15-211. K-3 reading program; receipt and use of monies; additional funding; report; program termination

A. The department of education shall administer a K-3 reading program to improve the reading proficiency of pupils in kindergarten programs and grades one, two and three in the public schools of this state.

B. Each school district and charter school shall submit to the department of education a plan for improving the reading proficiency of its pupils in kindergarten programs and grades one, two and three. The plan shall include baseline data on the reading proficiency of its pupils in kindergarten programs and grades one, two and three and a budget for spending monies from both the K-3 support level weight and the K-3 reading support level weight established in section 15-943.  Each school district and charter school shall annually submit to the department of education on or before October 1 an updated K-3 reading program plan that includes data on program expenditures and results, except that beginning in fiscal year 2016-2017, a school district or charter school that is assigned a letter grade of A or B pursuant to section 15-241 shall submit this plan only in odd-numbered years.

C. School districts and charter schools shall use monies generated by the K-3 reading support level weight established in section 15-943 only on instructional purposes intended to improve reading proficiency for pupils in kindergarten programs and grades one, two and three with particular emphasis on pupils in kindergarten programs and grades one and two.

D. Each school district and charter school that is assigned a letter grade of C, D or F pursuant to section 15-241 or that has more than ten percent of its pupils in grade three who do not demonstrate sufficient reading skills  as  established  by the state board of education according to the reading portion of the statewide assessment shall receive monies generated by the K-3 reading support level weight established in section 15-943 only after the K-3 reading program plan of the school district or charter school has been submitted, reviewed and recommended for approval by the department of education and approved by the state board of education. The state board of education must give approval to a school district or charter school before any portion of the monies generated by the K-3 reading support level weight may be distributed to the school district or charter school pursuant to this subsection.

E. Pupils in a charter school that is in its first year of operation and that is sponsored by the state board of education, the state board for charter schools, a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents, a community college district or a group of community college districts are eligible for the K-3 reading support level weight.

F. The department of education shall solicit gifts, grants and donations from any lawful public or private source in order to provide additional funding for the K-3 reading program.

G. The state board of education may establish rules and policies for the K-3 reading program, including:

1. The proper use of monies in accordance with subsection C of this section.

2. The distribution of monies by the department of education in accordance with subsection B of this section.

3. The compliance of reading proficiency plans submitted pursuant to subsection B of this section with section 15-704.

H. Pursuant to subsection G of this section, the department of education shall develop program implementation guidance for school districts and charter schools to assist schools in administering an effective K-3 reading program plan. This guidance shall include identifying and recommending appropriate program expenditures, providing technical oversight and assistance for annually updating reading program plans, selecting and adopting evidence-based reading curricula and providing and promoting teacher professional development that is based on evidence-based reading research. The department shall prioritize supports and interventions, including enrollment in reading trainings and professional development, for school districts and charter schools that have the highest percentage of pupils who do not demonstrate sufficient reading skills as established by the state board of education. The department shall deposit any monies received for offering reading trainings or professional development into the department of education professional development revolving fund established by section 15-237.01.

I. On or before December 15, the department of education shall submit an annual report on the K-3 reading program to the governor, the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives and shall provide a copy of this annual report to the secretary of state, the state board of education and the chairpersons of the education committees of the senate and the house of representatives. The report shall contain all of the following:

1. Information on the improvement of K-3 reading in this state, including achievement data statewide and achievement data at the school district and charter school level. The information pursuant to this paragraph shall include data and information on continued proficiency on the statewide assessment in subsequent grades.

2. A description of the activities of the department to support school districts and charter schools in improving K-3 reading.

3. Specific findings on methods by which the department may continue to improve support and assistance for school districts and charter schools in the administration of K-3 reading program plans.

4. Information and data on K-3 reading program plans throughout this state and the expenditure of K-3 reading monies by school districts and charter schools.

5. Data reported pursuant to section 15-701, subsection A, paragraph 2, subdivision (d).

J. The program established by this section ends on July 1, 2022 pursuant to section 41-3102.