Legislation

Search OpenLegislation Statutes
This entry was published on 2015-04-24
The selection dates indicate all change milestones for the entire volume, not just the location being viewed. Specifying a milestone date will retrieve the most recent version of the location before that date.
SECTION 211-F
Takeover and restructuring failing schools
Education (EDN) CHAPTER 16, TITLE 1, ARTICLE 5, PART 1
§ 211-f. Takeover and restructuring failing schools. 1. Eligibility
for appointment of an external receiver. (a) Failing schools. The
commissioner shall designate as failing each of the schools that has
been identified under the state's accountability system to be among the
lowest achieving five percent of public schools in the state (priority
schools) for at least three consecutive school years, or identified as a
"priority school" in each applicable year of such period except one
school year in which the school was not identified because of an
approved closure plan that was not implemented, based upon measures of
student achievement and outcomes and a methodology prescribed in the
regulations of the commissioner, provided that this list shall not
include schools within a special act school district as defined in
subdivision eight of section four thousand one of this chapter or
schools chartered pursuant to article fifty-six of this chapter. Except
as otherwise provided in paragraph (c) of this subdivision, and pursuant
to regulations promulgated by the commissioner, a school designated as
failing under this paragraph shall be eligible for receivership under
this section upon a determination by the commissioner.

(b) Persistently failing schools. Based upon measures of student
achievement and outcomes and a methodology prescribed in the regulations
of the commissioner, the commissioner shall designate as persistently
failing each of the schools that have been identified under the state's
accountability system to be among the lowest achieving public schools in
the state for ten consecutive school years, based upon identification of
the school by the commissioner as: a "priority school" for each
applicable year from the two thousand twelve--two thousand thirteen
school year to the current school year, or identified as a "priority
school" in each applicable year of such period except one year in which
the school was not identified because of an approved closure plan that
was not implemented; and as a "School Requiring Academic Progress Year
5", "School Requiring Academic Progress Year 6", "School Requiring
Academic Progress Year 7" and/or a "School in Restructuring," for each
applicable year from the two thousand six--two thousand seven school
year to the two thousand eleven--two thousand twelve school year. This
designation shall not include schools within a special act school
district as defined in subdivision eight of section four thousand one of
this chapter or schools chartered pursuant to article fifty-six of this
chapter.

(c) Specific provisions. (i) For schools designated as persistently
failing pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subdivision, the local
district shall continue to operate the school for an additional school
year provided that there is a department-approved intervention model or
comprehensive education plan in place that includes rigorous performance
metrics and goals, including but not limited to measures of student
academic achievement and outcomes including those set forth in
subdivision six of this section. Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, rule or regulation to the contrary, the superintendent shall be
vested with all powers granted to a receiver appointed pursuant to this
section for such time period; provided, however that such superintendent
shall not be allowed to override any decision of the board of education
with respect to his or her employment status. At the end of such year,
the department shall conduct a performance review in consultation and
cooperation with the district and school staff to determine, based on
the performance metrics in the school's model or plan, whether (1) the
designation of persistently failing should be removed; (2) the school
should remain under continued school district operation with the
superintendent vested with the powers of a receiver; or (3) the school
should be placed into receivership; provided, however, that a school
that makes demonstrable improvement based on the performance metrics and
goals herein shall remain under district operation for an additional
school year and if such school remains under district operation, it
shall continue to be subject to annual review by the department, in
consultation and cooperation with the district, under the same terms and
conditions.

(ii) For schools designated as failing, but not persistently failing,
the local district shall continue to operate the school for two
additional school years provided that there is a department-approved
intervention model or comprehensive education plan in place that
includes rigorous performance metrics and goals, including but not
limited to measures of student academic achievement and outcomes
including those set forth in subdivision six of this section.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, rule or regulation to the
contrary, the superintendent shall be vested with all powers granted to
a receiver appointed pursuant to this section; provided, however that
such superintendent shall not be allowed to override any decision of the
board of education with respect to his or her employment status. At the
end of such two years, the department shall conduct a school performance
review in consultation and cooperation with the district and school
staff to determine, based on the performance metrics in the school's
model or plan, whether (1) the designation of failing should be removed;
(2) the school should remain under continued school district operation
with the superintendent vested with the powers of a receiver; or (3) the
school should be placed into receivership; provided, however, that a
school that makes demonstrable improvement based on the performance
metrics and goals herein shall remain under district operation for an
additional school year and if such school remains under district
operation, it shall continue to be subject to such annual review by the
department under the same terms and conditions. For schools newly
designated as failing after the two thousand sixteen--two thousand
seventeen school year, the school shall be immediately eligible for
receivership upon such designation.

