Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 552

    January Session, 2017

Substitute House Bill No. 7253

House of Representatives, April 12, 2017

The Committee on Education reported through REP. FLEISCHMANN of the 18th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR REVISIONS AND ADDITIONS TO THE EDUCATION STATUTES.

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

Section 1. Section 10-14n of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(a) As used in this section, "mastery examination" means (1) for students enrolled in grades three to eight, inclusive, an examination or examinations, approved by the State Board of Education, that measures essential and grade-appropriate skills in reading, writing or mathematics, (2) for students enrolled in grades five, eight and ten, an examination, approved by the State Board of Education, that measures essential and grade-appropriate skills in science, and (3) for students enrolled in grade eleven, a nationally recognized college readiness assessment, approved by the State Board of Education, that measures essential and grade-appropriate skills in reading, writing and mathematics.

(b) (1) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, each student enrolled in grades three to eight, inclusive, and grade eleven in any public school shall, annually, take a mastery examination in reading, writing and mathematics during the regular school day.

(2) For the school year commencing July 1, 2013, and each school year thereafter, each student enrolled in grades five, eight and ten in any public school shall, annually, in March or April, take a state-wide mastery examination in science during the regular school day.

(c) (1) Mastery examinations, as defined in subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section, given to students enrolled in grades three to eight, inclusive, pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section, shall be provided by and administered under the supervision of the State Board of Education.

(2) Mastery examinations, as defined in subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section, given to students enrolled in grades five, eight and ten, pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of this section, shall be provided by and administered under the supervision of the State Board of Education.

(3) Mastery examinations, as defined in subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, given to students enrolled in grade eleven, pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section, shall be paid for by the State Board of Education and administered by the provider of such nationally recognized college readiness assessment in accordance with the provisions of the agreement between the state board and such provider, pursuant to section 10-14x.

(d) The scores on each component of the mastery examination, as defined in subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, for each eleventh grade student may be included on the permanent record and transcript of each such student who takes such examination. For each eleventh grade student who meets or exceeds the state-wide mastery goal level on any component of the mastery examination, a certification of having met or exceeded such goal level shall be made on the permanent record and the transcript of each such student and such student shall be issued a certificate of mastery for such component.

(e) No public school may require achievement of a satisfactory score on a mastery examination, or any subsequent retest on a component of such examination as the sole criterion of promotion or graduation.

(f) (1) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, the scores on each component of the mastery examination for students who are English language learners, as defined in section 10-76kk, and who have been enrolled in a school in this state or another state for fewer than twenty school months, shall not be used for purposes of calculating the [school performance index, pursuant to section 10-223e, or the district performance index, pursuant to section 10-262u] accountability index, as defined in section 10-223e, for a school or school district.

(2) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, mastery examinations pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall be offered in the most common native language of students who are English language learners taking such mastery examinations and any additional native languages of such students when mastery examinations in such native languages are developed and have been approved by the United States Department of Education.

(g) Not later than August fifteenth of each school year, the Department of Education shall notify each local and regional board of education of the scores of students under the jurisdiction of the board on the mastery examination administered during the previous school year.

Sec. 2. Subsection (g) of section 10-145b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(g) On or after July 1, 1989, and prior to July 1, [2016] 2018, to qualify for a professional educator certificate, a person who holds or has held a provisional educator certificate under subsection (e) of this section shall have completed thirty credit hours of course work beyond the baccalaureate degree. It is not necessary that such course work be taken for a master's degree and such work may include graduate or undergraduate courses. On and after July 1, [2016] 2018, to qualify for a professional educator certificate, a person who holds or has held a provisional educator certificate under subsection (d) of this section shall hold a master's degree in an appropriate subject matter area, as determined by the State Board of Education, related to such teacher's certification endorsement area.

Sec. 3. Subdivision (7) of section 10-144o of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(7) "Professional educator certificate" means a license to teach issued on or after July 1, 1989, initially to a person who has successfully completed not less than three school years of teaching in a public school or nonpublic school approved by the State Board of Education while holding a provisional educator or provisional teaching certificate and prior to July 1, [2016] 2018, has successfully completed not fewer than thirty semester hours of credit beyond a bachelor's degree, and on and after July 1, [2016] 2018, holds a master's degree in an appropriate subject matter area, as determined by the State Board of Education, related to such person's certification endorsement area. Said certificate shall be continued every five years after issuance;

Sec. 4. Subsection (j) of section 10-223h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(j) (1) [The] Not later than September 15, 2017, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Education shall annually submit a report on the academic performance of each school participating in the commissioner's network of schools 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. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, (A) the accountability index score, as defined in section 10-223e, for such school, (B) trends for the accountability index scores during the period that such school is participating in the commissioner's network of schools, (C) adjustments for subgroups of students at such school, including, but not limited to, students whose primary language is not English, students receiving special education services and students who are eligible for free or reduced price lunches, and (D) performance evaluation results in the aggregate for teachers and administrators at such school.

