COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

 

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 5

June 18, 2004

 

REGULATORY

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Staffing Requirements Prescribed by the Standards of Quality

 

The 2004 General Assembly passed legislation recommended by the Board of Education to amend the Standards of Quality (SOQ). The budget approved by the General Assembly includes funding for elementary resource teachers; technology positions; a planning period for secondary (i.e., middle and high school) teachers; and establishing a funding formula for the prevention, intervention, and remediation program proposed by the Board of Education. In addition, the budget provides funding to increase the number of teachers in the English as a Second Language program as proposed by the Governor.

 

SOQ Revised Standards Effective July 1, 2004

 

Prevention, intervention, and remediation program: HB 1014 and SB 479 also amended the Standards of Quality, 22.1-253.13:2 of the Code of Virginia, to replace the SOQ remediation program. The new language says: In addition to the positions supported by basic aid and in support of regular school year programs of prevention, intervention, and remediation, state funding, pursuant to the appropriation act, shall be provided to fund certain full-time equivalent instructional positions for each 1,000 students in grades K through 12 who are identified as needing prevention, intervention, and remediation services. State funding for prevention, intervention, and remediation programs provided pursuant to this subsection and the appropriation act may be used to support programs for educationally at-risk students as identified by the local school boards.

 

Language in Item 146 of the budget bill related to this program says, The payment shall be calculated based on one hour of additional instruction per day for identified students, using the percent of students eligible for the federal Free Lunch program as a proxy for students needing such services. Fall membership shall be multiplied by the division-level Free Lunch eligibility percentage to determine the estimated number of students eligible for services. Pupil-teacher ratios shall be applied to the estimated number of eligible students to determine the number of instructional positions needed for each school division. The pupil-teacher ratio applied for each school division shall range from 10:1 for those divisions with the most severe combined failure rates for English and math Standards of Learning test scores to 18:1 for those divisions with the lowest combined failure rates for English and math Standards of Learning test scores.

 

The prevention, intervention, and remediation formula described above is a funding standard, not a staffing standard. Language in the SOQ previously based the funding formula on the number of students in the bottom national quartile of the Virginia State Assessment Program tests (Stanford 9) or who did not achieve a passing score on the Standards of Learning assessments. When the 2003 General Assembly eliminated the requirement for the Stanford 9 tests, the Board of Education had to revise the standard. The Board recommended changing the policy so that funding would not be reduced when the school divisions tests scores improved, and so that school divisions would have maximum flexibility in designing their prevention, intervention, and remediation programs. School divisions may use the funding for after-school programs and for summer school or intersession programs not funded by state remedial summer school funds.

 

English as a Second Language teachers: HB 1014 and SB 479 did not amend the requirement for 10 full-time equivalent instructional positions for each 1,000 students identified as having limited English proficiency.

 

However, Item 146 of the budget bill says, A payment of $22,122,525 the first year and $25,703,423 the second year from the general fund shall be disbursed by the Department of Education to local school divisions to support the state share of 17 professional instructional positions per 1,000 students for whom English is a second language. Local school divisions shall provide a local match based on the composite index of local ability-to-pay. The budget bill also says, in 4-11.00, Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and until June 30, 2006, the provisions of this act shall prevail over any conflicting provision of any other law, without regard to whether such other law is enacted before or after this act Therefore, the budget bill prevails, and the requirement for 17 professional instructional positions per 1,000 students for whom English is a second language is a Standards of Quality staffing standard beginning in fiscal year 2004-2005.

 

SOQ Revised Standards Effective July 1, 2005

 

The following staffing standards do not become effective until July 1, 2005, although funding is provided effective July 1, 2004. Language in Item 146 of the budget bill passed by the General Assembly says, Notwithstanding Chapters 939 and 955, of the Acts of Assembly of 2004, no school division shall be required to maintain instructional positions meeting the increased standards set forth in this paragraph until July 1, 2005.

 

Elementary resource teachers: HB 1014 and SB 479 (Chapters 939 and 955, 2004 Acts of Assembly) amended the Standards of Quality, 22.1-253.13:2 of the Code of Virginia, to say: Local school boards shall employ five positions per 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through five to serve as elementary resource teachers in art, music, and physical education.

