The chair of the Missouri Senate Education Committee is proposing a bill that could shut down some underperforming K-12 public schools. Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, R-Shelbina, is targeting any Missouri public school performing within the bottom five percent of schools for more than three years over a five-year period.

Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin (Photo courtesy of Missouri Senate)

The committee O’Laughlin chairs will hear her legislation on Tuesday.

Under Senate Bill 133, districts would be required to close these schools and transfer students to a higher-performing one within the district; create a partnership to open an in-district charter school; or reimburse a district or charter school for taking in the transfer students an amount equal to the average per-pupil expenditure for the district. The legislation would involve underperforming schools as of 2018.

“I feel like what happens is a school might not be performing at even a decent minimal level and while there may be a few changes made or maybe there’s a plan of action, nothing really changes. And a person’s future is highly tied to how well they do in school,” O’Laughlin told Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly in December.

Additionally, any district with more than two schools falling into the bottom five percent for more than two years would be classified as provisionally accredited.

O’Laughlin’s bill would require the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to publish an annual list of Missouri schools that perform within the bottom five percent of schools for more than three years and designate them as a “persistently failing school”.

Tuesday’s hearing on Missouri Senate Bill 133 begins at 12:00 p.m.


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