On May 15, 2012, Governor Dannel Malloy signed Public Act No. 12-116, also known as Senate Bill No. 458, which implements public school educational reform in the State of Connecticut. Leaders from both sides of the political aisle came together in a bipartisan effort and compromised to bring changes to such areas as “early reading, school turnarounds, school choice, and school staffing,” and the comprehensive, 185-page legislation “delivers more resources targeted to those districts and schools with the greatest need.”[1] Additional highlights from the bill include:

  • An increase in education spending by $100 million
  • The designation of “Alliance Districts,” which are comprised of the “30… low performing [school districts] that altogether will receive 80 percent of the total $50 million in additional state education dollars for the districts.” This money, which will be on top of that already budgeted by cities and towns involved, is for education purposes only.[2]
  • An increase in per-student grant monies for charter schools, from $9,400 at present to $11,500 for the 2014-2015 school year.[3]
Turnaround Plans for Low-Performing Schools

In addition, Section 19 of the bill authorizes the establishment of a “commissioner’s network of [twenty-five (25)] schools to improve student academic achievement in low-performing schools.” Each participating school will create a committee that will evaluate the present condition of the school (an operations and instructional audit), then create a “turnaround plan” that will roadmap the changes that must take place.

This plan must describe how the plan will improve the academic achievement of students, address the deficiencies discovered during the audit, and implement one of the six turnaround models enumerated in the legislation. In addition, the network “requires annual performance evaluations for principals, administrators and teachers and links tenure to a teacher’s effectiveness.”[4]

“I commend Connecticut for coming together to enact meaningful education reforms that will benefit students. I know the negotiations on S.B. 458 were difficult, but Governor Malloy and the legislature, business, unions, educators, and advocates were committed to begin fixing what is broken in public schools.” – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding education law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport, CT at (203) 221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

[1] “Governor Signs Education Reform Into Law,” by the Associated Press. May 15, 2012: www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Governor-Signs-Education-Reform-Into-Law-151556065.html

[2] “Malloy says ‘We will fix our schools,’” by JC Reindl. May 15, 2012: www.theday.com/article/20120515/NWS12/120519753/-1/NWS

[3] “Compromise CT Ed Reform Bill Passes Senate and House,” by Julia Lawrence. May 10, 2012: www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/compromise-ct-ed-reform-bill-passes-senate-and-house

[4] See Footnote 1.