Implications of being a “High Performing School District?”

From: Trina Baughn
Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 8:51 PM
To: Ms. Agle; Ms. Richter; Mr. DiGrigorio; Mr. Fillauer; Mr. Eby; Robert J. Smallridge
Cc: ccouncil@oakridgetn.gov; Watson, Mark; Krushenski, Ken
Subject: “High Performing School District” Request to Defer

Oak Ridge Board of Education:

Your agenda for your meeting scheduled for 5:30 tomorrow night contains an item of significant implications. It appears that by declaring ORS a “High Performing School District,” ORS system will gain the power to:

– evaluate their teachers outside of the dept of education criteria and “without first seeking or obtaining approval from any other state or local governmental agency“

– increase school calendar days “without first seeking or obtaining approval from any other state or local governmental agency“

– Seek a waiver for any state board rule, regulation or statute “that inhibits or hinders the district’s ability to meet its goals or comply with its mission statements.”

– Appropriate and reappropriate funds with much greater flexibility and much less accountability than before  and “without first seeking or obtaining approval from any other state or local governmental agency“

Given the ramifications that this motion will have on not only the school system, but also the supporting government agencies, and given everything else we have on our plates tomorrow, I’d like to encourage the BOE to defer voting on this matter until it has been thoroughly discussed and shared with the public. I don’t believe your agenda packet was posted until Thursday or Friday night prior to a holiday weekend, leaving the public limited to no time to be informed.  At the very least, as a parent and a taxpayer, I’d like the opportunity to understand the motivation, benefits and potential determents of this action.

Regards,

Trina Baughn

http://images.pcmac.org/Uploads/OakRidge/OakRidge/Departments/MeetingSchedule/Agenda%205-28-13%20Packet.pdf

I recommend approval to declare Oak Ridge Schools as a “High Performing School  District.”  Attached is a summary of a bill passed by the Tennessee Legislature recently which

authorizes a “high performing school district” to utilize an alternative teacher evaluation  system, add educational days to the district’s school calendar, and apply to the

Commissioner of Education for a waiver of any state board rule, regulation or statute  that inhibits or hinders the district’s ability to meet its goals or comply with its mission statements.

In order to become a “high performing school district,” a local education agency (LEA) must meet a majority of the criteria listed on page 1 of the attachment according to the

state report card. The Oak Ridge Schools do meet a majority of the criteria contained in the bill, and is, therefore, eligible to declare itself as a “high performing school district.”

This designation would take effect on July 1 following Board of Education action.

BILL SUMMARY

SB 0592 BY *JOHNSON, GARDENHIRE, OVERBEY. (HB0210 BY *SARGENT, SWANN, CASADA, WHITE M.)

Bill Summary

This bill, as described below, authorizes a “high performing school district” to utilize an alternative teacher evaluation system and add educational days without first obtaining approval to do so and authorizes such a district to waive certain state board rules, regulations  and statutes.

Any LEA meeting a majority of the applicable criteria may, by action of  its local board of education, declare itself to be a high performing school district. Such designation would be in effect beginning July 1 following  the local board of education action. The designation would last for three years, at which time the LEA must meet a majority of the criteria described above in order to be eligible to declare itself a high performing school district. Should any of the above criteria cease being reported on the state report card, the department must designate a replacement measure for purposes of this bill, and an LEA scoring in the top 15 percent of all LEAs in the state under the replacement measure would meet that criterion.

This bill authorizes a high performing school district, without first seeking or obtaining approval from any other state or local governmental agency or unit, to:

(1) Utilize a teacher evaluation system that varies from the evaluation system established by the department of education as though a

flexibility waiver had been applied for and granted to the district, as long as the alternative teacher evaluation system used complies with all rules of the state board; and

(2) Add educational days to that district’s school calendar, so long as the minimum number of school days required by law is met.

ON APRIL 8, 2013, THE SENATE ADOPTED AMENDMENTS #1 AND #2,

AND PASSED SENATE BILL 592, AS AMENDED.

AMENDMENT #1 adds the following to the activities that a high performing school district may conduct without first seeking or obtaining approval from any other state or local governmental agency

or unit:

(1) Appropriate additional funds as needed from the fund balance of self-sustaining or self-sufficient funds, including, but not limited to, the central cafeteria fund and the extended school program fund; and

(2) Reappropriate funds between major categories of its budget to  provide for an expenditure that constitutes an immediate educational need. The reappropriation may only occur by action of the local board and, if the reappropriating LEA receives funding from its local legislative body, the reappropriation must be approved by the county mayor or city mayor, whichever applies. Further, if the LEA receives funding from its local legislative body, the local legislative body will establish a maximum amount for such reappropriations; provided, that the maximum amount may not be less than 75,000. Whenever reappropriation occurs under this bill, the local board must provide notice of the board’s action to the local legislative body within seven days of the action.

http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/billin1.olBiUSummmy Archive.aspx?BillNum… 5/23/2013 Bill Summary Page 4 of4

AMENDMENT #2 removes authorization for high performing LEAs to reappropriate funds between major budgetary categories to provide for an expenditure that constitutes an immediate educational need without first seeking or obtaining approval from any other state or local governmental agency or unit.

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3 thoughts on “Implications of being a “High Performing School District?”

  1. Correced link to HB0592 summary:
    http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/billinfo/BillSummaryArchive.aspx?BillNumber=SB0592&ga=108

    Full details:
    http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/108/Bill/SB0592.pdf

    Which three or more of the five criteria in Section 3.2.A has our schools met, and if any of the five do not apply, per Section 3.2.B, which were they?

    I think I remember someone mentioning of late how we did not meet criteria 3.2.A.i. If there’s truth to that (and not a tale from yesteryear), I’d wonder how we’d meet the other four criterion.

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