Substitute Senate Bill No. 1200
         Substitute Senate Bill No. 1200

               SPECIAL ACT NO. 97-4


AN ACT CONCERNING THE HARTFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section 1. It  is  hereby  found  and declared
that the Hartford school district is in a state of
crisis and that  the  continued  existence of this
crisis is detrimental  to the children of the city
and in conflict  with the educational interests of
the state and  the  resolution  of the crisis is a
matter of paramount  public  interest  and that to
achieve   this   resolution   it   is   necessary,
appropriate and an  essential  public  purpose  to
provide in this  act  for  the  dissolution of the
Hartford Board of  Education  for  a  period of at
least thirty-seven months  and for the creation of
a State Board  of Trustees for the Hartford Public
Schools  to be  responsible  for  the  governance,
management and fiscal  operations  of the Hartford
school district, all  in order to increase student
achievement,  enhance the  quality,  adequacy  and
equality   of   educational   opportunities,   and
allocate  and  manage  resources  efficiently  and
effectively.
    Sec.  2.  The  Hartford  Board of Education in
existence on the effective date of this act  shall
dissolve  on  June  1,  1997.  The  State Board of
Trustees  for   the   Hartford   Public   Schools,
established  pursuant  to  section  3 of this act,
shall be solely responsible for the management  of
the  Hartford school district, as provided in this
act, during the period from June 1, 1997,  through
June  30,  2000,  except  that  the State Board of
Trustees for the Hartford Public  Schools,  on  or
before  January  1,  2000,  may  request the State
Board of Education to extend the period until June
30,  2002.  Such  request  shall  be based on such
factors as the need for additional time to improve
student  achievement  and sufficiently address the
Hartford Improvement Plan described in subdivision
(3) of subsection (a) of section 4 of this act and
the findings and recommendations of the fiscal and
operations  audit conducted pursuant to subsection
(b) of section 6 of this act. The State  Board  of
Education  shall act on such a request by February
1, 2000. If the State Board  of  Education  grants
such an extension, the State Board of Trustees for
the Hartford  Public  Schools  shall  continue  to
manage  the  Hartford school district through June
30, 2002. In January, 2000 or, if an extension  is
granted  pursuant  to this subsection, in January,
2002, the Governor shall issue a writ of  election
directed  to  the  municipal  clerk of the city of
Hartford  ordering  an  election  to  be  held  in
Hartford  on a date in March specified in the writ
for members of a new  local  board  of  education.
Such members shall take office on July 1, 2000, or
July 1, 2002, as appropriate. The terms of  office
of  such  members  shall be in accordance with the
charter of the city of Hartford  except  that  the
terms  of  six  members shall expire on the Monday
immediately  preceding  the   first   Tuesday   in
December  in 2001 or 2003, as appropriate, and the
terms of three members shall expire on the  Monday
immediately   preceding   the   first  Tuesday  in
December in 2003 or 2005, as  appropriate.  During
the period from the election of such members until
June 30, 2000, or June 30, 2002,  as  appropriate,
the  State  Board  of  Trustees  for  the Hartford
Public Schools shall hold joint meetings with  the
new Hartford Board of Education to provide for the
transition  in  the  management  of  the  Hartford
school  district  from the State Board of Trustees
of the Hartford Public Schools to the new Hartford
Board  of  Education. The state monitors appointed
pursuant to section 8 of this act  shall  continue
their  duties  under  the  newly  elected board of
education for one year.
    Sec.  3. There is established a State Board of
Trustees   for   the   Hartford   Public   Schools
consisting  of  (1)  up to seven members appointed
jointly by the Governor, the speaker of the  House
of  Representatives,  the  majority  leader of the
House of Representatives, the minority  leader  of
the  House  of  Representatives, the president pro
tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of  the
Senate  and the minority leader of the Senate, and
(2) the Mayor of the city of Hartford who shall be
an  ex-officio  nonvoting  member.  The  appointed
members  shall:  (A)  Include  representatives  of
racial  and ethnic minorities; (B) include members
who have expertise in the field of education;  (C)
include  a  member  who has expertise in financial
matters; and (D) not be a relative, as defined  in
subdivision (11) of section 52-552b of the general
statutes, of any person employed by  the  Hartford
school  district  or  the  city  of  Hartford. The
chairperson of the State Board of  Trustees  shall
be  designated  by  the Governor. All appointments
shall be made no later than twenty days after  the
effective  date  of  this  act.  A majority of the
voting members of  the  State  Board  of  Trustees
shall  constitute  a  quorum  for  the  conduct of
business. The State Board of Trustees shall act by
a  majority  vote  of  the  appointed members. The
State Board of Trustees shall maintain a record of
its  proceedings  in  such  form as it determines,
provided such record indicates attendance and  all
votes cast by each appointed member.