(iii) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit (1) a
school district's ability to modify, subject to approval by the
department, such department approved intervention model or comprehensive
education plan, or (2) the commissioner's ability to require a school
district to modify such department approved intervention model or
comprehensive education plan and require his or her approval of such
modifications.

(iv) The district shall provide notice to parents and guardians of the
students of the school which may be placed into receivership pursuant to
this subdivision and provided further that the district or the
commissioner shall hold a public meeting or hearing for purposes of
discussing the performance of the school and the construct of
receivership.

1-a. Community engagement team. Upon designation as failing or
persistently failing pursuant to subdivision one of this section, the
district shall establish a community engagement team which shall include
community stakeholders, including but not limited to the school
principal, parents and guardians, teachers and other school staff and
students. Membership of such team may be modified at any time. Such team
shall develop recommendations for improvement of the school and shall
solicit input through public engagement. The team shall present its
recommendations periodically to the school leadership and, as
applicable, the receiver.

2. Appointment of a receiver. (a) Upon a determination by the
commissioner that a school shall be placed into receivership, the
applicable school district shall appoint an independent receiver,
subject to the approval of the commissioner, to manage and operate all
aspects of the school and to develop and implement a school intervention
plan for the school that shall consider the recommendations developed by
the community engagement team when creating such plan. The independent
receiver may be a non-profit entity, another school district, or an
individual. If the school district fails to appoint an independent
receiver that meets with the commissioner's approval within sixty days
of such determination, the commissioner shall appoint the receiver.

(b) The receiver shall be authorized to manage and operate the failing
or persistently failing school and shall have the power to supersede any
decision, policy or regulation of the superintendent of schools or chief
school officer, or of the board of education or another school officer
or the building principal that in the sole judgment of the receiver
conflicts with the school intervention plan; provided however that the
receiver may not supersede decisions that are not directly linked to the
school intervention plan, including but not limited to building usage
plans, co-location decisions and transportation of students. The
receiver shall have authority to review proposed school district budgets
prior to presentation to the district voters, or in the case of a city
school district in a city having a population of one hundred twenty-five
thousand or more, of the adoption of a contingency budget, prior to
approval by the board of education, and to modify the proposed budget to
conform to the school intervention plan provided that such modifications
shall be limited in scope and effect to the failing or persistently
failing school and may not unduly impact other schools in the district.
A school under receivership shall operate in accordance with laws
regulating other public schools, except as such provisions may conflict
with this section.

(c) The commissioner shall contract with the receiver, and the
compensation and other costs of the receiver appointed by the
commissioner shall be paid from a state appropriation for such purpose,
or by the school district, as determined by the commissioner, provided
that costs shall be paid by the school district only if there is an open
administrative staffing line available for the receiver, and the
receiver will be taking on the responsibilities of such open line.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the receiver
and any of its employees providing services in the receivership shall be
entitled to defense and indemnification by the school district to the
same extent as a school district employee. The receiver's contract may
be terminated by the commissioner for a violation of law or the
commissioner's regulations or for neglect of duty. A receiver appointed
to operate a district under this section shall have full managerial and
operational control over such school; provided, however, that the board
of education shall remain the employer of record, and provided further
that any employment decisions of the board of education may be
superseded by the receiver. It shall be the duty of the board of
education and the superintendent of schools to fully cooperate with the
receiver and willful failure to cooperate or interference with the
functions of the receiver shall constitute willful neglect of duty for
purposes of section three hundred six of this title. The receiver or the
receiver's designee shall be an ex officio non-voting member of the
board of education entitled to attend all meetings of the board of
education.

3. Before developing the school intervention plan, the receiver shall
consult with local stakeholders such as: (a) the board of education; (b)
the superintendent of schools; (c) the building principal; (d) teachers
assigned to the school and their collective bargaining representative;
(e) school administrators assigned to the school and their collective
bargaining representative; (f) parents and guardians of students
attending the school or their representatives; (g) representatives of
applicable state and local social service, health and mental health
agencies; (h) as appropriate, representatives of local career education
providers, state and local workforce development agencies and the local
business community; (i) for elementary schools, representatives of local
prekindergarten programs; (j) students attending the school as
appropriate; (k) as needed for middle schools, junior high schools,
central schools or high schools, representatives of local higher
education institutions; and (l) the school stakeholder team set forth in
subdivision one-a of this section.

