Digest of Bills - 2011

EDUCATION PUBLIC SCHOOLS

S.B. 11-12 Policy for student possession and administration of prescription medication. The act eliminates statutory language requiring a student to have a treatment plan before he or she may possess or self-administer medication to treat his or her asthma, food or other allergy, anaphylaxis, or other related, life-threatening condition.

A school district board of education (district board) may adopt and implement a policy whereby a student may possess and self-administer on school grounds, upon a school bus, or at any school-sponsored event any medication that is prescribed by a licensed health care practitioner to be used by the student (prescribed medication). The policy of the district board may restrict a student from possessing and self-administering a prescribed medication, but the policy shall include a process by which the administrators of a student's school make a determination that a student's possession or self-administration of a prescription medication poses a significant risk of harm to the student or to other students. The policy shall also ensure that if a student has medication prescribed for a life-threatening condition, a sufficient supply of the medication is provided to the school by the student's parent or legal guardian, stored safely at the school, and kept readily available to be administered to the student in a timely fashion in the event of a health emergency.

APPROVED by Governor March 25, 2011
EFFECTIVE March 25, 2011

S.B. 11-61 Children with disabilities - appeal process. Prior to passage of this act, if a parent of a child with a disability disagreed with the administrative unit or state-operated program concerning the determination of the child's disability or some other aspect of providing services, the parent was required to go through a two-step appeal process that included a review by a hearing officer at the local level and a subsequent opportunity to appeal to the commissioner of education.

The act changes the appeal process to a single due process hearing at the state level that complies with the federal "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" and the regulations implementing the federal act. The parent, the administrative unit, or the state program may file a request for a due process hearing simultaneously with the opposing party and the commissioner of education and the department of education shall provide the hearing in compliance with the federal law.

APPROVED by Governor March 21, 2011
EFFECTIVE July 1, 2011

S.B. 11-106 Science and technology education center grants advisory board - repeal. The science and technology education center grants advisory board is repealed.

APPROVED by Governor March 21, 2011
EFFECTIVE March 21, 2011

S.B. 11-111 Educational success task force - intervention education services - remedial education - study. The act creates the educational success task force (task force). The task force will include legislative members appointed by leadership in the senate and the house of representatives and members from the education sector appointed jointly by the state board of education (state board) and the Colorado commission on higher education (commission). The task force members appointed by the state board and the commission will consist of experts in education, especially in intervention strategies and remedial education, parents, teachers, and other representatives of school districts, public schools, and institutions of higher education.

The task force will review the junctures within a student's academic career at which intervention education services are critical to the student's success; best practices and strategies for providing intervention education services at the elementary and secondary education levels and remedial education at the postsecondary level; the use of the individual career and academic plans; alternative strategies to social promotion; and potential changes to rules, guidelines, and statutes to improve the use of intervention education services at the elementary and secondary levels and remedial education at the postsecondary level. In fulfilling its duties, the task force will work with the education leadership council created by the governor and may respond to the council's requests for information, findings, and reports on topics that are complementary to those assigned to the task force.

The task force will submit a first report of its findings and recommendations to the state board and the commission by July 1, 2012, and may submit a second report prior to July 1, 2013. The state board and the commission will publish the reports on their respective web sites and publicize the reports to the school districts, public schools, and institutions of higher education in the state. The task force will report to the education committees of the senate and house of representatives prior to January 31 in both the 2012 and the 2013 regular legislative sessions. In addition, the task force may recommend legislation to the legislative council for consideration as interim committee bills.

The task force is repealed, effective July 1, 2013.

APPROVED by Governor May 23, 2011
EFFECTIVE May 23, 2011

S.B. 11-157 Funding for preschool through twelfth grade - supplemental kindergarten enrollment - mid-year adjustments to budget stabilization factor - refinance with federal moneys - appropriation - budget balancing act. The "Public School Finance Act of 1994" (act) is changed as follows:

The appropriations to both the department of education and the department of higher education for the 2010-11 fiscal year are adjusted to reflect the availability of federal moneys.

