CHAPTER 168
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AND EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN

Table of Contents

Sec. 10-186. Duties of local and regional boards of education re school attendance. Hearings. Appeals to state board. Establishment of hearing board. Readmission. Transfers.
Sec. 10-198a. Policies and procedures concerning truants.
Sec. 10-198b. State Board of Education to define "excused absence" and "unexcused absence" for purpose of reporting truancy.

      Sec. 10-186. Duties of local and regional boards of education re school attendance. Hearings. Appeals to state board. Establishment of hearing board. Readmission. Transfers. (a) Each local or regional board of education shall furnish, by transportation or otherwise, school accommodations so that each child five years of age and over and under twenty-one years of age who is not a graduate of a high school or vocational school may attend public school, except as provided in section 10-233c, and subsection (d) of section 10-233d. Any board of education which denies school accommodations, including a denial based on an issue of residency, to any such child shall inform the parent or guardian of such child or the child, in the case of an emancipated minor or a pupil eighteen years of age or older, of his right to request a hearing by the board of education in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section. A board of education which has denied school accommodations shall advise the board of education under whose jurisdiction it claims such child should be attending school of the denial. For purposes of this section, (1) a "parent or guardian" shall include a surrogate parent appointed pursuant to section 10-94g, and (2) a child residing in a dwelling located in more than one town in this state shall be considered a resident of each town in which the dwelling is located and may attend school in any one of such towns. For purposes of this subsection, "dwelling" means a single, two or three-family house or a condominium unit.

      (b) (1) If any board of education denies such accommodations, the parent or guardian of any child who is denied schooling, or an emancipated minor or a pupil eighteen years of age or older who is denied schooling, or an agent or officer charged with the enforcement of the laws concerning attendance at school, may, in writing, request a hearing by the board of education. The board of education may (A) conduct the hearing, (B) designate a subcommittee of the board composed of three board members to conduct the hearing, or (C) establish a local impartial hearing board of one or more persons not members of the board of education to conduct the hearing. The board, subcommittee or local impartial hearing board shall give such person a hearing within ten days after receipt of the written request, make a stenographic record or tape recording of the hearing and make a finding within ten days after the hearing. Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of sections 4-176e to 4-180a, inclusive, and section 4-181a. Any child, emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older who is denied accommodations on the basis of residency may continue in attendance in the school district at the request of the parent or guardian of such child or emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older, pending a hearing pursuant to this subdivision. The party claiming ineligibility for school accommodations shall have the burden of proving such ineligibility by a preponderance of the evidence, except in cases of denial of schooling based on residency, the party denied schooling shall have the burden of proving residency by a preponderance of the evidence.

      (2) Any such parent, guardian, emancipated minor, pupil eighteen years of age or older, or agent or officer, aggrieved by the finding shall, upon request, be provided with a transcript of the hearing within thirty days after such request and may take an appeal from the finding to the State Board of Education. A copy of each notice of appeal shall be filed simultaneously with the local or regional board of education and the State Board of Education. Any child, emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older who is denied accommodations by a board of education as the result of a determination by such board, or a subcommittee of the board or local impartial hearing board, that the child is not a resident of the school district and therefore is not entitled to school accommodations in the district may continue in attendance in the school district at the request of the parent or guardian of such child or such minor or pupil, pending a determination of such appeal. If an appeal is not taken to the State Board of Education within twenty days of the mailing of the finding to the aggrieved party, the decision of the board, subcommittee or local impartial hearing board shall be final. The local or regional board of education shall, within ten days after receipt of notice of an appeal, forward the record of the hearing to the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education shall, on receipt of a written request for a hearing made in accordance with the provisions of this subsection, establish an impartial hearing board of one or more persons to hold a public hearing in the local or regional school district in which the cause of the complaint arises. Members of the hearing board may be employees of the Department of Education or may be qualified persons from outside the department. No member of the board of education under review nor any employee of such board of education shall be a member of the hearing board. Members of the hearing board, other than those employed by the Department of Education, shall be paid reasonable fees and expenses as established by the State Board of Education within the limits of available appropriations. Such hearing board may examine witnesses and shall maintain a verbatim record of all formal sessions of the hearing. Either party to the hearing may request that the hearing board join all interested parties to the hearing, or the hearing board may join any interested party on its own motion. The hearing board shall have no authority to make a determination of the rights and responsibilities of a board of education if such board is not a party to the hearing. The hearing board may render a determination of actual residence of any child, emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older where residency is at issue.