(2) [The] Not later than September 15, 2017, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Education shall annually submit a report comparing and analyzing the academic performance of all the schools participating in the commissioner's network of schools 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. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, (A) the accountability index score, as defined in section 10-223e, for the school, (B) trends for the accountability indices during the period that such schools are participating in the commissioner's network of schools, (C) adjustments for subgroups of students at such schools, including, but not limited to, students whose primary language is not English, students receiving special education services and students who are eligible for free or reduced price lunches, and (D) performance evaluation results in the aggregate for teachers and administrators at such schools.

(3) [Following] Not later than September fifteenth following the expiration of the turnaround plan for each school participating in the commissioner's network of schools, the commissioner shall submit a final report that (A) evaluates such turnaround plan and the academic performance of such school during the period that such turnaround plan was in effect, and (B) makes recommendations for the operation of such school 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.

(4) Not later than January 1, 2020, the commissioner shall submit a report (A) evaluating the commissioner's network of schools and its effect on improving student academic achievement in participating schools, and (B) making any recommendations for the continued operation of the commissioner's network of schools 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.

(5) Not later than September thirtieth each year, the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education shall meet with the Commissioner of Education and any other persons they deem appropriate to consider the items submitted pursuant to subdivisions (1) to (4), inclusive, of this subsection.

Sec. 5. Subsection (a) of section 10-214 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(a) Each local or regional board of education shall provide annually to each pupil in kindergarten and grades one and three to five, inclusive, a vision screening, using a Snellen chart, or equivalent screening. The superintendent of schools shall give written notice to the parent or guardian of each pupil (1) who is found to have any defect of vision or disease of the eyes, with a brief statement describing such defect or disease and a recommendation for the pupil to be examined by an optometrist licensed under chapter 380 or an ophthalmologist licensed under chapter 370, and (2) who did not receive such vision screening, with a brief statement explaining why such pupil did not receive such vision screening.

Sec. 6. Subsection (c) of section 10-91g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(c) The Auditors of Public Accounts shall conduct the audit described in subsection (b) of this section as follows: (1) [At least once for each private provider] The Auditors of Public Accounts, using a risk-based approach, shall audit private providers of special education services [during a period of seven years] at a frequency that they deem necessary, except that no private provider of special education services shall have its records and accounts so examined more than once during such five-year period, unless the auditors have found a problem with the records and accounts of such private provider of special education services during such five-year period; (2) [as practical, approximately half of such] audits [conducted in a year] shall be of private providers of special education services approved by the Department of Education and [approximately half of such audits conducted in such year shall be] of private providers of special education services not approved by the Department of Education; and (3) priority of conducting such audits, as practical, shall be given to those private providers of special education services (A) that receive the greatest total amount of state or local funds for the provision of special education services to students, (B) that provide special education services to the highest number of students for whom an individual services plan has been written by a local or regional board of education, and (C) that have a highest proportion of state and local funds for the provision of special education services in relation to their total operational expenses.

Sec. 7. Section 10-91h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

Each local and regional board of education shall annually provide to the Auditors of Public Accounts (1) the number of students under the jurisdiction of such board of education who receive special education and related services from a private provider of special education services, as defined in section 10-91g, as amended by this act, [and] (2) the amount of money paid to such private providers of special education services by the board during the previous fiscal year, and (3) any other information the Auditors of Public Accounts deem necessary to conduct an audit of such private providers of special education services pursuant to section 10-91g, as amended by this act.

Sec. 8. Subsection (i) of section 2-90 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(i) Said auditors shall audit, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-91g, as amended by this act, the records and accounts of any private provider of special education services, as defined in said section. Any private provider of special education services being audited by said auditors shall provide any information said auditors deem necessary to conduct such audit.

