senate Bill S1152

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Establishes the commission on education in the twenty-first century

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to finance
Jan 05, 2011 referred to finance

S1152 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A416
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Commissions
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S8442, A9510

S1152 - Bill Texts

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Establishes the commission on education in the twenty-first century which shall examine the system of school districts and the delivery of education related services in the state and shall recommend changes to that system.

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BILL NUMBER:S1152

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
in relation to establishing the commission on education
in the
twenty-first century; and providing for the repeal of such provisions
upon expiration thereof

PURPOSE:
Creates the 21st century education commission to examine,
school districts and the purchasing and delivery of administrative
services. Directs the commission to develop recommendations for
reconfiguring school districts and administrative functions to align
educational services with regional and local needs.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 creates the
Commission on Education
in the 21st Century consisting of 18 statewide members appointed by
the Board of Regents, the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, the
Temporary President of the Senate and the Minority Leaders in both
the Assembly and Senate.

Section 2 provides that appointments shall be made no later than 45
days after this act becomes law.

Section 3 directs the State Education Department to provide support
services to the Commission. The Commission may also employ additional
staff.

Section 4 establishes the factors and information to be considered by
the Commission in their deliberations. These factors include but are
not limited to: the size of each school district and board of
cooperative educational services; the demographics of each school
district and board of cooperative educational services; opportunities
to deliver commodities and services through boards of cooperative
educational services; transportation and the potential for regional
transportation; special education and the potential for regional
special education services; population density; and other unique
circumstances necessary to maintain the character of schools and
ensure equitable access to rigorous programs for all students.

Section 5 establishes that the deliberations of the Commission shall
be governed by Article 7 of the Public Officers Law.

Section 6 establishes six different regions defined by board of
cooperative educational services districts. It provides for the
appointment of eight regional members for each region who shall be
counted for quorum purposes only when the Commission is acting on
recommendations relating solely the regional members' respective
region.

This section also provides for the creation of regional advisory
committees to conduct public hearings and solicit input from local
stakeholders


including but not limited to school district administrators, district
superintendents and superintendents of schools, teachers, school
board members, parents, students, non-pedagogical school support
personnel, representatives from post-secondary institutions and any
other pertinent groups and individuals. The regional advisory
committees shall make recommendations to the commission relating to
school district and administrative reconfiguration no later than
November 15, 2011.

Section 7 directs the Commission to make recommendations, upon the
consideration of demographic, geographic, educational and fiscal
indicators within each board of cooperative educational services
region, for the reconfiguring of school districts and administrative
functions to align educational services with regional and local needs.

This section directs the Commission to collaborate with regional
advisory committees to conduct formal public hearings and solicit
input and recommendations from regional and statewide stakeholder
interests including but not limited to school district
administrators, district superintendents and superintendents of
schools, teachers, school board members, parents, students,
non-pedagogical school support personnel, representatives from
post-secondary institutions and any other pertinent groups and
individuals.

On or before December 1, 2011, the Commission shall submit to the
Governor and the Legislature restructuring recommendations, which
shall include but not be limited to: delivery of commodities and
services; pupil transportation; professional development;
maintenance; insurance procurement; payroll administration; employee
benefit coordination; cooperative purchasing; centralized business
operations; school district reconfiguration; transfer of services to
the board of cooperative educational services; disposition of real
property and school debts; personnel contracts and collective
bargaining agreements; disposition of existing school funds and
financial obligations; a transition plan; and estimate and
explanation of costs savings through reconfiguration.

Section 8 directs the Commissioner of Education to implement the
recommendations of the Commission. However, these recommendations
shall not go into effect unless the Governor submits written approval
of the recommendations to both the Commissioner and the Legislature
by December 5, 2011 and if a majority of members from each house of
the Legislature vote to adopt a concurrent resolution rejecting the
recommendations in their entirety by December 31, 2011.

Section 9 authorizes the Commission to receive funding pursuant to
Section 54 of the State Finance Law.

Section 10 establishes a severability clause. Section 11 sets the
effective date.

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT:
This legislation will establish
the Commission
on Education in the 21st Century charged with developing a detailed
statewide action plan for the consolidation of school districts and


administrative services. The result would assure the goals of
modernization, educational excellence, efficiency and cost reduction
while preserving the community character of our schools and reliving
the pressure on taxpayers.

Our underutilized BOCES system is in a perfect position to take
advantage of economies of scale to deliver many of the services
children and educators need. The Comptroller recently estimated
savings of close to $400 million, if school districts took better
advantage of the back office services the BOCES already offer.

