New York State School Boards Association
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School nutrition programs get higher profile as policies change in Albany, Washington

On Board Online • February 19, 2018

By Alan Wechsler
Special Correspondent

School food service operations in New York State are dealing with a lot of change at once, from both state and federal authorities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a five-point plan in January, including a demand that "lunch shaming" be eliminated.

And the Trump administration is loosening federal nutrition requirements.

Advocacy Update: Framework Adopted for 2018 and 2019 Federal Spending

February 12, 2018

Congressional leaders have finally reached a long-sought agreement on top-line spending that will pave the way to complete the FY 2018 federal appropriations and budget process. The bipartisan agreement establishes new spending levels for FY 2018 and 2019, and temporarily extends federal funding until March 23 to avoid an additional federal government shutdown. Congress must now put together a larger omnibus spending package that will spell out allocations of funds for the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Proposals would erode local control

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Julie Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2018 executive budget includes two proposals that, if approved by the Legislature, would directly impact local school district budget practices.

"We see this as an attempt by state government to influence local decision-making and autonomy," said NYSSBA President William Miller. "The proposals are inconsistent with the long-standing concept of local control."

SED to give districts 4 years to improve opt-out rates

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The State Education Department (SED) plans to create a four-stage system for working with schools and districts with high test refusal rates to improve participation, according to SED Associate Commissioner Ira Schwartz.

The first stage will require a self-assessment from schools to determine why refusals are high and what steps can be taken to improve. The second stage will bump the process up to the district level for assistance in year two.

What does 'equitable funding' mean to you?

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

Timothy G. Kremer
NYSSBA Executive Director

For many years, NYSSBA and other education advocates have called for "equitable funding" for schools. We have used this phrase to call for a distribution method of state education aid based on the cost of providing a sound basic education, taking into account regional cost differences, pupil needs and local resources.

The U.S. Congress is also interested in equity in school funding. In the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it created a new requirement that states gather data on what school districts spend per pupil at the school building level.

And now Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for state oversight on how some districts spend money at the building level.


Why Cuomo's proposed 3% aid boost wouldn't be that for most districts

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Brian Fessler
Deputy Director of Governmental Relations

The initial media coverage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's eighth executive budget proposal touted a proposed 3 percent increase in education spending. That percentage exceeded the self-imposed state spending growth cap of 2 percent and is double what would have been allowed under a state benchmark called the personal income growth metric.

However, if your school district is one of the approximately 175 across the state slated for an operating aid increase of only 0.25 percent, the governor's plan to improve educational investments probably is of little comfort.

School officials wary of Cuomo's plan for state to check school-level funding

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he wants to ensure that local school districts are distributing funding fairly among individual school buildings.

"Trickle-down economics doesn't work, nor does trickle-down education funding," the governor declared in his State of the State address on Jan. 3. "Local districts must give more funding to their poorer schools, period. That's only right, and that's only fair."

Harassment, diversity among governor's policy initiatives

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Julie Marlette
Director of Governmental Relations

One might assume that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's annual executive budget proposals are mostly numbers. But recent budgets have included plenty of policy language.

This year is no exception; appropriations bills were accompanied by several thousand pages of text. Some of the language was needed to implement spending plans and distribute the money while other portions had nothing to do with money.

Today's teens love dystopian novels about fighting authoritarian gov'ts

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Gayle Simidian
Research Analyst

What are teenagers reading for fun these days? Novels in which young people struggle against oppressive governments.

As any high school librarian will tell you, teens like novels about dystopias, which are nightmare societies in which individuals are oppressed. Perhaps the best known example is Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series, in which a teenage character named Katniss Everdeen grows into a symbol of rebellion against a central government.

The Rodney Dangerfields of NYS education finally get some respect

On Board Online • February 5, 2018

By Eric D. Randall

If you serve on a school board or work in a school district in New York State, you're familiar with the state's 37 BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services). But how much do you know about their cousins, the RICs (Regional Information Centers)?

The state's 12 RICs are teams of experts in technology - an increasingly important part of every school's operations and instruction. They operate as divisions of BOCES with expanded service footprints. Like BOCES, their mission is to provide services and personnel to support school districts.

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