“The Board of Education is the governing body of the Ridgefield School District and derives its power and exists under the Constitution General Statutes of the State of Connecticut and the procedures of the Connecticut State Board of Education.” (RPS BOE Bylaw 9000) But what does that mean?

The Ridgefield district must comply with federal and state education laws. The BOE policy subcommittee drafts updates to local policies and creates new ones in response to the evolving landscape of federal and state education law in the context of our mission and vision, and community priorities. At a minimum, a local district must follow the legislation, but we can go beyond with policy. Where there is a discrepancy, the public act overrides local policy.

The Connecticut Board of Education (CABE) establishes education policy, prepares legislative proposals, sets academic standards for teachers and students, and provides leadership and support services to school districts. It also monitors district implementation of some pieces of legislation.

The list of Connecticut laws (Public Acts and Special Acts) affecting education enacted during the 2019 regular legislative session is long: cga.ct.gov/olr/Documents/year/AA/2019AA-0136_2019%20Acts%20Affecting%20Education.pdf and cga.ct.gov/olr/actsaffecting.asp.

Many of these legislative changes have budget implications. In addition to adopting new policies and practices that align with the new legislation, Boards of Education need to budget for items that are not funded by the government. In Connecticut, the list of unfunded mandates is long.

Margaret Stamatis