      (3) The hearing board shall render its decision within forty-five days after receipt of the notice of appeal except that an extension may be granted by the Commissioner of Education upon an application by a party or the hearing board describing circumstances related to the hearing which require an extension.

      (4) If, after the hearing, the hearing board finds that any child is illegally or unreasonably denied schooling, the hearing board shall order the board of education under whose jurisdiction it has been found such child should be attending school to make arrangements to enable the child to attend public school. Except in the case of a residency determination, the finding of the local or regional board of education, subcommittee of such board or a local impartial hearing board shall be upheld unless it is determined by the hearing board that the finding was arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. If such school officers fail to take action upon such order in any case in which such child is currently denied schooling and no suitable provision is made for such child within fifteen days after receipt of the order and in all other cases, within thirty days after receipt of the order, there shall be a forfeiture of the money appropriated by the state for the support of schools amounting to fifty dollars for each child for each day such child is denied schooling. If the hearing board makes a determination that the child was not a resident of the school district and therefore not entitled to school accommodations from such district, the board of education may assess tuition against the parent or guardian of the child or the emancipated minor or pupil eighteen years of age or older based on the following: One one-hundred-eightieth of the town's net current local educational expenditure, as defined in section 10-261, per pupil multiplied by the number of days of school attendance of the child in the district while not entitled to school accommodations provided by that district. The local board of education may seek to recover the amount of the assessment through available civil remedies.

      (c) In the event of an appeal pursuant to section 10-187 from a decision of a hearing board established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, upon request, the State Board of Education shall supply for the fee per page specified in section 1-212, a copy of the transcript of the formal sessions of the hearing board to the parent or guardian or emancipated minor or a pupil eighteen years of age or older and to the local or regional board of education.

      (d) (1) For the school year commencing July 1, 2010, if a child sixteen years of age or older voluntarily terminates enrollment in a school district and subsequently seeks readmission, the local or regional board of education for the school district may deny school accommodations to such child for up to ninety school days from the date of such termination, unless such child seeks readmission to such school district not later than ten school days after such termination in which case such board shall provide school accommodations to such child not later than three school days after such child seeks readmission.

      (2) For the school year commencing July 1, 2011, and each school year thereafter, if a child seventeen years of age or older voluntarily terminates enrollment in a school district and subsequently seeks readmission, the local or regional board of education for the school district may deny school accommodations to such child for up to ninety school days from the date of such termination, unless such child seeks readmission to such school district not later than ten school days after such termination in which case such board shall provide school accommodations to such child not later than three school days after such child seeks readmission.

      (e) A local or regional board of education shall immediately enroll any student who transfers from Unified School District #1 or Unified School District #2. In the case of a student who transfers from Unified School District #1 or Unified School District #2 to the school district in which such student attended school prior to enrollment in Unified School District #1 or Unified School District #2, such student shall be enrolled in the school such student previously attended, provided such school has the appropriate grade level for such student.

      (1949 Rev., S. 1447; 1955, S. 941d; 1967, P.A. 463, S. 1; P.A. 75-639; P.A. 78-218, S. 118; P.A. 79-292, S. 1, 3; P.A. 80-175, S. 2, 5; P.A. 81-215, S. 2, 3; P.A. 83-119, S. 4, 8; P.A. 85-384, S. 1, 2; P.A. 86-303, S. 1, 4; P.A. 88-317, S. 55, 107; P.A. 92-170, S. 10, 26; 92-262, S. 15, 42; P.A. 93-353, S. 13, 52; P.A. 95-130, S. 1, 2; P.A. 96-26, S. 1, 4; 96-161, S. 5, 13; 96-244, S. 43, 63; P.A. 97-31, S. 1, 2; P.A. 06-192, S. 9; Sept. Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-6, S. 55; P.A. 11-115, S. 1.)

