HJ79: Special education staffing ratios; JLARC to study.

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 79

Offered January 8, 2020
Prefiled January 7, 2020
Directing the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study special education staffing ratios. Report.
Patron-- Guzman

Committee Referral Pending

WHEREAS, on December 10, 2018, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission resolved to review the effectiveness of Virginia's special education programs by assessing "(i) spending trends in special education and related services, and major drivers of spending changes over time; (ii) the processes used to identify, refer, and determine eligibility for services for children who may have a disability or developmental delay; (iii) the effectiveness and consistency of the process used to determine the services needed for each child, and least-restrictive settings in which to provide those services, including services and settings funded through the Comprehensive Services Act; (iv) the process through which school divisions determine placements for students, in regional special education programs or in private facilities; (v) the performance, as measured through federal IDEA and other relevant performance indicators, of programs and services for children with disabilities; (vi) the effectiveness of VDOE's special education monitoring, guidance, and support, including through Training and Technical Assistance Centers; (vii) the adequacy and consistency of school division training and expertise in special education; and (viii) coordination across programs and services, including early childhood, K-12 programs, private facilities, educational services, social services, and other programs and services"; and

WHEREAS, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission is conducting such study, with a scheduled completion in 2020; and

WHEREAS, a key aspect of the effectiveness of Virginia's special education programs is ensuring that the proper ratios of students to special education instructional and support personnel is maintained; and

WHEREAS, as part of its study, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission should specifically examine the prescribed and actual ratios of students to special education instructional and support personnel in public elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth to determine whether any adjustment to such ratios is necessary; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission be directed to study special education staffing ratios.

In conducting its study, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission shall examine the prescribed and actual ratios of students to special education instructional and support personnel in public elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth to determine whether any adjustment to such ratios is necessary.

Technical assistance shall be provided to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission by the Department of Education. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission for this study, upon request.

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission shall complete its meetings by November 30, 2020, and the chairman shall submit to the Division of Legislative Automated Systems an executive summary of its findings and recommendations no later than the first day of the 2021 Regular Session of the General Assembly. The executive summary shall state whether the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission intends to submit to the General Assembly and the Governor a report of its findings and recommendations for publication as a House or Senate document. The executive summary and report shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.