The first three plans from Alliance Districts will be approved this week, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor told the State Board of Education this morning. All 30 Alliance Districts, the lowest performing school districts in the state, have submitted plans to the State Department of Education (SDE). Windsor Locks, Naugatuck, and Ansonia will be the first to be approved by the SDE this week, according to Pryor.
The education reform bill that became Public Act 12-116 allotted $39.5 million in Education Cost Sharing funding to the Alliance Districts. To receive any increase in state funding over the amount the district received for the prior fiscal year, these districts are required to apply to the SDE with a plan meeting criteria and conditions set forth by the Public Act and the SDE. Districts are required to provide funds to match the state money received for their plans. Once the state approves the plans they must be submitted to the local board of education for approval.
Two of the three Alliance Districts receiving approval this week , Windsor Locks and Naugatuck, are CEA local affiliates.
Windsor Locks will receive $252,000 exclusively for the purpose of extending learning time for students by 200 hours per year. The district will use a staggered staffing model to allow for this extra time, and has negotiated the new schedule with the Windsor Locks Teachers’ Association.
Naugatuck will receive $635,149 to expand an extended day and a summer program for at-risk students, strengthen the common core curriculum, focus on a talent strategy to include an administrator internship program, and develop a counselor program that will free principals from some administrative responsibilities, allowing more time for instructional leadership.
Ansonia will receive $539,715 to focus on a small number of priority initiatives including a talent development program, an extended year for Ansonia High School, a new freshman academy initiative, and a K-3 literacy initiative.
Alliance Districts were required to submit plans by August 15 and all complied, Pryor said. The SDE has been reviewing the plans and has been, and will continue to be, in dialog with the districts as their plans are revised and eventually approved. Pryor said that the SDE has asked districts to consult with all education stakeholders, including teachers and parents, as they develop and revise their plans.
The commissioner expressed confidence that the majority of plans would be approved by the end of September, and the remainder would be approved in October.