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SPS board officer supports bill to give districts more autonomy from DESE rules

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Board vice president Dr. Maryam Mohammadkhani testified on behalf of Senate Bill 54 in front of the Senate committee on education and workforce development.

The bill proposed by state Sen. Jill Carter, a Republican representing Jasper and Newton counties, calls for districts that cover at least 75% of their "per pupil funding" with local tax dollars to be designated a "local control school district" in the eyes of the state.

Under the proposal, the designation would exempt such districts from certain performance reporting requirements and rules set by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, such as:

  • Participating in the Missouri School Improvement Program, or MSIP, a series of measures used to determine state accreditation;

  • Submitting to annual performance reviews by DESE;

  • Developing and reporting teaching standards to the state;

  • Maintaining a school improvement plan in any format provided by or approved by DESE;

  • Administering state-mandated exams.

The proposal would allow the designated districts to choose any nationally recognized assessment test program in lieu of the Missouri Assessment Program.

"I ask you as a parent who understands the plight of many other parents, please don't give up on public schools," she said. "Please ease the burden on our teachers and our schools by supporting Senate Bill 85."

She argued the legislation seeks to "introduce choice that is so coveted by parents."

"With this bill you put districts in the driver's seat and you even out this playing field, letting public schools compete to be the choice for parents," she said, in the hearing.

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