Connecticut Seal

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House of Representatives

File No. 818

General Assembly

 

January Session, 2017

(Reprint of File No. 512)

Substitute House Bill No. 7276

 

As Amended by House Amendment

Schedule "A"

Approved by the Legislative Commissioner

May 31, 2017

AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATION MANDATE RELIEF.

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

Section 1. Section 10-66q of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(a) Not later than April 1, 2014, each regional educational service center shall develop a uniform regional school calendar [to be used] that may be adopted by each local or regional board of education in the area served by such regional educational service center, in accordance with the provisions of [subsections (b) and (c)] subsection (b) of this section. Such uniform regional school calendars shall be consistent with the guidelines for a uniform regional school calendar developed pursuant to section 321 of public act 13-247. Not later than April 1, 2014, each regional educational service center shall submit such uniform regional school calendar to the State Board of Education for approval. Not later than five days after such approval, such regional educational service center shall submit such approved uniform regional school calendar 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.

(b) For the school [years] year commencing [July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015] July 1, 2017, and each school year thereafter, a local or regional board of education may adopt the uniform regional school calendar developed and approved pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

[(c) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, for the school year commencing July 1, 2016, and each school year thereafter, each local and regional board of education shall use the uniform regional school calendar developed and approved pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(2) A local or regional board of education may delay implementation of the uniform regional school calendar until the school year commencing July 1, 2017, if such board of education has an existing employee contract that makes implementation of the uniform regional school calendar impossible.

(d) (1) Not later than July 1, 2014, the Commissioner of Education shall submit a report on the implementation of uniform regional school calendars and any recommendations for legislation relating to such implementation 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.

(2) Not later than January 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016, the Commissioner of Education shall submit a report on the implementation of uniform regional school calendars in those school districts that have adopted a uniform regional school calendar, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, and any recommendations for legislation relating to such implementation 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.]

[(3)] (c) Not later than [January 1, 2016, and] July 1, 2017, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Education shall submit a report on which boards of education have adopted the uniform regional school calendar and the implementation of such uniform regional school calendars, pursuant to subsection [(c)] (b) of this section, and any recommendations for legislation relating to such implementation 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.

Sec. 2. Subsection (d) of section 10-233d of the general statutes, as amended by section 12 of public act 16-147, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective August 15, 2017):

(d) No local or regional board of education is required to offer an alternative educational opportunity, except in accordance with this section. Any pupil under sixteen years of age who is expelled shall be offered an alternative educational opportunity, which shall be [equivalent to] (1) alternative education, as defined by section 10-74j, with an individualized learning plan, if such board provides such alternative education, or (2) in accordance with the standards adopted by the State Board of Education, pursuant to section 3 of this act, during the period of expulsion, provided any parent or guardian of such pupil who does not choose to have his or her child enrolled in an alternative educational [program] opportunity shall not be subject to the provisions of section 10-184. Any pupil expelled for the first time who is between the ages of sixteen and eighteen and who wishes to continue his or her education shall be offered such an alternative educational opportunity if he or she complies with conditions established by his or her local or regional board of education. Such alternative educational opportunity may include, but shall not be limited to, the placement of a pupil who is at least seventeen years of age in an adult education program pursuant to section 10-69. Any pupil participating in [an] any such adult education program during a period of expulsion shall not be required to withdraw from school under section 10-184. A local or regional board of education shall count the expulsion of a pupil when he was under sixteen years of age for purposes of determining whether an alternative educational opportunity is required for such pupil when he is between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. A local or regional board of education may offer an alternative educational opportunity to a pupil for whom such alternative educational opportunity is not required pursuant to this section.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Not later than August 15, 2017, the State Board of Education shall adopt standards for the provision of an adequate alternative educational opportunity, offered pursuant to subsection (d) of section 10-233d of the general statutes, as amended by this act. Such standards shall include, but need not be limited to, the kind of instruction and number of hours to be provided to a student enrolled in an alternative educational opportunity.