    Sec.  4.  (a)  The State Board of Trustees for
the Hartford Public Schools shall be the board  of
education,  as such term is used in chapter 170 of
the general  statutes,  for  the  Hartford  school
district    with    the    duties,    rights   and
responsibilities of such  board  of  education  as
established  in  any  provision  of law, except as
provided  in   this   act.   All   contracts   and
agreements,    including   collective   bargaining
agreements, made in the name of the Hartford Board
of  Education shall be assigned to the State Board
of Trustees for the Hartford Public Schools  which
shall  be  deemed  the successor party in interest
and deemed to be in privity of  contract  for  all
lawful  purposes.  The State Board of Trustees for
the  Hartford  Public  Schools:   (1)   Shall   be
responsible  for  all  aspects  of school district
governance and management and the State  Board  of
Trustees  may  delegate,  in consultation with the
Commissioner   of   Education,   any    of    such
responsibilities  pursuant  to  chapter 170 of the
general statutes to the superintendent of schools;
(2) subject to the provisions of section 6 of this
act, shall  develop  the  budget  for  the  school
district;  (3)  shall  continue  to  implement the
Hartford  Improvement  Plan   developed   by   the
Commissioner  of  Education  and  adopted  by  the
Hartford Board  of  Education  in  1996;  (4)  may
request the Commissioner of Education to waive any
provision of the general  statutes  or  regulation
under  the  jurisdiction  of  the  State  Board of
Education that may be waived pursuant  to  section
10-266x of the general statutes and that the State
Board of Trustees for the Hartford Public  Schools
determines  may  assist  in  improving  the school
district, and the commissioner, at his discretion,
may  waive  any  such  provision;  and  (5)  shall
provide  a  mechanism  for  parent,  teacher   and
community involvement in the schools.
    (b)  The  State  Board  of  Trustees  for  the
Hartford Public Schools and the Superintendent  of
Schools   shall  jointly  appoint  a  seven-member
advisory council composed  of  parents,  classroom
teachers,  school  principals  and representatives
from institutions of higher education. The council
shall  advise  the State Board of Trustees and the
superintendent  on  such  matters  as  curriculum,
student   achievement,   parental   and  community
involvement, and school safety and discipline. The
advisory  council  shall terminate on the date the
State Board of Trustees  transfers  responsibility
for  the  Hartford  school  district  to the newly
elected Hartford Board of Education.
    (c)  The  State  Board  of  Trustees  for  the
Hartford Public  Schools  shall  ensure  that  all
elementary and middle schools in Hartford join the
New England Association of  Schools  and  Colleges
through the association's accreditation process.
    (d)   The   city   of  Hartford  shall  remain
financially responsible  for  any  liabilities  or
obligations,  including contingent liabilities and
obligations, incurred by the city council  or  the
Hartford Board of Education prior to June 1, 1997.
    Sec.  5.  (a)  If  the State Board of Trustees
for the Hartford Public Schools makes a request to
the  exclusive representative of a bargaining unit
to reopen the negotiation process and  presents  a
proposed  revision  to  a contract, such exclusive
representative shall have five days to respond  to
such  request and, if the exclusive representative
fails to so respond, it shall be  deemed  to  have
denied   such   request.   (1)  If  the  exclusive
representative  denies  such  request,  the  State
Board of Labor Relations, through its agent, shall
convene, no later than ten days from the  date  of
such  denial,  a  meeting of the membership of the
bargaining unit. At such meeting the  State  Board
of  Trustees for the Hartford Public Schools shall
present its proposed  revision.  A  vote  of  such
membership shall be held on such proposed revision
no later than five days  after  the  date  of  the
meeting.  The  agent  of  the State Board of Labor
Relations shall schedule such vote and shall  post
a   notice  of  the  appropriate  date,  time  and
location.  (2)  If  the  exclusive  representative
agrees  to  negotiate  with  the  State  Board  of
Trustees for the Hartford Public  Schools  on  the
proposed revision, the parties shall have fourteen
days to so negotiate, provided such period may  be
extended  an  additional  fourteen  days by mutual
agreement of the parties. (A) If the parties reach
an  agreement,  the  agreement shall be subject to
the  ratification  procedure  established  by  the
bargaining unit. (B) If the parties fail to agree,
the last best offer of the State Board of Trustees
for  the  Hartford Public Schools on such proposed
revision shall be submitted to the  membership  of
the bargaining unit for a vote to be held no later
than five days from the date  negotiations  ceased
pursuant   to   this  subdivision.  The  exclusive
representative shall schedule such vote.  (3)  The
vote  pursuant to subdivisions (1) and (2) of this
subsection shall constitute final  action  on  the
proposed   revision.  An  affirmative  vote  by  a
majority of the membership of the bargaining  unit
shall constitute approval of the subject matter of
such vote. The  requirements  of  this  subsection
shall  not  be  considered  a  prohibited practice
under subsection  (a)  of  section  7-470  of  the
general  statutes  or  subsection  (b)  of section
10-153e of the general statutes.
