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Selected Sections of the Education Law Relating to Education Corporations (Sections 236-237, Section 254 & Section 260)

Disclaimer: Sections from the Education Law are presented here for general informational purposes as a public service.  Although reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that these sections are current, complete and accurate, the State Education Department does not warrant or represent that this information is current, complete and accurate.  The statutes are subject to change on a regular basis.  Readers are advised to consult  McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York (West Publishing Corporation) for the official exposition of the text of these statutes, as well as for amendments and any subsequent changes or revisions thereto.  

§236. Public television and radio

  1. Short title. This section shall be known and may be cited as the “Public Television and Radio Act of nineteen hundred seventy-eight”.
  2. Legislative findings and declaration of intent. In the years since New York state’s educational television act was passed in nineteen hundred fifty-four, public television in New York has made enormous strides. Audiences which only a decade ago were calculated in the thousands now number in the millions. Approximately seven million New York residents now view public television every week. Public television, which initially served only a handful of students, now brings nearly ten thousand hours annually of the best of the state’s and the nation’s educational programming to over one million two hundred thousand students in three thousand schools throughout the state. These programs are used by approximately fifty thousand teachers for direct classroom instruction. Public television also provides the state’s youngsters with some twelve thousand hours annually of the finest children’s programming available including “Sesame Street”, “Electric Company”, “Zoom” and “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood”. In addition, public television provides a wealth of specialized programming in the educational and cultural arts designed for viewing by, among others, minority and ethnic populations, senior citizens, the unemployed, consumers and citizens interested in the performing arts. It is the sense of the legislature that public television’s contributions to the people of New York state have been exceptional. Despite public broadcasting’s great progress in New York state in recent years, its full potential remains untapped. It is, therefore, the intent of the legislature both to maintain and expand the role of public broadcasting in supplying educational, instructional and cultural programs to New Yorkers, as well as to enhance the state’s role in its partnership with its citizens so that this valuable state resource can be nurtured to its optimum potential.
  3. Public television and radio corporations; creation and operation. a. The board of regents may incorporate any group, institution or association for the purpose of constructing, owning, operating or maintaining a nonprofit and noncommercial public television station or public television and/or radio station for providing educational television and radio programs. Any such corporation shall be subject to all the provisions applicable to corporations created by the board of regents and, in addition, shall be subject to the provisions of this section.

b. The charter of any such corporation may be amended from time to time, suspended, or revoked, upon the regents’ own motion, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, before the board of regents or a committee thereof or a hearing officer designated by the board of regents.

c. Each such corporation and all its operations and the powers and duties of its trustees and officers shall be subject to the general supervision and control of the board of regents and to such rules as the board of regents may adopt and promulgate from time to time with respect to such corporations.

d. The television programs developed and presented by such corporations shall consist of educational, instructional and cultural programs.

e. The appointment or election of any trustee of such corporation shall be subject to approval by the regents, while under regents’ charter and through the first five years of broadcast operations. The regents may reinstitute requirements for trustee approval over a reasonable period on finding a corporation in violation of an applicable rule, regulation or law. After the expiration of rule requirements, corporations shall include a list of current trustees in its annual report.

f. The regents may remove any trustee, officer or employee of such corporation for misconduct, incapacity, wilful violation or neglect of duty under this chapter, or wilfully disobeying, or refusing to comply with, any order or rule of the regents. The hearing in the proceeding for the removal of any such person shall be had before the board of regents or a committee thereof or a hearing officer designated by the board of regents and such trustee officer or employee shall be given at least ten days’ notice of the time and place of such hearing.

g. The use of programs for partisan or political purposes or to influence the enactment of legislation shall, in the discretion of the board of regents, be basis for termination of the corporate charter.

h. Each such corporation shall render a report to the board of regents not later than October first of each year upon such matters as the regents may require, and shall furnish such other reports and information from time to time as the regents may require.

i. Any corporation created under the provisions of this section may make purchases, except of printed material, through the state divisions of standards and quality control; and of purchasing in the office of general services subject to such rules as may be established from time to time pursuant to section one hundred sixty-three of the state finance law; provided that each such purchase shall have a cost of five hundred dollars or more and that said corporation shall accept sole responsibility for any payment of such cost due the vendor.

