2018 Aligned Legislative Priorities

Posted December 17, 2017



Early Learning

  • Support the Protection of Pre-K Funding
  • Support Early Childhood Quality Assurance Report (funding and program renewal)
  • Support Pre-K contracting for private providers
  • Support City/County level tax and enabling Legislation

K-12 – Workforce Education Alignment

  • Lead Visiting Scholars
  • Lead Flexibility for Higher Education
  • Lead Business Centric Curriculum

Pre-K Funding

School districts will be able to draw down new funding for Pre-K as early as 2018/19. We are having conversations with DESE to determine how they will inform their school districts on when their average daily attendance numbers can be used to draw down new pre-K dollars. We are also trying to determine whether the funding will be susceptible to a phase-in next year.

Aligned supports the continuation of Pre-K funding in the funding formula and its immediate full implementation.

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems are active in 43 states. QRIS provide a framework for a comprehensive early childhood system by: measuring and setting benchmarks for quality; developing infrastructures to provide targeted and coordinated quality improvement supports to programs; and providing families with useful information to help them make informed child care choices. In 2016, the Missouri Legislature passed SB 638 lifting a statutory prohibition on quality ratings for early childhood education providers across the state and created a time-limited (three year), voluntary pilot program open to center based, home based and exempt religious providers. ECE agencies were given three years to collaborate and establish an early learning quality assurance report. Two years have passed with no funding to establish or implementation the early learning quality assurance report pilot program. An extension of the pilot program and funding are needed in 2018.

Recommendation: Aligned supports efforts to extend and fund the development and implementation of an Early Childhood Program Quality Assurance Report pilot program.

Pre-K Contracting for Private Providers

During the 2014 legislative session the Missouri General Assembly passed HB 1689 which provides pre-Kindergarten state funding to districts and charters through the state finance formula for public education. The Pre-K funding is for children ages 3 and 4 eligible for free/reduced lunch. Funding is capped at 4% of the districts’ and charters’ total number of pupils who are eligible for free/reduced lunch. Last year the Missouri General Assembly passed provided funding for fully funding the foundation formula allowing for all school districts to access Pre-K funding starting in 2017. Concerns have been raised by many community-based providers across the state that expansion of universal Pre-K without provisions allowing school districts and charters to contract with community based providers will force many providers to close their doors. Since many of these providers rely on their preschool services to help offset the higher cost to provide infant and toddler care there is a concern this will only worsen the current shortage of infant toddler care in many communities across the state.

Recommendation: Aligned supports legislation that will allow public school districts and charter schools to contract with community-based child care providers for Pre-K services funded through the foundation formula.

Kansas City Enabling Legislation

Legislation is needed to allow local city/county municipalities to enable a property or sales tax for public school universal pre-K. Excludes funds designated by taxpayers in an urban district as local early childhood education funds from the local tax revenue calculation used to provide funding to charter schools.

Recommendation: Aligned supports legislation that will allow local city/county municipalities to enable a property or sales tax, upon approval of a majority of the voters, for universal Pre-K.

Visiting Scholars

This bill will allow the State Board of Education to grant an initial visiting scholar certificate as a license to teach in public schools. The applicant must be employed in a content area in which the individual has an academic degree or professional experience. He or she may only teach classes for ninth grade or higher and the hiring school district must verify that the applicant will be employed as part of a business-education partnership initiative designed to build career pathways systems for students. The certificate will last for one year and the applicant can renew it a maximum of two times if certain requirements, as described within the bill, are met.

Recommendation: Aligned will lead a coalition to pass Visiting Scholars legislation.

Flexibility for Higher Education

This bill provides that community colleges may grant baccalaureate degrees if authorized by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. The West Plains Campus of Missouri State University and the State Technical College of Missouri may also offer baccalaureate degrees if authorized by the Coordinating Board. The University of Missouri is the only state college or university authorized to offer doctor of philosophy degrees or first professional degrees.

The Coordinating Board may approve, not approve, or provisionally approve proposed new degree programs offered by state institutions of higher education. The Coordinating Board may authorize a degree program outside of an institution’s coordinating board-approved mission only when certain requirements are met as described in the bill.

