HOUSE BILL NO. 247
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14, DELAWARE CODE, BY ADDING A NEW CHAPTER 16 AND BY AMENDING CHAPTERS 13 AND 17, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A COMPREHENSIVE STATEWIDE PROGRAM TO IMPROVE STUDENT DISCIPLINE IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Title 14, Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Chapter 16 to read as follows:
"CHAPTER 16. COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL DISCIPLINE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM §1601. Purpose.
It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the establishment of a
statewide comprehensive program to improve student discipline in the public elementary and secondary schools of the State. The program shall provide for
the treatment of pupils who are exhibiting discipline problems and for the establishment of services to school pupils which will reduce the rate and severity of discipline problems in the future. The program shall operate under the supervision and direction of the State Board of Education.
The General Assembly shall annually provide an appropriation for the
operation of the Comprehensive School Discipline Improvement Program in the Budget Appropriation Bill. From the funds appropriated, the State Board may allocate funds to the public school districts for the financial support of various components of the program.
§1603. Rules and regulations.
The State Board of Education shall, from time to time, adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations as will be necessary for the implementation of the program authorized by this chapter.
§1604. Treatment of severe discipline problems component.
The State Board of Education shall establish a program component which will provide alternative educational and related services for the more severe discipline problems in the public schools. This component will serve primarily secondary school students, including but not limited to: youngsters who have been expelled from regular schools, students who may be subject to expulsion, and others who have serious violations of the local school district discipline code. The State Board of Education shall provide rules and regulations for the conduct of programs authorized under this section subject to the following limitations:
(a) School districts shall make application to the State Board of Education for funding to implement programs authorized under this section. Preference shall be given to applications from consortia of school districts. To the extent feasible, programs offered under this component should serve eligible pupils within a county, however, multiple sites may be operated by a single consortia of school districts within a county.
(b) Any application submitted under this section shall specify the types and level of services to be provided and an estimate of the number of youngsters to be served. The application shall also include a budget of proposed expenditures during a fiscal year. That budget shall indicate, at a minimum, the funds being requested from appropriations authorized under this section and funds to be obtained from all other sources.
(c) All applications submitted to the State Board of Education under this section shall indicate an agreement to fund at least thirty (30) percent of the total cost of services provided from sources of funding other than those authorized under this section,
(d) All projects funded under this section shall submit an annual evaluation report on the effectiveness of the program to the State Board of Education. Such report shall incorporate the data and information specified by the State Board.
(e) School districts shall be permitted to use funds collected in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 6 of this title to make tuition payments for youngsters assigned to programs authorized under this section.
(f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a consortia of school districts from contracting for educational or related services with public or private agencies when operating programs authorized under this section.
(g) The provisions of §4130 of this title shall not apply to youngsters enrolled in programs authorized under this section.
§1605. School and district level component.
The State Board of Education shall be authorized to approve and provide financial support for programs to provide alternative educational and related services to disruptive students in the public schools. This component will serve students, in schools enrolling pupils in grades 6 through 12, who are causing disruptions in the regular classes to which they are assigned. Services may be delivered in a variety of modes with students assigned to the specific programs for short or long-term assistance. Programs authorized under this section could also serve as a transition for youngsters returning from programs operated under the provisions of §1604 of this title. The State Board of Education shall provide rules and regulations for the conduct of programs authorized under this section subject to the following limitations.
(a) School districts shall be permitted to use personnel authorized by any of the provisions of this title to establish alternative educational and related service programs for disruptive students. Such personnel shall continue to be paid in accordance with salary schedules specified in Chapter 13 of this title.
(b) In the event that a school district uses personnel authorized under various sections of this title to establish and operate a program for disruptive students, the district may elect to employ two service aides or two instructional aides, paid in accordance with §1324 of this title, in lieu of one staff member paid in accordance with §1305 of this title.
(c) Any school which enrolls pupils in at least two of the grades 6 through 12 and which establishes a program for disruptive students in accordance with the provisions of this section and the rules and regulations of the State Board of Education may make application to the State Board for an incentive grant to help defray the cost of operating such program. No school may qualify for more than one incentive grant per fiscal year, and all applications for such grants must have the prior approval of the board of education of the school district in which the applicant school is located. The maximum dollar value of an incentive grant shall be specified in the annual Budget Appropriation Bill. Funds available to the State Board of Education shall be allocated on a competitive basis if in any fiscal year more schools are eligible for funding than there are funds appropriated for the incentive grants.
