Our Accountability Proposal

posted Feb 15, 2012, 3:41 PM by Bill Duncan   [ updated Feb 15, 2012, 3:41 PM ]
SB 372, as introduced, said this about the requirements and qualifications of a participating private school:

V.(a) An independent school, except a home education program established under RSA 193-A, that accepts students pursuant to this section shall:

(1) Be included on a list of eligible schools published by the department of education;

(2) Comply with state and federal antidiscrimination laws;

(3) Meet state and local health and safety laws and codes;

(4) Comply with state statutes relating to independent education; and

(5) Accept scholarship students on the basis of the admissions criteria of the school within the school’s capacity to accept additional students.

(b) An independent school that does not meet the requirements of this paragraph shall not be eligible to participate in the education credit program. 

The current draft of the amendment, #0791s, has eliminated that section and has no school accountability provision.

Our proposed amendment:


XXX Accountability Standards for Receiving Schools

(A) Administrative Accountability Standards. All participating schools shall:

(1) comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to private
schools;

(2) hold a valid occupancy permit if required by their municipality;

(3) certify that they comply with the nondiscrimination policies set forth in 42 USC 1981;4, and

(4) conduct criminal background checks on employees. The participating school then shall:

(a) exclude from employment any people not permitted by state law to work in a private school; and

(b) exclude from employment any people that might reasonably pose a threat to the safety of students.

(B) Financial Accountability Standards. All participating private schools shall:

(1) demonstrate their financial accountability by:

(a) annually submitting to the Department of Revenue Administration a financial information
report for the school that complies with uniform financial accounting standards established by the department and conducted by a certified public accountant; and

(b) having an auditor certify that the report is free of material misstatements and fairly represents the program's costs per pupil, including the costs of the testing required in subsection 3(C)(1)(a).  The auditor's report shall be limited in scope to those records that are necessary for the department to make payments to participating schools on behalf of parents for scholarships.
 
(2) demonstrate their financial viability by showing they can repay any
funds that might be owed the state, if they are to receive $50,000 or more
during the school year, by:

(a) filing with the department prior to the start of the school year a
surety bond payable to the state in an amount equal to the
aggregate amount of the Parental Choice Scholarships expected to
be paid during the school year to students admitted at the
participating school; or

(b) filing with the department prior to the start of the school year
financial information that demonstrates the school has the ability to
pay an aggregate amount equal to the amount of the Parental
Choice Scholarships expected to be paid during the school year to
students admitted at the participating school.

(C) Academic Accountability Standards. There must be sufficient information about
the academic impact parental choice scholarships have on participating students in
order to allow parents and taxpayers to measure the achievements of the program,
and therefore:

(1) participating schools shall:

(a) annually administer either the state achievement tests or
nationally recognized norm-referenced tests that measure learning
gains in math and language arts to all participating students in
grades that require testing under the state's accountability testing
laws for public schools;

(b) provide the parents of each student with a copy of the results of
the tests on an annual basis, beginning with the first year of testing;

(c) provide the test results to the state or an organization chosen by
the state  on an annual basis, beginning with the first year of
testing; and

(d) report student information that would allow state to aggregate
data by grade level, gender, family income level, and race; and

(e) provide graduation rates of participating students to the Department or an organization chosen by the state in a manner consistent with nationally recognized standards.

(2) the state or an organization chosen by the state shall:

(a) ensure compliance with all student privacy laws;

(b) collect all test results;

(c) provide the test results and associated learning gains to the
public via a state website after the third year of test and testrelated data collection; and

(d) aggregate the findings by the students' grade level, gender,
family income level, number of ye

XXXX. Evaluation of the Education Tax Credit Program

(A) The Department of Education may contract with one or more qualified researchers who have previous experience evaluating education programs to conduct a study of the program with funds other than state funds.

(B) The study shall assess:

(1) the level of parental satisfaction with the program;

(2) the level of participating students' satisfaction with the program;

(3) the impact of the program and the resulting competition from private
schools on the resident school districts, public school students, and quality
of life in a community;

(4) the impact of the program on public and private school capacity,
availability and quality; and

(5) participating student's academic performance and graduation rates in
comparison to students who applied for a scholarship under this program
but did not receive one because of random selection.

(C) The researchers who conduct the study shall:

(1) apply appropriate analytical and behavioral science methodologies to
ensure public confidence in the study.

(2) protect the identity of participating schools and students by, among
other things, keeping anonymous all disaggregated data other than that for
the categories of grade level, gender, family income level, race and
ethnicity.

(3) provide the Legislature with a final copy of the evaluation of the
program.

(D) The relevant public and participating private schools shall cooperate with the
research effort by providing student assessment results and any other data
necessary to complete this study

(E) The Legislative Service Agency may accept grants to assist in funding this
study.

(F) The study shall cover a period of five years. The legislature may require
periodic reports from the researchers. After publishing their results, the researchers
shall make their data and methodology available for public review while complying
with the requirements of FERPA (20 USC Section 1232 g).

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