S03821 Summary:

Authorizes the commissioner of education to appoint a state monitor to oversee the East Ramapo central school district and establishes the powers and duties of the state monitor.
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S03821 Actions:

05/12/2015PRINT NUMBER 3821A
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S03821 Memo:

Memo not available
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S03821 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
            S. 3821--A                                            A. 5355--A
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
                SENATE - ASSEMBLY
                                    February 18, 2015
        IN  SENATE  --  Introduced  by  Sens. CARLUCCI, AVELLA, KRUEGER, LARKIN,
          LATIMER, SAVINO, VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed,  and  when
          printed  to  be  committed  to the Committee on Education -- committee
          discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted
          to said committee
        IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. JAFFEE, ZEBROWSKI, SKOUFIS,  HOOP-
          ARROYO  --  Multi-Sponsored  by  --  M.  of  A.  GALEF, GLICK, HEVESI,
          referred  to  the Committee on Education -- committee discharged, bill
          amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said  commit-
        AN  ACT  authorizing  the  commissioner  of education to appoint a state
          monitor to oversee the East Ramapo central school district and  estab-
          lishing  the powers and duties of the state monitor; 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.  Definitions.  For the purposes of this act, the following
     2  terms shall have the following meanings:
     3    (a) "board of education" or "board" shall mean the board of  education
     4  of the East Ramapo central school district.
     5    (b) "commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of education.
     6    (c) "department" shall mean the state education department.
     7    (d) "school district" or "district" shall mean the East Ramapo central
     8  school district.
     9    (e)  "state  monitor"  or  "monitor"  shall  mean the person appointed
    10  pursuant to section two of this act, or an interim person  appointed  to
    11  such position.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 3821--A                          2                         A. 5355--A
     1    (f)  "superintendent" shall mean the superintendent of the East Ramapo
     2  central school district.
     3    §  2.  Appointment. (a) The commissioner shall appoint a state monitor
     4  to provide direct oversight of  the  educational  and  fiscal  policies,
     5  practices,  programs  and  decisions  of  the East Ramapo central school
     6  district, the board of education and superintendent  within  sixty  days
     7  following the effective date of this act. The commissioner shall provide
     8  the  monitor technical support and assistance for the purposes of carry-
     9  ing out his or her duties under this act,  if  requested  by  the  state
    10  monitor.  The  state  monitor shall serve at the pleasure of the commis-
    11  sioner.
    12    (b) The commissioner shall have the authority to appoint a state moni-
    13  tor on an interim basis during the search for  a  permanent  appointment
    14  and  in the event of resignation, death, incapacity, or any other reason
    15  which causes the monitor to be unable to perform his or her  duties  and
    16  until  such  time  as a permanent state monitor is appointed.  Any state
    17  monitor appointed on an interim basis shall have the powers  and  duties
    18  of the state monitor contained in this act.
    19    (c)  The  state  monitor,  including his or her staff, shall be paid a
    20  fixed salary set by the commissioner and shall be reimbursed for  actual
    21  expenses  incurred  in  the performance of their duties including travel
    22  and supplies. The costs associated with the implementation of  this  act
    23  shall  be  borne by the state of New York from an appropriation for that
    24  purpose.
    25    (d) Notwithstanding any other provision of general or special law, the
    26  earnings limitations contained in any such general or special law, local
    27  law and/or charter and applicable to the  employment  of  persons  in  a
    28  position  or  positions  in  public  service  in any calendar year while
    29  retired and receiving a retirement allowance  shall  not  apply  to  any
    30  appointment authorized by this act. If applicable, the state monitor may
    31  continue as retired and without loss, suspension or diminution of his or
    32  her  retirement  allowance  provided  that  such individual is granted a
    33  waiver of retirement earnings limitation by the commissioner  of  educa-
    34  tion.
    35    (e)  For  the  purposes  of this act, the state monitor and his or her
    36  staff shall be considered state employees as defined in the public offi-
    37  cers law.
    38    § 3. State monitor powers. The state monitor shall have the power to:
    39    (a) Propose a resolution or course of action to be considered  by  the
    40  board  of  education  or  superintendent if the state monitor finds that
    41  such resolution or course of action is necessary in order to  carry  out
    42  his  or  her duties required by this act and is necessary for the educa-
    43  tional welfare of the students residing within the district  and/or  the
    44  fiscal stability of the district. If such resolution or course of action
    45  is proposed, the board must vote on the proposed resolution or course of
    46  action within fourteen days of receiving such resolution, or at the next
    47  regularly scheduled board meeting.
    48    (b)  Override  decisions  by  the board or superintendent if he or she
    49  finds that such override is necessary in order to carry out his  or  her
    50  duties required by this act and is necessary for the educational welfare
    51  of  the  students  attending the district and/or the fiscal stability of
    52  the district.  The state monitor may override a decision by the board or
    53  superintendent by issuing a directive, which must include specific find-
    54  ings as to the necessity of such override.  The  board  may  appeal  the
    55  state monitor's override in accordance with section five of this act.

