2017 Legislative Session in Review
Session in Review
The 2017 Legislative Session ended yesterday with mixed results for public education. Although no bills negatively impacting school districts passed the Legislature, several key bills sought by public education advocates also did not make it through both houses of the Legislature. Mayoral control of schools in NYC still hangs in limbo, and might result in the Legislature returning to the state Capitol sooner than later.
Despite the joint efforts of ASBO, NYSSBA and NYSCOSS, legislation (S.4563 Golden / A.7353 Buchwald) to allow school districts and BOCES to establish a TRS Reserve Fund failed to pass the Senate. I want to thank those members who took the time to advocate for this legislation and also commend Assemblymember David Buchwald (D-Westchester), the sponsor of the bill, who worked tirelessly to facilitate its passage in the Assembly.
On the plus side three bills that NYSASBO advocated for passed both houses:
Small Group Employer for Health Insurance Consortiums (S.6572 Seward / A.8264 Cahill) – this bill would allow a school district with 1-100 employees (small group employer) to stay in their health insurance consortiums until December 2019.
In addition, the following bills of interest to school districts and BOCES also passed both houses of the Legislature:
S.750 (Ritchie) / A.611 (Rosenthal) – This bill would prohibit the possession of electronic cigarette devices on school grounds.
S.1692 (Marcellino) / A. 1036 (Nolan) – This bill streamlines the process of transitional planning for students with disabilities when they aging out of the educational system and into the adult social services system.
S.1694 (Marcellino) / A. 982 (Nolan) – This bill allows school districts to follow the same application procedure as other public and private agencies when applying to become evaluators of preschool special education students.
S.2122A (O’Mara) / A.1841 (Morelle) – This bill amends general municipal law and education law to provide that the tax base growth factor accounts for Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreements when determining tax base growth.
S.3293 (Hannon) / A.4703 (Jenne) – This bill allows school districts to serve as an originating site where telehealth services may be delivered. This distinction will provide school districts more options for reimbursement when considering telehealth services as an option for their students.
S.4729A (Larkin) / A.1595A (Skoufis) – This bill requires school districts to institute a local policy to allow students with disabilities to participate in high school graduation ceremonies.
S.5135A (Savino) / A.6604 (Abbate) – This bill amends the education law, making technical changes that will lessen the administrative workload required to transfer between pension systems in New York. Specifically, it removes the requirement for retirement system members to provide one year notice of intent to transfer. Additionally, it removes the requirement that members provide three years of service in the second system to receive the combined benefits.
S.5273A (Gallivan) / A.2093 (Paulin) – This bill prohibits unauthorized and false alterations or tampering of any official student records, files, or data maintained by a school district or college. This bill expands upon original legislation prohibiting the tampering of “grades, credit honor, awards, permanent record or transcript”. Students’ permanent records have evolved to include additional information regarding individual academic achievement and behavioral assessments. This bill extends tampering protections to these additional data sets.
S.5659A (Gallivan) / A.6510 (D’Urso) – This bill allows local municipalities the option to extend current Cold War Veteran Tax Exemptions from ten years to an exemption that is in effect as long as they are owned by the qualifying owner.
S.5251B (Helming) / A.6910B (Woerner) – This bill expands exemptions from formal procurement procedures when purchasing New York State produced foods currently offered to school districts to include Boards of Cooperative Educational Service.
S.6599 (Larkin) / A.881A (Gunther) – This bill allows school districts the option to hold a referendum to establish school election wards for the purpose of electing school board members. Doing so would allow districts to ensure equal geographic representation on school boards.
NYSASBO will keep you apprised if these bills are signed into law or vetoed by the Governor.