Relates to special apportionments and grants-in-aid to school districts; adds the purchase and installation of carbon monoxide detectors to the definition of school safety and security technology project and requires the costs of the project be included in the smart schools investment plan submitted by a school district.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to special apportionments and grants-in-aid to school districts
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This legislation amends the Smart Schools Bond Act and will allow school districts applying for funding to include the purchase and installation of life-saving carbon monoxide detectors.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends Chapter 56 of the laws of 2014 to allow for the purchase and installation of carbon monoxide detectors in schools applying for Smart Schools grants under the School Safety and Security Technology Project.
Section 2: Sets effective date for legislation.
On June 18, 2013, the same day both houses of the New York State Legislature passed legislation asking for a study on the cost of installing carbon monoxide detectors in schools, an elementary school in Yonkers had to be evacuated because of a gas leak. The investigation of the gas leak by the local fire department uncovered a carbon monoxide leak.
By pure luck, the lives of several hundred children at the Khalil Gibran Elementary School were spared from harm. In October 2013, again, children had to be removed from a school building in Long Island due to a furnace problem and were the local fire department had reported elevated levels of carbon monoxide.
Every school day some 3.3 million of our children fill the more than 6,700 school buildings throughout our State. Parents are led to believe their children are in a safe environment. Yet the reality is that most school buildings in our state lack carbon monoxide detectors. The odds that a horrible accident will happen in one of our schools increase every day no such incidence occurs.
This legislation is one way of addressing the need to retrofit all our schools with monoxide detectors because the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act will create the revenue stream for schools to cover the cost of purchase and installation of these lifesaving alarms to protect students and staff.
Excuses as to costs and unfunded mandates for reasons not to provide this protections are absurd. Every year, school districts across our State approve bonding initiatives for capital improvements such as state of the art gym facilities, upgrading technology, and repairs to infrastructure. It is bad management that the funding for carbon monoxide detectors are not included in such bonding plans. The Smart Schools Bond Act and its School Safety and Security Technology Project provide schools with the opportunity and funding to meet this safety demand.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas which can cause nausea, headaches and dizziness. If it is allowed to build up in enclosed spaces, it can be deadly. Carbon monoxide detectors represent an inexpensive and effective way to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning, especially in all children, who unlike adults, have higher respiratory rates until they reach adulthood.
Currently, school buildings first occupied on or after January 31, 2007 have to be so equipped with CO detectors when they opened. However, New York State has over 4,200 public school building constructed prior to 2007. These schools house over 3 million school-age children daily during every academic school year. All these schools operate on fossil fuels which produce CO as a byproduct of combustion.
Every year, some 500 American die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and over 15,000 have to be treated for CO poisoning. More needs to be done to protect children from such exposure while in school.
As with smoke detectors/fire alarms many years ago, carbon monoxide detectors have earned the respect of the fire service as a valuable tool in the saving of lives. Everyone recognizes that carbon monoxide kills if not responded to immediately. The most serious quality of CO2 is that, unlike smoke, it is virtually undetectable, even when someone is awake and alert.
The Legislature recently recognized the value of these devices by requiring their installation in one and two-family homes and apartments in multiple dwellings. However, carbon monoxide detectors are not currently required in school buildings.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
None. In other states, school districts have incurred costs of $800 per school building to install hardwired carbon monoxide detectors. The $2 billion authorized through the Smart Schools Bond Act will cover the cost of having every school wired for this life-saving detector. At a cost of less than $7 million out of the $2 billion bond act, this is a practical approach to helping to improve student and school staff safety.
This act shall take effect on the same date and in the same manner as Section 2 of part C of Chapter 56 of the laws of 2014 takes effect.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7525 IN SENATE May 15, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. VALESKY -- 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 special apportionments and grants-in-aid to school districts THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subparagraph 8 of paragraph (a) and subparagraph 2 of para- graph (b) of subdivision 16 of section 3641 of the education law, as added by section 2 of part C of chapter 56 of the laws of 2014, are amended to read as follows: (8) "School safety and security technology project" shall mean a capi- tal project to PURCHASE AND install high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses, including but not limited to video surveillance, emergency notification systems, CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS and physical access controls, for enhanced educational oppor- tunity in the state. (2) No school district shall be entitled to a smart schools grant until such district shall have submitted a smart schools investment plan to the smart schools review board and received such board's approval of such investment plan. In developing such investment plan, school districts shall consult with parents, teachers, students, community members and other stakeholders. ALL PURCHASE AND INSTALLATION COSTS OF A SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY TECHNOLOGY PROJECT SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE SMART SCHOOLS INVESTMENT PLAN SUBMITTED BY A SCHOOL DISTRICT. S 2. This act shall take effect on the same date and in the same manner as section 2 of part C of chapter 56 of the laws of 2014, takes effect.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15010-01-4