SB 147-FN - FINAL VERSION
SENATE BILL 147-FN
SPONSORS: Sen. Kahn, Dist. 10
This bill adopts legislation relative to:
I. Applications for federal student aid.
II. The central registry in the department of education maintaining records of founded reports of abuse and neglect.
III. The transportation of pupils in a contract carrier.
IV. Mitigation of special education costs and a special education risk management association.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
06/24/2021 2080EBA 21-0933
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
Part I. LSR 21-0933, relative to filing an application for federal student aid, sponsored by Sen.Kahn, Prime/Dist. 10; Sen. Prentiss, Dist. 5.
Part II. LSR 21-0951, relative to a central registry in the department of education to maintain records of founded reports of abuse and neglect, sponsored by Sen.Ward, Prime/Dist. 8.
Part III. LSR 21-1019, relative to the transportation of pupils in a contract carrier, sponsored by Sen. Kahn, Prime/Dist.10; Sen.Watters, Dist. 4; Sen. Prentiss, Dist. 5.
Part IV. Relative to additional state aid for special education for certain communities of 1,000 or fewer residents and relative to special education risk management association.
Relative to filing an application for federal student aid.
193:26-a Graduation Requirements; Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
I. Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, each student who is at least 18 years of age or legally emancipated, who is otherwise eligible to graduate from high school, or the parent of such a student who is under the age of 18 years, as a prerequisite to receiving a high school diploma from a public high school, shall either:
(a) File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid with the United States Department of Education; or
(b) File a waiver on a form created by the state board of education with the student's school district indicating that the parent or guardian or, if applicable, the student, understands what the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is and has chosen not to file an application
II. Each school district with a high school shall provide to each high school student and, if applicable, his or her parent or guardian, any support or assistance necessary to comply with paragraph I. A school district shall award a high school diploma to a student who is unable to meet the requirements of paragraph I if the student has met all other graduation requirements and the principal attests that the school district has made a good faith effort to assist the student or, if applicable, his or her parent or guardian in filing an application or a waiver.
IX. Implementing the provisions of RSA 193:26-a.
(o) The number and percentage of graduating high school students provided in-person school assistance in completing a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) form.
I. Sections 1-2 of Part I of this act shall take effect July 1, 2023.
II. The remainder of Part I of this act shall take effect upon its passage.
Relative to a central registry in the department of education to maintain records
of founded reports of abuse and neglect.
(s) License standards for educational personnel, to include the establishment and implementation of a secure system for conducting criminal background checks pursuant to RSA 189:13-a for all first-time applicants listed in this section, the establishment and implementation of a secure system for accessing findings of abuse for individuals on the central registry pursuant to RSA 169-C:35, and educator certification fees for granting licenses to educational personnel, including teachers, paraprofessionals, superintendents, assistant superintendents, special education administrators, business administrators, principals, vocational directors, coordinators of comprehensive health education and services, directors of pupil personnel services, guidance directors, guidance counselors, school psychologists, associate school psychologists, speech-language specialists, social workers, health educators, physical education teachers, consumer and family science teachers, elementary teachers, specialists in assessment of intellectual functioning, school bus drivers and transportation monitors, media supervisors, media generalists, and master teachers as authorized by RSA 186:8 and RSA 186:11, X, professional licenses including beginning educator licenses, experienced educator licenses, and intern authorizations, and other classifications of educators, administrators, specialists, and paraprofessionals necessary to address educational needs as determined by the state board upon the recommendation of the professional standards board pursuant to RSA 186:60.
I. There shall be established a state registry for the purpose of maintaining a record of founded reports of abuse and neglect. The registry shall be confidential and subject to rules on access established by the commissioner of the department under RSA 541-A. The commissioner of the department shall allow the credentialing bureau of the department of education access to the records of applicants for purposes of RSA 21-N:9, II(s) and in accordance with RSA 189:13-c.
VIII. Upon receipt of a written request from the department of education, credentialing bureau, the department shall provide the department of education with a copy of the notice of finding or court order establishing the finding and resulting individual’s name being placed on the central registry.
IX. The department of education shall maintain the confidentiality of all division for children, youth, and families records.
189:13-c Credentialing Applicant State Registry Check.
