Advocacy Alert
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Advocacy Alert: 2017 Legislative Wrap Up

June 27, 2017

Earlier today, the NYSSBA Governmental Relations team conducted a webinar discussing the end of the 2017 legislative session and how your school district could be impacted.

We discussed what bills state lawmakers passed, what bills they did not, and what business was left unfinished.

Advocacy Alert: 2017 Session Ends Without Deal on NYC Mayoral Control

Last night just before midnight, both houses of the legislature adjourned and released their members. Unfortunately, this was before a deal could be agreed to on an extension of mayoral control over the New York City school system. This provision of law expires at the end of the month. At this time it is unclear if or when legislators will return to address this issue.

While negotiations on this issue were ongoing, many issues of importance to school districts were taken up by one or both houses.

Advocacy Update: End of the Legislative Session Approaches

June 19, 2017

Legislators appear to be on track to end the legislative session this week as scheduled.  At this time, a number of NYSSBA priorities are still pending, and NYSSBA governmental relations staff is also working to block new mandates and amend proposals that would be harmful to districts.

As we enter the final week of the legislative session some key issues are still in play. Some of those proposals saw movement last week, including:

Call to Action: Reform BOCES District Superintendent Compensation

June 14, 2017

Legislation that seeks to update the current cap on salaries for BOCES district superintendents is pending in both houses of the state legislature. Current law caps the salary of BOCES district superintendents at 98 percent of the commissioner of education's 2003-04 salary or 106% of the salary cap applicable in the previous school year, whichever is less. This legislation would update the cap to reflect the commissioner of education's 2017-18 salary.

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Call to Action: Protect Medicaid Funding in Schools

June 13, 2017

As the U.S. Senate moves forward with considering its version of healthcare reform legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," the NYSSBA, in partnership with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) urges local school board members to contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to oppose legislation or provisions that place arbitrary caps on how much Medicaid funding a child receives.

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Call to Action: Equitable Treatment of BOCES Capital Costs

June 12, 2017

Last week several NYSSBA priority bills moved through the Assembly Education Committee, including legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Terrence Murphy (A.5965/S.4283) which would exclude school districts' BOCES capital costs from the tax cap. Currently, a school district's own capital costs are excluded from the cap. This bill, and several other NYSSBA priorities, are now referred to the Assembly Ways and Means committee and await a vote by the full Senate. Take Action Now

Call to Action: Establish TRS Reserve Fund

June 8, 2017

Legislation that would authorize school districts and BOCES to create and fund a Teachers Retirement System reserve fund moved through the Assembly Education Committee this week. This bill is on the Senate Calendar but has not been scheduled for a vote.

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Advocacy Alert: Administration Releases 2018 Federal Budget Request

June 2, 2017

The Trump administration recently released its formal budget request to Congress. As foreshadowed, the proposal includes a number of cost shifts and program eliminations that would be damaging to public education. Some of the key proposals are:

  • Shifting $1 billion Title I (including the $334 million in new proposed Title I dollars) to a newly created FOCUS grant program that would direct funding to LEAs with open enrollment policies that allow for public school choice.
  • $250 million in additional funding to establish competitive grants for applicants to provide scholarships for low income students to attend nonpublic schools.
  • $267 million in new funding for expansion and replication of charter schools and charter school facilities.
  • Flat funding for IDEA at $11.9 billion. If enacted, this flat appropriation would actually result in a reduction in available per-pupil funding of approximately $35 per student, based on the anticipated increase in students receiving services in 2018.
  • Reduction of CTE Education grants of $166 million (15%).
  • Elimination of the $68 million in Impact Aid for federal properties payments to school districts, $1.165 billion in 21st Century Learning Centers, $400 million Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants (Title IV) and $2.3 billion in Supporting Effective Instruction State grants (Title II, professional development).

Advocacy Update NYSED Releases Draft State ESSA Plan

May 10, 2017

On Monday, the State Education Department released a draft of the State's ESSA plan, which will shape the new accountability system in the state. A draft of the full plan and a summary are included below. This draft plan is now out for public comment. The department will be holding a series of public hearings across the state to maximize public engagement. Speakers will be allowed to testify on a first come, first served basis, for a maximum of 3 minutes. Written comments can also be submitted. It is critical that board member voices be heard throughout this process. NYSSBA urges you to participate in your regional hearing, to discuss how the draft plan may impact your district. To assist with that participation, and because the draft plan is lengthy, we have identified some key provisions of the draft plan that you may wish to address in your comments.

Advocacy Update: Congress Passes Appropriations for the Remainder of FY 2017

May 5, 2017

Earlier this week, the House and the Senate each passed a consolidated appropriations bill, H.R.244, funding federal programs, including public education, thorough the end of the federal fiscal year (September 30, 2017).

Despite an overall cut of $1.1 billion to  Department of Education programs, most major K-12 programs saw increases over FY 2016, despite concerns that the President's "skinny budget" cuts could be addressed in the 2017 spending plan. Cuts were instead concentrated in higher education programs. The bill included:

  • $15.5 billion ($550 million increase) in Title I grants to Local Education Agencies
  • $400 million  in  funding for the new Title IV block grant to support well rounded education programs, supportive learning environments and the use of technology 
    • This funding represents a $122 million increase over the grant streams consolidated to establish the block grant
  • $12 billion ($90 million increase) in grants to states under IDEA part B
  • $1.33 billion ($23 million increase) in Impact Aid
  • $1.2 billion ($25 million increase)  for 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • $77 million ($7.7 million increase)  for  Education for Homeless Youth
  • $342 million ($9 million increase) in funding for charter schools.

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