About Bill -- Links
HOUSE BILL NO. 378
INTRODUCED BY D. FUCHS
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT RENEWING MONTANA'S COMMITMENT TO HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION BY ATTRACTING, RETAINING, AND REWARDING HIGH-QUALITY TEACHERS; ESTABLISHING AN INCENTIVE GRANT PROGRAM, UPON AN APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS, TO REWARD TEACHERS IN SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLS; ALLOWING A SCHOOL DISTRICT TO IMPLEMENT AN ALTERNATIVE EMPLOYMENT PROCEDURE FOR TEACHERS; REQUIRING THE BOARD OF PUBLIC EDUCATION TO IDENTIFY LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS; REQUIRING TEACHERS IN LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS TO BE TESTED; REQUIRING SCHOOL DISTRICTS, UPON AN APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS, TO INCREASE BEGINNING TEACHERS' SALARIES; REQUIRING THE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION TO COLLECT AND DISSEMINATE INFORMATION ON JOB SKILLS REQUIRED BY MONTANA EMPLOYERS; ALLOWING A SCHOOL DISTRICT TO DETERMINE THE NUMBER AND THE ASSIGNMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL; AMENDING SECTIONS 20-4-203, 20-4-205, AND 20-4-206, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Short title. [Sections 1 through 8] may be cited as the "Montana Excellence in Education Act".
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Purpose. The purpose of [sections 1 through 8] is to renew Montana's commitment to high-quality education as the world enters a new millennium. Montana cannot afford to become complacent in an increasingly competitive world economy and needs to recognize the importance of improving student and teacher performance and, at the same time, attracting, retaining, and rewarding the highest quality of teachers.
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Incentive grants for successful schools. (1) Subject to a line item appropriation for the purposes of this section, the board of public education shall establish a system for determining successful public schools and awarding incentive grants to those schools. School success must be determined by measuring a school's improvement over a specific assessment period as determined by the board of public education.
(2) The board of public education shall adopt performance criteria for determining the eligibility of public schools to receive incentive grants. The criteria must include but are not limited to:
(a) pupil academic performance;
(b) student and teacher attendance;
(c) graduation rates;
(d) parental and community involvement;
(e) achievement of measurable goals from a school improvement plan adopted by a school district; and
(f) other criteria that relate to improvement in student learning.
(3) The board of public education shall adopt procedures for determining amounts of incentive grants to public schools. The incentive grants must be calculated based on the number of teachers in a school and must be used for salary bonuses, professional development, or classroom enhancements.
(4) A public school may submit an application for an incentive grant to the board of public education. The application must include evidence that the school meets the performance criteria established by the board of public education and a description of how the school plans to use the incentive grant. An application must be submitted by April 1. The board of public education shall review the applications and award the incentive grants by June 30.
(5) The school district shall deposit the grant funds into a subfund of the district's miscellaneous programs fund established in 20-9-507 and shall expend the money for the public school that received the incentive grant in accordance with the provisions of the grant.
NEW SECTION. Section 4. Alternative procedure for continuing employment of teacher. (1) The trustees may adopt procedures for the establishment of an alternative continuing employment process that requires a teacher to submit an application for continuing employment with the school district every 3 years following the completion of a 3-year probationary period. The board of public education shall adopt guidelines for the implementation of the alternative procedures, including but not limited to:
(a) the selection, training, and use of employment review committees composed of principals, teachers, and citizens to review continuing employment applications and make recommendations to the district superintendent regarding applicants;
(b) required application materials that may include:
(i) evidence of a teacher's work;
(ii) employment evaluations;
(iii) classroom observations;
(iv) pupil academic performance;
(v) lesson plans and examinations; and
(vi) other materials to assist the employment review committee in the application review process and the trustees in making an employment determination;
(c) procedures for obtaining assistance from other teachers and administrators in the preparation of application materials;
(d) an appeals process for denials of continuing employment; and
(e) procedures for reversion by the trustees to the teacher employment processes in 20-4-203.
(2) An alternative procedure adopted under this section applies to teachers hired for the first time in an academic year following the trustees' adoption of the alternative procedure.
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Identification of low-performing schools -- definition -- teacher assessment and remediation. (1) As used in this section, "low-performing school" means a public school that is placed on deficiency status by the board of public education and in which a majority of students are performing below grade level.
(2) The board of public education shall design and implement a procedure to identify low-performing schools on an annual basis.
(3) The board of public education shall require all teachers working in a school at the time the school was identified as low-performing to demonstrate their general knowledge by acquiring a passing score on a test designated by the board. A teacher who fails to achieve a passing score shall engage in a remediation plan based upon the deficiencies identified by the test and developed by the board of public education in consultation with the teacher education programs within the Montana university system. The remediation plan must consist of up to a semester of college training or coursework or both. If the remediation plan requires that the teacher engage in a full-time course of study or training, the teacher must be granted a leave with pay by the school district. Upon completion of the remediation plan, the teacher shall take the general knowledge test a second time. Failure to acquire a passing score on the second test is a cause for dismissal under 20-4-204 and 20-4-207.
