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On Sunday, New York State Director of the Budget Robert Mujica issued a statement alleging that local officials are not allocating school funds in a manner that is fair and equitable. Our response to Mr. Mujica’s claim is simple: Who do we want to decide local school budgets – state bureaucrats in Albany or local boards of education representing school district residents?
A safe learning environment for every student and staff member is a school board’s highest priority. While in recent days we have seen a number of proposals to keep schools safe, the public is best served when local boards of education, operating within the boundaries of their legal authority, choose what approaches are best for their district. One thing is clear, however: both state and federal lawmakers should earmark additional resources toward maintaining school safety in our local communities.
Nearly two-thirds of school board members responding to a recent online poll favor a Board of Regents proposal to allow students with disabilities to earn local diplomas without passing English language arts and/or math Regents exams as long as their superintendent determines they have otherwise demonstrated proficiency in those subjects, according to the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).
Of the 507 poll respondents, 64 percent are in favor of the proposal, compared with 18 percent who are not in favor and 18 percent who are not sure.
We are encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order today requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who enter into contracts with New York State to adhere to net neutrality principles.
Nearly two-thirds of school board members say school districts should have the option to begin classroom instruction prior to September 1 each school year, according to a recent poll by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).
Of the 471 poll respondents, 65 percent are in favor of allowing school districts to start the school year prior to September 1, compared with 27 percent who are not in favor and about 8 percent who are not sure. Current state law mandates that public schools (with the exception of charter schools) begin instruction no earlier than September 1. The state Board of Regents indicated at its December meeting that it would direct the State Education Department to draft legislation to offer, at local discretion, instructional days in August.
The governor’s budget proposal would constrain the ability of school board members to do the jobs they were elected to do.
The proposed school aid increase is simply inadequate to meet the needs of students – many of whom have special needs that require significant resources. To put school funding needs into perspective, the governor’s proposed $288 million increase in unrestricted foundation aid is about one-fifth of the $1.4 billion increase in foundation aid requested by NYSSBA.
Governor Cuomo's State of the State speech was short on specifics for public education. We anticipate the upcoming legislative session will be dominated by discussions about state budget deficits and tax restructuring. Worth noting is that the governor never mentioned budget cuts. A few of the education items the governor did propose -- such as funding for prekindergarten, mental health services, and after school programs -- have the potential to make a positive impact on students.
The governor's proposed expansion of Early College High Schools could help students get a jump on their college education and save money by earning college credits in advance.
Members of the New York State School Boards (NYSSBA) elected a new president and a slate of board officers to lead the Association effective Jan. 1, 2018.
William Miller of Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES was elected president of the Association’s board of directors and Fred Langstaff of Eastern Suffolk BOCES was elected 1st vice president. Peggy Zugibe of North Rockland was elected 2nd vice president and Thomas Nespeca of Monroe 1 BOCES was elected treasurer. All were elected to one-year terms
John Redman of Goshen was elected to a two-year term as Area 9 Director of the New York State School Boards Association. As Area 9 Director, Redman represents school districts in Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster.
Since 2000, Redman has been on the Florida Union Free School District Board of Education and is now serving his sixth term. He has served as both president and vice president of the board.
Catherine Lewis of Schenectady was elected to a two-year term as Area 7 Director of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). As Area 7 Director, Lewis represents school districts in Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties.
Since 2010, Lewis has served on the Schenectady City School Board of Education.
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