Sec. 4. (Effective July 1, 2017) (a) Not later than January 1, 2018, the Department of Education shall conduct a survey of local and regional boards of education and their use of digital school management and reporting software. The survey shall include questions relating to whether a local or regional board of education uses a digital school management and reporting software for the purposes of creating, submitting and sharing digital copies of education-related documents with the Department of Education and among authorized users, and whether such software (1) allows authorized users to create and submit a complete digital copy of education-related documents to the portal and share such digital copy with (A) the department, and (B) a local or regional board of education in a case where the student may transfer, (2) provides twenty-four-hour access for an unlimited number of authorized users to use the digital school management and reporting software, (3) allows local and regional boards of education to purchase additional programs to supplement the digital school management and reporting software, and (4) protects the privacy of students when any education-related document is created, submitted and shared using the digital school management and reporting software from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure in accordance with current industry standards.

(b) The department shall compile the results of such survey and submit a report on its findings 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. Such report shall include any recommendations regarding the state-wide implementation of a uniform digital school management and reporting software based on the results of the survey concerning any such software that is currently used and successfully implemented by local and regional boards of education in the state.

(c) For the purposes of this section, "education-related documents" means a student's education records and any report required under title 10 of the general statutes, including, but not limited to, the strategic school profile report, as described in subsection (c) of section 10-220 of the general statutes, and data submitted for inclusion in the state-wide public school information system, pursuant to section 10-10a of the general statutes.

Sec. 5. Subsection (o) of section 10-236b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(o) (1) Each local or regional [school district] board of education shall provide training [to school professionals, paraprofessional staff members and administrators] regarding the physical restraint and seclusion of students to the members of the crisis intervention team for each school in the district, identified pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection. A local or regional board of education may provide such training to any teacher, as defined in section 10-144d, administrator, as defined in section 10-144e, school paraprofessional or other school employee, as defined in section 10-222d, designated by the school principal and who has direct contact with students. Such training shall be [phased in over a period of three years beginning with] provided during the school year commencing July 1, [2015] 2017, and each school year thereafter, and shall include, but not be limited to:

(A) An overview of the relevant laws and regulations regarding the use of physical restraint and seclusion on students [. Such] and the proper uses of physical restraint and seclusion. For the school year commencing July 1, 2017, and annually thereafter, such overview shall be provided by the Department of Education, [to all school professionals, paraprofessional staff members and administrators on or after July 1, 2015, and annually thereafter,] in a manner and form as prescribed by the Commissioner of Education;

(B) The creation of a plan by which each local [or] and regional board of education shall provide [school professionals, paraprofessional staff members and administrators with] training [and professional development] regarding the prevention of incidents requiring physical restraint or seclusion of students. Such plan shall be implemented not later than July 1, [2017, and shall include a provision to require the training of all school professionals, paraprofessional staff members and administrators in the prevention of such incidents not later than July 1, 2019] 2018. The Department of Education may, within available appropriations, provide ongoing monitoring and support to local or regional boards of education regarding the formulation and implementation of the plan; and

(C) The creation of a plan by which each local or regional board of education shall provide [school professionals, paraprofessional staff members and administrators with] training [and professional development] regarding the proper means of [physically restraining or secluding] physical restraint or seclusion of a student, including, but not limited to, (i) various types of physical restraint and seclusion; (ii) the differences between life-threatening physical restraint and other varying levels of physical restraint; (iii) the differences between permissible physical restraint and pain compliance techniques; and (iv) monitoring methods to prevent harm to a student who is physically restrained or in seclusion. Such plan shall be implemented not later than July 1, [2017, and shall include a provision to require the training of all school professionals, paraprofessional staff members and administrators in the proper means of physically restraining or secluding a student not later than July 1, 2019, and periodically thereafter as prescribed by the Commissioner of Education] 2018;

(2) [Not later than July 1, 2015] For the school year commencing July 1, 2017, and each school year thereafter, each local [or] and regional board of education shall require each school in the district to identify a crisis intervention team consisting of [school professionals, paraprofessional staff members and administrators who have been trained in the use of physical restraint and seclusion pursuant to subparagraph (C) of subdivision (1) of this subsection or chapter 814e] any teacher, as defined in section 10-144d, administrator, as defined in section 10-144e, school paraprofessional or other school employee, as defined in section 10-222d, designated by the school principal and who has direct contact with students. Such teams shall respond to any incident in which the use of physical restraint or seclusion may be necessary as an emergency intervention to prevent immediate or imminent injury to a student or to others. Each member of the crisis intervention team shall be recertified in the use of physical restraint and seclusion pursuant to subparagraph (C) of subdivision (1) of this subsection or chapter 814e on an annual basis. Each local and regional board of education shall maintain a list of the members of the crisis intervention team for each school.

