Missouri Legislature Approves Statewide Career Ladder

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The Missouri House and Senate approved by a wide margin last week a school-reform bill that will establish a statewide career-ladder program.

The state will require districts to fund the program on a sliding scale that takes into consideration a district's wealth. (See Education Week, May 8, 1985.)

Teachers at the top of the career ladder could receive annual increases of up to $5,000, according to Turner W. Tyson, assistant director of teacher certification for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Testing Programs

Under the provisions of the bill, which Gov. John Ashcroft is expected to sign this week, local districts will be required to establish testing programs based on state-identified key skills and objectives.

The bill also calls for written discipline codes to protect teachers from liability and training programs for administrators, as well as increases in minimum salaries from $15,000 in fiscal 1987 to $18,000 by fiscal 1991.

Teacher Training

The bill includes several teacher-training provisions, including a requirement that students entering and graduating from teacher-education programs be tested; a call for a statewide program to assist new teachers in the first two years of service; a program to reimburse school personnel for tuition costs if they receive an A or B in a college course in their area of certification; and an incentive package to support school improvements at the building level.

The bill also establishes a one-time $2,000 scholarship, to be funded by the state and the private sector, for outstanding high-school6students who plan a career in teaching. And it calls for the establishment of a forgivable-loan program providing $1,000 per year to prospective teachers who teach in critical subject or geographic areas in the state.

Compromise on Rollbacks

To ensure passage of the bill, legislators worked out a compromise over a controversial section on how to implement property-tax rollbacks that will result from a recent tax reassessment.

Under the terms of the bill, school districts will be required to increase their local taxes up to a specified level by a simple majority vote, rather than by the two-thirds majority currently required by law. The bill says that school districts are to be the only political subdivision in the state that can change taxes by a simple majority vote.--sr

Vol. 04, Issue 35

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