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Robert K. Sweeney
Assembly District 11
Chair, Environmental Conservation Committee
Back to School for Board Members
July 12, 2010

The State Legislature has given final approval of a bill to require training of new school board members in New York State.

School board members are elected local officials, guiding a system that spends over $48 billion annually, employs nearly 470,000 people and serves more than 2.7 million children. The decisions made by these local board members effect school governance, student learning, finance, and property taxes. Well informed school boards are essential in providing oversight to maintain the effective and efficient administration of a school district.

“Board members who are versed in the powers, functions and duties of their position are better able to provide effective oversight and help a district meet its educational objectives while protecting the public purse”, said Assemblyman Bob Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), in explaining the purpose behind his legislation to require first term school board members to receive training regarding the powers, functions and duties of their office.

The bill, which has now passed both the Assembly and the Senate, needs only Governor David Paterson’s signature to become law.

“In these tough economic times it is essential to squeeze every tax dollar to obtain the maximum benefit to the public. A well informed board member will make better decisions on financial, administrative duties, and student learning issues. Students, taxpayers and school employees will all benefit”, concluded Sweeney.

The bill was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Brian Foley (D-Blue Point).

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