Bill Text: NY A08422 | 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: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-06-20 - substituted by s6588a [A08422 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A08422-Amended.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                      June 17, 2019

        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  JEAN-PIERRE -- read once and referred to the
          Committee on Education -- committee discharged, bill amended,  ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

        AN  ACT  authorizing the commissioner of education, in consultation with
          the comptroller 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  expira-
          tion 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-
    21  er  of  education  shall  provide the monitor with technical support and

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

        A. 8422--A                          2

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

        A. 8422--A                          3

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

        A. 8422--A                          4

     1    (d) The monitor shall have the power  to  approve  or  disapprove  the
     2  appointment  of a superintendent by the board of education. If the moni-
     3  tor disapproves of the appointment, then the board shall recommend a new
     4  candidate for the monitor to approve or disapprove until an  appointment
     5  is approved by the monitor.
     6    (e) The monitor shall have the authority to approve or deny all travel
     7  outside the district paid for by the school district.
     8    (f)  The monitor shall have authority to approve or deny all contracts
     9  and expenditures of  the  district,  except  for  collective  bargaining
    10  agreements negotiated in accordance with article 14 of the civil service
    11  law.
    12    (g)  The monitor shall work with the district's shared decision-making
    13  committee formed in accordance with part 100.11 of the  commissioner  of
    14  education's  regulations in developing district goals, implementation of
    15  district priorities or budgetary recommendations.
    16    (h) The monitor shall assist in resolving any disputes and  conflicts,
    17  included  but  not  limited to, those between the superintendent and the
    18  board of education and among the members of the board of education.
    19    (i) The monitor shall  attempt  to  engage  in  cost  saving  measures
    20  including, but not limited to, shared service agreements.
    21    §  6. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire June 30,
    22  2024, when upon such date the provisions of this  act  shall  be  deemed
    23  repealed.