2011 Connecticut Code
Title 10 Education and Culture
Chapter 170 Boards of Education
Sec. 10-223e. State-wide education accountability plan and possible actions. Study of academic achievement. School governance councils. Reconstitution of schools and boards of education.

      Sec. 10-223e. State-wide education accountability plan and possible actions. Study of academic achievement. School governance councils. Reconstitution of schools and boards of education. (a) In conformance with the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110, the Commissioner of Education shall prepare a state-wide education accountability plan, consistent with federal law and regulation. Such plan shall identify the schools and districts in need of improvement, require the development and implementation of improvement plans and utilize rewards and consequences.

      (b) Public schools identified by the State Board of Education pursuant to section 10-223b of the general statutes, revision of 1958, revised to January 1, 2001, as schools in need of improvement shall: (1) Continue to be identified as schools in need of improvement, and continue to operate under school improvement plans developed pursuant to said section 10-223b through June 30, 2004; (2) on or before February 1, 2003, be evaluated by the local board of education and determined to be making sufficient or insufficient progress; (3) if found to be making insufficient progress by a local board of education, be subject to a new remediation and organization plan developed by the local board of education; (4) continue to be eligible for available federal or state aid; (5) beginning in February, 2003, be monitored by the Department of Education for adequate yearly progress, as defined in the state accountability plan prepared in accordance with subsection (a) of this section; and (6) be subject to rewards and consequences as defined in said plan.

      (c) (1) Any school or school district identified as in need of improvement pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and requiring corrective action pursuant to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110, shall be designated and listed as a low achieving school or school district and shall be subject to intensified supervision and direction by the State Board of Education.

      (2) Notwithstanding any provision of this title or any regulation adopted pursuant to said statutes, except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, in carrying out the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the State Board of Education shall take any of the following actions to improve student performance and remove the school or district from the list of schools or districts designated and listed as a low achieving school or district pursuant to said subdivision (1), and to address other needs of the school or district: (A) Require an operations audit to identify possible programmatic savings and an instructional audit to identify any deficits in curriculum and instruction or in the learning environment of the school or district; (B) require the local or regional board of education for such school or district to use state and federal funds for critical needs, as directed by the State Board of Education; (C) provide incentives to attract highly qualified teachers and principals; (D) direct the transfer and assignment of teachers and principals; (E) require additional training and technical assistance for parents and guardians of children attending the school or a school in the district and for teachers, principals, and central office staff members hired by the district; (F) require the local or regional board of education for the school or district to implement model curriculum, including, but not limited to, recommended textbooks, materials and supplies approved by the Department of Education; (G) identify schools for reconstitution, as may be phased in by the commissioner, as state or local charter schools, schools established pursuant to section 10-74g, innovation schools established pursuant to section 10-74h, or schools based on other models for school improvement, or for management by an entity other than the local or regional board of education for the district in which the school is located; (H) direct the local or regional board of education for the school or district to develop and implement a plan addressing deficits in achievement and in the learning environment as recommended in the instructional audit; (I) assign a technical assistance team to the school or district to guide school or district initiatives and report progress to the Commissioner of Education; (J) establish instructional and learning environment benchmarks for the school or district to meet as it progresses toward removal from the list of low achieving schools or districts; (K) provide funding to any proximate district to a district designated as a low achieving school district so that students in a low achieving district may attend public school in a neighboring district; (L) direct the establishment of learning academies within schools that require continuous monitoring of student performance by teacher groups; (M) require local and regional boards of education to (i) undergo training to improve their operational efficiency and effectiveness as leaders of their districts' improvement plans, and (ii) submit an annual action plan to the Commissioner of Education outlining how, when and in what manner their effectiveness shall be monitored; or (N) any combination of the actions described in this subdivision or similar, closely related actions.

      (3) If a directive of the State Board of Education pursuant to subparagraph (C), (D), (E), (G) or (L) of subdivision (2) of this subsection or a directive to implement a plan pursuant to subparagraph (H) of said subdivision affects working conditions, such directive shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of sections 10-153a to 10-153n, inclusive.