4. In creating the school intervention plan, the receiver shall (i)
consider the recommendations developed by the community engagement team
set forth in subdivision one-a of this section; (ii) include provisions
intended to maximize the rapid academic achievement of students at the
school; and (iii) ensure that the plan addresses school leadership and
capacity, school leader practices and decisions, curriculum development
and support, teacher practices and decisions, student social and
emotional developmental health, and family and community engagement. The
receiver shall, to the extent practicable, base the plan on the findings
of any recent diagnostic review or assessment of the school that has
been conducted and, as applied to the school, student outcome data
including, but not limited to: (a) student achievement growth data based
on state measures; (b) other measures of student achievement; (c)
student promotion and graduation rates; (d) achievement and growth data
for the subgroups of students used in the state's accountability system;
(e) student attendance; and (f) long-term and short-term suspension
rates.

5. (a) The receiver shall include the following in the school
intervention plan: (i) measures to address social service, health and
mental health needs of students in the school and their families in
order to help students arrive and remain at school ready to learn;
provided that this may include mental health and substance abuse
screening; (ii) measures to improve or expand access to child welfare
services and, as appropriate, services in the school community to
promote a safe and secure learning environment; (iii) as applicable,
measures to provide greater access to career and technical education and
workforce development services provided to students in the school and
their families in order to provide students and families with meaningful
employment skills and opportunities; (iv) measures to address
achievement gaps for English language learners, students with
disabilities and economically disadvantaged students, as applicable; (v)
measures to address school climate and positive behavior support,
including mentoring and other youth development programs; and (vi) a
budget for the school intervention plan.

(b) As necessary, the commissioner and the commissioners of the
department of health, the office of children and family services, the
department of labor and other applicable state and local social service,
health, mental health and child welfare officials shall coordinate
regarding the implementation of the measures described in subparagraphs
(i) through (iii) of paragraph (a) of this subdivision that are included
in the school intervention plan and shall, subject to appropriation,
reasonably support such implementation consistent with the requirements
of state and federal law applicable to the relevant programs that each
such official is responsible for administering, and grant failing
schools priority in competitive grants, as allowable before and during
the period of receivership.

6. In order to assess the school across multiple measures of school
performance and student success, the school intervention plan shall
include measurable annual goals including, but not limited to, the
following: (a) student attendance; (b) student discipline including but
not limited to short-term and long-term suspension rates; (c) student
safety; (d) student promotion and graduation and drop-out rates; (e)
student achievement and growth on state measures; (f) progress in areas
of academic underperformance; (g) progress among the subgroups of
students used in the state's accountability system; (h) reduction of
achievement gaps among specific groups of students; (i) development of
college and career readiness, including at the elementary and middle
school levels; (j) parent and family engagement; (k) building a culture
of academic success among students; (l) building a culture of student
support and success among faculty and staff; (m) using developmentally
appropriate child assessments from pre-kindergarten through third grade,
if applicable, that are tailored to the needs of the school; and (n)
measures of student learning.

7. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, in
creating and implementing the school intervention plan, the receiver
shall, after consulting with stakeholders and the community engagement
team, convert schools to community schools to provide expanded health,
mental health and other services to the students and their families.
In addition, the receiver may: (i) review and if necessary expand, alter
or replace the curriculum and program offerings of the school, including
the implementation of research-based early literacy programs, early
interventions for struggling readers and the teaching of advanced
placement courses or other rigorous nationally or internationally
recognized courses, if the school does not already have such programs or
courses; (ii) replace teachers and administrators, including school
leadership who are not appropriately certified or licensed; (iii)
increase salaries of current or prospective teachers and administrators
to attract and retain high-performing teachers and administrators; (iv)
establish steps to improve hiring, induction, teacher evaluation,
professional development, teacher advancement, school culture and
organizational structure; (v) reallocate the uses of the existing budget
of the school; (vi) expand the school day or school year or both of the
school; (vii) for a school that offers the first grade, add
pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten classes, if the school does
not already have such classes; (viii) in accordance with paragraphs (b)
and (c) of this subdivision, to abolish the positions of all members of
the teaching and administrative and supervisory staff assigned to the
failing or persistently failing school and terminate the employment of
any building principal assigned to such a school, and require such staff
members to reapply for their positions in the school if they so choose;
(ix) include a provision of a job-embedded professional development for
teachers at the school, with an emphasis on strategies that involve
teacher input and feedback; (x) establish a plan for professional
development for administrators at the school, with an emphasis on
strategies that develop leadership skills and use the principles of
distributive leadership; and/or (xi) order the conversion of a school in
receivership that has been designated as failing or persistently failing
pursuant to this section into a charter school, provided that such
conversion shall be subject to article fifty-six of this chapter and
provided further that such charter conversion school shall operate
pursuant to such article and provided further that such charter
conversion school shall operate consistent with a community schools
model and provided further that such conversion charter school shall be
subject to the provisions in subdivisions three, four, five, six, nine,
ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen of this section.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, rule or regulation to
the contrary, upon designation of any school of the school district as a
failing or persistently failing school pursuant to this section, the
abolition of positions of members of the teaching and administrative and
supervisory staff of the school shall thereafter be governed by the
applicable provisions of section twenty-five hundred ten, twenty-five
hundred eighty-five, twenty-five hundred eighty-eight or three thousand
thirteen of this chapter as modified by this paragraph. A classroom
teacher or building principal who has received two or more composite
ratings of ineffective on an annual professional performance review
shall be deemed not to have rendered faithful and competent service
within the meaning of section twenty-five hundred ten, twenty-five
hundred eighty-five, twenty-five hundred eighty-eight or three thousand
thirteen of this chapter. When a position of a classroom teacher or
building principal is abolished, the services of the teacher or
administrator or supervisor within the tenure area of the position with
the lowest rating on the most recent annual professional performance
review shall be discontinued, provided that seniority within the tenure
area of the position shall be used solely to determine which position
should be discontinued in the event of a tie.

(c) The receiver may abolish the positions of all teachers and
pedagogical support staff, administrators and pupil personnel service
providers assigned to a school designated as failing or persistently
failing pursuant to this section and require such staff members to
reapply for new positions if they so choose. The receiver shall define
new positions for the school aligned with the school intervention plan,
including selection criteria and expected duties and responsibilities
for each position. For administrators and pupil personnel service
providers, the receiver shall have full discretion over all such
rehiring decisions. For teachers and pedagogical support staff, the
receiver shall convene a staffing committee including the receiver, two
appointees of the receiver and two appointees selected by the school
staff or their collective bargaining unit. The staffing committee will
determine whether former school staff reapplying for positions are
qualified for the new positions. The receiver shall have full discretion
regarding hiring decisions but must fill at least fifty percent of the
newly defined positions with the most senior former school staff who are
determined by the staffing committee to be qualified. Any remaining
vacancies shall be filled by the receiver in consultation with the
staffing committee. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the
contrary, a member of the teaching and pedagogical support,
administrative, or pupil personnel service staff who is not rehired
pursuant to this paragraph shall not have any right to bump or displace
any other person employed by the district, but shall be placed on a
preferred eligibility list in accordance with the applicable provisions
of section twenty-five hundred ten, twenty-five hundred eighty-five,
twenty-five hundred eighty-eight or three thousand thirteen of this
chapter. Teachers rehired pursuant to this paragraph shall maintain
their prior status as tenured or probationary, and a probationary
teacher's probation period shall not be changed.

(d) For a school with English language learners, the professional
development and planning time for teachers and administrators identified
in clauses (vi) and (vii) of the closing paragraph of paragraph (a) of
this subdivision, shall include specific strategies and content designed
to maximize the rapid academic achievement of the English language
learners.

8. (a) In order to maximize the rapid achievement of students at the
applicable school, the receiver may request that the collective
bargaining unit or units representing teachers and administrators and
the receiver, on behalf of the board of education, negotiate a
receivership agreement that modifies the applicable collective
bargaining agreement or agreements with respect to any failing schools
in receivership applicable during the period of receivership. The
receivership agreement may address the following subjects: the length of
the school day; the length of the school year; professional development
for teachers and administrators; class size; and changes to the
programs, assignments, and teaching conditions in the school in
receivership. The receivership agreement shall not provide for any
reduction in compensation unless there shall also be a proportionate
reduction in hours and shall provide for a proportionate increase in
compensation where the length of the school day or school year is
extended. The receivership agreement shall not alter the remaining terms
of the existing/underlying collective bargaining agreement which shall
remain in effect.

(b) The bargaining shall be conducted between the receiver and the
collective bargaining unit in good faith and completed not later than
thirty days from the point at which the receiver requested that the
bargaining commence. The agreement shall be subject to ratification
within ten business days by the bargaining unit members in the school.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement within thirty days or if
the agreement is not ratified within ten business days by the bargaining
unit members of the school, the parties shall submit any remaining
unresolved issues to the commissioner who shall resolve any unresolved
issues within five days, in accordance with standard collective
bargaining principles.

