PA 17-215—HB 7251

Education Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING REFORM DISTRICT TURNAROUND PLANS

SUMMARY: This act allows the State Department of Education (SDE) to develop a model school district responsibilities agreement by January 1, 2018. If the department does so, it must make the agreement available on its website and otherwise upon request for local and regional boards of education to use. Among other things, such an agreement must contain guiding principles and specific duties for boards of education and district administrators.

The act allows local and regional boards of education and their administrators to enter into such an agreement beginning with the 2018-19 school year. Any board that chooses to use the model agreement must notify the education commissioner.

The act also allows alliance districts to include additional provisions in the performance plans they must submit to the education commissioner when applying for alliance district funding and requires them to develop these plans, in part, by strategically using student academic performance data.

Additionally, the act specifies that if the State Board of Education (SBE) chooses to require training for boards of education in low-performing districts, the training must clarify the proper roles and functions of the board, the school, and district-level administrators.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017

SCHOOL DISTRICT RESPONSIBILITIES AGREEMENT

The act requires SDE to include at least the following provisions in its model school district responsibilities agreement, should it choose to develop one:

1. a statement of guiding principles on the proper roles and functions of the board of education, superintendent, and administrators;

2. an enumeration of the specific duties and responsibilities of the board, superintendent, and administrators; and

3. signature lines for the board members, superintendent, and other administrators to acknowledge that they understand and will comply with the agreement provisions.

The act also allows SDE, when developing the model agreement, to consider any existing school district responsibilities agreement used by a board with a demonstrated record of academic improvement.

TRAINING FOR BOARDS OF LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Existing law allows SBE to take various actions to aid low-performing school districts, one of which is to require local or regional boards of education to undergo training to improve their operational efficiency and their effectiveness as leaders of their respective districts' improvement plans. The act specifies that this training must also distinguish and clarify the proper roles and different functions of the (1) board, including its responsibility to develop district improvement plans and education policy, and (2) school and district-level administrators, including their responsibility to implement these improvement plans and policies.

ALLIANCE DISTRICT PLANS

The law allows alliance districts, the 30 districts in the state with the lowest student performance, to apply to the education commissioner for an increase in their education cost sharing grants. These districts must submit an improvement plan as part of their application.

The act requires alliance districts to develop these plans, in part, by strategically using student academic performance data. It allows the plans to include the model school district responsibilities agreement and leadership succession plans.