Opinion 95 - 27


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.

MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- State Aid (submission of claims for adjustments in the amount of State aid paid to a school district attributable to court orders or judgments)

SCHOOL DISTRICTS -- Powers and Duties (submission of claims for adjustments in the amount of State aid paid to a school district attributable to court orders or judgments)

EDUCATION LAW, §3604(5): Commencing January 1, 1996, adjustments in the amount of State aid to education paid to a school district as a result of a court order or judgment will be barred unless the court order or judgment and other required data are filed with the State Comptroller within one year of the date of the order or judgment.

You ask whether the provisions of Education Law, §3604(5)(b), as added by chapter 82 of the Laws of 1995, provide a "grace period" for submission of claims for adjustments in the amount of State aid to education paid to a school district which are attributable to court orders or judgments.

Education Law, §3604(5)(a) provides, in relevant part, that all errors or omissions in the apportionment of State aid to education must be corrected by the Commissioner of Education. Further, whenever a school district has been apportioned less money than that to which it is entitled, the Commissioner may allot to the district the balance to which it is entitled. With certain exceptions, however, the Commissioner may not certify payment to a school district based on a claim submitted later than three years after the close of the school year in which the payment was first to be made.

Prior to the enactment of chapter 82 of the Laws of 1995, Education Law, §3604(5) provided that "no payments shall be barred or reduced where such payment is required as a result of a court order or judgment . . .". Chapter 82 replaced this provision with Education Law, §3604(5)(b) which provides that:

[a]ny payment which would be due as the result of a court order or judgment shall not be barred, provided that, commencing [January 1, 1996], such court order or judgment and any other data required shall be filed with the comptroller within one year from the date of the court order or judgment. (emphasis supplied).

Accordingly, although section 3604(5)(b) does not expressly provide for a "grace period", prior to January 1, 1996, there is no statutory bar to payments resulting from court orders or judgments which are filed with the State Comptroller more than one year after the date of the order or judgment. Starting on January 1, 1996, however, payments which would be due as a result of a court order or judgment will be barred unless the court order or judgment and other required data are filed with the State Comptroller within one year of the date of the order or judgment.

October 17, 1995
Patricia L. McCarthy
Deputy Comptroller