Albany, NY - Future Of East Ramapo Legislation Uncertain As Senate Proposes Alternative Measure
Albany, NY - Following the narrow passage of last week’s contentious East Ramapo bill in the State Assembly, the Senate has introduced an alternate bill which would give oversight to the Comptroller’s Office instead of the State Education Department.
The Journal News reports (http://lohud.us/1GHAaqL) that Senator David Carlucci (D-Clarkstown), a part of the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, quietly introduced the bill days after the Assembly passed its version of the bill to appoint a state monitor with wide latitude and veto power over the school district.
Carlucci’s bill differs in that it gives the Comptroller’s Office a broader oversight role for only two years as opposed to the fiscal monitor’s five years in the Assembly version. It still allows for the appointment of a monitor appointed by the Comptroller, but “in consultation with the governor.” The monitor would be a “non-voting, ex-officio member of the school board,” and would not have far-reaching veto power to overrule the actions of the school board. The bill states that both the Comptroller’s and the monitor’s role ends on December 31, 2017.
The Senate bill states in part, “The Board of Education shall at the request of the Comptroller annually submit the school district’s proposed budget for the next succeeding school year to the comptroller no later than 30 days before the date scheduled for the school district’s budget vote. If submitted, the comptroller shall examine the proposed budget to ensure that the fiscal and operational needs of the school district are being met including, but not limited to, that sufficient funding is being allocated to students attending the school district and for those students attending private schools.”
Democratic lawmakers representing East Ramapo have opposed the idea of the Comptroller’s involvement. The introduction of the alternative measure is a sign that the Assembly’s version of the bill faces stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.
With legislative session expected to conclude this Wednesday, there is doubt that an agreement will be reached on this issue before lawmakers return to their districts for the year.
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