Analysis of SB 24

Summary - Substitute SB 24

  • Increases aggregate ECS grants by $50M, distributed by the existing formula


  • Creates 30 alliance districts, which are the lowest performing.  Districts keep the designation for five years. 
  • Establishes “educational reform” districts, a subgroup of alliance districts, which are the 10 districts with the lowest district performance indexes. 
  • A town’s district performance index is its students’ weighted performance on the statewide mastery tests in reading, writing, and mathematics given in grades three through eight and 10, and science in grades five, eight, and 10. To be eligible to receive conditional funds, a district must submit an application to the commissioner with objectives and performance targets and an improvement plan.
  • Establishes annual competitive grants ranging from $50K to $750K for alliance and non-alliance districts seeking to improve student performance using methods included in alliance district improvement plans. Districts may also accept matching funds from nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations for grant-funded programs as long as the matching funds do not limit their scope.


  • Allows a school district where a state charter school is located to use its student performance data to determine if the district’s performance is in need of improvement if it pays the charter school $1,000 annually for each of its resident students who attends the school.
  • Increases the state’s annual grant to state charter schools from $9,400 to $10,500 per student.
  • Allows SBE, within available appropriations, to approve operating grants of up to $3,000 per student for eligible local charter schools.
  • Allows SBE to award grants of up to $500,000 for startup costs for an eligible local charter school to be established on or after July 1, 2012.
  • Allows SBE to grant new state or local charters only to those located in a town (1) with at least one school in the commissioner’s network of schools or (2) whose district is designated as a low-achieving district.
  • Requires applications to include a student recruitment and retention plan and allows SBE to deny a charter renewal when a school made insufficient efforts to effectively attract, enroll, and retain students from among the same educationally needy populations.
  • Requires that enrollment lotteries held for state or local charter schools be conducted for the entire enrollment area of the school and ensure that all students in the community have an opportunity to participate in the lottery.


  • Establishes a “Connecticut attract the best teacher scholarship program” administered by the Office of Financial and Academic Affairs for Higher Education (FAAHE), in consultation with SDE. Eligible students who are hired by priority school districts or schools in the commissioner’s may receive a combination of grants and loan reimbursements of up to $15,000.


  • Revamps the education accountability law regarding identifying school districts in need of improvement and categorizing schools at different levels of performance in order to take action based on the category. 
  • Creates a school performance index (SPI) ranking system to separate schools into five categories.
  • Requires Category 3 Schools to (1) develop and implement plans to elevate the school from a low-achieving status and (2) impose any of the actions as defined in the statewide performance management and support plan the bill describes.
  • Designates category four and five schools as low-achieving schools and gives the SBE and the education commissioner a variety of ways of addressing them.  Gives SBE the additional options to:require the appointment of a superintendent, approved by the education commissioner or
    • require the appointment of a superintendent, approved by the education commissioner or
    • require the appointment of a special master, selected by the commissioner.


  • Requires the education commissioner to establish a commissioner's network for 10 lowest performing schools, which must be chosen from among the schools ranked in the bottom 5%, except that no more than two schools can be in one district.
  • Requires the plan to include:
    • an operations and instructional audit, as described in the school accountability law, for each school selected,
    • an outline of the commissioner’s authority to operate the financial and academic administration of the schools,
    • the turnaround model selected for each schools, including, but not limited to, CommPACT schools, as described law, and
    • provisions requiring any matters in a turnaround plan for a school that conflicts with an existing teacher or administrator union contract to be negotiated under the expedited collective bargaining established as part of the Windham special master law
  • The plan must be implemented for the school year commencing July 1, 2012. The commissioner must submit the network plan to the Education Committee by August 1, 2012.


  • Requires the Commissioner of Education to establish a family resource center or a school-based health clinic in a category four school or category five schools located in an alliance district. Limits the overall number to 20.


  • Requires SDE to develop a comprehensive plan to encourage exemplary teachers and administrators, as identified by performance evaluations under the bill and other measures, to work in the state’s lowest-performing schools and school districts and enhance the education profession’s career ladder in these schools.
  • The SBE must (1) approve the plan; (2) provide funding to develop and implement it and (3) adopt regulations or issue orders, as appropriate, to ensure that it is implemented.

