw money from his or her account only to purchase educational services for the parent's child. Educational services include enrolling the child in certain public schools, including online schools, of a school district other than the chronically low-performing school district or in certain institute charter schools. A parent may also choose to enroll his or her student in a public school of the chronically low-performing school district, in which case the school district is not required to deposit money in the parent's account while the student is enrolled in the public school. The parent may change educational services or public schools at any time during the school year.
The school district must adopt procedures by which a parent may withdraw money from his or her account and by which he or she must report to the school district how the money is used. If a parent misuses money from the account, the parent must reimburse the money to the school district. If a parent misuses money 2 times in a school year, the school district will stop depositing money into the account and notify the parent that he or she may enroll the student in a school of the school district. A parent who disputes the accounting may appeal to the school district board of education and, if dissatisfied with the board's decision, to the state board of education.
The school district must operate the parent choice program until the school district achieves the status of accredited or higher. While operating the program, the school district continues to be subject to school district accountability requirements, including ensuring that the students enrolled in the school district participate in state assessments, and is held accountable for the academic performance of students who are enrolled in the school district, regardless of whether the students are enrolled in schools of the school district.
Each chronically low-performing school district is deemed to be a school district of innovation. It must submit an innovation plan to the state board of education and may exercise the powers that are provided to school districts of innovation.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)