FIRST REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 631
95TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES JONES (89) (Sponsor), NANCE, DIECKHAUS, COLONA, BROWN (73), CALLOWAY, JONES (63), GRISAMORE, STREAM, HOLSMAN, KRATKY, KANDER, ATKINS, NIEVES, McNEIL, SANDER, CARTER, WEBBER, ZIMMERMAN, SCHAD, SMITH (150) AND SCHOELLER (Co-sponsors).
1487L.01I D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk
To repeal section 168.700, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof one new section relating to the Missouri teaching fellows program.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Section 168.700, RSMo, is repealed and one new section enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as section 168.700, to read as follows:
168.700. 1. This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the "Missouri Teaching Fellows Program".
2. As used in this section, the following terms shall mean:
(1) "Department", the Missouri department of higher education;
(2) "Eligible applicant"[,] :
(a) A high school senior who:
[(a)] a. Is a United States citizen;
[(b)] b. Has a cumulative grade point average ranking in the top ten percentile in their graduating class and scores in the top twenty percentile on either the ACT or SAT assessment; or has a cumulative grade point average ranking in the top twenty percentile in their graduating class and scores in the top ten percentile of the ACT or SAT assessment;
[(c)] c. Upon graduation from high school, attends a Missouri higher education institution and attains a teaching certificate and either a bachelors or graduate degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least [three-point zero] three and twenty-five hundredths on a four-point scale or equivalent;
[(d)] d. Signs an agreement with the department in which the applicant agrees to engage in qualified employment upon graduation from a higher education institution for five years; and
[(e)] e. Upon graduation from the higher education institution, engages in qualified employment; or
(b) A graduate of a Missouri public higher education institution who:
a. Has attained a certificate of license to teach from the state board of education under section 168.021 after August 28, 2009;
b. Has attained either a bachelor's degree or graduate degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least three and twenty-five hundredths on a four point scale, or an equivalent;
c. Is hired as a teacher in a school district described in subdivision (3) of subsection 2 of this section; and
d. Signs an agreement with the department in which the applicant agrees to engage in qualified employment for five years.
(3) "Qualified employment", employment as a teacher in a school located in a school district that is not classified as accredited by the state board of education at the time the eligible applicant signs their first contract to teach in such district. Preference in choosing schools to receive participating teachers shall be given to schools in such school districts with a higher-than-the-state-average of students eligible to receive a reduced lunch price under the National School Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1751, et seq., as amended;
(4) "Teacher", any employee of a school district, regularly required to be certified under laws relating to the certification of teachers, except superintendents and assistant superintendents but including certified teachers who teach at the prekindergarten level within a prekindergarten program in which no fees are charged to parents or guardians.
3. Within the limits of amounts appropriated therefor, the department shall, upon proper verification to the department by an eligible applicant and the school district in which the applicant is engaged in qualified employment, enter into a one-year contract with eligible applicants to repay the interest and principal on the educational loans of the applicants or provide a stipend to the applicant as provided in subsection 4 of this section. The department may enter into subsequent one-year contracts with eligible applicants, not to total more than five such contracts. The fifth one-year contract shall provide for a stipend to such applicants as provided in subsection 4 of this section. If the school district becomes accredited at any time during which the eligible applicant is teaching at a school under a contract entered into pursuant to this section, nothing in this section shall preclude the department and the eligible applicant from entering into subsequent contracts to teach within the school district. An eligible applicant who does not enter into a contract with the department under the provisions of this subsection shall not be eligible for repayment of educational loans or a stipend under the provisions of subsection 4 of this section.
4. At the conclusion of each of the first four academic years that an eligible applicant engages in qualified employment, up to one-fourth of the eligible applicant's educational loans, not to exceed five thousand dollars per year, shall be repaid under terms provided in the contract. For applicants without any educational loans, the applicant may receive a stipend of up to five thousand dollars at the conclusion of each of the first four academic years that the eligible applicant engages in qualified employment. At the conclusion of the fifth academic year that an eligible applicant engages in qualified employment, a stipend in an amount equal to one thousand dollars shall be granted to the eligible applicant. The maximum of five thousand dollars per year and the stipend of one thousand dollars shall be adjusted annually by the same percentage as the increase in the general price level as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the United States, or its successor index, as defined and officially recorded by the United States Department of Labor or its successor agency. The amount of any repayment of educational loans or the issuance of a stipend under this subsection shall not exceed the actual cost of tuition, required fees, and room and board for the eligible applicant at the institution of higher education from which the eligible applicant graduated.
5. The department shall maintain a Missouri teaching fellows program coordinator position, the main responsibility of which shall be the identification, recruitment, and selection of potential students meeting the requirements of paragraph (b) of subdivision (2) of subsection 2 of this section. In selecting potential students, the coordinator shall give preference to applicants that represent a variety of racial backgrounds in order to ensure a diverse group of eligible applicants.
6. The department shall promulgate rules to enforce the provisions of this section, including, but not limited to, applicant eligibility, selection criteria, and the content of loan repayment contracts. If the number of applicants exceeds the revenues available for loan repayment or stipends, priority shall be to those applicants with the highest high school grade-point average and highest scores on the ACT or SAT assessments.
7. Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, RSMo, that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536, RSMo, and, if applicable, section 536.028, RSMo. This section and chapter 536, RSMo, are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536, RSMo, to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2007, shall be invalid and void.
8. There is hereby created in the state treasury the "Missouri Teaching Fellows Program Fund". The state treasurer shall be custodian of the fund and may approve disbursements from the fund in accordance with sections 30.170 and 30.180, RSMo. Private donations, federal grants, and other funds provided for the implementation of this section shall be placed in the Missouri teaching fellows program fund. Upon appropriation, money in the fund shall be used solely for the repayment of loans and the payment of stipends under the provisions of this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 33.080, RSMo, to the contrary, any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of the biennium shall not revert to the credit of the general revenue fund. The state treasurer shall invest moneys in the fund in the same manner as other funds are invested. Any interest and moneys earned on such investments shall be credited to the fund.
9. Subject to appropriations, the general assembly shall include an amount necessary to properly fund this section, not to exceed one million dollars in any fiscal year. The maximum of one million dollars in any fiscal year shall be adjusted annually by the same percentage as the increase in the general price level as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the United States, or its successor index, as defined and officially recorded by the United States Department of Labor or its successor agency.