Requires all school boards that have category four and five schools to establish school governance councils for each of those schools.

Requires the education commissioner to establish a competitive grant, within available appropriations, to share the cost of providing training and help to encourage students to apply for, enroll in, and graduate from college.

Requires SDE to establish a pilot grant program, within available appropriations, for a local or regional board of education operating an innovation school to help the state meet the desegregation goals of the 2008 Sheff v. O’Neill stipulation and court order.

Requires SDE to create a Connecticut School Leadership Academy program to provide educational management and professional development programs to teachers or school administrators who are either already certified or enrolled in an alternate route to certification (ARC) program.

Allows SDE to reward exemplary schools. The rewards may include, at the education commissioner’s discretion, (1) public recognition, (2) financial awards, or (3) operational flexibility. Allows the SDE to accept private donations for these rewards. “Exemplary schools” are not defined in the bill.

Requires the education commissioner to create:

  • 600 new slots located in the 10 lowest performing districts
  • 400 new slots in competitive school districts, which have more than 9,000 students and is also a priority district


  • Creates a new 11-member board of education to govern CTHSS:
  • four executives of Connecticut-based employers appointed by the governor from nominees submitted by the statewide industry advisory committees for career clusters offered by the CTHSS and the community-technical colleges,
  • five members appointed by the SBE,
  • the economic and community development and labor commissioners.
  • The governor must appoint the chairperson, who serves as a nonvoting ex-officio member of the SBE.
  • Requires the CTHSS board to recommend a candidate for the SBE to appoint as superintendent of the system.  It makes the superintendent responsible for the system’s operation and administration.
  • Requires each technical high school to prepare a proposed operating budget and submit it to the superintendent. Requires the superintendent to submit a proposed operating budget for the system to the CTHSS board. If the board disapproves it, it must adopt an interim budget which remains in effect until the superintendent submits, and the board approves a modified operating budget.


  • Allows a school board, at the end of an acting superintendent’s probationary period, to ask the commissioner to waive certification for the superintendent and gives the commissioner the authority to do so if he considers the person to be exceptionally qualified.
  • It eliminates requirements that, to be considered exceptionally qualified, the person must also (1) have worked as a school superintendent in another state for at least 15 years, and (2) be or have been certified as a superintendent by the other state. It does not change the commissioner’s authority to waive certification for someone who has at least three years of successful experience in a public school in another state in the 10 years prior to the waiver application date. The experience must be as a certified administrator with a superintendent certificate issued by another state.


  • Allows districts to terminate a teacher on the grounds of ineffectiveness as well as for inefficiency or incompetence.
  • Makes several changes to streamline processes for these hearings, reducing the timeline from 155 days to 115 days.

Requires the education commissioner to consult with the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) to develop a plan for linking teacher and administrator evaluation with attaining and maintaining tenure.  

SBE, in consultation with the PEAC, must adopt guidelines for model program by July 1, 2012. The bill’s changes are summarized in the table below.


