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Sponsors: Senators Courson, Hayes, Vaughn, Campsen, Knotts, Setzler and Verdin
Document Path: l:\s-res\jec\002virt.mrh.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 3097
Introduced in the Senate on January 9, 2007
Currently residing in the Senate Committee on Education
Summary: Virtual School Program
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12/13/2006 Senate Prefiled 12/13/2006 Senate Referred to Committee on Education 1/2/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 1/3/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 1/9/2007 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-127 1/9/2007 Senate Referred to Committee on Education SJ-127 2/15/2007 Senate Committee report: Majority favorable with amend., minority unfavorable Education SJ-15 2/20/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 2/21/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 3/6/2007 Senate Recommitted to Committee on Education SJ-15
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VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
February 15, 2007
Introduced by Senators Courson, Hayes, Vaughn, Campsen, Knotts, Setzler and Verdin
S. Printed 2/15/07--S. [SEC 2/21/07 12:43 PM]
Read the first time January 9, 2007.
To whom was referred a Bill (S. 217) to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Chapter 16 to Title 59, to establish the South Carolina Virtual Charter School District, etc., respectfully
That they have duly and carefully considered the same and recommend that the same do pass with amendment:
Amend the bill, as and if amended, Section 59-16-15(C), as contained in SECTION 1, page 2, by deleting subsection (C) and inserting:
/ (C) Students may be awarded a maximum of three on-line initial credits in a school year, and no more than twelve on-line initial credits throughout high school. However, the State Board of Education shall establish an appeals process whereby students may be granted a waiver to exceed the established limit. /
Amend the bill further, Section 59-16-20(C), as contained in SECTION 1, page 3, by deleting subsection (C) and inserting:
/ (C) All distance, on-line, or virtual learning courses offered for a unit of credit must be aligned with the state adopted academic standards, include appropriate course materials, and be approved by the State Department of Education. /
Amend the bill further, after Section 59-16-60 as contained in Section 1, page 5, by adding:
/ Section 59-16-70. At the end of each semester, the State Department of Education shall provide student records, including course grades and performance on state assessments, to the Education Oversight Committee. The Education Oversight Committee shall monitor the impact of credits earned in the virtual school on the school and district ratings with particular attention to performance on end-of-course examinations and graduation rates. /
Amend the bill further, Section 59-40-65(A)(1), as contained in SECTION 2, page 5, by deleting item (1) and inserting:
/ (1) provide each student enrolled in the program with a course or courses of on-line or computer instruction approved by the State Department of Education that must meet or exceed the South Carolina content and grade specific standards. Students enrolled in the program of on-line or computer instruction must receive all instructional materials required for the student's program; /
Amend the bill further, Section 59-40-65(A)(5)(b), as contained in SECTION 2, page 6, by deleting subitem (b) in its entirety and inserting:
/ (b) regular instructional opportunities in real time that are directly related to the school's curricular objectives, including, but not limited to, meetings with teachers and educational field trips and outings; /
Renumber sections to conform.
Amend title to conform.
Majority favorable. Minority unfavorable.
JOHN E. COURSON KAY PATTERSON
For Majority. For Minority.
EXPLANATION OF IMPACT:
The estimates provided were developed, in part, using a report by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) entitled "Cost Guidelines for State Virtual Schools". Estimates are for the first year of implementation and assume an enrollment of 3,000 students during the first year of the program. Actual costs will likely vary in the second and subsequent years depending on the actual number of participating students.
The State Department of Education estimates a need for twenty-eight staff to include twenty teachers, three administrative staff, and five staff dedicated to academic support, student services and technical support. Total salary and fringe benefits for these staff is estimated at $1,647,920. Other operating costs for office space are estimate at $120,000. Academic development costs are estimated at $836,000 which includes curriculum development, content alignment, and installation of course material. The academic development estimate assumes the State Board of Education's course review would not be extensive. Information technology costs including equipment, software, networking and licensing are estimated at $820,090. SDE anticipates implementing an outreach and an evaluation component estimated at $50,000 and $150,000 respectively.
