Bill Text: NY S06588 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Amended

Bill Title: Authorizes a state monitor for the Wyandanch union free school district to provide direct oversight of the fiscal policies, practices, programs and decisions of such school district.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-06-20 - returned to senate [S06588 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S06588-Amended.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions

                    IN SENATE

                                      June 17, 2019

        Introduced by Sens. BROOKS, BOYLE -- 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  --  committee  discharged,  bill  amended,  ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

        AN ACT authorizing the commissioner of education to appoint a monitor to
          oversee  the Wyandanch union free school district and establishing the
          powers and duties of the 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:
     2    (a)  "Monitor" shall mean the person appointed pursuant to section two
     3  of this act.
     4    (b) "Board of education" or "board" shall mean the board of  education
     5  of the Wyandanch union free school district.
     6    (c)  "Superintendent"  shall  mean the superintendent of the Wyandanch
     7  union free school district.
     8    (d) "Commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of education.
     9    (e) "School district" or "district" shall  mean  the  Wyandanch  union
    10  free school district.
    11    (f) "Comptroller" shall mean the state comptroller.
    12    (g)  "Relatives"  shall  mean  a  Wyandanch union free school district
    13  board member's spouse, domestic partner, child,  stepchild,  stepparent,
    14  or  any  person  who  is  a direct descendant of the grandparents of the
    15  current board member or of the board member's spouse or  domestic  part-
    16  ner.
    17    §  2.  Appointment.  (a) The commissioner of education shall appoint a
    18  monitor, subject to appropriation, to provide direct  oversight  of  the
    19  fiscal  policies,  practices,  programs  and  decisions  of  the  school
    20  district, the board of education and the superintendent. The commission-

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

        S. 6588--B                          2

     1  er of education shall provide the monitor  with  technical  support  and
     2  assistance for the purposes of carrying out his or her duties under this
     3  act,  if requested by the monitor. The monitor shall serve at the pleas-
     4  ure of the commissioner of education.
     5    (b)  The  monitor shall be paid a fixed salary set by the commissioner
     6  of education and shall be reimbursed for actual and  necessary  expenses
     7  incurred  in  the  performance of his or her duties including travel and
     8  supplies. The costs associated with the implementation of this act shall
     9  be borne by the state and shall be paid through a state appropriation.
    10    (c) The monitor shall be a non-voting ex-officio member of the  school
    11  board.    The  monitor  shall  be an individual who is not a resident or
    12  employee of the school district or a relative of board  members  of  the
    13  school district at the time of his or her appointment. The monitor shall
    14  have  experience  in school district finances and, to the extent practi-
    15  cal, shall have experience in one or more of the following areas:
    16    (i) elementary and secondary education;
    17    (ii) the operation of school districts in New York;
    18    (iii) educating students with disabilities; or
    19    (iv) educating English language learners.
    20    § 3. (a) The monitor shall be entitled to attend all meetings  of  the
    21  board,  including  executive  sessions;  provided  however, such monitor
    22  shall not be considered for purposes of establishing  a  quorum  of  the
    23  board.  The  school  district  shall  fully  cooperate  with any monitor
    24  appointed by the commissioner of education, including but not limited to
    25  providing such monitor  with  access  to  any  necessary  documents  and
    26  records  of  the  district  including  access  to electronic information
    27  systems, databases and planning documents, consistent with all  applica-
    28  ble  state  and federal statutes including but not limited to the Family
    29  Educational Rights and Privacy Act  (FERPA)  (20  U.S.C.  §  1232g)  and
    30  section 2-d of the education law.
    31    (b)  The  board,  in  consultation  with  the  monitor,  shall adopt a
    32  conflict of interest policy that complies with all  existing  applicable
    33  laws  and  regulations  and  ensures  that  its board members act in the
    34  school  district's  best  interest  and  comply  with  applicable  legal
    35  requirements.  The conflict of interest policy shall include, but not be
    36  limited to:
    37    (i)  a  definition  of the circumstances that constitute a conflict of
    38  interest;
    39    (ii) procedures for disclosing a conflict of interest to the board;
    40    (iii) a requirement that the person with the conflict of interest  not
    41  participate  in  board deliberation or vote on the matter giving rise to
    42  such conflict, provided that nothing in this subdivision shall  prohibit
    43  the  board from requesting that the person with the conflict of interest
    44  present information as background or answer questions at a board meeting
    45  prior to the commencement of deliberations or voting relating thereto;
    46    (iv) a prohibition against any attempt by the person with the conflict
    47  to influence improperly the deliberation or voting on the matter  giving
    48  rise to such conflict; and
    49    (v) a requirement that the existence and resolution of the conflict be
    50  documented in the board's records, including in the minutes of any meet-
    51  ing at which the conflict was discussed or voted upon.
    52    §  4. Financial plan. The financial plan shall be hereinafter known as
    53  the "plan". (a) No later than November first, two thousand nineteen, the
    54  board, in consultation with the monitor, shall develop a proposed finan-
    55  cial plan for the two thousand nineteen--two thousand twenty school year
    56  and the four subsequent school years. The financial  plan  shall  ensure