APPROVED by Governor March 9, 2011
EFFECTIVE March 9, 2011

S.B. 11-173 School response framework - interoperable communications. The act adds additional public safety agencies and entities to the community partners defined in the school response framework and clarifies that a school district's school safety, readiness, and incident management plan includes interoperable communications. The schools will test the emergency communications equipment and its interoperability with state and local emergency personnel.

The division of fire safety (division) in the department of public safety (department), as part of its regular school fire safety inspections, will inquire concerning any all-hazard drills conducted by a school, the school's communications interoperability with state and local emergency personnel, and the school's implementation of the national incident management system (NIMS). The division may also provide information to schools as part of its regular correspondence with schools concerning emergency response and interoperable communications. The division shall collaborate with the governor's office of information technology, the school safety resource center in the department, and other government entities and community partners to provide information to schools.

The governor's office of information technology will provide information and expertise, along with training and other tools, to the extent possible, to the division for dissemination to schools and to other agencies and public or private and nongovernmental organizations.

The school safety resource center in the department will provide to the division information and resources as determined by the school safety resource center relating to school safety and emergency response planning and training to be disseminated by the division to schools.

APPROVED by Governor June 10, 2011
EFFECTIVE June 10, 2011

S.B. 11-188 Charter schools - financing capital construction for qualified charter schools - increased state oversight. The charter school capital construction moral obligation program (moral obligation program), which allows qualified charter schools to finance capital construction with revenues from bonds issued on their behalf (bonds) by the Colorado educational and cultural facilities authority (CECFA) and to obtain such financing on favorable terms by providing a source of state moneys that can be used to make bond payments if the qualified charter school fails to make such payments, is changed as follows:

APPROVED by Governor May 19, 2011
EFFECTIVE July 1, 2011

S.B. 11-229 School counselor corps grant program. The act increases the statutory cap on administrative expenses for the school counselor corps grant program from 2% to 3%.

APPROVED by Governor May 5, 2011
EFFECTIVE May 5, 2011

S.B. 11-230 School finance - base per pupil funding - district total program funding amount - negative factor reduction - general fund surplus transfer to state public school fund - determination of bonded indebtedness debt limit - state trust lands - public school energy efficiency fund - appropriation. Funding for public schools from kindergarten through the 12th grade, as determined by the "Public School Finance Act of 1994" (Act), is modified for the 2011-12 budget year and, in some circumstances, for budget years thereafter, as follows:

Statewide base per pupil funding. For the 2011-12 budget year, the statewide base per pupil funding is increased to $5,634.77, to account for a 1.9% inflation rate.

Negative factor. The total program funding amount for all school districts and the funding for institute charter schools (total program funding) that is currently reflected in law for the 2011-12 budget year is decreased by $227,500,000. The name of the factor that results from the calculation used to accomplish the reduction in total program funding is changed from the budget stabilization factor to the negative factor. In addition, the negative factor is extended to each budget year following the 2011-12 budget year without specifying the amount of total program funding for any budget year after the 2011-12 budget year.

Transfer to state public school fund. On the date on which the state controller publishes the comprehensive annual financial report of the state for the fiscal year 2010-11, the state treasurer shall transfer an amount equal to the additional estimated revenue to the state public school fund; except that the transfer shall not exceed $67.5 million. The additional estimated revenue is the amount by which the June 2011 estimate of general fund revenue prepared by the office of state planning and budgeting for the 2010-11 fiscal year exceeds the March 2011 estimate of general fund revenue prepared by the office of state planning and budgeting for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The general assembly intends that the general fund surplus that is transferred to the state public school fund be available for appropriation during the 2011-12 budget year through the supplemental process, to be distributed in accordance with the school finance formula to account for mid-year changes in pupil enrollment and the at-risk population and changes in assessed valuations the specific ownership tax from the prior year.

In addition to the changes to the act, other provisions related to funding for public schools are changed as follows:

Determination of debt limit for bonded indebtedness. For bonded indebtedness issued after June 1, 2011, the assessed valuation used to determine a district's limit of bonded indebtedness is the assessed valuation certified on the December 10 prior to the date on which the bonds are issued.

