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Substitute Senate Bill No. 246

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-161

AN ACT CONCERNING REDUCTION OF EDUCATION MANDATES.

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

Section 1. Section 10-16 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

[The school day shall consist of not less than four hours of actual school work, except that in nursery schools and kindergartens a continuous session of two and one-half hours may be considered as a school day; provided any school session consisting of at least two hours but less than four hours of actual school work may be counted as half a school day. In the event of dismissal of school because of weather conditions, completion of the regular morning session may be considered as a school day, except that in nursery schools and kindergartens a continuous session of two hours may be considered as a school day where school is dismissed because of such weather conditions or a scheduled early closing. Evening school sessions shall be considered as half a school day. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1983, and annually thereafter, each] EACH school district shall provide in each school year no less than one hundred and eighty days of actual school sessions for grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, [and] nine hundred hours of actual school work for grades one to twelve, inclusive, AND FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY HOURS OF KINDERGARTEN, provided school districts shall not count more than seven hours of actual school work in any school day towards the total required for the school year. IF WEATHER CONDITIONS RESULT IN AN EARLY DISMISSAL OR A DELAYED OPENING OF SCHOOL, A SCHOOL DISTRICT WHICH MAINTAINS SEPARATE MORNING AND AFTERNOON KINDERGARTEN SESSIONS MAY PROVIDE EITHER A MORNING OR AFTERNOON KINDERGARTEN SESSION ON SUCH DAY.

Sec. 2. Section 10-76b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The State Board of Education shall provide for the development and supervision of the educational programs and services for children requiring special education and may regulate curriculum, conditions of instruction, physical facilities and equipment, class composition and size, admission of students, and the requirements respecting necessary special services and instruction to be provided by local and regional boards of education. The educational aspects of all programs and instructional facilities in any day or residential child-caring agency or school which provides training for children requiring special education and which receives funding from the state under the provisions of sections 10-76a to 10-76g, inclusive, AS AMENDED,shall be subject to the approval and supervision of the commissioner in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Board of Education concerning requirements for such programs and accommodations.

(b) The commissioner shall designate by regulation, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education, the procedures which shall be used to identify exceptional children.

(c) Said board shall be the agency for cooperation and consultation with federal agencies, other state agencies and private bodies on matters of public school education of children requiring special education, provided the full responsibilities for other aspects of the care of such children shall be reserved to such other agencies.

[(d) The Commissioner of Education shall periodically evaluate the progress and accomplishments of programs covered by sections 10-76a to 10-76g, inclusive. Said commissioner shall annually, on or before February fifteenth, submit to the joint standing committee of the general assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education, a report concerning the disbursement of funds, the types of projects funded, and the evaluation of programs dealing with children requiring special education in order to apprise the general assembly of the true condition, progress and needs of special education.]

Sec. 3. Section 10-76dd of the general statutes, as amended by section 12 of public act 95-259, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Each local or regional board of education shall employ the number of certified personnel, licensed personnel SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL and support personnel necessary to implement the special education and related services required in each child's individualized education program. All personnel in supervisory positions in special education and related services shall hold intermediate administrators' certificates and shall be appropriately certified or licensed, or both, as specified in the regulations of the State Board of Education. Personnel hired after September 1, 1980, for supervisory positions in special education and related services not required by the regulations of the State Board of Education shall be appropriately certified or licensed, or both, in special education or one of the categories of pupil personnel services. For purposes of this subsection the categories of pupil personnel services are school social work services, school psychological services, school speech and hearing services, school guidance and counseling services and school health services.

[(b) Whenever a board of education employs the equivalent of seven but less than the equivalent of twenty-three, full-time special education personnel, the time and responsibility necessary for the coordination of special education and related services shall be assigned to one of the special education personnel.