        S. 3821--A                          3                         A. 5355--A
     1    (c) Access all district documents and records. School district person-
     2  nel  shall  provide any and all documents requested by the state monitor
     3  or his or her designee, and the state monitor shall have access  to  all
     4  electronic  information  systems, databases, and planning documents. The
     5  monitor  shall maintain the security and confidentiality of all informa-
     6  tion protected from disclosure by federal or state law or regulation.
     7    (d) Direct the board, superintendent,  and/or  other  school  district
     8  officers  to  undergo  any  training as deemed necessary and pursuant to
     9  timelines established by the state monitor.
    10    (e) Hire staff necessary to assist in carrying out the state monitor's
    11  duties required by this act, subject to a staffing plan approved by  the
    12  commissioner of education.
    13    (f) Hold public hearings or forums on school district matters as he or
    14  she deems necessary.
    15    (g)  Conduct  any  relevant  studies, reports, and reviews of district
    16  matters.
    17    § 4. State monitor duties. The state monitor shall have the  following
    18  duties:
    19    (a)  Develop  and  implement a five-year strategic academic and fiscal
    20  improvement plan in consultation with the  commissioner  and  the  board
    21  within six months from the date of appointment.
    22    1.  The  monitor  shall  hold  at  least one public hearing within the
    23  district, prior to the certification of the plan by the  state  monitor,
    24  for  the  purpose of presenting the contents of the improvement plan and
    25  seeking public comment on its contents. The superintendent shall  ensure
    26  that notice for the public hearing or hearings are posted in a manner to
    27  maximize  the  participation  of parents, students, residents and school
    28  personnel.
    29    2. The plan must establish a set of goals with appropriate  benchmarks
    30  and measurable objectives and identify strategies to address areas where
    31  improvements are needed in school district operations, including but not
    32  limited to its financial stability, academic opportunities and outcomes,
    33  education  of  students with disabilities, education of English language
    34  learners, community relations and board governance practices, and  shall
    35  ensure  district  compliance  with all applicable state and federal laws
    36  and regulations.
    37    3. The plan shall be publicly available at least fourteen days  before
    38  the  hearing  or  hearings  at which it will be presented and the super-
    39  intendent shall ensure that copies thereof shall be  prepared  and  made
    40  available,  upon  request,  to  residents  within  the  district at each
    41  schoolhouse in the district in which school is maintained during certain
    42  designated hours on each day other than a Saturday,  Sunday  or  holiday
    43  during the seven days immediately preceding such hearing or hearings.
    44    4. Following the hearing or hearings held pursuant to paragraph one of
    45  this  subdivision, but prior to certification of the improvement plan by
    46  the state monitor, the state monitor shall publicly report to the  board
    47  an  assessment of all public comments concerning the proposed plan and a
    48  description of any changes made to such  plan  as  a  result  of  public
    49  comments  received.  The  certified plan must be submitted to the board,
    50  commissioner, governor, the temporary president of the senate,  and  the
    51  speaker of the assembly.
    52    (b) Attend all meetings of the board including executive sessions. The
    53  state  monitor, or designee of the monitor, shall be deemed to be a non-
    54  voting member of the board and shall  be  entitled  to  sit  with  board
    55  members  at all meetings of the board and participate in all board hear-
    56  ings and meetings, and the superintendent shall be required  to  provide

        S. 3821--A                          4                         A. 5355--A
     1  adequate  notice to the state monitor of all such meetings and hearings.
     2  The state monitor shall ensure to the extent practicable that the  board
     3  conducts  all meetings, including executive sessions, in compliance with
     4  article  seven  of  the  public officers law, and shall be authorized to
     5  seek written advisory opinions from the committee on open government.
     6    (c) Supervise the  fiscal  and  operational  management  and  academic
     7  programming of the school district, including, but not limited to, over-
     8  sight  over  the development of the annual budget, resource allocations,
     9  contracts, facility management, educational program, and use of district
    10  funds.
    11    (d) Submit an annual  report  and  quarterly  updates  to  the  board,
    12  commissioner,  governor,  the temporary president of the senate, and the
    13  speaker of the assembly on the progress of the  strategic  academic  and
    14  fiscal  improvement  plan, actions undertaken by the monitor, any finan-
    15  cial information the  monitor  deems  appropriate,  and  other  district
    16  matters  of  importance, including recommendations with respect to state
    17  funding levels,  improvement  of  school  operations,  or  other  policy
    18  suggestions at the discretion of the state monitor. At the conclusion of
    19  the  monitor's  appointment  as determined by section seven of this act,
    20  the state monitor shall issue a final report  that  includes  long  term
    21  recommendations that address the unique needs of the school district.
    22    §  5.  Appeal process for monitor decisions. Notwithstanding any other
    23  law, rule or regulation to the contrary, all decisions made by the state
    24  monitor,  including  decisions  to  overturn  board  and  superintendent
    25  actions,  shall  be  final  and  conclusive unless and until modified or
    26  reversed in an appeal to the commissioner pursuant to this section. When
    27  the board alleges that a reversal of a board or superintendent  decision
    28  by  the state monitor violates the education law, the rules of the board
    29  of regents, the regulations of the  commissioner,  or  the  terms  of  a
    30  certified  five-year strategic academic and fiscal improvement plan, the
    31  board may appeal by petition to  the  commissioner  in  accordance  with
    32  procedures  established  by  the  commissioner pursuant to section three
    33  hundred eleven of the education law.
    34    § 6. Regulations. The commissioner shall be authorized  to  promulgate
    35  regulations  and  immediately  take  such  other actions as necessary to
    36  implement the provisions of this act.
    37    § 7. Appointment period. The appointment of the state monitor shall be
    38  for a period of at least five years from the initial date of  the  state
    39  monitor  appointment. At the expiration of the initial appointment peri-
    40  od, the commissioner, in consultation with the board of  regents,  shall
    41  have the authority to extend the appointment for an additional period of
    42  time in intervals of one to five years, as determined by the commission-
    43  er.  The appointment may be extended, for a term or terms as the commis-
    44  sioner deems necessary consistent with the repeal date of this act.
    45    § 8. This act shall take effect immediately and shall  expire  and  be
    46  deemed repealed December 31, 2025.
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