OLR Research Report


EDUCATION

2013-R-0305

Marybeth Sullivan, Legislative Analyst II

August 26, 2013

NOTICE TO READERS

This report provides highlights of new laws (public acts) affecting education enacted during the 2013 regular and December 2012 special legislative sessions. In each summary, we indicate the public act (PA) number.

Not all provisions of the acts are included here. Complete summaries of all 2013 public acts are available on OLR's webpage: http://www.cga.ct.gov/olr/olrpasums.asp.

Readers are encouraged to obtain the full text of acts that interest them from the Connecticut State Library, the House Clerk's Office, or the General Assembly's website: http://www.cga.ct.gov.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACCOUNTABILITY AND ACHIEVEMENT 7

Mastery-Based Standards 7

Academic Achievement Measures 7

Standardized Testing 7

Standardized Testing Oversight 7

Standardized Testing Study 7

Academic Progress of Children in State Custody 7

Teacher Evaluation Programs 8

Academic Advancement Program 8

CHARTER SCHOOLS 9

District Partnerships 9

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION 9

Public Information and Education Campaign 9

Kindergarten Assessment Tool 9

Office of Early Childhood 9

GRANTS AND FUNDING 9

Funding for Municipal Building and School Security Systems 9

Grant Eligibility for School Building Projects 10

School Security Infrastructure Competitive Grant Program 10

Bond Authorizations and Transfers of Responsibility 10

Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Formula 10

Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) 11

Alliance District ECS Funding 11

Caps on Education Grants 11

Charter School Grants 11

Sheff Magnet School Grants 11

Sheff Host Magnet Tuition 12

Open Choice Funding 12

Sheff Magnet Transportation Grants 12

Agricultural Science Center Grants 12

Norwalk Education Aid 13

Literacy How Grant 13

Neighborhood Youth Center Grants 13

HEALTH AND SAFETY 13

School Safety Infrastructure Council 13

School Building Projects Advisory Council 14

School Safety and Security Standards 14

School Security and Safety Plans and Committees 14

Safe School Climate Committees 14

Mental Health First Aid Training Program 14

School Security Consultants Registry 15

Failure to Stop for School Crossing Guards 15

Pool Safety 15

Minimum Physical Exercise Requirement 15

Childhood Obesity Task Force 16

School Board Collaboration with Mental Health Care Providers 16

School Resource Officer (SRO) Training 16

Armed Security in Public Schools 16

School-Based Health Center Advisory Committee 16

Study of Behavioral Health Service Provision 17

School-Based Health Centers 17

INTERDISTRICT MAGNET SCHOOLS 17

Magnet School Financial Audits 17

Sliding Scale for Preschool Magnet Tuition 17

Preschool Magnet School Tuition 18

PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS 18

Use of Mastery Exam Scores 18

Payment of Employee Wages 18

READING 18

Date Changes for Reading Initiatives 18

Reading Instruction Survey 19

Statewide Reading Policy 19

Special Education and Remedial Reading Endorsements 19

Reading Instruction in Alliance Districts 19

REGIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE CENTERS (RESCs) 20

Open Choice Meeting Requirement 20

State Contracting 20

Uniform School Calendars 20

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION 20

Projects Authorized 20

Roof Pitch Requirements 20

SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND BOARDS OF EDUCATION 21

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors 21

Honorary High School Diplomas 21

Annual Estimate of Maintenance Expenses 21

Consolidation of Noneducational Services 21

School Board Appropriation Transfer Policy 21

Community Schools 22

Mandate Relief Task Force 22

Larceny of School Accommodations 22

Animal Dissections 22

Alliance District Plans 22

Adult Education 23

Posting School Board Spending 23

Uniform School Calendars 23

SPECIAL EDUCATION 23

English Language Learners 23

STATE BOARD AND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 23

School Climate Report 23

Local Partnerships Study 24

Student Identifiers 24

Alternative School Program Study 24

SDE High-Quality School Models 24

Commissioner's Network Schools 24

State Education Resource Center (SERC) Transparency 25

Education Talent and Statewide Standards Report 25

Sheff Report 25

TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND OTHER SCHOOL EMPLOYEES 25

Paraprofessional Advisory Council 25

Athletic Directors 26

Teacher Indemnification 26

Marital and Family Therapists 26

Teacher Performance Records 26

Elementary Education Certification 26

Alternative Route to Certification (ARC) Programs 27

Test Waiver for Certified, Out-of-State Personnel 27

Teacher Preparation Programs 27

School Nurse Advisory Council 28

Retired Teachers and Tenure 28

Bus Driver Health Insurance 28

Gifted and Talented Teacher Preparation 28

TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOLS 28

Vocational Education Extension Fund 28

HIGHER EDUCATION 29

The Butler School and The Sawyer School 29

Campus Security Protocol Plans and Threat Assessment Teams 29

Special Police Force Study 29

Coordinated Security Plan 29

Armed Security Personnel 30

Campus Safety and Security Audits 30

President of the Board of Regents 30

Student Membership on the UConn Board of Trustees 30

Faculty Representation on the Board of Regents 31

Higher Education Courses for Inmates 31

Financial Aid Information 31

Independent Institution Program Approval 31

Public Institution Program Approval 31

Liability Waiver for Record or Data Provision 32

Waiver Option for State Retirement Plan Membership 32

Operating Funds Quarterly Reports 32

Administrator Comparison Reports 32

UConn Design-Build Contracts 33

Competitive Bidding for Agricultural Purchases 33

Indemnification of University Police 33

Next Generation Connecticut 33

Higher Education Coordinating Council 34

Student Exchange Agreements 34

Planning Commission for Higher Education 34

Board of Regents Reports 34

Governor's Scholarship Program 34

Connecticut Allied Health Workforce Policy Board 35

Donor Immunity 35

Higher Education Consolidation Committee 35

LIBRARIES 36

State Library Operating Grants 36

ACCOUNTABILITY AND ACHIEVEMENT

Mastery-Based Standards

A new law allows high school students to earn academic credits using mastery-based standards, instead of traditional coursework, based on guidelines established by the State Board of Education (SBE). (PA 13-108, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

Academic Achievement Measures

The act changes the measure of academic achievement from the prior law's “adequate yearly progress and academic performance” to the “calculation of the district performance index” (DPI). It specifies that the State Department of Education (SDE) calculates DPI. (PA 13-206, effective July 1, 2013)

Standardized Testing

A new law allows students to take their final mastery examinations in reading, writing, math, and science in either grade 10 or 11, rather than only grade 10, beginning in the 2013-14 school year.

