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Substitute House Bill No. 6501

Public Act No. 11-235

AN ACT CONCERNING DELAYS IN THE EVALUATION AND DETERMINATION PROCESS FOR STUDENTS SUSPECTED OF REQUIRING SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES AND THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 10-76ff of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2011):

(a) Each local and regional board of education shall, without delay, follow the procedures outlined in this section and in accordance with applicable federal law and regulations in determining if a child requires special education and related services, as defined in section 10-76a. (1) In conducting an evaluation of the child, the local or regional board of education shall: (A) Use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental and academic information, including information provided by the child's parent or guardian, that may assist in determining (i) whether the child is a child, (I) who requires special education and related services pursuant to subparagraphs (A) and (C) of subdivision (5) of section 10-76a, (II) whose disability has an adverse effect on his educational performance, and (III) who, by reason of such adverse effect requires special education and related services, and (ii) the content of the child's individualized education program, including information related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum or, for preschool children, to participate in appropriate activities; (B) not use any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a child with a disability or determining an appropriate educational program for the child; and (C) use technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors. (2) Each local and regional board of education shall ensure that: (A) Assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess the child are (i) selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis, and (ii) provided and administered in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally and functionally, unless it is not feasible to so provide or administer; (B) assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a child (i) are used for purposes for which the assessments or measures are valid and reliable, (ii) are administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel, and (iii) are administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of such tests; (C) the child is assessed in all areas of suspected disability; (D) assessment tools and strategies that provide relevant information that directly assists persons in determining the educational needs of the child are provided; and (E) assessments of children with disabilities who transfer from one school district to another school district in the same academic year are coordinated with such children's prior and subsequent schools, as necessary and as expeditiously as possible, to ensure prompt completion of full evaluations. (3) In accordance with section 10-76d and applicable federal law and regulations, upon completion of administration of assessments and other evaluation measures, the determination of whether the child is a child requiring special education and related services shall be made by a team consisting of qualified professionals and the parent or guardian of the child and a copy of the evaluation report and the documentation for such determination shall be given to the parent or guardian of the child. (4) The local or regional board of education shall not determine that a child requires special education and related services if the dominant factor for determining eligibility is (A) a lack of instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction, as defined in Section 1208(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, or mathematics or limited English proficiency, or (B) evidence that the child's behavior violates the school's disciplinary policies or evidence that is derived from the contents of discipline records.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 10-76i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) There shall be an Advisory Council for Special Education which shall advise the General Assembly, State Board of Education and the Commissioner of Education, and which shall engage in such other activities as described in this section. On and after July 1, 2010, the advisory council shall consist of the following members: (1) Nine appointed by the Commissioner of Education, (A) six of whom shall be (i) the parents of children with disabilities, provided such children are under the age of twenty-seven, or (ii) individuals with disabilities, (B) one of whom shall be an official of the Department of Education, (C) one of whom shall be a state or local official responsible for carrying out activities under Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 USC 11431 et seq. , as amended from time to time, and (D) one of whom shall be a representative of an institution of higher education in the state that prepares teacher and related services personnel; (2) one appointed by the Commissioner of Developmental Services who shall be an official of the department; (3) one appointed by the Commissioner of Children and Families who shall be an official of the department; (4) one appointed by the Commissioner of Correction who shall be an official of the department; (5) a representative from the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities; (6) a representative from the Parent Leadership Training Institute within the Commission on Children; (7) a representative from the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services within the Department of Social Services; [(5)] (8) five who are members of the General Assembly who shall serve as nonvoting members of the advisory council, one appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, one appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, one appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, one appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate and one appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; [(6)] (9) one appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate who shall be a member of the Connecticut Speech-Language-Hearing Association; [(7)] (10) one appointed by the majority leader of the Senate who shall be a public school teacher; [(8)] (11) one appointed by the minority leader of the Senate who shall be a representative of a vocational, community or business organization concerned with the provision of transitional services to children with disabilities; [(9)] (12) one appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives who shall be a member of the Connecticut Council of Special Education Administrators and who is a local education official; [(10)] (13) one appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives who shall be a representative of charter schools; [(11)] (14) one appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives who shall be a member of the Connecticut Association of Private Special Education Facilities; [(12)] (15) one appointed by the Chief Court Administrator of the Judicial Department who shall be an official of such department responsible for the provision of services to adjudicated children and youth; [(13)] (16) seven appointed by the Governor, all of whom shall be (A) the parents of children with disabilities, provided such children are under the age of twenty-seven, or (B) individuals with disabilities; and [(14)] (17) such other members as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400 et seq. , as amended from time to time, appointed by the Commissioner of Education. Appointments made pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be representative of the ethnic and racial diversity of, and the types of disabilities found in, the state population. The terms of the members of the council serving on June 8, 2010, shall expire on June 30, 2010. Appointments shall be made to the council by July 1, 2010. Members shall serve two-year terms, except that members appointed pursuant to subdivisions (1) to (3), inclusive, of this subsection whose terms commenced July 1, 2010, shall serve three-year terms and the successors to such members appointed pursuant to subdivisions (1) to (3), inclusive, of this subsection shall serve two-year terms.

Approved July 13, 2011