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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.

Cold calls to parents yield results

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Mareesa Nicosia
Special Correspondent

When parent Sarah Hunter got a call from Brian Edmister, elementary school principal in the Genesee Valley Central School District, she assumed it was bad news. "I thought that one of my children was in trouble."

But there were no issues with her first-grader, Finn, or her fourth-grader, Nolan. She had just received one of five phone calls that "Mr. Ed" makes to randomly selected parents every week.

Native American students are focus of new My Brother's Keeper grants

On Board Online • July 2, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Since New York launched its state-funded My Brother's Keeper initiative in 2016, more than $30 million in grant funding has been awarded to support work with African-American and Latino students, primarily in the state's urban school districts.

Now, the State Education Department has awarded its first My Brother's Keeper grants recognizing the needs of another group of students - Native Americans. Nearly $750,000 will fund grants for 11 school districts serving students from tribal nations. Many of the districts are in rural areas.

Opioid deaths, arrests rattle NYS communities

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

In Allegany County's Genesee Valley School District, tragedy struck twice this school year. Two parents of elementary school students overdosed on opioids and died in separate incidents, according to Superintendent Brian Schmitt.

Also this school year, three teenagers from the same county were charged with negligent homicide after allegedly failing to get medical help for an 18-year-old friend who died of a heroin overdose during a car ride to Rochester.

ABC journalist to discuss ethics at NYSSBA's Annual Convention

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

John Quiñones, host of the hidden-camera program "What Would You Do?," will offer a personal perspective on the everyday challenges of recognizing and doing the right thing when he delivers the keynote address at NYSSBA's 99th Annual Convention and Education Expo in New York City.

His speech on Oct. 25 will take place at the New York Hilton Midtown, which is located a short walk from this year's host hotel, the Sheraton New York Times Square. In 2020 and 2021, the Hilton will house all convention and expo events

Five lessons from the budget votes

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

William Miller
NYSSBA President

Another school budget vote has come and gone. What have we learned?

I see five key takeaways:

1. Community support for schools is strong. Voters statewide approved 98 percent of school budgets this year. While no one likes paying taxes - including me! - it is clear that public education is a top priority of voters in New York State.

2. The tax cap undermines democracy by suppressing voter turnout.

Comptroller to conduct school safety audits

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

In a new audit program beginning this month, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli will examine whether school districts have adequate and up-to-date safety plans in the event of a school shooting or major emergency.

The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Act that was signed into law in 2000 requires schools to implement comprehensive safety plans, which include policies and procedures covering such topics as safe evacuation, communication in emergencies, emergency responder access to building plans and school violence prevention training. If a school district fails to comply fully with the SAVE Act, that could hamper communication with first responders and prolong emergencies, according to a news release from DiNapoli's office.

Teachers, coaches can get opioid help guide from state

On Board Online • June 11, 2018

This spring, three state agencies created the New York State Addiction and Substance Use Disorder Educational Resource for teachers, coaches and other school personnel.

The resource, available from the state free of charge, includes:

  • A resource packet to help school districts meet the requirements of modernizing health education instruction by including heroin and opioid content in the curriculum.
  • Presentations, videos, and discussion guides about the opioid and heroin epidemic.
  • A training program approved by the State Education Department (SED) for school personnel toimplement an opioid overdose prevention program and instructions on how to obtain free naloxone.

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