senate Bill S5494


Relates to school session days

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Bill Status

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 12 / May / 2009
  • 06 / Jan / 2010
  • 03 / May / 2010
  • 25 / May / 2010
  • 25 / May / 2010
    • PRINT NUMBER 5494A


Provides that no school shall be in session on general election day.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Legislative Cycle:
Senate Education
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง3604, Ed L

Sponsor Memo


TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the education law, in relation to
school session days

PURPOSE : This bill amends Education Law section 3604 subdivision 8
to eliminate the prohibition therein barring school closings on the
general election day.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1: Repeals the provision in
Education Law section 3604 subdivision 8, which bars schools from
being in session on Saturdays and legal holidays, but exempts general
election day from that prohibition.

Section 2: Provides for the Act to take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION : The need for suitable poll sites, especially
disabled accessible ones, has never been greater. Throughout the state
new ballot marking devices and optical scan voting machines that are
accessible to those with disabilities have been replacing, and will
soon completely replace the lever machines. However, while these new
systems are disabled accessible, all poll sites are not.

The new voting systems and their ability to handle multiple ballot
types and election districts will require a reconfiguration of
election districts and poll sites to maximize the efficient use of the
new machines. Schools are ideal poll sites because they are public
buildings, are usually accessible to the disabled and have ample
parking. Election Law section 4-104.3 reflects a preference for using
schools as poll sites by stating that "a building exempt form taxation
shall be used whenever possible as a polling place if it is situated
in the same or a contiguous election district and, and may contain as
many distinctly separate polling places as public convenience may
require." The expense, if any, incidental to its use shall be paid
like the expense of other places for registration and voting.

If the board or body empowered to designate polling places chooses a
public school building for such purposes, the board or agency which
controls such building must make available a room or rooms in such
building which are suitable for registration and voting, and which are
as close as possible to a convenient entrance to such building and
accessible to the physically disabled.

However, the use of schools for poll sites when school is in session
can and often does disrupt the usual schedule and operations of the
entire school day, as well as the instruction occurring in the
classrooms. And, increased concerns about the safety of the children
at the schools makes school officials reluctant to open up their
buildings for a public use while children are present. It also reduces
available parking when school is in session on election day.

By allowing the schools to be closed on election day, locally or
statewide, as they currently are in New York City, this bill would
increase the availability of accessible public buildings for poll
sites while causing minimal disruption to a school and no security
risk for students. ow in th schoolsr at isturbs the processes found in
Election Law section 8-310 are outdated and no longer serve the needs
of elections administrators and election day workers.

Amending section 8-312 by adding a new subdivision 6 authorizes the
State Board of Elections to promulgate and modify regulations as
necessary as new voting systems are deployed throughout the state.
This will ensure common practices across the State, including with
respect to ballot accountability, security and chain of custody.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None to the State.


EFFECTIVE DATE : Immediately.
view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K


                       2009-2010 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              May 12, 2009

Introduced  by  Sen. ADDABBO -- 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 school session days


  Section  1.  Subdivision  8  of  section 3604 of the education law, as
amended by section 46 of part H of chapter 83 of the laws  of  2002,  is
amended to read as follows:
  8.  No  school  shall  be in session on a Saturday or a legal holiday,
except [general  election  day,]  Washington's  birthday  and  Lincoln's
birthday, and except that driver education classes may be conducted on a
Saturday.  A  deficiency not exceeding three days during any school year
caused by teachers' attendance upon conferences held by  superintendents
of  schools of city school districts or other school districts employing
superintendents  of  schools  shall  be  excused  by  the  commissioner,
provided  however,  notwithstanding  any  other  provision  of law, that
during the nineteen hundred  ninety-two--ninety-three  through  the  two
thousand  two--two  thousand  three  school  years  and  thereafter, the
commissioner shall excuse a deficiency not exceeding  four  days  during
such school year caused by teachers' attendance upon conferences held by
such  superintendents,  provided  that at least two such conference days
during such school year shall be  dedicated  to  staff  attendance  upon
conferences  providing  staff  development relating to implementation of
the new high learning standards and assessments, as adopted by the board
of regents. Notwithstanding any other provision of law,  rule  or  regu-
lation to the contrary, school districts may elect to use one or more of
such  allowable  conference days in units of not less than one hour each
to provide staff development activities relating  to  implementation  of
the  new high learning standards and assessments. A district making such
election may provide such staff development during the regularly  sched-
uled  daily  session and apply such units to satisfy a deficiency in the

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

S. 5494                             2

length of one or more daily sessions of instruction for pupils as speci-
fied in regulations of the commissioner. The commissioner  shall  assure
that such conference days include appropriate school violence prevention
and  intervention  training, and may require that up to one such confer-
ence day be dedicated for such purpose.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.


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