(a) Funds provided to a school under an incentive grant provided under subsection (c) of this section may be used for any purpose that Division I or II funds may be used, provided, however, that such funds shall not be used to pay salaries to employees beyond the state-supported salaries specified in Chapter 13 of this title.
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a school or school district from contracting for educational or related goods and services with the incentive funds authorized in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of this section.
(f) All schools receiving an incentive grant pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall submit an annual evaluation report on the effectiveness of the program to the State Board of Education. The report shall be in a format and shall include the data and information specified by the State Board.
§1606. State Board waiver authority.
The State Board of Education shall have the authority to waive or suspend provisions of the Delaware Code in the implementation of programs authorized under this chapter, provided, however, that such waiver or suspension of a provision of the Code shall not result in an increased financial obligation to the State of Delaware. The State Board of Education is also authorized to waive or suspend its rules and regulations in order to maximize the projected impact of programs authorized under this chapter.
§1608. Interagency cooperation.
The State Board of Education and the public school districts are to work cooperatively with other State agencies, particularly the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, in the development and implementation of programs authorized under this chapter. The intent of such cooperation is to avoid redundancy in services and to maximize the impact of resources authorized under this chapter."
Section 2. Amend Chapter 17, Title 14, Delaware Code by adding thereto a new section to read as follows:
"§1723. Comprehensive school discipline improvement programs.
In addition to the funds appropriated to school districts by other sections of this chapter, school districts shall be eligible to make application to the State Board of Education for the development and implementation of school discipline improvement programs as specified In Chapter 16 of this title."
Section 3. The provisions of this Act are severable. If any provision of this Act or its application to any person or circumstance is held to be invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
Section 4. Prevention Component. There is a need in Delaware to establish a program to offer prevention-related student support services ("prevention services")
to youngsters so as to prevent them from becoming discipline problems in our schools. In the long run, addressing the root causes of discipline problems is much more cost-effective than trying to deal with them after they occur. However, the
establishment of a program that will effectively deliver necessary prevention services in a cost-effective manner requires careful planning and coordination among school districts, State and local government agencies, community organizations and private, non-profit agencies. Ideally, the roles of these various agencies would be identified and coordinated into a plan for delivering prevention services that maximizes the impact of the limited resources available for such services by avoiding duplication of effort. To begin to address this need in Delaware, in fiscal year 1995, the Family Services Cabinet Council (the "Council") shall develop comprehensive plans for delivering such prevention services In three communities in Delaware using the coordinated efforts of school districts, State and local government agencies, community organizations and private, non-profit agencies. The Council, with the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Services to Children, Youth and Their Families acting as lead agencies, shall establish a process for identifying three communities with which to undertake this joint community-Council planning process. Applications by communities wishing to participate in the planning process shall be made by school districts in accordance with standards and a timetable established by the Council. Each application shall set forth a preliminary plan by
the community to establish an integrated plan to deliver prevention services, including, but not limited to: outreach programs to promote parental, family and community involvement in reducing and resolving school discipline problems; school-linked support services to help youngsters with family or health problems that may be adversely affecting their academic performance and their conduct at school; training to help students and school personnel resolve conflicts peacefully and
non-disruptively; and assistance, through training and other methods, to help teachers better manage the behavior of students in their classrooms. In selecting the three communities to be included in the planning process, the Council shall give preference to applications submitted by two or more school districts working in concert, where appropriate. The Council shall also give preference to applications
in which the applicant's preliminary plan includes private, non—profit agencies and community organizations as partners in the application and identifies the roles those agencies and organizations are to play in delivering prevention services in the community; indicates how grants from the Federal government and foundations will be used or sought to help deliver prevention services in the community; and expresses an intent to use the services of State and local agencies as part of their prevention plan and identifies the roles those agencies are to play in delivering prevention services in the community. The timetable established by the Council shall require that the three comprehensive plans be completed no later than January 15, 1995, so that adequate consideration may be given by the Council to funding pilot projects based on the plans in the three communities using such funds as are appropriated for such purpose in the fiscal year 1995 annual appropriations bill."
Approved July 22, 1994.