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STATE BUDGET UPDATE – ACT NOW

March 25, 2015

BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

The latest reports from state budget negotiations indicate that a proposal may be under consideration that would appoint a panel to restructure APPR – and report their findings back to the legislature by June 1.

ACTION – Call your legislators and the Governor’s office

  • Assembly Operator 518-455-4100
  • Senate Operator 518-455-2800
  • Executive Chamber 518-474-8390


Freeport Union Free School Board Member Ronald J. Ellerbe Honored as NYSSBA Advocate of the Year

FOR RELEASE: March 20, 2015

CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 (desk) or (518) 527-6933 (cell)

Ronald J. Ellerbe of the Freeport Union Free School Board has been named Advocate of the Year by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) for his service and dedication to public education. The award was presented to Ellerbe at the Association’s Capital Conference in Albany on March 14.

“Ron is the embodiment of school board service and advocacy,” said Timothy Kremer, NYSSBA executive director. “Ron consistently meets with his local lawmakers and is always providing information to NYSSBA to help with statewide advocacy efforts.”


Pelham Board of Education Trustee Madeline Smith Honored as NYSSBA Advocate of the Year

FOR RELEASE: March 20, 2015

CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 (desk) or (518) 527-6933 (cell)

The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) named Madeline Smith of the Pelham Union Free School District Board of Education this year’s Advocate of the Year for her service and dedication to public education. The award was presented to Smith at the Association’s Capital Conference in Albany on March 14.

“Madeline continues to raise the bar for her volunteerism on the Pelham Union Free School District Board of Education,” said Timothy G.  Kremer, NYSSBA’s executive director. “Her ability to rally parents to send hundreds of letters to New York State legislators to protect student privacy has made a difference for her community.”

 


Seneca Falls Board of Education Honored as NYSSBA’s School Board Advocate of the Year

FOR RELEASE: March 20, 2015

CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 (desk) or (518) 527-6933 (cell)

The Seneca Falls Central School District Board of Education has been named School Board Advocate of the Year by the New York State School Boards Association for its outstanding leadership, focus and effort in public education advocacy. The award was presented to the board at the Association’s Capital Conference in Albany on March 14.

The Seneca Falls Central School District Board of Education is involved in many local advocacy initiatives. Board members meet with representatives of the state Assembly, Senate and governor’s office on a regular basis to discuss ways to improve the quality of education for students.

 


SENATE RELEASES ONE HOUSE BUDGET PROPOSAL - ADVOCACY ALERT

March 12, 2015

Today the New York State Senate released their one house budget bills. These bills stake out the negotiating position for their house as budget conference committees begin. Formal negotiations are slated to begin as early as next week.

Links to:

  • Senate 2015 Budget Proposal
  • NYSSBA Legislative Priorities
  • 2015 Capital Conference – Registration
  • Joint Budget Schedule


Cuomo uses 'failing' schools label to push receivership takeover model

On Board Online • March 16, 2015

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Don't tell Jamika Holmes she is "trapped" in a "failing school."

"This is not a failing school," she declared when Principal Ed DeChent told her recently that their Yonkers school had landed on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's list of failing schools, released in a report on Feb. 27.

"I feel insulted," Holmes, a junior at Roosevelt High School, later told On Board. "I don't see anything about my school that's failing. My school is beyond a success."

In recent weeks, Gov. Cuomo, charter school advocates and others have used the "F" word like a mantra in speeches and statements. They have sought to redefine as "failing" more than 170 schools identified by the State Education Department as "priority" schools because of low test scores.


Budget battle brewing

On Board Online • March 16, 2015

A state Assembly bill details a $1.8 billion aid increase for education in 2014-15, about $700 million more than Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed. It would increase foundation aid by $1 billion and reduce the gap elimination adjustment by $456 million. A Senate bill did not include distribution language, but Senate leaders said in a news release that they intend to spend $1.9 billion.

While the Senate included extensive policy initiatives in a set of bills, including many consistent with Cuomo's proposals, the Assembly omitted the governor's reforms. Speaker Carl Heastie said the budget should not be a policy document.


An educational Odd Couple

On Board Online • March 16, 2015

By Lynne L. Lenhardt
NYSSBA President

The 1970's sitcom "The Odd Couple" chronicles the misadventures of two polar opposites, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, who shared an apartment in New York City. Both were divorced, but the similarities ended there. Unger was obsessively neat, while Madison was a perpetual slob.

I was reminded of that sitcom, which has been revived on CBS, when I received a mailing for a local charter school.

Charter schools and so-called "traditional" public schools are public education's version of The Odd Couple. We can't seem to get along, but we're forced via circumstances to live together.

Since New York's charter school law was passed in 1998, the charter schools era has been marked by a not-so-congenial relationship between charters and public school districts. Central to the controversy has been the concept that money should follow the student, resulting in payments from districts to charters, even when enrollment figures or residency are in dispute.


New Regents appointed by Legislature

On Board Online • March 16, 2015

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The state Board of Regents received it's most extensive makeover in recent memory with the election of three incumbents and four newcomers by the state Legislature.

Stormy politics surrounding the rollout of Common Core standards, teacher evaluations and other education issues appear to have prompted lawmakers to make a visible change on the board.

The four new members will shift the gender balance of the 17-member board, giving women a nine-member majority. With the new members, the board also adds two African-Americans and the first Asian-American Regent.

Two veteran Regents, James Dawson of Peru and Robert Bennett of Tonawanda, were replaced.


College Board: Hands off our instructional days!

On Board Online • March 16, 2015

By Jay Matuk

With only an average of 180 instructional days available to schools in New York State, it is a challenge for principals like me to ensure that maximum classroom time is devoted to instruction. Building and district leaders are constantly confronting external demands that compromise class time.

A recent case in point: I just received a piece of correspondence from the College Board about changes in PSAT test dates. This year, testing periods will be during the school day and will not include the traditional Saturday morning testing time. This will affect thousands of schools that voluntarily serve as testing centers across the nation.

School administrators object because the PSAT will take away three hours of instructional time from many 10th- and 11th-graders on two Wednesdays, Oct. 14 and Oct. 28. Due to issues of available testing space, schools that serve as testing sites will also have to choose between modifying the length of the school day or closing entirely to accommodate testing.

The College Board plans to return to having three test days, including a Saturday, in 2016. This year is different because The College Board is rolling out a redesigned PSAT and, according to reports, didn't have time or resources to provide a third October testing date.

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