    (b)    Notwithstanding   the   provisions   of
sections 7-473c, 7-474 and 10-153f of the  general
statutes,  if  the State Board of Trustees for the
Hartford  Public   Schools   and   the   exclusive
representative  of a bargaining unit enter binding
arbitration, such arbitration shall  be  conducted
in  accordance  with  this  section  by a panel of
three arbitrators. (1) The  arbitrators  shall  be
chosen  in  accordance  with section 7-473c of the
general statutes or section 10-153f of the general
statutes,  whichever  is  appropriate.  (2)  There
shall be no presumption in favor of (A)  retaining
contract  provisions  agreed  to  by  the Hartford
Board   of    Education    and    the    exclusive
representative in prior negotiations or awarded by
arbitrators in prior arbitration  proceedings,  or
(B)  continuing  past  employment practices of the
Hartford Board of Education. (3)  The  arbitrators
shall give the highest priority to the educational
interests of the state pursuant to  section  10-4a
of  the general statutes, as amended by section 12
of this act,  as  such  interests  relate  to  the
children of Hartford in arriving at a decision and
shall   consider   other   factors   pursuant   to
subdivision  (2)  of  subsection  (d)  of  section
7-473c of the general statutes or subdivision  (4)
of  subsection  (c)  of  section  10-153f  of  the
general statutes,  whichever  is  appropriate,  in
light  of  such  educational  interests.  (4)  The
arbitrators shall not be limited to the last  best
offers  of  the  parties on the issues in dispute.
(5) The decision of the arbitrators shall  not  be
subject to rejection by the Hartford City Council.
    Sec.  6.  (a) Notwithstanding any provision of
the general statutes or any public or special act,
the  Hartford City Council shall allocate funds to
the State  Board  of  Trustees  for  the  Hartford
Public  Schools  and  provide  in-kind services to
said State Board of Trustees  in  accordance  with
this  subsection.  (1)  For the fiscal year ending
June 30, 1998, and  each  subsequent  fiscal  year
that  the  Hartford  school  district is under the
management of the State Board of Trustees for  the
Hartford Public Schools, the Hartford City Council
shall: (A) Allocate to the State Board of Trustees
all state and federal aid, except amounts received
pursuant to chapter 173 of the  general  statutes,
tuition revenues and revenues from private sources
received by the city of Hartford  for  educational
purposes  in said fiscal years, and (B) provide to
said State Board of Trustees  at  least  the  same
type  and  amount  of  in-kind  services  as  were
provided to the Hartford Board  of  Education  for
the  fiscal year ending June 30, 1997. (2) For the
fiscal years ending June 30, 1998,  and  June  30,
1999,  the Hartford City Council shall allocate to
the State  Board  of  Trustees  for  the  Hartford
Public  Schools  the  amount  of  local  funds  it
allocated to the Hartford Board of  Education  for
educational  purposes  in  the  fiscal year ending
June 30, 1997, plus any additional  amount  needed
to  satisfy the requirements of section 10-262j of
the general  statutes.  Such  allocation  for  the
fiscal  year  ending June 30, 1998, shall be based
on  estimates  approved  by  the  Commissioner  of
Education,  provided  an adjustment based on final
audited revenues and expenditures for  the  fiscal
year  ending  June  30, 1997, shall be made by the
Hartford City Council no later than March 1, 1998.
(3)  The  State Board of Trustees for the Hartford
Public Schools shall determine the amount of local
funds  needed  to  meet  the  needs  of the school
district for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000,
and any subsequent fiscal year the Hartford school
district is under its management and shall provide
such  information to the Commissioner of Education
and the State Board of Education for  purposes  of
the  report  required under section 9 of this act.
