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It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:


(a) The general assembly finds that:

(1) Workforce education and training efforts in Vermont are limited and insufficiently funded.

(2) There are multiple state-level decision-making boards that deal with issues included in a workforce education system.

(3) Because a school board operates and owns the technical center, the current system sometimes fails to engage all the schools in the region in appropriate decision making.

(4) Collaboration within a region often depends more on individual situations than on the economic development and educational needs of the region and students.

(5) Consistent technical education program offerings across the state are not now available.

(6) Student and program performance outcome data and evaluation are limited.

(7) The present funding structure inhibits access for students, both secondary and post-secondary.

(8) Tuition-based funding provides financial disincentives for high schools to send students and adults to daytime technical education programs.

(9) There are geographic, programmatic, scheduling and financial access problems in all parts of the state.

(10) Social and cultural issues with students, parents, and educators discourage participation in technical education programs.

(11) Technical centers need to encourage female and male enrollment in course work leading to high wage career opportunities.

(12) There is a lack of coordination in the use of facilities in regions. Facilities are not always up to date, lack telecommunications infrastructure and current equipment, andhave safety and health issues.

(b) It is therefore the purpose of this act to establish a technical education system in Vermont which:

(1) promotes high academic and technical performance standards for all technical education students;

(2) engages all the schools in the region in appropriate decision making;

(3) promotes maximum access by Vermont's secondary school population;

(4) ensures a financing system that guarantees an equal opportunity for successful education and career development for all Vermonters; and

(5) promotes the development of programs that foster economic development throughout the state.

Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 541(a) is amended to read:

(a) The human resources investment council is created as the successor to and the continuation of the governor's human resources investment council. The council shall consist of the following members: the commissioner of employment and training, the chancellor of Vermont state colleges, the president of the University of Vermont, the secretary of human services, the commissioner of agriculture, food and markets, one member representing independent colleges appointed by the governor, the secretary of commerce and community development, the commissioner of education, the commissioner of labor and industry, *[three]* five representatives of business appointed by the governor and representing as much as possible the diversity of business interests within the state, *[three]* five representatives of labor appointed by the governor, at least one of which shall be from names submitted by labor organizations, one representative of the low income community appointed by the governor, one member of the senate appointed by the senate committee on committees, one member of the house appointed by the speaker, and one representative of the office of the governor appointed by the governor.

Sec. 3. 16 V.S.A. § 164(18) is amended to read:

(18) Ensure that Vermont's *[children]* students, including students enrolled in secondary technical education, have access to a substantially equal educationalopportunity by developing a system to evaluate the equalizing effects of Vermont's education finance system and school quality standards under section 165 of this title. Beginning in school year 2000 and every five years thereafter, or more often if requested by the general assembly, the state board shall report to the general assembly concerning the results of this evaluation and recommendations for change if needed.

Sec. 4. 16 V.S.A. § 165(a) is amended to read:

(a) In order to carry out Vermont's policy that all Vermont children will be afforded educational opportunities which are substantially equal in quality, each Vermont public school, including each technical center, shall meet the following school quality standards:

* * *

(2) The school, at least annually, reports student performance results to community members in a format selected by the school board. In the case of a regional technical center, the community means the school districts in the service region. The school report shall include:

* * *

(F) early care and education opportunities available to children, *[and]*

(G) community support available to families,

(H) a description of how the school ensures that each student receives appropriate career counseling and program information regarding availability of education and apprenticeship program offerings at technical centers, and

(I) if the school is a secondary school, data describing student participation in technical education, regional job opportunities and the number of graduates from the previous year who have entered post-secondary education, the military and the job market.

* * *

(6) The school ensures that students receive appropriate career counseling and program information regarding the availability of education and apprenticeship program offerings at technical centers. In addition, the school, if it is a secondary school, offers a genuine opportunity to access technical education programs.