State trust lands. For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 state fiscal years, the following moneys not otherwise allocated from the following sources are transferred to the state public school fund instead of the permanent school fund:

Public school energy efficiency fund - interest differential. A previously expired requirement that the legislative council staff calculate the additional interest earned on severance taxes paid monthly instead of quarterly is extended to September 1, 2015. The added interest, up to $1,500,000, is transferred to the public school energy efficiency fund.

Appropriation. For the 2011-12 fiscal year, the appropriations made in the annual general appropriation act to the department of education are adjusted as follows:

In addition, a footnote in the 2011-12 general appropriation act is adjusted to reduce the amount of funding that the department of education may use to fund students in the accelerating students through concurrent enrollment (ASCENT) program to $4,443,980.

APPROVED by Governor June 9, 2011
EFFECTIVE June 9, 2011

S.B. 11-266 School districts - background checks required for entities that contract with school districts for direct services. The act requires entities that contract with a school district for services performed for a public school to include a provision requiring background checks for those employees who provide direct services to students, including but not limited to transportation, instruction, or food services. The background check shall be required only for those persons who have regular, but not incidental, contact with students at least once a month, excluding faculty members from institutions of higher education who contract to teach for the school district and have otherwise undergone a background check.

APPROVED by Governor May 27, 2011
EFFECTIVE May 27, 2011

H.B. 11-1053 School districts - school attendance law - judicial proceedings to compel attendance. The initiation of court proceedings against a truant minor to compel compliance with the compulsory attendance statute shall be initiated by a school district as a last-resort approach, to be used only after the school district has attempted other options for addressing truancy that employ best practices and research-based strategies to minimize the need for court action and the risk of detention orders against a child or parent.

APPROVED by Governor March 25, 2011
EFFECTIVE March 25, 2011

H.B. 11-1069 Physical activity - policy - minimum requirements. The act directs each school district board of education to adopt a policy that incorporates a minimum number of minutes of physical activity each month, or each day if the school meets less than 5 days per week, into each elementary school student's schedule. The state charter school institute must ensure that each institute charter school, working with its school accountability committee, adopts and implements a physical activity policy that complies with the minimum requirements for a school district policy. If a school currently provides more than the minimum required minutes of physical activity, it cannot reduce the number of minutes except for budgetary reasons. A school cannot substitute noninstructional physical activity for standards-based physical education instruction.

The state board of education is encouraged to include in the school performance report information concerning each school district's and each public school's incorporation of physical activity into the school day.

APPROVED by Governor April 20, 2011
EFFECTIVE April 20, 2011

H.B. 11-1077 Exceptional Children's Educational Act. The act separates the "Exceptional Children's Educational Act" into 2 parts: One concerning children with disabilities and another concerning gifted children. Language related only to gifted children is relocated to the second part.

APPROVED by Governor March 18, 2011
EFFECTIVE August 10, 2011

NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause. For further explanation concerning the effective date, see page vi of this digest.

H.B. 11-1089 Charter schools - grant applications. Under current law, the state charter school institute (institute) may act as the local education agency for a district charter school or institute charter school in applying for a grant program created by a federal statute other than the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" or the "Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965". The act removes the exception for the "Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965" and authorizes the institute to act as the local education agency for a charter school applying for a grant under any federal or state statute or program, except the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act".

If a charter school applies for a grant, using the institute as local education agency and fiscal agent, the charter school will provide to its authorizing school district:

If a charter school intends to apply for a grant that its authorizing school district is also intending to apply for, the charter school must seek to collaborate with the school district so that they may jointly apply for the grant. If the charter school and the school district find they cannot agree to collaborate, the charter school may apply independently or in collaboration with other school districts.

