Briefing on Senate Bill 09-163
COMMITTEE ON JOINT EDUCATION
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08:08 AM -- Briefing on Senate Bill 09-163
Richard Wenning and Kady Dodds, representing the Colorado Department of Education, presented on Senate Bill 09-163 and shared a packet of information with the committee (Attachment B). Dr. Wenning reviewed the key provisions of the bill, and noted that the bill eliminates the CSAP penalty and the weighted index.
Dr. Wenning explained that the bill lays out four indicators: student academic growth, student achievement levels, the student achievement gap, and postsecondary readiness. He further noted that the bill aligns with federal expectations of the department, and streamlines reporting requirements under current law, and that there will be a web-based portal that the public and schools can access to view reporting, eliminating the current print version of the School Accountability Report (SAR). Dr. Wenning explained that the bill takes the funding from the savings of discontinuing the printing of the SAR to fund software developers in the department for the new web portal.
Dr. Wenning noted that the bill assigns accreditation categories, which designate six levels of school and school district performance. He also explained that a school that ranks l in the lowest categories for 5 years will trigger an automatic review on the future of that school.
Representative Solano asked how assessment requirements passed in Senate Bill 08-212 interact with the growth model for a continuity of data. Dr. Wenning explained that the growth model is not contingent upon the assessments, and that data can be calibrated to work with the growth model. Senator Romer asked about the federal stimulus funding to be used for innovation in education, and that a group of states would be able to participate in the program, and if the department plans on requesting participation in the program.
Dr. Wenning responded to Senator Romer's question about the federal stimulus package, and explained that Colorado is well-positioned to be participants in the program that Senator Romer mentioned. President Groff asked if Dr. Wenning could provide an outline of the opportunities available in the federal stimulus package. Representative Solano asked about turnaround plans for schools with low performance, and the role of the external partner in the turnaorund plans. Dr. Wenning explained that it is undefined in the bill and will need to be promulgated by rule.
Representative Solano asked who would decide who the external partner would be. Dr. Wenning explained that it would be a decision between the school and the department, and that would be reviewed by the state board. Senator Hudak explained that in Virginia certain higher education institutions have experts on turnaround plans, and she hopes that Colorado would move toward that model, and perhaps the UNC Innovation Institute could serve in that role. Senator Romer expressed concern about how to turnaround schools that are on the brink of closure. Senator Romer asked when the five year period begins, if it is at the enactment of the bill, or retroactive. Dr. Wenning explained that is left to the state board to determine.
The committee adjourned.