(4) The teacher is responsible for all fees and tuition incurred under this section, including fees for testing.
NEW SECTION. Section 6. Beginning teacher salaries. Subject to a line item appropriation for purposes of this section, by July 1, 2004, the trustees of a school district shall offer a salary to beginning teachers that meets or exceeds the national average for beginning teachers on that date.
NEW SECTION. Section 7. Administrative personnel. (1) As used in this section, "administrative personnel" means district superintendents and building administrators.
(2) By July 1, 2000, the trustees of a school district shall review the assignment of administrative personnel within the school district. Upon completion of the review, the trustees shall, wherever possible, consolidate and eliminate administrative personnel within the school district.
NEW SECTION. Section 8. Job skills information. The superintendent of public instruction shall annually collect current and accurate information on the job skills that employers are requiring of new employees. The superintendent shall disseminate this information to every school district for the district's use in developing its courses of instruction.
Section 9. Section 20-4-203, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-4-203. Teacher tenure. (1) Except as provided in 20-4-208 and [section 4], whenever a teacher has been elected by the offer and acceptance of a contract for the fourth consecutive year of employment by a district in a position requiring teacher certification except as a district superintendent or specialist, the teacher is considered to be reelected from year to year as a tenured teacher at the same salary and in the same or a comparable position of employment as that provided by the last-executed contract with the teacher unless the trustees resolve by majority vote of their membership to terminate the services of the teacher in accordance with the provisions of 20-4-204.
(2) The tenure of a teacher with a district may not be impaired upon termination of services of the teacher if the following conditions exist:
(a) the tenure teacher is terminated because the financial condition of the district requires a reduction in the number of teachers employed; and
(b) continued employment rights are provided for in a collectively bargained contract of the district.
(3) (a) For the purposes of subsection (1), "same salary" means the daily rate of pay, excluding benefits and excluding stipends for nonteaching duties, multiplied by the number of days worked under the last-executed contract with the teacher, up to the total number of days funded by the state in the per-ANB entitlements, as provided in 20-9-311, including pupil-instruction-related days. The calculation of daily rate of pay is determined by dividing the salary in the last-executed contract with the teacher for pupil-instruction and pupil-instruction-related days, excluding benefits and excluding stipends for nonteaching duties, by the total number of contracted days under the last-executed contract.
(b) The definition of same salary may be modified if negotiated and agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement executed by the district and the teacher's exclusive representative pursuant to Title 39, chapter 31, or in an individual contract between the district and a teacher in a district in which the teachers have no exclusive representative as provided in Title 39, chapter 31.
(4) Upon receiving tenure, the employment of a teacher may be terminated for good cause."
Section 10. Section 20-4-205, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-4-205. Notification of teacher reelection -- acceptance. (1) The trustees shall provide written notice by June 1 to all teachers who have been reelected or granted continuing employment in accordance with an alternative procedure adopted under [section 4]. Any teacher who does not receive notice of reelection or termination is automatically reelected for the ensuing school fiscal year.
(2) Any teacher who receives notification of reelection for the ensuing school fiscal year shall provide the trustees with written acceptance of the conditions of the reelection within 20 days after the receipt of the notice of reelection, and failure to notify the trustees within 20 days constitutes conclusive evidence of the teacher's nonacceptance of the tendered position."
Section 11. Section 20-4-206, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-4-206. Notification of nontenure teacher reelection -- acceptance -- termination. (1) The trustees shall provide written notice by June 1 to each nontenure teacher employed by the district or each probationary teacher employed by the district under an alternative procedure in [section 4] regarding whether the nontenure or probationary teacher has been reelected for the ensuing school fiscal year. A teacher who does not receive written notice of reelection or termination is automatically reelected for the ensuing school fiscal year.
(2) A nontenure or probationary teacher who receives notification of reelection for the ensuing school fiscal year shall provide the trustees with written acceptance of the conditions of reelection within 20 days after the receipt of the notice of reelection. Failure to notify the trustees within 20 days constitutes conclusive evidence of the nontenure or probationary teacher's nonacceptance of the tendered position.
(3) Subject to the June 1 notice requirements in this section, the trustees may nonrenew the employment of a nontenure or probationary teacher at the conclusion of the school fiscal year with or without cause."
NEW SECTION. Section 12. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 8] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 20, and the provisions of Title 20 apply to [sections 1 through 8].
NEW SECTION. Section 13. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1999.
- END -
Latest Version of HB 378 (HB0378.01)
Processed for the Web on January 25, 1999 (4:12PM)
New language in a bill appears underlined, deleted material appears stricken.
Sponsor names are handwritten on introduced bills, hence do not appear on the bill until it is reprinted. See the status of this bill for the bill's primary sponsor.
Status of this Bill| 1999 Session | Leg. Branch Home
Prepared by Montana Legislative Services