Committee Delays School Reforms

Reaction to plan is mixed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images / Joe Corrigan/Stringer

    Budget problems have temporarily derailed the state's plan to boost graduation requirements, change tenure rules to keep strong teachers in struggling districts and make other wide-ranging education changes.

    The General Assembly's education committee voted on Thursday to delay the reform package for two years, a decision tied to the federal government's rejection last year of Connecticut's "Race to the Top" grant application.

    Without the delay, it would have needed $25 million in state money to launch the first steps this year or would have had to push those costs onto local school districts.

    Several local school and municipal officials raised concerns in recent months about the unfunded reforms, saying that without the delays, they would have had to turn to local taxpayers to pay for the curriculum changes required by the law. The state Office of Fiscal Analysis has estimated their portion of the cost at $12 million to $18 million.

    One of the reform initiatives would boost the required number of credits for graduation from 20 to 25, and require students to complete a senior year capstone project and pass proficiency exams. That would have gone into effect for the Class of 2018, but the delays push that back to the Class of 2020.

    Another change would let teachers get tenure after 10 months if they previously had tenure elsewhere and take a new job to teach in a struggling district. They now must wait 20 months.