* * *

Sec. 5. 16 V.S.A. § 1521 is amended to read:

§ 1521. PURPOSE

(a) It is the policy of the state of Vermont that all Vermonters should receive educational services that enable them to master the skills essential for further education and training or for successful entry into or advancement in the workplace. *[It is the purpose of this chapter to provide the statutory framework for the governance, provision and funding of technical education so that this policy may be fulfilled.]*

(b) It is further the policy of the state of Vermont that Vermont's technical education system shall be based on clear standards for student performance and technical education program performance and that achievement of these standards shall be measured on a regular and ongoing basis.

Sec. 6. 16 V.S.A. § 1532 is amended to read:


(a) The state board shall adopt by rule:

(1) minimum standards for the operation and performance of technical centers*[.]* which include the school quality standards adopted by the state board under subdivision 164(9) and section 165 of this title;

(2) standards for student performance based on the standards adopted by the state board under subdivision 164(9) of this title and standards for industry recognized credentials;

(8) procedures and requirements for measurement of student knowledge and skill upon entry into and exit from the technical program. The purpose of the measurement shall be to determine student achievement in relation to the standards for academic and technical competence as adopted under subdivision (2) of this subsection. Aggregate results shall be reported to the communities in the service region along with other items reported pursuant to subdivision 165(a)(2) of this title.

* * *

(5) procedures by which the commissioner will review and approve use of course of study credits in technical education to meet state graduation requirements;

(6) procedures, including communications with the sending school districts, to identify unique or specific circumstances relative to a student's progress or safety.

Sec. 7. 16 V.S.A. § 1541a is amended to read:


(a) A school board of a sending district which offers public education in grades 11 or 12 shall:

(1) provide students enrolled in grades 11 and 12 with a genuine opportunity to participate fully and to benefit from technical education;

(2) provide students enrolled in programs at technical centers transportation between its high school building and the technical center or centers in its designated service region or regions; and

(3) if the technical center for the region does not offer a course of study desired by a student, pay tuition on behalf of that student who applies and is accepted to another technical center which does offer such a course of study. The district of residence is not responsible for providing transportation for a student attending a technical center under this subdivision.

(b) School boards that maintain secondary schools shall provide the names and addresses of students to the technical center for its region for the limited purpose of the technical center providing information to students and their parents about technical centerofferings.

Sec. 8. 16 V.S.A. § 1545 is added to read:


(a) Grades earned in a technical education course offered within a technical education program approved by the state board shall not be altered by any public or independent school in Vermont and shall be applied toward any state or local graduation requirements in accordance with policies adopted by the school board of each sending school district. Such policies shall be adopted prior to the beginning of the school year in which the course is offered.

(b) The credits earned for a technical education program shall be consistent with any state board rule and with the credit policies of the board responsible for operation of the technical center. These credits shall be honored by any public school within Vermont and applied toward any state or local graduation requirement. Any state board rules regarding earning of credits shall allow flexibility with respect to the integration of technical education and other academic courses.

(c) For any student attending the Vermont academy for science and technology pursuant to section 4011(e) of this title, the credits and grades earned shall, upon request of the student or the student's parent or guardian, be applied toward graduation requirements at the Vermont high school which the student attended prior to enrolling in the academy.

Sec. 9. 16 V.S.A. § 1551a is added to read:


(a) Enrollment in a high school shall not be a precondition for enrollment in a technical center for a student of any age without a diploma. For the purposes of this section a general education development credential shall not be considered a high school diploma.

(b) A school district may establish reasonable procedures to require its resident students to discuss educational opportunities within technical centers or the high school. Procedures shall not interfere with enrollment in a technical center. If a student without a diploma who is not enrolled in a high school enrolls in a technical center, within 10 days ofenrollment, the technical center shall notify the school district of residence of the enrollment.

Sec. 10. 16 V.S.A. § 1552(c) and (d) are added to read:

(c) For students from a school district within Vermont, funds received under subsections 1561(b) and (c) of this title shall be subtracted when calculating the tuition charge. For students who are not Vermont residents, funds received under subsections 1561(b) and (c) of this title shall not be subtracted when calculating the tuition charge.

(d) The tuition charged to a school district within Vermont shall be based on the average of the district's three prior years' full-time equivalent student enrollment in the technical center.