(c) For purposes only for schools designated as failing pursuant to
subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (c) of subdivision one of this section,
bargaining shall be conducted between the receiver and the collective
bargaining unit in good faith and completed not later than thirty days
from the point at which the receiver requested that the bargaining
commence. The agreement shall be subject to ratification within ten
business days by the bargaining unit members of the school. If the
parties are unable to reach an agreement within thirty days or if the
agreement is not ratified within ten business days by the bargaining
unit members of the school, a conciliator shall be selected through the
American Arbitration Association, who shall forthwith forward to the
parties a list of three conciliators, each of whom shall have
professional experience in elementary and secondary education, from
which the parties may agree upon a single conciliator provided, however,
that if the parties cannot select a conciliator from among the three
within three business days, the American Arbitration Association shall
select a conciliator from the list of names within one business day, and
the conciliator shall resolve all outstanding issues within five days.
After such five days, if any unresolved issues remain, the parties shall
submit such issues to the commissioner who shall resolve such issues
within five days, in accordance with standard collective bargaining
principles.

9. A final school intervention plan shall be submitted to the
commissioner for approval and, upon approval, shall be issued by the
receiver within six months of the receiver's appointment. A copy of such
plan shall be provided to the board of education, the superintendent of
schools and the collective bargaining representatives of teachers and
administrators of the school district. The plan shall be publicly
available and shall be posted on the department's website and the school
district's website, and the school district shall provide notice to
parents of such school intervention plan and its availability.

10. Each school intervention plan shall be authorized for a period of
not more than three years. The receiver may develop additional
components of the plan and shall develop annual goals for each component
of the plan in a manner consistent with this section, all of which must
be approved by the commissioner. The receiver shall be responsible for
meeting the goals of the school intervention plan.

11. The receiver shall provide a written report to the board of
education, the commissioner, and the board of regents on a quarterly
basis to provide specific information about the progress being made on
the implementation of the school intervention plan. One of the quarterly
reports shall be the annual evaluation of the intervention plan under
subdivision twelve of this section.

12. (a) The commissioner shall, in consultation and cooperation with
the district and the school staff, evaluate each school with an
appointed receiver at least annually. The purpose of the evaluation
shall be to determine whether the school has met the annual goals in its
school intervention plan and to assess the implementation of the plan at
the school. The evaluation shall be in writing and shall be submitted to
the superintendent and the board of education not later than September
first for the preceding school year. The evaluation shall be submitted
in a format determined by the commissioner.

(b) If the commissioner determines that the school has met the annual
performance goals stated in the school intervention plan, the evaluation
shall be considered sufficient and the implementation of the school
intervention plan shall continue. If the commissioner determines that
the school has not met one or more goals in the plan, the commissioner
may require modification of the plan.

13. Upon the expiration of a school intervention plan for a school
with an appointed receiver, the commissioner, in consultation and
cooperation with the district, shall conduct an evaluation of the school
to determine whether the school has improved sufficiently, requires
further improvement or has failed to improve. On the basis of such
review, the commissioner, in consultation and cooperation with the
district, may: (a) renew the plan with the receiver for an additional
period of not more than three years; (b) if the failing or persistently
failing school remains failing and the terms of the plan have not been
substantially met, terminate the contract with the receiver and appoint
a new receiver; or (c) determine that the school has improved
sufficiently for the designation of failing or persistently failing to
be removed.

14. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the commissioner or a local
district from closing a school pursuant to the regulations of the
commissioner.

15. The commissioner shall be authorized to adopt regulations to carry
out the provisions of this section.

16. The commissioner shall report annually to the governor and the
legislature on the implementation and fiscal impact of this section. The
report shall include, but not be limited to, a list of all schools
currently designated as failing or persistently failing and the
strategies used in each of the schools to maximize the rapid academic
achievement of students.

17. The commissioner shall provide any relevant data that is needed to
implement and comply with the requirements of the chapter of the laws of
two thousand fifteen which added this section to any school district
that has a school or schools designated as failing or persistently
failing pursuant to this section by August fifteenth of each year, to
the fullest extent practicable. Provided that the commissioner shall
provide guidance to districts and may establish a model intervention
plan. And provided further, that the commissioner shall make available
to the public any school intervention plan, or other department-approved
intervention model or comprehensive education plan of a school or
district provided that such measures are consistent with all federal and
state privacy laws.