(L-R) Rep. Carpino, Rep. Hall
HARTFORD – A bi-partisan School Safety Working Group convened its first meeting to study issues surrounding school safety on Wednesday, April 18. State Representative Carol Hall (R-59) was named as Chair of the group.
Rep. Hall commented, “I think it’s important for us to take a look at the state of school safety on an ongoing basis. Many of our local districts have enacted new plans in recent years, the goal of this group is to survey the safety situation across our state and find best practices. There is a lot of information out there and we want to make sure that as legislators we are doing our part to keep our children safe.”
The creation of the group was announced earlier in the year by members of the House Republican caucus. The first meeting was organizational, with Rep. Hall’s legislative colleague Rep. Christie Carpino (R-32) being named as the working group Vice-Chair.
“Tragic events at home and across the country remind us that we need to stay vigilant when it comes to school security,” explained Rep. Carpino, who is also a parent of school-aged children. “We passed comprehensive legislation in 2013 that some school districts are failing to implement. It’s important to identify those failures, review national practices and create legislative recommendations to ensure the safety of our students and educators.”
The group is seeking to conduct a comprehensive review of school safety in Connecticut on an on-going basis and make recommendations for the next legislative session in 2019. The group will include outside participants including, school superintendents, law enforcement/first-responders, mental health professionals, school security consultants, students and parents.
The next meeting will convene in May after the conclusion of the legislative session on the 9th.
Hartford – State Representative Carol Hall (R-59) co-sponsored SB 364 ‘An Act Concerning Special Education Funding’ which would lower existing special education reimbursement thresholds.
Currently the state reimburses school districts for a portion of reasonable special educations costs that are four and a half times the average per-pupil spending. This legislation would set the threshold at two times the average per-pupil spending.
“The movement of special needs students in and out of districts can have a huge and unpredictable impact on local education budgets. Lowering this threshold to a more reasonable level will help assure that students with special needs are afforded equal access and opportunity to education no matter which district they live in,” said Rep. Hall. “I believe that this bill is a step in the right direction and will put more reimbursement dollars back into education budgets. We have much more work to do to keep our promise of quality and access for Connecticut students.”
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education was among several groups supporting the legislation. They reported that special needs students make up 13.4% of the population and account for 20% to 30% of their budgets.
This measure passed the Education Committee 21-14 and is awaiting further action by the House and Senate. For more information or to track the bill visit www.cga.ct.gov.