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SED to give districts 4 years to improve opt-out rates

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The State Education Department (SED) plans to create a four-stage system for working with schools and districts with high test refusal rates to improve participation, according to SED Associate Commissioner Ira Schwartz.

The first stage will require a self-assessment from schools to determine why refusals are high and what steps can be taken to improve. The second stage will bump the process up to the district level for assistance in year two.


What does 'equitable funding' mean to you?

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

For many years, NYSSBA and other education advocates have called for "equitable funding" for schools. We have used this phrase to call for a distribution method of state education aid based on the cost of providing a sound basic education, taking into account regional cost differences, pupil needs and local resources.

The U.S. Congress is also interested in equity in school funding. In the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it created a new requirement that states gather data on what school districts spend per pupil at the school building level.

And now Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for state oversight on how some districts spend money at the building level.

 


Why Cuomo's proposed 3% aid boost wouldn't be that for most districts

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Brian Fessler
Deputy Director of Governmental Relations

The initial media coverage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's eighth executive budget proposal touted a proposed 3 percent increase in education spending. That percentage exceeded the self-imposed state spending growth cap of 2 percent and is double what would have been allowed under a state benchmark called the personal income growth metric.

However, if your school district is one of the approximately 175 across the state slated for an operating aid increase of only 0.25 percent, the governor's plan to improve educational investments probably is of little comfort.


School officials wary of Cuomo's plan for state to check school-level funding

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he wants to ensure that local school districts are distributing funding fairly among individual school buildings.

"Trickle-down economics doesn't work, nor does trickle-down education funding," the governor declared in his State of the State address on Jan. 3. "Local districts must give more funding to their poorer schools, period. That's only right, and that's only fair."


Harassment, diversity among governor's policy initiatives

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Julie Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

One might assume that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's annual executive budget proposals are mostly numbers. But recent budgets have included plenty of policy language.

This year is no exception; appropriations bills were accompanied by several thousand pages of text. Some of the language was needed to implement spending plans and distribute the money while other portions had nothing to do with money.


Today's teens love dystopian novels about fighting authoritarian gov'ts

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

What are teenagers reading for fun these days? Novels in which young people struggle against oppressive governments.

As any high school librarian will tell you, teens like novels about dystopias, which are nightmare societies in which individuals are oppressed. Perhaps the best known example is Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series, in which a teenage character named Katniss Everdeen grows into a symbol of rebellion against a central government.


The Rodney Dangerfields of NYS education finally get some respect

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

If you serve on a school board or work in a school district in New York State, you're familiar with the state's 37 BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services). But how much do you know about their cousins, the RICs (Regional Information Centers)?

The state's 12 RICs are teams of experts in technology - an increasingly important part of every school's operations and instruction. They operate as divisions of BOCES with expanded service footprints. Like BOCES, their mission is to provide services and personnel to support school districts.


New York's highest court upholds three teacher termination sanctions

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Jeffrey Mongelli
Senior Staff Counsel

The New York Court of Appeals has determined that a lower state appellate court exceeded its authority when it determined that termination was not an appropriate penalty in three separate teacher discipline cases.

The reversal invoked a judicial standard that courts generally must uphold penalties imposed as part of an administrative disciplinary process. An exception applies if the penalty "shocks one's conscience." This is called the Pell standard.


Six things you should know about New York's ESSA plan

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

MaryEllen Elia
Commissioner of Education

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education approved New York's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan. The plan reflects more than a year of collaboration with a comprehensive group of stakeholders, including valuable input from school board members and NYSSBA.

Approval of our plan ensures that New York will continue to receive approximately $1.6 billion annually in funding from the federal government to support elementary and secondary education in New York state schools.


Student-designed software package tracks community service hours

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

Rob Jacoby was frustrated keeping track of student paperwork in his role as adviser to the National Honor Society at Alexander Hamilton High School in Elmsford Union Free School District.

"It was nuts how much paperwork I was doing for an extracurricular activity," he said.

So when the Westchester County district switched to software that allows students to log their own community service hours, Jacoby was pleased.


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