Sec. 11. 16 V.S.A. § 1553 is amended to read:


Sec. 12. 16 V.S.A. § 1561 is amended to read:


(a) For the purpose of reducing the amount of tuition charged to Vermont residentsunder section 1552 of this title, technical centers shall receive assistance as provided in this section. In this section,

(1) "Student" means a Vermont secondary student without a diploma regardless of age and regardless of whether the student is enrolled in a high school in Vermont; and

(2) "Full-time equivalent student" means the average of a Vermont school district's three prior years' full-time equivalent enrollment of students in the technical center.

(b) A technical center shall receive from the education fund for each full-time equivalent student sent from a school district within Vermont, 100 percent of the per equalized pupil general state support grant and an equivalent amount shall be subtracted from the amount due to the sending district under section 4011 of this title.

(c) Annually, each technical center shall receive from the education fund, a grant per full-time equivalent student. The amount of the grant shall be equal to $2,254,628.00 in 1998 dollars increased annually by the appropriate annual index for state and local government purchases of goods and services, and divided by the number of full-time equivalent students enrolled in all regional technical centers.

Sec. 13. 16 V.S.A. § 1563 is amended to read:


(a) It is the policy of the general assembly to encourage Vermont students to enroll in technical education courses. In furtherance of that policy, transportation assistance is provided for in this section to facilitate the enrollment of Vermont students in technical education programs.

(b) Transportation assistance shall be paid from the education fund to school districtswhich provide transportation to and from technical centers in their designated service region or regions. Assistance shall be $1.50 per mile for actual number of miles traveled, in 1998 dollars adjusted annually by the annual price index for state and local government purchases of goods and services. Payments shall be made on or before December 10 and June 10. Requests submitted on or following May 15 shall be reimbursed in the next payment.

(c) The state board may adopt rules necessary to implement this section.

Sec. 14. 16 V.S.A. § 1568 is added to read:


Annually, in accordance with a time line, format and process established by the state board by rule, each technical center shall report its direct and overhead costs to the commissioner. Technical center financial accounts shall be kept separately from those of the host high school in accordance with rules adopted by the state board which shall establish clear delineation of relevant costs and revenues.


(a) The human resources investment council and the state board of education shall jointly appoint nine people to a subcommittee on technical education standards. The subcommittee will issue reports and make recommendations to the state board of education and the human resources investment council pursuant to this section. Members shall be experts on technical education standards and assessment or have other training or expertise which would be helpful to the subcommittee in carrying out its mission, and shall represent business, education providers and organizations which provide workforce education.

(b) The state board of education and human resources investment council shall write and sign a memorandum of understanding regarding their directions to the subcommittee for its operation.

(c) The subcommittee shall:

(1) No later than October 1, 1998:

(A) Recommend baseline performance data which should be collected from alltechnical centers and comprehensive high school programs on issues such as student achievement relative to industry recognized standards, access, equity, quality of secondary technical education programming and responsiveness of adult programming to regional economic needs.

(B) Identify existing national industry standards and assessments.

(C) Based on existing standards and assessments and baseline data, identify the tasks necessary to establish, review and maintain an industry skill standards system.

(D) Identify criteria by which industry standards would be evaluated and selected.

(2) No later than January 1, 1999 make recommendations concerning:

(A) The coordination of a standards-based approach which incorporates national standards across secondary, adult and post-secondary programs.

(B) The coordination of secondary technical education programming with post-secondary education and other workforce education and training programs.

(C) The level and allocation of resources necessary to support secondary and adult technical education.

(d) The subcommittee shall issue reports at least four times a year and the state board of education and human resources investment council shall take action on recommendations of the subcommittee.

(e) The subcommittee shall remain in existence until December 31, 2000. Following that date the subcommittee shall remain in existence if so authorized by the human resources investment council and the state board of education. Authorization shall be for two years and may be renewed for two-year periods until the subcommittee is no longer needed.


