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On testing, boards are caught in the middle

NYSSBA News Reports Budget Votes Teacher Contract Survey Media Contacts

On Board Online • July 22, 2013

By Lynne Lenhardt Area 7 Director The question of whether we in public education are testing our children too much has become a hotly debated issue. If not for the new link between state test results and teacher evaluations, it is likely that everyone would be handling the subject matter of testing a bit more calmly. What began as a commonsense effort to gather useful information and help students and teachers improve has devolved into a war over accountability. Accountability became a “buzzword” in the 1990s with the New York State fourth- and eighth-grade math and English language arts assessments. The results were public, and newspapers began running charts comparing districts and schools. Some schools were embarrassed, and critics used scores to label many public schools as “failing.” No one seemed to focus on whether students were improving; a moment in time determined success or failure. Nationally, much of the erosion of faith in public education can be traced to well-meaning but misguided federal initiatives. In 2002, the No Child Left Behind Law created underfunded mandates and expanded standardized testing, starting in third grade. The fanciful goal of NCLB was for schools to have 100 percent of students achieve proficiency by 2014. Punitively, NCLB imposed sanctions on schools whose proficiency numbers were low. The law required data on subgroups of students to ensure minority and disabled students’ achievement was tracked, but also led to unfair situations. Schools sometimes were designated “in need of improvement” because of attendance issues or the composition of subgroups in which some students were counted several times.

Regional energy management service finds savings for Finger Lakes districts On Board Online • July 22, 2013

Editor’s Note: Utility costs typically represent 1 to 3.5 percent of New York school districts’ annual spending. In most districts, utility costs are second only to personnel among the largest line items. But it doesn’t have to be so expensive. Twenty-five to 30 percent of energy costs is wasted due to inefficiencies, according to a national analysis of K-12 schools by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2009, a handful of school districts asked Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES for help in capturing energy savings, leading to the creation of the BOCES’ Energy Management Service. With one full-time employee and a 0.2 part-timer, the service currently is helping six districts realize an annual savings of more than $239,000. Also, the team has helped the districts win more than $631,000 in grant money over the last 24 months. We asked Energy Management Coordinator Alwyn John to explain how it works. A Certified Energy Manager by the Association of Energy Engineers, he managed the commercial energy engineering department of a building performance contractor before joining TST BOCES in January 2010.

Website helps social studies classes tackle controversial subjects On Board Online • July 22, 2013

Abortion, gun control, gay marriage By Merri Rosenberg Special correspondent After spending nearly a year teaching ninth graders about world history and geography, Jessica Sobers, a social studies teacher at Delaware Academy Middle School/High School in the Delhi Central School District, wanted her ninth-grade global studies students to find connections between historical controversies and public policy issues that are still being debated today. Using Martin Luther and his struggles against the Catholic Church as a departure point, she asked them to identify a current controversy that involved a clash of ideas. After researching the topic, they had to form an opinion, acknowledge opposing arguments, and share their findings with their classmates in a well-sourced, one-minute mini-documentary. To answer the inevitable question about where to start their research, Sobers had a plan. She directed her students to a website, www.procon.org. “ProCon.org gives equal evidence to show both sides,” she said. Sobers is among many teachers in New York State and elsewhere who have embraced the well-respected website. Launched in 2004 by a California precious metals trader named Steven C. Markoff, the not-for-profit website tackles controversial issues including abortion, euthanasia, gun control, gay marriage, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, illegal immigration, health care and climate change, among others. It provides footnoted arguments on two sides of each issue. The site includes video clips, cartoons and info-graphics, as well as statistics, maps and other information that students can use to develop their own arguments.

To implement Common Core, districts move ‘at speed of light’ On Board Online • July 22, 2013

By George Basler Special Correspondent When he first heard about the Common Core Learning Standards, Unadilla Valley Superintendent Robert Mackey was both excited and concerned – excited about what the initiative could mean for student achievement but concerned about the rapid timetable for the transformation. Two years later, his excitement hasn’t dimmed, and neither have his concerns. Change is “happening at light speed in New York,” Mackey said. Despite those concerns, Unadilla Valley has a reputation in Albany for keeping up with the challenges posed by the Common Core. Deputy State Education Commissioner Kenneth Slentz said he considers the 800-student Chenango County district among those who are “executing well” in implementing the Common Core. Others cited by Slentz include Deer Park, Shenendehowa, Webster, Watervliet and Fayetteville-Manlius. Teachers from several of the districts have been filmed for a State Education Department video that will demonstrate high quality lessons that address Common Core goals. Interviews with officials from those districts showed a variety of approaches being used. But all share strong leadership and a comprehensive strategy as they work to make the curriculum and instructional changes required by the landmark educational initiative, Slentz said.

In praise of plain language On Board Online • July 22, 2013

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President I’m from the world of business, which is notorious for using jargon and buzzwords. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard – and yes, maybe even uttered – such phrases as, “value proposition” or “paradigm shift” and other corporate speak. But as you well know, education is no stranger to jargon. For example, we don’t change the grading system; we realign “cut scores.” We don’t use reserves; we draw from our “unrestricted fund balance.” We don’t test students; we “administer assessments.” We don’t have lessons; we use “modules.” Recent initiatives by the state and federal government to improve teaching and learning have introduced even more jargon and cliches into the everyday language of education. The Common Core Learning Standards, for example, have brought us six “instructional shifts” and the Regents Reform agenda introduced “aspirational performance measurements” for students. All of these new initiatives, of course, will require that we first “build capacity” within our districts in order to properly implement them. Of course, the end goal is to improve student “outcomes” (as opposed to results). It’s okay if we are not successful right away, because we can always “rethink the process.”