(c) Whenever a board of education employs the equivalent of twenty-three or more full-time special education personnel, including instructional and pupil personnel services personnel, the board of education shall employ a full-time supervisor, certified or licensed, or both, in special education or one of the categories of pupil personnel services, responsible for the supervision of special education and related services. The board of education shall employ such full-time supervisors in accordance with]

(b) EACH LOCAL AND REGIONAL BOARD OF EDUCATION SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 10-76g, AS AMENDED, FOR EXPENDITURES FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF AT LEAST ONE FULL-TIME SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPERVISOR, CERTIFIED OR LICENSED, OR BOTH, IN SPECIAL EDUCATION OR ONE OF THE CATEGORIES OF PUPIL PERSONNEL SERVICES. A BOARD OF EDUCATION SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR SUCH REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENDITURES FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF SUCH SUPERVISORS IN EXCESS OF the following ratios: (1) One supervisor to the equivalent of twenty-three to forty-four full-time special education personnel; (2) two supervisors to the equivalent of forty-five to seventy-four such personnel; (3) one additional supervisor for every additional thirty-three such personnel.

[(d)] (c) Whenever two or more boards of education combine resources to employ a single administrative head, the combined total of special education personnel under those boards of education shall be the number used for [the determination of the requirement of coordination or supervision pursuant to this section] PURPOSES OF THE RATIOS IN SUBSECTION (b) OF THIS SECTION.

[(e) The determination of the number of supervisory personnel required under this section shall be based on the number of full-time equivalent special education personnel employed by the local or regional board of education at the commencement of the school year and no board shall be required to employ additional supervisory personnel if the number of full-time equivalent special education personnel increases during the school year.

(f) If a local or regional board of education employs more supervisory personnel than are required pursuant to this section, such board of education shall not be eligible for reimbursement pursuant to section 10-76g for costs related to such additional supervisory personnel except all districts may be reimbursed for at least one special education supervisor.]

Sec. 4. Section 10-97 of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (e) as follows:

(NEW) (e) For purposes of this section, a local or regional board of education shall not be required to expend for transporting a student to a regional vocational-technical school or a vocational-agriculture center an amount greater than the foundation as defined in subdivision (9) of section 10-262f, as amended, except that a board of education shall continue to pay the reasonable and necessary costs of transporting a student who is enrolled in such a school or center on July 1, 1996, until such student completes the program at such school or center.

Sec. 5. Section 10-186 of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 95-130, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Each local or regional board of education shall furnish, by transportation or otherwise, school accommodations so that each child five years of age and over and under twenty-one years of age who is not a graduate of a high school or vocational school may attend public school, except as provided in section 10-233c, and subsection (d) of section 10-233d, AS AMENDED. Any board of education which denies school accommodations, including a denial based on an issue of residency, to any such child shall inform the parent or guardian of such child or the child, in the case of an emancipated minor or a pupil eighteen years of age or older, of his right to request a hearing by the board of education in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section. A board of education which has denied school accommodations shall advise the board of education under whose jurisdiction it claims such child should be attending school, of the denial. For purposes of this section, (1) a "parent or guardian" shall include a surrogate parent appointed pursuant to section 10-94g and (2) a child residing in a dwelling located in more than one town shall be considered a resident of the town which receives the greatest percentage of the property taxes for such dwelling. For purposes of this subsection, "dwelling" means a single, two or three family house or a condominium unit.