APPROVED by Governor March 25, 2011
EFFECTIVE March 25, 2011

H.B. 11-1121 School district employees - licensed and nonlicensed - disqualification from employment for certain felony convictions - Safer Schools Act of 2011 - appropriation. Enacting the Safer Schools Act of 2011, the act prohibits, with certain exceptions, a school district, charter school, or institute charter school (school district), from employing a person in a nonlicensed position if that person has been convicted of certain enumerated felonies, including but not limited to drug and domestic violence felonies. For a felony drug conviction, the disqualification applies for 5 years only, and the person must have committed the drug felony on or after August 25, 2012. With respect to a domestic violence felony, the disqualification applies for 5 years only, provided the person has completed any court-ordered domestic violence training. Notwithstanding the automatic 5-year disqualification from employment in nonlicensed positions for persons with felony drug or domestic violence convictions, the act allows a person to seek reconsideration of the denial of employment from the school district. The school district may hire the person after assessing the current safety risk, using enumerated factors, of employing the person in the position sought.

The automatic disqualification from employment applies to a person whose fingerprint-based background check is completed on or after the effective date of the act and does not require a school district to conduct a second or subsequent background check.

Additionally, the act prohibits the state board of education from granting or renewing a teacher's license, endorsement, or authorization for any person who has committed a drug felony on or after August 25, 2012, for a period of 5 years following the commission of the offense.

The act appropriates $83,383 to the department of education from the education licensure cash fund and reappropriates $11,005 to the department of law for the provision of legal services for the department of education.

APPROVED by Governor May 27, 2011
EFFECTIVE August 10, 2011

NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause. For further explanation concerning the effective date, see page vi of this digest.

H.B. 11-1126 Parent involvement - policy - school plans - notice - public meetings. The act encourages each school district board of education (district board) to adopt a parent involvement policy that applies to each of the public schools of the school district. The policy may take into account best practices and strategies and the national standards for family-school partnerships. The district board is encouraged to work with the parent members of the district accountability committee in creating, adopting, and implementing the policy.

If a school of the school district is required to adopt an improvement, priority improvement, or turnaround plan, the school district must notify parents of the requirement to adopt the plan and the timeline for developing and adopting the plan. Prior to finally adopting the plan, the principal or the district board must hold a public hearing to review the plan and the school's progress in improving its performance over the previous school year. Each district board may solicit and accept public or private gifts, grants, or donations to implement the parent involvement programs created by the policy.

The state charter school institute (institute) is encouraged to adopt a comparable parent involvement policy for institute charter schools and is required to comply with the notice and public hearing requirements for institute charter schools that implement improvement, priority improvement, or turnaround plans. The institute may solicit, accept, and expend public or private gifts, grants, or donations to implement the parent involvement programs created by the policy.

APPROVED by Governor April 20, 2011
EFFECTIVE August 10, 2011

NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause. For further explanation concerning the effective date, see page vi of this digest.

H.B. 11-1201 Educator licenses - renewal - continuous appropriation of fees - proof of lawful presence. To renew a professional educator license, a licensee must show that he or she completed certain professional development activities. In the process of renewing the license, the department of education (department) checks to ensure that the licensee actually completed the activities and that he or she meets the statutory and regulatory requirements for professional development activities. The act creates an affidavit of completion of ongoing professional development activities that a licensee seeking renewal will submit with the renewal application. In the affidavit, the licensee affirms under oath that he or she completed the specified activities within the required time frame and that, to the best of the licensee's knowledge, the activities meet the statutory and regulatory requirements. The department is not required to verify the information in the affidavit.

Under current law, the department collects a fee from each person who seeks issuance or renewal of an educator license or endorsement. The money received as fees is annually appropriated to the department to offset the costs of issuing and renewing licenses and endorsements. Under the act, the money received as fees is continuously appropriated to the department for the next 3 fiscal years. During that time, the department will report annually to the education committees and the joint budget committee concerning its progress in reducing the time for issuing and renewing educator licenses. Any persons the department hires during these 3 years to assist in reducing the backlog of educator licenses must be independent contractors, and the contracts cannot extend beyond June 30, 2014.

The act exempts the renewal of educator licenses from the list of benefits for which a person must demonstrate lawful presence in the state.

