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When tenured educators break the rules, one-third of districts don't seek discipline

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

More than one-third of school districts and BOCES that consider disciplining a tenured employee choose not to file disciplinary charges, according to the results of the latest in a series of periodic surveys conducted by NYSSBA.

Asked why, school officials in these districts said they thought the process was "too expensive" (20 percent) and/or "too cumbersome" (14 percent).

Mineola, Coxsackie-Athens seen on vanguard of digital education

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

At the Mineola Public Schools on Long Island, everyone gets an iPad. Even kindergarteners.

"I have pre-K kids who understand coding," says Diane Nodell, a library specialist at Mineola's Hampton Street School. "We're beginning to start earlier and earlier, they're grasping it so fast. It's never too early to find their passion."

'ESTEAM' makes a difference in Yorktown

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Merri Rosenberg
Special Correspondent

You've heard of STEM and STEAM. How about "ESTEAM"?

In the Yorktown Central School District in Westchester County, the first E stands for Empathy.

It's not such a big stretch, according to Christopher DiPasquale, now in his 13th year as a social studies teacher at Yorktown's Mildred E. Strang Middle School.

"When they're learning the history of the past, of other cultures, they need to be able to relate to people," said DiPasqual

Sharing information about students who are perceived as dangerous

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys

While school safety experts say there is no accurate or useful "profile" of students who engage in targeted school violence, the U.S. Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation have reported these statistics:

  • 95 percent of school shooters are enrolled students.
  • 93 percent engaged in some kind of behavior prior to the attack that caused others to be concerned.
  • 80 percent gave some advance warning to at least one person.

Commissioner rules absentee ballots may only be issued to the applicant

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

Under the Education Law, absentee ballots are required to be made available at every election of school board members and at the vote on the school budget. In Appeal of Campbell, an incumbent up for re-election challenged the outcome of the election based in part upon the absentee balloting process. She argued the district's process disenfranchised over 100 voters and also claimed district resources were used for an improper robo-call.

In order to be issued an absentee ballot a voter must submit an application. As part of the application, a voter must explain his or her inability to vote in person due to illness, physical disability, hospitalization, incarceration (unless incarcerated for a felony), or travel outside the voter's county or city of residence for business, studies or vacation on the day of election.

Verizon data security report instructive for schools

On Board Online • May 7, 2018

By Jessica Goldstein
Deputy Director of Policy Services

The number of data breaches in school systems and higher education has climbed for two years in a row, according to Verizon.

You'll find that sobering news in the telecom giant's annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), which was released in April.

Beloved by many for its breezy writing style and occasional pop culture references, this report is a great way for non-techies to gain insight into the world of data breaches in the American economy, sector by sector. The report provides plenty of food for thought for policymakers.

The class of 2030: Imagining its future

On Board Online • April 23, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

Schools today must prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, and for social issues that can only be imagined. To navigate such uncertainty, school systems are constantly rethinking what students will need to thrive and succeed when they graduate.

Many school districts engage in a strategic planning and visioning process. In a parallel effort, NYSSBA has embarked on a project to help its members further anticipate the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary for students to shape their future. We have set our sights on the year 2030 because the children who entered kindergarten in September 2017 will be the graduating Class of 2030 - both an exhilarating and sobering thought. What will the world be like for these students? What will it take for today's children to be active, responsible and engaged young adults? What can school boards do to help them thrive and shape their world in ways one can only imagine?

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.

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