New York State School Boards Association

On Board Online February 4 2019

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New school ratings prompt mixed reactions

On Board Online • February 4, 2019

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

"We have no interest in 'naming and shaming' schools and districts," Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said when she released new school accountability ratings calculated under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on Jan. 17.

Now, school leaders across the state are scrutinizing their designations and, in some cases, trying not to feel named or shamed. Often, they just want to understand what triggered a given designation.

Consider Rockville Centre, a high-achieving district on Long Island. Currently, the district and all of its schools are in good standing.


Districts, unions will negotiate assessments if gov signs bill to make state tests optional

On Board Online • February 4, 2019

By Julie M. Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

Legislation to amend the current annual professional performance review (APPR) law to eliminate the mandate to use state exams as the measure of student performance has passed both the Assembly and the Senate. If signed by the governor, as expected, districts will be required to collectively bargain what assessment is used as the student performance measure in APPR.

During the floor debate, concerns expressed by NYSSBA and several proposed amendments were discussed by legislators


Child Victims Act has right values

On Board Online • February 4, 2019

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

On Jan. 28, the state Legislature overwhelmingly passed the Child Victims Act, which Gov. Cuomo is expected to sign soon. New York would become the 10th state to greatly extend the statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse cases.

Groups including the American Insurance Association and the Boy Scouts of America opposed the bill. New York's Catholic Conference initially opposed the bill, then withdrew its opposition.

NYSSBA's official position on the bill was "no objection." In this case, we took the rare step of writing a memo to legislators on a bill that we neither supported nor opposed. We stated that for an alleged victim to sue a school district many years after an alleged incident, the allegations ought to include a claim that school district officials knew about the alleged abuse but failed to take action.


Breaking up with foundation aid is hard to do

On Board Online • February 4, 2019

By Brian Fessler
Deputy Director of Governmental Relations

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled his 2019-20 executive budget proposal at the Hart Theater in Albany on Jan. 15, the education community was prepared to see big changes proposed in the state's approach to financing public education. In the weeks prior, the governor had described the source of the bulk of school aid - foundation aid - as a "ghost of the past."

But as the details of the governor's proposal emerged, they were surprisingly similar to prior years'.


Voting reform legislation signed

On Board Online • February 4, 2019

By Caroline Bobick
Governmental Relations Representative

On the first regular day of session, both houses of the New York State Legislature approved bills that would make significant changes to elections. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already signed the bills into law.

One measure merges state and federal primary days into a single June primary day. Another permits early v


NYSSBA launches website for would-be BOE members

On Board Online • February 4, 2019

By Katie Bradley
Marketing Manager

More than 30 school districts in New York State had trouble finding enough candidates to fill open school board seats in 2018, according to a NYSSBA survey of district clerks. Other districts may get inundated with requests for information about what is required to get on the ballot.

To address both problems, NYSSBA has created a website called The School Board Member Experience. It answers common questions about school board elections and provides resources to help those who are elected. The web address is www.nyssba.org/experience .


Mark Snyder joins NYSSBA training team

On Board Online • February 4, 2019

By Jeffrey S. Handelman
Deputy Director of Administration

To help meet demand from school districts for training programs and retreat facilitation, NYSSBA has hired a teacher with experience as a school board member.

Mark Snyder joined the Leadership Development department on Jan. 7 as a leadership development manager.


Zero grade for cheating upheld by commissioner

On Board Online • February 4, 2019

By Kimberly A. Fanniff
Senior Staff Counsel

In a pair of recent decisions, the commissioner of education upheld the actions a school district took in response to an incident of cheating. In Appeal of L.M. (Dec. No. 17,561) and Appeal of S.B. (Dec. No. 17, 563), the commissioner held that awarding a grade of zero is permissible when, after an investigation and opportunity to be heard, a student is found to have compromised even one portion of an exam.

Decisions regarding student grading are the responsibility of each classroom teacher, according to the commissioner.

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