Annual school cafeteria training program provides boon for CNY flood victims On Board Online • July 22, 2013

By Sapna Kollali School cafeteria workers who participate in an annual summer professional development program at Madison-Oneida BOCES usually donate their creations to organizations that feed the homeless as well as provide fare for summer school students. This year some of that food is going to families hit hard by recent flooding in central New York. “There are a lot of people in need right now, and this is a way that we can contribute,” said Geoff Gilman, a retired culinary arts instructor who has coordinated the BOCES’ program for many years. With support from the State Education Department, the BOCES hosts a four-week Professional Cooking Program for school cafeteria workers from across the state each summer. In a typical week, 27 to 30 participants each prepare two dishes that each contain 24 servings. That’s 1,300 or more portions of prepared food per week.

Legislature fixes law on group purchasing On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer A technical change to legislation allowing school districts to participate in cooperative purchasing programs could be among the most significant actions for schools in this year’s legislative session, according to NYSSBA’s Government Relations staff. The amendment, which received final passage during the last days of the legislative session in June, revises language of a 2012 law that authorized schools and local governments to share contracts and “piggyback” on other entities’ purchasing contracts. It requires approval from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to become law. A cooperative purchasing system has not been implemented because the current law’s language didn’t take into account updates to General Municipal Law that set a “best value” standard for letting contracts. The new language should clear the way for the 2012 legislation to benefit school districts. “We estimate this could save school districts $200 million per year,” said NYSSBA President Thomas Nespeca. “The legislation now contains the phrase, ‘best value,’ which addresses a concern raised by the state comptroller.” The cooperative purchasing amendment was among a handful of bills supported by NYSSBA that were passed during the 2013 legislative session, which ended June 21.

How significant is the Regents’ delay on value-added model? On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The Board of Regents has approved a revised method for measuring the impact teachers have on their students’ test scores, and it looks very much like the Value-Added Model (VAM) that was anticipated in the evaluation plans school districts inked with local teachers unions last year. But this method won’t be known as “value-added.” Instead, state officials call it an “enhanced growth model,” and that will make a big difference in how heavily state test scores count on teacher performance ratings for the school year that just ended and for next year. Under state law, adoption of a VAM by the Regents would have boosted the weight of student growth on state tests when calculating a teacher’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) score. Student growth would have counted for 25 percent of a teacher’s score, up from the current 20 percent. At the same time, the portion based on locally-selected measures of student achievement would have dropped to 15 percent. But under the resolution approved with no public discussion at the Regents’ June meeting, the weight of state student growth measures will remain at 20 percent until 2014-15, when a VAM now is scheduled to kick in. The Enhanced Growth Model will include most of the refinements that State Education Department staff members had recommended for VAM, such as calculations related to poverty and past academic performance, to help account for the differences among the students and the communities where individual teachers and principals work.

Once upon a time in APPR-land On Board Online • July 1, 2013

Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director I am beginning to wonder if all the recent activity around education reform is more fairytale than fact. Time will tell. Sometimes fairytales serve as a metaphor for reality – and sometimes they do not. On a day when the Board of Regents tried to put a positive spin on a statewide high school graduation rate of 74 percent by noting that they had made graduation requirements more rigorous over the last four years, they stepped back from approving a long-anticipated, more precise measure of teacher and principal performance. The original Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) legislation, privately negotiated between the State Education Department and the New York State United Teachers (without management input), specified that a value-added model would count for 25 of the 100 points in an educator’s APPR beginning in 2013-14. But, somewhere between the legislative approval process, numerous public and private debates, a NYSUT lawsuit, countless field memos and a value-added model negotiated in every local contract, the Regents equivocated. NYSSBA has long held the position that our state ought to have a rigorous, direct and fair way to assess how much a student learns in a given year, and that student performance data should help make employee evaluations and employment decisions more justifiable. Those whose performance is being evaluated should be able to see how effective they have been against objectively defined targets. APPR results could even help people who are rated ineffective honestly reevaluate their career choices on their own.

29 of 31 budgets succeed in revotes On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Voters approved all but two of the 31 school budgets that were up for consideration on June 18 after earlier versions were defeated in May. The approved budgets included those for three districts – North Babylon and Manhasset, on Long Island, and Newcomb in Essex County – where spending plans once again required supermajority (60 percent) approval because they still called for tax levy increases above a state-imposed cap. In all six of the Long Island districts where budgets passed in June re-votes, the budgets had majority support in May but failed to reach the 60 percent threshold. Four of the districts made substantial cuts to bring tax levy increases below the cap. “All of these budgets passed by substantial margins, and as you can imagine, we just view them as being passed for a second time,” said Lorraine Deller, executive director of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association.

Statewide high school grad rate holds steady at 74 percent On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Overall statewide graduation rates remained stable at 74 percent, “despite increased rigor required for graduation phased-in over the past four years,” according to a State Education Department news release. “Despite all the naysayers, raising standards was the right thing to do,” Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the Board of Regents said in a statement. “Our teachers and students rose to the challenge. Now it’s time to rise to the next challenge. The rates may be stable even with the increased rigor, but stable doesn’t equal success.” She continued: “This is an on-going tragedy. Tens of thousands of students are still leaving high school with no diploma and fewer options for the future. And sadly, most of those students who do graduate aren’t ready for college or jobs that provide family-sustaining wages.” The statewide graduation rate for the cohort of students entering high school in 2008 remained at 74 percent, the same rate as the 2007 cohort. Graduation rates for four of the Big 5 school districts remained relatively stable, but state officials noted that Buffalo’s graduation rate dropped by more than seven percentage points. The graduation rates for the Big 5 city school districts are: New York City – 60.9 percent in 2011 and 60.4 percent in 2012; Buffalo – 54 percent, 46.8 percent; Rochester – 45.5 percent, 43.4 percent; Syracuse – 48.4 percent, 48 percent; Yonkers – 66.2 percent, 66 percent.

