New Your State School Boards Association

News Releases

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on State of the State/Budget

FOR RELEASE: January 21, 2015

CONTACT: David Albert
(518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221
On Twitter: @nyschoolboards

Governor Cuomo today delivered a broad, sweeping vision for reforming the public education system.

We admire the governor’s willingness to take on such bold initiatives as reforming the cumbersome teacher disciplinary process, repairing the state’s broken teacher and principal evaluation system, and rewarding exemplary teachers.

But state aid to school districts should not be held hostage to education reforms. Without knowing how much state funding they will receive, school boards will not be able to properly develop their budgets and estimate their tax levies.

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2015 tax cap set at 1.62%

On Board Online • January 26, 2015

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

The property tax cap for school districts for 2015 will be 1.62 percent, the state comptroller's office has announced.

The amount is based on the inflation rate on the national Consumer Price Index for 2014. Under the tax cap law, property taxes levied by school districts generally cannot increase by more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. This is known as the 'allowable levy growth factor.' However, the law does allow school districts to levy an additional amount for certain expenditures that are excluded from the cap, such as capital projects. An override of the levy limit is also permitted with at least 60 percent voter approval.

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2015 Legislative Priorities

Letter to Kenneth Wagner

January 5, 2015


Mr. Kenneth Wagner, Deputy Commissioner
Office of Curriculum, Assessment and Educational Technology
New York State Education Department
EBA Room 875, 89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY  12234

Dear Deputy Commissioner Wagner:

Please accept this letter as the New York State School Boards Association’s (NYSSBA) formal submission of comments in opposition to the proposed rulemaking entitled “Field Tests for State Assessments, Alternate Assessments and Regents Examinations” published in the New York State Register dated December 3, 2014.   Such proposed rulemaking would amend sections 100.2, 100.3, and 100.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to require that schools that administer State assessments administer those related field tests as may be prescribed by the Commissioner.   
    
Although NYSSBA has long advocated for the State to fully fund the state assessment program, it opposes stand-alone field tests based on concerns expressed by its members and the parents of the children they serve. Stand-alone field tests increase the amount of time spent on standardized tests in the classroom which negatively affects the ability of educators and local policy makers to ensure appropriate time is spent on classroom instruction. While NYSSBA recognizes that required standardized tests need to be validated, it believes such validation should not be dependent upon stand-alone field tests.  Instead such validation should be accomplished by the insertion of sample questions in existing tests and by producing more versions of the tests.  In this way, each test itself would not be inordinately lengthy, which has also been a subject of great debate in our State.

In addition, NYSSBA takes exception to the characterization that the proposed amendment “does not impose any additional compliance requirements or costs beyond those inherent under applicable State and federal law.”  There has been a long history of field testing in the state.  However, school
district participation in field testing has not been mandated through law or regulation.  Moreover, issues surrounding such participation are not new.  Nonetheless, imposing mandatory participation through regulation appears to have been considered before but was rejected (see, New Sampling Method for Pretesting and Field Testing of Regents Examinations Memorandum from David Abrams to the field dated March 22, 2004 at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/hs/archive/damatrix.pdf).

Furthermore, NYSSBA believes that mandatory stand-alone field testing is inconsistent with Ch. 56, Part AA, Subpart F of the Laws of 2014, in which the Legislature specifically required that the Commissioner “provide guidance and advice to every school district and board of cooperative educational services to reduce and eliminate traditional standardized tests that are not required under state or federal law.”   Stand-alone field tests are not mandated by either state or federal law.  Therefore, instead of reducing or eliminating standardized testing, the proposed rulemaking actually increases mandated standardized testing for students.  The regulatory impact statement accompanying the proposed rulemaking specifically states that there are alternatives to what has been proposed further demonstrating that stand alone field tests are not required under current state or federal law.  Rather, they have been the consequence of “budget constraints” imposed on the State Education Department.    

Finally, notably absent from the regulatory impact statement is what this new mandate means for the students in New York State.  Our members have been receiving considerable feedback from parents regarding their increasingly negative attitude toward standardized testing.  While that perception might seem uninformed, it colors parents’ confidence in public education.  We are not looking for “feel good” solutions, but the impact on students should be at the forefront of any discussion on this topic.

If you have any questions related to this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,




 

Timothy G. Kremer
Executive Director

Daily Clips

Capital New York
Silver's arrest comes at key moment for education policy

Glens Falls Post Star
Schools: State makes demands without providing enough funding

Utica Observer Dispatch
Area educators oppose Cuomo's plans

Here are the top education stories found in today's NYSSBA e-Clips. If you're a NYSSBA member, you can subscribe to e-Clips to receive education news from over 26 newspapers each day.Sign-up TODAY!

Upcoming Events

Webinar - NYSSBA Analysis of the Governor's 2015 Budget
Date: January 27, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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FIS 101: Fiscal Oversight & Essentials of School Board Governance (ONLINE) - Session 1
Date: February 18 - April 1, 2015
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Webinar - Effective Board Meetings
Date: February 18, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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The 2015 Capital Conference
Date: March 15 - 16, 2015
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