Sec. 9. Subsection (a) of section 10-16nn of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) There is established an Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap. The council shall consist of: (1) The Lieutenant Governor, or the Lieutenant Governor's designee, (2) the Commissioner of Education, or the commissioner's designee, (3) the Commissioner of Children and Families, or the commissioner's designee, (4) the Commissioner of Social Services, or the commissioner's designee, (5) the Commissioner of Public Health, or the commissioner's designee, (6) the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, or the president's designee, (7) the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, or the commissioner's designee, (8) the Commissioner of Administrative Services, or the commissioner's designee, (9) the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee, [and] (10) the Commissioner of Housing, or the commissioner's designee, and (11) the Chief Court Administrator, or the Chief Court Administrator's designee. The chairperson of the council shall be the Lieutenant Governor, or the Lieutenant Governor's designee. The council shall meet at least quarterly.

Sec. 10. Subsection (h) of section 10-145d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(h) Any person who is a licensed marital and family therapist, pursuant to section 20-195c, or a candidate for licensure as a marital and family therapist, and employed by a local or regional board of education as a marital and family therapist shall provide services to students, families and parents or guardians of students. Not later than July 1, 2014, the State Board of Education shall, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, adopt regulations to implement the provisions of this subsection and provide standards for the certification of marital and family therapists employed by local or regional boards of education. Such regulations shall authorize marital and family therapists employed by a local or regional board of education to provide services to students, families and parents or guardians of students and include certification requirements to be met by (1) licensure as a marital and family therapist under section 20-195c, and (2) such other experience as the State Board of Education deems appropriate for the position of marital and family therapist in a school system.

Sec. 11. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2017) A local or regional board of education may establish a Pipeline for Connecticut's Future program. Under the program, a local or regional board of education shall partner with one or more local businesses to offer on-site training and course credit to students.

Sec. 12. (Effective from passage) The Department of Education shall conduct a study regarding the October first reporting date for purposes of interdistrict magnet school enrollment, as prescribed in subdivision (1) of subsection (d) of section 10-264l of the general statutes. The study shall examine the feasibility of extending such reporting date by at least one calendar month, and shall include, but not be limited to, an analysis of how such extension will impact (1) magnet school operators and local and regional boards of education, and (2) state grants relating to interdistrict magnet schools, such as prior year adjustments and other reconciliations that are designed to keep school districts whole. Not later than January 1, 2018, the department shall submit such study and any 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.

Sec. 13. Subsection (d) of section 10-76oo of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(d) For the school year commencing July 1, [2016] 2017, and each school year thereafter, if the department purchases a digital individualized education program under this section, the department shall initially provide such digital individualized education program form software to [fifty per cent of the local and regional boards of education and to fifty per cent of the technical high schools under the jurisdiction of the technical high school system] at least ten local or regional boards of education, one of which may be the technical high school system. For the school year commencing July 1, [2017] 2018, and each school year thereafter, the department shall provide the digital individualized education program form software to [the remaining fifty per cent of the] each local and regional [boards] board of education and to the [remaining fifty per cent of the technical high schools under the jurisdiction of the] technical high school system.

Sec. 14. Section 10-4b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(a) Any resident of a local or regional school district, or parent or guardian of a student enrolled in the public schools of such school district who has been unable to resolve a complaint with the board of education of such local or regional school district may file with the State Board of Education a complaint in writing, or the state board may initiate a complaint, alleging the failure or inability of the board of education of such local or regional school district to implement the educational interests of the state in accordance with section 10-4a. If the state board, or its designee, finds such complaint to be substantial, it shall notify the local or regional board of such complaint and shall designate an agent who shall conduct a prompt investigation in accordance with procedures established by said state board and report the results of such investigation to the state board. The agent of the State Board of Education, in conducting an investigation, may summon by subpoena any records or documents related to the investigation. If the findings indicate that there is reasonable cause to believe that a local or regional board of education has failed or is unable to make reasonable provision to implement the educational interests of the state as defined in section 10-4a or that a local governmental body or its agent is responsible for such failure or inability, said state board shall conduct an inquiry. The State Board of Education shall give the board of education or a local governmental body or its agent involved the opportunity to be heard in accordance with the provisions of sections 4-176e to 4-184. Said state board may summon by subpoena any person whose testimony may be pertinent to the inquiry and any records or documents related to the provision of public education in the school district. For purposes of this section, "public school" includes any school under the jurisdiction of a local or regional board of education, state or local charter school, as such terms are defined in section 10-66aa, interdistrict magnet school, technical high school, agricultural science and technology education center, as described in section 10-64, and incorporated or endowed high school or academy approved under the provisions of section 10-34; and "local or regional board of education" includes a local or regional board of education, governing council of a state charter school, interdistrict magnet school operator, as described in section 10-264l, regional educational services center, as defined in section 10-282, the technical high school system board, a cooperative arrangement committee established pursuant to section 10-158a, and the board of trustees of an incorporated or endowed high school or academy approved pursuant to section 10-34.

