Education Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB 913

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING SCHOOL PARAPROFESSIONAL TRAINING.

Vote Date:

3/24/2017

Vote Action:

JOINT FAVORABLE Change of Reference Appropriations

PH Date:

03/01/2017

File No.:

 

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Education Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Paraeducators in Connecticut's school districts take on many roles based upon the needs of

the individual student, the students in a classroom, and/or the demands of the teacher in that classroom. Paraeducator training, however, is not held to the same high standards as other conventional educators in Connecticut.

The bill effectively provides further training for paraeducators by requiring annual training of school paraprofessionals. This training will (1) provide information necessary to instruct each paraprofessional on the duties and responsibilities that such paraprofessional is expected to perform, (2) be consistent with the specific needs of the student or students to whom the paraprofessional will be assigned, and (3) be provided before the start of the school year by the immediate supervisor of the paraprofessional and with pay.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Dianna Wentzell, Commissioner, State Department of Education:

Ms. Wentzell testified in opposition to SB 913 on behalf of the Department of Education. At this time the Department is not in favor of any increase in training mandates for districts. Over the summer and throughout the fall their staff participated in a legislatively created task force that studied the 106 hours of statutorily required training and made several recommendations for easing that burden. She urges for those recommendations to be considered before any additional mandates are contemplated.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Joseph Reardon, Superintendent, Union School District:

Mr. Reardon testified in support of SB 913. He urges the legislature to develop thoughtful, long-term solutions through serious planning and analysis to provide a high quality education for all of Connecticut's children.

Ray Rossomando, Research and Policy Specialist, Connecticut Education Association:

Mr. Rossomando testified in support of SB 913. He describes the bill to be “commonsense, student-focused, and likely to ensure that students' needs are met more efficiently and effectively overall.”

Cynthia Ross-Zweig, Paraeducator, New Fairfield School District:

Ms. Ross-Zweig testified in support of SB 913 that works to codify into law the importance of trainings for paraeducators that many school districts currently provide. Most unionized paraeducators have mandatory trainings in their contracts with their respective boards of education, and while these trainings typically cover mandatory reporting requirements, she asserts that they should include much more. The bill effectively works as a stepping-stone in addressing such issues pertaining to paraprofessional training.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

Reported by: Anna Odoi

Date: 3/29/17