Bill Text: NY S06179 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Amended

Bill Title: Establishes school election wards in the Warwick Valley Central School District.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-06-17 - referred to education [S06179 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S06179-Amended.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK

            Cal. No. 1177

                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions

                    IN SENATE

                                      May 21, 2019

        Introduced  by  Sen. SKOUFIS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee  on  Education  --  committee
          discharged  and  said  bill  committed  to  the  Committee on Rules --
          ordered to a third reading, amended and ordered  reprinted,  retaining
          its place in the order of third reading

        AN  ACT  to amend the education law, in relation to the establishment of
          school election wards in the Warwick Valley Central School District

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1.  Section  1804 of the education law is amended by adding a
     2  new subdivision 13 to read as follows:
     3    13. a. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the
     4  board of education of the Warwick Valley Central School District may, by
     5  resolution and subject  to  a  mandatory  referendum,  establish  school
     6  election wards for purposes of electing individual school board members.
     7  There  shall  be  five,  seven  or nine school election wards within the
     8  school district. One member shall be chosen from each ward by the quali-
     9  fied voters therein. Within such resolution, the board of education  may
    10  require that a member elected to represent a ward shall be a resident of
    11  such ward. Such resolution shall also provide for the signature require-
    12  ments for nominating petitions consistent with the applicable provisions
    13  of this chapter.
    14    b.  (i)  A resolution by the board of education, which shall be passed
    15  no less than one hundred eighty days prior to a related referendum being
    16  placed before the qualified voters of the  school  district  during  the
    17  annual  meeting  and  election, shall include an assessment and finding,
    18  which  shall  take  into  account  any  historic  disenfranchisement  or
    19  discrimination  against  any  group  of  individuals  within  the school
    20  district based upon race, gender,  ethnicity,  religion,  socio-economic
    21  status,  or  sexual orientation, including that no disenfranchisement or
    22  discrimination would result from the adoption  of  the  proposed  resol-

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

        S. 6179--A                          2

     1  ution.  The  board of education shall conduct no fewer than three public
     2  hearings on such resolution.
     3    (ii)  Such public hearings shall be conducted not less than thirty nor
     4  more than ninety days prior to a vote on the resolution by a majority of
     5  the qualified voters of the district. The public hearings shall be  held
     6  at a school district building or other appropriate building, each within
     7  a  different  proposed  school  election  ward.  If  there  is no school
     8  district building or other appropriate building  within  three  separate
     9  proposed  school  election  wards, a meeting shall be held at the school
    10  building or other appropriate  building  closest  in  proximity  to  the
    11  proposed  school  election  ward  or wards containing no school district
    12  buildings or other appropriate buildings. The district clerk shall  give
    13  notice  of  the  public hearing by publishing a notice five times within
    14  fifteen days preceding the hearings, on the district's  website  and  in
    15  two newspapers if there shall be two, or in one newspaper if there shall
    16  be  but  one, having general circulation within such district. But if no
    17  newspaper shall then have general circulation therein, said notice shall
    18  be posted in at least twenty of the most public places in said  district
    19  fifteen days before the time of the first hearing.
    20    (iii)  Following  such  public hearings, a proposition for approval of
    21  such resolution and the boundaries of proposed school election wards  by
    22  a  majority  of the qualified voters of such district shall be submitted
    23  at the next succeeding annual meeting and election. The  district  clerk
    24  shall  give notice of such proposition by publishing notice prior to the
    25  election, in the same manner and publication as the public hearing,  set
    26  forth  in  this  section,  specifying  the time when and place or places
    27  where such election will be held, the hours during which the polls  will
    28  remain  open  for the purpose of receiving ballots, and setting forth in
    29  full the language of the proposition to be approved at such election. In
    30  any event, there shall be  at  least  one  polling  location  for  every
    31  fifteen  thousand  eligible voters in the district, and the hours of the
    32  election shall commence no later than six o'clock  in  the  morning  and
    33  shall end no earlier than nine o'clock in the evening.
    34    (iv)  At  least  fifteen days prior to conducting public hearings, the
    35  board of education shall define and publish, by  resolution,  boundaries
    36  of  each  of  the school election wards. Should such map be altered as a
    37  result of the public hearings, the amended map shall be published pursu-
    38  ant to this paragraph no later than fifteen days  before  the  election.
    39  Such  wards shall be contiguous and each ward shall contain as nearly as
    40  possible the same number of inhabitants. Each ward shall also conform as
    41  closely as possible with the attendance zone  of  the  school  district,
    42  conform as closely as possible with geographic and other physical bound-
    43  aries, and retain contiguous communities of interest.
    44    (v)  A  map  of  each ward and the boundaries thereof shall be created
    45  with the original filed with the district clerk within ten days  of  the
    46  resolution  and  copies  thereof  filed in the board of elections of the
    47  county.  Upon each issuance of a federal decennial census, the board  of
    48  education  shall  either: (1) make a written finding that, upon examina-
    49  tion of the decennial census, the current school election wards  contain
    50  nearly  as possible the same number of inhabitants and that no discrimi-
    51  nation or disenfranchisement would  result  if  the  wards  remained  as
    52  established;  or  (2)  the  school  election wards shall be redefined by
    53  resolution of the board of education, after a  public  hearing  thereon,
    54  and  approval  by  the  qualified  voters of the school district. If the
    55  qualified voters of the school district shall not approve of the  resol-
    56  ution,  the  board  of  education  shall  submit a second resolution for

