Education Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5305

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING SCHOOL PARAPROFESSIONAL TRAINING.

Vote Date:

3/16/2016

Vote Action:

JF to Appropriations Committee

PH Date:

2/24/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Rep. Michelle L. Cook, 65th Dist.

Rep. Henry J. Genga, 10th Dist.

Education Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The reason for this bill is to require local and regional school boards to provide annual training for school paraprofessionals starting July 1, 2016. The training shall provide paraprofessionals with the information necessary to complete their duties and responsibilities while also being consistent with the specific needs of the students or students to whom the paraprofessional will be assigned. Training shall be provided annually by the local and regional school districts. This training shall be provided, with pay, before the start of the school year by the immediate supervisor.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Dianna R. Wentzell, Commissioner, State Department of Education:

Commissioner Wentzell had raised two concerns. First, the State Department of Education (SDE) was concerned on the burden of an unfunded mandate on schools during the current economic situation.

Second, lines 10-14 require training for paraprofessionals prior to his or her start in the school. The SDE was concerned that, “this may result in a delay in the implementation of a student's IEP if the paraprofessional cannot be trained by the district in a timely manner”.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:


Jackeline Aviles & Jan Hochadel, Co-Presidents, AFT Connecticut:

Jackeline Aviles and Jan Hochadel, who spoke on behalf of AFT Connecticut, supported the legislation due to an increase in the number of paraprofessionals in schools. AFT believed that a uniform training program is essential in providing quality care and education through paraprofessionals. H.B. 5305 would provide essential support for paraprofessionals to perform their jobs at the highest level of quality.

Helene Figueroa, Child care professionals, SEA SEIU Local 2001:

Ms. Figueroa, who represented SEA SEIU Local 2001, stated that this legislation would be a common sense measure to ensure proper training throughout all schools.

Sheryl Elliott, Paraprofessional, Bristol Eastern High School:
Ms. Elliott believed paraprofessionals need more training to better help their students, such as proper de-escalation techniques (PMT) for those students who may become combative.

ADDITIONAL TESTIMONY:

Additional testimony was provided by:

Cynthia Ross-Zweig, Para Educator, New Fairfield, Connecticut

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

The Connecticut Association of Public Schools:
The Connecticut Association of Public Schools opposed unfunded mandates, especially during troubling economic times. The Connecticut Association of Public Schools stated that this bill would create an unfunded mandate on local schools and boards for the training of the paraprofessionals.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities:

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities appreciated the intent of the bill, but had concerns regarding the cost for both training and administration placed on the locals of the school or district.

Reported by: Andrew Lampart

Date: 3/16/2016