CONSORTIUM OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR
AN EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF STATE AID
The organization shall be known as the CONSORTIUM OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR AN EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF STATE AID. The group will also utilize the acronym REFIT, Reform Educational Financing Inequities Today.
The low wealth-high tax school districts of New York State are united in their common goal to reform the basic inequities in the funding of education. It is the belief of the school districts so united that the method of funding education in New York State is inequitable and unconstitutional and it deprives children in low wealth districts of the opportunity to receive an education equal to those children residing in other districts. Their unity of purpose and the need to address the problems of such districts has brought them together to insure that State funding of education include regional cost differences and receive priority in the State Legislature.
In order to effectuate change, the school districts participating in this consortium shall use all available means and, if necessary, institute legal action in their efforts to obtain equal protection of the law under the provision of Article I, Section 11 of the New York State Constitution.
ARTICLE I – MEMBERSHIP
Membership in the organization is open to school districts that indicate an interest in addressing the problems of high tax-low wealth and that pay the appropriate dues.
Membership criteria is as follows
A district that has a combined wealth ratio of 1.5 or lower shall be eligible for full membership and shall constitute the voting members of the Consortium. Any BOCES with REFIT eligible component districts shall also be eligible for full membership and voting privileges.
ARTICLE II – SCHEDULE OF MEMBERSHIP DUES
The annual dues for membership in the Consortium shall be $600.00. A dues increase shall be proposed by the Board of Directors no later than one (1) month prior to the Annual meeting for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Consortium effective the following September 1st.
ARTICLE III – MEETINGS OF THE CONSORTIUM
A full meeting of the Consortium will be scheduled upon the call of the Board of Directors or upon request of the Board of Directors by a least twenty-five percent (25%) of the member districts. Adequate prior written notice, place, time and the anticipated agenda shall be mailed or electronically transmitted to all member districts. An Annual meeting of the Consortium shall be scheduled during the months of September or October at which time nominations and election of officers and directors along with the adoption of the budget will take place. Written notice to all member districts will be provided thirty (30) days prior to the Annual meeting.
ARTICLE IV – DELEGATES AND VOTES
Each member district may send as many of its administrators, staff and members of the Board of Education, as it chooses to meetings of the Consortium, however, each full member district will have only one vote. Selection of the voting delegate shall be the responsibility of the member district and shall be determined prior to the date of the meeting. Representation by one-third (1/3) of the voting member districts shall constitute a quorum at meetings of the Consortium. The majority of votes received on any matter shall determine passage of resolutions unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws.
ARTICLE V – BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors shall meet to coordinate the efforts of the organization. The Board of Directors shall be composed of up to twenty-one (21) Board of Education members, Superintendents/or their designee, from the member school districts/BOCES, the immediate past president of REFIT, if available, and may also include up to three (3) former REFIT/School Board Members and/or Superintendents who reside in a member district. The Board of Directors may also include as ex officio members any past REFIT presidents who reside in a member district. Meetings shall be scheduled 10 times a year or as required by the President. Six (6) members shall constitute a quorum of the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors shall recommend a budget for adoption every fiscal year. The budget will be approved by a majority vote of the membership at the Annual Meeting.
The Board of Directors shall also be empowered to employ legal counsel to litigate all matters in the interest of the member districts. The Board of Directors shall determine which matters shall be referred to legal counsel for resolution. Counsel shall participate at Board of Directors meetings upon the request of the Board of Directors.
In the event a member of the Board of Directors is unable to fulfill his/her term of office and must resign, the Board of Directors shall be empowered to appoint a replacement director for the remaining portion of the resigned member’s term or until the next Annual election. Additionally, the Board of Directors shall have the power to appoint such staff as deemed necessary to support the work of the Consortium with appropriate job descriptions and titles developed for each and liaison representatives to state and regional associations and organizations.
The Board of Directors and all committees, subcommittees or special committees shall be authorized to meet and act by telephone conference or other electronic communications methods so long as all the members can simultaneously hear each other and participate during the meeting. All communications required by these bylaws, including meeting notices, may be sent electronically unless otherwise specified in these bylaws.
ARTICLE VI - OFFICERS
The President shall be responsible for calling all meetings of the Board of Directors and setting the Agenda. The President shall preside at all meetings. The President or the Treasurer shall sign all checks for the organization.
1st VICE PRESIDENT:
The 1st Vice President shall be available to the President for any matter delegated by such officer and shall preside at meetings in the absence of the President.
2nd VICE PRESIDENT:
The 2nd Vice President shall assist the President and 1st Vice President in the coordination of all details. In the absence of the President and 1st Vice President, the 2nd Vice President shall preside at meetings.
The Secretary/Treasurer of the organization shall be responsible to ensure the recording all minutes of meetings, the dissemination of all information to member districts in the consortium and maintain a file of all correspondence, mailing lists, lists of members, low-wealth high-tax districts and state legislators. The Secretary/Treasurer shall have oversight of the receipt and deposit of all funds. The Secretary/Treasurer or the President shall sign all checks for the organization. He/she shall make a report at each Board of Directors meeting of all receipts and disbursements and maintain an up-to-date membership list. The Secretary/Treasurer shall: Send the Notice of Meetings to the membership; Notice of meetings to the Board of Directors. All transactions shall require the authorization of the President.
ARTICLE VII – SUB COMMITTEES
The following standing committees shall be designated by the President of the Consortium: Legislative Committee; Nominating Committee; Goals Committee; Budget Committee; Audit Committee. The Chairpersons of these committees will report at the Board of Directors meetings as necessary. The President of the Consortium shall establish special committees as appropriate. At least one member of the Board of Directors will serve on each committee.
ARTICLE VIII – FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year of the Consortium shall be from July 1 to June 30.
ARTICLE IX – BUDGET OF THE ORGANIZATION
The Budget Committee shall prepare a budget for submission to the Board of Directors. Each year the Board of Directors shall present its proposed budget, including the membership dues, to the member districts thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Meeting. The budget shall be approved by a majority of the voting members attending said meeting. The Board of Directors shall be empowered to adopt an interim budget to maintain operations from July 1 until the budget is approved at its Annual Meeting.
ARTICLE X – NOMINATIONS AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
The Nominating Committee shall consist of three (3) members of the Board of Directors to be appointed by the President at least two (2) months prior to the annual meeting. The Nominating Committee shall provide a written report to all member districts thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Meeting. The Nominating Committee shall also report the slate to the Board of Directors at a meeting of the board prior to sending the written report to member districts.
Officers and Directors shall be elected annually for a one year term at the Annual Meeting. No individual shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive years in the same office.
ARTICLE XI – AMENDMENTS AND SUSPENSION
These bylaws must be reviewed no less than every three (3) years. These bylaws may be amended at the Annual Meeting of the Consortium by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those member district present and voting. A copy of the proposed amendment(s) should be sent to each member district at least thirty (30) days before the annual meeting.
Suspension of provisions of these Bylaws may be made at a meeting of the Consortium or by the Board of Directors for the good of the order and require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the voting members present.
ARTICLE XII – PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE
At all meetings of the Consortium, Board of Directors or any of its subcommittee meetings shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.
Approved as Amended: October 17, 2018