I. In this subdivision, “credentialing applicant” means a first-time applicant for a New Hampshire teaching credential.
II. The department shall complete a central registry check as established in RSA 169-C:35 on each credentialing applicant. The central registry check shall include a check of the department’s central registry of founded reports of child abuse under RSA 169-C:35.
III. By submitting an application for a teaching credential, an applicant is deemed to have consented to have the department of education check his or her name for findings of abuse on the central registry pursuant to RSA 169-C:35.
IV. Any individual whose name has been submitted for this check who has been the subject of finding of abuse, shall be denied a teaching credential by the department.
V. The department shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, governing the rights of a credentialing applicant and the ability to appeal a denial of a teaching credential pursuant to a founded report of child abuse under RSA 169-C:35.
Relative to the transportation of pupils in a contract carrier.
189:6-e Pupils Transported in a Contract Carrier.
I. A school district may contract with a contract carrier of passengers, as defined by RSA 376:2, VII, that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the operator, to transport pupils to or from school activities. The motor vehicle used by the contract carrier of passengers shall bear a valid state inspection sticker, comply with applicable provisions of RSA 376, and be operated by a driver who holds a valid commercial driver's license.
II. In this section, "school activities" shall include, but is not limited to, sporting events, intramural events, events associated with student clubs or organizations, job training programs, field trips, special education transition services that require travel of at least 150 miles round trip. "School activities" shall not include transportation between home and school.
Relative to additional state aid for special education for certain communities of
1,000 or fewer residents and special education risk management association.
III.(a) The state board of education through the commissioner, department of education, shall distribute aid available under this paragraph as entitlement to such school districts as have a special education pupil for whose costs they are responsible, for whom the costs of special education in the fiscal year exceed 31/2 times the estimated state average expenditure per pupil for the school year preceding the year of distribution. If in any year, the amount appropriated for distribution as special education aid in accordance with this section is insufficient therefor, the appropriation shall be prorated proportionally based on entitlement among the districts entitled to a grant. If there are unexpended funds appropriated under this paragraph at the end of any fiscal year, such funds shall be distributed for court-ordered placements under RSA 186-C:19-b. The state may designate up to $250,000 of the funds which are appropriated as required by this paragraph, for each fiscal year, to assist those school districts which, under guidelines established by rules of the state board of education, may qualify for emergency assistance [for] to mitigate the impact of special education costs. The state may designate up to an additional $250,000 of the funds which are appropriated under this paragraph for each fiscal year for any community of 1,000 or fewer residents to mitigate the impact of special education costs when emergency assistance is necessary to prevent significant financial harm to such district or community. Upon application to the commissioner of education, and approval by the commissioner, such funds may be accepted and expended by school districts in accordance with this chapter; provided, however, that if a school district has received emergency assistance funds for certain children with disabilities, it shall not receive special education aid for those same children with disabilities. If any of the funds designated for emergency assistance under this paragraph are not used for such emergency assistance purposes, the funds shall be used to assist school districts in meeting special education cost increases in their special education programs as provided by this paragraph.
I. Under federal and state law, local school districts are required to provide all children with a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
II. The average per student special education cost in 2020 was $74,000.
III. Special education costs are increasing each school year.
IV. Only 15 percent of the funds necessary to pay for mandated special education services are provided by the federal government.
V. Only 20 percent of the funds necessary to pay for mandated special education services are provided by the state of New Hampshire.
VI. The remaining 65 percent of the funds necessary to pay for mandated special education services are borne by local school district taxpayers.
VII. Local school district budgets must be finalized prior to the start of the next school year and before the number of special education students and associated services are known.
VIII. Consequently, last minute student transfers into the district as well as unforeseen special education services for those students can far exceed the budgets for these services.
IX. Districts with smaller tax bases struggle to meet these unexpected special education costs.
X. To compensate for lack of funds, districts may compromise the quality and quantity of the services provided to our children. Consequently, our children do not get the services they need to enable them to grow to their fullest potential.
XI. To compensate for lack of funds, districts often move money from programming in one area to provide mandated funding in the areas of special education.
XII. To ensure that all our children receive and enjoy their basic right to a public education, it is a valid public purpose that the general court may promote mechanisms that provide special education funding stability to local school districts.