(b) (1) If any board of education denies such accommodations, the parent or guardian of any child who is denied schooling, or an emancipated minor or a pupil eighteen years of age or older who is denied schooling, or an agent or officer charged with the enforcement of the laws concerning attendance at school, may, in writing, request a hearing by the board of education. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION MAY (A) CONDUCT THE HEARING, (B) DESIGNATE A SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE BOARD COMPOSED OF THREE BOARD MEMBERS TO CONDUCT THE HEARING OR (C) ESTABLISH A LOCAL IMPARTIAL HEARING BOARD OF ONE OR MORE PERSONS NOT MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO CONDUCT THE HEARING. The board [4m, [0m SUBCOMMITTEE OR LOCAL IMPARTIAL HEARING BOARD shall give such person a hearing within ten days after receipt of the written request, make a stenographic record or tape recording of the hearing and make a finding within ten days after the hearing. Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of sections 4-176e to 4-180a, inclusive, and section 4-181a. Any child, emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older who is denied accommodations on the basis of residency may continue in attendance in the school district, at the request of the parent or guardian of such child or emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older, pending a hearing pursuant to this subdivision. The party claiming ineligibility for school accommodations shall have the burden of proving such ineligibility by a preponderance of the evidence, except in cases of denial of schooling based on residency, the party denied schooling shall have the burden of proving residency by a preponderance of the evidence. (2) Any such parent, guardian, emancipated minor, pupil eighteen years of age or older, or agent or officer, aggrieved by the finding shall, upon request, be provided with a transcript of the hearing within thirty days after such request and may take an appeal from the finding to the State Board of Education. A copy of each notice of appeal shall be filed simultaneously with the local or regional board of education and the State Board of Education. Any child, emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older who is denied accommodations by a board of education as the result of a determination BY SUCH BOARD, OR A SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OR LOCAL IMPARTIAL HEARING BOARD that the child is not a resident of the school district and therefore is not entitled to school accommodations in the district may continue in attendance in the school district, at the request of the parent or guardian of such child or such minor or pupil pending a determination of such appeal. If an appeal is not taken to the State Board of Education within twenty days of the mailing of the finding to the aggrieved party, the decision of the board, SUBCOMMITTEE OR LOCAL IMPARTIAL HEARING BOARD shall be final. The local or regional board of education shall, within ten days after receipt of notice of an appeal, forward the record of the hearing to the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education shall, on receipt of a written request for a hearing made in accordance with the provisions of this subsection, establish an impartial hearing board of one or more persons to hold a public hearing in the local or regional school district in which the cause of the complaint arises. Members of the hearing board may be employees of the state Department of Education or may be qualified persons from outside the department. No member of the board of education under review nor any employee of such board of education shall be a member of the hearing board. Members of the hearing board, other than those employed by the state of Connecticut, shall be paid reasonable fees and expenses as established by the State Board of Education within the limits of available appropriations. Such hearing board may examine witnesses and shall maintain a verbatim record of all formal sessions of the hearing. Either party to the hearing may request that the hearing board join all interested parties to the hearing, or the hearing board may join any interested party on its own motion. The hearing board shall have no authority to make a determination of the rights and responsibilities of a board of education if such board is not a party to the hearing. The hearing board may render a determination of actual residence of any child, emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older where residency is at issue. (3) The hearing board shall render its decision within forty-five days after receipt of the notice of appeal except that an extension may be granted by the Commissioner of Education upon an application by a party or the hearing board describing circumstances related to the hearing which require an extension. (4) If, after the hearing, the hearing board finds that any child is illegally or unreasonably denied schooling, the hearing board shall order the board of education under whose jurisdiction it has been found such child should be attending school to make arrangements to enable the child to attend public school. Except in the case of a residency determination, the finding of the local or regional board of education, SUBCOMMITTEE OF SUCH BOARD OR A LOCAL IMPARTIAL HEARING BOARD shall be upheld unless it is determined by the hearing board that the finding was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. If such school officers fail to take action upon such order in any case in which such child is currently denied schooling and no suitable provision is made for such child within fifteen days after receipt of the order and in all other cases, within thirty days after receipt of the order, there shall be a forfeiture of the money appropriated by the state for the support of schools amounting to fifty dollars for each child for each day such child is denied schooling. If the hearing board makes a determination that the child was not a resident of the school district and therefore not entitled to school accommodations from such district, the board of education may assess tuition against the parent or guardian of the child or the emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older based on the following: One one-hundred-eightieth of the town's net current local educational expenditure, as defined in section 10-261, per pupil multiplied by the number of days of school attendance of the child in the district while not entitled to school accommodations provided by that district. The local board of education may seek to recover the amount of the assessment through available civil remedies.

(c) In the event of an appeal pursuant to section 10-187 from a decision of a hearing board established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, upon request, the State Board of Education shall supply for the fee per page specified in section 1-15, a copy of the transcript of the formal sessions of the hearing board to the parent or guardian or emancipated minor or a pupil eighteen years of age or older and to the local or regional board of education.

