New York State School Boards Association

Advocacy Update: NYSSBA's 2021 Legislative Session Preview Free Webinar

December 2, 2020

NYSSBA will make sure your voices are heard in the Capitol when the calendar turns to 2021.  Please join our Governmental Relations team as we provide you with information about the 2021 session including an analysis of how the recent state and federal elections may impact public education, as well as a review of NYSSBA's legislative priorities.   If you haven't been a part of NYSSBA's advocacy efforts, this is the place to start.  Your students need you to be involved now more than ever.
NYSSBA's 2021 Legislative Session Preview
Date: Thursday, December 10, 2020
Time: Noon - 1:30 pm

Addressing the Digital Divide

On Tuesday, November 24th, Senator Shelley Mayer announced legislation aimed towards providing Internet connection to households of students who lacked access. We are thankful for the interest by Senator Mayer and her legislative colleagues on this important issue and recognize the immediate need to reduce the digital divide. Students must be provided quality education through the use of the internet and mobile devices when being in the school building is not an option. We are still analyzing the details of the proposed bill, with the goal of making sure the proposal is one that is beneficial, cost effective and feasible for students and school districts alike.

We encourage you to advocate for measures to close the digital divide by sending out the call to action using the link below. We welcome you to edit and personalize the letter as you see fit.

Transportation Aid Reimbursement Update

On November 6, the State Education Department released a memorandum stating that transportation expenses incurred by districts during the period of time schools were required by the Governor to go remote and develop plans to distribute meals for students would not be eligible for transportation aid. SED's memo stated that because districts were not transporting students to and from school, existing state law effectively prohibits the state from providing aid reimbursement.

NYSSBA created a call to action for school board members, and others within their communities, to alert their representatives of the need for immediate action to ensure state aid is provided for all typical transportation expenses during the pandemic. Nearly 1,000 advocates have sent approximately 3,000 letters to their representatives.

Since then, a spokesperson for the state Division of Budget issued a statement to Susan Arbetter of Capital Tonight saying, "We are sensitive to the food and instructional material deliveries, and if they provided these services, we will work with districts to reimburse them." While we are pleased with this development, we will work to ensure these comments turn into action and will continue to advocate for all reasonable expenses to be aided. 

We encourage you to participate in our Take Action campaign, if you have not done so already.

Welcome, Alicia!

NYSSBA's Governmental Relations Department is pleased to welcome Alicia Artessa as a new Governmental Relations Representative. Before joining NYSSBA, Alicia was Director of Local Government Relations with the Retail Council of New York State. Ms. Artessa is a licensed New York State attorney and previously spent two years as an Assistant Counsel in the New York State Senate specializing in Environmental and Energy law. Prior to moving to Albany, Alicia graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School with a Juris Doctor degree and a Master of Environmental Policy degree. During her time at Vermont Law, she was an editor on the Vermont Law Review and had her work published in the Willamette Environmental Law Journal. Alicia can be reached by email at

NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team will continue to report on these and other issues.  For more information, visit our Key Issues Page.

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