Provides that no school located in a city with a population of one million or more shall be in session on general election day.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to school session days
PURPOSE: This bill amends Education Law section 3604 subdivision 8 to prohibit school on general election day in a city with a population of one million or more.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Prohibits school on general election day in a city with one million or more residents.
Section 2: Provides for the Act to take effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION: The need for suitable poll sites, especially disabled accessible ones, has never been greater. Throughout the state new ballot marking devices and optical scan voting machines that are accessible to those with disabilities have replaced the lever machines. However, while these new systems are disabled accessible, all poll sites are not.
The new voting systems and their ability to handle multiple ballot types and election districts will require a reconfiguration of election districts and poll sites to maximize the efficient use of the new machines. Schools are ideal poll sites because they are public buildings, are usually accessible to the disabled and have ample parking. Election Law section 4-104.3 reflects a preference for using schools as poll sites by stating that "a building exempt from taxation shall be used whenever possible as a polling place if it is situated in the same or a contiguous election district and, and may contain as many distinctly separate polling places as public convenience may require." The expense, if any, incidental to its use shall be paid like the expense of other places for registration and voting.
If the board or body empowered to designate polling places chooses a public school building for such purposes, as often happens, the board or agency which controls such building must make available a room or rooms in such building which are suitable for registration and voting, and which are as close as possible to a convenient entrance to such building and accessible to the physically disabled.
However, the use of schools for poll sites when school is in session can and often does disrupt the usual schedule and operations of the entire school day, as well as the instruction occurring in the classrooms. And, an increased concern about the safety of the children at the schools makes school officials reluctant to open up their buildings for a public use while children are present. It also reduces available parking when school is in session on election day.
By requiring that schools in cities with a population or one million or more are to be closed on election day, this bill will increase the
availability of accessible public buildings for poll sites while causing minimal disruption to a school and no security risk for students.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010: S.5494 - Referred to Education.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2346--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 19, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. ADDABBO -- 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 AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to school session days THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 8 of section 3604 of the education law, as amended by section 46 of part H of chapter 83 of the laws of 2002, is amended to read as follows: 8. No school shall be in session on a Saturday or a legal holiday, except general election day, Washington's birthday and Lincoln's birth- day, and except that driver education classes may be conducted on a Saturday. NO SCHOOL LOCATED IN A CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE SHALL BE IN SESSION ON GENERAL ELECTION DAY. A deficiency not exceeding three days during any school year caused by teachers' attend- ance upon conferences held by superintendents of schools of city school districts or other school districts employing superintendents of schools shall be excused by the commissioner, provided however, notwithstanding any other provision of law, that during the nineteen hundred ninety-two- -ninety-three through the two thousand two--two thousand three school years and thereafter, the commissioner shall excuse a deficiency not exceeding four days during such school year caused by teachers' attend- ance upon conferences held by such superintendents, provided that at least two such conference days during such school year shall be dedi- cated to staff attendance upon conferences providing staff development relating to implementation of the new high learning standards and assessments, as adopted by the board of regents. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, rule or regulation to the contrary, school districts may elect to use one or more of such allowable conference days in units of not less than one hour each to provide staff developmentEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00088-02-1 S. 2346--A 2
activities relating to implementation of the new high learning standards and assessments. A district making such election may provide such staff development during the regularly scheduled daily session and apply such units to satisfy a deficiency in the length of one or more daily sessions of instruction for pupils as specified in regulations of the commissioner. The commissioner shall assure that such conference days include appropriate school violence prevention and intervention train- ing, and may require that up to one such conference day be dedicated for such purpose. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.