New York State School Boards Association
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Many coronavirus issues loom for districts

On Board Online • March 16, 2020

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

If your school district has to close one or more schools due to the spread of coronavirus in your school community, is your school board prepared to:

  • Educate students remotely (including students with special needs)?
  • Ensure continuity of meal programs for needy children?
  • Crosstrain employees for critical job functions?


Why school costs rose as enrollment dropped

On Board Online • March 16, 2020

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

Public school enrollment in New York State is down, dropping at least 5% in most districts since 2007-08. But spending is up. Why?

The Office of the State Comptroller answers that question in a new report that is sympathetic to the pressures on school boards and school administrators.


Announcement: NYSSBA is freezing your dues

On Board Online • March 16, 2020

Robert S. Schneider
NYSSBA Executive Director

Shortly after I became executive director of NYSSBA this year, school districts got sobering news about the state property tax cap. The state comptroller announced the allowable tax levy growth factor will be just 1.81%.

My background is in finance, and I know what a struggle it is for governance teams to create a budget every year. In the last two budget cycles, school districts have had to rely on more than $2.1 billion from fund balances.


SED may stop classifying students as having 'emotional disturbance'

On Board Online • March 16, 2020

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

State officials are considering revising an old label used for a condition shared by roughly 5 percent of students receiving special education services around New York.

"Emotional disturbance" was the diagnosis specified for nearly 24,000 students in New York schools in 2017, the most recent year for which figures were available from the State Education Department.


A student's view on what boards can do to improve mental health in schools

On Board Online • March 16, 2020

By Maille Bowerman

There's an epidemic in schools, very real to the students, but all too often hidden from parents, teachers and administrators. Depression, anxiety and mental illness affect more than one in five students. That means in your average classroom of 25 students, five or more students consistently have feelings of sadness, inadequacy, and loneliness that interfere with their daily lives.


Value of early college high schools found worth the investment

On Board Online • March 16, 2020

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

If your school district or BOCES has an early college high school, chances are it's giving the community a lot of bang for the buck. Students who attend early college high schools tend to graduate and go on to postsecondary education at higher rates and earn more money than their peers who d


Calls for schools to address anti-Semitism issued by Cuomo, Trump and Congress

On Board Online • February 24, 2020

By Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

Disturbing incidents of anti-Semitism have been on the rise, including a knife attack on celebrants at a rabbi's house in Monsey (Rockland County) during the Hanukkah holiday in December.

Swastikas have been discovered in five school districts in Westchester County - New Rochelle, Pelham, Scarsdale, Pleasantville and Ossining.


State issues coronavirus advisory

On Board Online • February 24, 2020

By Eric D. Randall
Editor-in-Chief

Schools do not to need to take any special precautionary actions regarding the new coronavirus besides encouraging good hygiene such as hand-washing and covering one's mouth when coughing or sneezing, according to a new state advisory sent to school adminstrators.


ZIP codes matter too much

On Board Online • February 24, 2020

Fred Langstaff
NYSSBA President

How do you feel when you get a birthday card in the mail? Or an annual holiday letter? Or a personal note from a faraway relative?

In an era dominated by email, texts and other electronic forms of communication, my wife Debby and I cheer when we discover the occasional old-fashioned letter in our home mailbox. We can spot one of these rare treasures quickly: handwritten address, colorful stamp in the upper right corner and, of course, a ZIP code.


Can schools improve staff diversity without sacrificing fairness and quality?

On Board Online • February 24, 2020

By Julie Davis Lutz
Chief Operating Officer Eastern Suffolk BOCES

The lack of diversity among teachers and other school personnel has been getting more attention in New York State. A draft report presented to the state Board of Regents in November found that 200 of the state's 700 school districts do not employ a single teacher of color. Nationally and statewide, about eight in 10 teachers are white (and predominantly female).

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