New York State School Boards Association

On Board Online July 2 2018

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Session ends without resolution on APPR

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Julie M. Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

Despite a concentrated effort to eliminate the mandate to use state test scores in teacher and principal evaluations, the 2018-19 school year begins with no agreement on changes to Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR).

Current law still mandates that state test scores be used in evaluations for teachers teaching test subjects; however, a year is left on a Board of Regents moratorium that temporarily blocks use of state test scores in evaluations. The State Education Department plans to propose an alternative to APPR before the start of the 2019-20 school year.

'An alarming disregard for the safety of others'

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Jay Worona
Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel

Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has upheld a school district's permanent suspension of a student who emailed two terrorist threats to his school. The decision is significant because previous commissioners ruled in other cases that the penalty of permanent suspension would have been an excessive penalty.

In Appeal of D.B. and A.B., the commissioner recognized that school districts must retain their authority to protect students and staff from threats of violence, particularly in light of repeated instances of an "epidemic" of school shootings in the United States.

Effect of Janus may be muted in NYS

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

Eric D. Randall

In a 5-4 ruling on June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public employees can become union members only by affirmatively opting in.

In Janus v. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, the court also said that unions cannot require non-member workers to pay agency fees (normal union dues less the portion covering political activities).

School boards are making the grade

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

The 2017-18 school year wasn't an easy ride for school boards, but NYSSBA members everywhere rose to meet the challenge. Ninety-nine percent of all school district budgets were approved, graduation rates continued to increase and new state learning standards were implemented. Many forms of innovation advanced in career and technical education, early college, P-Tech, personalized learning and project-based learning. Pre-K, after-school and community school programs were all expanded. Parental sentiment, including opt-out decisions, were respected. All the while, school boards consistently demonstrated their commitment to the principles of resource equity, community leadership and success for all students.

Not bad for a bunch of "unpaid volunteers."


Thirteen of 16 budgets pass on revote

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Thirteen of the 16 districts that had their initial budgets defeated on May 15 had the same or revised spending plans approved on the second try on June 19.

In addition, the Eldred Central School District budget passed June 19 on the first try. The district had to halt voting on May 15 due to the severe weather, and all ballots cast were destroyed.

Six things you should know about the 2018 session end

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Julie Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

The 2018 Legislative session ended with anticipation of a deal worked out behind closed doors. Lobbyists, including the NYSSBA Governmental Relations team, camped out in the halls of the Capitol for days on end, waiting for word on the usual "big ugly" - a kitchen sink bill. This would be the last opportunity for groups like NYSSBA to try to get certain things in or out of the bill.

But this year, what seemed inevitable never happened. Legislative leaders gaveled out of the 2018 session with no "big ugly."

Don't know much about slavery

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

What were slave patrols?

A. Armed groups of white men who rode at night to prevent enslaved people from meeting or traveling.

B. Abolitionists who waited by northern railroad stations and docks to help escapees from slavery.

C. Groups of enslaved men posted to protect plantations at night.

Grants help rural district counteract student poverty

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Mareesa Nicosia
Special Correspondent

About 80 miles southwest of Rochester, the Genesee Valley Central School stands just outside the village of Belmont, surrounded by trees, farmland and the rolling hills of Allegany County.

Here, many parents struggle with unemployment; median household income in the district hovers around $40,000. Among the district's 600 students (PK-12), many face daunting circumstances, including absentee parents, substance abuse by relatives, domestic violence or chronic illness in the family.

When property owners challenge assessments, districts can find themselves in Cone of Silence

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

For most school boards, the "tax cap" found in Education Law section 2023-a casts a long shadow over school district budget deliberations. While it is often referred to as a "2 percent cap," the law does not place a specific percentage limit on district spending, nor does it limit allowable percentage increases in property taxes on individual properties. Rather, it places a limit on the growth of the total tax levy that a school board can raise without first obtaining supermajority (60 percent) approval from the voters.

However, attorneys who represent large commercial or industrial property owners are adept at using an appeals process to obtain changes in assessments under the New York State Real Property Tax Law. In many jurisdictions, school districts receive notice of and actively participate in these proceedings for the purpose of protecting their tax base.

Commissioner imposes deadline for districts seeking reimbursement for health services

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Jeffrey Mongelli
Senior Staff Counsel

School districts that wish to commence an appeal to the commissioner of education seeking reimbursement for health services costs for the 2018-19 school year and beyond must do so within 30 days after the conclusion of the school year in which the costs were incurred. That was the conclusion of the commissioner of education in Appeal of the Board of Education of the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park UFSD.

The case involved a school district seeking reimbursement for health and welfare costs incurred on behalf of nonresident students attending a private school located within the school district's geographical boundaries.

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