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Districts to tally instructional time in terms of hours, not days

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Under a change approved by the state Board of Regents, schools will be counting instructional time in hours, not days, in the 2018-19 school year.

The change will give districts more flexibility for delivering the required amount of instruction, still within a minimum of 180 school session days. For instance, a district could schedule a half-day of instruction to make up time lost to an early dismissal or snow day.

Districts now able to create charitable funds that would give donors a tax credit

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Julie M. Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

Following up on his commitment to counteract federal changes that limit the deductibility of state and local taxes on federal tax returns, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has worked with the state Legislature to allow the state and local governments, including school districts, to create charitable funds.

If a taxpayer makes a qualified charitable donation to a new state education fund, he or she will be eligible for an 85 percent state income tax credit. The proceeds from the state education fund may only be used for the "provision of elementary and secondary education of the children in the state."

What the state budget's school aid increase means to you

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Brian Fessler
Deputy Director of Governmental Relations

The 2018-19 enacted state budget serves as a continuation of trends when it comes to school aid, in more ways than one. First, despite the state facing a projected $4.4 billion deficit, school aid increased nearly 3.5 percent over the current year. Second, the majority of that school aid increase came in the form of foundation aid, using a one-time formula instead of the statutory foundation aid formula that was enacted in 2007.

NYSSBA and allied advocacy groups were successful in pushing back against a cap on expense-based aids proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which would have begun in 2019-20. Those aids increase by $240 million over 2017-18.

NYSSBA, NSBA oppose Military Education Savings Account Act

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

NYSSBA and the National School Boards Association have joined more than 60 other organizations to oppose federal legislation that would create "education savings accounts" (ESA) for families who live on military installations and Native American lands.

"ESAs are a form of private school vouchers," said Julie M. Marlette, NYSSBA's director of governmental relations. "The proposed Military Education Savings Account Act would hijack money that currently goes directly to school districts that serve families who live on military bases, Native American reservations and other large tax-exempt lands. It is a really hurtful bill that has not been thought out at all."

Even if students work and families save, many won't be able to afford college tuition

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

An "affordability gap" means many students from low- and moderate-income families cannot afford higher education, according to a report by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), a nonprofit dedicated to improving college access for students.

Low-income students are often less apt to complete college than their higher-income counterparts, according to research by the Lumina Foundation.

Student journalism seen as a form of character education

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

At Plaza Elementary School on Long Island, young students are developing a nose for news. And, according to administrators in the Baldwin Public Schools, it's making them better people.

Six years ago the school launched Team ORCHID - it's a complicated acronym integrating such words as outstanding, courageous, helpful and dedicated - traits that the school wants to instill in these students.

Delaware Academy CSD at Delhi partners with SUNY Delhi for CTE programs

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By George Basler
Special Correspondent

Cedar Eagleroad describes himself as a hands-on type of person. That's one reason the 18-year-old Delaware Academy senior is studying automotive technology in high school.

A well-regarded automotive program is available at a regional center run by the Delaware Chenango Madison Otsego BOCES. But that would require a 90-minute roundtrip bus ride.

Legal considerations when seeking to improve school security

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By the New York Association of School Attorneys

In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland Fla., as well as other senseless acts of violence in our nation's schools, communities are demanding that school districts renew their focus on the complex issue of school safety and security, particularly the challenges associated with potential active shooter scenarios.

District-level efforts to address security require a multifaceted approach that involves listening to many different district constituencies and building strong relationships with contractors, local law enforcement and first responders. Any analysis of school security requires a look at, among other things, the district's infrastructure, visitor policies, exit and entrance protocols, technology, security personnel, social, mental and emotional health programs and emergency preparedness.

Commissioner warns district to avoid appearance of partisan impropriety

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

In the weeks leading up to a school budget vote in 2017, principals in a Monroe County school district placed signs saying "Supporting our Public Schools" and "ACT for Education" in front of school buildings, including a high school that served as the district's single polling location.

A social media account associated with the school district said that such signs were available for purchase and provided contact information for the district's public relations coordinator.

Seven ways your district can engage parents

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

By Jason Franchuk
Special Correspondent

An engaged parent makes for a better student. But how can schools get parents to show up for school events?

Sure, serving food helps. So does providing child care.

We picked the brains of superintendents for their favorite engagement methods and heard about everything from "frequent visitor" prizes to encouraging attendance at basketball games.

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