- Albany Watch - http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com -
School Districts Look For Sandy Relief
Posted By Jon Campbell On November 7, 2012 @ 4:31 pm In Other | Comments Disabled
The state’s school boards have asked the Legislature for help in recovering from Superstorm Sandy, asking lawmakers to ease attendance and spending requirements for districts hit hard by the storm.
Among the measures being pushed by the state School Boards Assocation is an exemption from a state-mandated attendance requirement that cuts from a district’s state aid if it isn’t in session 180 days each school year.
At least 358 districts closed some or all of their schools for at least one day after Sandy hit last week, with some missing a full week or more, according to the state Education Department.
“Right now, many of those communities hit hardest by Sandy are dealing with the loss of basic necessities—food, power, fuel and shelter,” School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy Kremer said in a statement. “But as life slowly begins to return to normal, schools will be facing a slew of issues as they sort through legal requirements.”
State lawmakers temporarily lifted the attendance requirement following past natural disasters, including last year when tropical storms Lee and Irene caused widespread damage across large swaths of upstate. Sandy’s damage was largely concentrated in the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.
The state Legislature is not due back in session until January, though some lawmakers have indicated they may return to the capital beforehand to consider storm-relief measures—including lifting the attendance requirement.
Among the other steps sought by the school board group include giving districts greater authority to spend funds not included in their voter-approved budgets. Specifically, the association wants lawmakers to allow districts to spend beyond their budget limitations for unforeseen, storm-related costs, as well as waiving voter-approval requirements for capital costs incurred during the storm.
The School Boards Association wants restrictions lifted on tapping into their reserve funds, which are often kept for sudden financial emergencies.
“If we continue to experience catastrophic storms like Sandy, Irene and Lee, we should adapt our state laws so that schools can respond appropriately in the aftermath,” Kremer said.
(Photo by Carucha L. Meuse / The Journal News)
Article printed from Albany Watch: http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com
URL to article: http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com/2012/11/07/school-districts-look-for-sandy-relief/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/11/tumblr_mcob3zOQLA1qec6o1o1_1280.jpg