The bill establishes the ninth grade success grant program (grant program) to provide money for school districts, boards of cooperative services (local education providers), and charter schools to implement a ninth grade success program to assist ninth-grade students in developing the skills they need to graduate from high school and be successful postgraduation. The grant program is funded by annual appropriations, which may include appropriations from the marijuana tax cash fund. The department of education (department) may also accept and expend gifts, grants, and donations for the grant program.
The bill specifies the minimum application requirements for a local education provider or charter school that chooses to apply for a grant. The department shall administer the grant program by reviewing applications and making recommendations to the state board of education (state board), which will award the grants. In making recommendations and awarding grants, the department and the state board shall prioritize those applying local education providers and charter schools that have 4-year high school graduation rates that rank in the bottom 20% of the 4-year high school graduation rates statewide. The bill includes additional criteria that the department and the state board must consider. A local education provider or charter school that receives a grant must provide matching money or in-kind contributions in amounts set by the state board, not to exceed specified percentages.
Each local education provider and charter school that receives a grant must use the money to implement a ninth grade success program that meets the requirements specified in the bill. Each grant recipient must report information concerning its ninth grade success program, including evaluation data for several specified outcome measures. The department must submit a report concerning the implementation of the grant program to the state board and to the education committees of the general assembly.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)