JOE ROBACH UNDERSTANDS THAT SCHOOL BUS SAFETY IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE EDUCATION EXPERIENCE

Joe Robach cares about school children and knows that safety is critical to a successful education.  Each day over 45,000 school buses transport more than two million New York children over one million miles of highways and local streets, with an impressive record of safety.  To this end, Joe Robach and the Senate have amended the education and transportation laws to ensure school bus safety.

One law supported by Joe Robach  includes requiring school buses to operate with headlights and taillights illuminated at all times.  This law ensures that school buses can be seen by other drivers on the road. Joe Robach and the Senate also changed the education and transportation law to give the Commissioner of DMV and Transportation more authority.  For example, a new law would authorize the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to deny a registration or renewal application to a school bus operator if DMV officials believe such an application is intended to circumvent a previous suspension listed in a different company.  Further, new laws would expand the Commissioner of Transportation’s power to regulate the safety of all motor vehicles transporting passengers under the age of 21 from school and community residences to approved school programs.   Lastly, newer laws would require that the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, in consultation with the State Education Department, to implement a program to educate motorists about the dangers of passing a stopped school bus, as well as alert them to penalties for such violations.

Joe Robach encourages drivers to slow down when they see a school bus with flashing yellow lights.  State law requires drivers to stop when the red lights on a school bus are flashing, even if the bus is in the parking lot of a school.  If the school bus driver waves you on, it is safe to proceed.  Drivers who fail to stop when a school bus has its red lights on face costly penalties and even can land in jail.

For more information on school bus safety and any other education initiative, contact Joe Robach’s office.

JOE ROBACH ANNOUNCES AWARDS FOR COMPETITIVE EDUCATION GRANTS TO FOUR DISTRICTS, INCLUDING THE ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, THAT FOUND EFFICIENCY SAVINGS AND CAN SERVE AS MODELS TO OTHER DISTRICTS

Joe Robach is pleased to share that four model education school districts that were able to find more than $21 million in efficiency savings, have been awarded more than $12 million over three years as part of the Governor’s competitive education grants program. One of the districts awarded is the Rochester City School District.

The competitive education grants for management efficiency rewards school districts that have implemented innovative strategies to improve the overall efficiency of school district management, while maintaining or improving student achievement. School districts across the state were invited to apply for a grant by demonstrating innovative cost-savings that were implemented in their districts.

Over the past two years, the state has increased State Education Aid by 8.6% (a 4.2% increase in the 2012-2013 school year, and a 4.4 increase in the 2013-2014 school year for a total of $1.7B). Statewide increases in school spending, State support for education, and school property taxes have far outpaced the rate of inflation over the last ten years. New York public schools spend more per pupil ($18,618) than any other state and 76 percent above the national average. However, New York’s high education spending has not translated into equally high student performance.

Four school districts won this competitive education grant for management efficiency – these districts achieved a total of $21,770,300 efficiency savings and were awarded a total of $12,261,261 from the state.

Joe Robach is happy to announce that a local education district will be receiving some proceeds of the competitive grant. The Rochester City School District was awarded $4,500,000 over 3 years for identifying a total of $9,544,293 in eligible cost-savings. This was accomplished by:

· An overall reduction in the Contractual Services contained in the Chief of Schools and
· Maintenance of Plant budget categories;
· Utilization of internal resources and expertise to support professional development for district staff;
· Consolidation of Central Office Support Staff achieved through attrition and reorganization; and
· Verification of Dependent benefits related to the district’s health insurance program.

Public education in New York represents a significant commitment of State and local resources. With total spending levels exceeding $58 billion, New Yorkers have maintained the highest per-pupil spending levels in the nation – even in these difficult financial times. Not only is education the largest area of State spending, it is also the largest component of local property taxes. This substantial investment is a reflection of New York State’s long-standing commitment to providing opportunity for all students. Although New York makes significant financial investments in education (per pupil spending is the highest among states), New York lags behind in graduation rates. Only 74 percent of our students graduate from high school and only 35 percent are college or career ready. Recognizing that a prosperous future for the State is dependent upon the quality of public education, the 2013-14 Executive Budget continues the work of building an education system that ensures every child has an opportunity for a sound, basic education, and that all of our children are educated in schools with excellent teachers and leaders, who are accountable for student success.

For more education information, contact the Office of Joe Robach.

JOE ROBACH SUPPORTS NEW LEGISLATION THAT PROTECTS INDIVIDUALS IN THE EDUCATION SETTING

Joe Robach and his colleagues in the senate passed important legislation to protect children who are obtaining their education. The bill to keep dangerous criminals off school buses. The measure prohibits people convicted of serious crimes from being bus monitors and also prevents individuals convicted of Leandra’s law from driving school buses

The New York State Senate recently passed this legislation to protect children by preventing people who have been convicted of crimes involving children, sexual-based offenses, and drug offenses from being a school bus monitor. The bill, Senate bill S.883, also updates existing laws to include Leandra’s Law convictions in disqualifying a person from being a school bus driver for five years after conviction.

Under current law, individuals who are convicted of certain offenses involving children, sexual based offenses, and drug offenses are permanently or temporarily disqualified from being a school bus driver. However, school bus monitors who routinely ride school buses along with children to protect their safety are not subject to the same restrictions as school bus drivers. This legislation would subject school bus monitors to the same restrictions and disciplinary standards as school bus drivers.

Additionally, current law provides that an individual is disqualified from being a school bus driver for the extent of the time their license is suspended, with a minimum of six months, if they are convicted of a DWI violation. However, there is no additional penalty if the person is convicted of Leandra’s Law, passed in 2009 following the tragic death of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado when she was killed while riding in a car driven by her friend’s intoxicated mother. That law imposes tougher sanctions on individuals who place a child passenger at risk while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The education legislation passed today was supported by Joe Robach and updates current laws regarding school bus driver eligibility by disqualifying an individual from being a bus driver for five years from the date of the last conviction for a Leandra’s Law violation.

The bill will be sent to the Assembly.

For more education information, contact the Office of Joe Robach.