S05974 Summary:

Enacts the East Ramapo central school district oversight act.
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S05974 Actions:

06/16/2015PRINT NUMBER 5974A
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S05974 Memo:

Memo not available
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S05974 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                      June 14, 2015
        Introduced  by Sens. CARLUCCI, AVELLA, SAVINO, VALESKY -- read twice and
          ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee  on
          Rules  --  committee  discharged,  bill  amended, ordered reprinted as
          amended and recommitted to said committee
        AN ACT relating to fiscal and operational oversight of the  East  Ramapo
          central  school  district;  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.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "East Ramapo central school district oversight act."
     3    § 2. Definitions. For purposes of this act, the following terms  shall
     4  have the following meanings:
     5    (a)  "Board of education" or "board" shall mean the board of education
     6  of the East Ramapo central school district.
     7    (b) "School district" or "district" shall mean the East Ramapo central
     8  school district.
     9    (d) "Comptroller" shall mean the New York state comptroller, or his or
    10  her designee.
    11    (e) "Commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of education.
    12    (f) "State monitor" or  "monitor"  shall  mean  the  person  appointed
    13  pursuant to section three of this act, or an interim person appointed to
    14  such position.
    15    §  3. (a) The governor shall appoint a state monitor within sixty days
    16  following the effective date of this act to  provide  oversight  of  the
    17  educational  and  fiscal  policies, practices, programs and decisions of
    18  the East Ramapo central school district, the board of education and  the
    19  superintendent.  At the request of the monitor, the commissioner and the
    20  comptroller shall   provide  the  monitor  with  technical  support  and
    21  assistance for the purposes of carrying out his or her duties under this
    22  act. The term of the state monitor shall expire on June 30, 2018.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

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     1    (b)  The state monitor shall be a non-voting, ex-officio member of the
     2  school board. The monitor shall be  someone  who  is  from  outside  the
     3  school district and to the extent possible, shall have experience in one
     4  or more of the following areas:
     5    (i) school district finances;
     6    (ii) elementary and secondary education;
     7    (iii) the operation of school districts in New York;
     8    (iv) educating students with disabilities; and/or
     9    (v) educating English language learners.
    10    (c)  Such  monitor  shall  be  entitled  to attend all meetings of the
    11  board, including executive sessions;  providing  however,  such  monitor
    12  shall  not  be  considered  for purposes of establishing a quorum of the
    13  board.   Provided further that  such  monitor's  presence  at  executive
    14  sessions  shall  not negate any privileges existing during such session.
    15  The state monitor shall have  access  to  any  necessary  documents  and
    16  records  including  access  to electronic information systems, databases
    17  and planning documents.
    18    § 4. State monitor powers. The state monitor shall have the power to:
    19    (a) File a written objection to a decision or  act  by  the  board  or
    20  superintendent  if  the monitor finds that such decision is in violation
    21  of any state or federal law.  The  state  monitor  may  file  a  written
    22  objection  to  a  decision  with  the board prior to or up to seven days
    23  following such decision. The objection must include specific findings as
    24  to the necessity of such objection. If the monitor determines  that  the
    25  board or superintendent has not adequately addressed the concerns raised
    26  in  the  written objection, then he or she may appeal by petition to the
    27  commissioner no later than  thirty  days  following  the  filing  of  an
    28  objection.  The appeal shall be considered by an impartial hearing offi-
    29  cer and shall follow procedures pursuant to article three of  the  state
    30  administrative  procedures  act.  Upon the monitor's appeal, the monitor
    31  may submit an application to the hearing officer requesting  a  stay  of
    32  board  action and must include in such application the facts and the law
    33  upon which such stay should  be  granted.  No  later  than  thirty  days
    34  following  the  commencement  of  the hearing, the hearing officer shall
    35  issue a finding on whether the board's decision violates state or feder-
    36  al law, rule or regulation and  shall  modify,  reverse  or  affirm  the
    37  board's decision.
    38    (b) Hold public hearings or forums on school district matters as he or
    39  she deems necessary.
    40    (c)  Conduct  any  relevant  studies, reports and reviews of any state
    41  laws or rules and  regulations  as  they  relate  to  district  matters,
    42  including state and local education funding.
    43    §  5. State monitor duties. The state monitor shall have the following
    44  duties:
    45    (a) The monitor in partnership with the board shall develop a  strate-
    46  gic  academic  and fiscal improvement plan within one year from the date
    47  of appointment.
    48    (i) Such plan shall be submitted and include  recommendations  to  the
    49  governor, state education department and the state legislature.
    50    (ii)  The  plan shall establish a set of goals with appropriate bench-
    51  marks and measurable objectives and identify strategies to address areas
    52  where improvements are needed in the district, including but not limited
    53  to its financial stability, academic opportunities and outcomes,  educa-
    54  tion  of students with disabilities, education of English language lear-
    55  ners, community relations and  board  governance  practices,  and  shall

