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District cautioned to avoid improper retention of surplus funds

On Board Online • April 17, 2017

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

Reserve funds are a mechanism by which school districts may set aside money for certain future expenses pursuant to specified provisions of the education and general municipal laws. A school district may use budgetary appropriations to fund reserve funds or may designate a portion of the unexpended operating funds at the end of a school year to be placed in a reserve.


Commissioner strikes unlawful suspension of teacher from personnel file

On Board Online • April 17, 2017

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

School districts may place tenured employees on paid administrative leave pending an investigation and/or pending disciplinary charges being filed against the employee. But how long is reasonable to keep an employee on such a status? In Appeal of Parker, the petitioner challenged her placement on paid administrative leave for more than a year without disciplinary charges being filed.

During this prolonged time period, the district told teacher Gloria Parker she had to submit to a medical exam before being able to return to work.


Union-Endicott uses vacant elementary school as business incubator and alternative high school

On Board Online • April 17, 2017

By George Basler
Special Correspondent

A year ago Peter Ling was a budding entrepreneur looking for a place to house his expanding internet technology business. Damien Santiago was a disenchanted middle school student with lousy attendance and a sour attitude.

Both have now found a home at Tiger Ventures, a new alternative high school and business incubator started this school year by the Union-Endicott school district in Broome County.


NYSSBA creates School Board Appreciation Week

On Board Online • April 17, 2017

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

To welcome newly elected members and honor the service of sitting board members, NYSSBA plans to hold 12 free receptions throughout the state during the last week in June.

The events will be called "School Board Appreciation Week."

"We want to develop personal relationships with individual school board members, and give them an opportunity to network with each other," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. "While we offer many training events across the state throughout the year, these will be social events."


State budget process inches forward

On Board Online • March 27, 2017

By Julie Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

As New Yorkers have come to expect, March brought an extra hour of sunlight, some late-season snow and, in Albany, the release of the Senate and Assembly budget proposals.

The Senate and Assembly "one- house" bills have long been objects of fascination for observers of the annual budget process. The bills help local budget drafters make educated guesses regarding how much state support will flow to schools.


Retired teacher joins Board of Regents

On Board Online • March 27, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

State lawmakers have elected a retired Ithaca elementary school teacher and longtime local teachers' union leader to succeed retiring Regent James Tallon of Binghamton on the state Board of Regents.

Susan Mittler, 69, said she hopes to bring a new perspective to the board, which does not currently include any Regents with recent elementary or secondary school teaching experience. She was elected at a joint session of both houses of the state Legislature on March 21.


The growing mental health crisis in schools

On Board Online • March 27, 2017

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

What movie had the most impact on you this year? Manchester By the Sea? Moonlight? Fences?

For me, it was Boy Interrupted. It is a wrenching, real-life documentary about a family torn apart by every parent's worst nightmare: the death of a child by suicide.

Made in 2009, the film was recommended to me by experts who will be speaking at NYSSBA's May 20 summit on "Your Role in Addressing the Growing Mental Health Crisis Among Students."


Rosa defends plan to drop literacy exam

On Board Online • March 27, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa says critics of the recent decision to drop a literacy test for teachers don't have all the facts.

"I, personally, find it insulting that people take this issue and run away with it without having the full story," she said of the reaction to the Regents' plan to stop administering the Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST) to prospective teachers.


Reports of the death of cursive are greatly exaggerated

On Board Online • March 27, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

After years of focus on ensuring that students have the keyboard proficiency they'll need to thrive in a digital world, interest in reinvigorating cursive writing instruction is gaining momentum.

The New York City school system recently issued two new handbooks with tips for educators on how to teach handwriting, in general, and cursive writing, in particular. The handbooks are shining a spotlight on time-honored skills that, in many cases, have yielded to the classroom clatter of keyboards and mouse clicks.


Suspicionless drug testing of NYS students can only occur with parental consent

On Board Online • March 27, 2017

By the New York StateAssociation of School Attorneys

Concern about use of opioids and other illegal drugs by students has prompted some school boards to create policies for suspicionless drug testing of students. The resulting programs look for the presence of drugs in students' urine or blood without any individualized reason to believe that the students involved have been using drugs. This article will answer common legal questions about such policies.


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