Superintendent salaries average $166,639 On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst The statewide average budgeted salary for superintendents in New York is $166,639 for the 2013-14 school year, according to a NYSSBA analysis of a report on administrator salaries and benefits released by the New York State Education Department (SED). That’s up 0.4 percent from the prior year average salary of $165,953.

District must continue to reimburse retirees for Medicare Part B premiums On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Senior Staff Attorney The Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, has ended a decade-long dispute involving the reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums to retirees of a school district. The dispute began in 2003 when the school district announced it would no longer reimburse retirees for Medicare Part B premiums due to the cost. An independent arbitrator previously concluded that the collective bargaining agreement between the parties did not obligate the district to make such payments. An issue remained, however, as to whether the district’s decision to discontinue the reimbursement payments constituted an unlawful termination of a past practice under the Taylor Law. In Matter of Chenango Forks v. New York State Public Employment Relations Board, the Court of Appeals agreed with PERB that it did. In the past, the district had been required to make Medicare Part B premium reimbursements to retirees by its participation in a former insurance plan. That obligation ended in 1988 when the district enrolled in a new plan that did not impose a reimbursement requirement. However, the district continued to make reimbursement payments until the 2003 announcement even though, throughout, collective bargaining agreements between the parties were silent on the issue.

U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear NY prayer case On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By Adam C. Hover Associate Counsel In a case that could have implications for school districts, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear, in its next term, a case involving the Town of Greece, New York and the practice of allowing clergy to open town government meetings with a prayer. The town received an unfavorable ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a federal appellate court with jurisdiction over New York. A summary of the Second Circuit’s decision appeared in the June 11, 2012 issue of On Board (see http://goo.gl/eVnuF).

What does the FLSA require? On Board Online • July 1, 2013 By Katherine E. Gavett Ferrara Fiorenza Larrison Barrett & Reitz, P.C. More than 130 million workers in private and public employment, including preschools, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Key requirements are:

How to stay on the right side of the Fair Labor Standards Act On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys In recent years the number of federal court actions filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in some New York jurisdictions has outpaced national filings by leaps and bounds. Among 94 federal district courts, two courts in New York State rank among the top five in the nation in the number of FLSA cases filed, according to the New York Law Journal. New York’s Southern District (Manhattan, Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess and Putnam counties) was third in the nation while New York’s Eastern District (Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island) ranked fifth. Best known for establishing the federal minimum wage and requiring overtime pay for millions of workers in private and public employment across the nation, the FLSA also prohibits employers from basing pay on gender and requires accommodations for nursing mothers (see sidebar). Some attribute the recent surge in FLSA litigation to the lucrative damages available to successful plaintiffs. If an employee wins the lawsuit, he or she is entitled to unpaid wages and overtime compensation and may also recover liquidated damages (equal to the unpaid wages and overtime) as well as attorney fees and costs. Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York held that double damages (liquidated damages) are the norm and that single damages are the exception (Solis v. SCA Rest. Corp., 2013). There can be other consequences for employers deemed to have violated the FLSA. Willful violations may be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $10,000. A second conviction may result in imprisonment.

Teaching is at the Core On Board Online • July 1, 2013

Another school year has come to an end. It has been a year of big changes as we worked to fully integrate and implement the Regents Reform Agenda in our schools. I think it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the year’s accomplishments – accomplishments that would not have been possible without your leadership and the leadership of your boards and the School Boards Association. What impresses me most is your districts’ progress in implementing:

A Christmas Carol, school board style On Board Online • July 1, 2013

By Esther Arlan Area 6 Director By the time you read this, I will no longer be a school board member as a result of the May election. While I will miss serving on the Saranac Lake Board of Education, I’m glad to see others eager to share their talents. Overall, I feel lucky to have had the privilege to serve my community and be part of an incredible community of dedicated volunteers. And I’m pleased that, in accordance with NYSSBA bylaws, I will be able to continue as Area 6 director through the end of my term on Dec. 31. After 14 years of school board service, it’s a good time to reflect on the highs and lows of the experience I had as a board member in Saranac Lake. There were many high points that come to mind. The first one is the successful passing of a bond the first year I was on the school board. I worked long and hard with a group of local citizens to overcome the negative. We did this by dividing the project into two separate line items at the time of the budget vote. Success was the passing of an auditorium for the high school. Each time I attend a concert or lecture in the auditorium I know that in some very small way I helped make a dream come true. Other highlights of my school board experience include:

END OF SESSION LEGISLATIVE ACTION June 27, 2013 2013 END OF SESSION LEGISLATION REVIEW POSITIVE LEGISLATIVE ACTION NYSSBA Supported Legislation Passing Both Houses Negative Bills Blocked by NYSSBA NEGATIVE LEGISLATIVE ACTION Legislation Opposed by NYSSBA that Passed Both Houses

Statement of New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on the 2013 Legislative Session FOR RELEASE: June 24, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The 2013 legislative session provided many positive developments for schools. Lawmakers delivered an on-time budget with a $1 billion education aid increase that helped schools earn a 95 percent passage rate on the first budget vote this year. With many school districts struggling financially, school boards launched a “No New Mandates” campaign, asking lawmakers not to enact any new unfunded mandates on schools. Lawmakers largely honored our request, passing only a handful of new initiatives compared to the many dozens under consideration.

END OF SESSION ANALYSIS – ADVOCACY ALERT June 24, 2013 “NO NEW MANDATES!” CAMPAIGN SUCCEEDS! 2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION WRAPS UP – POSITIVE YEAR FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION NYSSBA ANALYSIS

CALL TO ACTION – Special Ed Mandate Alert June 18, 2013 CALL TO ACTION CALL NOW TO PREVENT SPECIAL ED MANDATE LEGISLATION CALL AND TELL THEM Your Senator (518) 455-2800 Your Member of Assembly (518) 455-4100 COPY – PASTE – EMAIL LETTER TO YOUR LEGISLATOR LINK TO: No New Mandates! Website for Legislators Email Addresses

CALL TO ACTION – NOW OR NEVER June 17, 2013 This is the last week of the regularly scheduled legislative session. With legislative activity in high gear, our own efforts need to increase to meet the challenge. The No New Mandates! campaign has succeeded thus far, but a number of mandates are still under consideration. These last few days will be critically important to preventing new mandates from displacing promised educational programs and services. Link To: No New Mandates website

Divided Regents to vote on value-added On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Some members of the Board of Regents are expressing strong reservations about a plan to boost the weight given to standardized student test scores in evaluating teachers and principals under New York’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) program. Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. is scheduled to ask the Regents to make the change during their next meeting on June 17 and 18. “I’m very much opposed to having that go into effect this year,” Regent Roger Tilles said in an interview with On Board. Other Regents including Kathleen Cashin have also expressed concerns about the plan, which involves using a more sophisticated formula, known as “value-added,” when student test score data is used in teacher and principal evaluations. Under APPR legislation approved in 2010, adoption of the new value-added model by the Regents would trigger an increase in the weight of state test scores to 25 percent, up from the 20 percent share allotted under the current model, which is called growth.

For 32 districts with defeated budgets, tough calls before June 18 revotes On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Reworked versions of many of the 32 school budgets rejected by voters in May will slice art and music, athletics and extra-curricular activities, kindergarten and academic enrichment in efforts to trim tax levy increases to levels more voters will accept. While the North Babylon school district in Suffolk County will be asking voters to approve the same budget proposal on the statewide revote day of June 18, other districts contacted by On Board said they were pursuing program reductions in tandem with staff cuts. Leaders in some districts said they have reached the bottom of financial reserves that, until now, have helped to minimize program cuts and property tax hikes. “We’ve gone through everything,” said Tupper Lake Superintendent Seth McGowan. “We’re spending our last dollars in our unemployment reserve and we’ve depleted our general fund balance. We’re left with half a percent in fund balance.” McGowan and other school leaders told On Board that they are crossing their fingers that new reductions will be enough to satisfy voters who objected to earlier proposed tax increases, yet won’t alienate parents and others who want to maintain current offerings. The balancing act has been especially challenging in districts like Tupper Lake, where original budget proposals sought property tax levy increases above the state cap, triggering the need for a 60 percent supermajority approval to override the cap.

Pemberton, Daggett to speak at NYSSBAAnnual Convention On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-chief While poet Emily Dickinson described hope as “the thing with feathers” – a self-propelled emanation of the soul – Steven Pemberton doesn’t see it quite the same way. As the kickoff speaker for NYSSBA’s Annual Convention in October, Pemberton will share his view that hope, at least in children, is more like a seed that needs to be nurtured in order to bloom. A biracial orphan who identifies with youth who struggle against circumstances, Pemberton is the chief diversity officer for Walgreens and the author of a memoir called A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home. “People come to our Annual Convention expecting to be inspired and re-energized,” said Barry Entwistle, NYSSBA’s director of leadership development. “Steven Pemberton offers a perspective on the spirit of ambition that people are going to remember.”

No new mandates On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President The month of June is famous for good things – the start of summer, graduations, cooking on the grill, and the end of the state legislative session in Albany. As Mark Twain once said, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” (I wonder if he was referring specifically to the New York State Legislature. After all, Twain and his wife Olivia, the daughter of a New York coal merchant, lived in Buffalo and Elmira.) While NYSSBA member districts are grateful to the Legislature for many things, such as a recent record of on-time state budgets, the end of the session always produces anxiety in NYSSBA headquarters. Typically, we see a flurry of last-minute, out-of-the-blue, unfunded mandates that affect our schools and local governments. Some of these proposals may well be good public policy (others, not so much). The problem is, since they come after the state has adopted its budget for the following year, lawmakers end up passing on the cost for these new mandates to schools – even though they too have already passed their budgets for the coming year. That puts us school board members in a difficult situation. With no money from the state earmarked for the new mandate, we have to determine how to pay for it using local resources. Often that means taking from other program areas in the budget, including initiatives supporting ongoing student achievement. In short, something else gets shortchanged. Our resources are stretched too thin.

Many variables taken into account in value-added systems On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The list of factors that can affect how well a student performs on a single state standardized test is long, and only one item on that list is how well he or she has mastered the material being tested. Virtually all of the other variables are beyond the control of his teacher or his school principal, who both are to be rated, in part, on that student’s performance under New York’s fledgling Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) program. Some variables are impossible to predict in any reliable, systematic way. Perhaps pre-test jitters kept this student awake the night before the test. Maybe a sick parent, or even a sick pet, is weighing on his mind. But testing experts say other influences that can harm a student’s performance are predictable and quantifiable. Those influences, they say, can be recognized through a formula or “algorithm.”

Junior Achievement links programs to Common Core, NYS standards On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By Lisa A. Johnson Special Correspondent This spring, Junior Achievement of Western New York recruited University of Buffalo School of Management undergraduates to work with students in a personal finance and career exploration curriculum called JA Economics for Success®. Thirteen UB students spent 40 minutes a week for six weeks at Buffalo’s #45 International School, which serves children of refugees from more than 70 countries and only half of the students are proficient in English. Activities included a discussion of credit scores and an activity that reinforced their understanding of the cost of credit. The final day was a career day in which a dozen speakers, including a firefighter, police officer, engineer, and hair stylist told the students about their careers, shared advice and answered students’ questions. One of the college volunteers, Kittie Pizzutelli, recounted how one girl in her class was especially shy and rarely spoke, yet by the time the diploma ceremony rolled around, the girl gave a short speech on stage to all of her fellow students. One of the sixth graders, who wants to be a lawyer when he grows up, said, “It was a lot of fun and it was good to learn about how to be successful in the future.”