Sec. 6. Subdivision (2) of section 10-261 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(2) "Average daily membership" means the number of all pupils of the local or regional board of education enrolled in public schools at the expense of such board of education on October first or the full school day immediately preceding such date, provided the number so obtained shall be [reduced by one one-hundred-eightieth for each full school day by which the board of education fails to maintain a school year of one hundred eighty days] DECREASED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10-16 and shall be increased by one one-hundred-eightieth for each [full] FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT school day [by which the board of education maintains a school year beyond one hundred eighty days,] OF AT LEAST FIVE HOURS OF ACTUAL SCHOOL WORK IN EXCESS OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS AND NINE HUNDRED HOURS OF ACTUAL SCHOOL WORK and be increased by the [aggregate days of membership of all pupils of the town attending school at the expense of the town during the summer session divided by one hundred eighty, except that if a board of education has implemented scheduling of school sessions year-round, the State Board of Education may adjust the number so that no loss or gain in state aid occurs because of the type of scheduling used] FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT NUMBER OF SUCH PUPILS ATTENDING THE SUMMER SESSIONS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING SUCH DATE AT THE EXPENSE OF SUCH BOARD OF EDUCATION; "enrolled" shall include pupils who are scheduled for vacation on the above dates and who are expected to return to school as scheduled.

Sec. 7. Subdivision (22) of section 10-262f of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 95-226, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(22) "Resident students" means the number of pupils of the town enrolled in public schools at the expense of the town on October first or the full school day immediately preceding such date, provided the number shall be [reduced by one-one-hundred-eightieth for each full school day by which the board of education serving the town failed to maintain a school year of one hundred eighty days in the school year immediately preceding such date, unless the State Board of Education authorized the shortening of a school year pursuant to the provisions of section 10-15,] DECREASED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10-16 and shall be increased by one-one-hundred-eightieth for each [full] FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT school day [by which the board of education serving the town maintained a school year beyond one hundred eighty days] in the school year immediately preceding such date OF AT LEAST FIVE HOURS OF ACTUAL SCHOOL WORK IN EXCESS OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS AND NINE HUNDRED HOURS OF ACTUAL SCHOOL WORK and be increased by the [aggregate days of membership of all pupils of the town attending school at the expense of the town during the summer session immediately preceding such date divided by one hundred eighty, except that if a board of education has implemented scheduling of school sessions year-round, the State Board of Education may adjust the number so that no loss or gain in state aid occurs because of the type of scheduling used] FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT NUMBER OF SUCH PUPILS ATTENDING THE SUMMER SESSIONS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING SUCH DATE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE TOWN; "enrolled" shall include pupils who are scheduled for vacation on the above date and who are expected to return to school as scheduled. Students enrolled in an approved program described in section 10-266j, AS AMENDED, shall be counted in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of said section.

Sec. 8. Section 10-76a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Whenever used in sections 10-76a to [10-76j] 10-76i, inclusive, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 10 OF THIS ACT:

(a) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Education.

(b) "Child" means any person under twenty-one years of age.

(c) An "exceptional child" means a child who deviates either intellectually, physically, socially or emotionally so markedly from normally expected growth and development patterns that he or she is or will be unable to progress effectively in a regular school program and needs a special class, special instruction or special services.

(d) "Special education" means specially designed instruction developed in accordance with the regulations of the commissioner, subject to approval by the State Board of Education offered at no cost to parents or guardians, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings and instruction in physical education and special classes, programs or services, including related services, designed to meet the educational needs of exceptional children.

(e) "Children requiring special education" includes any exceptional child who (1) is mentally retarded, physically handicapped, autistic, traumatically brain injured, socially and emotionally maladjusted, neurologically impaired, or suffering an identifiable learning disability which impedes such child's rate of development, which disability is amenable to correction or which rate of development may be improved by special education, or (2) has extraordinary learning ability or outstanding talent in the creative arts, the development of which requires programs or services beyond the level of those ordinarily provided in regular school programs but which may be provided through special education as part of the public school program.

