House Bill No. 7251
Public Act No. 17-215
AN ACT CONCERNING REFORM DISTRICT TURNAROUND PLANS.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. Subdivision (2) of subsection (e) of section 10-223e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):
(2) Notwithstanding any provision of this title or any regulation adopted pursuant to said title, except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, in carrying out the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection and this subdivision, the State Board of Education shall take any of the following actions to improve student performance of the school district, a particular school in the district or among student subgroups, and remove the school or district from the list of schools or districts designated and listed as a low achieving school or district pursuant to said subdivision (1), and to address other needs of the school or district: (A) Require an operations audit to identify possible programmatic savings and an instructional audit to identify any deficits in curriculum and instruction or in the learning environment of the school or district; (B) require the local or regional board of education for such school or district to use state and federal funds for critical needs, as directed by the State Board of Education; (C) provide incentives to attract highly qualified teachers and principals; (D) direct the transfer and assignment of teachers and principals; (E) require additional training and technical assistance for parents and guardians of children attending the school or a school in the district and for teachers, principals, and central office staff members hired by the district; (F) require the local or regional board of education for the school or district to implement model curriculum, including, but not limited to, recommended textbooks, materials and supplies approved by the Department of Education; (G) identify schools for reconstitution, as may be phased in by the commissioner, as state or local charter schools, schools established pursuant to section 10-74g, innovation schools established pursuant to section 10-74h, or schools based on other models for school improvement, or for management by an entity other than the local or regional board of education for the district in which the school is located; (H) direct the local or regional board of education for the school or district to develop and implement a plan addressing deficits in achievement and in the learning environment as recommended in the instructional audit; (I) assign a technical assistance team to the school or district to guide school or district initiatives and report progress to the Commissioner of Education; (J) establish instructional and learning environment benchmarks for the school or district to meet as it progresses toward removal from the list of low achieving schools or districts; (K) provide funding to any proximate district to a district designated as a low achieving school district so that students in a low achieving district may attend public school in a neighboring district; (L) direct the establishment of learning academies within schools that require continuous monitoring of student performance by teacher groups; (M) require a local [and] or regional [boards] board of education to (i) undergo training designed to improve [their] the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the board of education as leaders of [their districts'] its district improvement plans by distinguishing and making clear the proper roles and different functions of the board of education, including the responsibility of developing the improvement plans and education policy for the district, and the school and district-level administrators, including the responsibility of implementing such improvement plans and policies, and (ii) submit an annual action plan to the Commissioner of Education outlining how, when and in what manner their effectiveness shall be monitored; (N) require the appointment of (i) a superintendent, approved by the Commissioner of Education, or (ii) a district improvement officer, selected by the commissioner, whose authority is consistent with the provisions of section 138 of public act 11-61, and whose term shall be for one school year, except that the State Board of Education may extend such period; or (O) any combination of the actions described in this subdivision or similar, closely related actions.
Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2017) (a) Not later than January 1, 2018, the Department of Education may develop a model school district responsibilities agreement. In developing such model agreement, the department may consider any existing school district responsibilities agreement in use by a local or regional board of education with a demonstrated record of academic improvement. Such model agreement shall include, but need not be limited to, (1) a statement of guiding principles regarding the proper roles and functions of the board of education, the superintendent of schools for the school district and administrators, as defined in section 10-144e of the general statutes, (2) an enumeration of the specific duties and responsibilities of the board of education, the superintendent and administrators, and (3) signature lines for the members of the board of education, the superintendent and other administrators to acknowledge that they understand and will comply with the provisions of the agreement. The department shall post such model agreement on its Internet web site and otherwise make, upon request, such model agreement available to local and regional boards of education.
(b) For the school year commencing July 1, 2018, and each school year thereafter, a local or regional board of education may use the model school district responsibilities agreement to enter into an agreement with the superintendent of schools for the school district and any appropriate administrators of such school district.
(c) Any local or regional board of education that uses the model school district responsibilities agreement, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, shall notify the Commissioner of Education that such board has entered into such agreement.
Sec. 3. Subsection (d) of section 10-262u of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):
(d) The local or regional board of education for a town designated as an alliance district may apply to the Commissioner of Education, at such time and in such manner as the commissioner prescribes, to receive any increase in funds received over the amount the town received for the prior fiscal year pursuant to subsection (a) of section 10-262i. Applications pursuant to this subsection shall include objectives and performance targets and a plan that are developed, in part, on the strategic use of student academic performance data. Such plan may include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) A tiered system of interventions for the schools under the jurisdiction of such board based on the needs of such schools, (2) ways to strengthen the foundational programs in reading, through the intensive reading instruction program pursuant to section 10-14u, to ensure reading mastery in kindergarten to grade three, inclusive, with a focus on standards and instruction, proper use of data, intervention strategies, current information for teachers, parental engagement, and teacher professional development, (3) additional learning time, including extended school day or school year programming administered by school personnel or external partners, (4) a talent strategy that includes, but is not limited to, teacher and school leader recruitment and assignment, career ladder policies that draw upon guidelines for a model teacher evaluation program adopted by the State Board of Education, pursuant to section 10-151b, and adopted by each local or regional board of education. Such talent strategy may include provisions that demonstrate increased ability to attract, retain, promote and bolster the performance of staff in accordance with performance evaluation findings and, in the case of new personnel, other indicators of effectiveness, (5) training for school leaders and other staff on new teacher evaluation models, (6) provisions for the cooperation and coordination with early childhood education providers to ensure alignment with district expectations for student entry into kindergarten, including funding for an existing local Head Start program, (7) provisions for the cooperation and coordination with other governmental and community programs to ensure that students receive adequate support and wraparound services, including community school models, (8) provisions for implementing and furthering state-wide education standards adopted by the State Board of Education and all activities and initiatives associated with such standards, (9) strategies for attracting and recruiting minority teachers and administrators, (10) provisions for the enhancement of bilingual education programs, pursuant to section 10-17f, or other language acquisition services to English language learners, including, but not limited to, participation in the English language learner pilot program, established pursuant to section 10-17n, (11) entering into the model school district responsibilities agreement, described in section 2 of this act, (12) leadership succession plans that provide training and learning opportunities for administrators and are designed to assist in the seamless transition of school and district personnel in and out of leadership positions in the school district and the continuous implementation of plans developed under this subsection, and [(11)] (13) any additional categories or goals as determined by the commissioner. Such plan shall demonstrate collaboration with key stakeholders, as identified by the commissioner, with the goal of achieving efficiencies and the alignment of intent and practice of current programs with conditional programs identified in this subsection. The commissioner may (A) require changes in any plan submitted by a local or regional board of education before the commissioner approves an application under this subsection, and (B) permit a local or regional board of education, as part of such plan, to use a portion of any funds received under this section for the purposes of paying tuition charged to such board pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (k) of section 10-264l or subsection (b) of section 10-264o.
Approved July 6, 2017