That savings represents the sharing of services already available.
Payroll administration, employee benefit coordination, cooperative
purchasing, substitute teacher assignments and safety and risk
management are all offered through BOCES. Increasing cooperative
participation and improving regional approaches to more expensive
services like special education and health insurance could yield even
greater savings and offer a better product at the same time.

Shared services are not the only savings the Commission can achieve.
School district lines have not been comprehensively redrawn since the
1950s. Taking into account population shifts and community growth,
boundaries that may have been logical sixty years ago, no longer make
sense today. For example, of the 700 school districts in the State of
New York, 200 are now serving less than 1,000 students each.

A board, modeled after the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the
21st Century, better known as the Berger Commission, would develop a
comprehensive blueprint to remodel the education system. The
legislation provides for significant regional and public input by
requiring the Commission and regional committees to coordinate with
local activists, parents, teachers, administrators and other
education advocates to formulate a plan that will modernize our
system, lower the cost to taxpayers and provide a better education
for our children. Like Berger, the recommendations would
automatically go into effect unless voted down in whole by the
Legislature.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009-10: S.8442/A.9510 - Referred to Rules

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
There are provisions for the
commission to be funded through section 54 of the state finance law.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately and expires and is deemed repealed June 30, 2014.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1152

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance

AN ACT in relation to establishing the commission on  education  in  the
  twenty-first  century; and providing for the repeal of such provisions
  upon expiration thereof

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Commission established. (a) There is hereby created in the
executive department a commission to be  known  as  the  "commission  on
education  in  the  twenty-first  century", hereafter referred to as the
"commission", which shall be charged with examining the system of school
districts and the delivery of education related  services  in  New  York
state  and  recommending  changes  to  that  system  in light of factors
submitted pursuant to section  four  of  this  act  and  any  additional
factors established by the commission.
  (b)  The  commission  shall consist of eighteen statewide members, and
regional members appointed pursuant to section  six  of  this  act.  The
eighteen  statewide  members  shall  be  appointed  as  follows: (i) two
members shall be appointed by the temporary  president  of  the  senate;
(ii)  two  members  shall  be  appointed by the speaker of the assembly;
(iii) one member shall be  appointed  by  the  minority  leader  of  the
senate; (iv) one member shall be appointed by the minority leader of the
assembly;  (v)  two members shall be appointed by the governor; and (vi)
ten members shall be appointed by the board of  regents.  The  board  of
regents  shall  designate  the chair from among the statewide members of
the commission.
  (c) The members of the commission shall receive  no  compensation  for
their  services as members, but shall be allowed their actual and neces-
sary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.   Members  of
the  commission  shall  be  considered  public  officers for purposes of
section 17 of the public officers law.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00889-01-1

S. 1152                             2

  (d) The commission shall begin to act forty-five days after  this  act
shall  have  become  a  law. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the
members of the commission entitled to vote on the matter under consider-
ation. Approval of any matter shall require the affirmative  vote  of  a
majority of the members voting thereon.
  (e)  The  statewide  members of the commission shall adopt by-laws for
the management and regulation of its affairs.
  S 2. Appointments to  commission.  The  legislative  leaders  and  the
governor  shall  submit  their appointments to the board of regents, and
the board of regents shall make appointments, no later  than  forty-five
days  after  this act becomes a law. If any such appointment is not made
by such date, the person or board responsible for making the appointment
pursuant to subdivision (b) of section one of  this  act  may  make  the
appointment  after that date, but the vacant appointment shall not count
for calculation of a quorum until it is filled. Vacancies in the commis-
sion shall be filled in the same manner as the member whose  vacancy  is
being filled was appointed.
  S  3.  Commission  staff  and  agency liaison. (a) The commissioner of
education shall designate such employees of the state education  depart-
ment  as  are  reasonably  necessary  to provide support services to the
commission. The commission, acting by the chair of the  commission,  may
employ  additional staff and consultants, who shall be paid from amounts
available to the commission for that purpose.
  (b) The commissioner of education shall appoint one or more  represen-
tatives  of the department of education to serve as liaison between such
department and the commission. All state  agencies,  public  authorities
and  public benefit corporations shall provide such assistance as may be
reasonably requested by the chair of the commission.
  S 4. Factors and information for consideration. (a)  The  commissioner
of  education  shall submit to the commission, no later than ninety days
after this act becomes a law, a list of factors to be considered in  its
deliberations, which shall include but not be limited to: (i) geography,
including  physical  proximity  and  the  size  of  the  current  school
districts and boards of cooperative educational services in each  region
of the state; (ii) demographics, including student enrollment trends and
the  composition  and  nature  of  communities  in  the  current  school
districts and boards of cooperative educational services in each  region
of  the  state; (iii) economics, including existing collaborations to be
preserved or enhanced  and  opportunities  to  deliver  commodities  and
services  through  boards  of  cooperative educational services or other
entities; (iv) transportation and the potential for regional transporta-
tion services; (v) special education  and  the  potential  for  regional
special  education  services;  (vi)  population density; and (vii) other
unique circumstances including the need to preserve existing or develop-
ing relationships, meet the  needs  of  students,  maximize  educational
opportunities for students, assure local control, maintain the character
of  community  schools  and ensure equitable access to rigorous programs
for all students.
  (b) The commissioner  of  education  may  submit  additional  relevant
factors  to  be  considered  in the deliberations of the commission. The
commission may also adopt additional factors to  be  considered  in  its
deliberations.
  S  5.  Deliberations  of  commission.  The deliberations, meetings and
other proceedings of the commission and any committee thereof  shall  be
governed  by  article  7  of  the  public  officers law. Any one or more
members of a committee may participate in a meeting of such committee by