(f) A "mentally retarded child" means one who, by reason of retarded mental development, is not capable of profiting from the educational programs of the public schools established for the normal child.

(g) A "physically handicapped child" is one who because of some physical handicap, as defined in regulations of the State Board of Education, requires special educational programs or services.

(h) "Related services" means services to a child recommended by the planning and placement team which may include the following services: School psychological, school health, language, speech and hearing, guidance and counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, social work, transportation, physical and occupational therapy, translation, parent counseling and training in understanding the educational needs of the child and medical services, provided such medical services are for diagnostic or evaluation purposes.

(i) A "socially and emotionally maladjusted child" or "neurologically impaired child" is one who is incapable of fully profiting from the general educational programs of the public schools because of some serious social or emotional handicap or an impairment of the nervous system, respectively, as defined by regulation by the State Board of Education, but who is expected to profit from special education.

(j) "School age children" are those who have attained the age at which the town must commence to provide educational opportunities pursuant to section 10-186, AS AMENDED.

(k) A child with an "identifiable learning disability" is one who exhibits a severe discrepancy between educational performance and measured intellectual ability and who exhibits a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in a diminished ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations.

(l) "Extraordinary learning ability" and "outstanding creative talent" shall be defined by regulation by the commissioner, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education, after consideration by said commissioner of the opinions of appropriate specialists and of the normal range of ability and rate of progress of children in the Connecticut public schools.

(m) "Transition services" means a coordinated set of activities for a student, designed within an outcome-oriented process, which promotes movement from school to postschool activities, including postsecondary education, vocational training, integrated employment which may include supported employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation. The coordinated set of activities is based upon the individual student's needs, taking into account the student's preferences and interests, and includes instruction, community experiences, the development of employment and other postschool adult living objectives, and where appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

Sec. 9. Subsection (h) of section 10-76f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(h) "Net cost of special education" means the result obtained by subtracting from the expenditures made by a claimant board for special education personnel, [subject to the provisions of subsection (f) of section 10-76dd,] equipment, materials, tuition, transportation, rent and consultant services, (1) the total amount of any funds from other state or federal grants, private grants or special education tuition received by it in such year and used to implement special education programs approved pursuant to said sections, (2) the total amount of the costs of special education for which Medicaid payments are received by it in such year and (3) expenditures for special education provided to children requiring it who are described in subdivision (2) of subsection (e) of section 10-76a.

Sec. 10. Subsection (c) of section 10-76i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(c) The advisory council shall: (1) Advise the state Department of Education of unmet needs in educating handicapped children and on the administration of the provisions of sections 10-94f to 10-94k, inclusive; (2) review periodically the laws, regulations, standards and guidelines pertaining to special education and recommend to the General Assembly and the State Board of Education any changes which it finds necessary; (3) comment on any new or revised regulations, standards and guidelines proposed for issuance; (4) participate with the State Board of Education in the development of any state plan for provision of special education; (5) [comment publicly on the state plan as adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to section 10-76j; (6)] comment publicly on any procedures necessary for distributing federal funds received pursuant to the Education of the Handicapped Act, 89 Stat. 774 (1975), 20 USC 1400 et seq., as from time to time amended; [(7)] (6) assist the state Department of Education in developing and reporting such data and evaluations as may be conducted pursuant to the provisions of said act; and [(8)] (7) report to the General Assembly not later than January fifteenth in the odd-numbered years and not later than February fifteenth in the even-numbered years, concerning recommendations for effecting changes in the special education laws.

Sec. 11. The Department of Education shall not implement any provision of any regulation adopted under section 10-76d of the general statutes, as amended, concerning supervision or coordination of special education instructional or pupil personnel services personnel.

Sec. 12. Sections 10-4c, 10-76j, 10-214b and 10-223 of the general statutes are repealed.

Sec. 13. This act shall take effect from its passage except that sections 2 to 5, inclusive,

and 8 to 10, inclusive, shall take effect July 1, 1996.

Approved June 3, 1996. Effective as provided in section 13.

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