Cost Savings Measures for School Districts Pass Legislature

ALBANY, NY (06/23/2014)(readMedia)-- The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) applauds the Legislature for passing several modest cost savings or mandate relief measures advocated by our members.

"Although these bills overall provide very modest cost savings to school districts and BOCES, it is important that steps are finally being taken to address the expense side of school district ledgers and just not capping our revenue sources, " stated Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO Executive Director.

The four bills advocated by NYSASBO that passed the Legislature are:

BOCES Property Lease Extender (S.7227 Flanagan/A.9570 Paulin) – Currently, BOCES are limited to ten year leases. Allowing for longer leases of twenty years will allow BOCES to negotiate better terms from private landlords that can reduce costs for them and their component school districts.

Annual Visual Inspections (S.3968 Ritchie /A.6442 Gunther) – This legislation would repeal requirement for annual visual inspection of school buildings. School districts currently have to submit a five year Capital Facilities Plan to the state Education Department that is more comprehensive than the annual visual inspection. Elimination of the annual visual inspection would approximately save on average $2,000 per school district ($1.3 million statewide).

Duplicative Fingerprinting of School Bus Drivers (S.5356 Flanagan/A.9749 Thiele) – This legislation would allow DMV to share fingerprints and background checks of prospective bus drivers with SED to avoid duplicative efforts. Currently, state motor vehicle law requires background checks/fingerprinting of school bus drivers, and state education law requires background checks/fingerprinting of all school employees. By sharing information between state agencies, the costs of these redundant background checks would be eliminated saving approximately $92 per employee.

Competitive Bidding (S.6595 Flanagan/A. 8661 Paulin) – Currently, state general municipal law requires local governments and school districts to post their bids for goods and services in local newspapers. This bill will enable school districts to post their bids on state procurement website accessible to vendors from around the state thereby increasing competition and awareness of school bids and potentially driving down costs.

"Since there was no mandate relief or cost savings measures included in the adopted 2014-15 State Budget, we were hopeful that other separate measures would be passed by the Legislature in recognition of school districts ongoing fiscal challenges," concluded Mr. Borges.