Sec. 6. Subsection (k) of section 10-222c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(k) For purposes of this section and section 10-221d, (1) "sexual misconduct" means any verbal, nonverbal, written or electronic communication, or any other act directed toward or with a student that is designed to establish a sexual relationship with the student, including a sexual invitation, dating or soliciting a date, engaging in sexual dialog, making sexually suggestive comments, self-disclosure or physical exposure of a sexual or erotic nature and any other sexual, indecent or erotic contact with a student; [and] (2) "abuse or neglect" means abuse or neglect as described in section 46b-120, and includes any violation of section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b or 53a-73a; and (3) "former employer" means any person, firm, business, educational institution, nonprofit agency, corporation, limited liability company, the state, any political subdivision of the state, any governmental agency, or any other entity that such applicant was employed by during any of the previous twenty years prior to applying for a position with a local or regional board of education, governing council of a state or local charter school or interdistrict magnet school operator.

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

Section 1

July 1, 2017

10-66q

Sec. 2

August 15, 2017

10-233d(d)

Sec. 3

from passage

New section

Sec. 4

July 1, 2017

New section

Sec. 5

July 1, 2017

10-236b(o)

Sec. 6

July 1, 2017

10-222c(k)

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: None

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 18 $

FY 19 $

Local and Regional School Districts

Potential Savings

See Below

See Below

Explanation

The bill results in a potential savings to various local and regional boards of education, as it alters or eliminates several state mandates.

Section 1 eliminates the requirement that boards of education must adopt a uniform school calendar, which correspondingly could eliminate the potential savings districts may have incurred by using the uniform school calendar, such as reduced transportation costs.

Sections 2 and 3 alter alternative education programs for expelled students. Under the bill, districts that do not have an alternative education program for expelled students have the flexibility to offer an alternate program, in accordance with the standards developed by the State Board of Education (SBE). This could result in savings for districts, as an alternative program is likely less expensive.

Section 4 requires SBE to survey local and regional boards of education regarding the use of digital school management and reporting software. This section does not result in a fiscal impact, as SBE has the expertise necessary to execute the survey.

Section 5 results in a savings to local and regional boards of education as it reduces the number of school district employees who must receive training and professional development in the physical restraint and seclusion of children.

Section 6 narrows the definition of former employer, which could result in fewer employment history record checks, which could equate to a potential savings to districts.

The scope of the savings to each local and regional board of education will be dependent upon the size of the district, the extent to which the programs mentioned above are utilized, and flexibility to adopt more efficient programs.

House “A” strikes Section 5 of the underlying bill and replaces it with the fiscal impact described above.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 7276 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATION MANDATE RELIEF.

SUMMARY

This bill alters or eliminates several state mandates placed upon local and regional boards of education (hereinafter “boards”). Among other things, the bill:

It also requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to conduct a survey of digital reporting software use by school districts ( 4).

It also makes a number of conforming and technical changes.

*House Amendment “A” modifies the provision regarding training in restraint and seclusion by (1) specifying that all members of the crisis intervention team must receive training rather than the underlying bill's requirement of all teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals, who have direct contact with students; (2) providing that the training be given yearly rather than phased in over a three-year period as in current law; and (3) delays, from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018, the deadline to implement a training plan.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017, except the alternative education for expelled students section is effective August 15, 2017 and the requirement for the State Board of Education (SBE) to develop alternative education standards is effective upon passage.

