Bill Text: DE SB92 | 2015-2016 | 148th General Assembly | Draft


Bill Title: An Act To Amend Title 14 Of The Delaware Code Relating To Education And Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 10-4)

Status: (Enrolled - Dead) 2016-05-05 - Assigned to Appropriations Committee in House [SB92 Detail]

Download: Delaware-2015-SB92-Draft.html


SPONSOR:

Sen. Henry & Sen. Cloutier, Rep. Jaques

 

Sens. Blevins, Ennis, Townsend; Reps. Baumbach, Bolden, Gray, Hensley, Mitchell, Ramone, B. Short

DELAWARE STATE SENATE

148th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE BILL NO. 92

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO EDUCATION AND AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER.


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


Amend Title 14 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows.

§1332 Program for children with autism; special staff. Statewide services for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); Special staff.

(a) Director-specialist. Whenever the Department with the approval of the State Board of Education designates a particular school district to administer the statewide program for children with autism, that district may employ a statewide director-specialist for a period of 12 months per year. 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 Department with the approval of the State Board of Education. "Years of experience" in determining salary shall be in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the Department with the approval of the State Board of Education in this respect. The director-specialist shall be paid the amount for which that director-specialist qualifies under §1305(a), (b) and (d) of this title plus an amount for administrative responsibility determined in accordance with 1321(c) of this title.

(b) Whenever the Department with the approval of the State Board of Education designates a particular school district to administer a statewide program for children with autism 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 §1305 of this title. The school district authorized to employ such specialists and the director may provide additional salary to such personnel according to §1304 of this title and shall recover funds so expended from the school districts of residence of the children with autism by levying a fee against those school districts, including the administering district, whether or not the child with autism 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 Chapter 6 of this title.

(c) 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 be used for the purchase of personal services. The administering school district wishing to use funds under this option shall first make application to the Department of Education for such use and proceed to exercise the option only after approval by the Department of Education; provided, that the State Board may review any objection to the Department's decision.

(d) The Department with the approval of the State Board of Education shall adopt such rules and regulations to establish and provide for parent advisory committees, a peer review committee which, at the request of the Department of Education, may also review procedures, in accordance with the regulations of the Department of Education, for children with educational classifications other than autism, a human rights committee, and appropriate liaisons with the Department of Health and Social Services. The Department with the approval of the State Board of Education shall adopt such rules and regulations to establish and provide for an Autistic Program Monitoring Board, to be composed of no less than 7 members and which shall include 1 nonvoting public representative nominated annually by the statewide parent advisory committee. Such representative shall not have any child enrolled in the program. The statewide Autistic Monitoring Review Board shall review at least annually the education of and provision of related services to students with autism throughout Delaware to ensure best practices are being used and opportunities for continuous improvement are afforded all such students. Disputes within or between districts or agencies shall be resolved by this Board. Procedural safeguards guaranteed to children with autism, their parents or guardians and to local school districts or agencies shall not be diminished by this provision.

(a) Director of Autism Education Services. The Department of Education, with the approval of the State Board of Education, shall designate a particular school district to administer the statewide program for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and that district shall employ a statewide director (the Director) for a period of 12 months per year. The Director shall be hired in consultation from the Peer Review Committee (see subsection (d))

(b) The Director shall hold a doctorate degree in psychology, exceptional children, or Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and shall demonstrate expertise with ASD, such expertise being defined as:

(1) At least five years experience working with individuals with ASD;

(2) Graduate-level training in evidence-based practices in curriculum, instruction and behavioral support such as ABA instructional strategies;

(3) Experience planning and/or leading skill development in communication and social skill training programs for individuals with ASD;

(4) Experience as a consultant to teams and an understanding of basic principles related to performance management;

(5) At least one successful experience leading the development and implementation of an autism services program;

(6) At least one successful experience leading the development and implementation of a structured professional development program and a performance management plan;

(7) Successful direction and management of similar autism projects

Further, the Director shall possess such other qualifications for certification as are required by the State Department of Education with the approval of the State Board of Education.

(c) The Director shall be authorized by the State Department of Education to:

(1) Identify those practices specifically relevant to the education of students with ASD that are established as evidence-based through the best available outcome research or otherwise by expert consensus;

(2) Promote utilization of these practices by leading training and technical assistance activities specifically relevant to students with ASD,

(3) Assist with implementation of all aspects of training and technical assistance for all Delaware school districts, for students with an educational classification of ASD from birth to age 21 in each school district throughout the state;

(4) Be consulted by the Department of Education and work collaboratively with the Department of Education on all aspects of education programs related to Autism Spectrum Disorder; and

(5) Serve as a primary liaison between the Department of Education and other state departments, committees, and programs on questions regarding programs for children and adults with ASD.

"Years of experience" in determining salary shall be in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the Department with the approval of the State Board of Education in this respect. The Director shall be paid the amount for which that director qualifies under §1305(a), (b) and (d) of this title plus an amount for administrative responsibility determined in accordance with §1321(c) of this title.