      (4) The Comptroller shall, pursuant to the provisions of section 10-262i, withhold any grant funds that a town is otherwise required to appropriate to a local or regional board of education due to low academic achievement in the school district pursuant to section 10-262h. Said funds shall be transferred to the Department of Education and shall be expended by the department on behalf of the identified school district. Said funds shall be used to implement the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection and to offset such other local education costs that the Commissioner of Education deems appropriate to achieve school improvements. These funds shall be awarded by the commissioner to the local or regional board of education for such identified school district upon condition that said funds shall be spent in accordance with the directives of the commissioner.

      (d) The State Board of Education shall monitor the progress of each school or district designated as a low achieving school or district pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section and provide notice to the local or regional board of education for each such school or district of the school or district's progress toward meeting the benchmarks established by the State Board of Education pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. If a district fails to make acceptable progress toward meeting such benchmarks established by the State Board of Education and fails to make adequate yearly progress pursuant to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110, for two consecutive years while designated as a low achieving school district, the State Board of Education, after consultation with the Governor and chief elected official or officials of the district, may (1) request that the General Assembly enact legislation authorizing that control of the district be reassigned to the State Board of Education or other authorized entity, or (2) notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 146, any special act, charter or ordinance, grant the Commissioner of Education the authority to reconstitute the local or regional board of education for such school district in accordance with the provisions of subsection (h) of this section.

      (e) Any school district or elementary school after two successive years of failing to make adequate yearly progress shall be designated as a low achieving school district or school and shall be evaluated by the Commissioner of Education. After such evaluation, the commissioner may require that such school district or school provide full-day kindergarten classes, summer school, extended school day, weekend classes, tutorial assistance to its students or professional development to its administrators, principals, teachers and paraprofessional teacher aides if (1) on any subpart of the third grade state-wide mastery examination, thirty per cent or more of the students in any subgroup, as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110, do not achieve the level of proficiency or higher, or (2) the commissioner determines that it would be in the best educational interests of the school or the school district to have any of these programs. In ordering any educational program authorized by this subsection, the commissioner may limit the offering of the program to the subgroup of students that have failed to achieve proficiency as determined by this subsection, those in particular grades or those who are otherwise at substantial risk of educational failure. The costs of instituting the ordered educational programs shall be borne by the identified low achieving school district or the school district in which an identified low achieving school is located. The commissioner shall not order an educational program that costs more to implement than the total increase in the amount of the grant that a town receives pursuant to section 10-262i in any fiscal year above the prior fiscal year.

      (f) The Commissioner of Education shall conduct a study, within the limits of the capacity of the Department of Education to perform such study, of academic achievement of individual students over time as measured by performance on the state-wide mastery examination in grades three to eight, inclusive. If this study evidences a pattern of continuous and substantial growth in educational performance on said examinations for individual students, then the commissioner may determine that the school district or elementary school shall not be subject to the requirements of subsection (e) of this section, but shall still comply with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110, if applicable.

      (g) (1) (A) On and after July 1, 2010, the local or regional board of education for a school that has been identified as in need of improvement pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may establish a school governance council for each school so identified.

      (B) On and after July 1, 2010, the local or regional board of education for a school that has been designated as a low achieving school, pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section, due to such school failing to make adequate yearly progress in mathematics and reading at the whole school level shall establish a school governance council for each school so designated.

      (2) (A) The school governance council for high schools shall consist of (i) seven members who shall be parents or guardians of students attending the school, (ii) two members who shall be community leaders within the school district, (iii) five members who shall be teachers at the school, (iv) one nonvoting member who is the principal of the school, or his or her designee, and (v) two nonvoting student members who shall be students at the school. The parent or guardian members shall be elected by the parents or guardians of students attending the school, provided, for purposes of the election, each household with a student attending the school shall have one vote. The community leader members shall be elected by the parent or guardian members and teacher members of the school governance council. The teacher members shall be elected by the teachers of the school. The nonvoting student members shall be elected by the student body of the school.

      (B) The school governance council for elementary and middle schools shall consist of (i) seven members who shall be parents or guardians of students attending the school, (ii) two members who shall be community leaders within the school district, (iii) five members who shall be teachers at the school, and (iv) one nonvoting member who is the principal of the school, or his or her designee. The parent or guardian members shall be elected by the parents or guardians of students attending the school, provided, for purposes of the election, each household with a student attending the school shall have one vote. The community leader members shall be elected by the parent or guardian members and teacher members of the school governance council. The teacher members shall be elected by the teachers of the school.