XIII. Recognizing the risk, some districts in the state purposely create non-lapsing special education capital reserve accounts as “rainy-day” funds.
I. Provide the legal mechanisms necessary to create and maintain a special education cost recovery pool.
II. Permit local school districts to voluntarily join a risk pool of the type outlined in RSA 5-B which may self-insure or include an insurance agreement to be offered within the pool to members.
III. Minimize the state regulatory oversight of the pool.
IV. Provide legal protections to the local school districts that enter into pool agreements.
V. Provide local school districts with information necessary to:
(a) Understand the extent of special education aid coverage available to them.
(b) Understand the methods used to determine policy premiums.
(c) Compare past special education costs borne by the district with the cost of pool coverage.
(d) Make informed decisions prior to each year’s school district budget formation.
(e) Promote the general welfare by providing districts with options to cover unanticipated special education costs.
(f) Recognize the need to protect student privacy by maintaining control over student data by the department of education.
(h) Unanticipated special education cost recovery.
SPECIAL EDUCATION RISK MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION
186-D:1 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. "Cost predictor spreadsheet tool" means an actuary-designed tool that can be used to predict future school district special education obligations based on past claims analysis.
II. "Risk pool" means a non-lapsing reserve account held by the state treasurer from which all cost recovery funding is derived. The account held by the treasurer may be funded by member school district assessments, insurance proceeds, interest, or other sources.
III. "RSA 5-B special education cost recovery association" means a voluntary group of at least 5 school districts that form an association under the RSA 5-B risk pool provision specifically to deal with special education cost recovery.
IV. "RSA 5-B special education cost recovery association governing board" means a group of at least 5 superintendents elected from the association members.
V. "Unanticipated special education cost recovery" means the program providing school districts with expanded pathways to recover those costs that are directly associated with special education provided to students assigned to the school district and payable under RSA 186-C:18 that occur after school budgets are fixed.
186-D:2 Risk Management Association. No fewer than 5 school districts, by resolution of their governing bodies and upon an affirmative vote of the inhabitants of each of the districts, may form an RSA 5-B special education cost recovery association under the laws of this state to develop and administer a risk management program for the purpose of recovering unanticipated costs of special education. The members of the association may agree to pool self-insurance reserves, risks, claims, losses, and the expenses of administrative services associated with them. Each district shall be represented by its superintendent, or designee. The members of the association shall elect a governing board from among the members. The RSA 5-B special education cost recovery association governing board shall consist of no fewer than 5 member superintendents, or designees, with diversity in terms of district size and geographic region represented. Each board member shall serve one 3-year term and may only serve one term in each 9 year period. The chairperson of the governing board shall be chosen by the board. Minutes of each meeting shall be kept and made available to the public. There shall be one 2-week period annually, to be decided by the governing board, when new districts shall be allowed to join the association.
186-D:3 Duties of the Department of Education. The department shall:
I. Provide all school districts with materials to facilitate the formation of an association under RSA 186:D:2.
II. Update the department website to include the name of each special education cost recovery association with contact information, current membership, a description of the risk pool association, and the advantages and disadvantages of the program.
III. Gather current student data regarding claims and costs which shall be redacted to exclude, to the greatest extent possible, personal student information for all requests for proposals.
IV. Arrange one or more educational opportunities for interested school districts. Topics shall include but not be limited to: risk pools, risk calculators, premium predictors, required information for actuarial calculations, the effects of claims on future premiums, and the advantages and disadvantages of using insurance products to achieve the goals of the association.
V. Annually assist the risk pool governing board by calculating the unreimbursed special education amounts to be paid to the risk pool member districts from the risk pool funds held by the state treasurer.
186-D:4 Requests for Proposals.
I. The department of education shall be the sole drafter of requests for proposals in order to protect all student privacy provisions. Proposals shall be submitted no later than June 30 and shall require a contract duration of not less than 3 years. The proposals shall be for the purpose of soliciting bids with actuarial firms specifying:
(a) Annual cost, based on actuarial calculations, of self-funding a reimbursement pool including individual cost structure for each school district’s unreimbursed costs directly associated with special education provided to students assigned to the school district and payable under RSA 186-C:18.
