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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 5, 2016 04:19 PM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: Recovery School Legislation
I plan to introduce legislation establishing a four-year recovery high school pilot program for students in recovery from substance abuse.

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 80 percent of students who return to their previous high schools after substance abuse treatment will relapse within the first year. As an alternative to traditional public schools, recovery high schools offer positive peer pressure, on-site intervention support services, and academic curricula designed for students in early recovery.

Currently, there are 35 recovery high schools in 15 states that are recognized by the Association of Recovery Schools. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Minnesota have established recovery schools through legislation, while Indianapolis, Indiana created a recovery school through a mayoral charter. Additionally, numerous state legislatures have introduced bills to establish recovery schools, including the New Jersey legislature.

Under my legislation, the recovery high school pilot program will serve a limited number of students. Funding for students participating in the program will be shared between the Department of Education (PDE) and the school district in which the student resides. Students whose placement in the program is publicly funded will be required to complete all State-level assessments that would be required of students enrolled in a traditional public school. During the pilot program, the recovery high school will be required to report to the General Assembly, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (ODAP) and PDE concerning outcomes of the program. Further, the recovery high school will be subject to annual audit. As the pilot program nears its conclusion, DDAP and PDE must issue a report to the General Assembly assessing the success of the program and making recommendations regarding the possible extension and expansion of the program.

I hope that you will join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB850