REFERENCE TITLE: project rocket pilot program; appropriations

 

 

 

 

State of Arizona

House of Representatives

Fifty-fourth Legislature

Second Regular Session

2020

 

 

 

HB 2762

 

Introduced by

Representatives Udall: Blackman, Espinoza, Hernandez A, Lawrence, Lieberman, Longdon, Nutt, Osborne, Pawlik, Payne, Shope, Sierra, Thorpe, Weninger, Senators Boyer, Brophy McGee, Carter, Kerr, Livingston, Pratt

 

 

AN ACT

 

Establishing the project rocket pilot program; appropriating monies.

 

 

(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)

 


Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1.  Project rocket pilot program; fund; distributions; improvement plans; request for proposals; independent school improvement experts; reporting requirements; delayed repeal

A.  The project rocket pilot program is established to improve academic outcomes for all students in schools that meet the eligibility requirements prescribed in subsection C of this section.† Schools that receive funding pursuant to this section shall prioritize these resources to implement evidence-based, proven strategies to increase academic gain and graduation rates for students who are struggling academically due to socioeconomic factors such as poverty, adverse childhood experiences and English language acquisition.

B.  The project rocket fund is established for the purposes of this section.† The fund consists of legislative appropriations, gifts, grants, donations and any other monies transferred to the fund.† The department of education shall administer the fund at the direction of the state board of education.  Monies in the fund are continuously appropriated and are exempt from the provisions of section 35-190, Arizona Revised Statutes, relating to lapsing of appropriations.† The department of education may accept and spend federal monies and private grants, gifts, contributions and devises to assist in carrying out the purposes of this section.† These monies do not revert to the state general fund at the end of a fiscal year.

C.  For fiscal years 2020-2021, 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, at the direction of the state board of education, the department of education shall distribute monies from the project rocket fund to school districts and charter schools as follows:

1.  Each school operated by a school district or charter holder that received a letter grade of C during the prior fiscal year pursuant to section 15-241, Arizona Revised Statutes, shall receive $150 per student from the fund if at least sixty percent of the pupils enrolled in the school meet the eligibility requirements established under the national school lunch and child nutrition acts (42 United States Code sections 1751 through 1793) for free or reduced-price lunches, or an equivalent measure recognized for participating in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program and other school programs dependent on a poverty measure, including the community eligibility provision for which free and reduced‑lunch data is not available.

2.  Each school operated by a school district or charter holder that received a letter grade of D during the prior fiscal year pursuant to section 15-241, Arizona Revised Statutes, shall receive $150 per student from the fund.

3.  Each school operated by a school district or charter holder that received a letter grade of F during the prior fiscal year pursuant to section 15-241, Arizona Revised Statutes, shall receive $150 per student from the fund.

D.  Any monies a school district or charter holder receives from the project rocket fund shall be separately accounted for in the school district's or charter holder's annual financial report.

E.  All monies received pursuant to this section shall be spent at a qualifying school site.

F.  To participate in the project rocket pilot program, an eligible school shall file a notice of intent to participate with the state board of education not later than July 1, 2020.† The department of education shall disburse a payment equal to one-fourth of the annual funding amount under this section to the school district or charter school on the state board of education's receipt of the notice.† The department shall disburse the remainder of the funding for that fiscal year on the state board of education's approval of the school's improvement plan submitted pursuant to subsection G, H or I of this section.

G.  Not later than October 1, 2020, a school district or charter holder of a school that meets the requirements prescribed in subsection C, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section shall submit to the state board of education an improvement plan to improve student outcomes, which may include targeted academic interventions, class size reduction as defined in section 15-977, Arizona Revised Statutes, professional development, adaptive technology or other evidence-based, proven strategies to close the achievement gap.† The plan must also identify a mentor who can assist with academic achievement.† The mentor must be a current or former school leader with a demonstrable record of leading a successful school improvement effort and must commit to providing regular check-ins and advice to the project rocket school leader whom the person is mentoring.† Instead of identifying a mentor as described in this subsection, the school district or charter holder may elect to partner with an approved independent school improvement expert from the partner network list identified by the state board of education pursuant to subsection J of this section to implement the improvement plan developed under this subsection.

H.  The school district governing board of a school that meets the requirements prescribed in subsection C, paragraph 3 of this section is subject to both of the following:

1.  The school district governing board shall establish a project rocket committee composed of all of the following:

(a)  A school district governing board member.

(b)  The superintendent of the school district.

(c)  The school principal from the identified school.

(d)  A teacher from the identified school.

(e)  The parent of a child who attends the identified school.

2.  Not later than October 1, 2020, the project rocket committee shall submit an improvement plan to the state board of education to improve student outcomes, which may include targeted academic interventions, class size reduction as defined in section 15-977, Arizona Revised Statutes, professional development, adaptive technology or other evidence-based, proven strategies to close the achievement gap.  The project rocket committee shall partner with an approved independent school improvement expert from the partner network list identified by the state board of education pursuant to subsection J of this section to implement the improvement plan developed under this subsection.

I.  The charter holder of a charter school that meets the requirements prescribed in subsection C, paragraph 3 of this section is subject to both of the following:

1.  The charter holder shall establish a project rocket committee composed of all of the following:

(a)  A member of the governing body of the identified charter school.