        S. 5974--A                          3
     1  ensure district compliance with all applicable state and federal law and
     2  regulations.
     3    (iii)  The  plan shall address long term solutions designed to protect
     4  and promote the rights and interest of all students residing within  the
     5  district  and,  provided further, shall consider all of the demographics
     6  of the district and the distribution of state aid to the district.
     7    (b) Submit an annual report and quarterly updates to  the  board,  the
     8  commissioner,  the comptroller, the governor, the temporary president of
     9  the senate and the speaker of the assembly on the progress of the  stra-
    10  tegic  academic  and fiscal improvement plans, actions undertaken by the
    11  monitor, any financial information the monitor  deems  appropriate,  and
    12  other  district  matters  of  importance  including recommendations with
    13  respect to state funding levels, improvement of school operations.
    14    (c) Review the fiscal and operational management and academic program-
    15  ming of the school district, including but not limited to, the  develop-
    16  ment  of  the  annual  budget, resource allocations, contracts, facility
    17  management, education program, and use of district funds.
    18    § 6. Fiscal and oversight by the state comptroller.  During the effec-
    19  tive period of this act, the comptroller  shall,  in  his  or  her  sole
    20  discretion undertake an enhanced review and oversight role as follows:
    21    (a) (i) The board of education shall at the request of the comptroller
    22  annually  submit  the  school  district's  proposed  budget for the next
    23  succeeding school year to the comptroller  no  later  than  thirty  days
    24  before  the  date  scheduled  for  the school district's budget vote. If
    25  submitted, the comptroller shall examine the proposed budget  to  ensure
    26  that  the  fiscal and operational needs of the school district are being
    27  met including, but not limited to,  that  sufficient  funding  is  being
    28  allocated  to  students  attending  the  school  district  and for those
    29  students attending private schools. In  addition,  the  comptroller  may
    30  consult  with  the  commissioner  of education in reviewing prior years'
    31  approved budget plans to ensure the proposed  budget  plan  is,  to  the
    32  greatest extent possible, seeking to improve course offerings and extra-
    33  curricular  activities  within  the school district and, to the greatest
    34  extent possible, is seeking to maintain and/or increase  the  number  of
    35  teaching and administrative positions within the district.
    36    (ii)  The  comptroller  may present his or her findings of the board's
    37  proposed budget no later than ten days prior to  the  school  district's
    38  budget  vote.  The  board of education shall make a good faith effort to
    39  amend the proposed budget to conform with the comptroller's findings  no
    40  later  than  five days prior to the date of the school district's budget
    41  vote. The  school  district  shall  make  available  on  the  district's
    42  website:  the  initial  proposed budget, the comptroller's findings, and
    43  the final proposed budget prior to the date  of  the  school  district's
    44  budget vote.
    45    (b)  At least quarterly, the district shall provide to the comptroller
    46  reports on the fiscal and operational status of the school  district  to
    47  ensure compliance with paragraph (a) of this section. In addition to any
    48  other  audits conducted by the comptroller, if the comptroller finds any
    49  deficiencies in the district's quarterly reports,  the  comptroller  may
    50  require  the  district  to  engage in a fiscal corrective action plan as
    51  determined by the comptroller.
    52    (c) At least annually, the comptroller shall report to  the  governor,
    53  the  speaker of the assembly, the temporary president of the senate, the
    54  chairs of the senate and assembly education committees, and the  commis-
    55  sioner  of  education  as  to  the  fiscal and operational status of the

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     1  school district, if  additional  fiscal  and  operational  oversight  is
     2  undertaken by the comptroller in accordance with this section.
     3    (d)  Any  state or federal funding received by the district may at the
     4  discretion of the comptroller be reviewed annually by the comptroller to
     5  ensure it is being used for its allotted purposes; provided further that
     6  any expenditure of funds by the school district may at the discretion of
     7  the comptroller be subject to certification by the comptroller to ensure
     8  compliance with applicable provisions of the state finance and education
     9  laws.
    10    § 7. The comptroller and commissioner of education may add, repeal  or
    11  amend  any rule or regulation necessary for the timely implementation of
    12  this act on its effective date.
    13    § 8. Academic improvement program.  The  East  Ramapo  central  school
    14  district  shall  be eligible to receive an academic improvement grant of
    15  five million dollars for the 2015-2016 school year and each year  there-
    16  after  subject  to  the  provisions  of  this paragraph. The East Ramapo
    17  central school district shall submit an academic improvement  plan  that
    18  includes  but  is  not  limited  to  the  addition  of advance placement
    19  programs, academic intervention programs, full day  kindergarten,  after
    20  school  programming  and  other  education  programs. Such plan shall be
    21  submitted to the commissioner of education by August 1,  2015  and  each
    22  year  thereafter.  The  commissioner  shall  approve  or  disapprove the
    23  academic improvement program for the East Ramapo central school district
    24  by August 15, 2015 and each year thereafter. If such plan is disapproved
    25  by the commissioner the commissioner shall allow the East Ramapo central
    26  school district fifteen days  to  resubmit  their  academic  improvement
    27  program  plan at which time the commissioner shall approve the resubmit-
    28  ted plan or define the academic improvement plan for the school district
    29  which shall be implemented by the school district.
    30    § 9. This act shall take effect immediately and shall  expire  and  be
    31  deemed repealed June 30, 2018.
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