Bill Text: NY S06559 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Authorizes the commissioner of education and the chancellor of the board of regents, with the approval of the board of regents, to appoint monitors to oversee the Hempstead union free school district.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-06-20 - returned to senate [S06559 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S06559-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK

            S. 6559                                                  A. 8403

                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions

                SENATE - ASSEMBLY

                                      June 16, 2019

        IN  SENATE -- Introduced by Sen. THOMAS -- read twice and ordered print-
          ed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules

        IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. RAYNOR -- read once  and  referred
          to the Committee on Education

        AN  ACT  authorizing the commissioner of education and the chancellor of
          the board of regents, with the approval of the board  of  regents,  to
          appoint  monitors to oversee the Hempstead union free school district;
          and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration there-

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Definitions. As used in this act:
     2    (a) "commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of education;
     3    (b) "department" shall mean the state education department;
     4    (c)  "board of education" or "board" shall mean the board of education
     5  of the Hempstead union free school district;
     6    (d) "school district" or "district" shall  mean  the  Hempstead  union
     7  free school district;
     8    (e)  "superintendent"  shall  mean the superintendent of the Hempstead
     9  union free school district;
    10    (f) "comptroller" shall mean the state comptroller; and
    11    (g) "relatives" shall mean a  Hempstead  union  free  school  district
    12  board  member's  spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, stepparent,
    13  or any person who is a direct descendant  of  the  grandparents  of  the
    14  current  board  member or of the board member's spouse or domestic part-
    15  ner.
    16    § 2. Appointment of a panel of monitors. (a) A panel of three monitors
    17  shall be appointed pursuant to this section for the purpose of providing
    18  oversight of the school district. The commissioner, with the approval of
    19  the board of regents, shall appoint two monitors to  provide  oversight,

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 6559                             2                            A. 8403

     1  guidance  and  technical assistance related to the educational policies,
     2  practices, programs and decisions of the school district, the  board  of
     3  education  and  the  superintendent.  The  comptroller shall appoint one
     4  monitor  to  provide  oversight,  guidance  and  technical assistance on
     5  fiscal  policies,  practices,  programs  and  decisions  of  the  school
     6  district, the board of education and the superintendent.
     7    (b)  The monitors shall be non-voting ex-officio members of the school
     8  board.  The monitors shall be individuals who are not residents, employ-
     9  ees of the school district or relatives of board members of  the  school
    10  district  at the time of their appointment. The monitor appointed by the
    11  comptroller shall have experience in the school district  finances.  The
    12  monitors appointed by the commissioner, to the extent practicable, shall
    13  have experience in more than one of the following areas:
    14    (i) elementary and secondary education;
    15    (ii) the operation of school districts in New York;
    16    (iii) educating students with disabilities; and
    17    (iv) educating English language learners.
    18    (c)  The cost of the monitors shall be borne by the state and not be a
    19  charge against the school district.  Monitors shall be paid a salary  as
    20  well  as  actual  and  necessary  expenses  and  travel related to their
    21  duties.
    22    § 3. Meetings. (a) The monitors shall be entitled to attend all  meet-
    23  ings  of the board, including executive sessions; provided however, such
    24  monitors shall not be considered for purposes of establishing  a  quorum
    25  of  the  board. The school district shall fully cooperate with the moni-
    26  tors including but not limited to providing such monitors with access to
    27  any necessary documents and records of the district including access  to
    28  electronic   information  systems,  databases  and  planning  documents,
    29  consistent with all applicable state and federal statutes including  but
    30  not  limited  to  Family  Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20
    31  U.S.C. §1232g) and section 2-d of the education law.
    32    (b) The board, in  consultation  with  the  monitors,  shall  adopt  a
    33  conflict  of  interest policy that complies with all existing applicable
    34  laws and regulations that ensures its board members  and  administration
    35  act  in the   school district's best interest and comply with applicable
    36  legal requirements.  The conflict of interest policy shall  include  but
    37  not be limited to:
    38    (i)  a  definition  of the circumstances that constitute a conflict of
    39  interest;
    40    (ii) procedures for disclosing a conflict of interest to the board;
    41    (iii) a requirement that the person with the conflict of interest  not
    42  be  present  at  or  participate  in board deliberations or votes on the
    43  matter giving rise to such  conflict,  provided  that  nothing  in  this
    44  subdivision  shall  prohibit  the  board from requesting that the person
    45  with the conflict of  interest  present  information  as  background  or
    46  answer  questions at a board meeting prior to the commencement of delib-
    47  erations or voting relating thereto;
    48    (iv) a prohibition against any attempt by the person with the conflict
    49  to influence improperly the deliberation or voting on the matter  giving
    50  rise to such conflict; and
    51    (v) a requirement that the existence and resolution of the conflict be
    52  documented in the board's records, including in the minutes of any meet-
    53  ing at which the conflict was discussed or voted upon.
    54    §  4.  Academic  improvement  and  financial plans.   (a) The academic
    55  improvement plan and the  financial  plan  shall  be  developed  by  the
    56  district  in  accordance  with  the  shared decision making committee as