The law eliminates the statutory requirement that mastery testing conform to the testing requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The state received an NCLB waiver in May 2012 from the federal government and now must comply with its provisions instead. (PA 13-207, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

Standardized Testing Oversight

The act requires SDE to approve, provide, and supervise administration of all mastery exams. (PA 13-207, 1, effective July 1, 2103)

Standardized Testing Study

The act requires SDE to conduct a study on the use of standardized testing in public schools. Study topics must include (1) the fiscal, administrative, and educational impact of standardized tests and (2) a review of standardized tests currently implemented and proposed in the state. SDE must submit the study and any recommendations to the Education Committee by July 1, 2014. (PA 13-207, 2, effective on passage)

Academic Progress of Children in State Custody

An implementer requires SDE and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to (1) annually track the academic progress of children and youth in state custody from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and (2) submit a progress report to the Achievement Gap Task Force. The Court Support Services Division, in collaboration with SDE, must create an annual aggregate report on the progress of youth in its custody. (PA 13-234, 124, effective July 1, 2013)

Teacher Evaluation Programs

The act makes a number of substantive and procedural changes to teacher evaluation provisions of the 2012 Education Reform Act (PA 12-116). Among other things, it (1) requires the new evaluation program for each school district to be adopted through mutual agreement between the local board of education and the local professional development and evaluation committee, (2) specifies steps for adopting a program if the parties cannot agree, and (3) modifies the dates for completing evaluation training before teachers are evaluated under the new program.

The act permits school districts to phase in full implementation of new teacher evaluation and support programs during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years in accordance with the teacher evaluation implementation plan adopted by SBE.

It also allows the education commissioner to waive, for districts that request a waiver no later than July 1, 2013, (1) the requirement to implement the new evaluation by September 1, 2013 and develop the program through mutual agreement with the professional development and evaluation committee and (2) the implementation phase-in. (PA 13-245, 1-3, 7-8, & 20, effective on passage)

Academic Advancement Program

The implementer act requires SDE to establish an academic advancement program that allows students in grades 11 and 12 to graduate from high school early by accomplishing three substitute achievements in lieu of graduation requirements in state law.

Students must (1) achieve a passing score on an examination, (2) achieve a certain grade point average, and (3) obtain three letters of recommendation from school professionals.

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, boards of education must allow students to graduate from high school upon completing the academic advancement program. SBE must give an academic advancement program certificate to any student who successfully completes such program, and Connecticut public colleges and universities must equate it with a high school diploma. (PA 13-247, 188 & 189, effective July 1, 2013)

CHARTER SCHOOLS

District Partnerships

Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, the act allows a school district designated as an alliance district to mutually agree with a charter school within the district to use the charter school's students' academic achievement scores as part of the district's overall scores. SBE must approve these agreements. Local charters may enter into the agreements in addition to state charters. (PA 13-206, effective July 1, 2013)

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Public Information and Education Campaign

The act requires the Office of Early Childhood to collaborate with SDE and other departments, to the extent that private funding is available, to design and implement a public information and education campaign on children's mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues. (PA 13-178, 6, effective October 1, 2013)

Kindergarten Assessment Tool

The act extends to April 1, 2014 the deadline for the education commissioner to develop and implement an assessment tool for measuring a child's kindergarten readiness (prior law required that this be done within available appropriations by October 1, 2007). (PA 13-207, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

Office of Early Childhood

The budget act allocated funds for the creation of an Office of Early Childhood for FYs 14 and 15. (The governor's Executive Order No. 35 created the office and cited legislative intent to create it in the budget appropriations.) (PA 13-247, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

GRANTS AND FUNDING

Funding for Municipal Building and School Security Systems

The 2012 deficit mitigation act makes municipal improvements to building security systems, including schools, eligible for funding under the Local Capital Improvement Program (LoCIP) Fund.

LoCIP, administered by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), reimburses municipalities for the cost of eligible local capital improvement projects, such as road, bridge, and public building construction activities. (PA 12-1, December Special Session, 47, effective on passage)

Grant Eligibility for School Building Projects

Beginning July 1, 2014, a new law requires the Department of Construction Services (DCS) to review each local school construction grant application for compliance with school safety infrastructure standards developed by the newly-created School Safety Infrastructure Council (SSIC). DCS may disapprove any application that does not comply with the standards. (PA 13-3, 81 & 82, effective July 1, 2013)

School Security Infrastructure Competitive Grant Program

An act establishes a competitive grant program to improve security infrastructure in schools and authorizes up to $15 million in state bonds for the program. The program is jointly administered by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), DCS, and SDE. Funding is available for FYs 13, 14, and 15. (PA 13-3, 84 & 85; PA 13-122, 15, effective on passage)

Bond Authorizations and Transfers of Responsibility

An act authorizes state general obligation bonds for FYs 14 and 15 for school construction. It also transfers, from DCS to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), responsibility for existing bond authorizations for school construction. (PA 13-239, effective July 1, 2013 for FY 14 bond authorizations and July 1, 2014 for FY 15 authorizations; other sections are effective July 1, 2013)

Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Formula

The implementer act revises the ECS formula, which is the largest form of state education aid to towns. The formula is comprised of three factors: (1) foundation aid, (2) the town's base aid ratio, and (3) the town's number of total need students (i.e., total students adjusted to account for educational and economic need). A “fully funded” ECS grant is the product of the three factors plus, for qualified districts, a relatively small regional bonus.

The act uses the fully funded amount for each town as the basis for determining ECS grants for the next two fiscal years. Under the act, the FY 14 and 15 grants are a portion of the fully funded amount. Under prior law and the act, the formula awards aid more generously to poorer towns. It provides minimum aid to the state's wealthiest towns. (PA 13-247, 152 & 153, effective July 1, 2013)

Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR)

Under a new law, each town's base MBR for FY 14 is the amount it budgeted for education in FY 13 plus any ECS aid increase received for FY 14, with certain reductions permitted. Similarly, the MBR for FY 15 is the amount the town budgeted for education in FY 14 plus any ECS aid increase received for FY 15, again with reductions permitted.

The act also allows the education commissioner to permit an alliance district town to reduce its MBR if it can demonstrate that it has increased its local contribution for education for that fiscal year.