      (C) Terms of voting members elected pursuant to this subdivision shall be for two years and no members shall serve more than two terms on the council. The nonvoting student members shall serve one year and no student member shall serve more than two terms on the council.

      (D) (i) Schools that have been designated as a low achieving school pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section due to such school failing to make adequate yearly progress in mathematics and reading at the whole school level prior to July 1, 2010, and are among the lowest five per cent of schools in the state based on achievement shall establish a school governance council for the school not later than January 15, 2011.

      (ii) Schools that have been designated as a low achieving school, pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section, due to such school failing to make adequate yearly progress in mathematics and reading at the whole school level prior to July 1, 2010, but are not among the lowest five per cent of schools in the state based on achievement, shall establish a school governance council for the school not later than November 1, 2011.

      (3) The school governance council shall have the following responsibilities: (A) Analyzing school achievement data and school needs relative to the improvement plan for the school prepared pursuant to this section; (B) reviewing the fiscal objectives of the draft budget for the school and providing advice to the principal of the school before such school's budget is submitted to the superintendent of schools for the district; (C) participating in the hiring process of the school principal or other administrators of the school by conducting interviews of candidates and reporting on such interviews to the superintendent of schools for the school district and the local and regional board of education; (D) assisting the principal of the school in making programmatic and operational changes for improving the school's achievement, including program changes, adjusting school hours and days of operation, and enrollment goals for the school; (E) working with the school administration to develop and approve a school compact for parents, legal guardians and students that includes an outline of the criteria and responsibilities for enrollment and school membership consistent with the school's goals and academic focus, and the ways that parents and school personnel can build a partnership to improve student learning; (F) developing and approving a written parent involvement policy that outlines the role of parents and legal guardians in the school; (G) utilizing records relating to information about parents and guardians of students maintained by the local or regional board of education for the sole purpose of the election described in subdivision (2) of this subsection. Such information shall be confidential and shall only be disclosed as provided in this subparagraph and shall not be further disclosed; and (H) if the council determines it necessary and subject to the provisions of subdivision (9) of this subsection recommending reconstitution of the school in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (6) of this subsection.

      (4) The school governance council may: (A) In those schools that require an improvement plan, review the annual draft report detailing the goals set forth in the state accountability plan prepared in accordance with subsection (a) of this section and provide advice to the principal of the school prior to submission of the report to the superintendent of schools; (B) in those schools where an improvement plan becomes required pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, assist the principal of the school in developing such plan prior to its submission to the superintendent of schools; (C) work with the principal of the school to develop, conduct and report the results of an annual survey of parents, guardians and teachers on issues related to the school climate and conditions; and (D) provide advice on any other major policy matters affecting the school to the principal of the school, except on any matters relating to provisions of any collective bargaining agreement between the exclusive bargaining unit for teachers pursuant to section 10-153b and local or regional boards of education.

      (5) The local or regional board of education shall provide appropriate training and instruction to members of the school governance council to aid them in the execution of their duties.

      (6) (A) The school governance council may, by an affirmative vote of the council, recommend the reconstitution of the school into one of the following models: (i) The turnaround model, as described in the Federal Register of December 10, 2009; (ii) the restart model, as described in the Federal Register of December 10, 2009; (iii) the transformation model, as described in the Federal Register of December 10, 2009; (iv) any other model that may be developed by federal law; (v) a CommPACT school, pursuant to section 10-74g; or (vi) an innovation school, pursuant to section 10-74h. Not later than ten days after the school governance council informs the local or regional board of education of its recommendation for the school, such board shall hold a public hearing to discuss such vote of the school governance council and shall, at the next regularly scheduled meeting of such board or ten days after such public hearing, whichever is later, conduct a vote to accept the model recommended by the school governance council, select an alternative model described in this subdivision or maintain the current school status. If the board selects an alternative model, the board shall meet with such school governance council to discuss an agreement on which alternative to adopt not later than ten days after such vote of the board. If no such agreement can be achieved, not later than forty-five days after the last such meeting between the board and the school governance council, the Commissioner of Education shall decide which of the alternatives to implement. If the board votes to maintain the current school status, not later than forty-five days after such vote of the board, the Commissioner of Education shall decide whether to implement the model recommended by the school governance council or to maintain the current school status. If the final decision pursuant to this subdivision is adoption of a model, the local or regional board of education shall implement such model during the subsequent school year in conformance with the general statutes and applicable regulations, and the provisions specified in federal regulations and guidelines for schools subject to restructuring pursuant to Section 1116(b)(8) of the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110 or any other applicable federal laws or regulations.

