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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Proposed Rescission of Obsolete Regulations: 603 CMR 3.00 (Private Occupational Schools); 603 CMR 6.00 (Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants); 603 CMR 38.00 (School Construction Grants), 603 CMR 45.00 (Agricultural High Schools)

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
April 15, 2016

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I am recommending that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education take an initial vote on April 26, 2016, to rescind four sets of obsolete regulations: 603 CMR 3.00 (Private Occupational Schools); 603 CMR 6.00 (Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants); 603 CMR 38.00 (School Construction Grants), and 603 CMR 45.00 (Agricultural High Schools). With the Board's approval, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will seek public comment on the regulatory actions, as required by the state Administrative Procedure Act. I plan to bring the regulations back to the Board for a final vote on rescission at your June 2016 meeting. The four regulations are attached. Details on each are set forth below.

The Department has been reviewing all the regulations under our jurisdiction in accordance with Governor Baker's Executive Order EO5621. The review includes consideration of these factors, among others: the purpose/necessity of the regulation; the year of most recent review or amendment; whether the regulation is required by state or federal law; and reporting requirements associated with the regulation. We have determined that these four sets of regulations should be rescinded because they are obsolete due to changes in state law and practice.

  1. Regulations on Private Occupational Schools, 603 CMR 3.00

    With the enactment of Chapter 106 of the Acts of 2012, An Act Relative to Oversight of Private Occupational Schools2, the authority to regulate private proprietary schools (e.g., private trade and business schools) was transferred from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL). Chapter 106 unified proprietary school licensure in a single executive office dedicated to business regulation and consumer protection, thus providing greater protection for consumers and enabling the Department to focus on its core mission of K-12 public education.

    In accordance with Chapter 106, the Board's Regulations on Private Occupational Schools remain in effect until DPL promulgates its own regulations governing proprietary schools. To ensure there is no gap in the regulation of these schools, our Department is coordinating with DPL so that the effective date of the rescission will coincide with the effective date of DPL's new regulations. Some members might recall that the Board took an initial vote to rescind these regulations in April 2014, based on our understanding at that time that DPL was about to adopt its new regulations. Because that did not happen, we did not file the rescission within three months of the Board's vote, and the vote lapsed. Hence I am recommending a vote this month, based on assurance that DPL is adopting its new regulations this spring.

    For this proposed rescission, we are using the emergency regulations provision of the State Administrative Procedure Act, G.L. c. 30A, § 3, so we can coordinate our timing to coincide with the date that DPL files its new regulations.3 We want to avoid the confusion that might result from having two sets of regulations from two different agencies on this matter. Under the statute, if an agency finds that the immediate adoption or rescission of regulations is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observance of the requirements of prior notice and public comment would be contrary to the public interest, the agency may dispense with the usual notice and comment requirements and adopt the regulation as an emergency regulation. An emergency regulation (in this case, an emergency rescission) remains in effect no longer than three months after filing, unless during that time the agency follows the notice and comment process.

    With the Board's approval, the Department will provide notice and an opportunity for public comment on the emergency rescission of the Regulations on Private Occupational Schools, in accordance with the requirements of G.L. c. 30A, §3. I plan to bring this back to the Board for a final vote at your June 2016 meeting.

  2. Regulations on Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants, 603 CMR 6.00

    The Board adopted the Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant regulations in 1998. From 1998-2003, the Department used the regulations to implement the state-funded "incoming teacher signing bonus program," per G.L. c. 15A, §19B4, and the "master teacher corps program," per G.L. c. 15A, §19C5. The Legislature established these programs in 1998. These programs and the funding appropriation for them ended in 2003. While the statutes remain on the books, the fact that the programs have been unfunded for thirteen years leads me to conclude that the regulations are obsolete and should be rescinded. If the Legislature decides in the future to restore funding for these particular programs, the Board and Department can determine at that point whether new regulations are needed or whether, as with most other grant programs, administrative guidelines would suffice.

    With the Board's approval, the Department will provide notice and an opportunity for public comment on the proposed rescission of the Regulations on Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants, in accordance with the requirements of G.L. c. 30A, §3. I plan to bring this back to the Board for a final vote at your June 2016 meeting.

  3. Regulations on School Construction Grants, 603 CMR 38.00

    The Board originally adopted the School Construction Grant regulations in the mid-20th century and last amended them in 2004. From approximately 1949-2000, the Department used the criteria and process set forth in the regulation to award state grant funds to cities, towns, and regional school districts for construction and major renovation of public school buildings, per St. 1948, c. 645, as amended. In 2000, G.L.c. 70B was enacted, superseding St. 1948, c. 645, as amended, and creating the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). In 2004, G.L. c. 70B6 was further amended, effectuating the full transition of the state school building program from the Department to the MSBA.

    The Board and Department retained 603 CMR 38.00 for some years after the MSBA adopted its own regulations, to allow completion of proceedings relating to school building projects that were "in the pipeline" under the former regulations. In 2015, the MSBA general counsel confirmed in an email to our general counsel that 603 CMR 38.00 is now obsolete and can be rescinded. The MSBA now oversees and regulates all school building assistance in the Commonwealth.

    With the Board's approval, the Department will provide notice and an opportunity for public comment on the proposed rescission of the Regulations on School Construction Grants, in accordance with the requirements of G.L. c. 30A, §3. I plan to bring this back to the Board for a final vote at your June 2016 meeting.

  4. Regulations on Independent Agricultural and Technical Institutes, 603 CMR 45.00

    The Board adopted these regulations in 2000, pursuant to the authority stated in G.L. c.74A, § 217, a statute that the Legislature has since repealed. The regulations applied only to the Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute, which ceased to exist when it merged with North Shore Vocational Regional School District to create the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District, as a result of the enactment of St. 2004, c. 463, and St. 2010, c. 130. The regulations do not apply to the newly formed school district. G.L. Chapter 74A, §21 (and Chapter 74A in its entirety) was repealed by section 1 of Chapter 463 of the Acts of 2004. In accordance with Section 18 of Chapter 463, as amended by section 7 of Chapter 130 of the Acts of 2010, the repeal became effective on July 1, 2010, preceding the opening of the newly formed Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District. Consequently, these regulations are obsolete and should be rescinded.

    With the Board's approval, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will provide notice and an opportunity for public comment on the proposed rescission of the Regulations on Independent Agricultural and Technical Institutes, in accordance with the requirements of G.L. c. 30A, §3. I plan to bring this back to the Board for a final vote at your June 2016 meeting.


If you have any questions on any of these proposed regulatory actions, please contact me, Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, or General Counsel Rhoda Schneider. They will be at the April 26 Board meeting to respond to your questions.



Attachments:

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
603 CMR 3.00 (Private Occupational Schools) proposed for rescission
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
603 CMR 6.00 (Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants) proposed for rescission
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
603 CMR 38.00 (School Construction Grants) proposed for rescission
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
603 CMR 45.00 (Agricultural High Schools) proposed for rescission
Motions

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Last Updated: April 19, 2016
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