Provides that school aid shall not be reduced if a school is closed due to extraordinary circumstances, emergency or disaster and such days cannot be made up prior to scheduled regents exams.
Ayes (17): Flanagan, Farley, Lanza, LaValle, Marcellino, Maziarz, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Saland, Seward, Addabbo, Avella, Breslin, Montgomery, Serrano, Stavisky, Huntley
Excused (1): Oppenheimer
Ayes (33): DeFrancisco, Alesi, Bonacic, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Golden, Griffo, Hannon, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Little, Marcellino, Nozzolio, Robach, Saland, Seward, Young, Krueger, Breslin, Dilan, Duane, Gianaris, Montgomery, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Rivera, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousins, Squadron
Excused (2): Johnson, Diaz
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to permitting apportionment of state aid where a school was not in session due to extraordinary weather conditions, disasters or emergencies
PURPOSE: To hold school districts financially harmless because, due to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, damaged school buildings were closed for a period of time at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year and districts are otherwise unable to meet the statutory minimum for school days in session.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Adds a new subdivision 7-a to section 3604 of the education law to require the commissioner to hold school districts financially harmless if a school has lost up to ten days and is unable to be in session for the state mandated 180 days due to a duly declared state of emergency following a federally and state recognized natural disaster. Requires certifications by the school superintendent. The provision is effective for only the 2011-2012 school year.
EXISTING LAW: Currently, the commissioner has discretionary authority to waive the 180 day minimum requirement only if a district has lost five or fewer days.
JUSTIFICATION: Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, occurring just before the state of the 2011-2012 school year, devastated areas of upstate New York. Some school districts' buildings were damaged by wind and floods and were unable to open on time. Repair and reconstruction to ensure the safety and sanitation of the buildings prompted districts to delay the start of the school year for several weeks, transportation routes were closed due to both local states of emergency and damage - factors out of the control of school districts. Ongoing reconstruction, necessary during student vacations so that students are not present and their safety is not compromised, obviated the possibility of having students in session during regularly scheduled vacation breaks, which is otherwise required to make up any lost days due to the factors outlined in statute.
This bill provides relief to districts affected by last summer's floods, and ensures that they do not lose state aid due to repair and reconstruction of school buildings, road closings, and other factors out of the control of local school districts.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state. Averts the loss of critical state aid that is otherwise due and payable, providing financial
relief to local school districts and reducing pressure on local property taxes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediate.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6284 IN SENATE January 20, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sens. SEWARD, BONACIC, FARLEY, GRIFFO, LIBOUS, LITTLE, O'MARA -- 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 permitting apportion- ment of state aid where a school was not in session due to extraor- dinary weather conditions, disasters or emergencies THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 3604 of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 7-a to read as follows: 7-A. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION SEVEN OF THIS SECTION, FOR THE TWO THOUSAND ELEVEN--TWO THOUSAND TWELVE SCHOOL YEAR, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL DISREGARD SUCH REDUCTION, UP TO TEN DAYS, IN THE APPORTIONMENT OF PUBLIC MONEY, IF THE SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT WERE NOT IN SESSION FOR ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS BECAUSE OF EXTRAORDINARILY ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, FEDERAL DECLARATIONS OF NATURAL DISASTERS, A STATE DISASTER EMERGENCY AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWENTY OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, THE CLOSING OF TRANSPORTATION ROUTES PURSUANT TO A DECLARED LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY, IMPAIRMENT OF HEATING FACILITIES, INSUFFICIENCY OF WATER SUPPLY, SHORTAGE OF FUEL, LACK OF ELECTRICITY, OR THE DESTRUCTION OF A SCHOOL BUILDING EITHER IN WHOLE OR IN PART, AND IF, FURTHER, THE DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT CERTIFIES THAT SUCH DISTRICT CANNOT MAKE UP SUCH DAYS OF INSTRUCTION BY USING FOR THE SECONDARY GRADES ALL SCHEDULED VACATION DAYS WHICH OCCUR PRIOR TO THE FIRST SCHEDULED REGENTS EXAMINA- TION DAY IN JUNE, AND FOR THE ELEMENTARY GRADES ALL SCHEDULED VACATION DAYS WHICH OCCUR PRIOR TO THE LAST SCHEDULED REGENTS EXAMINATION DAY IN JUNE; AND IF, FURTHER, THE DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT CERTIFIES TO THE COMMISSIONER THAT TO DO SO WOULD IMPERIL STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF WHILE REPAIRS CONTINUE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, "SCHEDULED VACATION DAYS" SHALL MEAN DAYS ON WHICH THE SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT ARE NOT IN SESSION AND FOR WHICH NO PROHIBITION EXISTS IN SUBDIVISION EIGHT OF THIS SECTION FOR THEM TO BE IN SESSION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14058-01-2