MASA Legislative Platform
The MASA Legislative Priorities for 2015-2016 were adopted by the membership of the organization during the annual business meeting on October 2, 2015 at Tan-Tar-A Resort. Legislative priorities are proposed and drafted annually by the MASA Legislative Committee. The document is then distributed to the MASA membership for comment. After making modifications after this comment period, the priorities were presented at the business meeting for consideration. The document received the unanimous support of those present at the meeting.
The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) represents the majority of school administrators serving school districts in Missouri. The MASA legislative platform covers a multitude of issues that our members have identified which they support and oppose. While the following pages detail these positions, the following three points represent the priorities for the 2016 Legislative Session.
Continuous improvement of the public education system being necessary to student success,
- Ensuring that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has the resources needed to intervene and assist low performing school districts;
- Offering incentives for the recruitment of highly effective teachers, including retired teachers, into unaccredited districts;
- Providing specialized training for administrators, teachers and staff who work in high poverty areas or with diverse student populations that focus on the unique situations children face in their communities and culture;
- Replicating programs that have been proven to be effective in meeting the needs of students and specifically those that live in poverty or those who are considered “at-risk”;
- Defining the parameters by which employees may collectively bargain including (1) establishing the Board of Education as the decision-making body on any issue that may reach an impasse between administration and a bargaining group; (2) identifying issues and topics which may be the subject of bargaining negotiations; (3) establishing a process that does not exclude any teacher organization; (4) setting stringent and significant penalties for anyone participating in a school strike; and (5) defining “good faith bargaining”;
- Dedicating funds for programs that train superintendents and principals to deliver effective and constructive teacher evaluations;
- Reinstatement of the 2.55 multiplier for PSRS members who have 31 years of service or more;
- Creating approved pilot programs that districts may adopt which would allow those districts to be exempt from certain aspects of the state school improvement plan in exchange for a continuous improvement effort that promotes financial and organizational efficiency while focusing on the unique needs of their communities;
- Increasing Missouri’s graduation rates by offering incentives for students to stay in school and/or disincentives for dropping out;
- Ensuring students who graduate from a Missouri High School be eligible for all state financial aid made available by the state of Missouri; and
- Continuing the current independence, structure, and governance of the Missouri High School Activities Association.
- Basing a teacher’s pay, a district’s salary schedule, layoffs, or tenure solely on teacher evaluations until funding can be dedicated to effective teacher evaluation and evaluator programs.
- Establishing an arbitrary percentage of student performance that must be used in employee evaluations;
- Reducing the probationary period for teachers; and
- Using outside arbitrators to resolve employment disputes.
Resources being necessary to carry out the charge of public education in the state of Missouri,
- A long-term plan to fully fund the foundation formula;
- Providing funding for early childhood programs;
- Funding the small schools appropriation for the formula;
- Restoring funds to the transportation formula as well as Parents as Teachers;
- Reinstating flexibility of professional development funds to allow for alignment with district expectations;
- Reforming Missouri’s business regulatory climate to spur job creation. Examples include reforms to be made to laws regarding workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, employment, etc.;
- Consideration of revenue enhancements such as a sales tax on Internet sales tax, tobacco taxes, alcohol taxes or a general sales tax to provide long-term funding for Missouri public schools;
- Modifying the Circuit Breaker law to increase the number of eligible participants;
- Using uniform assessment processes by county assessors to provide consistent appraisals throughout the state and penalizing assessors that fail to meet the requirements;
- Reforming Missouri tax credits largely based on the recommendations of the Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission that includes the following:
- Placing sunsets on all current and future tax credit programs;
- Making all new tax credit programs subject to the appropriations process;
- Tying the caps of tax credit programs to funding of categorical education spending;
- Conducting a standardized, annual review of tax credit programs to monitor and report on each tax credit’s return on investment;
- Prohibiting the use of multiple tax credit programs on the same project, particularly the stacking of the low-income tax credit with the historic preservation tax credit; and
- Placing a portion of the savings from tax credit reform to be dedicated to funding the improvement of school facilities and infrastructure;
- Increasing the bonding capacity for school districts;
- Allowing voters to approve bond issues with a simple majority;
- Providing additional funding for technology, MOREnet, math and science equipment, Safe Schools grants and alternative education programs;
- Creating state funding for school facility replacement and/or improvement;
- Exempting education spending from proposals, like the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights that seek to put a cap on state spending;
- Funding of the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program rather than the establishment of statewide open enrollment policies to virtual charter or virtual private schools;
- Requiring the unanimous support of all taxing jurisdictions for any tax abatement project. If unanimous support cannot be achieved, the issue should be put to a vote of the people in the affected taxing jurisdictions;
- Changes to transportation hardship law that do not financially burden either the sending or receiving district; and
- Amending Chapter 213, RSMo to eliminate claims of liability filed against individual employees, school board members when named parties in an employment action.
- Redirecting resources from public schools to unproven, for-profit charter schools until the charter reforms passed in 2012 are implemented and proven effective;
- Diverting state funds from the public schools by any means including tuition tax credits/vouchers;
- Mandating open enrollment of students to attend schools in districts in which their parents do not pay property taxes;
- Mandating programs without appropriating the necessary funds to implement and sustain the programs;
- Any effort to change the current process for determining the taxable assessed value and tax status of senior citizen living facilities in Missouri;
- Imposing property tax reductions, freezes or limits;
- Transforming the early childhood special education program from a required to a voluntary program;
- Replacing the Missouri income tax with a sales tax;
- Forcing consolidation of school districts;
- Limiting the ability of school districts to seek civil, equitable and other legal remedies;
- Allowing open enrollment of students to attend districts in which their parents do not pay property taxes.
MASA Legislative Priorities 2015-2016
Fund the Foundation Formula and Categoricals: Missouri legislators made a commitment to Missouri schools with passage of SB287 in 2005. When economic times were difficult, Missouri schools saw the formula under-funded, transportation funds cut by nearly one-third; the career ladder program eliminated; and the Parents as Teachers program cut in half. In 2014, the Missouri General Assembly cut taxes in SB 509 with the promise it would spur economic development and, in turn, grow Missouri’s budget. FY2017 is the first year the tax cut is phased in and indications are that Missouri’s economy is growing. However, Missouri’s school funding formula remains underfunded by $509 million in FY2016. We call on the General Assembly to make the investments needed to fund the formula.
New Assessments & Standards: Last year capped off two years of monumental change to the Missouri Learning Standards and the Missouri Assessment Program. Due to the changes first adopted by the Department of Elementary Education and then changed by the General Assembly with HB 1490 in 2014 and HB 2 in 2015, Missouri is looking at adopting a new set of state standards and will be giving the equivalent of four different tests in four years. Schools need a consistent set of standards and tools in order to measure the progress of their students and respond to their educational needs. We call on the General Assembly to allow Missouri schools to respond and implement these changes without further disruption to state standards or state tests.
Support Local Control & Professional Educators: For a little more than a decade, the United States has created a system of education full of federal and state mandates, especially in the area of testing. Missouri is no different. This system is eroding local control, stifling innovation in Missouri classrooms and oppressing the talents of teachers to meet the unique needs of students in their classrooms. The lack of freedom and resources combined with the disdain for educators expressed by many policymakers is pushing experienced teachers towards early retirement and diverting highly qualified individuals away from the teaching profession. We call upon the General Assembly to support the local control of all aspects of our schools, deemphasize state-mandated standardized tests, and work to address the impending teacher shortage.
Download the platform and priorities here: