On February 3, 2016, the 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly began. Adjournment is scheduled for May 4, 2016. One can assume that a plethora of proposed bills affecting Connecticut school districts will be unleashed during the session, most of which will never see the light of day.
The Education Committee will be the place where the “real” significant initial action will occur. Hearings on those bills deemed somewhat worthy by the Committee will likely take place later this month and early in March. The deadline for the Committee to approve and “forward” bills out of Committee is March 21, 2016. Of course, relevant bills may also emerge from other committees (such as the Judiciary Committee), and bills affecting labor and employment issues may emerge from the Labor and Public Employees Committee.
While we do not have a crystal ball, issues that are likely to be considered in this session include 1) continuing review of the teacher evaluation system, especially in light of federal law developments, 2) review of and future plans for magnet schools, 3) data privacy issues, and 4) special education funding. Of course, attempts to resolve the state’s continuing fiscal crisis (in an election year) will likely predominate during this session, and school districts should pay particular attention to possible changes (if not actual reductions) in state aid.
Education Law Notes will follow the action at the General Assembly and report on any significant developments as they may occur. Of course, there is always the potential for last minute surprises, including legislation emerging with little or no debate and the ever popular last minute “implementer” bill. Stay tuned.