The act eliminates SBE's authority to order a local or regional school board to increase its special education spending following a finding that the board failed to implement the state's educational interests. (PA 13-247, 154 & 165, effective July 1, 2013)

Alliance District ECS Funding

The implementer act continues the alliance district program for FYs 14 and 15. It requires that any ECS funding amount representing an increase over the FY 12 ECS funding be transferred to the education commissioner. As under prior law, the commissioner can then withhold the increases until the alliance district supplies him with a plan that addresses objectives and targets to improve student achievement. (PA 13-247, 155, effective July 1, 2013)

Caps on Education Grants

The implementer act maintains existing caps on certain state education formula grants to school districts and regional education service centers (RESCs) for two more fiscal years, through June 30, 2015. (PA 13-247, 156-163, effective July 1, 2013)

Charter School Grants

The implementer act reduces the scheduled increases in per-student grants to state charter schools. By law, the grant was $10,200 per student in FY 13. Under the act: (1) for FY 14, the grant is reduced from $11,000 to $10,500 per student and (2) for FY 15 and each following year, the grant is reduced from $11,500 to $11,000. (PA 13-247, 164, effective July 1, 2013)

Sheff Magnet School Grants

For FYs 14 and 15, the implementer act (1) extends to all Sheff host magnets the $13,054 per-student grant amount that Hartford host magnets receive and (2) continues the $10,443 per student grant for non-host Sheff magnets. (PA 13-247, 166, effective July 1, 2013)

Sheff Host Magnet Tuition

The implementer act bans all Sheff host magnets from charging tuition and continues the existing ban on Hartford host magnets charging tuition. (PA 13-247, 167, effective July 1, 2013)

Open Choice Funding

The act provides a higher grant, $8,000 per participating student, for a district with at least 4% of its student population coming from the Open Choice interdistrict public school attendance program. Districts with Open Choice students equal to or greater than 3% but less than 4% receive $6,000 per student, the top amount under the prior law.

Under the act, a district may also receive $6,000 per student if the commissioner determines that the receiving district has an overall enrollment of more than 4,000 students and the number of choice students has increased by at least 50%. This determination must be made by the start of the previous fiscal year. (PA 13-247, 168, effective July 1, 2013)

Sheff Magnet Transportation Grants

The implementer act continues the Sheff magnet transportation grants at the same level, $2,000 per student, for FYs 14 and 15.

It also (1) indefinitely authorizes the commissioner to provide supplemental RESC transportation grants and (2) for FY 13, authorizes him to provide supplemental grants for Sheff magnet transportation and transportation provided by EASTCONN, a RESC, for interdistrict magnet schools. (PA 13-247, 169, effective upon passage)

Agricultural Science Center Grants

The act increases, from $1,750 to $2,750, the per student grant for regional agricultural science and technology centers. It also lowers, from 82.5% to 62.47%, the maximum percentage of the state's per student foundation aid that is used to determine the tuition charged to the districts sending students to a center. Another provision in the act (Section 152) increases the foundation aid amount from $9,687 to $11,525 annually. This means the new percentage, 62.47%, will be applied to the new, higher foundation amount.

Taken together, the two changes produce a new maximum tuition of $7,200, which is $792 less than under prior law. (PA 13-247, 170, effective July 1, 2013)

Norwalk Education Aid

The implementer act increases annual additional state education aid, from $650,000 to $2,020,000, to the town ranked sixth when all towns are ranked by population (Norwalk). (PA 13-247, 171, effective July 1, 2013)

Literacy How Grant

The implementer act requires SDE to use up to $200,000 of the biennial budget appropriation for the alternative high school and adult incentive program as a grant to the Literacy How program in North Haven for adult literacy services for FYs 14 and 15. (PA 13-247, 173, effective July 1, 2013)

Neighborhood Youth Center Grants

The act makes the following grants available to neighborhood youth centers through appropriations to SDE for FY 14 and 15:

1. $70,586 for Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Connecticut,

2. $94,115 for Boys and Girls Clubs of Bridgeport,

3. $70,000 for Bridgeport Housing Authority,

4. $80,468 for Catholic Family Services,

5. $804,685 for Connecticut Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs,

6. $71,057 for Central Connecticut Coast YMCA,

7. $20,117 for Rivera Memorial Foundation Incorporated,

8. $20,117 for Saint Margaret Willow Plaza, and

9. $40,234 for Valley Shore YMCA Incorporated.

(PA 13-247, 194, effective July 1, 2014)

HEALTH AND SAFETY

School Safety Infrastructure Council

A new law creates the School Safety Infrastructure Council (SSIC) that must develop school safety infrastructure standards for (1) the existing school construction projects program and (2) a new school security infrastructure competitive grant program. The new standards must be submitted to DESPP, the education commissioner, the School Building Projects Advisory Council, and the Public Safety and Education committees by January 1, 2014 and annually every year after.

The standards must conform to industry standards for school building infrastructure and address minimum design requirements. (PA 13-3, 80, effective on passage)

School Building Projects Advisory Council

The act requires the School Building Projects Advisory Council to develop model blueprints for new school building projects that comply with industry standards for school buildings and the new safety infrastructure standards to be developed by SSIC. (PA 13-3, 83, effective on passage)

School Safety and Security Standards

The act requires DESPP to develop school security and safety plan standards by January 1, 2014, in consultation with SDE. The standards must follow an all-hazards approach to public school emergencies, and DESPP must make them available to local officials, including local and regional boards of education.

DESPP must annually report its standards and recommendations for legislation to the Education and Public Safety and Security committees, beginning January 1, 2014. (PA 13-3, 86, effective on passage)

School Security and Safety Plans and Committees

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, boards of education must (1) develop a school security and safety plan for each school in the district, based upon DESPP standards; (2) develop, review, update, and submit such plans to DESPP; and (3) establish a school security and safety committee at each school.

Parents or guardians who serve on this committee must not have access to information about disturbing or threatening student behavior reported to the committee. (PA 13-3, 87, effective on passage)

Safe School Climate Committees

The act expands the duties of the safe school climate committees to include collection, evaluation, and reporting of information about disturbing or threatening student behavior as provided in the school's security and safety plan. Parents or guardians who serve on the committees must not participate in this new duty, since it may compromise student confidentiality. (PA 13-3, 88, effective on passage)

Mental Health First Aid Training Program

The act requires the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) commissioner, in consultation with the education commissioner, to administer a mental health first aid training program.

DMHAS must provide training for individuals appointed to serve as district safe school climate coordinators for the 2014-15 school year. For the 2015-16 school year, only district safe school climate coordinators who did not yet successfully complete the training or serve in the position during the prior school year must successfully complete the training.

Other participants may include teachers, school nurses, counselors, and other school employees at the discretion of each local or regional board of education. (PA 13-3, 90, effective on passage)

School Security Consultants Registry

The act requires DESPP to establish and maintain a registry of school security consultants doing business in Connecticut. DESPP must update the registry annually, publish it on its website, and furnish it to the public upon request. (PA 13-3, 91, effective on passage)

Failure to Stop for School Crossing Guards

A new law sets the fine for a motor vehicle operator's first-time failure to stop for a school crossing guard at $450, instead of $100 to $500. (PA 13-22, effective October 1, 2013)

Pool Safety

Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, any school board –approved pool being used for physical education classes, interscholastic activities, or extracurricular activities must follow new safety standards.

The new law requires a qualified person to be present to monitor the pool for distressed swimmers and help them if necessary. This person must be in addition to the one conducting the activity. However, starting July 1, 2014, for extracurricular activities only a qualified monitor is required.

Also, by July 1, 2014, the act requires all school boards offering student aquatic activities at a school pool to adopt a pool safety plan ensuring compliance with the act. (PA 13-161, effective July 1, 2013)

Minimum Physical Exercise Requirement

The act requires public schools to include a total of 20 minutes of physical exercise in each regular school day for all elementary school students, rather than just those in kindergarten through grade five.