In evaluating transportation needs and amending transportation plans pursuant to Sec. 22(e) of Act No. 60 of the Acts of 1997 as amended by Act No 71 of 1998, school boards shall consider the transportation needs of technical education students.


(a) Sec. 272e(b) of Act No. 61 of 1997 is amended to read:

(b) Unless reauthorized by the general assembly prior to *[July 1, 1999]* December 31, 2003, 10 V.S.A. § 541 (human resources investment council) shall expire on *[July 1, 1999]* December 31, 2003.

(b) Notwithstanding Sec. 101 of Act 71 of 1998, Sec. 25 of Act No. 60 of 1997 is repealed.


(a) During school year 1999, the Commissioner of Education, in collaboration with the chancellor of the Vermont state colleges and the co-chairs of the human resources investment council may designate up to three funded pilot projects and additional unfunded pilot projects, to commence on January 1, 1999, from among applications submitted by a regional collaborative as defined in Sec. 121a(a) of Act 71 of 1998. A designated pilot project shall follow all provisions of law relating to technical centers, including laws relating to standards, assessment and professional development. However the Commissioner of Education may waive laws regarding governance of technical centers pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(b) Pilot Criteria and Expected Outcomes.

(1) In determining which projects should be granted pilot status under this section, in addition to the criteria of Sec. 121a of Act 71 of 1998, the Commissioner of Education shall consider which applicants best propose to:

(A) restructure technical center governance while ensuring that the roles and responsibilities set forth in sections 1541 and 1542 of Title 16 are carried out; and

(B) allow and encourage access to technical education programs.

(2) In determining which projects should be granted pilot status under this section, the Commissioner of Education shall also consider which applicants are most likely to achieve the following outcomes:

(A) improved equity, access and cost effectiveness regarding technical educationprograms;

(B) integration of academic and technical education programs;

(C) increased public awareness of and support for technical education;

(D) sustainability of the project beyond the funding period;

(E) improved coordination of career counseling between the technical center and the sending high schools;

(F) improved communication and coordination among the high schools within the region regarding graduation requirements, credits, grades, special needs students, remedial supports and other matters;

(G) private and public sector job training sites developed to provide more learning opportunities for students; and

(H) maximum use of the technical center facility by students of all ages and the community, with use of the center coordinated with the Vermont state colleges and other post-secondary institutions, and other state licensing, job training and apprenticeship programs.

(c) Governance System.

(1) Notwithstanding sections 1541 and 1542 of Title 16 and any other provision of law restricting governance options, applicants for pilot projects may propose restructuring technical center governance, consistent with the criteria of subsection (b) of this section, in one of the following ways:

(A) The regional advisory board may continue its current board membership and structure and submit an annual technical education plan to the workforce investment board for review and written comment regarding the extent to which the plan addresses regional workforce needs.

(B) The workforce investment board incorporates the functions of the regional advisory board into its responsibilities and serves as the regional governance board. In order to be eligible for pilot status with respect to this governance model, the workforce investment board for the pilot project shall include school leaders and elected school board members.

(C) Any other governance model which is designed to improve coordination of regional technical education programs and resources, administer technical educationprograms for improved student outcomes and respond to regional workforce development needs.

(2) If a dispute arises between the governing board of a pilot project and any school district board within the region covered by the pilot project, the Commissioner of Education shall resolve the dispute after opportunity for hearing. The decision of the commissioner shall be final.

(d) Data collection and reports. The state board, in consultation with the human resources investment council, shall determine what data to collect from pilot projects selected under this section. Pilot projects shall provide progress reports to the state board and the human resources investment council on a quarterly basis and data as may be requested by the state board from time to time.

(e) Evaluation. The state board of education and the human resources investment council shall study the data collected and compare regions with pilot status and those that are not pilot regions. No later than January 15, in each year up to and including calendar year 2002, the state board shall report to the senate and house committees on education on the progress of the pilot projects. No later than January 15, 2002, the board and council shall recommend to the senate and house committees on education how to structure Vermont's technical education system in the best interest of Vermont students. Recommendations shall include suggestions on how to:

(1) Improve access to technical programs for Vermont students,

(2) Restructure Vermont's technical program finance system,

(3) Restructure Vermont's technical education governance system,

(4) Align technical education programs with other educational programs, including pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education,

(5) Provide aid to regional programs for capital construction, capital improvements and for equipment,

(6) Link the programs to Vermont's broader workforce education and training system.