(b) If, after conducting an inquiry in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, the state board finds that a local or regional board of education has failed or is unable to implement the educational interests of the state in accordance with section 10-4a, the state board shall (1) require the local or regional board of education to engage in a remedial process whereby such local or regional board of education shall develop and implement a plan of action through which compliance may be attained, or (2) order the local or regional board of education to take reasonable steps where such local or regional board has failed to comply with subdivision (3) of section 10-4a. Where a local or regional board of education is required to implement a remedial process pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection, upon request of such local or regional board, the state board shall make available to such local or regional board materials and advice to assist in such remedial process. If the state board finds that a local governmental body or its agent is responsible for such failure or inability, the state board may order such governmental body or agent to take reasonable steps to comply with the requirements of section 10-4a. The state board may not order an increase in the budgeted appropriations for education of such local or regional board of education if such budgeted appropriations are in an amount at least equal to the minimum budget requirement in accordance with section 10-262j. If the state board finds that the state is responsible for such failure, the state board shall so notify the Governor and the General Assembly.

(c) Upon the failure of a local or regional board of education to implement a remedial process, or upon the failure of a local or regional board of education or local governmental body or its agent to comply with an order of the state board in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, said state board may seek an order from the Superior Court to compel such board of education to implement a remedial process or to compel a local or regional board of education or local governmental body or its agent to carry out the order of the State Board of Education.

(d) The state board shall pursuant to the provisions of chapter 54 adopt regulations concerning procedures for purposes of this section.

Sec. 15. Subsection (b) of section 10-157 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(b) A local or regional board of education may appoint as acting superintendent a person who is or is not properly certified for a probationary period, not to exceed one school year, with the approval of the Commissioner of Education. During such probationary period such acting superintendent shall assume all duties of the superintendent for the time specified and shall successfully complete a school leadership program, approved by the State Board of Education, offered at a public or private institution of higher education in the state. At the conclusion of such probationary period, such appointing local or regional board of education may request the commissioner to grant (1) a waiver of certification for such acting superintendent pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, or (2) a one-time extension of such probationary period, not to exceed one additional school year, if the commissioner determines that such board of education has demonstrated a significant need or hardship for such extension.

Sec. 16. (Effective from passage) There is established a task force to study issues relating to the governance, financing, general conduct and role of interscholastic athletics programs offered at high schools in the state. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of the following: (1) Barriers to participation in sanctioned interscholastic athletic activities, (2) the impact of nonsanctioned activities on interscholastic sports participation, (3) financing of interscholastic athletic teams, (4) policies regarding performance reviews of interscholastic schools by school districts, (5) the length of the athletic season for specific sports and restrictions on participation in interscholastic athletics, (6) academic requirements for participation in interscholastic athletics, (7) safety and sportsmanship of participants and spectators, and (8) issues relating to the participation of students enrolled in nonpublic schools and schools of choice.

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

(1) One appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives;

(2) One appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate;

(3) One appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, who is an official, referee or umpire of interscholastic athletics;

(4) One appointed by the majority leader of the Senate;

(5) One appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, who is an athletic trainer for interscholastic sports;

(6) One appointed by the minority leader of the Senate;

(7) A representative of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference;

(8) A representative of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association;

(9) A representative of the Connecticut Athletic Directors Association;

(10) A representative of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education;

(11) A representative of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents; and

(12) A representative of the Connecticut Parent Teacher Association.

(c) Any member of the task force appointed under subdivision (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) of subsection (b) of this section may be a member of the General Assembly.

(d) All appointments to the task force shall be made not later than thirty days after the effective date of this section. Any vacancy shall be filled by the appointing authority.

(e) The speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate shall select the chairpersons of the task force from among the members 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.

(f) 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.