S. 1152                             3

means of a conference telephone, conference video  or  similar  communi-
cations  equipment  allowing all persons participating in the meeting to
hear each other at the same time.   Participation by  such  means  shall
constitute  presence  in  person  at  a  meeting. At any meetings of the
commission conducted by means  of  a  conference  telephone,  conference
video   or   similar  communications  equipment,  other  than  executive
sessions, the public shall be given an opportunity to listen. If a meet-
ing other than an executive session is to be conducted  by  means  of  a
conference  telephone, conference video or similar communications equip-
ment, the public notice for the meeting shall  inform  the  public  that
such  equipment will be used, and identify the means by which the public
may listen to such meeting.
  S 6. Regional input. (a) There shall be eight regional members of  the
commission  for  each  region  established pursuant to this section. For
each region, two regional members shall be appointed  by  the  governor,
two  regional  members  shall be appointed by the temporary president of
the senate, two regional members shall be appointed by  the  speaker  of
the  assembly,  and two regional members shall be appointed by the board
of regents. Regional members shall be considered to be  members  of  the
commission for purposes of this act, provided that:
  (i)  Regional  members  shall  vote and be counted for quorum purposes
only when the commission is acting on recommendations relating solely to
the regional members' respective region; and
  (ii) Regional members shall not be considered to  be  members  of  the
commission  for purposes of participation in commission meetings, except
where items relating specifically to that member's  region  are  on  the
agenda of a commission meeting.
  (b) For purposes of this act, there shall be six regions:
  (i) Long Island, consisting of the Eastern Suffolk, Nassau and Western
Suffolk boards of cooperative educational services;
 (ii) New York City;
  (iii)  Hudson  Valley,  consisting  of  the  Dutchess,  Orange-Ulster,
Putnam-Northern Westchester, Rockland,  Southern  Westchester,  Sullivan
and Ulster boards of cooperative educational services;
  (iv)  Eastern, consisting of the Capital Region, Clinton-Essex-Warren-
Washington,  Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego,  Franklin-Essex-Hamilton,
Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery,   Otsego-Delaware-Schoharie-Greene,  Questar
III, St.  Lawrence-Lewis  and  Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex
boards of cooperative educational services;
  (v)  Central, consisting of the Broome-Tioga, Cayuga-Onondaga, Jeffer-
son-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida,     Herkimer-Hamilton-Fulton-Oswego,
Madison-Oneida,    Oneida-Herkimer-Madison,   Onondaga-Cortland-Madison,
Oswego, Schuyler, Chemung, Tioga  and  Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga  boards  of
cooperative educational services;
  (vi)  Western,  consisting  of  the Cattaraugus-Allegany-Erie-Wyoming,
Erie 1, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus, Genesee Valley, Monroe 1,  Monroe
2-Orleans, Ontario-Seneca-Yates-Cayuga-Wayne, Orleans-Niagara and Great-
er Southern Tier boards of cooperative educational services.
  (c)  The  commission shall establish a regional advisory committee for
each region. The maximum number of members  of  each  regional  advisory
committee  shall  be  determined  by  the  commission.  Members  of each
regional advisory committee shall be appointed in equal numbers  by  the
governor,  the  temporary  president  of  the senate, the speaker of the
assembly and the board of regents. The governor, the temporary president
of the senate, the speaker of the assembly, and  the  board  of  regents
shall  submit to the commission their appointments to the regional advi-

