Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) Releases 2014 Legislative Agenda

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), a statewide nonprofit educational administration organization which represents public school superintendents, assistant superintendents and other educational leaders across the state, today released its 2014 Public Policy Agenda identifying the ten core areas where the Association will focus its public policy advocacy efforts during the upcoming session.

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West Hartford, Conn. (PRWEB) January 06, 2014

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), a statewide nonprofit educational administration organization which represents public school superintendents, assistant superintendents and other educational leaders across the state, today released its 2014 Public Policy Agenda identifying the ten core areas where the Association will focus its public policy advocacy efforts during the upcoming session.

Among the key areas CAPSS and its members have identified as public policy priorities for 2014 are:

Reevaluating Minimum Budget Requirements (MBR) for school districts
CAPSS proposes the amount by which a municipality may reduce its MBR per student drop in enrollment be the amount that a district actually saves per student drop in enrollment. Further, the Association suggests districts paying tuition to any school outside the local public schools shall have the cost of tuition and the cost of transportation to those schools outside the local public schools included in the MBR calculation.

Establishment of a strategic statewide plan for magnet schools
CAPSS proposes that the CSDE develop with meaningful participation by all relevant parties a state wide plan for magnet schools and that this plan include at least the following.

o    A strategy for making magnet schools one of the means for improving student achievement in CT.
o    A uniform and equitable system statewide for funding magnet schools, a system that does not impose an onerous burden on local school districts.
o    A strategy for insuring the long range sustainability of effective magnet schools.

State Budget funding for education in FY 2015
It is the recommendation of CAPSS that any rescissions or reductions that might have to be made to the FY 2014 and FY 2015 budgets not include any reductions to the financial support of public schools.

Special Education funding for schools districts
CAPSS proposes that the funding cap on the Special Education Excess Cost Grant be removed and that the burden of proof in the special education due process hearings be assigned to the party that brings the matter to due process.

Creation of a new funding system for Alliance Districts
CAPSS proposes that the State Government initiate an effort to develop and implement an education funding system that is based on the funds required to provide for every child in the state the educational program that each child needs. CAPSS also proposes that while this new system is being developed:

o    Municipalities whose school systems receive an increase in Alliance District Funds be required to match in the local appropriation for the school system the Alliance District Fund dollar increase.
o    Municipalities that receive Alliance District Funds be prohibited from assigning to school system budgets functions that have been included in the local municipality’s budget.
o    Municipalities be prohibited from using Alliance District funds to supplant locally provided financial support for public schools.

Removing the statutory limit on superintendents’ to increase the stability of school system leadership
CAPSS proposes that the statutory limit on superintendents’ contracts be removed and that the local boards of education be given the local control that they need to arrive at superintendent contract lengths that are most suited to the needs of the local school district.

Increasing the number of Connecticut children enrolled in pre-school programs
CAPSS believes (1) the number of Connecticut children enrolled in pre-school programs should increase annually until every three- and four-year-old is enrolled in a high quality program, (2) that the State needs to provide the Department/Office of Early Childhood sufficient funds for it to meet its statutory responsibilities, and (3) that a fair and reliable quality rating system for early childhood programs be developed and implemented.

Use of state test results in the evaluation of principals and teachers
Due to the fact that the results from the Smarter Balance Assessment System will not be available until the early winter of 2014, CAPSS proposes that school districts be given in school year 2014-2015 the option of not using state test results for evaluation purposes.

Reevaluating the state’s mandate structure
CAPSS supports all efforts by any of the branches of state government to undertake a comprehensive study of the mandate structure that has been imposed on local school districts with a view towards identifying and eliminating any mandates that are significant hindrances to the efforts of local districts to improve and transform themselves. Further, CAPSS strongly urges the state government to refrain from imposing any additional mandates upon local school districts until the present mandate structure has been studied and reformed.

“Coming off two years of significant changes to Connecticut’s education system, it is our hope that momentum will be maintained and that state and community leaders will collaborate to identify the best way to build upon what has already been achieved,” Joseph Cirasuolo, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), said. “CAPSS is committed to ensuring all children have access to a continuum of high quality education and the ten areas we have identified as core areas of focus during the upcoming legislative session are designed to enhance that continuum.”

About The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents:
The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), based in West Hartford, CT, has been the voice of superintendents of schools in Connecticut for 106 years. The mission of the CAPSS is to lead the continuous improvement of public education for all students by advocating public policy for children and by developing and supporting executive school leaders. To learn more, visit http://www.capss.org.


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