The Hartford City Manager shall be responsible for
the  prompt disposition of all purchasing requests
made  by  the  Superintendent  of   Schools.   For
purposes  of  this subsection, "local funds" means
the funds allocated by the Hartford  City  Council
in  excess  of the funds described in subparagraph
(A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection.
    (b)   The   State   Board   of   Trustees,  in
consultation with the Commissioner  of  Education,
shall  contract  for a fiscal and operations audit
of the Hartford school  district  by  a  certified
public  accounting  firm.  The audit shall be paid
for by the city and the contract shall  require  a
report  by  January  1,  1998.  The State Board of
Trustees shall  develop  a  plan  to  address  the
findings   of  the  audit  and  to  implement  the
recommendations in the report.
    Sec.  7.  The  State Board of Trustees for the
Hartford Public Schools, in consultation with  the
Commissioner   of   Education,   shall  develop  a
long-term  school  building  program  pursuant  to
section  10-220  of  the  general statutes for the
Hartford  school  district.  The  State  Board  of
Trustees  and  the  Hartford  City  Council  shall
expeditiously implement the program.
    Sec.  8.  (a)  The  Commissioner  of Education
shall appoint,  within  available  appropriations,
two   state   monitors  for  the  Hartford  school
district. The state monitors shall report directly
to  the  Commissioner  of  Education. The monitors
shall consult with and assist the State  Board  of
Trustees  for  the Hartford Public Schools and the
Superintendent  of  Schools   in   assessing   the
progress  and the needs of the school district and
securing outside assistance from corporations  and
universities for meeting such needs.
    (b)  The state monitors, the Superintendent of
Schools and the Commissioner  of  Education  shall
meet regularly to review the progress and needs of
the school district.
    (c)   The   state  monitors  shall  prepare  a
monthly written  report  to  the  Commissioner  of
Education  and the State Board of Education on the
progress  and  needs  of   the   Hartford   school
district.  The report shall include information on
any additional assistance required by  the  school
district.  The  state monitors shall submit copies
of the report to the State Board of  Trustees  for
the Hartford Public Schools and the Superintendent
of Schools.
    Sec.  9.  On  or  before  October 1, 1997, the
Commissioner of Education and the State  Board  of
Education  shall  report  to the Governor, and the
joint standing committee of the  General  Assembly
having cognizance of matters relating to education
on the operation of the Hartford  school  district
and  progress  made  under  the  management of the
State Board of Trustees for  the  Hartford  Public
Schools.   Such  a  report  shall  be  made  on  a
quarterly  basis  until  the  management  of   the
Hartford   school  district  is  returned  to  the
control  of  the  Hartford  Board   of   Education
pursuant  to  section  2  of  this act. The report
submitted pursuant to  this  section  in  January,
1999, shall contain a recommendation on the amount
of local funds necessary for the operation of  the
Hartford  school district for the subsequent years
that the school district is under  the  management
of  the  State  Board of Trustees for the Hartford
Public Schools.
    Sec.  10.  Notwithstanding  the  provisions of
section 10-283 of  the  general  statutes  or  any
regulation  adopted  pursuant to said section, the
project for renovation  at  Hartford  Public  High
School  in  Hartford  is  included in section 1 of
House Bill 6707 of the current session  and  shall
be  eligible  to  be subsequently considered for a
grant commitment  from  the  state,  provided  the
school  district  files  an  application  for such
school building project prior to  July  31,  1997,
and  meets  all other provisions of chapter 173 of
the general statutes and any regulation adopted by
the  State  Board  of  Education  pursuant to said
chapter.
    Sec.  11.  Notwithstanding  the  provisions of
section 10-292 of  the  general  statutes  or  any
regulation adopted by the State Board of Education
requiring that a bid not be let  out  until  plans
and  specifications  have  been  approved  by  the
Department of Education's school facilities  unit,
the  City  of  Hartford may let out for bid on and
commence a  project  for  renovation  at  Hartford
Public  High  School  and  shall  be  eligible  to
subsequently be considered for a grant  commitment
from  the state, provided plans and specifications
have  been   approved   by   the   Department   of
Education's school facilities unit.
    Sec.  12.  Notwithstanding  any  provision  of
chapter 173 of the general statutes, special  act,
regulation adopted pursuant to said chapter or the
charter of the City of Hartford, the Hartford City
Council  may  approve  and authorize local funding
for the renovation  project  for  Hartford  Public
High School.
    Sec.  13.  This act shall take effect from its
passage, except that section 10 shall take  effect
July 1, 1997.

APPROVED April 18, 1997