STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
[Filed November 13, 2020, 5:17 p.m., effective November 13, 2020, 5:17 p.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: The purpose of this emergency rule making on chapter 180-16 WAC is to enable local education agencies to deliver instructional hours and school days during state and local public health response that could limit the ability to hold in-person instruction during the 2020-21 school year.
The rule making allows modalities other than in-person delivery of instruction to count as instructional hours for the 2019-20 school year. The rule making is intended to allow for predictability for districts if they need to change delivery methods for instruction due to public health measures. The rules commit the state board of education (SBOE) to revisiting the rule-making concept by July 2021. The rule making also requires submission of reopening templates during basic education compliance at least two weeks before school reopening and no later than September 15.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 180-16-200.
Under RCW 34.05.350
the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: RCW 28A.150.220
(7) states that SBOE shall adopt rules to implement and ensure compliance with program requirements of basic education. To ensure that basic education can be delivered during the emergency state and local public health response to COVID-19, SBOE has engaged in rule making so districts can count modalities of delivering instruction other than in-person delivery as instructional hours for the 2020-21 school year. Due to planning needs of school districts and other local education agencies, emergency rule making is necessary to provide predictability in counting instructional hours so that school districts may immediately implement public health measures if necessary.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: November 13, 2020.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 18-24-090, filed 12/3/18, effective 1/3/19)
WAC 180-16-195Annual reporting and review process.
(1) Annual school district reports. A review of each school district's kindergarten through twelfth grade program shall be conducted annually for the purpose of determining compliance or noncompliance with basic education program approval requirements. On or before September 15th of each school year, each school district superintendent shall complete and return the program assurance form distributed by the state board of education. The form shall be designed to elicit data necessary to make a determination of a school district's compliance or noncompliance with basic education program approval requirements. For the 2020-21 school year, local education agencies shall submit a copy of the reopening schools plan to the state board of education and superintendent of public instruction two weeks before school begins and no later than September 15, 2020. The form shall be submitted electronically and signed by:
(a) The school board president or chairperson, and
(b) The superintendent of the school district.
(2) State board staff review.
(a) State board of education staff shall review each school district's program assurance form, may conduct on-site visits of selected school districts, as needed and subject to funding support, and shall prepare recommendations and reports for presentation to the state board of education: Provided, that, if a school district's initial program assurance form does not establish compliance with the basic education program approval requirements, the district shall be provided the opportunity to explain the deficiency or deficiencies.
(b) School districts may use the personnel and services of the educational service district to assist the district and schools in the district that are out of compliance with basic education program approval requirements.
(3) Annual certification of compliance or noncompliance—Withholding of funds for noncompliance.
(a) At the November meeting of the state board of education, or at such other meeting as the board shall designate, the board shall certify by motion each school district as being in compliance or noncompliance with the basic education program approval requirements.
(b) A certification of compliance shall be effective for the then current school year subject to any subsequent ad hoc review and determination of noncompliance as may be deemed necessary by the state board of education or advisable by the superintendent of public instruction. In addition, a certification of compliance shall be effective tentatively for the succeeding school year until such time as the state board takes its annual action certifying compliance or noncompliance with the program approval requirements.
(c) A certification of noncompliance shall be effective until program compliance is assured by the school district to the satisfaction of state board of education staff, subject to review by the state board.
(d) Upon the certification of noncompliance of a school district, state board of education staff shall notify the superintendent of public instruction and the school district of a certification of noncompliance immediately after the board meeting at which certification occurred.
(e) A withholding of basic education allocation funding from a school district shall not occur for noncompliance if the school district has remediated the noncompliance situation within sixty school business days from the time the district receives notice of the noncompliance from the state board of education. The state board of education may extend the sixty days timeline only if the district demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence to the satisfaction of the state board of education that sixty days is not reasonable to make the necessary corrections. For the purposes of this section, a school business day shall mean any calendar day, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and any federal and school holidays upon which the office of the superintendent of the school district is open to the public for the conduct of business. A school business day shall be concluded or terminated upon the closure of said office for the calendar day.
(f) At the discretion of the state board of education, after notification by the state board of education to a school district regarding an existing noncompliance, may recommend withholding of funds or may enter into a compliance agreement with the school district that shall include, but not be limited to, the following criteria:
(i) A deadline for school district remediation of the noncompliance(s).
(ii) A listing of all the noncompliance areas and the necessary terms that must be satisfied in each area in order for the school district to gain compliance status. This listing also shall specify additional deadlines for the accomplishment of the stated terms if different from the final deadline as specified in subsection (1) of this section.
(iii) A closing statement specifying that a school district's failure to remediate a noncompliance by the determined deadline may result, at the state board of education's or its designee's discretion, in the recommendation to the superintendent of public instruction of withholding of the district's basic education allocation funding by the superintendent of public instruction.
(iv) The date and the signatures of the superintendent of the school district, the chair of the district's board of directors, and the chair of the state board of education, or his/her designee, to the agreement. A copy of the completed compliance agreement shall be sent to the chairperson of the school district's board of directors and the school district superintendent.
(g) In the event a school district fails to sign a compliance agreement within five school business days from the date of issuance or does not satisfy all of the terms of the signed compliance agreement within the designated amount of time, the state board of education may recommend to the superintendent of public instruction withholding state funds for the basic education allocation until program compliance is assured.
(h) Any school district may appeal to the state board of education the decision of noncompliance by the state board of education. Such appeal shall be limited to the interpretation and application of these rules by the state board of education. Such appeal shall not stay the withholding of any state funds pursuant to this section or completion of the compliance agreement.
(4) The provisions of subsection (3) (g) of this section shall not apply if the noncompliance is related to the district's fiscal condition and results in the implementation of a financial plan under RCW 28A.505.140
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 14-19-032, filed 9/8/14, effective 10/9/14)
WAC 180-16-200Total instructional hour requirement.
(1) Kindergarten total instructional hour requirement - Four hundred fifty hours annual minimum, increased to an annual minimum one thousand instructional hours according to an implementation schedule under RCW 28A.150.315
(2) Grades 1-12 total instructional hour requirement - District-wide annual average of one thousand hours, increased beginning in the 2015-16 school year to:
(a) At least a district-wide average of one thousand eighty instructional hours for students enrolled in grades nine through twelve and a district-wide annual average of one thousand instructional hours in grades one through eight; or
(b) A district-wide annual average of one thousand twenty-seven instructional hours in grades one through twelve.
(3) For nonhigh school districts, a district-wide annual average of one thousand instructional hours in such grades as are offered by the district.
(4) For the 2020-21 school year, "instructional hours" as defined in RCW 28A.150.205 are not limited to in-person educational services. Local education agencies may count as instructional hours towards the minimum district-wide annual average those hours students are provided the opportunity to engage in educational activity planned by and under the direction of school district staff that are delivered through learning modalities which may include, but are not limited to, distance learning, hybrid classrooms, rotating schedules, or other methods that allow for delivery of basic education services during the COVID-19 epidemic. The following are applicable to the 2020-21 school year:
(a) Nothing in this section supersedes applicable statutory or office of superintendent of public instruction funding allocation requirements;
(b) Days in which instructional hours are offered shall count as school days for the purpose of meeting the minimum one hundred eighty-day school year requirement;
(c) Local education agencies must implement a system consistent with OSPI attendance rules; and
(d) The state board of education will revisit this rule no later than its regularly scheduled July 2021 board meeting.