        S. 6559                             3                            A. 8403

     1  defined in Part 100.11 of the commissioner's regulations and approved by
     2  the monitors. The academic improvement plan shall contain  a  series  of
     3  programmatic  recommendations  designed  to improve academic performance
     4  over the period of the plan in those academic areas that the commission-
     5  er and board of regents deem to be in need of improvement. Such plan may
     6  include  potential  expenditure  initiatives  but  all such expenditures
     7  shall be incorporated within the financial plan  as  specified  by  this
     8  act.
     9    (b)  The financial plan shall ensure with respect to the major operat-
    10  ing funds for each school year that annual aggregate operating  expenses
    11  shall not exceed annual aggregate operating revenues. The financial plan
    12  and  each financial plan modification shall provide that the major oper-
    13  ating funds of the district be balanced  in  accordance  with  generally
    14  accepted  accounting principles. The financial plan shall include state-
    15  ments of all estimated revenues, expenditures, and cash flow projections
    16  of the district.
    17    (c) No later than November first, two thousand nineteen, the  district
    18  shall  submit  to  the  monitors  both the academic improvement plan and
    19  financial plan for their review and approval. Such plans shall cover the
    20  district's two thousand nineteen--two thousand twenty  school  year  and
    21  the  four  subsequent  school  years.    Prior to adopting the plans and
    22  submitting the plans to the monitors for review and approval, the  board
    23  of  education  shall  conduct a public hearing on the plans and consider
    24  the input of the community. The proposed plans shall be made  public  on
    25  the  district's  website at least three business days before such public
    26  hearing. No later than fifteen days    after  submission,  the  monitors
    27  shall  approve  or  veto the plans. In the event the monitors disapprove
    28  either plan, the monitors shall provide the board of  education  written
    29  notice  of  its  reasons  for  disapproval. Within fifteen days from the
    30  receipt of such notice, the board of education shall amend the  proposed
    31  plans  consistent  with the monitors' recommendations and resubmit it to
    32  the monitors.  If the monitors do not approve of such amended plan,  the
    33  monitors shall impose a plan of their own formulation.
    34    §  5.  Fiscal  and  operational  oversight. (a) The board of education
    35  shall annually submit the school district's proposed budget for the next
    36  succeeding school year to the monitors no later than 45 days before  the
    37  date  scheduled  for  the  school district's budget vote.   The monitors
    38  shall review the proposed budget to ensure that it  is  balanced  within
    39  the  context of revenue and expenditure estimates and mandated programs.
    40  The monitors shall also review the proposed budget to ensure that it, to
    41  the greatest extent possible, is consistent with the  district  academic
    42  improvement  plan  and  financial plan developed and adopted pursuant to
    43  this act. The monitors shall present their  findings  to  the  board  of
    44  education  no  later  than  30  days prior to the date scheduled for the
    45  school district's budget  vote.    The  board  of  education,  with  the
    46  approval  of  the monitors, shall make amendments to the proposed budget
    47  consistent with any recommendations made by  the  monitors.  The  school
    48  district  shall  make  available  on the district's website: the initial
    49  proposed budget, the monitors' findings, and the final  proposed  budget
    50  prior  to  the date of the school district's budget vote. Nothing herein
    51  shall be construed to abrogate the duties and  responsibilities  of  the
    52  school district consistent with applicable state law and regulations.
    53    (b) The district shall provide quarterly reports to the panel of moni-
    54  tors, and annual reports to the commissioner, board of regents and comp-
    55  troller  on the fiscal and operational status of the school district. In
    56  addition, the monitors shall provide an annual report to the commission-

        S. 6559                             4                            A. 8403

     1  er, board of regents, and comptroller on all contracts that the district
     2  entered into throughout the year.
     3    (c)  The  comptroller shall annually conduct a general fiscal audit of
     4  the school district, and  the  school  district  shall  post  the  comp-
     5  troller's audit and the board's response on the district's website.
     6    (d) The monitors shall have the authority to approve or disapprove the
     7  appointment of a current or future superintendent by the board of educa-
     8  tion.
     9    (e) The monitors shall have the authority to approve or deny all trav-
    10  el outside the district paid for by the district.
    11    (f) The monitors shall have authority to approve or deny all contracts
    12  and  expenditures  of  the  district,  except  for collective bargaining
    13  agreements negotiated in accordance with article 14 of the civil service
    14  law.
    15    (g) The monitors shall arbitrate any conflicts between the superinten-
    16  dent and the board of education and among the members of  the  board  of
    17  education.
    18    §  6.  This  act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be
    19  deemed repealed on and after June 30, 2024.