A10723 Summary:

COSPNSRZebrowski, Brabenec, Seawright
Relates to supplementary funding for dedicated programs for public school students in the East Ramapo Central School District; appropriates funds therefor.
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A10723 Actions:

06/13/2016referred to ways and means
06/15/2016reported referred to rules
06/16/2016rules report cal.483
06/16/2016substituted by s8131
 06/16/2016PASSED SENATE
 06/16/2016referred to ways and means
 06/16/2016substituted for a10723
 06/16/2016ordered to third reading rules cal.483
 06/16/2016passed assembly
 06/16/2016returned to senate
 06/30/2016SIGNED CHAP.89
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A10723 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                      June 13, 2016
        Introduced  by  COMMITTEE  ON  RULES  -- (at request of M. of A. Jaffee,
          Zebrowski) -- read once and referred to  the  Committee  on  Ways  and
        AN  ACT  relating  to  supplementary  funding for dedicated programs for
          public school students in the East  Ramapo  central  school  district;
          providing  an  appropriation therefor; and providing for the repeal of
          such provisions upon expiration thereof
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Legislative  intent. The legislature finds and determines
     2  that over the course of many years there have been dramatic  changes  in
     3  the  demographics  in the town of Ramapo, Rockland county. The number of
     4  residents in the town has dramatically increased, swelling the  size  of
     5  the  East Ramapo central school district to over 30,000 students. Nearly
     6  2/3 of those students do not, however, attend the public school  system.
     7  In  2015  the  state  education  department,  pursuant to its powers and
     8  duties, appointed three monitors to the  district,  led  by  the  former
     9  chancellor  of  the  New  York  City  school district.   The legislature
    10  further finds and determines  that  in  order  to  continue  moving  the
    11  dialogue in the right direction, with the ultimate goal of improving the
    12  outcomes  of  all students within the district, the appointment of moni-
    13  tors should continue. This  legislation  continues  the  appointment  of
    14  monitors in the East Ramapo central school district. Finally, the legis-
    15  lature finds that this legislation has received general support from the
    16  school board and the community as a whole.
    17    § 2. Definitions. As used in this act:
    18    (a) "commissioner" shall mean commissioner of education;
    19    (b) "department" shall mean state education department;
    20    (c)  "board of education" or "board" shall mean the board of education
    21  of the East Ramapo central school district;
    22    (d) "school district" or "district" shall mean the East Ramapo central
    23  school district; and
    24    (e) "superintendent" shall mean the superintendent of the East  Ramapo
    25  central school district.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 10723                            2
     1    (f) "comptroller" shall mean the state comptroller.
     2    §  3.  (a)  Appointment of monitor team. In accordance with the powers
     3  and duties of the board of regents  and  the  commissioner  pursuant  to
     4  subdivision  2  of  section 305 of the education law, section 308 of the
     5  education law, and section 215 of the education  law,  the  commissioner
     6  shall  appoint  up to 3 monitors to carry out the provisions of this act
     7  including but not limited to providing oversight, guidance and technical
     8  assistance related to the educational and  fiscal  policies,  practices,
     9  programs  and  decisions of the East Ramapo central school district, the
    10  board of education and the superintendent.
    11    (b) The monitors shall be non-voting ex-officio members of the  school
    12  board.  The  monitors  shall  be  individuals  who  are not residents or
    13  employees of the school district and to the extent practical, shall have
    14  experience in one of more of the following areas:
    15    (i) school district finances;
    16    (ii) elementary and secondary education;
    17    (iii) the operation of school districts in New York;
    18    (iv) educating students with disabilities; and/or
    19    (v) educating English language learners.
    20    § 4. The monitor or monitors shall be entitled to attend all  meetings
    21  of the board, including executive sessions; provided however, such moni-
    22  tor  or  monitors shall not be considered for purposes of establishing a
    23  quorum of the board, provided further that the monitors may  be  excused
    24  from executive sessions when privileged issues are being discussed.  The
    25  East Ramapo central school district shall fully cooperate with any moni-
    26  tor or monitors appointed by the commissioner, including but not limited
    27  to providing such monitor or monitors with access to any necessary docu-
    28  ments  and records of the district including access to electronic infor-
    29  mation systems, databases and planning documents,  consistent  with  all
    30  applicable state and federal statutes including but not limited to Fami-
    31  ly  Educational  Rights  and  Privacy  Act (FERPA)(20 U.S.C. §1232g) and
    32  section 2-d of the education law.
    33    § 5.  (a) The sum of one million dollars ($1,000,000) is hereby appro-
    34  priated for the 2016--2017 school year to the state education department
    35  out of moneys in the state treasury in the general fund to the credit of
    36  the local assistance account, not otherwise appropriated, for reimburse-
    37  ment to the East Ramapo central  school  district  to  support  students
    38  attending public schools in such district, provided that the district is
    39  in  compliance  with  the  requirements  set forth in this act. Provided
    40  further that funding appropriated in this paragraph shall only  be  made
    41  available after the director of the budget has certified that the sum of
    42  two  million  dollars  ($2,000,000)  has been made available to the East
    43  Ramapo central school  district  from  available  appropriations  within
    44  chapter  53  of the laws of 2016, provided that such funds are only made
    45  available for purposes set forth in this act.
    46    (a-1) The East Ramapo central school district  shall  be  eligible  to
    47  receive  reimbursement  from such funds made available pursuant to para-
    48  graph (a) of this section for its approved expenditures on  services  to
    49  improve  and enhance the educational opportunities of students attending
    50  the public schools in such district. Such services  shall  include,  but
    51  not  be limited to, reducing class sizes, expanding academic and enrich-
    52  ment opportunities, establishing and  expanding  kindergarten  programs,
    53  expanding  extracurricular  opportunities  and providing student support
    54  services, provided, however, transportation services and expenses  shall
    55  not be eligible for reimbursement from such funds.