S. 1152                             4

sory committees no later than ninety days  after  this  act  shall  have
become  a  law.  If  any  such appointment is not made by such date, the
person or board responsible for making such  appointment  may  make  the
appointment  after that date, but the vacant appointment shall not count
for calculation of a quorum until such position is filled.  Vacancies in
regional advisory committees shall be filled in the same manner  as  the
member  whose  vacancy is being filled was appointed. The regional advi-
sory committees shall begin to act ninety days after this act shall have
become a law.
  (d) Each regional advisory committee upon consideration of  demograph-
ic,  geographic,  educational and fiscal indicators within each board of
cooperative educational services region, shall  develop  recommendations
for  reconfiguring  such  region's  school  districts and administrative
functions to align educational services with regional and  local  needs.
In  carrying  out  its  functions,  a  regional advisory committee shall
foster discussions among, and conduct formal public hearings with requi-
site public notice to solicit input from, local stakeholders' interests,
including but not limited to, school district  administrators,  district
superintendents  and  superintendents of schools, teachers, school board
members, parents, students, non-pedagogical  school  support  personnel,
representatives  from  post-secondary  institutions  and other pertinent
groups and individuals. In developing its recommendations, each regional
advisory committee shall as far as practicable estimate the efficiencies
that may be derived from such school district or  administrative  recon-
figuration. On November 15, 2012, each regional advisory committee shall
transmit  to  the  commission  a  report containing its recommendations,
which shall include specific recommendations  for  school  district  and
administrative  reconfigurations. Such recommendations shall include but
not be limited to: delivery of commodities and services; pupil transpor-
tation; specialized  professional  development;  maintenance;  insurance
procurement;  payroll administration; human resources and employee bene-
fit coordination; cooperative purchasing coordination; centralization of
business operations; printing services;  state  aid  planning;  textbook
purchasing  and substitute teacher coordination; safety and risk manage-
ment; the units of school administration to be included in the reconfig-
ured school district; the units of school administration  that  will  be
transferred  to  the  board  of  cooperative educational services; size,
composition and apportionment of the governing  body;  the  composition,
powers  and  duties  of  any  local school committees to be created; the
disposition of real and personal school  property;  the  disposition  of
existing  school  indebtedness  and  lease-purchase;  the  assignment of
school personnel contracts, school collective bargaining agreements  and
other school contractual obligations; the disposition of existing school
funds  and  existing  financial obligations, including undesignated fund
balances, trust funds, reserve funds and other  funds  appropriated  for
school  purposes;  a transition plan that addresses the development of a
budget for the first school year  and  interim  personnel  policies;  an
estimate  of the cost savings to be achieved through reconfiguration and
how costs will be reduced;  recommended  dates  by  which  such  actions
should occur; necessary investments, if any, that should be made in each
case to carry out the regional advisory committee's recommendations; and
the regional advisory committee's justification for its recommendations,
including  the  use of any factors developed pursuant to section four of
this act.

