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SECTION 314
State plan for school district reorganization 1
Education (EDN) CHAPTER 16, TITLE 1, ARTICLE 7
§ 314. State plan for school district reorganization 1. The
commissioner of education is hereby authorized to continue the
investigations, study and review carried on by the joint legislative
committee on the state education system in order to bring up to date the
state plan for school district reorganization (legislative document
number twenty-five of nineteen hundred forty-seven, formerly referred to
as the Master Plan for School District Reorganization in New York
State); to make such studies and surveys as are necessary to review
periodically and maintain such plan currently; to hold hearings in
relation to affected areas for the purpose of eliciting the expression
of opinion, cooperation and assistance of the inhabitants of such areas;
and to make recommendations for school district reorganization so as to
assure the most efficient and economical provision of education
facilities for such areas and in the best educational interests of the
children in the area. Such recommendations shall be principally directed
toward the reorganization of areas in and around the city school
districts of cities having less than one hundred twenty-five thousand
inhabitants, the reorganization of the remaining common and union free
school districts not included in such urban and suburban areas and the
reorganization of the smaller central school districts.

2. At any such time as the commissioner shall determine that an area
or areas should be reorganized to assure and provide the best, most
efficient and most economical educational facilities for such area or
areas and that the best educational interests of the children in the
area will be served by such reorganization, the commissioner shall
formally announce or reaffirm such plan of reorganization stating his
reason therefor by orders made by him and entered in his office. Such
order shall identify the affected school districts and shall designate
all school districts by name, number or such other description as the
commissioner shall deem proper. The commissioner shall forward a copy of
such order to the clerk or in the event there is no clerk, the trustee
or trustees of such school district located in the affected area or
areas.

3. (a) Any school district scheduled for reorganization, and not
reorganized, desiring a change in the established plan of reorganization
as promulgated pursuant to subdivision two hereof, may petition to the
commissioner for a formal public hearing stating the changes desired
with the supporting papers, data and information. Such petition shall be
filed with the commissioner by the board of education of a city school
district or by the trustee or board of trustees or board of education in
other types of school districts upon the motion of a majority of the
voters of such school district, present and voting at an annual or
special school district meeting or election adopting a resolution
directing the school board or trustees to file such petition.

(b) The commissioner within thirty days after receipt of such a
petition for a formal public hearing shall designate by written notice
the place of such hearing and fix a date therefor not less than thirty
nor more than sixty days from the date of such notice. Such notice shall
include (1) the time and place of the formal public hearing, (2) set
forth the petitioner's proposed change or changes, (3) the established
plan of reorganization.

(c) Upon receipt of such notice of such hearing from the commissioner,
the petitioning district shall publish a copy of such notice in one
newspaper having a general circulation in such district, such
publication to be at least twenty days before such hearing, but if there
be no such newspaper, a copy of said notice shall be posted in at least
twenty public places in said district twenty days before such hearing.

(d) Hearing. The formal public hearing shall be held at the time and
place specified in such notice or amended or republished notice. Such
hearing may be had before the commissioner or a person designated by him
as a hearing officer. The commissioner or such person so designated
shall hear the petitioning school district, the department and all
districts and parties appearing, each of whom may present testimony
under oath, supporting exhibits, departmental records and all data,
maps, sketches and argument, concerning the petition. The petitioner
shall have the burden of showing that the proposed change or changes to
the existing state plan assures and provides equally efficient and
economical educational facilities to such area or other areas affected
and that the educational interests of the school children in the area
will be at least equally served by such proposed change or changes, and
that such change or changes will create school districts in the area or
areas affected which by reason of actual or reasonably to be expected
growth, will be of adequate size, and financial resources to provide
equally efficient and economical educational facilities to such area or
areas to serve the educational interests of the children resident
therein in all grades from kindergarten through the twelfth year.

(e) Within sixty days after such hearing is concluded and all papers
in relation thereto are submitted, the commissioner shall render a
preliminary finding recommending whether a change is warranted, setting
forth his findings and conclusions which shall be based exclusively on
the evidence presented at the hearing. The commissioner shall recommend
the amendment or confirmation of the state plan in accordance with his
preliminary finding by a report made by him and entered in his office.
The commissioner shall serve a copy of such preliminary finding upon the
clerk or in the event that there is no clerk, the trustee or trustees of
the school districts located in the affected area or areas. In the event
that such districts do not agree with such preliminary findings, the
school districts affected by the terms of such preliminary finding may
within thirty days apply to the chancellor of the board of regents for
the appointment of a committee of the regents to review the proposed
amendment or confirmation of the state plan. In the event that an
application to the chancellor is not made within thirty days for the
appointment of a committee of the regents, the preliminary finding shall
become an order without further action of the commissioner.