Also, by October 1, 2013, boards of education must adopt policies they deem appropriate for any school employee who, during the regular school day, (1) prevents, as a form of discipline, an elementary school student from participating in the required period of physical exercise or (2) requires any student in grade kindergarten through 12 to engage in physical activity as a form of discipline. (PA 13-173, effective July 1, 2013)

Childhood Obesity Task Force

The act establishes a 19-member task force to study the effects of obesity on children's health and report its findings to the Children's Committee by October 1, 2014. (PA 13-173; PA 13-247, 94, effective on passage)

School Board Collaboration with Mental Health Care Providers

The act requires emergency mobile psychiatric service providers to collaborate with community-based mental health care agencies, school-based health centers (SBHCs), and the contracting authority for each local or regional board of education in the state to, at a minimum, (1) improve coordination and communication in order to promptly identify and refer children with mental, emotional, or behavioral health issues to the appropriate treatment program and (2) plan for any appropriate follow-up with the child and family. This may be done through memoranda of understanding, policy and protocols regarding referrals and outreach, liaison between the respective entities, or other methods. (PA 13-178, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

School Resource Officer (SRO) Training

The act requires local law enforcement agencies and local and regional school boards that employ or engage SROs, provided federal funds are available, to train SROs in nationally recognized best practices to prevent students with mental health issues from being victimized or disproportionately referred to the juvenile justice system because of their mental health issues. (PA 13-178, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

Armed Security in Public Schools

This act (1) establishes requirements for municipalities and boards of education to hire active or retired police officers to provide armed security at public schools and (2) requires all armed school security to be active or retired police officers.

It also requires annual training for retired officers who provide armed security. (PA 13-188, effective on passage)

School-Based Health Center Advisory Committee

This act expands, from seven to 17, the membership of the SBHC advisory committee. It also requires the committee to advise the Department of Public Health (DPH) commissioner on matters relating to (1) minimum standards for providing services in SBHCs to ensure that high quality health care services are provided and (2) statutory and regulatory changes to improve health care through access to SBHCs. (PA 13-287, effective October 1, 2013)

Study of Behavioral Health Service Provision

The act requires the DPH commissioner to study and report to the Public Health Committee by February 1, 2014 on the provision of behavioral health services by SBHCs in the state. She must do this (1) in consultation with the SBHC advisory committee and the DCF commissioner and (2) only if DPH receives private or federal funds to conduct the study. (PA 13-287, effective on passage)

School-Based Health Centers

The act allows all SBHCs to (1) extend their hours, (2) expand the health care services they provide, (3) service students who live outside of their school district, (4) provide behavioral health services, (5) conduct community outreach, and (6) receive reimbursement for services from private insurance.

(PA 13-247, 193, effective July 1, 2013)

INTERDISTRICT MAGNET SCHOOLS

Magnet School Financial Audits

The act specifies that interdistrict magnet school operators, rather than the schools themselves, must annually give the education commissioner certain financial audits. It also requires operators to report two types of audits, rather than just one. The first type of audit is for each individual magnet school, as required under existing law, by its operator. The second type is an aggregate audit combining all magnet schools run by the operator.

It also requires SDE to adjust the final grant payment to a magnet operator in a fiscal year based upon the aggregate financial audit submitted by the operator, rather than the audit submitted by individual magnet schools. (PA 13-122, 1 & 2, effective July 1, 2013)

Sliding Scale for Preschool Magnet Tuition

SDE, consulting with the Department of Social Services, must develop a yearly sliding tuition scale based on family income to calculate the amount that a RESC may charge for tuition to the parent or guardian of a child enrolled in a preschool program at a magnet school the RESC operates. The sliding scale tuition must be used beginning in FY 15 and each following fiscal year. (PA 13-247, 123, effective on passage)

Preschool Magnet School Tuition

The implementer act uses a multi-year approach to change the way the state permits RESC–operated interdistrict magnet schools to charge tuition for the preschool programs they operate. Under prior law, a RESC could only charge tuition to the district where the student lived. By FY 15, the act allows the school to charge tuition to the parents of the preschool student on a sliding scale, with SDE paying for the portion the sliding scale does not cover.

While the act has a slightly different phase-in for RESC magnet schools in the Sheff region compared with RESC magnets outside the Sheff region, the tuition calculation is the same for both. By law and unchanged by the act, tuition cannot be more than the difference between (1) the average per-pupil expense for the magnet school and (2) the per-student state grant under law plus any revenue from any other source on a per-student basis. (PA 13-247, 124 & 125, effective July 1, 2013)

PRIVATE AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS

Use of Mastery Exam Scores

A new law allows endowed or incorporated high schools to base promotion or graduation on a student achieving a satisfactory mastery exam score, even though state law does not require these schools to administer the statewide mastery exams. (PA 13-207, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

Payment of Employee Wages

The act allows private and parochial schools to enter into a written agreement with their employees for a wage payment schedule that differs from the schedule otherwise required by law. If the school stops operating before it pays all of the wages due its employees the (1) agreement is null and void and (2) school is liable for paying all wages due the employees. (PA 13-252, effective on passage)

READING

Date Changes for Reading Initiatives

The act extends several deadlines regarding new reading assessments, the intensive reading instruction program, intensive reading strategy, and selection of low-performing

elementary schools to participate in the intensive reading program. (PA 13-245, 11 & 12, effective July 1, 2013)

Reading Instruction Survey

A new law requires K-3 teachers to take a biennial survey on reading instruction, rather than an SBE-approved reading instruction exam. The survey will be based on that exam or an equivalent exam. SDE must design the survey to identify strengths and weaknesses of the teachers' reading instruction practice and knowledge on an individual, school, and district level. The survey will be done at no cost to the teacher.

Survey results cannot be included in a summative performance evaluation rating under the new teacher evaluation program. Also, the results are not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, but they must be used in developing the professional development plans for the individual teacher. (PA 13-245, 13 & 19, effective July 1, 2013)

Statewide Reading Policy

The act delays, from July 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014, the deadline for SDE to develop a coordinated statewide reading plan for K-3 students that includes research-driven strategies to produce effective instruction and improvement in student reading performance. (PA 13-245, 14, effective July 1, 2013)

Special Education and Remedial Reading Endorsements

Starting September 1, 2013, only certain applicants are required to pass the SBE-approved reading instruction test: those who are either (1) certified, but do not hold an endorsement in special education, remedial reading, or remedial language arts or (2) applying for initial, provisional, or professional educator certificates. Those who hold these endorsements before the new date do not have to take the test.