  1. Grants-in-aid to public television and radio corporations and public radio stations. a. There shall be apportioned, as assistance for approved operating expenses of public television corporations governed by the provisions of this section, an amount not exceeding the product of the number of residents of the state as determined from the nineteen hundred eighty decennial federal census multiplied by: one dollar for the period beginning July first, nineteen hundred eighty-five and ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred eighty-six; one dollar multiplied by four-twelfths plus one dollar and twenty-five cents multiplied by eight-twelfths for the period beginning July first, nineteen hundred eighty-six and ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred eighty-seven; and one dollar and forty cents for the period beginning July first, nineteen hundred eighty-seven and ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred eighty-eight, and annually thereafter. Such amount shall be allocated to each such corporation in accordance with a formula and schedule of payments developed and approved by the commissioner and the director of the division of the budget.

b. The formula and schedule of payments developed pursuant to paragraph a hereof shall include provision for an amount not less than twenty percent of the total state operating assistance for instructional television services to be provided to local educational agencies by public television corporations through agreements with local school districts, subject to the approval of the commissioner.

c. There shall be annually apportioned funds for the payment of approved capital expenses of educational television corporations and public radio stations in such amounts and in such manner as the legislature shall provide.

d. There shall be apportioned, as assistance for approved radio programming operating expenses, an amount not exceeding: eighty thousand dollars for the period beginning July first, nineteen hundred eighty-five and ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred eighty-six, and eighty thousand dollars multiplied by four-twelfths plus one hundred thousand dollars multiplied by eight-twelfths for the period beginning July first, nineteen hundred eighty-six and ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred eighty-seven, and one hundred ten thousand dollars for the period beginning July first, nineteen hundred eighty-seven and ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred eighty-eight, and annually thereafter to each public television and radio corporation, governed by the provisions of this section, and to each public radio station, as defined in paragraph f of this subdivision and paid in accordance with a formula and schedule of payments developed and approved by the commissioner and the director of the division of the budget. Recipients of assistance shall render a fiscal report to the board of regents not later than December first of each year upon such matters as the regents may require and shall furnish annually such other fiscal reports as the regents may require.

e. On or before November first in each year, the board of regents shall submit to the division of the budget a plan outlining a matching capital grant program for approved capital expenses of public television and/or radio corporations and public radio stations to meet the replacement costs of capital items including towers, antennas, transmitters, videotape recorders, cameras, film chains, control room equipment, buildings and building renovations.

f. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, for purposes of this subdivision the term “public radio station” shall mean a nonprofit and noncommercial radio station which meets the following requirements:

(1) The station shall be licensed to:

(i) an institution chartered by the board of regents; or

(ii) an agency of a municipal corporation; or

(iii) a corporation created in the state education department and within the university of the state of New York.

(2) The station other than stations operated by corporations approved for funding prior to April first, nineteen hundred eighty-five shall have for a period of three consecutive years immediately prior to apportionment of such money and all recipients shall continue to after receipt of such money:

(i) broadcast at least eighteen hours per day or the maximum hours of operation authorized by the federal communications commission, whichever is less, three hundred sixty-five days per year; and

(ii) operate with a staff of at least five full-time members paid at least the federal minimum wage, a budget that includes at least ninety-five thousand dollars of non-federal income of which a reasonable portion is received from local business, foundations, or individual contributors paid either directly to the radio station or broadcast corporation or to a not-for-profit corporation for the benefit of such radio station and an effective radiated power equivalent to three thousand watts at five hundred feet above average terrain or the maximum tower height authorized by the federal communications commission, whichever is less for FM radio stations or two hundred fifty watts for AM radio stations.

g. At such time that assistance authorized by paragraph a of this subdivision exceeds the sum appropriated in state fiscal year nineteen hundred ninety—nineteen hundred ninety-one, there shall be apportioned as assistance for approved operating expenses of New York city-licensed WNYC-TV, for each three hundred sixty-five hours of public service programming broadcast by such station annually, an amount equal to one percent of that portion of public television assistance for approved operating expenses which represents the increment above the level appropriated in state fiscal year nineteen hundred ninety—nineteen hundred ninety-one; provided, however, that the total apportionment to WNYC-TV shall not exceed ten percent of such incremental assistance over such nineteen hundred ninety—nineteen hundred ninety-one level. Notwithstanding any provision of this paragraph to the contrary, such funding for WNYC-TV shall not diminish the amount of state aid received by the nine public television corporations pursuant to paragraph a of this subdivision in state fiscal year nineteen hundred ninety—nineteen hundred ninety-one. For the purposes of this subdivision, “public service programming” shall be defined as non-commercial cultural, instructional or educational programming. In order to qualify for assistance under this subdivision, the minimum hours of non-commercial public service programming, shall be eight hours daily and shall include three hours daily of prime time service, which is defined as service between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Non-commercial public service programming, other than prime time, shall be broadcast in blocks of not less than one hundred twenty minutes. All funds so apportioned shall be used for non-commercial public service television broadcast activities. WNYC-TV shall render a report to the commissioner not later than December first of each year such funds are appropriated upon the use of such appropriation, and shall furnish such other reports and information relating to such funds as the commissioner may from time to time require. Funds appropriated pursuant to this subdivision shall not be used for partisan or political purposes or to influence the enactment of legislation.

