Assemblymembers Zebrowski & Jaffee Reject Amendments Made by Senate to East Ramapo Oversight Bill

“We continue to believe that our bill (A.5355) that passed the Assembly is a reasonable and effective way to provide oversight of this district. However, we spent most of the day yesterday attempting to negotiate in good faith with the Senate in order to forge a compromise. Some of our suggestions to the Senate bill, such as the inclusion of an independent appeal process for reviewing board decisions and limiting the time frame for such a review, were included in the amended Senate version of the bill. The appeal process language that we provided was a fair compromise to criticisms that one person would have the ability to override a board decision. The Senate included this compromise, but unfortunately, stripped the Monitor of the power to respond to anything other than violations of State and Federal law. We believe the Commissioner of Education already has the power to enforce State and Federal law, therefore the Monitor’s powers must expand beyond those basic laws and provide him/her the ability to enforce the strategic academic and fiscal improvement plan. We continue to have other concerns such as the Comptroller’s role and the Monitor’s time frame, however, providing significant authority to the Monitor is essential to an effective bill. Without this crucial language we believe the Senate bill does not provide appropriate oversight and we cannot support it at this time.”