(b) The bids may also indicate recommendations for options that exist for using insurance products, including re-insurance, to achieve the same result as the self-insurance risk pool along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. The commissioner of the department of education may grant bidders access to data, including claims history, to the extent necessary to achieve accuracy of the annual cost. All data shall be protected under signed confidentiality agreements and shall be devoid of sensitive personal student information to the extent possible. The department of education shall impose a one month deadline after issuance of the request for proposals to receive bids. Any bids received by the department after the deadline shall be returned to the sender unopened and shall not be considered for acceptance. The department shall specify the minimum threshold for bid acceptance. Acceptance criteria shall include, but not be limited to, weighted factors such as insurance coverage, financial stability of the proposing insurance carrier, bond rating of the company, and insurance maintenance costs in any not included in the premiums. The bids that meet the minimum threshold shall then be ranked by the department based on the bid premium costs for each level of insurance coverage specified in the request for proposals.
II. The governing board of the association shall select the most qualified proposal. The board shall decide whether to self-fund or provide insurance products, or both, to the members and shall notify the department of education which shall then notify the selected bidder.
III. If the decision is to purchase an insurance product each member district shall be notified and shall be responsible for its share of the premium. Should the insurance agreement require a vote at town meeting, a majority vote of those present and voting shall be required to approve the agreement. The association shall be responsible for informing each member school district of the process and timing of the billing, the handling of late premiums, the lapsing of premiums, and the adjudication process in case of disputes.
IV. If the decision is to self-fund, the association board shall provide each member with an outline indicating, at minimum, the cost for the district and the risk pool reimbursement period, which shall be not more than 3 months after the state has reimbursed each school district in the association for the final portion of special education state aid under RSA 186-C:18. Any eligible special education expenses incurred by a member school district that were not reimbursed by the state and were not reimbursed by a purchased insurance product through the association shall be reimbursed by the risk pool to the full extent permitted by the risk pool governing agreement.
V. The selected bidder shall create or update a cost predictor spreadsheet tool so all the school districts may develop budgets and test various situations to arrive a reasonable special education expense prediction. Specific situations built into the spreadsheet shall include, but not be limited to, full or limited state funding and changes in student population or cost trends. The spreadsheet shall be able to determine rates and district contributions for membership in the risk pool with additional data updates possible to maintain accuracy. The department of education may limit the usage or sharing of the spreadsheet if they solely determine that student privacy may be compromised. The spreadsheet tool and each subsequent revision shall be the sole property of the department of education.
VI. All costs associated with the establishment of the risk pool including filing fees, requests for proposals, education and training for prospective members of the association, and the actuarial services and cost predictor spreadsheet tool shall be the responsibility of the department of education for the first 5 years after the effective date of this chapter.
VII. All costs associated with the administration of the risk pool after the filing fees are paid and all costs after the initial 5 year period shall be the responsibility of the association governing board. The governing board may pay those costs from the risk pool fund and shall adjust member district yearly charges to reflect the administration costs by separate line item.
VIII. Risk pool funds shall be held in a non-lapsing account by the state treasurer. The governing body may withdraw the funds only by written request with signed board approval. The fund withdrawals shall be kept to a minimum number each year. Funds shall only be removed for payment of unreimbursed costs of all member districts and for administrative costs.
IX. The risk pool may be terminated by a resolution of the association governing board and notification to the secretary of state, the department of education, and the state treasurer. All funds shall be distributed to the districts after a professional audit to determine the rightful share. Disputes may be directed to the attorney general.