        A. 10723                            3

     1    (b)  In  order to receive such funds, the school district in consulta-
     2  tion with the monitor or monitors shall develop a  long  term  strategic
     3  academic  and fiscal improvement plan within 6 months from the enactment
     4  of this act. Such plan  shall  be  submitted  to  the  commissioner  for
     5  approval  and  shall  include a set of goals with appropriate benchmarks
     6  and measurable objectives and identify strategies to address areas where
     7  improvements are needed in the district, including but  not  limited  to
     8  its  financial stability, academic opportunities and outcomes, education
     9  of students with disabilities, education of English  language  learners,
    10  and  shall  ensure compliance with all applicable state and federal laws
    11  and regulations.  This improvement plan shall also include a  comprehen-
    12  sive expenditure plan that will describe how the funds made available to
    13  the  district pursuant to this section will be spent.  The comprehensive
    14  expenditure plan shall  ensure  that  funds  supplement,  not  supplant,
    15  expenditures  from  local, state and federal funds for services provided
    16  to public school students.  Such expenditure plan shall be developed  in
    17  consultation with the monitor or monitors appointed by the commissioner.
    18  The  board  of education of the East Ramapo central school district must
    19  conduct a public hearing on the expenditure plan and shall consider  the
    20  input  of the community before adopting such plan. Such expenditure plan
    21  shall also be made publicly available and shall be submitted along  with
    22  comments made by the community to the commissioner for approval once the
    23  plan is finalized.  Upon review of the improvement plan and the expendi-
    24  ture  plan,  required  to  be  submitted pursuant to this subdivision or
    25  section seven of this act, the commissioner shall approve or  deny  such
    26  plan  in writing and, if denied, shall include the reasons therefor. The
    27  district in consultation with the monitors may  resubmit  such  plan  or
    28  plans with any needed modifications thereto.
    29    (c) The commissioner shall disburse the funds appropriated pursuant to
    30  this  section after receiving satisfactory evidence from the East Ramapo
    31  central school district that the district has complied with the approved
    32  comprehensive expenditure plan and spent  such  funds  pursuant  to  the
    33  approved expenditure plan.
    34    (d)  The commissioner of education shall have 30 days from the receipt
    35  of such evidence to confirm whether the  school  district  has  complied
    36  with the requirements of this act and shall determine whether such funds
    37  were  spent in conformance with the provisions of this act. Upon finding
    38  compliance and determining that the funds were  properly  expended,  the
    39  commissioner  shall  certify  the amount of the approved expenditures to
    40  the state comptroller for payment no  later  than  60  days  after  such
    41  determinations.  The  East  Ramapo  central  school  district  shall not
    42  receive reimbursement for funds authorized pursuant to this act that are
    43  not spent for the direct benefit of students attending public schools in
    44  such district in a manner consistent  with  its  approved  comprehensive
    45  expenditure plan or prior written approval from the commissioner.
    46    §  6. Fiscal and operational oversight by the commissioner. During the
    47  effective period  of  this  act  the  commissioner  shall  undertake  an
    48  enhanced review of the district budget.
    49    (a)  The  board of education in consultation with the monitor or moni-
    50  tors shall annually submit the school district's proposed budget for the
    51  next succeeding school year to the commissioner no later  than  45  days
    52  before  the  date  scheduled  for the school district's budget vote. The
    53  commissioner shall review the budget to ensure that it, to the  greatest
    54  extent  possible, expands educational programming for students including
    55  but not limited to extracurricular activities,  course  offerings,  non-
    56  mandated  support services, non-mandated art and music classes, programs

        A. 10723                            4
     1  and services for English language learners and students  with  disabili-
     2  ties, and maintaining class size. The commissioner shall also review the
     3  proposed  budget  to  ensure  that  it is balanced within the context of
     4  revenue and expenditure estimates and mandated programs. The commission-
     5  er  shall present his or her findings to the board of education no later
     6  than 30 days prior to the date scheduled for the school district's budg-
     7  et vote. The board of education shall make adjustments to  the  proposed
     8  budget consistent with any recommendations made by the commissioner. The
     9  school  district  shall  make  available  on the district's website: the
    10  initial proposed budget, the  commissioner's  findings,  and  the  final
    11  proposed budget prior to the date of the school district's budget vote.
    12    (b)  The monitor or monitors appointed by the commissioner shall quar-
    13  terly, and the district  shall  annually  provide  to  the  commissioner
    14  reports  on  the fiscal and operational status of the school district to
    15  ensure compliance with subdivision (a) of  this  section.  In  addition,
    16  monitors  shall  provide  an annual report to the commissioner and comp-
    17  troller on contracts that the district entered into throughout the year.
    18  All reports shall be subject to review by the comptroller at the request
    19  of the commissioner.
    20    § 7. To ensure compliance with the comprehensive expenditure plan,  in
    21  the  event  the  district  plans  to  reduce  budget  appropriations for
    22  programs restored or created under the comprehensive expenditure plan or
    23  the strategic academic and fiscal improvement plan as well as  the  sale
    24  of  school  buildings  or  other  real  property and capital improvement
    25  contracts in excess of one  hundred  thousand  dollars  ($100,000),  the
    26  district shall submit a plan to the commissioner for approval.
    27    §  8.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2016 and shall expire and be
    28  deemed repealed June 30, 2017.
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