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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Report on 2012-2013 Legislation

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
September 13, 2013

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The following laws relating to elementary and secondary education have been enacted during the 2012-2013 legislative session. The laws are listed in chronological order.

Third Grade Reading Proficiency

Chapter 287 of the Acts of 2012, approved September 26, 2012, effective October 26, 2012.

This law establishes a 9-member Early Reading Expert Panel to advise the Executive Office of Education, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Early Education and Care, and the Department of Higher Education.

The panel will make recommendations to the agencies on alignment, coordination, and implementation of five areas related to language and literacy development:

  • Comprehensive curricula
  • Effective instructional practices
  • Pre-service and in-service professional development
  • Developmentally appropriate screening and assessment
  • Family partnership strategies

Commonwealth Virtual Schools

Chapter 379 of the Acts of 2012, approved and effective January 2, 2013.

This law authorizes the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to adopt regulations and, through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, to oversee the establishment and operation of publicly funded, high quality virtual schools in the Commonwealth. It also establishes a 15-member Digital Learning Advisory Council. Proposed regulations on virtual schools are scheduled to be presented to the Board in the fall of 2013.

Health Insurance Benefits for Lawrence Public School Teachers

Chapter 408 of the Acts of 2012, approved and effective January 4, 2013.

This law allows building-based educators and long-term substitutes employed by the Lawrence Public Schools in a full-time, full-year position to be members of the Lawrence Retirement System and makes those persons eligible for health insurance coverage through the Group Insurance Commission.

Licensure of Behavior Analysts

Chapter 429 of the Acts of 2012, approved January 8, 2013, effective February 7, 2013.

This law requires the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions to establish regulations for the licensing of applied behavior analysts and assistant applied behavior analysts. The statute permits professionals in other fields to practice or assist in the practice of applied behavior analysis (ABA) so long as their practice is consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions. Applied behavior analysis is frequently included in the Individualized Education Programs of young students with autism. This law would require the ABA service provider to be licensed or supervised by a licensed ABA service provider.

Annual Notice Regarding Immunization

Chapter 431 of the Acts of 2012, approved January 8, 2013, effective April 8, 2013.

This law requires the Department of Public Health to adopt regulations requiring all elementary and secondary schools and all providers of early education to distribute to the parent or guardian of a child in its care information regarding the benefits of annual immunization against influenza, for children 6 months of age to 18 years of age.

Access to Epinephrine and Other Medications in Schools

Chapter 432 of the Acts of 2012, approved January 8, 2013, effective April 8, 2013.

This law amends Mass. General Laws Chapter 71, Section 54B. It authorizes the Department of Public Health to adopt regulations on administration of medication in schools and prevents school districts from prohibiting students with asthma, respiratory diseases, allergies, or diabetes from possessing and self administering prescription inhalers, epinephrine, glucose monitoring, and insulin.

An Act Relative to Background Checks

Chapter 459 of the Acts of 2012, approved January 10, 2013, effective February 9, 2013.

This law amends a number of sections of the Mass. General Laws to require fingerprint-based checks for any employees of schools or child-care providers with direct and unmonitored access to children. It expands what public, private, and parochial schools, including approved private special education schools and child care facilities, already do in conducting state Criminal Offender Record Information checks on all employees at least once every three years. It creates a national criminal database check for all school employees and contractor employees. The law applies to new employees as of the 2013-2014 school year and to existing employees no later than the 2016-2017 school year. Individuals will pay a fee to comply with this requirement that ranges from up to $35 for non-licensed employees to up to $55 for license-holders. The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security will design the system to meet this new national background check requirement. The law directs the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Early Education and Care to adopt regulations. For further information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions document.

Amended by Chapter 77 of the Acts of 2013, approved and effective September 3, 2013.

This law adopts corrective amendments needed to bring the 2012 background checks law in line with FBI requirements on dissemination and retention of criminal history record information so the law can be implemented in Massachusetts. Emergency regulations will be presented to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at the September 24, 2013 meeting. Final regulations are scheduled to be considered at the December Board meeting.

Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District Stabilization

Chapter 24 of the Acts of 2013, approved and effective June 14, 2013.

This law authorizes the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District to borrow up to $3,000,000 for the purpose of funding deficits in the district's fiscal year 2013 budget. The law makes certain school committee financial actions subject to the written approval of the commissioner, and requires the commissioner to appoint a fiscal overseer who will supervise school district finances and submit reports to the commissioner.

FY13 Supplemental Budget

Chapter 36 of the Acts of 2013, approved and effective July 11, 2013.

Section 79
This section requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to administer the uniform college and career readiness pilot program. Pilot school districts, charter schools, or innovation schools shall receive funding to administer placement tests and diagnostic assessment tests and deliver the diagnosed remediation services.

FY14 Budget (General Appropriations Act)

Chapter 38 of the Acts of 2013, approved July 12, 2013, effective July 1, 2013.

Budget line items of particular note:

Line 7009-9600. Transfers the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Pilot Program to the Executive Office of Education to facilitate collaboration between elementary/secondary education and higher education.

New grant programs:

Line 7061-9011. Innovative Schools Grant Program . . . . . . . . $1,000,000
Line 7061- 9612. Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Program.. $200,000
Line 7061-9811. Creative and Innovative Education Index . . . . .$125,000

Outside sections that are of significance to the Department:

Sections 72, 73, 74. These sections expand provisions of the anti-bullying law (Mass. General Laws Chapter 71, Section 37O) to include staff conduct in the definition of bullying.

Section 74A. Repeals changes to non-resident vocational school tuition adopted in the FY13 budget.



Last Updated: September 20, 2013
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