Posts tagged with "charter schools"

On “An Act Concerning Educational Reform” in Connecticut

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

[1] “Governor Signs Education Reform Into Law,” by the Associated Press. May 15, 2012:

[2] “Malloy says ‘We will fix our schools,’” by JC Reindl. May 15, 2012:

[3] “Compromise CT Ed Reform Bill Passes Senate and House,” by Julia Lawrence. May 10, 2012:

[4] See Footnote 1.

What You Need to Know About Your Child’s Education

One of the reasons that parents work so hard is to be able to provide a better life and a better future for their children. The bedrock of a bright future is a good education.  As a parent, it is important to understand your rights and obligations when it comes to your child’s education.

Adequate Education

As a parent, you are required to have your children enrolled in public school unless the parent can show that the child is receiving equivalent instruction elsewhere. Under Connecticut law, the child must be “instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic and United States history and in citizenship, including a study of the town, state and federal governments.” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-184.

School Accommodations

The local school board is required to provide school accommodations to every child, age five (5) or over and under twenty-one (21), with a free appropriate public education. This includes children with special needs. The law also provides for your child’s education to take place in the district in which you live.


The State of Connecticut has strict regulations concerning a child’s absence from school. Specifically, the State declares a child who has four (4) or more unexcused absences in a month or ten (10) or more unexcused absences during the school year as a “truant.” The designation of your child as a truant results in the activation of certain policies and procedures of the school board, including but not limited to, the notification of the parents, services and referrals to community organizations offering family support, meetings with the parents and school personnel, and possible notification to the Superior Court.  Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-198a. Habitual truants could even face arrest for failure to attend school. Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-200.

Open Choice

Connecticut law has established alternatives to traditional public school education. A parent can home school their children, as long as they comply with Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-184. A parent can choose to send their child to private school, as long as that private school conforms to Connecticut’s laws. But what many parents are not aware of is that Connecticut also offers charter, magnet and vocational schools, and the “open choice” program.  Given the number of opportunities available to parents and children in Connecticut, it is important to research the various options to find the best match for you and your child.


The school has the right to discipline your child for breaking school rules. This could mean removing your child from the classroom, giving an in-school suspension, giving an out-of-school suspension, or even expelling your child from school. Prior to any suspension or removal, your child has the right to an informal hearing conducted by a school administrator. If the school is attempting to expel your client, there will be an expulsion hearing. You have a right to an attorney during these proceedings.


The school, prior to prescribing any medication to your child, must receive a written order from an authorized prescriber, the written authorization of the child’s parent or guardian, and the written permission of the parent allowing communication between the prescriber and the school nurse.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-212a-2(b). The law also permits school districts to allow children to self-administer prescribed emergency medications, such as asthma inhalers, if the child has a verified chronic medical condition and is capable to self-administer.


Bullying has become a pervasive problem within schools. State and Federal laws state that the school must investigate reports of bullying. The schools are obligated to meet with the children that are being bullied and whom are doing the bullying. If the schools fail to take certain steps to protect children from bullying, the school could be subject to civil liability. Therefore, if your child is being bullied, bring it to the attention of the schools so that they can attempt to remediate the situation.

Bullying is not just peer-on-peer. In Frank v. State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the Court upheld a hearing officer’s decision placing Mr. Frank’s name on the child abuse and neglect registry, for his bullying of one of his students. Consequently, as a parent you should be aware that bullying can take many forms, and can occur by teachers and other faculty members. 2010 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3085, J.D. of New Britain, Docket No. CV-10-6005213-S (2010).

School Records

A parent has the right to see their child’s school records. A school is required to provide you with a copy of your child’s records within 45 days (within 10 days if your child is receiving special education services).  The school also has to provide the records free of cost if you are unable to afford the copying fees.

The school is not allowed to share your child’s school records without your written permission. While they are allowed to share your child’s records with other teachers and staff within the school system (or outside the school system in the case of an emergency), generally, your child’s records are private.

If you have any questions regarding your child’s education, or any education law matter, contact Attorney Joseph Maya and the other experienced education law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or by email at