District not liable in student attack case On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel A state appellate court has ruled that a school district was not liable for injuries sustained by a student when another pulled her to the ground by the hair and repeatedly punched her in the head in a hallway between classes. Generally, a school district will be found liable when one of its students is intentionally harmed by another if the district could have reasonably anticipated the harm and failed to provide adequate supervision. Although school officials in Conklin v. Saugerties CSD had been aware of rumors about a possible fight, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department, found no liability, noting specific actions taken by school authorities and teachers in response to both rumors and the first punch. The court’s decision provides guidance for districts that might face a similar situation. In Conklin school officials first heard of the possibility of a fight from a message left by the father of the student who ultimately was injured. He reported discovering disturbing comments when monitoring his daughter’s MySpace account. In response, an administrator returned the call before school the next morning and arranged for the school social worker to meet first thing in the morning with both students – first separately and then together. Throughout those meetings, the two students remained calm and denied any intention to fight each other.

Appellate court finds two termination penalties appropriate On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel In two separate appeals, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, First Department, recently was asked to rule that termination penalties imposed against two New York City teachers were inappropriate because they shocked one’s sense of fairness. In both cases, the court decided otherwise.

How to avoid expensive tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act On Board Online • June 10, 2013

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys A law commonly called “Obamacare” – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or ACA – was signed into law by President Barack Obama nearly three years ago. Since then, school officials have speculated about its practical implications for school districts. But some key issues were clarified on Dec. 28, 2012, when the IRS issued proposed regulations. These regulations explain when employers – including school districts – will be liable for tax penalties under the ACA. The good news is that districts can take steps to avoid or limit these tax penalties. Because the law uses the number of full-time employees to determine whether sufficient coverage has been provided to meet requirements, districts need to develop expertise on determining when substitute teachers, bus drivers and other “variable hour” employees become full-time employees under the law.

When does a substitute teacher become FTE? Sometimes, too late for coverage under ACA On Board Online • June 10, 2013

Avoiding denying health coverage to substitute teachers who achieve full-time status will be a challenge for school districts under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law calls for employers to consider the number of hours worked on a month-by-month basis, but a district may not know until a month is over which substitutes are full-time. And by then it is too late to offer coverage. The ACA defines full-time employees as those who average at least 30 hours of service per week (or generally 130 hours of service in a month). Districts can avoid the possibility of needing to provide health care coverage for substitutes if they ensure that no substitute has more than 130 hours of service per month. But educational needs may require otherwise. In that case, districts should track the number of hours worked by each substitute and follow IRS regulations on what the law calls “variable hour” employees.

CALL TO ACTION: IT’S ALL UP TO YOU! June 5, 2013 NOW IS THE TIME YOU KNOW THE PROBLEM WE’VE SET THE STAGE NOW IT’S YOUR TURN LINK TO: Email message to Legislators

Coalition of Schools, Local Government and Business Groups to Legislature: Read our Lips: No New Mandates! FOR RELEASE: May 28, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518-783-3723) A coalition of education, local government and business groups today called on state lawmakers not to pass any new unfunded mandates on schools and municipalities this year. “The end of the legislative session is infamous for last-minute, unfunded mandates,” said Timothy Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. “In a vacuum, they may well be good policy, but not when judged against the burdens of already struggling schools and local governments.” Members of the Let NY Work Coalition are launching a grassroots email and phone campaign designed to prevent state legislators from shifting the costs of its new programs onto local communities and their taxpayers. Read the Full Press Release

Exceeding tax cap proves big risk On Board Online • May 27, 2013

Budget votes By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Raising property taxes beyond the state-imposed cap was a much tougher sell for school budget voters this year. Of 28 districts that sought to exceed the cap, only a quarter won the needed 60 percent supermajority approval. Last year, 48 districts sought voter permission to exceed their caps, and 60 percent received approval in May voting. Cornwall was only two votes shy of success, and other close losses in override votes were Elmira Heights, General Brown, Newcomb and South Seneca. Newcomb was shy just 16 votes of the supermajority and one of 14 districts whose budgets would have passed had they needed only a simple majority. “It is frustrating when you’ve got a majority but not this number that New York State created of a supermajority,” Newcomb Superintendent Clark “Skip” Hults told On Board. “It’s an arbitrary percentage. But our job is to go back and find a number the community will support.”

Education commission reboots with eye on restructuring On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education commission launched its next phase of work last week with an Albany symposium that focused on consolidation and other forms of public education restructuring. Richard Parsons, who chairs the New NY Education Reform Commission, said the focus on the structure of educational systems would kick off a new start for the group after several of its recommendations from last year – including grants for expanded pre-kindergarten and community-school grants and a new master-teacher program – were adopted by the governor. “Now, in the second phase, the heavy lifting begins,” Parson told those gathered at the State Museum. Parsons said the time is right for a methodical study of the state’s public education delivery system and judgments on whether the structure remains effective, relevant, cost efficient and sufficient for encouraging engagement by students and their parents.

Start out on the right foot On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director Each year as voters elect a new crop of school board members and others get re-elected to a new term, I am reminded of just how tough your job is. Oftentimes, the breadth and complexity of issues you face is overwhelming. Teacher evaluations and the tax cap immediately come to mind. Sometimes, deliberations can get ugly (budget cuts, school closures, standardized testing). There are few “perks” in the traditional sense, other than the lasting satisfaction of serving your community. This year, close to 1,600 school board seats will be filled in New York State. During my 15 years at NYSSBA, I’ve spoken to thousands of school board members. Whenever I ask, “Why do you do it?” I hear, almost without exception, that their greatest satisfaction involves doing their best to improve public education and their communities. I always hear a tremendous sense of stewardship and selflessness. School board members don’t serve for their own personal gain or interests; they serve because they have a compelling desire to contribute to something larger than themselves. They are deeply committed to their communities. They have their eye on the future and want to help all children succeed.

