An Act To Increase Maine's High School Graduation Rates
Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA c. 211, sub-c. 1-B is enacted to read:
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE
§ 5031. High school graduation rate
Sec. 2. Stakeholder group. The Commissioner of Education shall establish a stakeholder group to develop methodologies and recommendations relating to increasing publicly supported secondary school graduation rates, as well as policies related to school expulsion, suspension, zero-tolerance practices and truancy, in the State. The stakeholder group must include, but is not limited to, the Commissioner of Education or the commissioner’s designee, educators and other persons the commissioner determines will contribute to the development of effective policies. The commissioner shall invite the participation of:
1. Representatives of the following educational associations nominated by the respective associations:
2. A school attendance coordinator in a secondary school in the State; and
3. An elementary school teacher or administrator in the State.
The commissioner and the stakeholder group shall review existing plans developed by the advisory committee on truancy, dropouts and alternative education established pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20A, section 5152, the performance plans developed by the Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities and other existing plans developed by an educational association in the State.
Sec. 3. Report to Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. The Commissioner of Education and the stakeholder group under section 2 shall report their recommendations for increasing graduation rates to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs by November 1, 2010. The report must include, but is not limited to, recommendations relating to:
1. The establishment of guidelines for school suspensions and expulsions, including notification of hearings, time frames, provision of educational support services, pathways to reinstatement and alternatives to expulsion and suspension;
2. The impact and implementation of zero-tolerance practices;
3. Best practices for secondary schools, families and youth for increasing secondary school graduation rates;
4. The maximum age of mandatory school attendance; and
5. The impact and effectiveness of the current truancy laws.
The Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs may accept and discuss the report at an authorized interim committee meeting. After receipt and review of the report, the committee may make recommendations to the Commissioner of Education for further action and provide these recommendations and comments to the joint standing committee of the 125th Legislature having jurisdiction over education matters.