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Student re-entry bill gets a makeover

The House Education Committee Thursday passed a heavily amended version of House Bill 10-1274, a measure intended to give schools notification when a student is going to enroll after being in a day treatment center, facility school or state hospital.

The measure was sparked by a Nov. 11, 2008, incident at Montrose High School during which a troubled 14-year-old boy slashed the throat of a 16-year-old student. The victim survived and the attacker went to prison.

Attempts to pass legislation last year stalled, and a study committee worked on the issue over the summer. But, testimony during a House Ed hearing on Monday indicated there still was lots of disagreement over the bill and opposition from some juvenile justice advocates concerned that it would discriminate against foster children.

Amendments were developed over the last few days and approved unanimously by the committee Thursday. Those included removing references in the bill to language that was interpreted as applying only to foster children and adding language about children who are a risk to themselves or others, replacing wording that listed specific acts.

The amended bill also reduces to 10 from 30 the number of days notice that welfare authorities must give school districts about a student’s move.

Rep. Cherilyn Peniston, D-Westminster, asked sponsor Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge. “Are you satisfied that schools are still going to get the information they need?” under the amended bill.

Schafer was nuanced in her answer, saying, “It’s my hope that this will be another tool for better communication. … I can’t guarantee that it will be 100 percent perfect.”

House Ed also was scheduled to consider three bills that proposed tightened regulation of charter schools, but those were again laid over.

The Senate Education Committee Thursday unanimously passed out three bills:

  • House Bill 10-1208, which puts into law and establishes a timetable for completion of statewide higher education credit transfer agreements, several of which already are in place. This bill is designed to ease the transition from community to four-year colleges.
  • House Bill 10-1036, which requires school districts to post budget, spending and other financial information online, to be phased in over a three-year period.
  • House Bill 10-1034, which changes some required qualifications for school speech-language pathology assistants in an effort to ease a shortage of such workers.

The committee also approved the nominations of Regina Rodriguez and David Edwards to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education; of Stuart Bliss and Mohan Misra to School of Mines board, and those of Patricia Hayes, Amy Anderson, John Schlichting and Cecelia Sanchez de Ortiz to Charter School Institute board.
Use the Education Bill Tracker for links to bill texts and status information.

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