Total first year costs are estimated at $3,624,010. The impact on the general fund is at the General Assembly's discretion. This initiative could be funded with state general funds and/or Education Improvement Act funds. The SREB report estimated cost for such a program at $1.5 million for 1,000 students; $4.0 million for 5,000 students; and $6.0 million for 10,000 students.
The impact on the state could be offset to the extent EFA and other school district funds were redirected to the program from based on the student enrollment. However, there is currently no language in the bill requiring or allowing existing appropriations to be used to cover costs of the program.
Office of State Budget
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 16 TO TITLE 59, TO ESTABLISH THE SOUTH CAROLINA VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOL DISTRICT, PROVIDE THAT IT MUST BE GOVERNED BY A BOARD OF TRUSTEES, PROVIDE ITS POWERS AND DUTIES, PROVIDE FOR THE STUDENTS' SUPERVISION AND THE STUDENTS' DUTIES, PROVIDE FOR THE DISTRICT'S TEACHERS AND FUNDING, PROVIDE A TAX CREDIT FOR AN INDIVIDUAL OR A CORPORATION THAT MAKES A DONATION TO THE DISTRICT, PROVIDE THAT THE DISTRICT MAY NOT LEVY ADDITIONAL TAXES OR ISSUE BONDS WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND PROVIDE THAT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE DISTRICT MAY PROMULGATE REGULATIONS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 59-16-10. The General Assembly finds that:
(1) through the use of technology South Carolina can create educational opportunities for the students of this State that may not exist without such technology; and
(2) using technology to deliver instruction can provide effective alternatives for credit recovery, meeting graduation requirements, resolving scheduling conflicts, delivering curriculum content when there is a shortage of certified personnel, providing a more flexible and individualized instructional pace, and offering low-incidence courses.
It is the purpose of the General Assembly in this chapter to establish the South Carolina Virtual School Program to ensure consistent high quality education for the students of South Carolina utilizing technology-delivered courses.
Section 59-16-15. (A) The State Board of Education is authorized to establish the South Carolina Virtual School Program to provide South Carolina students access to distance, on-line, or virtual learning courses offered for an initial unit of credit. The South Carolina Virtual School Program shall offer access to credit recovery programs for students who have been identified by a school district as not having received credit for a course previously taken or for students who have been identified by a school district as not likely to receive credit for a course in which the student is currently enrolled. Students may enroll in a course for credit recovery based on policies established by the State Board of Education. The South Carolina Virtual School Program shall not award a South Carolina High School diploma.
(B) Any public, private, or home school student residing in South Carolina who is twenty-one years of age or younger shall be eligible to enroll in the South Carolina Virtual School Program. However, public school students shall be given enrollment priority. A private school or home school student enrolled in the South Carolina Virtual School Program shall not be entitled to any rights, privileges, courses, activities, or services available to a public school student other than receiving an appropriate unit of credit for a completed course.
(C) Students may be awarded a maximum of three on-line initial credits in a school year, and no more than twelve on-line initial credits throughout high school. However, the State Board of Education may establish an appeals process whereby students may be granted a waiver to exceed the established limit.
(D) Local school districts shall accurately transcribe a student's final numeric grade to the student's permanent record and transcript. Home school students and private school students shall receive a certified grade report indicating date, course, and final numeric grade from the South Carolina Virtual School Program or an entity approved by the State Board of Education.
(E) Students enrolled in an on-line course for a unit of credit shall be administered appropriate state assessments in a proctored environment.
(F) It is not the responsibility of the school, district, or State to provide home computer equipment and Internet access for enrollment in courses provided by the South Carolina Virtual School Program. However, nothing in this section shall prohibit a school or district from providing home computer equipment or Internet access to students enrolled in the South Carolina Virtual School Program.
Section 59-16-20. (A) The South Carolina Virtual School Program shall be housed in and managed by the State Department of Education. The department may contract for distance learning courses, develop courses, or approve courses submitted by entities.
(B) Each course offered for a unit of credit shall be reviewed for correlation with the state adopted academic standards prior to being offered.
(C) All distance, on-line, or virtual learning courses offered for a unit of credit must be aligned with the state adopted academic standards, include appropriate course materials, and be approved by the State Board of Education.
(D) Instructors must hold a valid teaching certificate in each content area being taught or receive approval from the State Department of Education to teach the course.
