Mandate relief must be an integral part of our state budget. The economic crisis we’re facing provides us with the opportunity to address specific mandate relief requests from educators, health care providers, municipalities and others. Given the severity of budget cuts, now is the time to remove costly and unnecessary bureaucratic requirements.
While attempting to meet the expectations of the public, and the state and federal government, school districts continue to see increasing costs for fuel, health insurance and retirement. Mandate relief can help provide them with the flexibility to cut expenses by reducing non-instructional and administrative costs. According to the NYS Education Department website, there are 151 mandates on schools alone.
I have promoted a package of bills designed to relieve mandates that specifically effect local school districts and BOCES. The School Paperwork Elimination and Reduction Act (A.9035), which I co-sponsored, would eliminate or streamline planning and reporting requirements placed on school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) by reducing duplicative and burdensome separate reporting systems. This legislation provides much needed cost savings to school districts and BOCES. It would eliminate outdated and burdensome reporting requirements, while allowing planning efforts to be focused on students rather than the process.
The Education Mandate Relief Act (A.10130), which I co-sponsored as well, would relieve school districts of burdensome mandates. For example, it would allow school districts to delay the implementation of mandates for one year if they impose additional costs and were created after the adoption of the school’s budget. Additionally, the bill would require BOCES to convene committees of school and community leaders in each BOCES region to recommend options for school district consolidation and shared services.