HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1617        FILED ON: 1/15/2015

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 309

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Jennifer E. Benson

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act to Promote Cost-Effective, High Quality In-District Programs for Students with Disability.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex

Kimberly N. Ferguson

1st Worcester

Brian M. Ashe

2nd Hampden

Barbara A. L'Italien

Second Essex and Middlesex

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Kate Hogan

3rd Middlesex

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1617        FILED ON: 1/15/2015

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 309

By Ms. Benson of Lunenburg, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 309) of Jennifer E. Benson and others relative to establishing a grant program to promote cost-effective, high quality in-district programs for students with disabilities.  Education.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Eighty-Ninth General Court
(2015-2016)

_______________

 

An Act to Promote Cost-Effective, High Quality In-District Programs for Students with Disability.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

Subject to appropriation the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall develop and administer a discretionary grant pilot program to provide monies to school districts to develop cost-effective and high quality models of in-district educational services and supports for students with disabilities currently enrolled in out-of-district programs and for students with disabilities identified by the district at risk for placement in more restrictive out-of-district programs. The goal of the grant program shall be for school districts to develop the capacity to educate children in their communities in the least restrictive environment in a high quality, cost effective program.   The pilot program will reflect the diversity of the Commonwealth’s schools, and will be limited to no more than six school districts, including two rural, two suburban and two urban school districts. The pilot demonstration program will run for at least three and no more than four years. The department shall issue a RFP no later than three months after the start of the first fiscal year to be disseminated statewide to all local school districts. 

Each school district shall receive a grant to be used to design, plan, and administer the in-district program.  School districts are may contract with private schools and collaboratives to provide consultation and programmatic expertise, support, and services necessary to develop capacity to serve students within the district.   Funds can additionally be used for staff training, staff planning time and materials and technology. Funds may not be used to pay for salaries for personnel employed or contracted by the school district in programs currently operating in the district.

The first year of the grant pilot shall be devoted exclusively to planning, including but not limited to involving parents from the community.   The second and third years shall be devoted to implementation, and the final year shall also be devoted to evaluation.  The department shall identify an evaluator at the outset of the program to design the intervention, establish the methodology, and collect data from all the pilot programs to document and evaluate planning costs and requirements, efficacy, operational successes and challenges, outcomes, and cost effectiveness. 

There shall be an advisory committee which shall assist the department in developing and  implementing this grant program. Members of the advisory committee shall include the commissioner of the department of developmental services or designee, the commissioner of the department of mental health or designee, and the commissioner of the mass rehabilitation commission or designee, and one person selected by each of the following organizations: the Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives, the Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools, the Massachusetts Advocates for Children, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, and the Disability Law Center.

The department and the advisory committee shall report to the house and senate committees on ways and means and  the joint committee on education on the status of the  project annually on August 31, with a final report at the conclusion of the demonstration which reports findings on the efficacy of the pilot programs and makes recommendations to support high quality cost-effective in-district programs statewide, including but not limited to any recommendations on mechanisms for reimbursing special education costs.