      History: 1967 act required school accommodations for children over five and under twenty-one who have not graduated from high or vocational school or are not otherwise legally excluded, rather than for those over six and under sixteen; P.A. 75-639 included regional school districts, deleted reference to children "not otherwise legally excluded from school", required stenographic or taped record of hearings, required provision of transcript to aggrieved parties upon request and allowed overturn of local or regional board's findings only when determined by state board to be "arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable"; P.A. 78-218 substituted "local" for "town", "board of education" for "school district" and "five years of age and over" for "over five"; P.A. 79-292 transferred duties formerly performed by state board and its members to established hearing board and added Subsecs. (b) and (c) re persons excluded from hearing board and members' reimbursement and re transcript copies for interested parties in event of appeal; P.A. 80-175 allowed emancipated minors or pupils 18 or older to take action allowed parents or guardians under section; P.A. 81-215 added exception re provisions of Sec. 10-233d to requirement that boards of education furnish transportation under Subsec. (a); P.A. 83-119 amended Subsec. (a) to permit board of education to suspend transportation services, see Sec. 10-233c; P.A. 85-384 amended Subsec. (a) to require a copy of each notice of appeal to be filed simultaneously with the local or regional board of education and the state board of education to require that within 10 days after receipt of such notice, the local or regional board must forward the hearing record to the state board, to require verbatim record of all formal hearing sessions, to require hearing board to render decision within 45 days of receipt of the notice of appeal unless extension requested and granted, and to reduce deadline for providing for child deprived of schooling from 30 to 15 days and to increase penalty from $2.25 per child per week to $50 per child per day; P.A. 86-303 restructured Subsec. (a) and transferred the provisions of Subsec. (b) to Subsec. (a)(2) and substantially revised the section to place new obligations on boards of education when school accommodations are denied, to make special provisions when a denial is based on residency, to specify the burden of proof in a hearing under the section, to describe the powers of the hearing board, to provide for the assessment of tuition, and to make other procedural and technical changes; P.A. 88-317 amended reference to Secs. 4-177 to 4-180 in Subsec. (b)(1) to include new sections added to Ch. 54, effective July 1, 1989, and applicable to all agency proceedings commencing on or after that date; P.A. 92-170 amended Subsec. (b)(1) to add the exception for residency disputes; P.A. 92-262 amended Subsec. (c) to allow the state board to charge for the copy rather than to provide it at the board's expense; P.A. 93-353 amended Subsec. (a) to apply the provisions of this section to surrogate parents, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-130 amended Subsec. (a) to add provision relating to children living in dwellings located in more than one town and to define "dwelling", effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 96-26 added Subsec. (d) allowing denial of school accommodations for up to 90 days to a child 16 years of age or older who voluntarily terminated enrollment and seeks readmission, effective July 1, 1996; P.A. 96-161 added provision allowing the board of education to designate a subcommittee of the board or a local impartial hearing board, effective July 1, 1996; P.A. 96-244 amended Subsec. (a) to add provision allowing a child determined pursuant to Subdiv. (2) to be attending school in a town other than his own to remain in the school he is attending until the school year is completed, effective June 6, 1996; P.A. 97-31 changed provision in Subsec. (a) re residence for dwellings located in more than one town to provide for residency for purposes of school accommodations in each such town, effective July 1, 1997; P.A. 06-192 amended Subsec. (b)(2) by making a technical change and by changing the employer of the members of the hearing board who are not paid fees and expenses from the state to the Department of Education, effective June 7, 2006; Sept. Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-6 amended Subsec. (d) by designating existing provisions as Subdiv. (1) and amending same to make applicable to school year commencing July 1, 2010, and add provision re readmission to school district not later than 10 school days after termination of enrollment, and by adding Subdiv. (2) re voluntary termination of enrollment by child 17 years of age or older and readmission to school district applicable to school year commencing July 1, 2011, and each school year thereafter, effective October 5, 2009; P.A. 11-115 made a technical change in Subsecs. (a) and (b) and added Subsec. (e) re students transferring from Unified School Districts #1 and #2, effective July 1, 2011.

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      Sec. 10-198a. Policies and procedures concerning truants. (a) For purposes of this section, "truant" means a child age five to eighteen, inclusive, who is enrolled in a public or private school and has four unexcused absences from school in any one month or ten unexcused absences from school in any school year.

