Galef Proposes Legislation That Would Establish School District Restructuring Committees

Goal is to share and consolidate education services
September 14, 2011
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef has introduced legislation A. 2387, which would establish a Board of Cooperative Education Services School District (BOCES) Restructuring Committee to discuss sharing and consolidation of school services and make recommendations for enacting efficiencies.

This BOCES committee would be formed by all component school districts in the BOCES operating area, except for those school districts formed by a special act or in cities that have one million or more people. The restructuring committee will study and review the organization and operation of all component and non-component school districts within the area served by BOCES. The restructuring committee will be open to the public and will include public hearings.

“I have introduced this legislation because New York has some of the highest local property taxes in the country. In fact, our local property taxes are 79% above the national average, with school taxes accounting for 60% of those taxes. These taxes have put a burden on the state economy. BOCES restructuring committees can help local school districts share and consolidate services, which can cut costs and property taxes,” Galef said.

This bill is patterned after a recommendation by two recent statewide commissions, the Commission on Local Efficiency and Competitiveness (known as the Lundine Commission) and the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief (known as the Suozzi Commission). BOCES was recommended to spearhead the effort to look at the reduction of school district expenditures because it builds upon its mission, organizational structure, and relationship with local school districts. School districts are unique and local in nature, so that any changes must be effected from a bottoms-up, consensual, and transparent approach in order to guarantee success.

If passed, this piece of legislation would call for a committee of parents, teachers, administrators, board members, superintendents, and other concerned citizens to design a plan of sharing and consolidation. “All schools are unique based on the surrounding communities. By having local citizens involved, any changes would be transparent and agreed upon. This process would allow for maximum input and maximum success,” Galef continued.

“This legislation would simply help the community become involved in the very important process of consolidation and sharing. Each committee will produce reports that will be sent to the Commissioner of Education, who will either return the recommendation for changes or approve the recommendation and initiate orders to carry out the committee’s plans,” Galef explained.

When adopted, the law would take effect by the first October 1st after the bill is signed into law.