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Text of the A PLUS Act

This bill was introduced on April 14, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Apr 14, 2011 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 827

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 14, 2011

(for himself, Mr. Cornyn, Mr. Coburn, Mr. Graham, Mr. Grassley, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Johnson of Wisconsin, and Mr. Vitter) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To allow a State to combine certain funds and enter into a performance agreement with the Secretary of Education to improve the academic achievement of students.

1.

Short title; table of contents; purposes; definitions

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act or the A PLUS Act.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents; purposes; definitions.

Sec. 2. Performance agreements.

Sec. 3. Programs eligible for consolidation and permissible use of funds.

Sec. 4. Maintenance of academic performance standards; accountability system.

Sec. 5. Maintenance of funding levels spent by States on education.

Sec. 6. Administrative expenses.

Sec. 7. Equitable participation of private schools.

Sec. 8. Annual reports.

Sec. 9. Performance review and early termination.

(c)

Purposes

The purposes of this Act are as follows:

(1)

To give States and local communities maximum flexibility to determine how to boost academic achievement and implement education reforms.

(2)

To reduce the administrative costs and compliance burden of Federal education programs in order to focus Federal resources on improving academic achievement.

(3)

To ensure that States and communities are accountable to the public for advancing the academic achievement of all students, especially disadvantaged children.

(d)

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

In general

Except as otherwise provided, the terms used in this Act have the meanings given the terms in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801 et seq.).

(2)

State

The term State has the meaning given the term in section 1122(e) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6332(e)).

2.

Performance agreements

(a)

Authority

In accordance with this Act, the Secretary shall enter into performance agreements with States under which, except as otherwise provided in this Act, States may consolidate and use funds pursuant to section 3.

(b)

Required terms of performance agreement

Each performance agreement entered into by the Secretary under this Act shall include the following:

(1)

Duration

The performance agreement shall be for a period of 5 years. Such 5-year period shall be determined by the State.

(2)

Application of program requirements

The performance agreement shall provide that no requirements of any program described in section 3 and included by the State within the scope of the performance agreement shall apply to the State, except as otherwise provided in this Act.

(3)

List of programs

The performance agreement shall list which of the programs described in section 3 are included within the scope of the performance agreement.

(4)

Use of funds to improve student achievement

The performance agreement shall contain a 5-year plan describing how the State intends to combine and use the funds from programs included within the scope of the performance agreement to advance the education priorities of the State, improve student academic achievement, and narrow achievement gaps.

(5)

Accountability system

The performance agreement shall describe an accountability system that meets the requirements of section 4.

(6)

Achievement goals

(A)

Student academic achievement

The performance agreement shall require the State to demonstrate the State's academic achievement goals and measures to be achieved over the duration of the performance agreement.

(B)

Consistency of achievement measures

The performance agreement shall require that the State maintain, at a minimum, the same level of challenging State student academic achievement standards and academic assessments throughout the duration of the performance agreement.

(C)

Reporting of disaggregated data

The performance agreement shall require the State to report, in the annual report under section 8, data disaggregated in the same manner as data are disaggregated under section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(3)(C)(xiii)).

(c)

Application

(1)

In general

Each State desiring to enter into a performance agreement with the Secretary under this Act shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, and accompanied by such information, as the Secretary may require.

(2)

Contents

Each such application shall contain—

(A)

a proposed performance agreement;

(B)

a description of the State's accountability system for the proposed performance agreement as described in section 4;

(C)

an assurance that the State will use fiscal control and fund accounting procedures;

(D)

an assurance that the State will continue to pursue the goal of improving educational opportunities for the disadvantaged; and

(E)

an assurance that not less than 2 of the following approved the proposed performance agreement:

(i)

The Governor of the State.

(ii)

The State legislature.

(iii)

The State educational agency.

(d)

Approval of performance agreement

(1)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the receipt of a proposed performance agreement submitted by a State, the Secretary shall approve the performance agreement or provide the State with a written determination that the performance agreement fails to satisfy a requirement of this Act.

(2)

Treatment as approved

Each performance agreement for which the Secretary fails to take the action required in paragraph (1) in the time period described in such paragraph shall be considered to be approved.

(3)

Requirement to execute approved agreements

In accordance with this Act, the Secretary shall enter into each performance agreement approved under this subsection.

(4)

Disapproval of performance agreement

If the State's performance agreement is disapproved, then the State shall have 30 days to resubmit a revised performance agreement. The Secretary shall approve the revised performance agreement within 30 days of receipt of the revised performance agreement or provide the State with a written determination that the revised performance agreement fails to satisfy a requirement of this Act.

