Assemblywoman Sandy Galef applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo for vetoing a special education bill that had the potential to create significant costs for school districts that are already under severe fiscal pressure. Although the bill was passed by the state Assembly and Senate, Assemblywoman Galef did not vote for the legislation and would not vote for an override of the governor’s veto.
The bill was also criticized by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Partnership for New York City the New York State United Teachers, New York State School Boards Association, and others for ushering in a voucher-like program. “I am pleased the governor is being mindful of legislation coming before him that would impose additional costly unfunded mandates on school districts,” Galef said. “We all need to continue to be vigilant in the state to avoid unintended consequences.”
Assemblywoman Galef said that the next step would be for the governor to sign into law A10205A/S7120A to help remove further obstacles in state laws and allow the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to operate more efficiently. With the passage of this legislation, BOCES would be able to enter into contracts with other states, like New Jersey and Connecticut, to allow those students residing there to have access to New York State BOCES career educational programs, technical services, and special education services. It would cover the costs of the program with the added revenue from students outside New York State, allowing for stability and lower tuition costs.
In addition, BOCES, which are often approached by educators outside New York who wish to purchase curriculum they have developed as well as utilize their proven programs and services, would now be able to do so under this legislation. Presently BOCES cannot sell these services because it is not yet authorized by law.
“Our BOCES offer a wonderful opportunity to share services with the goal of creating efficiencies for school districts and saving money for taxpayers. We should be doing whatever possible to ease the burden on the local taxpayer and this legislation is one more step in that direction,” Galef concluded.