ALBANY, NY - Senator Terence Murphy, a long-time advocate for the reform of Board of Regents' policies and selection process, voted to support pair of bills designed to improve the lines of communication between the Board, educators and the public. The legislation will reform the selection process for the Board of Regents and increase transparency to help parents and educators have more access to proceedings that set state education policy.
"The Board of Regents is an important party of state government but has conducted its business from behind closed doors," Senator Murphy said. "As the Chairman of the Administrative Regulations Review Commission, I have seen this bureaucratic body subvert the legislature and impose expensive mandates onto our local schools and taxpayers. The reforms that we passed will shed more light and accountability onto their decision making process which I only hope results in sound education policies that give every child the opportunity to succeed."
A bill sponsored by Senator LaValle (S224), requires more information about any Board of Regents resolutions that alter or amend the rules or regulations. Details would need to be provided about: those entities that are expected to be affected by increase in costs proposed; source of income to pay for increases, whether it be from the general fund or other funds; type of tax increase necessary to fund proposal; if a tax increase is to come from local property taxes, list expected increase by school district; and if a combination of funds are to be used, information regarding costs shall be provided by the Regents.
"Too often the Board imposes mandates on our schools causing increased expenses, which in many instances are passed on to taxpayers," Senator LaValle said. "The Board of Regents must be more open and fair when establishing new rules and procedures that force local school districts to incur new costs. My legislation will require that the Board of Regents engage in open dialog when they consider changes. The four bills that we passed today will ensure that the public is well-informed and the actions of the Board of Regents are more transparent."
The Senate also passed two other bills relating to the Board of Regents:
- S1796B, sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie (R-C, Heuvelton), requires that each meeting of the Board of Regents be streamed live and made available to the public. Currently, the Board only webcasts a small portion of its monthly meetings. This bill would give parents and educators the ability to stay informed of the Board's decisions; and
- S6503, sponsored by Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset), requires the Board of Regents to give notice of their agenda several days before a scheduled meeting to allow the stakeholders on several educational issues the appropriate time to respond and discuss the issues. This would encourage more involvement from the public and would foster an improved dialogue between both the Board of Regents and other stakeholders in education.
The bills will be sent to the Assembly.