Most Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: H.R. 646, A bill to authorize the appropriation of funds to be used to recruit, hire, and train 100,000 new classroom paraprofessionals in order to improve educational achievement for children
Annualized Cost: $1 billion ($5 billion over five years)
Congressman Jose Serrano (NY-16) introduced H.R. 646 to decrease the ratio of students to staff in public elementary and secondary school classrooms. The bill would fund the hiring of 100,000 new paraprofessionals for state and local education agencies. Often referred to as aides, paraprofessionals are special-education workers who support teachers but are not licensed to teach. They can offer one-on-one instruction for students as well as administrative support.
In order to increase significantly the number of paraprofessionals, H.R. 646 would provide school districts with money to recruit, hire, train, and fund professional development efforts for new teaching assistants. In the event a district has already achieved a target ratio range of between 3 and 18 students to one instructor, they may use the funds to equalize the ratio even more or assist paraprofessionals in becoming licensed teachers.
According to the text of the bill, $1 billion would be spent each fiscal year between 2012 and 2016.