Also, the act (1) extends the requirement to applicants for reading consultant endorsements and (2) specifies that the exam can be an equivalent to an SBE-approved exam. (PA 13-245, 15 & 16, effective on passage)

Reading Instruction in Alliance Districts

The act requires alliance districts' applications for additional state funding to address the objective of strengthening reading through the intensive reading instruction program, which was created by the Education Reform Act of 2012 (PA 12-116). (PA 13-245, 18, effective July 1, 2013)

REGIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE CENTERS (RESCS)

Open Choice Meeting Requirement

The act removes the requirement that each RESC organize an annual meeting of school district representatives to receive a count of available spaces for Open Choice students for the upcoming school year. RESCs must still provide an annual count of these open spaces to SDE by April 15, as required under prior law, but the act allows them to collect the numbers by any means they choose. (PA 13-108, 2, effective July 1, 2013)

State Contracting

The implementer act removes RESCs from the statutory definition of state contracting agency. (PA 13-247, 190, effective on passage)

Uniform School Calendars

The implementer act establishes a 19-member task force to develop guidelines for each RESC to use in developing regional school calendars. RESCs must develop a calendar for each school board in its service area by April 1, 2014.

Boards may adopt the calendar for the 2014-15 school year; they must adopt it for the 2015-16 school year. (PA 13-247, 321-324, effective on passage)

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

Projects Authorized

The legislature (1) authorized $510.1 million in state grant commitments to 27 local school construction projects; (2) reauthorized and increased grant commitments for six previously authorized local projects whose cost and scope have changed, as well as a previously authorized state technical high school system project; and (3) approved various exemptions, waivers, and changes for either new grant authorizations or changes to previous authorizations for an additional state cost of $250.7 million. (PA 13-243, effective on passage)

Roof Pitch Requirements

A new law changes the minimum roof pitch required for school roofs to be eligible for a state reimbursement from inch per foot to the standard in the State Building Code, which is currently inch per foot. (PA 13-256, 18, effective on passage)

SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND BOARDS OF EDUCATION

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

The act requires the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) to provide vocational rehabilitation counselors in school districts throughout the state, rather than in only select school districts under prior law. (PA 13-7, 4, effective July 1, 2013)

Honorary High School Diplomas

New laws allow boards of education to award honorary high school diplomas to (1) Vietnam Era veterans who left high school for military service before graduating and (2) those who withdrew from high school to work in a job that helped the war effort in World War II. (PA 13-57, effective on passage; PA 13-122, 17, effective July 1, 2013)

Annual Estimate of Maintenance Expenses

The act defines “itemized estimate” in the statute that requires a local board of education to annually submit an itemized estimate of maintenance expenses to the town's appropriating authority. It defines the term to mean an estimate in which broad budgetary categories are divided into one or more line items, including salaries, fringe benefits, utilities, supplies, and grounds maintenance. (PA 13-60, effective October 1, 2013)

Consolidation of Noneducational Services

A new law requires a town's appropriating authority to make spending recommendations and suggestions to the school board regarding consolidation of noneducational services and cost savings no later than 10 days after the school board submits its annual itemized estimate. The school board may accept or reject the suggestions, but must provide a written explanation of any rejections. (PA 13-60, effective October 1, 2013)

School Board Appropriation Transfer Policy

New legislation requires a board of education to provide a written explanation for every emergency appropriation transfer by board-designated personnel. The explanation must be given to the town's legislative body or, if the legislative body is a town meeting, the board of selectmen, rather than only announcing it at the next regularly scheduled school board meeting. (PA 13-60, effective October 1, 2013)

Community Schools

A new law allows boards of education to establish community schools to participate with community partners in providing various educational and social services to students, families, and community members. The law spells out the steps a board must complete in order to establish a community school.

The law requires boards that establish these schools to report to SDE on the school's progress. In turn, SDE must report to the Education Committee on community schools.

The law also adds community schools to the list of school turnaround options that can be used under the commissioner's network of schools. (PA 13-64, effective July 1, 2013)

Mandate Relief Task Force

The act creates an eight-member task force to study education mandate relief for high-performing school districts, including (1) reviewing mandates in state statutes and regulations and recommending which ones may be waived for high-performing districts and (2) exploring how such districts can work with SDE to relieve other administrative mandates. (PA 13-108, 4, effective on passage)

Larceny of School Accommodations

A new law excludes from the statutory definition of “larceny” the wrongful taking of school accommodations provided by a school district to (1) a child, (2) an emancipated minor, or (3) a student who is at least age 18 and homeless. Thus, anyone who wrongfully takes such services is not guilty of larceny. Under the law, “school accommodations” means providing educational services, including reasonable transportation to school. (PA 13-211, effective October 1, 2013)

Animal Dissections

The act requires school districts to excuse any student from participating in or observing animal dissections as part of classroom instruction if the student's parent or guardian has requested such in writing. An excused student must complete an alternate assignment that the school district determines. (PA 13-273, effective July 1, 2013)

Alliance District Plans

The act specifies that an alliance district plan may include provisions for implementing statewide education standards that SBE adopts and activities related to these standards. (PA 13-247, 155, effective July 1, 2013)

Adult Education

The implementer act allows adult education programs in New Haven and Bridgeport to expand their scope to include more counseling and instructional services, including but not limited to, technology training, technical skills, literacy, and numeracy. (PA 13-247, 172, effective July 1, 2013)

Posting School Board Spending

The act requires each local and regional board of education, RESC, and state charter school governing authority to annually post on its website, beginning FY 14, its aggregate spending on various items for each school under its jurisdiction. Such items include: (1) salaries, (2) employee benefits, (3) instructional supplies and equipment, (4) educational media supplies, (5) regular and special education tuition, (6) purchased services (excluding debt service), and (7) all other expenditure items. (PA 13-247, 192, effective July 1, 2013)

Uniform School Calendars

A new law allows boards of education to adopt the uniform school calendar developed by their respective RESCs for the 2014-15 school year. It requires them to adopt the calendar for the 2015-16 school year. (PA 13-247, 322, effective July 1, 2013)

SPECIAL EDUCATION

English Language Learners

The act requires a board of education to annually report to SDE after being informed that it disproportionately and inappropriately identified students who are English language learners as needing special education due to a reading deficiency.

The report to SDE must address how the board is reducing the misidentifications. Then, SDE must study these reduction plans to determine whether a correlation exists between improvements in teacher training for reading instruction and a reduction in misidentified students. (PA 13-193, effective July 1, 2013)

STATE BOARD AND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

School Climate Report

The act increases the frequency and the recipients of the SDE report that analyzes public school districts' bullying prevention efforts. It requires the report annually, beginning February 1, 2014, rather than biennially as under prior law. (PA 13-3, 89, effective on passage)

Local Partnerships Study

The act requires SDE to study issues relating to local partnerships for advancing the teaching profession and submit the results and recommendations to the Education Committee by June 30, 2015. (PA 13-108, 3, effective on passage)

Student Identifiers

The act (1) requires that a student's state-assigned identifier be used for tracking purposes on official school documents, as well as during matriculation at in-state higher education institutions and (2) eliminates a school district's option to use a district-provided identifier. (PA 13-122, 3 & 4, effective July 1, 2013)

Alternative School Program Study

The act requires SDE to study all alternative school programs offered by local and regional boards of education and report to the Education Committee by February 1, 2014.