The department of education, regional technical centers and any pilot project designated under this act shall enter into cooperative agreements with the division of vocational rehabilitation as may be required under the federal rehabilitation act.


The human resources investment council shall identify laws, regulations, policies and procedures that inhibit the development of a fully integrated workforce education and training system and flexibility in the use of funds, and shall report in writing to the governor with copies to the secretary of the senate and clerk of the house of representatives on or before October 10, 1998.

Sec. 20a. 24 V.S.A. § 4947 is added to read:


An association that offers hospital, surgical and medical benefits insurance to entities that are providing educational services under this subchapter, may make such insurance available to approved or recognized independent schools operating in Vermont. Participation shall be on the same terms and conditions that apply to municipalities and shall not create joint and several liability as a result of any act or omission of any other school, municipality or association. Schools that participate under this section shall be provided with copies of the annual audit. The provisions of section 166 of Title 16 shall apply for purposes of determining whether a school qualifies as an "approved or recognized independent school."

Sec. 20b. SUNSET

24 V.S.A. § 4947, relating to eligibility of approved or recognized independent schools to participate in intermunicipal insurance agreements, is repealed on June 30, 2001.


The Commissioner of Education shall consult with technical center directors, superintendents, school board members, legislators, and others who may have an interest, regarding problems facing school districts which, due to geographic constraints, do not have easy access to a regional technical center in Vermont. On or before January 15, 1999, the commissioner shall report to the Senate and House committees on educationregarding assignment of these school districts to regional technical center service regions. The report shall contain recommendations regarding transportation and funding considerations for these school districts which may include paying for tuition and transportation of students residing in these districts to technical centers outside Vermont.

Sec. 21. 16 V.S.A. § 824(b) is amended to read:

(b) Except as otherwise provided for technical students, the district shall pay the full tuition charged its pupils attending an approved public high school in Vermont or an adjoining state, or a public or independent school in Vermont functioning as an approved area technical center, or an independent school meeting public school standards. However, *[any]* if a payment made to an approved public high school *[in excess of]* or an independent school meeting public school standards is three percent more or less than the calculated net cost per secondary pupil in average daily membership in the receiving school district for the year of attendance then the district shall be reimbursed, credited or refunded pursuant to section 836 of this title, unless otherwise agreed to by the boards of both the receiving and sending districts or independent schools.

Sec. 22. 16 V.S.A. § 836 is amended to read:


(a) Annually, on or before November 1, the commissioner shall inform each school board of a receiving public school, each board of trustees of a receiving approved independent school *[meeting public school standards or designated school]* for which the commissioner has calculated a net cost per pupil, and each sending school district in Vermont of the calculated net cost per elementary or secondary pupil in the receiving schools. Each school board or board of trustees of a receiving school shall then determine whether it *[billed]* overcharged or undercharged any sending district for tuition charges *[in excess of the calculated net cost per elementary or secondary pupil]* *[and shall credit the sending school district against the following year's tuition charges or shall refund the overcharged amount]*.

(b) If the sending district has paid tuition charges in excess of three percent of the calculated net cost per elementary or secondary pupil and is not sending enough students to the receiving school to use the overcharge funds as credit against tuition, the schoolboard or board of trustees of the receiving school shall refund the overcharge money by *[July 15]* July 31. However, interest owed the sending district on overcharge monies shall begin to accrue on December 1, at the rate of *[one]* one-half percent per month.

(c) If the receiving district has undercharged tuition in an amount three percent or more than the calculated net cost per elementary or secondary pupil, the school board or the board of trustees of the sending school shall pay the amount of the undercharge. If payment is not made by July 31 of the year following the year in which the undercharge was determined, interest owed the sending district on overcharge moneys shall begin to accrue on August 1, at the rate of one percent per month.