        S. 6179--A                          3

     1  approval by the qualified voters of the school district, after a  public
     2  hearing  thereon,  within  ninety  days.  If the qualified voters of the
     3  school district shall not approve of such resolution for a second  time,
     4  the  board  of  education shall continue the membership and terms of the
     5  current board until the next annual meeting and election at  which  time
     6  the  terms  of  all  current members shall terminate. At the next annual
     7  meeting and election, members shall be elected by a vote of  the  quali-
     8  fied  voters  of  the school district pursuant to article forty-three of
     9  this chapter.
    10    (vi) After a school election ward system shall have been  established,
    11  the  term  of every existing member shall terminate on the thirtieth day
    12  of June next succeeding the first annual meeting and election  following
    13  voter  approval  of  the  referendum,  at  which time the terms for each
    14  elected school ward member shall commence.
    15    c. The term of office of  each  school  board  member  from  a  school
    16  election  ward  shall be three, four, or five years, to be determined at
    17  the discretion of the board of education  by  resolution  prior  to  the
    18  referendum;  provided  however  that the resolution shall also designate
    19  that in the first annual meeting and election after the  adoption  of  a
    20  school  election  ward  system,  the initial terms shall be divided into
    21  terms of three, four, or five years so that as  nearly  as  possible  an
    22  equal  number  of  trustees shall be elected each year. In each election
    23  cycle thereafter, the terms of office shall be uniform. In each election
    24  ward, the candidate receiving a plurality of votes in each election ward
    25  shall be declared elected to that position.
    26    d. Whenever a vacancy shall occur or exist in the office of  a  member
    27  of the board of education, such vacancy shall be filled pursuant to this
    28  article and part one of article forty-three of this chapter.
    29    e.  Except  as  provided  in  this subdivision, all provisions of this
    30  article, article forty-one, and article forty-three of this  chapter  or
    31  of any other general law relating to or affecting the election of school
    32  board  members in the Warwick Valley Central School District shall apply
    33  to school election wards organized pursuant to this subdivision  and  to
    34  the  election of members by the qualified voters of a school district as
    35  established pursuant to paragraph f and subparagraph (iv) of paragraph b
    36  of this subdivision.
    37    f. The board  of  education  of  the  Warwick  Valley  Central  School
    38  District  which  has  established school election wards pursuant to this
    39  subdivision may, by resolution and subject to  a  mandatory  referendum,
    40  abolish  the school election ward system and return to election of trus-
    41  tees by a vote of the qualified voters of the school district. Adoption,
    42  assessment, public hearing and notice, and voting requirements  of  such
    43  resolution  and  referendum shall comply with the provisions of subpara-
    44  graphs (i), (ii), and (iii) of paragraph b of this subdivision.
    45    g. For the purpose  of  this  subdivision,  "contiguous  community  of
    46  interest"  means  a contiguous population which shares common social and
    47  economic interests that should be included within a single district  for
    48  purposes of its effective and fair representation.
    49    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.