Missouri changes district ratings in light of ARRA IDEA Funds

Below is a June 17, 2009 Email Communication from the Missouri state Dept. of Education to local school districts regarding changes in determinations of IDEA implementation. To understand the impact of these ratings, see What’s in a Rating.

Subject: Local Determinations/Notification to Districts Expected on June 30, 2009/CHANGE IN CRITERIA

Source: Heidi Atkins Lieberman, Assistant Commissioner

Intended Audience: Directors of Special Education, Special Education
Date: June 17, 2009

On June 30, 2009, a letter will be sent to the superintendent of each responsible public agency with a copy to the special education contact.

This letter will include a determination category for each agency, evaluating the agency’s progress on some of the State Performance Plan (SPP) targets.  The categories are the same as those used by the U. S. Department of Education in identifying states’ progress on the State Performance Plan (SPP) targets.  For more information on the SPP and the twenty indicators and targets: http://www.dese.mo.gov/divspeced/SPPpage.html.

States are given discretion to develop the criteria used to identify local responsible public agencies.  This year, that criteria had to be applied at a minimum to the required areas of: Audit Findings; Timely and Accurate Data; and, SPP Indicators 12 (Transition from First Steps to ECSE), 15 (Uncorrected Noncompliance), 11 (Initial Timelines), 13 (Secondary Transition Planning), and 9 and 10 (Disproportionality).

It is important to remember that none of these required areas involve quality performance issues.  They are, instead, compliance type items. Additionally, it is important to remember that the determinations for compliance indicators are based on data from the 2006-07 school year (Indicators 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15) and the 2007-08 school year for the remaining items. Therefore, the identification may not accurately reflect where your agency is currently.  We have attempted, in development of the criteria, to allow credit for the hard work and efforts to correct non-compliance.

States were given discretion to include SPP indicators that addressed performance issues.  In Missouri, to be consistent with our focus on the areas of transition and elementary achievement, we have included for the last two years, the performance indicators related to graduation, drop-out rates, and assessments in elementary education in the Communication Arts area.  This year, we are ELIMINATING these performance areas.  We will use them again, however, next year.

WHY ARE WE ELMINATING THE PERFORMANCE AREAS??  Because the option of a 50% reduction in Maintenance of Effort, made more effective due to the stimulus monies, is NOT available to any district receiving a determination of less than “Meets Requirements.”  This fiscal impact i unacceptable.  Using the performance areas, there are nine school districts that would have been impacted negatively financially by our use of performance criteria this year.  We know those districts will use this opportunity of a year-long reprieve to focus on the performance deficiencies.

We encourage you to discuss these determinations with your superintendent, your parent advisory groups, and other community stakeholders as soon as possible, as media attention is possible once the letters are sent out.

Thank you for your continued hard work on behalf of students with disabilities.

2 Responses to “Missouri changes district ratings in light of ARRA IDEA Funds”

  1. [...] Missouri « Missouri changes district ratings in light of ARRA IDEA Funds [...]

  2. [...] rating for the year that involves the Recovery Act funds. Among them are Illinois, Missouri and [...]

Leave a Reply