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Searching 2017-2018 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 16 : Education

Chapter 003 : STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

Subchapter 001 : GENERAL PROVISIONS

(Cite as: 16 V.S.A. § 165)
  • § 165. Education quality standards; equal educational opportunities; independent school meeting education quality standards

    (a) In order to carry out Vermont's policy that all Vermont children will be afforded educational opportunities that are substantially equal in quality, each Vermont public school, including each career technical center, shall meet the following education quality standards:

    (1) The school, through a process including parents, teachers, students, and community members, develops, implements, and annually updates a continuous improvement plan to improve student performance within the school. The plan shall include goals and objectives for improved student learning and educational strategies and activities to achieve its goals. The plan shall also address the effectiveness of efforts made since the previous continuous improvement plan to ensure the school maintains a safe, orderly, civil, and positive learning environment that is free from harassment, hazing, and bullying. The school shall assess student performance under the plan using a method or methods of assessment developed under subdivision 164(9) of this title.

    (2) The school, at least annually, reports student performance results to community members in a format selected by the school board. In the case of a regional career technical center, the community means the school districts in the service region. The school report shall include:

    (A) Information indicating progress toward meeting standards from the most recent measure taken.

    (B) [Repealed.]

    (C) Information indicating progress toward meeting the goals of an annual continuous improvement plan.

    (D) Any other statistical information about the school or community that the school board deems necessary to place student performance results in context.

    (E)-(G) [Repealed.]

    (H) A description of how the school ensures that each student receives appropriate career counseling and program information regarding availability of education and apprenticeship program offerings at career technical centers.

    (I) [Repealed.]

    (J) If the school is a secondary school, information and supporting data presented in a manner designed to protect student confidentiality on the dropout and graduation rates.

    (K) Data provided by the Secretary that enable a comparison with other schools, or school districts if school level data are not available, for cost-effectiveness. The Secretary shall establish which data are to be included pursuant to this subdivision and, notwithstanding that the other elements of the report are to be presented in a format selected by the school board, shall develop a common format to be used by each school in presenting the data to community members. The Secretary shall provide the most recent data available to each school no later than October 1 of each year. Data to be presented include student-to-teacher ratio, administrator-to-student ratio, administrator-to-teacher ratio, and cost per pupil.

    (3) The school substantially meets standards adopted by rule of the State Board regarding conditions, practices and resources of schools. The standards shall address those aspects of the following that are most closely associated with improving student performance:

    (A) school leadership, staffing, and support services;

    (B) instructional practices and curriculum leadership, content, and coordination;

    (C) educational materials and school facilities;

    (D) access to current technology.

    (4) The school shall provide for and the staff shall use needs-based professional development designed to improve the quality of education provided to the students and directly connected to standards for student performance established by the State Board and any other educational performance goals established by the school board.

    (5) The school uses staff evaluation to advance educational performance objectives.

    (6) The school ensures that students receive appropriate career counseling and program information regarding the availability of education and apprenticeship program offerings at career technical centers. In addition, the school, if it is a secondary school, offers a genuine opportunity to access career technical education programs.

    (7) The school ensures that students are furnished educational services in accordance with any State or federal entitlements and in a nondiscriminatory manner.

    (8) The school maintains a safe, orderly, civil, and positive learning environment that is free from hazing, harassment, and bullying, and is based on sound instructional and classroom management practices and clear discipline policies that are consistently and effectively enforced.

    [Subsection (b) effective until July 1, 2020; see also subsection (b) effective July 1, 2020 set out below.]

