State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143), Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee, applauded the CT House of Representatives’ Tuesday night, May 30, passage of a bill she authored that provides relief from cumbersome unfunded mandates to school districts across the state. As of Wednesday morning, the bill had a bipartisan list of 50 cosponsors. It now awaits consideration in the Senate.

Among the provisions of HB 7276 are eliminating the requirement for school districts to adopt a regional calendar; requiring the state to survey districts’ use of management and reporting software with a view toward eventually providing a statewide option at no cost to districts; allowing districts to decide how they provide education to expelled students; and allowing districts to focus training in procedures for handling highly sensitive behavioral issues on specially designated staff who have direct contact with students.

“This bill comes at a critical juncture for school districts and towns across the state, as they grapple with delays, uncertainties, and budget cuts related to Connecticut’s fiscal crisis,” Lavielle says. “Each of its provisions involves mandate relief measures that multiple superintendents and Board of Education members told us would help them manage their resources, save time and money, and, most important, allow teachers, administrators, and staff to focus their energies on serving students. The bill’s passage signals a clear bipartisan acknowledgement of the burdens that one-size-fits-all unfunded mandates impose on school districts. The bill is the result of close and sincere collaboration with my Education Committee leadership colleagues from both sides of the aisle, and I thank them, as well as the many other legislators who worked with their districts to contribute ideas for the bill.”

A release from Lavielle’s office says that, “House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) has included mandate relief as a key aspect of the House Republicans’ governing agenda, citing its potential to provide districts with flexibility that would allow them to tailor education policy to fit their unique needs while saving them money during a time of fiscal crisis.”

“I want to thank Rep. Lavielle for her persistence and leadership in getting this crucial legislation passed in a divided House, and for her continued dedication to every student in Connecticut,” Klarides says. “This bill is an example of a new, innovative approach to education policy and its passage proves that legislators may finally be ready to embrace these fresh ideas.”

State Representative Gail Lavielle represents the 143rd district, which includes parts of Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton. She is the Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee and a member of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee and the Transportation Committee.