New Law Changes School Funding Formulas: New laws that revamped the school funding system are driving districts in regions of the state to shift their resources to achieve one of the key goals laid out in the sweeping financial reform effort – graduating students so they are ready for college or careers. Every California district had to adopt a plan outlining how it will spend state funds under the new Local Control Funding Formula, which also requires school systems to show how they will improve the educational outcomes of “high-needs” students – low-income pupils, English learners and foster children.
State Teen Pregnancy Rates Drop: Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) announces that the state teenage birth rate fell by 40% between 2009 and 2013, partly because of the health department’s family planning initiative. The initiative provides information and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to 30,000 low-income women. Negative health consequences associated with unplanned pregnancies include maternal depression, low birth weight and reduced rates of breastfeeding.
State Unveils Juvenile Justice Improvements, Saves $11M: Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) signs a measure to help reduce the number of juvenile offenders. Following recommendations made by a bipartisan working group, the law directs the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility to focus on serious juvenile offenders, allowing for youth charged with less serious crimes to be diverted to alternate facilities. Additionally, the law invests resources in community-based services for lower-level offenses to help prevent recidivism. Projected to save nearly $11 million, the law dedicates a portion of that savings to bolstering mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.
$3M for Career, Technical Education Pathways: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) announces the recipients of a $3 million grant program intended to align education and training opportunities with the needs of the regional workforce. The program, which will partner with private investment to provide matching funds, will aim to give applicants hands-on training, certificates, and credentials. Throughout the state, schools and career centers will implement the Conexus/HIRE Technology curriculum by embedding it in a project-based, early-credentialing high school model that synthesizes the roles and resources of secondary and post-secondary education, adult workforce development and local manufacturers.
State Offers Schools Increased Flexibility on Graduation Requirements: Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signs a measure granting school districts additional flexibility in offering career-oriented technical education programs in high schools. The law will allow students to fulfill the state’s algebra II mandate through completion of a technical education course that includes relevant algebra-related material. The law also requires schools to inform students of potential career and technical education opportunities upon enrollment.
Initiative to Fight Drug Abuse: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signs a series of bills to address heroin and opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse. The first law focuses on improving treatment for drug-addicted individuals. Specifically, the measure requires insurers to use evidence-based criteria approved by the New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services when determining the appropriate level of medical treatment. It directs OASAS to create a wraparound services demonstration program to provide services to adolescents and adults for up to nine months after the successful completion of a treatment program. And, it provides that young people alleged to be suffering from a substance use disorder – which could make the youth a danger to himself or herself or others – can be assessed by an OASAS certified provider as part of Person In Need of Supervision (PINS) diversion services. The second law establishes Good Samaritan protections for individuals who administer naloxone or other life-saving medication.
The third law increases penalties for illegal distribution of heroin, opioids, and prescription drugs.