(g) Not later than January 1, 2018, 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, 2018, whichever is later.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2017

10-14n

Sec. 2

July 1, 2017

10-145b(g)

Sec. 3

July 1, 2017

10-144o(7)

Sec. 4

July 1, 2017

10-223h(j)

Sec. 5

July 1, 2017

10-214(a)

Sec. 6

from passage

10-91g(c)

Sec. 7

from passage

10-91h

Sec. 8

from passage

2-90(i)

Sec. 9

from passage

10-16nn(a)

Sec. 10

July 1, 2017

10-145d(h)

Sec. 11

July 1, 2017

New section

Sec. 12

from passage

New section

Sec. 13

July 1, 2017

10-76oo(d)

Sec. 14

July 1, 2017

10-4b

Sec. 15

from passage

10-157(b)

Sec. 16

from passage

New section

ED

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 18 $

FY 19 $

Education, Dept.

GF - Potential Cost

Up to 2 million

None

Education, Dept.

GF - Cost

80,000

80,000

State Comptroller - Fringe Benefits1

GF - Cost

30,464

30,464

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 18 $

FY 19 $

Local and Regional School Districts

Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Explanation

The bill makes several changes to the education statutes, three of which could result in a fiscal impact.

Section 11 allows a local or regional board of education to establish a Pipeline for Connecticut's Future program to partner with local businesses to offer on-site training. This could result in a potential cost to local and regional school districts. However, it is anticipated that districts would only chose to enter into partnerships if they did not result in additional costs.

Section 13 adjusts the timeframe for allowing the State Department of Education (SDE) to distribute digital individualized education program (IEP) software to districts. SDE is not required to purchase the software; however, if they do, it is anticipated that the software could result in a cost of up to $2 million.

Section 14 expands the types of public schools to which the complaint process alleging failure to meet the educational interest of the state, applies. This will result in additional complaints that SDE will be responsible for addressing. It is anticipated that SDE will require one additional Education Consultant with an annual salary of approximately $80,000 and corresponding fringe benefits of $30,464.

The bill makes various other procedural, technical and conforming changes that are 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.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 7253

AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR REVISIONS AND ADDITIONS TO THE EDUCATION STATUTES.

SUMMARY

This bill makes the following changes to the education statutes:

The bill also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017, except the sections about special education provider audits ( 6-8), the Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap ( 9), magnet school enrollment reporting ( 12), superintendent probationary periods ( 15), and the athletics programs task force ( 16) take effect upon passage.

4 — COMMISSIONER'S NETWORK REPORTS

By law, the “commissioner's network of schools” is a program that selects certain low-performing schools to craft turnaround plans aimed at improving student performance. The state supplies additional funds to help implement a school's turnaround plan once the education commissioner approves it.

Current law requires the commissioner to submit two annual reports to the Education Committee: one on the academic performance of each school in the network and another comparing and analyzing the academic performance of all schools in the network. The bill establishes a September 15, 2017 deadline for these annual reports.

Additionally, current law requires the commissioner to submit a final report to the Education Committee on each school in the network after the schools' respective turnaround plans expire. This report evaluates each plan and the school's academic performance under the plan and also makes recommendations about the school's operation. The bill specifies that the commissioner must submit these final reports no later than September 15 after the expiration of the respective turnaround plans.

The bill also requires the Education Committee to meet annually, by September 30, with the commissioner and any other people it deems appropriate to discuss the above three reports, along with a report due January 1, 2020 under existing law in which the commissioner must evaluate the entire network and make recommendations about its operation.

6-8 — AUDITS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION PROVIDERS

Existing law requires the Auditors of Public Accounts to examine the records and accounts of private special education providers. The examination must include a compliance audit of whether the private provider expended state or local funds for allowable costs in accordance with (1) state and federal law and (2) the IEP or individual services plan for each child receiving special education and related services from the provider.

Under the bill, the auditors may determine the frequency of such audits as often as they deem necessary using a risk-based approach, rather than auditing each provider at least once every seven years as required by law. The law still limits the number of audits of a private provider to no more than once every five years, however, unless the auditors have found a problem with the provider's records and accounts. Additionally, the bill requires boards of education, as well as private providers, to give the auditors any information the auditors deem necessary in order to conduct the audit.

12 — MAGNET SCHOOL ENROLLMENT REPORTING STUDY

By law, magnet school operators (“operators”) receive state operating grants by September 1 and May 1 each fiscal year that are based in part upon student enrollment. Operators must submit October 1 enrollment numbers to SDE so that the department can adjust the May 1 grant payment to reflect actual enrollment (CGS 10-264l).

