Sen. Boucher Supports State Mandate Relief For School Districts

March 24, 2009

Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) is calling for her colleagues on the General Assembly’s Education Committee to support proposed legislation to delay the implementation of certain unfunded state mandates on school districts.

Senator Boucher, a member of the Education Committee, recently submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 1142, An Act Concerning Relief of State Mandates on School Districts. Senator Boucher said she is especially concerned about the harmful effects of requiring school districts to implement the 2007 legislation banning most out-of-school suspensions. Among other things, Senate Bill 1142 calls for delaying implementation of this unfunded mandate until July 1, 2011.

“In these difficult economic times we cannot, in good conscience, ask, let alone expect, our school districts to foot the bill for unfunded and unfair mandates like in-school suspension. Instead, we must look at the feasibility of these initiatives through the lens of our current economic crisis. While mandates like in-school suspension may have made sense years ago, the legislature must realize they are no longer possible in this financial climate,” said Senator Boucher, adding that providing supervision and facilities for in-school suspensions is costly for some communities.

Senator Boucher noted Senate Bill 1142 would delay the implementation of in-school suspensions until July 1, 2011. If the General Assembly does not pass this bill, school districts will be required to implement the in-school suspension law beginning July 1, 2009. These mandatory in-school suspensions would mean additional costs for school districts in the form of providing appropriate space and supervision.

“I have seen first hand the heavy burden these unfunded mandates place on cities and towns because I have served as not only a selectman but chair of a local school board and a member of the state Board of Education. I am glad the Education Committee is addressing the issue of mandates and hope this bill makes it through the legislative process,” said Senator Boucher.