Sec. 23. 16 V.S.A. § 825(c) is added to read:

(c) The commissioner shall investigate complaints by a school board regarding tuition and may, within the limits of funds appropriated for this specific purpose, contract for limited scope audits of the annual statistical reports submitted by school districts for the purpose of determining the accuracy of the allocation of revenues and expenditures to elementary and secondary tuition rates.

Sec. 24. 16 V.S.A. § 1522(9) and (10) are amended to read:

(9) "Overhead costs" means *[20 percent of direct costs. This amount is intended to cover overhead]* the costs of operating a regional technical center which are not direct costs, including but not limited to governance, fiscal services, student support services, plant operation, and maintenance service, as defined by rule of the state board.

(10) "Technical tuition" means the amount calculated by subtracting from total regional technical center *[direct]* costs all expenditures from state and federal grants (but not *[state technical tuition assistance, reimbursement for overhead costs, or]* incentive grants, adult education grants, or other state grants as defined by the state board by rule), then dividing the result by *[total full-time equivalent enrollment]* the sum of the actual number of full-time equivalent out-of-state students and the average of the full-time equivalent Vermont students for the three prior years.

Sec. 25. 16 V.S.A. § 1552(a) is amended to read:

(a) Each technical center shall establish a tuition charge for secondary technical education. The amount shall reflect the actual *[net direct]* cost, as defined by rule of thestate board, of attendance in the technical courses offered by the center. The tuition charge shall be reduced proportionally for pupils enrolled in a part-time program.


(a) On or before May 30, 1998, the Commissioner of Education shall, after collaborating with the regional advisory boards, Vermont Association of School Business Officers, Vermont Technical Center Directors Association and Vermont Superintendents Association, establish guidelines for calculation of overhead costs to be charged under section 1552 of Title 16.

(b) On or before September 30, 1998, each regional advisory board or pilot governance entity in the case of pilot projects authorized under this act, shall establish, by unanimous agreement, the amount of overhead costs which may be included in the technical tuition in its service region in fiscal year 2000. For purposes of this subsection, each regional advisory board shall consist of at least one representative of each sending school district within the technical center's service region. The Commissioner of Education shall establish the amount of overhead costs which may be included in the technical tuition for any service region which has failed to establish the amount by September 30.

(c) By January 15, 1999, the Commissioner of Education shall report to the Senate and House Committees on Education concerning:

(1) the amounts established under subsection (b) of this section and any procedures or formulae used to develop the amount,

(2) a list and description of all sources of funding for technical centers,

(3) recommendations for a system for allocation of overhead costs among host and sending districts beginning in fiscal year 2001, and

(4) recommendations for needed changes to sections 1562, 1564, 1565, 1566 and 1567 of Title 16.

(d) On or before March 15, 1999, the State Board of Education shall adopt rules defining unreimbursed overhead costs that may be charged as part of technical tuition under section 1552 of Title 16.


(a) Beginning in fiscal year 2000, a comprehensive high school shall not receive aid under section 1561 of Title 16.

(b) The Commissioner of Education, after collaborating with representatives of each comprehensive high school, the Vermont Superintendents Association, the Vermont Technical Center Directors Association, the Vermont Association of School Business Officers, and other interested parties, shall:

(1) identify problems relating to tuition which affect comprehensive high schools and their sending schools;

(2) recommend how to fairly provide state aid to a comprehensive high school; and

(3) on or before December 1, 1998, report to the Senate and House Committees on Education on recommendations for statutory change.


(a) Secs. 8, 9, 14, 21 and 22 of this act shall take effect on July 1, 1998.

(b) Secs. 10, 12 and 13 of this act shall take effect on July 1, 1999.

(c) Sec. 23 of this act shall take effect on passage and shall relate to tuition calculations for fiscal year 1997 and later.

(d) Secs. 24 and 25, relating to technical tuition, shall take effect on July 1, 1999 for the purpose of calculating technical tuition for fiscal year 2000.

(e) The remaining sections of this act shall take effect on passage.

Approved: April 27, 1998