Removes the requirement for annual visual inspections of school buildings.
Ayes (60): Adams, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Boyle, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Farley, Felder, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Gipson, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Hoylman, Kennedy, Klein, Lanza, Larkin, Latimer, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Marchione, Martins, Maziarz, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Brien, O'Mara, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Sampson, Sanders, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Tkaczyk, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Absent (1): Espaillat
Excused (2): Addabbo, Krueger
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to removing the requirement for annual visual inspections of school buildings
PURPOSE: This bill seeks to provide mandate relief to local school districts by eliminating the duplicative requirement for an "annual visual inspections" of all occupied school buildings in the State.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends subdivision 1 of section 409-d of the State Education Law by removing the mandate for an annual inspection of all public school buildings throughout New York State.
Under existing law, the "annual visual inspection" (AVI) is an unnecessary mandate that is unduly burdensome on local governments and school districts. More rigorous and intensive inspections and evaluations of schools buildings are conducted regularly.
This bill would provide a cost savings and mandate relief by reducing the regulatory burden on school districts, which must also comply with another more rigorous safety rating system.
The State Education Department has prescribed comprehensive school safety regulations that mandate certain procedures and programs to ensure the safety and suitability of school buildings. Specifically, state laws and regulations outline a "Comprehensive Public School Safety Program" which prescribes several school ground inspections to be conducted on a regular basis. The purpose is to regularly inspect the structural elements of all occupied schools and develop a corrective action plan in the event that a defect is suspected.
Section 409-d of the Education Law also separately requires that each school building be inspected each year through a process of visual examination after which, reports are submitted to the State Education Department for compilation and review.
The "annual visual inspection" (AVI) mandate is among many reviews and reports required. All public school buildings in New York State must comply with safety rating systems that evaluate the need for maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction through a five-year Capital Facilities Plan. The Capital Facilities Plan relies on a system of evaluations and assessment that are much more robust than the AVI.
Therefore, the State Board of Regents has endorsed the repeal of the AVI as a mandate relief initiative because school districts must also submit a "five year building condition survey" that is prepared by a licensed professional and includes annual inspections by district staff. This is required pursuant to the 1998 RESCUE legislation (Rebuild Schools to Uphold Education).
The AVI requirement is a duplicative and wasteful mandate that does not provide meaningful information to local school districts or state policymakers. The building condition survey prescribed in state law should serve as the primary tool for evaluating the safety and security of a school building.
This legislation is new.
This bill would result in a reduction of costs for the State.
This bill would take effect immediately upon enactment.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3968 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 1, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. RITCHIE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to removing the require- ment for annual visual inspections of school buildings THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 409-d of the education law, as added by section 1 of part B of chapter 56 of the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows: 1. Program establishment. The commissioner is authorized and directed to establish, develop and monitor a comprehensive public school building safety program which shall include a uniform inspection, safety rating and monitoring system. Such program shall
[require the annual inspection of all public school buildings throughout New York state;]establish a safety rating system for such school buildings to assess the need for maintenance, repairs, rehabilitation, reconstruction, construction and other improvements related to the structural integrity and overall safe- ty of public school buildings including but not limited to building systems related to electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, sanitation and health, fire and accident protection; and require that such ratings be used for the purpose of developing a build- ings condition survey as required pursuant to subdivision four of section thirty-six hundred forty-one of this chapter and a five year facilities plan as required pursuant to clause (i) of subparagraph two of paragraph b of subdivision six of section thirty-six hundred two of this chapter. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09539-01-3