OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http: //www. cga. ct. gov/ofa

sSB-1138

AN ACT CONCERNING THE STRENGTHENING OF SCHOOL BULLYING LAWS.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 12 $

FY 13 $

Education, Dept.

GF - Cost

110,000

Less than 50,000

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 12 $

FY 13 $

Local and Regional School Districts

STATE MANDATE - Cost

less than $20,000

less than $20,000

Explanation

The bill will result in a cost to the State Department of Education (SDE) of approximately $110,000 in FY 12 and less than $50,000 in FY 13, and a municipal cost to local and regional school districts of less than $20,000 in both FY 12 and FY 13. A section by section explanation is provided below.

Section 1 of the bill expands the definition of bullying and requires local and regional school districts to adopt safe school climate plans. This is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact, as districts already have school and district improvement plans, and safe school climate is an essential component of overall school improvement.

Section 2 makes clarifying changes and is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

Section 3 requires each school to assess its school climate using assessment instruments, including surveys, created by SDE in collaboration with the Connecticut Association of Schools. The bill specifies that SDE implement this provision within available appropriations. However, if the bill were to be implemented it is anticipated that developing such assessments will cost SDE up to $10,000, as such assessments currently do not exist. The $10,000 will be used to consult with the Connecticut Association of Schools to determine the most appropriate assessment tools and to develop them. It is anticipated that this cost would be one-time in nature.

Additionally, SDE must use the assessments to monitor bullying prevention efforts over time, compare districts' efforts to statewide trends, and provide information to the statewide school climate resource center. The bill specifies that SDE implement this provision within available appropriations. However, if the bill were to be implemented it is anticipated that SDE would require additional resources of up to $50,000. The additional resources of $50,000 are needed to: (1) work with stakeholders and experts in the field to develop a guidance document on potential activities that districts can utiltize ($25,000) and (2) to disseminate guidance materials and to advertise for Safe School Climate Awareness Day ($25,000).

Section 4 establishes the statewide safe school climate resource network, which will be responsible for identifying, preventing, and educating people about school bullying in Connecticut. The bill specifies that SDE implement this provision within available appropriations. However, if the bill were to be implemented it is anticipated that SDE would require additional resources of up to $50,000 to contract with various entities to provide the required data collection, analysis of bullying data, and training to school employees. It is anticipated that this cost would be one-time in nature.

Section 5 makes clarifying changes that are not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

Section 6 requires SDE to provide training to school employees on the prevention, identification, and response to school bullying. Under current law, school districts must offer their certified employees in-service training on the prevention of bullying. The bill expands the scope of this training to include identifying and responding to bullying, which is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

Additionally, the bill requires SDE to provide annual training to uncertified school employees. This is not anticipated to result in a cost to SDE, as they currently provide no-cost professional development on school bullying and have training DVD's available to disseminate to districts. However, uncertified school employees are not currently required to receive such training and would have to be available to receive this training annually, which could result in an additional cost to local and regional school districts, as most uncertified employees are hourly employees. It is anticipated that this would be a cost to local and regional school districts of less than $20,000.

Section 7 requires that beginning teachers receive instruction in preventing, identifying, and responding to school bullying, as part of their training. This is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

Section 8 requires teacher candidates to complete a component on school violence, bullying, suicide prevention, and conflict resolution as part of their teacher preparation program. This is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

Section 9 specifies and clarifies current practice and is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

Section 10 grants immunity to various individuals who report bullying, or various employees who handle incidents of bullying. This is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.