The board of regents of each state college and each state teacher’s college have authority to confer additional degrees when authorized by the Coordinating Board, in circumstances as described in the bill. An institution may be authorized to offer non-research doctoral degrees in allied health professions independently if collaboration with another institution would not increase the quality of the program. The boards of state colleges and state teacher’s colleges have the power and authority to confer degrees in engineering only in collaboration with the University of Missouri if the collaborative agreement is approved by the governing board of each institution. In such instance the University of Missouri will be the degree-granting institution. If the University of Missouri declines to collaborate, institutions may seek approval of the program with the Coordinating Board through the board’s review process.

Recommendation: Aligned will lead a coalition to pass Higher Education Flexibility legislation.

Business Centric Curriculum

Currently, a school district is authorized to create and enter into a partnership with area career centers, comprehensive high schools, industry, and businesses to develop and implement a pathway for students to: enroll in a program of career and technical education while in high school; participate and complete an internship or apprenticeship during their final year of high school; obtain the industry certification or credentials applicable to their program or career and technical education and internship or apprenticeship. This bill allows a school district to rely on technical coursework and skills assessments developed for industry-recognized certificates and credentials.

The bill requires the Career and Technical Education Advisory Council to annually review, update, approve, and recommend a list of industry certifications, state-issued professional licenses, and occupational competency assessments. A school district may use the list as a resource in establishing programs of study that meet their regional workforce needs under Section 170.029, RSMo.

This bill also modifies the composition of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Council by adding the Director of the Department of Economic Development, or his or her designee.

Recommendation: Aligned will lead a coalition to pass Business Centric Curriculum legislation.



Early Learning

  • Support the defense of the Children’s Initiative Fund
  • Lead discussions to Expand Funding for At-Risk Pre-K

K-12 – Workforce Education Alignment

Lead discussions to expand and promote the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Funding Program

Financial Transparency

Lead discussions to implement School/Building Level Financial Transparency

Defend the Children’s Initiative Fund

The Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund (KEY) and Children’s Initiatives Fund (CIF) were created by the Legislature in 1999 and serve as the cornerstone of funding for the Kansas early care and education system. The KEY Fund is designed to serve as an endowment for investments in early education, and is funded by annual payments from the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement. Money flows from the KEY fund into the CIF, and from there is distributed to early childhood programs. This infrastructure has created a successful system that the Kansas Legislature’s own efficiency audit described as a gold standard for government accountability. Unfortunately, over $228 million has been swept from the KEY Fund since 1999 to plug revenue shortfalls and there have been efforts to eliminate the CIF and move those dollars into the State General Fund. Maintaining the state’s investment in the CIF and insuring that all future KEY funds are invested in the CIF will ensure that today’s children will be equipped to lead Kansas toward a more prosperous future.

Recommendation: Aligned supports efforts to protect existing funding for the CIF and KEY funds and work to secure future funding to protect these critical investments in early childhood programs across Kansas.

Expand Funding for At-Risk Pre-K

In 2017, the Kansas legislature passed a new public-school finance formula which included full-day Kindergarten and $2M in funding for At-Risk Pre-K. At-Risk Pre-K programs are based upon research and evidence based practice recognizing the correlation between participation in high quality early learning environments and improved child outcomes essential for later school success. This vital program serves four-year-old children with disabilities and children with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in an environment with typically developing peers whenever possible due to the preponderance of research documenting the positive outcomes for both children with disabilities as well as for children without disabilities. Partners in Quality supports efforts to expand voluntary Pre-K funding in the Kansas public school foundation formula to reach more Kansas children.

Recommendation: Aligned will lead the efforts to expand funding for At-Risk Pre-K programs in the Kansas public school funding formula.

Career & Technical Education (CTE) Incentive Program

Kansas currently has a dedicated pool of funds to incent K-12 public schools to graduate students with Industry Recognized Credentials (IRCs). The fund has been depleted in recent years due to lack of utilization. Increasing the funding per IRC and promoting this program should provide incentives for K-12 buildings to implement more Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs that are aligned with industry needs and IRCs.

Recommendation: Aligned will lead the discussion for the expansion and promotion of the IRC incentives for K-12 public schools in Kansas.

School/Building Level Financial Transparency

May states, including Kansas, have never been required under law to report detailed financial information at the school level. Such information would allow school-based educators, parents, and community members to see how public money is being spent, measure return on investment, and scale successful programs. Instead, information has been lumped together at the district level in ways that make it impossible to gain a clear picture of where dollars actually go and hides valuable information about which investments are providing the biggest bang for the buck.

Recommendation: Aligned will lead the discussion for legislation increasing the financial transparency in public education down to the school/building level.