Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 7255

January Session, 2017

 

LCO No. 5090

 

*05090_______ED_*

Referred to Committee on EDUCATION

 

Introduced by:

 

(ED)

 

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY STUDY REGARDING THE CREATION OF A SPECIAL EDUCATION PREDICTABLE COST COOPERATIVE.

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

Section 1. (Effective from passage) (a) For the purposes of this section, "special education predictable cost cooperative" means a special education funding mechanism that (1) aggregates special education costs at the state level to compensate for volatility at the local level by (A) providing predictability to local and regional boards of education for special education costs, (B) maintaining current state funding for special education services, (C) differentiating funding based on student learning needs, (D) equitably distributing special education funding, (E) providing boards of education with flexibility and encouraging innovation, and (F) limiting local financial responsibility for students with extraordinary needs, (2) is funded by: (A) A community contribution from each school district, calculated based on the number of special education students enrolled in the school district and the school district's previous special education costs, with each town paying the community contribution of its resident students, reduced by an equity adjustment based on the town's ability to pay, and (B) the state contribution, which is a reallocation of the special education portion of the equalization aid grant and the excess cost grant, (3) provides all school districts with some state support for special education services, (4) ensures that a school district's community contribution will be lower than the actual per pupil special education cost of the school district, and (5) reimburses school districts for one hundred per cent of their actual special education costs for a fiscal year.

(b) There is established a task force to conduct a feasibility study regarding the creation of a state special education predictable cost cooperative. Such feasibility study shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:

(1) An actuarial analysis of the special education predictable cost cooperative;

(2) An explanation and demonstration of how (A) towns would contribute to the special education predictable cost cooperative, (B) towns would be compensated for special education costs under the special education cost cooperative, and (C) a town's compensation under the special education predictable cost cooperative would affect its required contribution in the subsequent fiscal year;

(3) An analysis of the various models for the legal status of the special education predictable cost cooperative, including, but not limited to, an independent state agency, a quasi-public agency, within an existing state agency a not-for-profit organization that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, or a private entity;

(4) A consideration of the governance structure of the special education predictable cost cooperative, such as (A) the process for nominating and selecting members of the board of directors and the executive administrator for the special education cost cooperative, (B) the number and composition of the members on the board of directors, (C) the qualifications for an executive administrator, who would be responsible for providing operational, financial and strategic support to the special education predictable cost cooperative, and (D) the accountability of the board of directors and executive administrator to the towns participating in the special education cost cooperative, including procedures for towns or boards of education to bring complaints or issues before the board of directors;

(5) A consideration of (A) the number of staff necessary to administer the special education predictable cost cooperative, (B) the costs associated with the hiring and employment of such staff, and (C) the funding source for hiring and employing such staff;

(6) An analysis of different models and sources for funding the required initial capital investment for the special education predictable cost cooperative, including the impact on state special education funding if fifty million dollars of state funds is used for such initial capital investment;

(7) A description of (A) a timeline for implementation of the special education predictable cost cooperative, (B) key dependencies and prerequisites for such implementation, such as the total number of towns voluntarily participating in the special education predictable cost cooperative needed for the special education predictable cost cooperative to function properly or whether participation in the special education predictable cost cooperative should be mandatory, and (C) contingency plans for any foreseeable problems arising from the implementation of the special education predictable cost cooperative; and

(8) An identification and analysis of state and federal law that would be involved in the creation and administration of the special education predictable cost cooperative, including (A) whether the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400, et seq., as amended from time to time, permits a state to establish a special education predictable cost cooperative, (B) a framework for complying with regulatory requirements, such as underwriting services, legal counsel, actuarial services, investment management, accounting and auditing services, and maintenance of effort prescribed by federal law, and (C) the accountability of the special education predictable cost cooperative to the General Assembly.

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

(1) A representative of the Connecticut Association of School Business Officials;

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

(3) A representative of the Connecticut Council of Administrators of Special Education;

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

(5) A representative of the Connecticut Captive Insurance Association;

(6) The director of the Connecticut School Finance Project;

(7) A faculty member from the UConn Actuarial Science Program at The University of Connecticut;

(8) The Commissioner of Education, or the commissioner's designee; and

(9) The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee.

(d) The first meeting of the task force shall be held not later than thirty days after the effective date of this section. The chairperson of the task force shall be elected from among the members at the first meeting of the task force.

(e) Not later than January 1, 2019, the task force shall submit such feasibility study and any recommendations for legislation to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education and appropriations and the budgets of state agencies, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. The task force shall terminate on January 1, 2019.

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

Section 1

from passage

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To establish a task force to conduct a feasibility study regarding the creation of a state special education predictable cost cooperative.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]