      (b) Each local and regional board of education shall adopt and implement policies and procedures concerning truants who are enrolled in schools under the jurisdiction of such board of education. Such policies and procedures shall include, but need not be limited to, the following: (1) The holding of a meeting with the parent of each child who is a truant, or other person having control of such child, and appropriate school personnel to review and evaluate the reasons for the child being a truant, provided such meeting shall be held not later than ten school days after the child's fourth unexcused absence in a month or tenth unexcused absence in a school year, (2) coordinating services with and referrals of children to community agencies providing child and family services, (3) annually at the beginning of the school year and upon any enrollment during the school year, notifying the parent or other person having control of each child enrolled in a grade from kindergarten to eight, inclusive, in the public schools in writing of the obligations of the parent or such other person pursuant to section 10-184, (4) annually at the beginning of the school year and upon any enrollment during the school year, obtaining from the parent or other person having control of each child in a grade from kindergarten to eight, inclusive, a telephone number or other means of contacting such parent or such other person during the school day, and (5) a system of monitoring individual unexcused absences of children in grades kindergarten to eight, inclusive, which shall provide that whenever a child enrolled in school in any such grade fails to report to school on a regularly scheduled school day and no indication has been received by school personnel that the child's parent or other person having control of the child is aware of the pupil's absence, a reasonable effort to notify, by telephone and by mail, the parent or such other person shall be made by school personnel or volunteers under the direction of school personnel. Such mailed notice shall include a warning that two unexcused absences from school in a month or five unexcused absences in a school year may result in a complaint filed with the Superior Court pursuant to section 46b-149 alleging the belief that the acts or omissions of the child are such that the child's family is a family with service needs. Any person who, in good faith, gives or fails to give notice pursuant to subdivision (5) of this subsection shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, which might otherwise be incurred or imposed and shall have the same immunity with respect to any judicial proceeding which results from such notice or failure to give such notice.

      (c) If the parent or other person having control of a child who is a truant fails to attend the meeting held pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section or if such parent or other person otherwise fails to cooperate with the school in attempting to solve the truancy problem, such policies and procedures shall require the superintendent of schools to file, not later than fifteen calendar days after such failure to attend such meeting or such failure to cooperate with the school attempting to solve the truancy problem, for each such truant enrolled in the schools under his jurisdiction a written complaint with the Superior Court pursuant to section 46b-149 alleging the belief that the acts or omissions of the child are such that the child's family is a family with service needs.

      (d) Nothing in subsections (a) to (c), inclusive, of this section shall preclude a local or regional board of education from adopting policies and procedures pursuant to this section which exceed the requirements of said subsections.

      (e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any child receiving equivalent instruction pursuant to section 10-184.

      (P.A. 90-240, S. 1, 6; 90-325, S. 19, 32; P.A. 91-303, S. 4, 22; P.A. 95-182, S. 5, 11; 95-304, S. 2, 9; P.A. 98-243, S. 17, 25; P.A. 00-157, S. 5, 8; P.A. 11-136, S. 16.)

      History: Effective July 1, 1991, pursuant to P.A. 90-325; P.A. 91-303 limited the provisions of the section to children enrolled in a grade from kindergarten to grade eight, inclusive, changed the definition of "habitual truant" in Subsec. (a), inserted new Subsec. (b)(2) requiring coordination of services with and referrals to community agencies providing child and family services and renumbered the remaining Subdivs., added requirement in Subsec. (d) that the reports be on a school by school basis and limited the reports to information on habitual truants rather than children with unexcused absences, and added Subsec. (f) exempting children receiving equivalent instruction from provisions of section; P.A. 95-182 deleted Subsec. (d) re report on habitual truants and relettered remaining Subsecs., effective June 28, 1995; P.A. 95-304 deleted definition of "habitual truant" and references and procedures concerning habitual truants, amended Subsec. (a) to redefine "truant", amended Subsec. (c) to mandate the reporting by the superintendent if the parent or other person does not attend the meeting or otherwise fails to cooperate, and made technical changes, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 98-243 amended Subsec. (a) to lower the age from 7 to 5, effective July 1, 1998; P.A. 00-157 amended Subsec. (a) to change "sixteen" to "eighteen", effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 11-136 amended Subsec. (b) by adding provisions re mailed notice of unexcused absences and amended Subsec. (c) by adding provision re filing of complaint not later than 15 calendar days after failure to attend meeting or cooperate with school and by making a technical change, effective July 1, 2011.

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      Sec. 10-198b. State Board of Education to define "excused absence" and "unexcused absence" for purpose of reporting truancy. On or before July 1, 2012, the State Board of Education shall define "excused absence" and "unexcused absence" for use by local and regional boards of education for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 10-198a and for the purpose of reporting truancy, pursuant to subsection (c) of section 10-220.

      (P.A. 11-136, S. 18.)

      History: P.A. 11-136 effective July 1, 2011.

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