        S. 6588--B                          3

     1  that  annual aggregate operating expenses shall not exceed annual aggre-
     2  gate operating revenues for such school year and that the major  operat-
     3  ing  funds  of  the  district  be  balanced in accordance with generally
     4  accepted accounting principles.  The financial plan shall include state-
     5  ments of all estimated revenues, expenditures, and cash flow projections
     6  of the district.
     7    (b)  Prior  to  submitting the proposed plan to the monitor for review
     8  and approval of the monitor, the board  of  education  shall  conduct  a
     9  public hearing on the plans and consider the input of the community. The
    10  proposed  plan  shall  be made public on the district's website at least
    11  three business days before such public hearing. Once the proposed finan-
    12  cial plan has been adopted by the board of education, such plan shall be
    13  submitted to the monitor for final approval.
    14    (c) No later than fifteen calendar days after submitting the  proposed
    15  plan  to the monitor, unless the monitor needs additional information to
    16  make an informed decision, the monitor shall approve or  disapprove  the
    17  financial plan. In the event the monitor shall disapprove such plan, the
    18  monitor  shall  promptly provide the board written notice of its reasons
    19  for disapproval. Within fifteen calendar days from the receipt  of  such
    20  notice,  the  board shall modify the rejected plan. If the modified plan
    21  is approved by the monitor, the  board  of  education  shall  adopt  and
    22  implement  such  plan. If the modified plan is not approved by the moni-
    23  tor, the monitor shall impose a plan of his or her own formulation,  and
    24  the  board shall then adopt and implement such plan. The final financial
    25  plan shall be made available to the public, including on the  district's
    26  website, at least three business days after adoption.
    27    §  5.  Fiscal  and operational oversight by the commissioner of educa-
    28  tion.
    29    (a) The board of education shall annually submit the school district's
    30  proposed budget for the next succeeding school year to  the  monitor  no
    31  later  than  45 days before the date scheduled for the school district's
    32  budget vote.  The monitor shall review the  proposed  budget  to  ensure
    33  that  it is balanced within the context of revenue and expenditure esti-
    34  mates and mandated programs and, to the  greatest  extent  possible,  is
    35  consistent  with the financial plan. The monitor shall present its find-
    36  ings to the board of education no later than 30 days prior to  the  date
    37  scheduled for the school district's budget vote. The board of education,
    38  with the approval of the monitor, shall make adjustments to the proposed
    39  budget  consistent  with  any  recommendations  made by the monitor. The
    40  school district shall make available  on  the  district's  website:  the
    41  initial  proposed budget; the monitor's findings; and the final proposed
    42  budget prior to the date of the school district's budget  vote.  Nothing
    43  in  this  act shall be construed to abrogate the duties and responsibil-
    44  ities of the school district consistent with applicable  state  law  and
    45  regulations.
    46    (b)  The  district  shall provide quarterly reports to the monitor and
    47  annual reports to the commissioner and comptroller  on  the  fiscal  and
    48  operational  status of the school district to ensure that it maintains a
    49  balanced budget in accordance with subdivision (a) of this  section.  In
    50  addition, the monitors shall provide an annual report to the commission-
    51  er  and  comptroller  on  all  contracts  that the district entered into
    52  throughout the year.
    53    (c) The monitor shall have the power  to  approve  or  disapprove  the
    54  appointment  of a superintendent by the board of education. If the moni-
    55  tor disapproves of the appointment, then the board shall recommend a new

        S. 6588--B                          4

     1  candidate for the monitor to approve or disapprove until an  appointment
     2  is approved by the monitor.
     3    (d) The monitor shall have the authority to approve or deny all travel
     4  outside the district paid for by the school district.
     5    (e)  The monitor shall have authority to approve or deny all contracts
     6  and expenditures of  the  district,  except  for  collective  bargaining
     7  agreements negotiated in accordance with article 14 of the civil service
     8  law.
     9    (f)  The monitor shall work with the district's shared decision-making
    10  committee formed in accordance with part 100.11 of the  commissioner  of
    11  education's  regulations in developing district goals, implementation of
    12  district priorities or budgetary recommendations.
    13    (g) The monitor shall assist in resolving any disputes and  conflicts,
    14  included  but  not  limited to, those between the superintendent and the
    15  board of education and among the members of the board of education.
    16    (h) The monitor shall  attempt  to  engage  in  cost  saving  measures
    17  including, but not limited to, shared service agreements.
    18    §  6. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire June 30,
    19  2024, when upon such date the provisions of this  act  shall  be  deemed
    20  repealed.