  Current Law SSB 24
Employees covered Each professional board of education employee below the rank of superintendent (“teachers”) Same, except specifically names both teachers and administrators
Evaluation frequency “Continuously”
  • Annually, but allows periodic evaluations leading to an overall annual evaluation
  • If the teacher or administrator does not receive an evaluation, he or she must be rated proficient for the year
Evaluations performed by Superintendent or designee Same
Evaluation elements
  • Strengths
  • Areas needing improvement
  • Strategies for improvement
  • Multiple indicators of student academic growth
Evaluation system requirements Conform to SBE guidelines and any local guidelines established by mutual agreement between the board of education and the teachers’ unions Same
Requirements for state model teacher evaluation  and support program guidelines
  • Provide guidance on use of multiple indicators of student academic growth in teacher evaluations.
  • Include (1) methods of assessing student growth; (2) consideration of control factors tracked by public school information system that may affect teacher performance, such as student characteristics, attendance, and mobility; and (3) minimum requirements for evaluation instruments and procedures.
Same as current law with following additions:
  • Include use four ratings to evaluate teacher performance: (1) below standard, (2) developing, (3) proficient, and (4) exemplary
  • Explicitly include administrators
  • Minimum requirements for evaluation instruments and procedures must include scoring systems to determine four ratings listed above
  • Periodic training on the program for teachers being evaluated and administrators performing evaluations, offered by the school district or RESC
  • Professional development for individual or group needs identified through evaluations
  • For teachers and administrators whose performance is below standard or developing, improvement and remediation plans that (1) are developed in consultation with the affected employee and his or her union representative; (2) identify resources, support, and other measures to address documented deficiencies; (3) show a timeline for implementing the previous measures in the same school year as the plan is issued; and (4) include success indicators including an overall rating of at least proficient at the plan’s immediate conclusion
  • Opportunities for career development and professional growth
  • A validation procedure for SDE or an SDE-approved third party entity to audit ratings of below standard or exemplary for any teacher or administrator
Local evaluations plans
  • Local boards must develop and implement evaluation plans consistent with (1) SBE guidelines and (2) comprehensive local professional development plans developed by the local professional development committee
  • Local professional development committee consists of certified employees, union representatives, and other appropriate school personnel appointed by the board
  • Local professional development plan must provide for ongoing systematic assessment and improvement of teacher evaluation
Collective bargaining Claims of failure to follow established evaluation procedures are subject to contract grievance procedure Same
Required reports Superintendent must report status of evaluations to local board by June 1 annually Superintendent must report annually, to education commissioner on status of evaluation implementation including:
  • Evaluation frequency
  • Aggregate evaluation ratings
  • Number of teachers not evaluated
  • Other requirements determined by the commission

Requires UConn’s Neag School of Education to study the implementation of teacher and administrator evaluation and support programs adopted by local and regional boards of education.


  • Initial - Extends the duration of an initial certificate from three to eight years and allows the SBE to approve a single extension of up to two additional years.
  • Provisional - Eliminates the provisional certificate from the state’s three-level certification structure, reducing it to two levels
  • Professional - Raises the qualifications for a professional certificate by requiring an applicant to hold a master’s degree rather than merely to complete 30 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree.  It requires the master’s degree to be (1) in an area that relates directly to the teacher’s ability to improve teaching and learning and (2) from an accredited college or university.
  • Professional - Requires an applicant to (1) successfully complete, rather than merely complete, at least three years of effective, rather than satisfactory, teaching and (2) have a record of effectiveness, rather than competence, while holding the initial certificate. The bill does not define “effectiveness,” but, it states that a signed recommendation from the superintendent is evidence of effectiveness.
  • Revises professional development to emphasize improved practice and individual and small-group coaching as part of the teacher’s job instead of requiring 90 CEUs every five years.
  • Applies to certificates issued on or after July 1, 2014.

Requires SBE to issue an initial certificate to an out-of-state teacher if he or she has taught under an appropriate certificate in other states, U.S. possessions or territories, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico for at least one year in the past

Reduces the fee for a professional certificate from $375 to $200. The fee for an initial certificate is unchanged at $200.

Eliminates a temporary 90-day certificate issued at the request of a local or regional board of education for graduates of alternative route to certification (ARC) programs. Instead, it requires SBE to issue an initial certificate to such graduates who qualify.

Establishes a new distinguished educator designation for a person who:

  • holds a professional certificate,
  • has taught successfully for least five years
  • has additional advanced education in addition to a master’s degree from an SBE-approved program or accredited institution, and
  • meets performance standards established by SDE.
  • The SDE’s performance standards must consider distinguished practice as validated by SDE or its approved validator. The SBE must renew the designation every five years if the person continues to meet the validated performance standards.
  • Allows those with distinguished educator designations, as well as professional educator certificates, to serve as mentors in the TEAM program. Eliminates provisional certificate holders from such mentorships
  • Establishes a fee of $200 for a distinguished educator designation and $50 for a duplicate copy of the designation.

Authorizes local and regional boards of education to negotiate new salary schedules that align compensation for teachers holding initial or professional teaching certificates and additional compensation for teachers holding the distinguished educator designation who are performing additional responsibilities associated with the designation.