    (b) Annually, the Secretary shall determine whether students in each Vermont public school are provided educational opportunities substantially equal to those provided in other public schools. If the Secretary determines that a school is not meeting the education quality standards listed in subsection (a) of this section or that the school is making insufficient progress in improving student performance in relation to the standards for student performance set forth in subdivision 164(9) of this title, he or she shall describe in writing actions that a district must take in order to meet either or both sets of standards and shall provide technical assistance to the school. If the school fails to meet the standards or make sufficient progress within two years of the determination, the Secretary shall recommend to the State Board one or more of the following actions:

    (1) continue technical assistance;

    (2) adjust supervisory union boundaries or responsibilities of the superintendency;

    (3) assume administrative control only to the extent necessary to correct deficiencies; or

    (4) close the school and require that the school district pay tuition to another public school or an approved independent school pursuant to chapter 21 of this title.

    [Subsection (b) effective July 1, 2020; see also subsection (b) effective until July 1, 2020 set out above.]

    (b) Annually, the Secretary shall determine whether students in each Vermont public school are provided educational opportunities substantially equal to those provided in other public schools. If the Secretary determines that a school is not meeting the education quality standards listed in subsection (a) of this section or that the school is making insufficient progress in improving student performance in relation to the standards for student performance set forth in subdivision 164(9) of this title, he or she shall describe in writing actions that a district must take in order to meet either or both sets of standards and shall provide technical assistance to the school. If the school fails to meet the standards or make sufficient progress within two years of the determination, the Secretary shall recommend to the State Board one or more of the following actions:

    (1) the Agency continue to provide technical assistance for one more cycle of review;

    (2) the State Board adjust supervisory union boundaries or responsibilities of the superintendency pursuant to section 261 of this title;

    (3) the Secretary assume administrative control of an individual school, school district, or supervisory union, including budgetary control to ensure sound financial practices, only to the extent necessary to correct deficiencies;

    (4) the State Board close an individual school or schools and require that the school district pay tuition to another public school or an approved independent school pursuant to chapter 21 of this title; or

    (5) the State Board require two or more school districts to consolidate their governance structures.

    (c) The State Board, after offering the school board an opportunity for a hearing, shall either dismiss the Secretary's recommendation or order that one or more of the actions listed in subsection (b) of this section be taken. The action ordered by the State Board shall be the least intrusive consistent with the need to provide students attending the school substantially equal educational opportunities. A school board aggrieved by an order of the State Board may appeal the order in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.

    (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to entitle any student to educational programs or services identical to those received by students in the same or any other school district. Further, nothing in this section shall create a private right of action.

    (e) If the Secretary determines at any time that the failure of a school to meet the education quality standards listed in subsection (a) of this section is severe or pervasive, potentially results in physical or emotional harm to students, or significant deprivation of equal education opportunities, and the school has either unreasonably refused to remedy the problem or its efforts have proved ineffective, he or she may recommend to the State Board one or more of the actions listed in subsection (b) of this section. The State Board shall then follow the procedure of subsection (c) of this section.

    (f) In order to be designated an independent school meeting education quality standards, an independent school shall participate in the education quality standards process of subsection (b) of this section. An independent school shall receive technical assistance in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b), but shall not be subject to subdivisions (b)(2)-(4) of this section. The school shall be an independent school meeting education quality standards unless the State Board, after opportunity for hearing, finds that:

    (1) the school has discontinued its participation in the education quality standards process; or

    (2) two or more years following a determination that the school is not meeting the education quality standards or that the school is making insufficient progress in improving student performance, the school fails to meet the standards or make sufficient progress toward meeting the standards. (Added 1969, No. 298 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; amended 1981, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1987, No. 97, § 5, eff. June 23, 1987; 1989, No. 44, § 3, eff. June 1, 1990; 1997, No. 60, § 4, eff. July 1, 1998; 1997, No. 71 (Adj. Sess.), § 82, eff. March 11, 1998; 1997, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 27, 1998; 1999, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 1b; 1999, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 8, § 2; 2003, No. 68, § 46, eff. June 18, 2003; 2005, No. 54, § 1; 2007, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 12, 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2013, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 27; 2015, No. 23, § 19; 2015, No. 46, § 40, eff. July 1, 2020; 2015, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2017, No. 49, § 26, eff. May 23, 2017.)