Connecticut Seal

Senate Bill No. 179

Public Act No. 16-188

AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATION ISSUES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2016) The State Board of Education, in consultation with the Department of Veterans' Affairs, shall award, upon receipt of a request, an exemplary veterans education program distinction to those local and regional boards of education that offer a program that provides students with opportunities to learn about the contributions of veterans, as defined in section 27-103 of the general statutes, or collaborate with local veterans organizations. Such opportunities may include, but need not be limited to, classes, extracurricular activities, presentations or symposiums. A local or regional board of education may submit, at such time and in such manner as the state board prescribes, a request for such distinction by providing details about such board's program to the state board. The state board shall make information about the distinction available on the Department of Education's Internet web site.

Sec. 2. Section 10-221s of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2016):

(a) Each local and regional board of education shall post the telephone number for the Careline operated by the Department of Children and Families, pursuant to section 17a-103a, as amended by this act, and the Internet web site address that provides information about the Careline in a conspicuous location frequented by students in each school under the jurisdiction of the board. Such posting shall be in various languages that are the most appropriate for the students enrolled in the school.

(b) A local or regional board of education shall permit and give priority to any investigation conducted by the Commissioner of Children and Families or the appropriate local law enforcement agency that a child has been abused or neglected pursuant to sections 17a-101a to 17a-101d, inclusive, and section 17a-103. Such board of education shall conduct its own investigation and take any disciplinary action, in accordance with the provisions of section 17a-101i, upon notice from the commissioner or the appropriate local law enforcement agency that such board's investigation will not interfere with the investigation of the commissioner or such local law enforcement agency.

Sec. 3. Section 17a-103a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall [provide a telephone hotline] establish and operate the telephone Careline for child abuse and neglect that shall be dedicated to receive reports of child abuse [. Such hotline] or neglect and to provide information concerning child abuse or neglect. The Careline shall accept all reports of child abuse or neglect regardless of the relationship of the alleged perpetrator to the child who is the alleged victim and regardless of the alleged perpetrator's affiliation with any organization or other entity in any capacity. The commissioner shall classify and evaluate all reports pursuant to the provisions of section 17a-101g.

Sec. 4. Subsection (a) of section 10-16b of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 15-94, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2016):

(a) In the public schools the program of instruction offered shall include at least the following subject matter, as taught by legally qualified teachers, the arts; career education; consumer education; health and safety, including, but not limited to, human growth and development, nutrition, first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation training in accordance with the provisions of section 10-16qq, disease prevention and cancer awareness, including, but not limited to, age and developmentally appropriate instruction in performing self-examinations for the purposes of screening for breast cancer and testicular cancer, community and consumer health, physical, mental and emotional health, including youth suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, safety, which shall include the safe use of social media, as defined in section 9-601, and may include the dangers of gang membership, and accident prevention; language arts, including reading, writing, grammar, speaking and spelling; mathematics; physical education; science; social studies, including, but not limited to, citizenship, economics, geography, government and history; computer programming instruction; and in addition, on at least the secondary level, one or more world languages and vocational education. For purposes of this subsection, world languages shall include American Sign Language, provided such subject matter is taught by a qualified instructor under the supervision of a teacher who holds a certificate issued by the State Board of Education. For purposes of this subsection, the "arts" means any form of visual or performing arts, which may include, but not be limited to, dance, music, art and theatre.

Sec. 5. (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a task force to review, streamline and align state policies relating to school climate, bullying, school safety and social-emotional learning. The task force shall examine the manner in which local and regional boards of education are implementing the safe school climate plans, pursuant to section 10-222d of the general statutes, and any issues resulting from such implementation. The task force shall make recommendations relating to (1) school climate standards for local and regional boards of education to use to develop and implement safe school climate plans, and (2) an accountability methodology that uses the results from student surveys to assess the effectiveness of such safe school climate plans.

(b) The task force shall consist of the following members:

(1) The chairpersons of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education;

(2) One representative from each of the following associations, designated by the association: The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Association of Schools, the Connecticut Federation of School Administrators, the Connecticut Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers-Connecticut and the Connecticut PTA;

(3) The Commissioner of Education, or the commissioner's designee;

(4) The executive director of the Commission on Children, or the executive director's designee;

(5) The director of the Center for Behavioral Education and Research in the Neag School of Education at The University of Connecticut; and

(6) The director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

(c) The chairpersons of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education shall serve as the chairpersons of the task force. Such chairpersons shall schedule the first meeting of the task force, which shall be held not later than sixty days after the effective date of this section.

(d) The administrative staff of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education shall serve as administrative staff of the task force.

(e) Not later than January 1, 2017, the task force shall submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. The task force shall terminate on the date that it submits such report or January 1, 2017, whichever is later.

Sec. 6. (Effective July 1, 2016) (a) For the school years commencing July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2025, inclusive, the local board of education for the East Haven school district shall participate in a pilot program to provide school transportation services for resident students to attend an equivalent nonpublic school located in the New Haven school district. For purposes of this subsection, "resident student" means any student who is a resident of the town of East Haven and, for the school year commencing July 1, 2015, was enrolled in a nonpublic school located in the school district that ceased operations on or after January 1, 2016.

(b) The East Haven school district shall be reimbursed only for the cost of such transportation as is required by this section upon the same basis and in the same manner as such school districts are reimbursed pursuant to section 10-281 of the general statutes.

Sec. 7. (Effective from passage) The local board of education for the Franklin school district shall be reimbursed for any special education and transportation costs charged to and paid by such board during the fiscal years ending June 30, 2012, to June 30, 2014, inclusive, for any child who was (1) receiving special education and related services, (2) in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, and (3) involved in a proceeding for the termination of parental rights at any time during such period. Such reimbursement shall be paid out of the Excess Cost-Student Based account in the Department of Education.

Sec. 8. (Effective July 1, 2016) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 10-261 of the general statutes, concerning the definition of net current expenditures, the total current educational expenditures for the town of Newtown for purposes of calculating payments under section 10-76g of the general statutes for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2015, to June 30, 2017, inclusive, shall not include any funds received from the United States Department of Justice or under Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence) administered by the United States Department of Education in fiscal years ending June 30, 2014, to June 30, 2016, inclusive. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, the town of Newtown shall receive a payment under section 10-76g of the general statutes in an amount equal to (1) the difference between the amount received in the fiscal years ending June 30, 2015, and June 30, 2016, and the amount that would have been received during such fiscal years as calculated under this section, plus (2) the amount the town of Newtown is entitled to receive as calculated under this section for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.

Approved June 9, 2016