h. There shall be apportioned, at such time that any appropriation exceeds the sum appropriated in state fiscal year nineteen hundred ninety—nineteen hundred ninety-one for approved capital expenses of educational television corporations and public radio stations, as provided in paragraph c of this subdivision, an amount to New York city-licensed WNYC-TV. Notwithstanding any provisions of this paragraph to the contrary, such funding shall not diminish the amount of state aid, for capital purposes, that the nine public television corporations and fifteen public radio stations received in state fiscal year nineteen hundred ninety—nineteen hundred ninety-one. WNYC-TV shall render a report to the commissioner not later than December first of each year such funds are appropriated upon the use of funds apportioned pursuant to this paragraph, and shall furnish such other reports and information relating to such funds as the commissioner may require.

  1. Implementation. For the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this section, the regents may make rules, or authorize the commissioner to make regulations, providing for the implementation of this section, including provision for annual audited reports of the financial records of such corporations as the regents or the commissioner may require.

§237. Regents plan for higher education including approved plans of state university and city university of New York and plans of independent institutions of higher education

  1. Purposes of planning. Master planning for higher education in New York State should:

a. Define and differentiate the missions and objectives of higher education.

b. Identify the needs, problems, societal conditions and interest of the citizens of the state of New York to which programs of higher education may most appropriately be addressed.

c. Define and differentiate the missions and objectives of institutions of higher education.

d. Develop programs to meet the needs, solve the problems, affect the conditions and respond to the public’s interests by:

(1) Setting goals.

(2) Describing the time required to meet those goals.

(3) Identifying the resources needed to achieve the goals.

(4) Establishing priorities.

e. Be in sufficient detail to enable all participants in the planning process, representatives of the people and the citizens themselves to evaluate the needs, objectives, programs proposals, priorities, costs and results of higher education.

f. Optimize the use of resources.

g. Evaluate program effectiveness.

  1. The regents shall, on or before the twenty-fifth day of April nineteen hundred seventy-one and each fourth year thereafter, request the state university trustees, the board of higher education of the city of New York, and all independent higher educational institutions to submit long-range master plans for their development. Such request shall specify the nature of the information, plans and recommendations to be submitted, shall describe statewide needs, problems, societal conditions and interests of the citizens and discuss their priorities, and provide appropriate information which may be useful in the formulation of such plans.
  2. The regents shall, once every four years, review the proposed plan and recommendations required to be submitted by the state university trustees pursuant to section three hundred fifty-four of this chapter, the proposed plan and recommendations of the board of higher education in the city of New York required to be submitted pursuant to section sixty-two hundred two of this chapter, and the plans of independent institutions of higher education and, upon approval by the regents of the plans submitted by the state university trustees and the board of higher education, they shall be incorporated into a regents plan or general revision thereof for the development of higher education in the state. Such regents plan shall include the plan and recommendations proposed by the state university trustees and the plan and recommendations proposed by the board of higher education in the city of New York and may include plans with respect to other matters and not comprehended within the plan of the state and city universities, including but not limited to improving institutional management and resources, instruction and guidance programs, financial assistance to students and extension of educational opportunities. In determining the need for additional educational facilities in a particular area, the plans and facilities of existing public and independent institutions shall be fully evaluated. Such statewide plan shall include for information purposes a summary of all recommendations appearing in the prior statewide plan and subsequent amendments thereof containing a brief statement of action taken and progress toward achievement of each such recommendation.
  3. During the calendar year nineteen hundred sixty-four and each fourth year thereafter the regents shall evaluate all available information with respect to the plans and facilities of independent institutions and shall review and act upon the proposed plan and recommendations of the state university trustees and upon the proposed plan and recommendations of the board of higher education in the city of New York and incorporate such information, recommendations and each of the component plans so acted upon into a tentative regents plan or general revision thereof for the development of higher education in the state. Copies of such tentative regents plan or general revision thereof, as the case may be, shall be made available to the trustees of the state university, the board of higher education in the city of New York and the governing boards of all other institutions of higher education admitted to the university of the state of New York. Thereafter, after giving due notice, the regents shall conduct one or more hearings on such tentative regents plan or general revision thereof.
  4. The regents shall transmit their plan or general revision thereof for the development of higher education in the state to the governor and the legislature on or before the first day of November, nineteen hundred sixty-four and each fourth year thereafter. The governor may disapprove or conditionally approve any part of the plan or general revision thereof after notifying the regents of such disagreements at least sixty days prior to such action during which time they may revise their recommendations relating to such items and request the governor to adopt such revised recommendations in lieu of such action. Such plan or general revision thereof or so much thereof as shall be approved and upon such terms and conditions as the governor may impose, shall become effective upon such approval by the governor.
  5. Any modification recommended by the state university trustees or by the board of higher education in the city of New York to their respective plans, theretofore formulated and approved pursuant to section three hundred fifty-four or section sixty-two hundred two of this chapter shall be reviewed by the regents who may hold one or more hearings thereon after giving due notice thereof. As approved by the regents, such modification shall be made a part of the respective plans of the state university and of the city university and shall, together with any modifications the regents may make to that portion of their plan for the development of higher education in the state not comprehended in the plans of the state and city universities, be transmitted to the governor and the legislature, all of which shall then become effective upon approval by the governor as modifications of the regents plan. By the first day of November in nineteen hundred seventy-four and each fourth year thereafter the regents shall summarize and report to the governor and the legislature any modifications made pursuant to this subdivision and shall include in such report a statement on the progress made in implementing the regents plan and their general recommendations with respect to higher education.
  6. An advisory council on higher education consisting of the chancellor of the state university of New York, the chancellor of the city university of New York, and a representative of the commission on independent colleges and universities shall be convened by the commissioner of education and shall advise the regents and the commissioner on all phases of planning.

