The act identifies a new at-risk measure to identify students who are at risk of below-average academic outcomes because of socioeconomic disadvantage or poverty in order to allocate resources through the state's public school funding formula to serve those students. The new at-risk measure includes:
- The percentage of students certified as eligible for the school lunch program based on documentation of benefit receipt or categorical eligibility, supplemented by the expansion of direct certification to participants in the medical assistance program and the children's basic health plan; and
- A neighborhood socioeconomic-status index that weights student needs based on socioeconomic-status index neighborhood factors linked to each student's census block group.
The commissioner of education (commissioner) shall convene a working group to prepare for the implementation of the new at-risk measure in the 2023-24 budget year. The act specifies the membership of the working group. The act includes issues that the working group may consider in constructing and implementing the new at-risk measure, including collecting necessary data, constructing a neighborhood socioeconomic-status index linked to students' addresses, and testing the at-risk measure with actual student data, if available.
Not later than January 31, 2023, the commissioner shall report findings and recommendations for the construction and implementation of the new at-risk measure to the education committees of the general assembly and the joint budget committee.
The act requires the department of education to apply to the United States department of agriculture to obtain authorization for direct certification of students participating in the medical assistance program and the children's basic health plan.
For the 2022-23 state fiscal year, to implement the act, the act appropriates $34,997 to the department of education from the general fund and provides an additional .01 FTE for administration related to public school finance; and appropriates $128,341 from the general fund to the department and provides 0.4 FTE for federal nutrition programs.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)