SENATE BILL NO. 275
AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE REPORTING OF INFORMATION ABOUT PUBLIC EDUCATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
WHEREAS, in a democracy, the best method of accountability is an informed and engaged citizenry which can demand change by its institutions; and
WHEREAS, this is especially so in public education in Delaware, which is predominantly controlled at the local level by elected boards of education; and
WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of the State to help its citizens become more fully engaged in the educational decision-making process by providing them with timely, understandable and accurate information regarding the public schools; and
WHEREAS, the provision of such information will enable citizens to petition the relevant authorities for improvements, to be better informed voters in school board elections, and to know more about their public schools; and
WHEREAS, such information is vital for parents who need to make informed choices about their children's education, especially in the wake of the State's authorization of public school choice, and to participate effectively in the decision-making process at their children's schools.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1: Amend Chapter 1, Title 14, Delaware Code, by adding a new §124A. thereto to read as follows:
"§ 124A. Annual School Profile Reports.
(a) On or before November I, 1997, and on or before November I of each subsequent year, the Department of Public Instruction shall issue Delaware Public Education School Profiles (hereinafter in this section referred to as "School Profiles") on the state of Delaware's public schools (including charter, satellite, intensive learning centers, and other special schools) and their progress toward achieving the educational goals established by the General Assembly and the State Board of Education.
(b) The purpose of the School Profiles shall be to monitor progress and trends toward the achievement of the State's educational goals, to provide parents and citizens with information they can use to make good choices for their children, and to hold the public educational system accountable for its performance and cost-effective use of public funds. The School Profiles shall be in a user-friendly form that permits educationally meaningful comparisons among schools and school districts, based on accurate, reliable and normalized data. The School Profiles shall compare data for Delaware schools and school districts to national, regional, and statewide data where informative and practicable to do so.
(c) The State Board of Education shall appoint a School Profiles Advisory Committee within one month of enactment of this section. The Advisory Committee shall be comprised of representatives of teachers, school building administrators, school district administrators, local school board members, parents and the community. The Advisory Committee shall review the indicators to be included in the School Profiles developed by the Department of Public Instruction and make recommendations to the State Board of Education as necessary.
(d) The School Profiles shall contain, but need not be limited to, information such as the following, which shall, to the extent such information is available and practicable to report on a cost-effective basis, be reported on a district and school-specific basis:
1) The mission statement of the school or school district;
2) The strategic goals of the school or school district, including progress over time toward achieving these goals;
3) Information pertaining to student achievement and educational outcomes as measured against the State Board's standards and other relevant indicators;
4) Information pertaining to school safety and discipline and student attendance and truancy;
5) Information pertaining to school district administrator-student ratios. school teacher-student ratios, and other staffing ratios;
6) Information pertaining to pupil, staff, and school district population demographics;
7) Information pertaining to school district revenues, expenditures, tax rates and wealth;
8) Information pertaining to school curricular offerings;
9) Information pertaining to parent and community involvement in the school and school district;
10) Information pertaining to the school district or school supplied by the school district or school to include in the School Profile pertaining to the criteria specified in this subsection; and
11) Such other information as the State Board finds will serve the purposes set forth in subsection (b) of this section.
(e) With the goal of encouraging the replication of effective educational policies and practices, the School Profiles shall also highlight examples of exemplary programs, successful teaching, school climate or disciplinary strategies, and other developments that may be of value in improving the performance of Delaware's students and public schools.
(f) The State Board shall require public school districts to file district reports containing the data necessary to prepare the School Profiles and shall prescribe a uniform format for such district reports. To the extent that the information required for the district reports must be filed by districts with the State pursuant to a separate section of this Code or State Board regulation, the State Board shall not require a duplicative report.
(g) The School Profiles will be published, subject to an annual appropriation in the annual State budget act, at the expense of the State. Said Profiles will be printed by the State Board in sufficient quantity and supplied to local school districts in sufficient quantity for distribution to district staff, parents and the community at large."
Section 2: Amend § 124, Title 14, Delaware Code by striking it in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"§ 124. Annual Report.
The Board shall submit to the Governor, each year on or before the first day of January, an annual report covering the needs of the public education system as identified by the Board in the School Profiles published pursuant to § 124A. of this chapter and other studies of the public school system conducted by it and the Department. The annual report shall include recommendations for additional legislation and for changes in existing legislation. The recommendations shall be accompanied by prepared bills to be laid before the Governor and the General Assembly."
Section 3: Amend § 1050, Title 14, Delaware Code by deleting it in its entirety and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"§ 1050. Annual Report.
On or before August 15 of each year, the school board of each reorganized school district shall file with the State Board of Education a district report as required by § I 24A. of this title. Such district report shall be a public document and be made available to the citizens of the school district. Each school district is also encouraged to include in such report such additional information as it believes will help its citizens better understand the current conditions, accomplishments, and policies of the school district, as well as the expenditures, revenues and business and financial transactions of the school district for the prior fiscal year, and the need for the improvement and advancement of the schools within the school district."
Approved July 9, 1996