Each board of education that offers an alternative school program must give SDE all relevant information for the study.

When SDE reports the study findings to the Education Committee, it must include recommendations for legislation on topics including (1) defining “alternative school program,” (2) enrollment requirements, (3) length of school day and year, (4) curriculum requirements, (5) graduation requirements, and (6) continuous evaluation and oversight of alternative school programs. (PA 13-122, 12, effective on passage)

SDE High-Quality School Models

The act allows SDE to use $25 million in GO bonds authorized in 2012 for capital improvements and start-up costs that assist schools in implementing common core state standards and assessments, in accordance with procedures the education commissioner establishes. These bonds, as originally authorized, also allow SDE to provide grants for alterations, repairs, improvements, technology, equipment, and capital start-up costs to expand the availability of high-quality school models. (PA 13-239, 103, effective July 1, 2013)

Commissioner's Network Schools

The act changes provisions in the 2012 Education Reform Act (PA 12-116) that created the commissioner's network of schools. The 2012 act required the commissioner to give preference to certain schools when selecting participants. The new act adds to the preference list any school located in a district that (1) has experience in school turnaround reform or (2) previously received a federal school improvement grant. (PA 13-245, 17, effective on passage)

State Education Resource Center (SERC) Transparency

The act explicitly applies state laws for (1) awarding contracts through competitive bidding, (2) awarding personal service agreements (PSAs), (3) reviews by the Auditors of Public Accounts, and (4) the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to SERC.

In a separate provision, it also applies to SERC and RESCs state standards for awarding contracts for supplies, material, and contractual services, but it does so by linking them to an inoperative statute.

The act also requires SDE to (1) report annually to the Education and Government Administration and Elections committees on all SDE- or SERC-awarded contracts, private funding sources, and other items and (2) submit a transition plan to the Education Committee recommending whether SERC should be a state agency, quasi-public agency, or nonprofit organization by January 15, 2014. (PA 13-286, effective on passage)

Education Talent and Statewide Standards Report

By January 1, 2014 and quarterly thereafter until January 1, 2016, the act requires the SDE commissioner to report to the Appropriations and Education committees on local and regional board of education talent development programs and the implementation of statewide education standards. For each program, the report must include (1) program evaluation measures, (2) the program's status based on performance, (3) the number of evaluators hired and certified, (4) the total number of evaluators and where they are located, and (5) the program's personnel and finances. (PA 13-247, 45, effective on passage)

Sheff Report

SDE must submit a report, by February 1, 2014, to the Education Committee on the levels of diversity and integration for each public school located in the Sheff region. (PA 13-247, 126, effective on passage)

TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND OTHER SCHOOL EMPLOYEES

Paraprofessional Advisory Council

A new law alters the membership and duties of the Paraprofessional Advisory Council by (1) increasing the required number of paraprofessional members, (2) adding new members from specified groups, and (3) expanding the council's advisory role. (PA 13-10, effective July 1, 2013)

Athletic Directors

A new law (1) establishes in statute hiring standards for school and school district athletic directors that were in state regulations, (2) requires that all directors hired on or after October 1, 2013 meet the new standards, and (3) permits those hired before that date to continue in their current jobs even if they do not meet the new standards. It also establishes duties for all school and school district athletic directors. (PA 13-41, effective October 1, 2013, yet provisions regarding coach evaluations and qualifications take effect July 1, 2013)

Teacher Indemnification

The act removes teacher mentors and assessors from the class of employees eligible to receive indemnification from their respective boards of education for negligence or civil rights claims. (PA 13-122, 6, effective on passage)

Marital and Family Therapists

The act requires marital and family therapists employed by local or regional boards of education to provide services to students, families, and students' parents or guardians. It also requires SBE to adopt implementing regulations by July 1, 2014. (PA 13-122, 8, effective July 1, 2014)

Teacher Performance Records

The act establishes that records kept by SDE about teacher performance and evaluations are not public records and are exempt from disclosure under FOIA, unless a teacher consents to their release in writing. It also explicitly establishes that any records kept by SDE about teacher misconduct are public records that may be disclosed without consent. (PA 13-122, 13, effective on passage)

Elementary Education Certification

The act allows individuals who complete an elementary education teacher preparation program before June 30, 2017 to become certified to teach kindergarten, in addition to grades one through six. Under prior law, any elementary education certificate issued prior to July 1, 2013 was valid for grades kindergarten through six; any issued after that date was valid only for grades one through six. Prior law also granted an exception for certain individuals certified between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2017: those who had been admitted to a teacher preparation program for elementary education certification before the fall 2012 semester and completed the program by June 30, 2017 could use the certificate to teach kindergarten. The act broadens this exception to include individuals who are admitted to and successfully complete such program at any time before June 30, 2017, regardless of enrollment date. (PA 13-122, 11, effective on passage)

Alternative Route to Certification (ARC) Programs

Two new laws affect the ARC program. One law requires any SBE-approved ARC program for school administrators to admit any person who: (1) provided service to a local or regional board of education in a supervisory or managerial role for at least four school years (40 months), (2) held professional educator certification for at least one school year out of the four (10 months), (3) holds a bachelor's degree from a college or university (a) accredited by the Board of Regents (BOR) or SBE or (b) regionally accredited, and (4) produces a performance-based recommendation from his or her immediate supervisor or district administrator. (PA 13-122, 14, effective on passage)

The other law requires SBE to issue initial educator certificates to those who have graduated from the summer or weekend and evening ARC program, administered by the Office of Higher Education.