(e)

Civil rights

The Secretary may not enter into a performance agreement with a State under this section unless the performance agreement contains an assurance that the State will meet the requirements of applicable Federal civil rights laws in carrying out the performance agreement and in consolidating and using the funds under the performance agreement.

(f)

Amendment to performance agreement

(1)

In general

In each of the following circumstances, the Secretary, subject to approval under paragraph (2), shall agree to amend a performance agreement entered into with a State under this Act:

(A)

Reduction in scope of performance agreement

A State seeks to amend the performance agreement to remove from the scope of the performance agreement any program described in section 3.

(B)

Expansion of scope of performance agreement

A State seeks to amend the performance agreement to include within the scope of the performance agreement any additional program described in section 3 or any additional measure of accountability for which the State will be held accountable.

(2)

Approval of amendment

(A)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the receipt of a proposed performance agreement amendment submitted by a State, the Secretary shall approve the amendment or provide the State with a written determination that the amendment fails to satisfy a requirement of this Act.

(B)

Treatment as approved

Each amendment for which the Secretary fails to take the action required in subparagraph (A) in the time period described in such subparagraph shall be considered to be approved.

(3)

Treatment of program funds withdrawn from agreement

Beginning on the effective date of an amendment executed under paragraph (1)(A), each program requirement of each program removed from the scope of a performance agreement shall apply to the State's use of funds made available under the program.

3.

Programs eligible for consolidation and permissible use of funds

(a)

Scope

A State may choose to include within the scope of its performance agreement any program for which Congress makes funds available to the State if the program is for a purpose described in section 1001 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301).

(b)

Uses of funds

Funds made available to a State pursuant to a performance agreement under this Act shall be used for any educational purpose permitted by State law of the State participating in the performance agreement.

4.

Maintenance of academic performance standards; accountability system

Each State consolidating and using funds under this Act shall demonstrate an accountability system for the State's performance agreement. The accountability system shall—

(1)

utilize the State's adequate yearly progress determination under section 1111(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)); or

(2)

utilize another measure of annual student progress relative to the State's determination of student proficiency, if such measure—

(A)

is used for the entire 5-year duration of the performance agreement; and

(B)

provides student achievement data—

(i)

in terms of individual student progress over time; or

(ii)

in a comparison assessment.

5.

Maintenance of funding levels spent by States on education

For each State consolidating and using funds pursuant to a performance agreement under this Act, for each school year of the performance agreement, the aggregate amount of funds spent by the State on elementary and secondary education shall be not less than 90 percent of the aggregate amount of funds spent by the State on elementary and secondary education for the school year that coincides with the date of enactment of this Act. If a State demonstrates that exceptional or uncontrollable circumstances, such as a natural disaster or a precipitous and unforeseen decline in the financial resources of the State, prevent the State from complying with the preceding sentence, the Secretary shall waive the applicability of the preceding sentence to the State.

6.

Administrative expenses

(a)

States consolidating funds under part A of title I

Each State that includes part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq.) within the scope of a performance agreement under this Act may use, for administrative expenses, not more than 1 percent of the total amount of funds made available to the State under the programs included within the scope of the performance agreement.

(b)

States not consolidating funds under part A of title I

Each State that does not include part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq.) within the scope of a performance agreement under this Act may use, for administrative expenses, not more than 3 percent of the total amount of funds made available to the State under the programs included within the scope of the performance agreement.

7.

Participation by private school children and teachers

Each State consolidating and using funds pursuant to a performance agreement under this Act shall provide for the participation of private school children and teachers in the activities assisted under the performance agreement in the same manner as participation is provided to private school children and teachers under section 9501 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7881).

8.

Annual reports

(a)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the execution of the performance agreement, and annually thereafter, each State shall disseminate widely to the parents, the general public, and the Secretary, a report that includes—

(1)

student performance data disaggregated in the same manner as data are disaggregated under section 1111(b)(3)(C)(xiii) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(3)(C)(xiii)); and

(2)

a description of how the State has used Federal funds to improve academic achievement, narrow the achievement gap, and improve educational opportunities for the disadvantaged.

(b)

Submission to Congress

Not later than 60 days after the Secretary receives a report under subsection (a), the Secretary shall submit such report to Congress, together with any other information the Secretary considers appropriate.

9.

Performance review and early termination

(a)

Review

For each State having in effect a performance agreement under this Act, the Secretary shall carry out a review of the performance agreement, at the midpoint of the duration of the performance agreement, in order to determine whether the State has met the terms of the performance agreement described in section 2.

(b)

Early termination

The Secretary may terminate a performance agreement, before the duration of that performance agreement expires, if the State does not, for 3 consecutive school years, meet the terms of the performance agreement described in section 2.