1 — UNIFORM REGIONAL SCHOOL CALENDAR

For school years beginning July 1, 2017 and thereafter, the bill allows, rather than requires, boards to adopt a uniform regional school calendar developed by its respective regional education service center (RESC). Under current law, all boards had to adopt such a uniform calendar starting with the 2016-17 school year, or starting with the 2017-18 school year if existing employee contracts prevented implementation in 2016-17. By law, the calendar is developed according to guidelines set by the legislature (see BACKGROUND).

The bill requires the education commissioner to report to the Education Committee on which boards have chosen to adopt the regional calendar and any legislative recommendations by July 1, 2017 and annually thereafter. Under current law the commissioner must report annually on the mandated adoption.

2 & 3 — ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION FOR EXPELLED STUDENTS

Under current law, a board must provide to any expelled student under age 16 an alternative educational opportunity during the expulsion period equivalent to 180 school days and 900 hours of school work. The bill modifies this so that a board must provide the above mentioned 900 hours if the board offers it, but if it does not, it can offer an alternative educational opportunity in accordance with standards the bill requires SBE to adopt no later than August 15, 2017. The standards must include, but are not limited to, the kind of instruction and number of hours to be provided.

4 — SURVEY OF DIGITAL REPORTING SOFTWARE

By January 1, 2018, the bill requires SDE to conduct a survey of local and regional boards of education regarding their use of digital school management and reporting software. The survey must include questions on whether a board uses a digital school management and reporting software for creating, submitting, and sharing digital copies of education-related documents with SDE and among authorized users.

It must also include questions addressing whether the software:

SDE must compile the survey results and submit a report on its findings to the Education Committee. The report must include any recommendations, based on the results, regarding the statewide implementation of a uniform school management and reporting software.

The bill defines “education-related documents” as a student's education records and any report required under state education law, including the strategic school profile report and data included by law in the statewide public school information system.

5 — RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION TRAINING

The bill reduces the number of school district employees who are required to receive training and professional development in physical restraint and seclusion of students.

It eliminates the requirement that all school professionals, administrators, and paraprofessionals be trained in the proper means of student restraint and seclusion. It instead requires all members of the crisis intervention team, which is defined as any teacher, administrator, and paraprofessional, who (1) has direct contact with students and (2) the principal designates to receive training. It also requires each board to maintain a list of crisis intervention team members for each school.

The bill permits boards to train any other teacher, administrator, or paraprofessional, or school employee. It defines “school employee” to include substitute teachers, superintendents, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, nurses, physicians, or coaches employed by a board, or any other employee who, in the regular performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students.

It also extends from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2017, the date to begin training and eliminates the provision that phases in the training over three years. It delays by one year, from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018, the deadline for boards to implement district-level training and prevention plans.

Under the bill, the training must include information on the proper use of physical restraint and seclusion, as well as an annual overview of relevant laws and regulations regarding its use on students as required under current law.

Current law requires the training to include plans for school boards to provide school professionals, paraprofessional staff, and administrators with training and professional development on preventing incidents that require restraint and seclusion and the proper means of physically restraining or secluding a student. The bill delays the deadlines for the plans' implementation from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018 and eliminates the references to professional development.

The bill makes a conforming change by defining a crisis intervention team as one that includes teachers, administrators, school paraprofessionals, or other school employees who have direct contact with students and are designated by the school principal. Currently, the team must include school professionals, paraprofessionals, and administrators who have been trained in physical restraint and seclusion.

6 — BACKGROUND CHECKS AND FORMER EMPLOYERS

By law, local or regional boards of education, charter school governing councils, and magnet school operators must require certain information from any job applicant who would have direct student contact in the prospective position. The law requires the board to conduct employment history checks of all such applicants, including directly contacting former employers if they were boards of education or employed the applicant in a position that included direct contact with children. The bill narrows the definition of former employer to include only those the applicant has worked for in the previous 20 years prior to applying. Current law does not establish any limit on how far back the employment history check must go.

BACKGROUND

Uniform Regional School Calendar Task Force and Guidelines

By law, RESCs had to develop guidelines for uniform regional calendars and boards of education were given a deadline to adopt a conforming calendar that had to include the following:

RESCs

Each of the six RESCs in the state serves a different geographical region. The RESCs provide various services to local and regional boards of education.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Education Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

30

Nay

2

(03/24/2017)

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