§254. Standards of library service

The regents shall have power to fix standards of library service for every free association, public and hospital library or, with the advice of the appropriate tribal government and library board of trustees, Indian library which receives any portion of the moneys appropriated by the state to aid such libraries, or which is supported in whole or in part by tax levied by any municipality or district. In the case of a hospital library or a library serving a hospital, such standards shall be established in consultation with the commissioner of health. If any such library shall fail to comply with the regents requirements, such library shall not receive any portion of the moneys appropriated by the state for free, hospital or Indian libraries nor shall any tax be levied by any municipality or district for the support in whole or in part of such library.

§260. Trustees

  1. Public libraries authorized to be established by action of the voters or their representatives shall be managed by trustees who shall have all the powers of trustees of other educational institutions of the university as defined in this chapter; provided that the number of trustees of county public libraries and Indian libraries shall not be less than five nor more than fifteen and that the number of trustees of other public libraries shall not be less than five nor more than fifteen. The number of trustees of joint public libraries authorized to be established by two or more municipalities or districts or any combination thereof shall be not less than five nor more than twenty-five, as determined by agreement of the voting bodies empowered to authorize the establishment of such libraries pursuant to subdivision one of section two hundred fifty-five of this chapter and shall be set forth in the resolution authorizing the establishment of such joint public library. Such resolution shall also set forth the number of such trustees which each of the participating municipalities or districts shall be entitled to elect or appoint, and the terms of office of the trustees as determined in accordance with subdivision three of this section.
  2. The trustees of public libraries authorized to be established by cities shall be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the common council, in counties they shall be appointed by the county board of supervisors or other governing elective body, in villages they shall be appointed by the village board of trustees, in towns they shall be appointed by the town board, in school districts they shall be elected by the legal voters in the same manner as trustees are elected in the school district which established said library, and on Indian reservations they shall be elected at a general tribal election or otherwise designated by the chiefs or head men of an Indian tribe; that notwithstanding the fact that county, town or local school district lines do not penetrate the reservation boundary, Indians residing on reservations shall be eligible to serve as trustees of public libraries established in school districts to the same extent as they are qualified voters pursuant to subdivision three of section twenty hundred twelve of this chapter; that the first trustees shall determine by lot the year in which the term of office of each trustee shall expire and that a new trustee shall be elected or appointed annually to serve for three or five years to be determined by the entity establishing the public library. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subdivision, in any case where a town is a contributor to the support of any such public library in a village located within the town the appointment of trustees of such library who reside outside the village but within such town shall be subject to the approval of the town board of such town. The charter of any public library granted prior to April thirtieth, nineteen hundred twenty-one, which provides for trustees, their terms of office and method of election or appointment in a manner differing from that hereinbefore provided, shall remain in full force and effect until the regents, upon application of the library trustees, shall amend the charter to conform to the provisions of law in effect when such amendment is made.
  3. The trustees of a joint public library authorized to be established by two or more municipalities or districts or any combination thereof shall be appointed or elected by the body authorized by subdivision two of this section to elect or appoint trustees of public libraries authorized to be established by such municipality or district. The number of such trustees to be elected or appointed by each of the participating municipalities or districts shall be determined as provided in subdivision one of this section. The term of office of such trustees shall be three or five years except that the terms of the first trustees shall be so arranged that the terms of as nearly as possible to one-third or one-fifth of the members shall expire annually.
  4. No person who is a member of any municipal council or board authorized by this section to appoint public library trustees in any municipality shall be eligible for the office of such public library trustee in such municipality.
