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Tax levy growth for 2018-19 capped at 2 percent

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

The allowable tax levy growth factor for school districts will be capped at 2 percent for the 2018-19 fiscal year, according to State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli.

This year's levy growth factor of 2 percent is a significant increase over last year's figure, which was 1.26 percent.


In State of State, Andrew sounded like Mario

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

As he prepares to run for a third term this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered a State of the State message on Jan. 3 that was short on barbs for public education, which he criticized in prior years as a "monopoly" plagued by "failing" schools.

His 90-minute speech was laced with harsh words for the Trump Administration and came amid speculation that he is eyeing a presidential bid in 2020. He described his vision for the upcoming year as "probably the most challenging agenda that I have ever put forth."

It was Cuomo's eighth State of the State message, and it marked his third since his father, three-term governor Mario Cuomo, died on Jan. 1, 2015.


Cuomo vetoes multiple NYSSBA-supported bills

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By Julie Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

NYSSBA's 2017 legislative efforts resulted in passage of a number of bills that addressed issues of importance to school district leaders. But on Dec. 18, 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed several NYSSBA-supported bills.

"These vetoes are really disappointing, especially considering that many of the bills had wide bipartisan support in the Legislature," said NYSSBA President William Miller.

One bill - S.4283 (Murphy)/A.5965 (Galef) - would have made a technical adjustment to the state property tax cap to remove a disincentive for school districts to invest in updating and expanding BOCES facilities.


Want to keep taxes down? Increase state aid

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

If Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers want to keep property taxes low, there is one surefire way to help do that: increase state aid.

A new NYSSBA analysis finds a relatively strong correlation between overall state aid allocations to school districts and the size of their property tax levies. In general, when districts get higher levels of state aid than the year before, the less they need to raise their property taxes.

That correlation doesn't hold true in every school district, but it does for more than half of them. The analysis found that 54 percent of school districts exhibited at least a small association between higher yearly state aid increases and slower growth in their tax levies.


NYS superintendents start a conversation about diversity, equity in schools

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By David Kraus
Special Correspondent

Lack of racial and ethnic diversity among educators in New York State is a problem that must and can be solved.

That was a key theme at a symposium hosted by the New York State Council of School Superintendents (the Council) on Dec. 8. The day-long gathering was co-sponsored by NYSSBA.

The event drew more than 130 superintendents, assistant superintendents, school board members and other educators to Saratoga Springs to learn about issues involving equity. Equity is the idea that treating all students the same does not achieve fairness; rather, students from different backgrounds may need different kinds of support in order to reach their potential.


Hope remains for 'Dreamers' despite Trump action on DACA

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

On Sept. 4, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions announced the Trump administration's intent to end a program begun five years earlier by President Obama called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The change will affect 800,000 undocumented aliens, including about 42,000 New York State residents.

Often referred to as Dreamers, DACA program participants are young people (currently 35 or younger) who were brought to the United States as children. After passing criminal background checks, they were afforded prosecutorial discretion to avoid deportation by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its immigration enforcement efforts. Notably, the program did not confer any substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship to its beneficiaries.


Commissioner upholds transfer of teachers by superintendent-receiver

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

The commissioner of education recently issued a decision interpreting the authority of a superintendent-receiver to supersede actions of a board of education.

In Appeal of Williams, a school superintendent who is also the superintendent-receiver for the district's struggling middle school challenged a board resolution that imposed a moratorium on involuntary teacher transfers, the district's policy on teacher transfers as well as other board directives regarding transfers.


Safe and supportive environment is goal in Schenectady's 'trauma-sensitive' schools

On Board Online • January 22, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

It's shortly after lunch at Hamilton Elementary School in Schenectady, and Ashleigh Caster's students are stretched out on the floor of her second-grade classroom, eyes closed.

A recording of a woman's voice leads them through a soothing meditation: "Take a breath in through your nose ... Feel how your tummy gets like a big balloon ... Imagine you are lying on the grass in a beautiful park ... a very friendly butterfly comes to say 'hi' ."

Next, it's time for a lively round of rhythmic movement set to some silly lyrics - "Banana, banana, meatball!" - before turning to the first lesson of the afternoon.


Advocacy Alert: Governor Releases 2018-19 Executive Budget

January 16, 2018

Earlier today, Governor Cuomo released his proposed 2018-19 state budget. The Executive proposes a $769 increase in education funding. This is a 3% increase in education spending. The allowable growth under his self-imposed link to personal income growth would have been half that at 1.5%

$769 increase in education (3%)

  • $338 million increase in Foundation Aid (with $50 million increase in Community School set-aside)
    • $288 million unrestricted
    • Total foundation aid set aside for Community Schools would now be $200 million
    • NYSSBA asked for $1.5 billion in Foundation Aid
  • $317 million for Expense-based Aids
  • $64 million for an unspecified Fiscal Stabilization Fund
  • $15 million in additional funding for 3 and 4 year old prekindergarten funding
  • $10 million  in additional funding for after school programs
  • $9 million for expansion of Early College High Schools
  • $6 million for the Smart Start program to support computer science and engineering
  • $5 million for Breakfast After Bell to provide breakfast to students in higher need school districts after the first bell rings
  • $2.5 million to expand access to Advanced Placement exams
  • $2.5 million in other initiatives including but not limited to:
  • $250,000 for mental health and trauma support in schools
    • $1.5 million for gang prevention (over 3 years)
    • Conversion aid for full day kindergarten


Advocacy Alert: Executive School Aid Runs Available

January 16, 2018

The Division of the Budget has released the school aid runs that support the Executive's 2018-19 budget proposal. District by district information can be accessed below.


NYSSBA Budget Webinar

Join NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team to get the details on the Executive budget next Tuesday, January 23rd at noon.


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