New York State School Boards Association

Gratitude for district clerks' work follows frustrating 2020 election

On Board Online • June 29, 2020

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, New York's 2020 annual district budget votes and board elections were conducted by mail, with all eligible voters using absentee ballots. District clerks helped districts navigate uncharted territory that involved grueling logistics, soaring costs, widespread delays, record voter participation and, in the end, overwhelming support for school budgets.

Deluge of COVID product pitches are dilemma for superintendents

On Board Online • June 29, 2020

By Pauline Liu
Special Correspondent

Since school buildings closed in March, school districts and BOCES across New York say they've been barraged by unsolicited emails hawking COVID-19 related products including sanitizer, clear barriers and online learning systems.

Multiple companies are offering to sell custom masks in school colors for both adults and children. They'll even include images of school mascots.

They like us ... They really like us

On Board Online • June 29, 2020

Fred Langstaff
NYSSBA President

The most unusual school year in memory has come to a close. Staff in every district deserves high praise for moving to distance learning, ramping up food service, providing day care for children of first responders, creating graduation ceremonies and moving mountains to pull off a last-minute switch to elections by absentee ballot.

What lessons have we learned? Here are seven:

More than 98% of school budgets approved

On Board Online • June 29, 2020

By Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Despite an economic recession and other stresses during the coronavirus pandemic, voters across the state approved more than 98% of school spending plans this year, according to a NYSSBA analysis.

Of the 675 budgets put before voters, 664 budgets passed - an approval rate of 98.4%. Eleven budgets were defeated.

How do you lead a chorus during a pandemic?

On Board Online • June 29, 2020

By Kathleen Moore
Special Correspondent

Teachers of subjects such as art, music, technology and physical education had an especially difficult job during the school building shutdown from March 18 through the end of the school year in June.

For instance, videoconferencing is not appropriate for group singing or group musical performances.

School Boards Association updates school budget results

FOR RELEASE: June 18, 2020

An updated analysis of school budget votes by the New York State School Boards Association finds that 98.7% of school district budgets were approved by voters on Tuesday.

The analysis, which includes results for 667 of the 675 districts across the state that hold public budget votes, found that voters passed 658 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was nine.

School Boards Association estimates that 99% of school budgets pass; 7 of 11 override attempts succeed

FOR RELEASE: June 17, 2020

New York State voters approved approximately 99% of school district budgets on Tuesday, June 16, based on a preliminary analysis of budget vote results by the New York State School Boards Association.

"In the midst of a public health and economic crisis, voters in the state of New York showed how much they value public education by collectively and, in many cases overwhelmingly, supporting their local school district budgets," said NYSSBA Executive Director Robert Schneider. "We are grateful to the public for its strong show of support for education and the valiant efforts of school districts in providing educational services under extremely trying circumstances."

"Now, it is time for state and federal lawmakers to do their part and provide adequate levels of funding for our schools, especially in light of the ‘new normal,’ where reopening schools will require public health protections, additional student supports and other outside-the-classroom functions," he added.

Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters passed 494 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was six. NYSSBA was still awaiting results for 175 districts.

This year’s budget vote and board elections were conducted entirely by absentee ballot, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Voter turnout was considerably higher than in previous years. Anecdotal reports suggest turnout increased by as much as three to eight times compared to previous years.

Statement of NYSSBA Board of Directors on Race and Justice

FOR RELEASE: June 9, 2020

The senseless death of George Floyd and the resulting protests are a call to action for all people of conscience, especially school leaders. We must channel our outrage into productive discussions and actions at the local, state and national levels. 

The Pledge of Allegiance refers to “Liberty and Justice for All.” What can we do to ensure that all children, particularly Black and Brown children, grow up in a world filled with opportunity and justice rather than hostility and fear? 

The answer must involve education, which Horace Mann called "the great equalizer of the conditions of men." Public schools are designed to be engines of equality and equity, and everyone troubled by the death of George Floyd and similar events should be prioritizing public schools as a vehicle for not just progress, but transformation. 

School boards will be part of the solution because they are dedicated to seeing every child succeed. Like leaders of all organizations, school board members can benefit from learning (or learning more) about implicit bias, structural racism, white privilege and anti-racism. Today, understanding such concepts is critical to creating safe and supportive school environments where all students feel accepted and valued. 

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Robert Schneider on graduations and school elections

FOR RELEASE: June 7, 2020

CONTACT: David Albert
(518) 320-2221 cell


The governor’s announcement today allowing outdoor high school graduation ceremonies for up to 150 people is welcome news, and a step toward allowing a more traditional graduation ceremony. While we understand the need to continue to be vigilant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, school board members remain hopeful that the governor will allow graduating seniors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a full high school graduation experience, albeit with appropriate safeguards in place to protect public health.

This June, every HS graduation will be unique

On Board Online • June 8, 2020

By Sal Prividera
Special Correspondent

Get ready for pomp and unusual circumstances.

Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on May 1 that school buildings would remain shuttered for the rest of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school officials have been scrambling to create alternatives to traditional commencement ceremonies.

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