The bill requires SDE, by January 1, 2018, to submit a study to the Education Committee about the feasibility of extending the annual October 1 enrollment reporting deadline by at least one calendar month. The study must include an analysis of how this extension will impact (1) operators and boards of education and (2) state interdistrict magnet school grants, including prior year adjustments and other reconciliations designed to keep school districts whole. The study may include SDE recommendations.

13 — IEP SOFTWARE

The law allows SDE to issue a request for proposals for the purchase of digital IEP software that it must distribute to school districts statewide. Under current law, if SDE chooses to purchase this software, it must distribute the software to districts according to the following timeline:

Under the bill, if SDE chooses to purchase the software, it must distribute it according to the following timetable:

14 — COMPLAINT PROCESS ALLEGING FAILURE TO MEET EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS OF THE STATE

The law allows any parent or guardian of a student enrolled in a public school, or any resident of a local or regional school district, to file a written complaint with SBE alleging the local or regional board of education's failure to implement the state's educational interests (see BACKGROUND). It also allows SBE to initiate its own complaint against a board of education (CGS 10-4b).

The bill specifies the type of public schools and boards of education to which the complaint process applies. It defines “public school” to include any school under a local or regional board of education's jurisdiction, state or local charter school, interdistrict magnet school, technical high school, agricultural science and technology education center, and incorporated or endowed high school or academy. It defines “local and regional board of education” to include the following:

15 — EXTENSION OF ACTING SUPERINTENDENT PROBATIONARY PERIOD

The law allows a board of education to appoint an uncertified, acting superintendent for a one-year probationary period with the education commissioner's approval. Under the bill, the board may request that the commissioner grant a one-time probationary period extension, up to one additional school year. In order to grant the extension, the commissioner must determine that the board has shown a significant need or hardship.

16 — TASK FORCE ON INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETICS PROGRAMS

The bill creates a 12-member task force to study the governance, financing, general conduct, and role of high school interscholastic athletics programs in Connecticut. The Education Committee's administrative staff must serve as the task force's staff. The bill establishes the task force study scope and membership.

Study Scope

The task force study must examine the following topics:

The task force must submit its findings and recommendations to the Education Committee by January 1, 2018. It terminates on that date or the date it submits the report, whichever is later.

Membership

Table 1 below describes the task force membership and appointing authorities. The legislative leaders' six appointees may be legislators.

Table 1: Interscholastic Athletics Task Force Membership

Appointing authority

Member qualifications

House speaker

None

Senate president pro tempore

None

House majority leader

Interscholastic athletics official, referee, or umpire

Senate majority leader

None

House minority leader

Athletic trainer for interscholastic sports

Senate minority leader

None

N/A

Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference representative

N/A

Connecticut High School Coaches Association representative

N/A

Connecticut Athletic Directors Association representative

N/A

Connecticut Association of Boards of Education representative

N/A

Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents representative

N/A

Connecticut Parent Teacher Association representative

The bill requires that the legislative leaders appoint their members to the task force within 30 days after the bill's passage. The House speaker and Senate president pro tempore must select the task force chairpersons, who must schedule the first task force meeting within 60 days after the bill's passage.

BACKGROUND

Professional Educator Certificate

This certificate is the highest level certificate for public school teachers. Prior to July 1, 2016, to earn this certificate a teacher must hold a provisional teaching certificate (i.e., the mid-level certificate), have taught at least three years, and completed at least 30 semester credit hours beyond a bachelor's degree. On and after that date, a teacher must hold a master's degree in an appropriate subject matter area related to the certification endorsement area, as determined by SBE (CGS 10-144o).

Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap

This council is charged with assisting the achievement gap task force in developing its master plan, implementing the plan's provisions, and submitting annual progress reports on plan implementation to the Education Committee (CGS 10-16nn).

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

As defined in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an IEP is a written statement that details a student's academic achievement, sets goals for future achievement, and details the specialized educational services the student needs to reach these goals (20 U.S.C. 1401(14) & 1414(d)). As with other states, Connecticut's special education laws (CGS 10-76a to 10-76h) must conform to the federal law.

Educational Interests of the State

The educational interests of the state include the following concerns:

COMMITTEE ACTION

Education Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

32

Nay

0

(03/24/2017)

TOP

1 The fringe benefit costs for most state employees are budgeted centrally in accounts administered by the Comptroller. The estimated active employee fringe benefit cost associated with most personnel changes is 38.08% of payroll in FY 18 and FY 19.