Applicants who have completed the ARC program must also satisfy two requirements in existing law: completion of (1) teaching training equivalents required by SBE and accredited by BOR and (2) a subject area major, unless waived by SBE. (PA 13-169, effective October 1, 2013)

Test Waiver for Certified, Out-of-State Personnel

The act allows SDE to waive completion of the competency and subject matter exams for a person seeking Connecticut educator certification if the person (1) holds out-of-state certification in the same subject or endorsement area that is at least equivalent to a Connecticut initial educator certificate and (2) has completed at least three years of service in the endorsement area in the past 10 years at an SBE-approved public or private out-of-state school. (PA 13-122, 16, effective July 1, 2013)

Teacher Preparation Programs

The act adds a competency area to the teacher preparation training program, which candidates must complete to earn professional certification. Under existing law, SBE has established standards in four competency areas. The act requires candidates to complete training in a fifth competency area in addition to the four required under prior law in children's social and emotional learning and development. (PA 13-133, effective July 1, 2013)

School Nurse Advisory Council

The act requires the education commissioner to create a school nurse advisory council. The council must advise SDE and DPH commissioners on matters affecting school nurses, including their professional development, staffing levels, and delivery of health care services. The act requires the council to annually report to the commissioners and the Public Health and Education committees, with the first report due February 1, 2014. (PA 13-187, effective July 1, 2013)

Retired Teachers and Tenure

The act prohibits retired teachers, who are rehired to teach at a public school at a lower pay scale and while collecting their pension, from having their retired service count toward earning tenure. (PA 13-247, 59, effective July 1, 2013)

Bus Driver Health Insurance

The implementer act creates a task force to study the creation of a statewide health insurance pool for school bus drivers employed by a local or regional school district or a private company that provides busing services for a district. The task force must submit its report by January 1, 2014 to the Insurance, Education, and Labor committees. (PA 13-247, 320, effective on passage)

Gifted and Talented Teacher Preparation

A new law requires candidates in teacher preparation programs that lead to professional certification to (1) complete training in the awareness and identification of the unique learning style of gifted and talented children, and (2) receive instruction about the provision of services to gifted and talented children in relation to student individualized education programs. (PA 13-261, 10, effective July 1, 2013)

TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOLS

Vocational Education Extension Fund

The act requires the technical high school system board, rather than SBE, to set tuition fees for students in preparatory and supplemental programs, including apprenticeship programs, established under the Vocational Education Extension Fund. Also, the act eliminates the $100 fee ceiling for enrollment in a single apprenticeship program or

course, thus allowing the board to charge any tuition fee it chooses. (PA 13-122, 10, effective July 1, 2013)

HIGHER EDUCATION

The Butler School and The Sawyer School

A new law allows the Office of Higher Education (OHE) to issue certificates of completion to students whom the office determines have successfully completed their course of study at the (1) Butler Business School in Bridgeport or (2) Sawyer School in Hamden and Hartford. These private occupational schools closed in December 2012 and failed to provide the required 60 days' notice to OHE, nor did they provide evidence that all students' coursework was or will be completed. (PA 13-1, effective on passage)

Campus Security Protocol Plans and Threat Assessment Teams

A new law requires UConn and all its campuses, all institutions in the Connecticut State University System (CSUS), all regional community-technical colleges, and all Connecticut independent higher education institutions to (1) give an updated security protocol plan to DESPP by October 1, 2013, (2) review such plan every two years and submit revisions to DESPP by August 1 of those years, and (3) establish trained threat assessment teams on each campus by January 1, 2014. (PA 13-3, 92, effective on passage)

Special Police Force Study

A new law requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR), in consultation with DESPP, to evaluate whether the establishment of a special police force to replace campus security personnel for each regional community-technical college would be effective. BOR must report to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee by January 1, 2014. (PA 13-3, 94, effective on passage)

Coordinated Security Plan

A new law requires BOR to develop a coordinated security plan for CSUS and the regional community-technical college system and report on the plan to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee by January 1, 2014. (PA 13-3, 94, effective on passage)

Armed Security Personnel

A new law requires all armed campus security personnel and armed special police force members of any Connecticut public college or university to be certified by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council. (PA 13-3, 95, effective on passage)

Campus Safety and Security Audits

A new law requires DESPP, by December 1, 2014, to perform or require an audit of the following campuses to determine their safety and security characteristics: UConn and all its campuses, all CSUS state universities, all regional community-technical colleges, and all Connecticut independent higher education institutions. DESPP must conduct audits in cooperation with BOR or the UConn Board of Trustees (BOT) when examining their respective campuses.

The new law also requires DESPP to base any recommendations for campus security upgrades on the audit's findings and align them with the campus's security protocol plan. DESPP must report all audit results to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee by January 1, 2015. (PA 13-3, 96, effective on passage)

President of the Board of Regents

A new law requires that the BOR president be appointed by the board, eliminating (1) the governor's responsibility to appoint the president upon the board's recommendation and (2) legislative confirmation of the appointee.

It also requires that the president serve at the board's pleasure, without a term limit. BOR must establish the president's terms and conditions of employment, prescribe his or her duties, and fix his or her compensation. (PA 13-4, effective on passage)

Student Membership on the UConn Board of Trustees

A new law makes UConn students ineligible to fill either of the student representative seats on the university's BOT unless they are enrolled full-time when elected and remain enrolled full-time throughout their two-year terms. The change applies to students elected after July 1, 2013. (PA 13-128, effective July 1, 2013)

Faculty Representation on the Board of Regents

A new law requires BOR's faculty advisory committee chairperson to serve as an ex-officio, nonvoting BOR member for a two-year term but excludes the chairperson from BOR executive sessions. (PA 13-62, effective October 1, 2013)

Higher Education Courses for Inmates

A new law specifies that a higher education institution that enters into an agreement with the Department of Correction (DOC) for the institution's employees or agents to teach for-credit courses to inmates at no charge to DOC or the inmates is not considered a state contractor for the purposes of the agreement. (PA 13-68, effective October 1, 2013)

Financial Aid Information

A new law requires public and private higher education institutions, including for-profit institutions licensed to operate in Connecticut, to provide uniform financial aid information to each admitted prospective student. The institutions must provide the information (1) before their enrollment deadline to allow students to make an informed enrollment decision and (2) using the financial aid shopping sheet developed by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.S. Department of Education under the Higher Education Opportunity Act. (PA 13-95, effective July 1, 2014)

Independent Institution Program Approval

A new law makes various changes to the academic program approval process for independent higher education institutions, which is administered by OHE. It generally deems applications for new and modified programs approved if OHE does not require any further action from the applicant within 45 days after receiving the application, but allows OHE to exceed this deadline to conduct a focused or on-site review of an application in specified situations.

The act establishes nine-member academic review commissions to review and adjudicate appeals of licensure or accreditation denials. (PA 13-118, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

Public Institution Program Approval

A new law eliminates a requirement that BOR approve UConn's new and modified degree programs, thus making the UConn BOT the final approving authority for these programs. It similarly eliminates BOR's authority to assess UConn for violations of program approval and licensure and accreditation requirements. The act requires both UConn and BOR to notify OHE of their new and modified degree programs. (PA 13-118, 4-6, effective July 1, 2013)

Liability Waiver for Record or Data Provision

A new law exempts from liability any independent higher education institution that provides to certain entities, upon request, student data or records containing information that is confidential under federal or state law. These entities are any local or regional board of education or any state agency or department, and the disclosure must have been made in accordance with federal or state law and pursuant to a written agreement. (PA 13-118, 23, effective July 1, 2013)

Waiver Option for State Retirement Plan Membership

A new law allows adjunct faculty members of Charter Oak State College to irrevocably waive participation in a state employee retirement plan within 60 days after beginning employment. The waiver remains irrevocable if the adjunct faculty member accepts subsequent part-time employment with any public higher education institution in Connecticut. (PA 13-126, effective July 1, 2013)

Operating Funds Quarterly Reports

A new law requires that (1) UConn, with respect to the UConn and UConn Health Center operating funds, and (2) BOR, with respect to the regional community technical-colleges and CSUS operating funds, submit quarterly reports on the funds' actual expenditures to OHE. (The law previously required that UConn and BOR submit such reports only to the Appropriations Committee and OPM.)

