Advocating for Teachers and Students

May 22, 2018

By: Senator John A. Kissel

During the busy legislative session I was happy to support several pieces of legislation that benefit both our teachers and students. There is no question that education affords children and young adults the opportunity to make the most of their future – that is why supporting our teachers and students is so important.

One bill that protects teachers and students is the bipartisan budget that we passed; it fully funds the Education Cost sharing grants and also provides for $16 million to the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare Fund to provide a full statutory contribution. Allowing the savings to accrue to the healthcare fund makes it more solvent and ensures that the teachers who have dedicated their lives to molding young minds have access to their healthcare fund in the future.

Along with the budget, I also sponsored legislation that protects education funding, so that all children have access to public education guaranteed in our state’s constitution. House Bill 5171 prohibits the governor from cutting education cost sharing aid grants to towns. Schools should not have to experience arbitrary, mid-year cuts made from the executive office.

Another bill that I voted in favor of is House Bill 5452, which protects students by making changes to education laws addressing food allergies in schools. The State Department of Education will revise and update its guidelines for managing students with life-threatening food allergies. It also extends protections of the Good Samaritan law to cover school bus drivers rendering certain emergency first aid in response to a student’s allergic reaction.

Teachers and students need an advocate for them in Hartford and I am happy to report that this year we passed legislation that will help not only students, but teachers as well.  Creating a healthy learning environment will continue to help students succeed later in life, an ideal that I fully support.