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Teachers see Holocaust education as orientation to civic responsibility

On Board Online • July 23, 2018

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

and

Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

The philosopher George Santayana famously said that those who do not remember the past "are condemned to repeat it." Let's hope that's not always true, because here's a sobering statistic: 22 percent of Millenials haven't heard of the Holocaust.

Asked what Auschwitz was, 66 percent of Millenials and 41 percent of all U.S. adults could not identify it as a concentration camp, according to the 2018 Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Study.


What the Janus decision means to your school district

On Board Online • July 23, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

In one of its most important labor law decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court declared on June 27 that mandatory payment of "agency fees" to public sector unions is unconstitutional. In Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, the court ruled that it is a violation of the First Amendment for a public employee who is a non-union member to be required to financially support the union that negotiates with his or her employer.

An "agency fee" is often referred to as a "service fee" and is roughly equal to regular union dues less any reduction of monies attributable to union political activity.


Questions and answers on payroll deductions for union dues in light of the Janus decision

On Board Online • July 23, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

State law requires school districts and other employers to make payroll deductions for union dues and agency fees (union dues minus the cost of lobbying or other political representation). This obligation will be significantly affected by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 and its interplay with New York State's "Taylor Law."

Under Janus, agency fees are no longer compulsory for non-union members who fall within the parameters of a bargaining unit, but may continue to be paid on a voluntary basis upon affirmative consent by the employee.


Advocacy Update: New York State Building Transparency Forms and Guidance

July 20th, 2018

Last week, the NYS Division of the Budget (DOB) released the form and guidance on the new requirement for districts to report annually on building level, per pupil budget allocations, based on a requirement in the 2018 enacted state budget. NYSSBA sent an Advocacy Alert to members later that same day summarizing the materials released by DOB.

DOB is soliciting questions on the form and guidance until July 25, 2018, and will use the questions to produce a "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) document by August 8, 2018. Districts that are subject to the requirement in year one will have until August 31, 2018 to submit their forms.


Advocacy Update: Federal Budget Update

July 18, 2018

This week, the full House Appropriations Committee voted on recommendations regarding Fiscal Year 2019 funding for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. Those recommendations included the restoration of $47 million in funding for Safe Schools and Citizenship Education for a total funding level of $90 million. In addition, the Committee noted that Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAE) grants (authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act) could be used for "School Safety Measures" including, but not limited to, bullet resistant doors and glass with hinge-locking mechanisms, immediate notification systems and other hardening measures.


Division of the Budget Releases Building Level Budget Allocation Form

July 11, 2018

Earlier today, the NYS Division of the Budget released the form and guidance on the new requirement for districts to report annually on building level, per pupil budget allocations, based on a requirement in the 2018 enacted state budget. Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, this requirement will affect any school district with at least four schools that receives 50 percent of it's total revenue through state aid.

There are 76 districts impacted in 2018 and they will have until July 25, 2018  to submit questions to the Division of the Budget for possible inclusion in a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document. Year one districts will have until August 31, 2018 to submit their form. All districts who receive Foundation Aid will be required to comply beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.


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
Editor-in-Chief

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."

 


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