APPROVED by Governor May 4, 2011
EFFECTIVE May 4, 2011

H.B. 11-1254 School district boards - safe school plan - conduct and discipline code - bullying prevention and education grant program - bullying. The act creates the school bullying prevention and education grant program (program) in the department of education (department) to allow a public school, a facility school, or a collaborative group of public schools or facility schools to apply for grants to fund programs to reduce the frequency of bullying incidents. The department shall solicit and review applications from public schools and facility schools for grants. Applying certain minimum criteria, the department may award grants for periods of one to three years. The department shall submit annually to the state board of education (state board) and to the education committees of the senate and house of representatives, or any successor committees, a list of grant recipients, the amount awarded to each grant recipient, the average amount of each grant, the number of pupils who are either enrolled at each public school of each grant recipient or receiving services through each facility school of each grant recipient, and the source and amount of each gift, grant, and donation received by the department for the implementation of the program. In selecting grant recipients, the department, to the extent possible, shall ensure that grants are awarded to public schools and facility schools in a variety of geographic areas of the state. Each grant recipient shall report to the department concerning the effectiveness of the programs that are funded by grants from the program.

The state board shall promulgate rules for the administration of the program.

Each applicant for a grant from the program is required to annually survey each student enrolled in the applicant public school or receiving services from the applicant facility school concerning the student's impressions of the severity of bullying in his or her school. The administration of the student surveys shall comply with rules promulgated by the state board. Each applicant school is also required to designate a team of persons who advise the school administration concerning the severity and frequency of bullying incidents that occur in the school.

The school bullying prevention and education cash fund (cash fund) is established in the state treasury. The department may seek, accept, and expend gifts, grants, and donations from public and private sources to fund the program.

The department shall not be required to implement the program until such time as sufficient moneys are transferred or appropriated to the cash fund.

The act requires district charter schools and institute charter schools to adopt and implement policies concerning bullying prevention and education.

The act requires the dress code policy of each school district board of education (local board) to encourage school pride and unity and promote uniformity of dress.

No person shall take any retaliatory action against a student who reports in good faith an incident of bullying, and each school district shall include in its policies appropriate consequences for such action.

APPROVED by Governor May 13, 2011
EFFECTIVE May 13, 2011

H.B. 11-1277 School mandates - alternative education campuses - academic growth and performance data - school turnaround plans - special education - reporting requirements for on-line programs - charter school consortiums - school food authorities. If a bill is introduced before the general assembly that imposes upon a school district or a local board any new mandate, each school district, local board, or board of cooperative services that is affected by the new mandate shall have 7 days after the date of such bill's introduction to prepare and submit to the director of research of the office of legislative council (director) or his or her designee a brief summary of the fiscal impact of the new mandate upon the budget of the school district, local board, or board of cooperative services. The director or his or her designee shall include with his or her analysis each brief summary that is timely received.

The definition of "high-risk student" for purposes of alternative education campuses is defined to include those students who are over traditional school age or lack adequate credit hours for his or her age. The act also removes references to specific dates for the application process for a school to apply to be designated as an alternative education campus.

School districts are allowed more timely access to school and student academic growth and performance data.

Statutory language concerning school turnaround plans is amended, including removing the requirement that the state review panel review restructuring options and district and school turnaround plans.

A provision is added allowing school districts with fewer than 1,000 students to submit a single plan that satisfies both district and school plan requirements. A school district with more than 1,000 but fewer than 1,200 may, upon request and at department's discretion, submit a single plan.

The calculation for enrollment stability at a public school is repealed.

The method for identifying a school for receipt of the governor's distinguished improvement award is amended to include schools that demonstrate growth across multiple years.

Multiple changes are made to the "Exceptional Children's Educational Act" to conform to changes in local and federal regulations and practices.

The act also addresses accreditation, certification, and reporting requirements for on-line programs.

The school counselor corps reporting deadline is changed from April to May.

The staff of the legislative council is directed to request from the department of education information on the fiscal impact of proposed legislation on the local school districts.

Language is added to grant the state board of education the authority to promulgate rules allowing a single charter school or consortium of charter schools to apply for grants and programs. Language is also added to allow a charter school collaborative to act as a school food authority.

APPROVED by Governor June 9, 2011
EFFECTIVE August 10, 2011

NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause. For further explanation concerning the effective date, see page vi of this digest.

 


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