Betts, Pavalock-D’Amato support mandate relief legislation

State representatives Whit Betts (R-78) and Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) earlier this week colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing legislation aimed at providing education mandate relief for municipalities.

“Since 2011, education officials and the mayors from Bristol and Plymouth have repeatedly asked state government to provide financial relief from expensive state unfunded mandates, and I am really pleased to report some of their requests have been granted by the House of Representatives,” said Betts, a co-sponsor of the bill, a Connecticut House Republicans’ press release reported. “I hope this breakthrough of receiving legislative relief from state unfunded mandates is the beginning of a new attitude that will continue for the next few years. The financial savings from unfunded state mandates come at a crucial time as state funding to municipalities has become unpredictable and uncertain.”

“I proudly supported this bill throughout the committee process, where we heard from several superintendents and town officials during public hearings about the immediate need for education mandate relief in our communities,” said Pavalock-D’Amato, also a co-sponsor of the bill and member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee, the press release reported. “The bill potentially has an estimated savings of up to $400,000 for the Bristol Board of Education. It provides more local control, without burdensome state mandates, to ensure the highest quality education for our children.”

The bill’s provisions include, the press release said:

Eliminate the requirement for school districts to adopt a regional calendar

Require the state to purchase one digital school management and reporting software system

Provide a digital school management and reporting software system at no cost to districts; allowing districts to decide how they provide education to expelled students

Allow districts to focus training in procedures for handling highly sensitive behavioral issues on staff who have direct contact with students

The bill is supported by Connecticut Council of Small Towns, said the press release. The measure passed out of the House of Representatives and awaits further action by the Senate.

The 2017 legislative session adjourns on June 7.