Office of the Superintendent


Chapter 55 Update

Friday, June 1, 2012, 10:17 am

After a thorough review of the work and recommendations of the Task Force, Superintendent Juneau presented her recommendations to the Board of Public Education regarding Chapter 55 at their May 9 and 10 meeting in Great Falls.

Superintendent Juneau provided the following direction to the Task Force, who completed their work on April 13, as they considered revisions to Chapter 55:
• Review current rules and processes and ensure they work for Montana schools today.
• Consider a blended model of accreditation including a student performance component.
• Develop a system that provides more flexibility from regulation for schools if they can demonstrate they can continue to provide a high quality education.
• Develop a framework for teacher and school leader evaluations.

Please see the following for highlights about the recommendations Superintendent Juneau made to the BPE.
• The Task Force recommended a blended model of accreditation which the Superintendent took to the Board of Public Education.
• In terms of the Peer Review Process that is part of the rewritten rule 10.55.604 Variance to Standards, the only changes made were to remove the details of the procedure for the Office of Public Instruction from that rule.  As the elected state education official, it is within the Superintendent’s responsibility and authority to define this type of procedure just as local boards of trustees all across Montana exercise similar authority. This is consistent with how the rule is written in the Administrative Rules of Montana. As you know, all of the education associations were invited to participate in the review of Chapter 55, and involving a balance of stakeholders will continue to be a practice of the OPI.
• The framework for teacher and school leader evaluations was intended to provide direction to the content of the instrument used in that process by aligning new standards with the InTASC and ISLLIC standards.

The entire document representing the Superintendent’s recommendations to the BPE can be found online at: http://www.opi.mt.gov/pdf/Accred/Ch55/12SuperintendentsChapter55RecommendationsAndMinorityReports.pdf.
The OPI shares the concerns of school leaders about the practice of the Legislative Fiscal Division where districts are expected to continually absorb 1% of costs year after year for any increased costs that result from changes in rule or statute. The OPI has been preparing proposals for the Governor and the upcoming Legislature to request funding for schools to carry out the identified costs associated with the implementation of Chapter 55 as we are very sensitive to the issue of unfunded mandates.

The Board of Public Education will take the Superintendent’s recommendations under consideration and will have the matter on their July agenda.  There will be a public hearing on the rules in August and the Board of Public Education is scheduled to take final action at their September meeting.  The final adopted rules are not scheduled to take effect until July 1 of 2013.

For more information, contact Dennis Parman, 444-5643