      (B) Any school governance council for a school may recommend reconstitution, pursuant to subparagraph (H) of subdivision (3) of this subsection, during the third year after such school governance council was established if the school for such governance council has not reconstituted as a result of receiving a school improvement grant pursuant to Section 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 20 USC 6301 et seq., or such reconstitution was initiated by a source other than the school governance council.

      (7) A school governance council shall be considered a component of parental involvement for purposes of federal funding pursuant to Section 1118 of the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110.

      (8) The Commissioner of Education shall evaluate the school governance councils established on or before January 15, 2011, based on the criteria described in subsection (a) of section 10-4s. On or before October 1, 2014, the commissioner shall report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education on the evaluation conducted pursuant to this subdivision. Such report shall also include recommendations whether to continue to allow school governance councils to recommend reconstitution pursuant to this subsection.

      (9) The department shall allow not more than twenty-five schools per school year to reconstitute pursuant to this subsection. The department shall notify school districts and school governance councils when this limit has been reached. For purposes of this subdivision, a reconstitution shall be counted towards this limit upon receipt by the department of notification of a final decision regarding reconstitution by the local or regional board of education.

      (h) The State Board of Education may authorize the Commissioner of Education to reconstitute a local or regional board of education pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (d) of this section for a period of not more than five years. The board shall not grant such authority to the commissioner unless the board has required the local or regional board of education to complete the training described in subparagraph (M) of subdivision (2) of subsection (c) of this section. Upon such authorization by the board, the commissioner shall terminate the existing local or regional board of education and appoint the members of a new local or regional board of education for the school district. Such appointed members may include members of the board of education that was terminated. The terms of the members of the new board of education shall be three years. The Department of Education shall offer training to the members of the new board of education. The new board of education shall annually report to the commissioner regarding the district's progress toward meeting the benchmarks established by the State Board of Education pursuant to subsection (c) of this section and making adequate yearly progress, as defined in the state accountability plan prepared in accordance with subsection (a) of this section. If the district fails to show adequate improvement, as determined by the State Board of Education, after three years, the commissioner may reappoint the members of the new board of education or appoint new members to such board of education for terms of two years.

      (May 9 Sp. Sess. P.A. 02-7, S. 6; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-3, S. 32; P.A. 08-153, S. 4; P.A. 10-111, S. 21.)

      History: May 9 Sp. Sess. P.A. 02-7 effective August 15, 2002; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-3 added Subsecs. (c) to (f) re low achieving schools or districts and direction by the State Board of Education, re monitoring of progress by State Board of Education, re evaluation by Commissioner of Education and re study of academic achievement, respectively, effective July 1, 2007; P.A. 08-153 amended Subsec. (c)(2) to add exception re Subsec. (c)(3) and, in Subpara. (E), add provision re parents and guardians, add new Subpara. (M) re training and annual action plan, redesignate existing Subpara. (M) as Subpara. (N) and make a technical change therein, added new Subsec. (c)(3) re carrying out directive in accordance with Secs. 10-153a to 10-153n and redesignated existing Subsec. (c)(3) as Subsec. (c)(4), effective July 1, 2008; P.A. 10-111 amended Subsec. (c)(2)(G) by adding reference re innovation schools, amended Subsec. (c)(3) by adding internal reference to Subdiv. (2)(G), amended Subsec. (d) by designating existing provision re request for legislation as Subdiv. (1) and adding Subdiv. (2) re authority of commissioner to reconstitute a board of education, added Subsec. (g) re school governance councils and added Subsec. (h) re authority of commissioner to reconstitute a board of education, effective July 1, 2010.

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