Saturday, December 1, 2007

State of New York Office of the State Comptroller Forwards Complaint Against North Tonawanda School District to Commissioner of Education Mills

The Standards: According to correspondence recently received from Associate Counsel Albert Wm. Brooks, State of New York Office of the State Comptroller, "the reporting of violent or disruptive incidents is required by section 2802 of the Education Law. Under this provision, school districts are required to report annually to the Department of Education (Department), in a form and by a date prescribed by the Commissioner of Education (Commissioner), information concerning violent and disruptive incidents that occurred in the prior school year. Section 100.2(gg) of the Commissioner's regulations (8NYCRR 100.2(gg)) defines the types of violent incidents that must be reported and the additional information that must be included in the annual report. The Department is required to assess the reported information and determine whether any schools should be designated as persistently dangerous because of their violent and disruptive incidents.

In accordance with section 305(1) of the Education Law, the Commissioner is charged with enforcing all general and special laws relating to the education system and with executing all educational policies of the Board of Regents. Further, section 306(1) of the Education Law authorizes the Commissioner to withhold from any district or city its share of public moneys for willfully disobeying any provision of law or any decision, order or regulation. Finally, the Commissioner is authorized by section 308 of the Education Law to institute any proceeding as may be necessary to properly enforce and give effect to any provision of the Education Law.

The Office of the State Comptroller has audited the Department's oversight of this incident reporting program, pursuant to its authority under the State Constitution and the State Finance Law. However, in accordance with the provisions of the Education Law cited above, the Department of Education would have the authority to initiate such other action as might be appropriate upon a determination that the information provided by a particular school district in its annual reporting was inaccurate or otherwise deficient. Accordingly, we are forwarding your complaint to the Commissioner of Education."

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