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Cuomo proposes $1B increase for education

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By Brian Fessler
Senior Governmental Relations Representative

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes to increase P-12 education spending by $1 billion in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The majority of that, about $760 million, would be distributed as traditional formula-based aid.


Voters warm to district building projects

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The lean years for school construction in New York appear to be over.

After a decade-long slump, architects and construction firms throughout the state have been hiring to tackle an influx of work. And school officials say the timing feels right - from both financial and educational perspectives - to resume investing in their districts' physical infrastructure.

"I think, over a period of a few years, school districts took a step back," said Keith Langlotz, president of the New York State School Facilities Association and director of facilities for the Williamsville district.


Public figures who should know better

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

We've all been reading a lot about Betsy DeVos and Carl Paladino. The former is President Donald J. Trump's nominee for U. S. secretary of education. The latter, a member of the Buffalo school board, made truly appalling comments about then-President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. Paladino is also associated with President Trump; he was state co-chair of Trump's fundraising efforts and served as Trump's designee at an urban schools conference.

NYSSBA is non-partisan. We work with whoever is elected or appointed at the national, state or local level. But we are also a voice for supporters of education in New York State and frequent commentators in the media on various political developments.


All school districts meet state APPR deadline

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Capping a process that came down to the wire, all of the state's school districts managed to negotiate new teacher and principal evaluation plans and see them approved in time to meet a new year's deadline.

Districts needed to begin the year with a state-approved Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan compliant with Education Law section 3012-d or risk not receiving scheduled increases in state aid. An estimated total of $2.5 billion was at stake, including $1.1 billion for 2015-16 and about $1.4 billion for 2016-17, according to Brian Fessler, NYSSBA's senior governmental relations representative.


Judge: DOB must release receivership money

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The governor's budget division has been ordered to release $69 million in funding that was allocated for 20 New York schools deemed to be "persistently struggling."

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Kimberly A. O'Connor found that state Budget Director Robert Mujica had no discretion to withhold receivership funds appropriated by the Legislature and that budget officials had exceeded their authority when they did so last year.


Out-of-state court rulings offer clues on handling Confederate flag displays

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

Recently, in some school districts across the state, students have chosen to display Confederate flags on school grounds. Some students have worn T-shirts emblazoned with the Confederate "Southern Cross," and some have hung large Confederate flags from their vehicles in school parking lots. These displays often trigger complaints from other students and community members who consider the Confederate flag to be a symbol of racial oppression.

In a 2015 poll by CNN, 33 percent of Americans said they considered the flag to be a symbol of racism, while 57 percent said it represented Southern pride.


Tax exemption for senior housing must be determined by trial court

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

In many portions of the state, senior housing complexes offer independent living and residential homes with nursing support, as well as hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. Developers often seek a property tax exemption for these blends of senior housing based upon charitable or hospital use. However, a recent court decision demonstrates that developers may not be entitled to exemptions for all operations. However, a recent court decision demonstrates that developers may not be entitled to exemptions for all operations.


Transportation for religious instruction not permitted under Education Law

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

The commissioner of education recently denied an appeal in which a petitioner claimed a school district must provide transportation to religious instruction locations as part of its transportation to after-school child care locations. In Appeal of M.W., the commissioner held that the provision of Education Law authorizing transportation to child care locations does not include instructional programs, religious or otherwise.

The petitioner filed his appeal after the school district revised its transportation policy for the 2015-16 school year.


Training program helps bus drivers understand LGBTQ students

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

"Think with your heart."

That was the advice that 250 school bus drivers received in recent training session on "Transporting LGBTQ Students."

LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning. The program, being offered statewide, is designed to address the problem of bullying on school buses.


Play a key part of (early) student learning

On Board Online • January 23, 2017

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Decades of child development research show that young children learn best when they can put their hands on things, interact with other children and adults, and move around. While early childhood educators have long valued play, its status has been uncertain in the era of school reform.

One of the criticisms of the Common Core learning standards has been that they are "developmentally inappropriate" because they reflect expectations that very young children can accomplish various cognitive tasks.

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