New York State School Boards Association

On Board Online December 19 2016

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Regents, NYSSBA release similar 2017-18 school aid proposals

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By Brian Fessler
Senior Governmental Relations Representative

The Board of Regents is asking for a $2.1 billion increase in state support for school districts in 2017-18. The Regents' proposal, which was approved Dec. 12, was similar to a $2 billion proposal that NYSSBA delivered to the governor and other state policymakers earlier this month.

Headlining the Regents proposal was a $1.47 billion increase in foundation aid as part of a plan to fully fund the formula over three years. Similarly, NYSSBA has called for a $1.4 billion increase in foundation aid in the first year of a three-year phase-in.

Regents approve new standards for science in grades P-12

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The Board of Regents this month approved the first update to the state's science learning standards since 1996, capping a five-year process that is expected to reinforce the value of hands-on learning and up-close observation of natural scientific phenomena.

"These standards reflect how students today learn science," said Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

Top education stories of 2016

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

Susan Bergtraum
NYSSBA President

In December, it is not unusual to reflect on the past 12 months. In public education, 2016 saw a number of events that will resonate well into the future. Here are my top 10:

10.RIP to the GEA. Reversing policy dating back to 2009 of the state subtracting funding from school districts' aid totals, the enacted state budget included a full elimination of the dreaded GEA, or Gap Elimination Adjustment.

9. New Regents chancellor.The Board of Regents elected Betty Rosa as the board's chancellor. She has different views than former Chancellor Merryl Tisch on educational standards, educator evaluations and state testing.In what direction will the Regents take us in 2017?


SED sees progress in most 'struggling' schools

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

A majority of 62 schools tagged as "struggling" made good headway in their first year under New York's receivership law, the State Education Department announced.

The schools are allotted two years to meet benchmarks for "demonstrable improvement" or be placed under oversight by state-appointed independent receivers under the law, which was passed early in 2015.

Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia described the progress shown in the schools' first-year reports as encouraging.

Black teachers report feeling overworked and underappreciated

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

Amid concern about teacher retention, a new report by the Education Trust sheds light on the perspectives of black teachers.

Seven percent of teachers are black, and they leave the profession at a higher rate than their white counterparts, according to multiple studies.

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway but Capital Region BOCES sees theater jobs upstate, too

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Not everyone drawn to the stage is drawn to the spotlight, and not every career in theater demands a flair for the dramatic.

As students who participated in Capital Region BOCES' new Broadway Tech career exploration program learned this fall, there's plenty of room in the theater world for folks with a flair for carpentry or electrical trades - or even accounting.

Commissioner rules on discipline of students over lewd photos

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By Jay Worona
Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel

If students use the Internet at home to share photos or videos depicting nudity or sexual activity among their peers, is this enough to warrant discipline in school? The answer depends on whether the students took actions that disrupted the school learning environment. In two cases recently decided by the commissioner of education, the parameters of a school district authority to discipline students for such off-campus conduct was given greater clarity.

Commissioner clarifies authority to require medical examinations of school employees

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By Jay Worona
Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel

School boards in New York State may require any employee to submit to a medical or psychiatric exam to determine the individual's physical and/or mental fitness for duty. The commissioner of education recently considered a case in which a school principal claimed that such a requirement would violate her privacy rights.

In Appeal of P.P. from Action of the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of Auburn, the commissioner upheld the district's actions and dismissed the principal's appeal.

After testing water for lead, follow-up steps are critical

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

After extraordinarily high levels of lead were found in water samples from Flint, Michigan in 2015, the city became the focus of national inquiry and spurred renewed attention on water quality. In September 2016, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill (A.10740/S.8158) designed to remediate lead contamination in public school settings.

The law technically took effect on Dec. 5, 2016, but the Department of Health was authorized to promulgate regulations prior to the effective date. Many school districts began testing and remediation immediately. After all, student health was at stake.

Our answers to your policy questions

On Board Online • December 19, 2016

By Courtney Sanik
Senior Policy Consultant

Each year, NYSSBA's policy services answers about 1,200 questions and requests from member school districts. Here are some of the more common ones we answered in 2016:

Does our school board need to adopt "regulations"?

Regulations are administrative and do not need to be endorsed or adopted by the school board. To do so can create confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of the board and the superintendent.

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