Report Title:

Education; School Size

Description:

Mandates that public schools with an enrollment of 400 or more students divide into separate semi-autonomous units. Allows staff to select their unit of employment. Allows student body to select unit of enrollment. Requires each unit to choose its own focus or educational theme.

THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1654

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATING TO EDUcATION.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature is aware of the extensive and compelling research demonstrating the risks, dangers, and other disadvantages of large schools, as well as the relative advantages of small ones. There are more than one hundred studies concluding that smaller school size is beneficial to the educational success of children. It has been firmly established that there is more risk of violence, lower achievement, and less influence of the school on those enrolled in large schools. Small schools have fewer absences, higher levels of student participation and effort, greater achievement, and better graduation rates.

Two other advantages of small schools are of particular importance to Hawaii. First, studies show that the success rates for students near, at, or slightly above the poverty rate double in a small school setting. These students constitute approximately half of our public school population. Second, research shows that small high schools cost less per graduate than do comprehensive or specialized high schools. All of these goals are goals the legislature finds worthy. The purpose of this Act is to effectuate the reduction of school size.

SECTION 2. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"PART . SCHOOL SIZE

302A-A Enrollment ceiling; division. Within two years of the effective date of this part, all public schools with an enrollment of four hundred students or greater shall divide into separate semi-autonomous units.

302A-B Separate units. (a) If a school is mandated to organize into separate units pursuant to this part, the several separate units may occupy and operate within the same buildings as the original school.

(b) Each separate unit shall focus on a staff-designed theme, methodology, or philosophy to improve education within the separate units.

302A-C Staff. (a) Staff shall be allowed to self-select the unit in which they will be employed.

(b) Seniority transfer rights shall not apply in separate units where staff has self-selected to become a themed unit and developed itself as such.

(c) The staff of a separate unit formed under this part shall create a personnel committee consisting of teachers within the separate unit. This personnel committee shall be responsible for selecting new teachers for the unit.

302A-D Students. If a school is mandated to organize into separate units pursuant to this part, each student and the student's family shall select the unit in which the student will be enrolled. Enrollment is an exclusive matter of student selection and shall not be decided by either the unit or program.

302A-E Rules. The department of education shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 as necessary for the purposes of this part."

SECTION 3. In codifying the new sections added by section 2 of this Act, the revisor of statutes shall substitute appropriate section numbers for the letters used in designating the new sections in this Act.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2003.

INTRODUCED BY:

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