  5. The boards of trustees of public, free association and Indian libraries shall hold regular meetings at least quarterly, and such boards shall fix the day and hour for holding such meetings.
  6. The board of trustees of a library system or a public or free association library chartered by the regents of the state of New York may determine to contribute annually a sum of money to assist the Library Trustees Foundation of New York State in fostering, encouraging and promoting the further development of library activities throughout the state and financing programs in this state which will assist in the dissemination of information leading to the improvement and extension of library services.
  7. The board of trustees of a public library established and supported by a school district shall, in addition to powers conferred by this or any other chapter, be authorized in its discretion to call, give notice of and conduct a special district meeting for the purpose of electing library trustees and of submitting initially a resolution in accordance with the provisions of subdivision one of section two hundred fifty-nine of this chapter. Such meeting shall be held prior to the first day of July but subsequent to the first day of April. Should the board of trustees of the library determine, in its discretion, not to notice and conduct such a meeting, then the election and budget vote will be noticed and conducted by the board of education of the school district as part of its annual meeting.
  8. Candidates for the office of trustee of a public library established and supported by a school district shall be nominated by petition which shall meet the requirements of subdivision a of section two thousand eighteen of this chapter, except that such candidates shall be elected in the manner specified in subdivision b of such section except that the nominating petition filed pursuant to subdivision a or b of such section shall be signed by a least twenty-five qualified voters of the library district, or two percent of the voters who voted in the last previous annual election of members of the library board of trustees, whichever is greater. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply to a charter granted prior to April thirtieth, nineteen hundred seventy-one that provides for a different procedure.
  9. The board of trustees of a public library established and supported by a school district, in addition to any other powers conferred by this chapter, may, in its discretion, call, give notice of and conduct a special district meeting of the qualified voters of the school district for any proper library purpose, including the re-submission of a defeated library appropriation, at a time and place designated by said board of trustees, except as to those purposes set forth in subdivision seven of this section.
  10. The board of trustees of a public library established and supported by a school district, in addition to any other powers conferred in this chapter, shall have the power to determine the necessity for construction of library facilities, to select a library site or sites, to select the architect, and to require that the board of education call, give notice of and conduct a special district meeting in accordance with the provisions of subdivision nine of this section for the purpose of designating and acquiring a site or sites and authorizing the issuance of obligations of the school district for acquisition and construction of library facilities, or either.
  11. Whenever the board of trustees of a public library shall call, give notice of and conduct a special district meeting under subdivision seven or nine of this section, such meeting shall be established, noticed and conducted in the same manner and to the same extent as such meetings were theretofore established, noticed and conducted by the board of education of the school district, the board of trustees of the libraries making all the determinations and taking all action in respect thereto otherwise required of the board of education of the school district, except that the meeting need not, in the discretion of the board of trustees of the library, be held in separate election districts in those school districts where election districts have been established by the board of education. The board of registration shall meet as provided in section two thousand fourteen of this chapter and notice of the meeting shall be given in accordance with the provisions of sections two thousand four and two thousand seven of this chapter. The cost of all such meetings and registrations shall be a charge to the library.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, prior to the discarding of used or surplus books or other such reading materials by trustees of a chartered public, cooperative or free association library which receives over ten thousand dollars in state aid, such trustees shall offer to donate such books or materials to a not-for-profit corporation or political subdivision located within the area of the library system or offer to sell such books or materials to the general public. The trustees shall retain any proceeds received from the sale of such books and materials for the purpose of maintaining and improving library service within the system.