Hempstead School Oversight Bill Compromise Reached

The Hempstead School District will collaborate with Hempstead Village on new programs aimed at student success.

New York State lawmakers have proposed a revised version of the Hempstead School District oversight bill that appears to be a compromise easing administrator’s concerns that the original plan was too strict.

The most significant change is that the revised version of the bill removes the proposed monitor’s veto power over the board of education’s spending measures and nixes the watchdog’s ability to appoint superintendents. A revised version of a similar bill enacting oversight of the Wyandanch School District was also proposed Thursday. The governor is expected to sign the bills into law when they pass the state Assembly and Senate, which may vote on the measures as early as next week.

“Our number one priority throughout this process was to find a responsible path forward that will help students receive the best possible education in our public schools,” said Jason Conwall, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “After discussions with the legislature, we’ve reached an agreement that will help us achieve this goal by ensuring the communities have input into the monitor process through extensive public hearings, that the Monitor and the Board will work collaboratively to reach consensus on academic and fiscal plans, and that ultimate accountability and responsibility lies where it belongs, with the Commissioner of Education.”

Also among the key provisions in the negotiated amendments are requiring public input, requiring the board and the monitor to work collaboratively and come up with consensus academic and fiscal plans and annual budgets, and if they fail to reach consensus, placing responsibility on the Commissioner of Education. It also provides fiscal relief for Wyandanch and reduces the oversight panel from three monitors to one.

Related Story: Hempstead School Crisis Persists While Garden City Flourishes

“We seem to be in a three-way agreement with the Senate, the executive’s office and the Assembly so, so far, so good,” Assemblywoman Taylor Darling (D-Hempstead), who proposed the initial oversight bill, told Politico.

Hempstead school leaders are still not thrilled about the oversight, but were more willing to accept the revisions than the original monitor bill.

“It’s not what I would’ve desired, but it’s better than nothing,” Hempstead School Board President David Gates told News12 Long Island.

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