Issue Position: Education

Issue Position

By:  Neil Breslin
Location: Unknown

Protecting Taxpayers By Helping School Districts

Neil understands the importance of getting a good education and how supporting our schools strengthens our state's workforce and also helps to break the cycle of poverty in which so many of our inner city children grow up.

In order to give our school districts the resources they need, especially in this trying economic time, Neil supports a four-measure mandate relief plan tailored specifically to ease the economic constraints under which so many of our school districts are operating. Reducing the burden of unfunded mandates which can hobble our school districts will in turn reduce the burden to local taxpayers.

The Key Components of the Mandate Relief Plan Include Four Bills:

The Education Mandate Relief Act of 2010 which prohibits any new mandates on district after they pass their annual budgets and provides schools with greater authority and responsibility over their budgets by enabling

* The review of potential regionalize cost containment/shared services, specifically by BOCES districts
* Districts to "piggyback" transportation contracts
* BOCES to perform aidable auditing services for school districts
* District to establish reserve funds for Teacher Retirement System contributions, and
* District to use a five year rolling average of the consumer price index when calculating their contingency budget cap.

The University Pre-Kindergarten Flexibility Bill permits a school district that receives a universal Pre-K grant to use utilize unspent funds in alternative but related ways such as creating full-day slots, supporting the cost of Pre-K student transportation and other program-related initiatives. By allowing districts the flexibility in budgeting for Pre-K programs allows them to continue the successful programs without placing any new burden on local taxpayers.

The Paperwork Reduction Act requires the State Education Commissioner to establish a unified electronic data collection system in order to reduce the enormous costs of paperwork, mailing and filing done by the department and the education system as a whole. The bill also requires the Commissioner to take regulatory action to reduce reports, and statutorily eliminate or alter the submission and filing of eight reports, plans and applications required by statute which are seen as unnecessary and costly.

The Flexibility in Claim Auditing Bill will provide school districts with additional flexibility on managing their claim auditing while maintaining high standards of oversight.