(b)  The chief administrative officer of the identified charter school.

(c)  The school principal from the identified charter school.

(d)  A teacher from the identified charter school.

(e)  The parent of a child who attends the identified charter school.

2.  Not later than October 1, 2020, the project rocket committee shall submit an improvement plan to the state board of education to improve student outcomes, which may include targeted academic interventions, adjustment of teacher and principal salaries, class size reduction as defined in section 15-977, Arizona Revised Statutes, professional development, adaptive technology or other evidence-based, proven strategies to close the achievement gap.† The project rocket committee shall partner with an approved independent school improvement expert from the partner network list identified by the state board of education pursuant to subsection J of this section to implement the improvement plan developed under this subsection.

J.  On or before August 30, 2020, the state board of education shall identify two or more approved independent school improvement experts to be included on a partner network list through a request for proposals process.† A school district or the charter holder of a school that meets the requirements prescribed in subsection C, paragraph 3 of this section shall select an approved independent school improvement expert from the partner network list to implement, in partnership with the school's project rocket committee, the improvement plan submitted under subsection H or I of this section.† A state agency, or any subsidiary of the state agency, that meets the criteria prescribed in subsections K and L of this section is eligible for inclusion on the partner network list.

K.  For the purposes of subsection J of this section, the state board of education shall award contracts to independent school improvement experts who meet all of the following requirements:

1.  Have a credible track record of improving student academic achievement in public schools with various demographic characteristics, as measured by statewide assessments.

2.  Have experience designing, implementing and evaluating data‑driven instructional systems in public schools.

3.  Have experience coaching public school administrators and teachers on designing and implementing data-driven school improvement plans.

4.  Have experience delivering high-quality professional development and coaching in instructional effectiveness to public school administrators and teachers.

L.  In addition to assisting in implementing the improvement plan prescribed in subsection H or I of this section, the independent school improvement expert shall provide ongoing support to the school, including the following:

1.  Collecting and analyzing data on student achievement.

2.  Recommending changes to the school to improve student achievement.

3.  Monitoring the implementation of the improvement plan.

4.  Providing implementation support for the improvement plan.

5.  Providing any other services required by the state board of education.

M.  If a participating school is not demonstrating academic growth or is otherwise dissatisfied with the services provided by the contracted independent school improvement expert, the school may submit a request to the state board of education to cancel that contract and select a different independent school improvement expert.

N.  The state board of education shall review all plans submitted under this section within ninety days after submission.† The state board of education shall approve all plans submitted that meet the criteria prescribed in subsection G of this section.

O.  If a school district has an existing improvement plan under any provision of title 15, Arizona Revised Statutes, on file with the department of education, the plan submitted under subsection H of this section must attempt to align with or expand on the existing improvement plan.

P.  The state board of education may adopt rules, policies and procedures to carry out this section, including rules to establish an appeals process for a school that does not receive approval of its plan.

Q.  The state board of education shall direct the department of education to provide payments to schools for the project rocket pilot program on July 1 of each year, except in fiscal year 2020-2021 pursuant to subsection F of this section.  If the appropriated amount is not sufficient to fully pay each school, the department of education shall proportionately allocate the funding per student.

R.  On or before June 1 of each year, each school that received monies pursuant to this section in the prior fiscal year shall submit a report to the state board of education that briefly describes how the improvement plan developed under subsection G, H or I of this section has improved academic improvement.  The state board of education may request additional reports as needed throughout the year to assess a school's progress.† The state board of education shall review each improvement plan annually.† If any improvement plan or report is not submitted, the state board of education may withhold monies under this section until the plan or report is submitted according to this section.

S.  On or before October 1, 2021 and October 1, 2022, the state board of education shall compile each report submitted pursuant to subsection R of this section and provide that information to the joint legislative budget committee, the governor's office of strategic planning and budgeting and the chairpersons of the education committees of the house of representatives and the senate, or their successor committees.

T.  For the purposes of this section, only students who are eligible to be included in a school's student count shall be considered in determining that school's percentage of free or reduced-price lunch students or other poverty indicators.

U.  On or before December 1, 2023, the state board of education shall submit a final report on the project rocket pilot program to the governor, the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, the joint legislative budget committee and the governorís office of strategic planning and budgeting and shall provide a copy of the report to the secretary of state.† The report shall include information on all of the following:

1.  The schools and independent school improvement experts that participated in the project rocket pilot program.

2.  The academic progress of schools participating in the project rocket pilot program.

3.  Any other information necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the project rocket pilot program.

V.  This section is repealed from and after December 31, 2023.

Sec. 2.  Appropriations; project rocket fund; state board of education

A.  The sum of $42,614,500 is appropriated from the state general fund in each of fiscal years 2020-2021, 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 to the project rocket fund established by section 1 of this act.

B.  The sum of $1,000,000 and seven FTEs are appropriated from the state general fund in each of fiscal years 2020-2021, 2021-2022 and 2022‑2023 to the state board of education to administer the project rocket pilot program established by section 1 of this act.

Sec. 3.  Retroactivity

This act applies retroactively to from and after June 30, 2020.