(d) Training and technical assistance on behalf of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) shall be administered through a contract by the State Department of Education in collaboration with the Director to allow for the provision of such training and technical assistance across all school districts within the state. The contract shall require that educational programming shall be comprised of high quality instruction based on research and evidence-based practice. The contract shall also ensure for the following staff:

(1) The Director as specified in section (a) above

(2) Training Specialists at least one (1) training specialist per 100 students with an educational classification of ASD.

The total number of positions shall be determined annually through the September 30 count of students with an educational classification of ASD. Such training specialists shall serve eligible students within all school districts.

i.                     Training specialists shall include qualified speech-language pathologists, behavior analysts, and other personnel with expertise in evidence-based instruction such as ABA strategies and in classroom, community and home-based consultation.

ii.                    All training specialists will have a minimum of a Master's degree and three (3) years experience of demonstrated consultative experience with students with ASD

iii. Duties of training specialists may include but not be limited to: Training and technical assistance for staff working with students with an educational classification of ASD, including classroom consultation, plan development and performance feedback; parent training; and training for regular education staff on ASD and evidence-based strategies for inclusion practices

(e) Funding of the contract shall derive from a combination of funds from the State Department of Education and from all school districts based on total enrollment. Training specialists so employed shall be paid according to the salary authorized for teachers in 1305 of this title. The Director may provide additional salary to such specialists according to §1304 of this title and shall recover funds so expended from the students' school districts of residence by levying a tuition fee against those school districts, including the administering district, whether or not the student with ASD 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 Chapter 6 of this title.

(f) The office of the Director 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 be used for the purchase of personal services. The office of the Director wishing to use funds under this option shall first notify the Department of Education for such use and proceed to exercise the option only after approval by the Department of Education; provided, that the State Board may review any objection to the Department's decision.

(g) Committees - The Department, with the approval of the State Board of Education, shall adopt such rules and regulations to establish and provide for: Parent Advisory Committees (PAC); a Peer Review Committee (PRC), which at the request of the Department of Education, may also review educational procedures and programming for students with an educational classification of ASD and related disabilities; a Statewide Monitoring Review Board (SMRB) to be composed of no less than 7 members and which shall include 2 nonvoting public representatives nominated annually by the PAC. Such representatives shall not have a child with a current educational classification of ASD enrolled in a Delaware public school program. The SMRB shall review, at least annually, the education of and provision of related services to students with an educational classification of ASD throughout Delaware's school districts to ensure the application of evidence-based practice and opportunities for meaningful and measurable progress and inclusion as appropriate are afforded to all such students.The findings and recommendations of the SMRB will include data measuring these specifications that shall be submitted to the Department of Education and to the Delaware Legislative Education Committees. at least annually, for review and recommendations for corrective action to ensure consistent quality and equity of services throughout the state.These reports will further be made available to the public, annually, through each school district website.Disputes within or between agencies shall be resolved by the SMRB.Procedural safeguards guaranteed to children with an educational classification of ASD, their parents or guardians and to local school districts or agencies shall not be diminished by this provision.If a school district is found to be out of compliance with the above specifications, the State Department of Education and the Director of Autism Education Services shall allow the district the opportunity for technical assistance and progressive implementation of a corrective action plan for improvement agreed upon by the school district and the Director.


SYNOPSIS

Delaware Code Title 141332 addresses the Program for Children with Autism and its "Special Staff."Enacted nearly three decades ago, these regulations established a network of educational programs initially within a separate school structure known as The Delaware Autism Program (DAP).Today, this network continues as a combination of both separate school programs and within local school district support services.In addition, the code designates a Statewide Director who primarily has provided direction, training, and technical assistance within the DAP.However, current practices in special education, especially regarding inclusive education and parents' desire to have their children educated within their local communities, seem to be incongruent with this older model of service delivery.In addition, the magnitude of the increase in students identified with ASD has clearly created difficulty for the Statewide Director to provide the level of services/support that once was offered.

Therefore, the recommended code changes also revise the concept of DAP toward a system in which the Statewide Director would work in collaboration with a team of experts to provide technical assistance and training to districts and educational entities. This recommendation reconstitutes the regulations to neutralize the distinction between DAP approved programs and other in-district options, thereby, allowing and providing adequate resources to serve on behalf of all student with ASD in Delaware.The number of technical/ training experts has been identified as one expert per 100 students statewide.It is suggested that the fiscal mechanism to support these changes should be through mandated district participation that is congruent with the current needs based funding system in Delaware.Lastly, the current mandatory committee structure is enhanced to include a Parent Advisory Committee, in addition to the Peer Review Committee and Statewide Monitoring Review board.

These changes include articulation of the qualifications and duties of the Statewide Director for Students with ASD; the addition of a technical assistance team of educational autism specialists numbering a ratio of 1 for every 100 students (currently estimated at 15 positions); and the further clarification / additions to the committee structure for family input, monitoring, and protections under human rights.This recommendation recognizes and supports the need for specialized technical assistance and training staff to be available to build capacity for teachers in all districts and other programs educating students with ASD.These changes essentially expand available supports so that excellent, evidence-based training and technical assistance can be made available to all Delaware schools and the students within them.

Author: Senator Henry

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