SENATE, No. 2058

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 5, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  RAYMOND J. LESNIAK

District 20 (Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Authorizes Commissioner of Education to create a pilot recovery high school that provides high school education and substance dependency plan of recovery to test the effectiveness of this model in the State.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the establishment of a pilot recovery high school and supplementing chapter 6 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Recovery High School Act.”

 

     2.    As used in this act:

     “Recovery High School” means a public school that serves students diagnosed with substance use disorder or dependency as defined by the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and that provides both a comprehensive four-year high school education and a structured plan of recovery.

     “Sending district” means the district where the student attending or planning to attend the recovery high school resides, and that, upon the recommendation of an alcohol and drug counselor certified pursuant to P.L.1997, c.331 (C.45:2D-1 et seq.), refers the student for enrollment in the recovery high school.

 

     3.    a.  The Commissioner of Education is authorized to create a pilot recovery high school for the purpose of demonstrating the effectiveness of the recovery high school model in New Jersey.  The commissioner shall issue a request for proposals to operate the pilot recovery high school.  A proposal shall be submitted to the commissioner no later than December 1 of the school year prior to the school year in which the recovery high school is to begin operation.  The approval of the State Board of Education shall be required in order for the recovery high school to begin operation.

     b.    By approval of the proposal upon the recommendation of the commissioner, the State board shall be deemed to have authorized all necessary equivalencies and waivers of regulations enumerated in the proposal.

     c.    After two years of operation, the pilot recovery high school shall submit to the commissioner an analysis of the recovery high school’s educational outcomes including, but not limited to, student graduation rates, retention rates, course performance, and performance on the State assessments.

 

     4.    a.  Any school district in the State that has a student who is currently enrolled or resides in the municipality in which the district is located and who the district considers to be both clinically and academically appropriate for referral to the recovery high school may refer that student for voluntary enrollment in the school.  If the student is admitted to the recovery high school, the sending district shall ensure that payment for the student is made in accordance with the provisions of subsection b. of this section, and that upon completion of all State and local graduation requirements the student receives a State-endorsed high school diploma.

     b.    (1) A sending district shall pay directly to the recovery high school for each student attending the high school who meets the criteria of paragraph (2) of this subsection an amount equal to 100% of the sum of the budget year equalization aid per pupil, adjustment aid per pupil, and the prebudget year general fund tax levy per pupil inflated by the CPI rate most recent to the calculation.  In addition, the sending district shall pay directly to the recovery high school the security categorical aid attributable to the student and a percentage of the district’s special education categorical aid equal to the percentage of the district’s special education students enrolled in the recovery high school.  The district shall also pay directly to the recovery high school any federal funds directly attributable to the student.

     (2) A sending district shall pay the amount required pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection for each student who:

     (a) is currently enrolled in the district or currently resides in the municipality in which the district is located;

     (b) is considered by a certified alcohol and drug counselor to be clinically appropriate, using the criteria for substance use disorders as defined in the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; and

     (c) meets all matriculation criteria as outlined by the sending district and the Department of Education.  The determination of academic eligibility shall be based on existing documentation provided by the district.

     c.    The recovery high school shall submit to the State board the academic data considered necessary by the State board to provide information regarding each student’s academic performance, subject to applicable health confidentiality laws and regulations.

 

     5.    The State Board of Education, in consultation with the Department of Health, shall adopt regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

     6.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill authorizes the Commissioner of Education to create a pilot recovery high school for the purpose of demonstrating the effectiveness of the recovery high school model in New Jersey.  A recovery high school is defined as a public school that serves students diagnosed with substance use disorder or dependency as defined by the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and that provides both a comprehensive four-year high school education and a structured plan of recovery. 

     Under the bill’s provisions, the commissioner will issue a request for proposals to operate the pilot recovery high school.  The approval of the State Board of Education will be required in order for the recovery high school to begin operation.  Any school district in the State that has a student who is currently enrolled or resides in the municipality in which the district is located and who the district considers to be both clinically and academically appropriate for referral to the recovery high school may be referred for voluntary enrollment in the school.  If the student is admitted to the recovery high school, the sending district provides a per pupil payment to the school that includes both State aid and local tax levy.  Any federal funds directly attributable to the student will also be forwarded to the recovery high school.  These payments will be made for a student who: 1) is currently enrolled in the district or resides in the municipality in which the district is located; 2) is considered by a certified alcohol and drug counselor  to be clinically appropriate; and 3) meets all matriculation criteria as outlined by the sending district and the Department of Education.  The sending district will ensure that upon completion of all graduation requirements a student admitted to the recovery high school will receive a State-endorsed high school diploma.

     After two years of operation, the pilot recovery high school is to submit to the commissioner an analysis of the recovery high school’s educational outcomes including, but not limited to, student graduation rates, retention rates, course performance, and performance on the State assessments.