S. 1152                             5

  (e) The failure of any regional  advisory  committee  to  perform  the
duties  imposed  by  this section shall not affect the obligation of the
commission to perform the duties imposed by section seven of this act.
  S  7.  Commission  recommendations. (a) The commission, upon consider-
ation of demographic,  geographic,  educational  and  fiscal  indicators
within  each  board  of  cooperative  educational services region, shall
develop recommendations for reconfiguring school districts and  adminis-
trative  functions to align educational services with regional and local
needs.  In carrying out its functions, the commission shall  collaborate
with  the  regional advisory committees insofar as practicable to foster
discussions among, and conduct formal  public  hearings  with  requisite
public  notice  to  solicit input and recommendations from statewide and
regional stakeholder interests  including  but  not  limited  to  school
district administrators, district superintendents and superintendents of
schools, teachers, school board members, parents, students, non-pedagog-
ical  school  support  personnel,  representatives  from  post-secondary
institutions and other pertinent groups and individuals.  The commission
shall formally solicit recommendations from school district  administra-
tors, district superintendents and superintendents of schools, teachers,
school  board members, parents, students, non-pedagogical school support
personnel, representatives from post-secondary  institutions  and  other
interested  parties  in each region of the state, and it shall take into
account such recommendations and the  recommendations  of  the  regional
advisory  committees  during its deliberations. In developing its recom-
mendations, the commission shall as  far  as  practicable  estimate  the
efficiencies  that may be derived from such school district and adminis-
trative reconfiguration, and shall consider the recommendations  of  the
regional advisory committees.
  (b)  The  commission  shall  make  recommendations  relating to school
district and administrative reconfiguration,  within  each  region.  The
regional commission members shall vote as members of the commission only
when  the commission is acting on recommendations relating solely to the
regional commission members' region.
  (c) Such recommendations shall include but not be limited to: delivery
of commodities and services; pupil transportation;  specialized  profes-
sional development; maintenance; insurance procurement; payroll adminis-
tration;  human resources and employee benefit coordination; cooperative
purchasing coordination; centralization of business operations; printing
services; state aid planning; textbook purchasing and substitute teacher
coordination; safety and risk management; the units of  school  adminis-
tration to be included in the reconfigured school district; the units of
school  administration  that will be transferred to the board of cooper-
ative educational services; size, composition and apportionment  of  the
governing  body;  the composition, powers and duties of any local school
committees to be created; the disposition of real  and  personal  school
property; the disposition of existing school indebtedness and lease-pur-
chase;  the  assignment of school personnel contracts, school collective
bargaining agreements and  other  school  contractual  obligations;  the
disposition of existing school funds and existing financial obligations,
including  undesignated  fund  balances,  trust funds, reserve funds and
other funds appropriated for school purposes;  a  transition  plan  that
addresses  the  development  of  a  budget for the first school year and
interim personnel policies; an  estimate  of  the  cost  savings  to  be
achieved  through  reconfiguration and how costs will be reduced; recom-
mended dates by which such actions should occur; necessary  investments,
if  any,  that should be made in each case to carry out the commission's

S. 1152                             6

recommendations; the commission's response to the recommendations of the
regional advisory committees; and the commissioner's  justification  for
its  recommendations,  including  the  use  of  the  factors pursuant to
section four of this act.
  (d)  On  or  before December 1, 2012, the commission shall transmit to
the governor and the legislature a  report  containing  its  recommenda-
tions, which shall include specific recommendations for school districts
to  be  reconfigured  and  specific  recommendations  for administrative
services  to  be  transferred  to  boards  of  cooperative   educational
services.  Upon  the  transmission of the report to the governor and the
legislature the commission shall be dissolved.
  S  8.  Implementation  of  recommendations.  (a)  Notwithstanding  any
contrary provision of law, rule or regulation related to the reconfigur-
ing  of school districts and administrative services the commissioner of
education shall take all actions necessary to implement,  in  a  reason-
able,  cost-efficient  manner,  the  recommendations  of  the commission
pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) of section seven of this act.  Such
school  districts  and  boards of cooperative educational services shall
submit to the commissioner of education, at a time  and  in  a  form  as
determined  by  the  commissioner  of  education,  an acceptable plan of
reconfiguration in accordance with applicable regulations.
  (b) The provisions of subdivision (a) of this section shall not apply:
(i) unless the governor has transmitted the  commission's  report  under
section seven of this act with his or her written approval of the recom-
mendations  of  the  commission  pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) of
section seven of this act to the commissioner of education and transmit-
ted a message to the legislature stating his  or  her  approval  of  the
report  on  or  before  December  5, 2012; and (ii) if a majority of the
members of each house of the legislature  vote  to  adopt  a  concurrent
resolution  rejecting  the recommendations of the commission pursuant to
subdivisions (b) and (c) of section seven of this act in their  entirety
by  December 31, 2012, after receiving a message from the governor under
this subdivision. In no event shall the commissioner of education  begin
to  implement the recommendations of the commission pursuant to subdivi-
sions (b) and (c) of section seven of this act  prior  to  December  31,
2012.
  S  9.  The  commission shall be authorized and entitled to receive any
grants offered pursuant to section 54 of the state finance law.
  S 10. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph,  subdi-
vision,  section  or  part of this act shall be adjudged by any court of
competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment  shall  not  affect,
impair,  or  invalidate  the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in
its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph,  subdivision,  section
or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judg-
ment shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of
the  legislature  that  this  act  would  have been enacted even if such
invalid provisions had not been included herein.
  S 11. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire  and  be
deemed repealed June 30, 2014.

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