NYSSBA finance director earns insurance license On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Robert Schneider, NYSSBA’s director of finance, has completed a 96-hour course and passed an exam to become licensed in New York as a property and casualty insurance broker. He pursued the licensure because NYSSBA is now offering workers’ compensation insurance programs to members through a partner organization, PERMA. “In order for NYSSBA to properly offer endorsed insurance programs to its members, at least one staff member needs to be licensed as a property and casualty insurance broker,” said Deputy Executive Director Rita Lashway. “We are extremely proud of Bob’s accomplishment, which enables us to provide an important set of services to our members.”

Ohio case highlights importance of checks on backgrounds of school bus drivers On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Peter Mannella The Ohio kidnapping case has raised questions about criminal background checks for school bus drivers. Alleged kidnapper Ariel Castro drove a school bus for more than a decade, during which he was accused of domestic violence. According to news reports, a criminal charge against him in 2009 was not required to be reported under the system that Ohio used at the time but has since been updated. Are school bus drivers in New York State subject to rigorous background checks? Yes! We New Yorkers can take pride in having a system that gives school officials current and timely information about all of our school bus drivers. Section 509-cc of the Vehicle and Traffic Law requires a fingerprint-based background check and continuous monitoring of the criminal records of school bus drivers. The list of crimes that can disqualify a school bus driver was updated in 2011 by adding some 30 crimes to the list and making certain crimes permanent disqualifiers (e.g., being a registered sex offender). The process involves taking a set of fingerprints and submitting them electronically to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the FBI prior to their hiring as school bus drivers. The expense for the fingerprinting ($107 per driver screened) is often but not always borne by the employer. Once the fingerprints are taken and submitted to DCJS, the employer may hire the driver conditionally pending receipt of the fingerprint results. If the results indicate that the driver must be disqualified, the employer must take such action immediately and must also advise the individual of their right to an appeal.

Master teacher schedule set On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer New York’s first crew of master teachers will be named on Sept. 1, and they will need to hit the ground running as mentors for their colleagues, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher told Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his cabinet. During a public cabinet meeting on May 20, Zimpher outlined a brisk schedule for rolling out the incentive program, which was recommended last year by Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission and backed with $11 million in this year’s state budget. Online applications for prospective master teachers will be available on July 1 and will be due on Aug. 1. In-person interviews also will be required for those who ultimately are selected, according to a State University of New York web page about the program. Initially, Zimpher said, those selected will be teachers of secondary-level math or science, and four colleges will serve as host institutions for four regions: SUNY New Paltz in the Mid-Hudson area; SUNY Plattsburgh in the North Country; SUNY Cortland in Central New York; and Buffalo State College in Western New York.

BOCES administrator as part-time superintendent ‘ideal’ setup for small upstate school district On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By William Miller Area 5 Director The challenges of public education often require new approaches to deliver needed servings despite tight resources. A good example is the Owen D. Young Central School District, which has a part-time superintendent. James Picolla has been serving as the Owen D. Young superintendent since early November 2012 through an intermunicipal cooperative agreement with Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES, where he is human resources director. Picolla works part-time in each of the positions. Such a setup is rare – if not unprecedented – but it’s working. “This is the only one I know of,” Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua said. “It’s certainly something for the smaller districts to look at, but it has to line up just right.” Owen D. Young’s arrangement started to come together when the Board of Education to look into ways to become more fiscally efficient began a few years ago. Board members learned the district was required to have a full-time building principal but not a superintendent, board President Cathy Mayton-Collins said.

Poughkeepsie students wade into Hudson River Eel Project ‘Every species is important, no matter how slimy’ On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Poughkeepsie city school students are playing a role in welcoming and encouraging some of New York’s smallest visitors, baby eels. About 75 students and 12 adult staff members are among hundreds of volunteers along the Hudson River who help environmental scientists monitor the spring migration of young eels from the Sargasso Sea, south of Bermuda and north of Puerto Rico, to New York State. The citizen scientists are part of a statewide effort called the Hudson River Eel Project. Every day at 4 p.m., students and other district volunteers pull on waist-high fishing waders and shuffle into a Hudson tributary to look for the American eel (Anguilla rostrata), which has been in decline over much of its range. They check cone-shaped traps, called fyke nets, to see how many of the tiny, translucent fish have arrived in the last 24 hours. They keep it up for about six weeks each spring. “We’re just trickling down to the end of eel season,” Environmental Science Teacher Mark Angevine told On Board in mid-May.

Appellate Division rules on unusual FOIL requests Trial ordered on costs appropriate to voluminous requests On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Senior Staff Attorney Over a four-month period, John L. Weslowski sent as many as eight separate emails per day to Rockland County officials to request information under the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). In one email, Weslowski requested 18 months of records relating to use by 33 county officials and employees of any and all Internet service, telephone service, mobile service, Blackberry or other communication or search device, including browser time by user and category. Other requests asked for all records pertaining to each employee of the county after July 7, 1998 and all records regarding any litigation against the county. A ruling by the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Second Department, in Weslowski v. Vanderhoef, is one of several recent cases in which branches of the Appellate Division addressed how governmental entities should respond to extensive or unusual FOIL requests. Rockland County responded by informing Weslowski that fulfilling his request would necessitate the production of tens of thousands of pages of documents and would create an enormous administrative burden that would interfere with day to day operations. While the county ultimately granted the requests, it conditioned disclosure upon pre-payment of certain estimated costs.

Court says teacher wrongly prevented from hearing student’s testimony On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel A state appellate court has remanded a case in which a teacher who was the subject of a disciplinary proceeding under section 3020-a of New York’s Education Law was excluded from the hearing while the complaining witness testified. A lower court had previously confirmed the hearing officer’s decision in favor of the school district. The complaining witness in Stergiou v. NYC Dep’t of Education was a student who alleged the teacher hit him. The teacher argued her exclusion from the hearing while the student testified violated her constitutional right to confront the witnesses against her. In addition, it violated an absolute similar right afforded by Section 3020-a of the state’s Education Law.