Additionally, the act requires BOR to prepare and submit, to all of the above recipients, a quarterly report on the actual expenditures of the Board for State Academic Awards Operating Fund (i.e., the operating fund for Charter Oak State College). (PA 13-137, effective July 1, 2013)

Administrator Comparison Reports

A new law requires BOR and the UConn BOT to complete studies every two years, beginning January 1, 2014, that compare their administrators' salaries and staffing ratios to those of peer public institutions in other states. In preparing these studies, the boards must compare full-time employees holding a payroll position classified as a management occupation under the U. S. Department of Labor's occupational classification system. The studies must include any employee who meets such criteria on every other November 1, starting in 2013. (PA 13-143, effective July 1, 2013)

UConn Design-Build Contracts

A new law allows UConn to administer construction projects using the design-build method, an approach where the owner (in this case, UConn) contracts with a single entity that both designs and builds the project. It also establishes criteria the university must follow when using this approach. (PA 13-177, effective July 1, 2013)

Competitive Bidding for Agricultural Purchases

A new law exempts from competitive bidding requirements purchases of $50,000 or less of certain agricultural products by public higher education institutions. It requires these institutions to give preference to specified agricultural products grown or produced in Connecticut when they are comparable in cost to those produced out of state. (PA 13-177, effective July 1, 2013)

Indemnification of University Police

A new law modifies the indemnification protections for public university police officers by providing them the protections possessed by the state police, rather than those possessed by the general state employee population. The protections are similar, but there are certain differences concerning the conditions under which the (1) employee is saved harmless and indemnified and (2) state reimburses his or her legal expenses. (PA 13-195, effective July 1, 2013)

Next Generation Connecticut

The act authorizes $1.551 billion in new bonds for “Next Generation Connecticut,” a capital improvement program under the UConn 2000 infrastructure program.

It specifies the purposes of the Next Generation program and requires UConn to develop a comprehensive plan to guide the program's investments. It requires UConn to (1) develop the plan in consultation with various groups, including leaders in the science, technology, engineering, and math-related industries, and (2) annually report to the legislature, beginning January 1, 2016, on its progress towards achieving the plan's goals. It also requires UConn to assess its progress in meeting the Next Generation program's purposes by December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2024.

Lastly, the act requires UConn to develop a strategic master plan that (1) encompasses all of its academic programs and (2) establishes strategic goals and objectives for the university and such programs. UConn must submit the plan, by July 1, 2015, to the Higher Education and Finance committees. The committees must hold a joint hearing on the plan within 30 days of receiving it. (PA 13-233, effective July 1, 2013)

Higher Education Coordinating Council

A new law adds UConn's chief academic officer (i.e., provost) to the Higher Education Coordinating Council. (PA 13-240, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

Student Exchange Agreements

A new law allows UConn to enter into student exchange agreements with foreign countries or other states. (PA 13-240, 3, effective July 1, 2013)

Planning Commission for Higher Education

The legislature made several changes this year to this commission. One new law extends several of the commission's reporting deadlines. It requires the commission to submit (1) a preliminary report on the development of the strategic master plan by June 1, 2014 and (2) the plan by September 1, 2014 (rather than by January 1, 2012 and October 1, 2012, respectively). Under prior law, the plan had to include specific goals and benchmarks for the years ending 2015 and 2020. The act instead requires goals and benchmarks for the years ending 2020 and 2025.

It also requires annual reports to the governor and legislature on the plan's implementation and progress toward achieving the goals (1) beginning January 1, 2016, to various legislative committees, and (2) beginning October 1, 2016, to the governor (rather than by January 1, 2014 and October 1, 2014, respectively).

A separate law adds a fifth gubernatorial appointee to the commission's membership. (PA 13-240, 11, effective July 1, 2013; PA 13-261, 8, effective July 1, 2013)

Board of Regents Reports

The implementer act requires BOR to report to the Appropriations and Higher Education committees, by November 1, 2013, on the status of the (1) development and implementation of remedial support offered by the regional community-technical colleges and (2) employment of academic counselors by CSUS. (PA 13-247, 83-84, effective on passage)

Governor's Scholarship Program

The implementer act establishes the Governor's Scholarship program as a single, consolidated state financial aid program for Connecticut residents who are undergraduates at in-state public and private higher education institutions. The program replaces the state's previous undergraduate student aid programs: Connecticut Aid to Public College Students (CAPCS), Connecticut Independent College Student Grant (CICSG), the Capitol Scholarship, and Connecticut Aid to Charter Oak.

The act limits eligibility for the Governor's Scholarship to Connecticut residents enrolled in at least six semester credit hours and pursuing their first associate or bachelor degree. It establishes four award categories: a (1) need and merit-based award, (2) need-based award, (3) performance incentive pool, and (4) Charter Oak Grant. The act specifies how the appropriation for the program must be allocated across these categories and establishes reporting and audit requirements for the program. It also requires OHE to administer the Governor's Scholarship. (PA 13-247, 174-185 & 387, effective July 1, 2013)

Connecticut Allied Health Workforce Policy Board

A new law replaces the higher education commissioner's position on the Connecticut Allied Health Workforce Policy Board with the BOR president and OHE executive director, increasing total board membership from 17 to 18. (PA 13-261, 1, effective July 1, 2013)

Donor Immunity

A new law grants civil immunity to any person donating tangible property to a regional community-technical college resulting in damage or injury because of the donor's act, error, or omission, unless it was caused by the donor's reckless, willful, or wanton misconduct. (PA 13-261, 9, effective October 1, 2013)

Higher Education Consolidation Committee

The legislature made several changes this year to statutes governing this commission. One new law requires the Higher Education Consolidation Committee to continue meeting beyond the September 15, 2012 cut-off date established in prior law. (PA 13-261, 11, effective July 1, 2013)

A separate new law requires BOR to report to the Higher Education Consolidation Committee about the program approval process for all campuses of UConn, CSUS, and the regional-technical community colleges. (PA 13-261, 11, effective July 1, 2013)

Finally, the implementer act requires UConn to report to the Higher Education Consolidation Committee on its program approval process. (PA 13-247, 186, effective July 1, 2013)

LIBRARIES

State Library Operating Grants

For FYs 14 and 15, the implementer act allows a town to be eligible for a state library operating grant even if it reduces its annual tax levy or appropriation for its public library below the average amount for the three fiscal years immediately preceding the grant year. (PA 13-247, 231, effective on passage)

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