CHAPTER 177

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 294

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND DELAWARE CODE, TITLE 14, AS IT RELATES TO THE FUNDING OF EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR PERSONS WHO ARE AUTISTIC.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend §203, Chapter 2, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by inserting in the second sentence after the words "socially or emotionally maladjusted", the following word:

"austistic,"

Section 2. Amend §1703, Chapter 17, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subsection (m) to read as follows:

"(m) In the case of persons, infant through age .20 inclusive, who are autistic, programs of instruction may be prepared, according to rules and regulations of the State Board of Education as authorized in S203 of this Title, that will provide special education and training. Programs for children of the pre-kindergarten ages may include the parents of those children. The minimum age described in S3101 of this Title shall not be applicable to children served under this subsection. 'Unit' or 'unit of pupils' shall mean four (4) autistic persons per unit. Because of the low incidence of persons who are autistic, school districts may, with the approval of the State Board of Education, aggregate the enrollments of such autistic persons among a combination of school districts for the purpose of establishing a unit. A unit so established shall be assigned to one of the school districts and the enrollees so counted shall not be counted in any other school district. An enrollee so counted may be served by either a teacher in the district counting the enrollee when the enrollee is transported to that district or, in the district of residence by an itenerant teacher sent there by the district authorized to count the unit. Enrollments may also be aggregated by combinations of school districts for the purpose of supporting related services specialists, or a director for statewide programs of related services or administration."

Section 3. Amend Chapter 13, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new §1332 to read as follows:

"§1332. Autistic Program for autistic pupils - special staff.

(a) Director - Specialist - whenever the State Board of Education designates a particular school district to serve as administrator for the statewide program for autistic pupils, that district may employ as a statewide director-specialist for a period of 12 months per year, a director-specialist for eight or more such units of autistic children. If a director-specialist is assigned responsibility for such a program for fewer than eight units, the support for that assignment shall be in the same ratio as the number of authorized units is to eight units. The director-specialist shall hold a doctorate degree in psychology or exceptional children and shall possess such other qualifications for certification as are required by the State Board of Education. "Years of experience" in determining salary shall be in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the State Board of Education In this respect. The director-specialist shall be paid, the provision of S1329 la) of this title with regard to S1305 not withstanding, according to the following schedule:

Years of experience with autistic persons Director-Specialist

0 24,900

1 25,900

2 26,900

3 27,900

4 28,900

4+ 29,900

(b) in addition to the staff otherwise authorized, the autistic program may employ supportive staff as follows:

(1) Specialist - speech and language therapists for a period of 12 months per year at the rate of one for each three state units or fractional part of three units of pupils;

(2) Specialist - psychologist for a period of 12 months per year at the rate of one for each six state units or fractional part of six units of pupils.

(c) Whenever the State Board of Education designates a particular school district to serve as the administering agency for a statewide program for autistic pupils that district may employ specialists as herein authorized to serve the entire statewide program. Specialists so employed shall be paid according to the salary authorized for teachers in Section 1305 of this Chapter. The school district authorized to employ such specialists and the director may provide additional salary to such personnel according to the provisions of Section 1304 of this Chapter and shall recover funds so expended from the school districts of residence of the autistic persons by levying a fee against those school districts, including the administering district, whether or not the autistic person is a resident of that district, that is proportional to the number of persons served from a particular district. The fees so levied may be paid by the local school districts from funds collected according to the provisions of Chapter 6 of this Title.

(d) The administering school district may purchase specialized services for any such categories shown in this section rather than employ a staff person to serve that function. If the option to purchase services is exercised, then the dollar value of each full-time equivalent shall be the number of dollars set in the state supported salary schedule for a teacher holding a master's degree with 10 years of experience and employed for 12 months. The calculation of this funding shall be for the current school year. Expenditures of this nature may he used for the purchase of personal services. The administering school district wishing to use funds under this option shall first make application to the State Board of Education for such use and proceed to exercise the option only after approval by the State Board of Education.

(e) The personnel employed pursuant to this section shall not be charged against the allotment of classroom teachers provided by these units of pupils, the provisions of §1705 of this Title not withstanding. Teachers shall be employed at the rate of the number of pupil units as of the last day of September of a regular school year except that for a program having four or more classes of autistic pupils in a building and providing the number of children in such classes does not exceed six as of the last day of September of a regular school year, three additional aides may also be employed in lieu of a teacher on application to and approval by the State Board of Education. A fraction greater than one-half shall be considered a unit.

Section 4. Amend §1703 (e), Chapter 17, Title 14, of the Delaware Code by deleting the':" at the end of the second sentence and adding the followings

"...except that in the case of programs for autistic children a school district may extend pupil days to 241."

Section 5. Amend Chapter 17, Title 14, of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new §1721 to read as follows:

"§1721 Autistic unit and funding.

(a) programs for autistic children exceeding 217 pupil days shall be according to rules and regulations of the State Board of Education.

(b) For funding purposes 'autistic unit' for programs in excess of 217 pupil days shall mean eight (8) autistic persons per unit."

Section 6. This Act shall become effective July 1, 1982.

Section 6. This Act constitutes the educational policy of the State of Delaware and established the 'Delaware Standard' providing 'free appropriate' education for autistic citizens which is required by Public 1aw 94-142 of the United States.

Section 7. The Department of Public instruction is hereby directed to complete a study by January 1, 1982, that will recommend procedures to provide instate residential care for autistic citizens.

Approved July 13, 1981.