Appellate court finds termination penalty excessive On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Following the fatal drowning of a student from another school during a field trip, a teacher posted on a social media website that she was “thinking the beach sounds like a wonderful idea for my 5th graders! I HATE THEIR GUTS. They are the devils [sic] spawn.” According to a state appellate court, the termination of this teacher for these remarks was an excessive penalty because it was shocking to one’s sense of fairness. In Rubino v. City of New York, the teacher was terminated following a section 3020-a disciplinary hearing. A lower court had sent back the matter for the imposition of a lesser penalty. The State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, upheld the lower court’s decision.

Principal who resigned not entitled to workers’ comp benefits On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department, has upheld the determination of the Workers’ Compensation Board that a former principal was not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for lost or reduced benefits following his resignation from the school district and acceptance of a teaching position in Florida at a reduced salary.

8 ways to minimize discrimination claims On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims pose a costly and time-consuming problem for employers, including school districts. Verdicts and settlements in employment litigation can be substantial. In its 2012 fiscal year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) secured a record $365.4 million in monetary relief from private and state and local government employers through its administrative process, which includes resolution of complaints through mediation or settlements. The EEOC also recovered $44.2 million in damages through litigation. Those monetary recoveries do not include damages awarded in other discrimination and harassment actions, such as claims brought under the New York Human Rights Law or the Family and Medical Leave Act, or claims that were pursued without the EEOC involvement. Even when the underlying claim is meritless, the legal fees incurred in defending such a claim can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Shared electrician provides skills, savings in new Sullivan County BOCES service On Board Online • May 27, 2013

By Susan Schmidt and Donna Hemmer As school districts and BOCES face tax levy limits and large increases in expenses including health insurance and retirement contributions, they are looking for ways to stretch their operating dollars. In consultation with component districts, Sullivan County BOCES has developed a way to save money by sharing trades professionals. A recently hired licensed electrician currently serves three school districts as well as the BOCES. Similar to BOCES itinerant personnel, electrician Kurt Mall has a rotating schedule. Instead of working with groups of students, Mall’s daily planner is filled with a list of buildings with electrical needs that have been prioritized by district personnel. From changing the light fixtures in classrooms and gymnasiums, to replacing or relocating wires for computer and phone drops, to installing new electrical panels, the roving electrician always has a project in the queue.

Lakeland board member a bit of a Renaissance man On Board Online • May 27, 2013

My Other Side Brain Hugick pursues loves of art, science and public service Editor’s note: School board members tend to be passionate about their interests. In this occasional feature, board members tell On Board about their “other side.” Name: Brian Hugick Age: 51 School District: Lakeland Central School District, Westchester County School Board Tenure: 7 years His Other Side: Potter

Overall, 95% of school budgets pass FOR RELEASE: May 22, 2013 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards 98% passage rate for school districts within tax cap; 25% passage rate for districts exceeding cap New York State voters approved 95.5 percent of school district budgets on Tuesday, May 21, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association. “Residents in communities across this state stood strong once again in support of public education,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “The high level of voter support for school budgets speaks to the importance of public education. We appreciate the trust that voters place in our school board members and educators.” Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters have passed 644 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was 32. NYSSBA was still awaiting results for nine districts. In the second year of the state’s property tax cap, 642 districts, or 96 percent, were within their maximum allowable tax levy increases under the cap and required only a simple majority to pass their budgets. Of those districts, 98.3 percent passed. Twenty-eight districts, or 4 percent, had budgets that exceeded the tax cap and required a 60 percent “supermajority” to pass. Of those districts, 25 percent passed their budgets.

Statement on Upcoming Budget Votes and School Board Elections By Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association FOR RELEASE: May 17, 2013 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Voters across the state will go to the polls next Tuesday to vote on their school district budgets and elect school board members. Voting day marks the culmination of a budget process that included months of public input and careful analysis. School boards have listened to their communities and worked diligently to craft budgets that provide the best educational opportunities possible at the price taxpayers can afford.

ADVOCACY ALERT – LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES May 15, 2013 END OF SESSION LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FINISHING STRONG FOR YOUR DISTRICT LINK TO: No New Mandates Webpage 2013 Post Budget Legislative Priorities MAKE A TRIP TO ALBANY PART OF YOUR BOARD’S SERVICE

School board members optimistic on budget vote FOR RELEASE: May 13, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards An overwhelming majority of school board members are optimistic that their budgets will pass on May 21, according to a recent poll by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). Ninety-three percent of respondents to the poll said they expect their budgets to pass on the first vote. Only 7 percent did not think their budget would pass the first time around. “School board members and their leadership teams have devoted countless hours listening to their communities and crafting budgets that balance the needs of students and taxpayers,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

Extreme budgeting: Two districts swinging at financial curve balls On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer While Hey, You Never Know.® makes a catchy slogan for the New York State Lottery, it also could be a mantra for school budget planners. Just ask officials in the Green Island and Panama school districts, which are confronting fiscal curve balls that could bean taxpayers. In the Albany County village of Green Island, a financial wild card was dealt when one lucky resident won a $28.7 million share of a Mega Millions jackpot in 2011. Superintendent Michael Mugits notes that the before-tax lottery prize is equivalent to two-thirds of the total annual income now on record for the Albany County district, $42 million. Mugits is concerned the winnings could distort the measure the state uses to assess the wealth of the district, causing formula-driven aid to plummet. Mugits sees a situation rife with irony, given the state lottery’s mandate to help fund education and the district’s potential unlucky results from one resident’s good fortune. “It will have a significant impact, although we have not realized it yet,” he said.