(E) All Virtual School teachers must receive appropriate pre-service and in-service training pertaining to the organization, classroom management, technical aspects, monitoring of student assessment, and other pertinent training from the State Department of Education.
Section 59-16-30. As used in this chapter:
(1) 'Distance learning' means the acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and instruction, encompassing all technologies and other forms of learning at a distance. Distance learning includes on-line and virtual courses.
(2) 'On-line learning' means learning delivered by web-based or Internet-based technologies.
(3) 'Proctored' means directly monitored by an adult authorized by the South Carolina Virtual School.
(4) 'Virtual classroom' means the on-line learning space where students and instructors interact.
(5) 'School year' means the one hundred eighty days of student instruction required pursuant to Section 59-1-420 and student instruction received as part of a summer school program.
Section 59-16-40. The State Board of Education shall develop guidelines and promulgate regulations to include, but may not be limited to, the following:
(1) procedures and criteria to be used for the selection of on-line courses to be offered for a unit of credit;
(2) qualifications and registration requirements of students who may enroll in on-line courses to include provisions outlining the enrollment of students that have been expelled from school;
(3) procedures for private and home school students to enroll in courses offered;
(4) teacher qualifications and the student-to-teacher ratio for on-line courses;
(5) appropriateness and provisions for charging tuition and fees;
(6) procedures for establishing uniform evaluation of student progress and awarding of the final grade;
(7) process for maintaining student records and reporting and recording grades on the student's transcript;
(8) procedures and requirements for employment, supervision, and evaluation of teachers;
(9) procedures and requirements for supervision, monitoring, assessment, and evaluation of enrolled students; and
(10) student expectations.
Section 59-16-50. Through the use of an on-line pilot program, the State Department of Education shall examine the feasibility of providing services of the South Carolina Virtual School Program to students enrolled in adult education programs and shall make recommendations to the General Assembly no later than January 1, 2008.
Section 59-16-60. Annually the State Board of Education shall provide the General Assembly a report that shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:
(1) list of courses offered through the virtual school;
(2) number of local school districts and number of the district students participating in the virtual school;
(3) private schools and number of the private school students participating in the virtual school;
(4) number of home school students participating in the virtual school;
(5) success rates for students by courses enrolled in the virtual school;
(6) number of students who dropped a course and reasons for dropping;
(7) expenditures made for the virtual school; and
(8) number of students unable to enroll because of space limitations."
SECTION 2. Chapter 40, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-40-65. (A) If the governing body of a charter school offers as part of its curriculum a program of on-line or computer instruction this information shall be included in the application and the governing body shall be required to:
(1) provide each student enrolled in the program with a course or courses of on-line or computer instruction approved by the State Board of Education that must meet or exceed the South Carolina content and grade specific standards. Students enrolled in the program of on-line or computer instruction must receive all instructional materials required for the student's program;
(2) ensure that the persons who operate the program on a day-to-day basis comply with and carry out all applicable requirements, statutes, regulations, rules, and policies of the charter school;
(3) ensure that each course or courses offered through the program shall be taught by a teacher meeting the requirements of Section 59-40-50;
(4) ensure that a parent or legal guardian of each student verifies the number of hours of educational activities completed by the student each school year;
(5) adopt a plan by which it will provide:
(a) frequent, ongoing monitoring to ensure and verify that each student is participating in the program, including regular weekly assessments in core subjects graded or evaluated by a teacher, and at least bi-weekly parent-teacher conferences in person or by telephone;
(b) regular instructional opportunities in person to students outside the student's residence that are directly related to the school's curricular objectives, including, but not limited to, meetings with teachers and educational field trips and outings;
(c) verification of ongoing student attendance in the program;
(d) verification of ongoing student progress and performance in each course as documented by ongoing assessments and examples of student coursework;
(6) administer to all students in a proctored setting all applicable assessments as required by the South Carolina Education Accountability Act.
(B) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a charter school that provides a program of on-line or computer instruction from reimbursing families of enrolled students for costs associated with their Internet connection for use in the program.
(C) Charter school students may enroll in the South Carolina Virtual School Program pursuant to program requirements."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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