Approved: August 10, 2021
Pt. I eff: I. Sec1&2 eff July 1, 2023
II. Rem. eff. August 10, 2021
Pt. II eff. January 1, 2022
Pt. III eff. August 10, 2021
Pt. IV eff. October 9, 2021
|Feb. 18, 2021||Senate||Hearing|
|March 18, 2021||Senate||Floor Vote|
|April 21, 2021||House||Hearing|
|May 20, 2021||House||Exec Session|
|May 20, 2021||House||Exec Session|
|June 10, 2021||House||Floor Vote|
|June 24, 2021||House||Floor Vote|
|June 24, 2021||Senate||Floor Vote|
: Part IV Effective 10/09/2021
: Part III Effective 08/10/2021
: Part II Effective 01/01/2022
: Part I. II. Remainder Effective 08/10/2021
: Part I. I. Sections 1 & 2 Effective 07/01/2023
Aug. 10, 2021: Signed by the Governor on 08/10/2021; Chapter 0209
June 24, 2021: Enrolled Adopted, VV, (In recess 06/24/2021); SJ 20
June 24, 2021: Enrolled (in recess of) 06/24/2021
June 24, 2021: Enrolled Bill Amendment # 2021-2080e Adopted, VV, (In recess of 06/24/2021); SJ 20
June 24, 2021: Enrolled Bill Amendment # 2021-2080e: AA VV (in recess of) 06/24/2021
June 24, 2021: Conference Committee Report # 2021-1957c, Adopted, VV; 06/24/2021; SJ 20
June 24, 2021: Conference Committee Report 2021-1957c: Adopted, VV 06/24/2021
June 10, 2021: Conference Committee Report # 2021-1957c Filed 06/10/2021; House Amendment + New Amendment
June 14, 2021: ==RECONVENE== Committee of Conference Meeting: 06/14/2021, 12:00 pm, Room Senate Chamber, SH
June 14, 2021: ==RECESSED== Committee of Conference Meeting: 06/14/2021, 10:00 am, Room Senate Chamber, SH
June 10, 2021: Speaker Appoints: Reps. Ladd, Cordelli, Hill, Layon 06/10/2021 HJ 10 P. 15
June 10, 2021: House Accedes to Senate Request for CofC (Rep. Ladd): MA VV 06/10/2021 HJ 10 P. 15
June 10, 2021: President Appoints: Senators Ward, Hennessey, Kahn; 06/10/2021; SJ 19
June 10, 2021: Sen. Ward Moved Nonconcur with the House Amendment; Requests C of C, MA, VV; 06/10/2021; SJ 19
June 3, 2021: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2021-1635h: MA RC 203-172 06/03/2021 HJ 8 P. 126
: Ought to Pass with Amendment MA RC 203-172 06/03/2021
June 3, 2021: FLAM # 2021-1860h (Rep. Woodcock): AF RC 166-207 06/03/2021 HJ 8 P. 124
June 3, 2021: Amendment # 2021-1588h: AF RC 177-198 06/03/2021 HJ 8 P. 121
: FLAM 2021-1860h (Rep. Woodcock) AF RC 166-207 06/03/2021
: Amendment 2021-1588h AF RC 177-198 06/03/2021
June 3, 2021: Amendment # 2021-1635h: AA RC 204-172 06/03/2021 HJ 8 P. 115
: Amendment 2021-1635h AA RC 204-172 06/03/2021
: Minority Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2021-1588h
: Majority Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2021-1635h (Vote 11-9; RC) HC 26 P. 19
May 20, 2021: Executive Session: 05/20/2021 09:00 am Members of the public may attend using the following link: To join the webinar: https://www.zoom.us/j/92551660487
May 13, 2021: Full Committee Work Session: 05/13/2021 09:00 am Members of the public may attend using the following link: To join the webinar: https://www.zoom.us/j/94308033489
May 20, 2021: Executive Session: 05/20/2021 09:00 am Members of the public may attend using the following link: To join the webinar: https://www.zoom.us/j/92551660487
April 21, 2021: Public Hearing: 04/21/2021 09:45 am Members of the public may attend using the following link: To join the webinar: https://www.zoom.us/j/97777026171 / Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day (time permitting) from the time the committee is initially convened.
Feb. 25, 2021: Introduced (in recess of) 02/25/2021 and referred to Education HJ 4 P. 50
March 18, 2021: Ought to Pass with Amendments 2021-0740s, and 2021-0889s, RC 24Y-0N, MA; OT3rdg; 03/18/2021; SJ 8
March 18, 2021: Sen. Kahn Floor Amendment # 2021-0889s, RC 24Y-0N, AA; 03/18/2021; SJ 8
March 18, 2021: Committee Amendment # 2021-0740s, RC 24Y-0N, AA; 03/18/2021; SJ 8
March 18, 2021: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2021-0740s, 03/18/2021; SC 15
Feb. 18, 2021: Remote Hearing: 02/18/2021, 01:00 pm; Links to join the hearing can be found in the Senate Calendar; SC 11
Feb. 4, 2021: Introduced 02/04/2021 and Referred to Education; SJ 4