(f) Upon receipt of such application, the chancellor shall appoint a
committee of three members of the regents, one of whom shall be a regent
whose judicial district includes all or part of the areas affected. The
committee of regents shall review the proposed amendment or confirmation
of the state plan. In the event the committee is unable to resolve the
differences between the commissioner and such school districts, it shall
within sixty days from the date of the appointment of such committee,
make an order reversing, affirming, or modifying, wholly or in part,
such preliminary finding of the commissioner and amending or confirming
the state plan setting forth the committee's findings and conclusions
which shall be based exclusively on the evidence presented at the
commissioner's hearing and any additional evidence presented at the
committee's review. The committee shall have the discretion to permit
additional evidence to be presented by any party. The commissioner shall
serve a copy of such order upon the clerk or in the event there is no
clerk, the trustee or trustees of the school districts located in the
affected area or areas.

(g) Such order of the committee of the regents shall be binding and
final and subject to review pursuant to article seventy-eight of the
civil practice law and rules. The scope of review shall include the
question whether the determination is on the entire record supported by
substantial evidence.

(h) The commissioner shall establish and promulgate rules of practice
and procedures in connection with such hearings, shall provide for the
attendance of the hearing officer, regulate the course of the hearing,
fix the time for filing of briefs and other documents, provide a hearing
stenographer and for the making of a record as well as the making of a
full transcript of all proceedings at the hearing and shall at the
request of any party, school district or interested person have prepared
and furnish a copy of the transcript or any part thereof upon payment of
the costs therefor.

(i) School districts designated in the established plan by an order of
the committee of the regents shall be made parties by the petitioning
district. Districts which may be affected by the proposed change may
join or be joined in such proceeding by the commissioner or any party.

4. Whenever a school district scheduled for reorganization fails to
institute such proceeding hereunder within two years subsequent to the
filing of an established plan of reorganization by the commissioner
pursuant to paragraph two herein, the state plan of reorganization in
existence at that time shall be final and binding upon all districts
affected thereby. After such two year period, such district may petition
the commissioner for a change in such final and binding plan upon an
additional showing that material changes have occurred since such two
year period. No proceeding shall again be brought until two years have
elapsed since a final determination hereunder.

5. Nothing herein contained shall delay, or interfere with, the
exercise of the powers of the commissioner of education vested in him by
articles thirty-seven or forty or sections fifteen hundred twenty-four,
fifteen hundred twenty-five or fifteen hundred twenty-six of the
education law.

6. Whenever any school district scheduled for reorganization pursuant
to the state plan of reorganization as herein established has not
consolidated or reorganized in accordance therewith within two years
after the entry of an order pursuant to subdivision two herein
establishing such final plan of reorganization for the affected district
or districts, or has failed within such time after receipt of such
notice to institute a proceeding for a change in accordance with this
section, or is unable to show that such district has adopted a
resolution or resolutions in accordance with sections eighteen hundred
one through eighteen hundred three, fifteen hundred ten through fifteen
hundred thirteen, fifteen hundred twenty-two and fifteen hundred
twenty-three, fifteen hundred twenty-four or fifteen hundred twenty-six
of this chapter in favor of such reorganization or that in the case of
an order of dissolution and annexation, such district has not asked for
a referendum pursuant to subdivision two of section eighteen hundred
two, and is being prevented from reorganizing by the action of another
district which is part of the same plan of reorganization, commencing
with the school year following the school year in which the two-year
period expired, such school district shall not be eligible to receive
any building aid exceeding the building aid which such district would be
entitled to receive in accordance with the applicable provisions of the
education law in existence on July first, nineteen hundred sixty-five
until such reorganization shall take place, except for such additional
amounts as may be computed as due on debt service already incurred;
provided, however, that nothing contained in this subdivision shall
prevent the apportionment of building aid for construction,
reconstruction, alterations of or additions to school building
facilities for the use of grades kindergarten through eight, provided
the commissioner shall find that (1) existing facilities are obsolete or
inadequate and (2) that the construction for which aid is sought would
be capable of substantial educational use by the reorganized district in
the event that the reorganization under the existing plan for
reorganization is effected.