 

Language in Item 146 of the budget bill, as passed by the special session of the 2004 General Assembly says, Appropriations in this item includethe state's share of the following revisions to the Standards of Quality pursuant to Chapters 939 & 955 of the Acts of Assembly of 2004 (Senate Bill 479 and House Bill 1014): five elementary resource teachers per 1,000 students

 

When the Board of Education adopted its proposal to require five resource teachers per 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through five, it used three periods a week as part of the methodology to derive the five per 1,000 standard. However, the Board wanted to provide school divisions with maximum flexibility, and did not mandate three periods a week, nor did it mandate that the positions be equally divided between art, music, and physical education. Instead, the board proposed a division-wide standard of five resource teachers per 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through five to allow school divisions to have maximum flexibility in complying with 8 VAC 20-131-80 of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (the Standards of Accreditation), which says that: In addition, each [elementary] school shall provide instruction in art, music, and physical education and health

 

These resource teachers must be in addition to those teachers counted in meeting other staffing standards in the Standards of Quality or teachers whose positions are funded with federal funds. These positions are included in the required local expenditure for the Standards of Quality, as provided in Item 146.A.5 of the budget bill, which says, The locality's share based on the composite index of local ability-to-pay of the cost required by all the Standards of Quality minus its estimated revenues from the state sales and use tax (returned on the basis of school age population) in the fiscal year in which the school year begins.

 

Elementary resource teachers are division-wide positions, unlike other elementary positions that are in a self-contained classroom. Therefore, if the number of positions required is a partial position, it should be counted as a partial position and rounded to two decimals.

 

Technology positions: HB 1014 and SB 479 also amended the Standards of Quality, 22.1-253.13:2 of the Code of Virginia, to say: Local school boards shall employ two positions per 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12, one to provide technology support and one to serve as an instructional technology resource teacher.

 

Language in Item 146 of the budget bill says, Appropriations in this item includethe state's share of the following revisions to the Standards of Qualityone support technology position per 1,000 students the first year; one support technology position and one instructional technology position per 1,000 students the second year

 

The instructional technology resource teachers help teachers integrate technology into the classroom. Like other resource teachers, they may be responsible for instructing students, providing training and professional development, developing the curriculum, or performing similar kinds of duties and responsibilities as the school division may deem appropriate.

 

These instructional technology resource teachers must be in addition to those teachers counted in meeting other staffing standards in the Standards of Quality (including the new 21:1 pupil-teacher ratio for middle and secondary schools, and the six per 1,000 career and technical education teachers and special education teachers included in the Standards of Quality) or teachers whose positions are funded with federal funds. These positions are included in the required local expenditure for the Standards of Quality, as provided in Item 146.A.5 of the budget bill, which says, The locality's share based on the composite index of local ability-to-pay of the cost required by all the Standards of Quality minus its estimated revenues from the state sales and use tax (returned on the basis of school age population) in the fiscal year in which the school year begins.

 

The instructional technology resource teacher is specified as a teacher, and therefore must be a licensed teacher in accordance with 22.1-299 of the Code of Virginia, which states, No teacher shall be regularly employed by a school board or paid from public funds unless such teacher holds a license or provisional license issued by the Board of Education or a three-year local eligibility license issued by a local school board pursuant to 22.1-299.3 The instructional support position does not have to be a licensed teacher.

 

School divisions may use contract personnel to meet the requirement of one technology support position per 1,000 students, so long as the contract staff provide the equivalent level of support services.

 

Planning period for middle and secondary teachers: HB 1014 and SB 479 also amended the Standards of Quality, 22.1-253.13:2 of the Code of Virginia, to say: Further, school boards shall assign instructional personnel in a manner that produces schoolwide ratios of students in average daily memberships to full-time equivalent teaching positions of 21 to one in middle schools and high schools. School divisions shall provide all middle and high school teachers with one planning period per day or the equivalent, unencumbered of any teaching or supervisory duties.

 

Language in Item 146 of the budget bill says, Appropriations in this item includethe state's share of the following revisions to the Standards of Qualityone quarter of the daily planning period for teachers at the middle and high school level [the first year] and the full daily planning period at the middle and high school levels the second year

 

These instructional positions must be in addition to those teachers counted in meeting other staffing standards in the Standards of Quality or teachers whose positions are funded with federal funds, as provided in Item 146 of the budget bill. These positions are included in the required local expenditure for the Standards of Quality, as provided in Item 146.A.5 of the budget bill, which says, The locality's share based on the composite index of local ability-to-pay of the cost required by all the Standards of Quality minus its estimated revenues from the state sales and use tax (returned on the basis of school age population) in the fiscal year in which the school year begins. They may teach any subject area, so long as they provide direct instruction in the classroom. Guidance counselors, library-media specialists, special education teachers, assistant principals, and positions funded with federal funds are not counted in meeting this requirement.

 

If you need additional information regarding the requirements of the Standards of Quality, please contact Anne Wescott (mailto:awescott@mail.vak12ed.edu) assistant superintendent for policy and communications at (804) 225-2403; Daniel S. Timberlake, assistant superintendent for finance, at (804) 225-2025; or Charles Finley, assistant superintendent for educational accountability, at (804) 786-9421.

 

JLD/ADW/jj