Good luck on May 21 budget votes On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President In just a few short weeks, students will get their final report cards for the school year. But if you’re a school board member or administrator, your report card comes about one month earlier when the public votes on the school budget and elects school board members for next year. Just like our students, we all hope to get an “A” in every subject on our report cards. A failing grade from voters on our budgets could have some pretty severe consequences. More specifically, we could be forced to impose a no-growth, zero percent tax levy increase for next year. That would most certainly mean harmful cuts in many districts. But I’m confident that the overwhelming majority of school boards and administrators will get a “thumbs up” from their communities on budget day. You’ve spent months listening to your communities, examining different budget scenarios, and crafting a thoughtful spending plan that provides students in your district with the best possible educational program at a price taxpayers can afford.

After elections, board efficiency usually suffers On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Jamie McPherson Leadership Development manager The results of the May 21 election could have profound effects on your school board. Whenever the membership of the board changes, the dynamics of the group will, most likely, change with it – and not for the better. It’s normal. Until new board members become acclimated to their role and the board adjusts to a new dynamic, overall performance of the group suffers. How long that lasts depends on many factors but can easily be managed through a proper orientation program. The most common method of orientating new members is far from ideal. That process generally involves one meeting with the board president and superintendent. The new member is brought on a tour of the district, introduced to administrators and staff, then handed a stack of reading materials including the district’s policy manual. Beyond the state’s mandated training, new members are expected to learn their position while on the job. This kind of orientation will not speed the process of helping the entire board regain its ability to function at a high level. And it wastes an opportunity to erase preconceptions and integrate the new board member as a full-fledged, vital part of the governance team. NYSSBA recommends that the board, not the superintendent, assume the responsibility of designing, coordinating and conducting the orientation process. This will create a visible commitment to the boards own performance and allow for greater accountability. It’s an opportunity for veteran board members to reflect on the process they have – and the process they want to have.

Why annual retreats are essential On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Barry J. Entwistle Director of Leadership Development When I served on a school board, I remember the first time I heard someone suggest holding a “retreat.” It sounded intriguing, particularly because our board was experiencing growing tension and conflict. Under the state’s Open Meetings Law, I learned, school boards are permitted to meet privately to discuss purely organizational matters that do not involve transacting public business. The retreat started out a bit awkward but the facilitator the district hired quickly put everyone at ease. He focused on helping us gain a better understanding of one another and what makes us so passionate and sometimes opinionated on certain issues. We were also able to clear up miscommunications and identify ways to improve our routines to govern more effectively. NYSSBA recommends every school governance team (the board and superintendent) hold a retreat at least once a year. It is relatively easy to come up with reasons why you shouldn’t have a board retreat, ranging from finding mutual dates to resistance among some board members. But a small investment of time in targeted board training can pay big dividends. An example might include improved meeting management and other board operating efficiencies. There are always better ways of doing business but it is not always easy to see alternative solutions without the help of a skilled outside facilitator. As with all forms of board development, costs are relatively trivial, especially in light of the potential to make dramatic improvements in functioning.

Your school board belongs in Albany On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By David A. Little Director of Governmental Relations Has your board ever considered making its own lobbying trip to the state Capitol? If so, NYSSBA can help. Each year NYSSBA organizes a statewide lobby day in March, and we’ll help you organize your own lobby day on request. NYSSBA staff can help you arrange meetings with your elected representatives, governor’s representatives and State Education Department staff. We will work with you to create an outline of the issues you want to cover and provide you with the background information that will help you have productive meetings. We can provide you with legislative history, voting records on your issues and the opposing arguments you may face. NYSSBA headquarters is conveniently located a short drive from the Capitol and can serve as a place to hang your hat, have lunch and receive an up to the minute briefing on legislative events.

Jump in ADHD diagnoses spurs concern On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst When reporters from The New York Times looked into attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), they found something rather shocking: 11 percent of school children – including one in five high school boys – have been diagnosed with the disorder, which can interfere with learning. The number of ADHD diagnoses has shot up 16 percent since 2007, according to an article that appeared on the front page of the March 31, 2013 issue of The New York Times. The newspaper used data from a government study of children’s health that included 76,000 phone interviews. The research was funded by a bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/slaits/nsch.htm. For perspective, On Board spoke with psychologist Steven Kurtz, senior director of the ADHD and Disruptive Behaviors/Disorders Center at the ChildMind Institute (www.childmind.org), an organization dedicated to transforming child mental health through clinical care, research and advocacy. According to the Institute, Kurtz is “one of the nation’s leading clinicians in the treatment of children’s behavioral problems and disorders, particularly attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the social anxiety disorder selective mutism (SM).”

District must defend two paraprofessionals sued for use of corporal punishment On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel A school paraprofessional admits that she slapped a student in the face because he refused three times to accompany her to the cafeteria. Another does not challenge a finding that she hit on the head a student who did not do his work properly. Under such circumstances, would a school district have to defend the resulting lawsuits filed against both employees? The answer is yes, according to the New York Court of Appeals in Matter of Sagal-Cotler v. Bd. of Educ. of the City School Dist. of the City of New York. The case arose in New York City, where provisions of the state Education Law and General Municipal Law applicable to New York City schools seemed to preclude such an obligation. But those provisions do not affect a school employee’s rights under other provisions of state law to have legal defense to be provided by their employer, if that would be consistent with other provisions of state law. The Court of Appeals found separate provisions of the state Education Law gave the paraprofessionals the right to a defense.

Terms of Juul agreement precluded grievance and arbitration of termination On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel While acknowledging that a teacher’s termination generally can be subject to the grievance and arbitration provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), a state appellate court recently ruled this was not applicable in the case of a probationary teacher who was terminated after the expiration of a so-called Juul agreement. A school district and a teacher may enter into a Juul agreement to extend the teacher’s probationary appointment for an additional year in instances when the school superintendent decides to not recommend the teacher for tenure. The agreement gives the teacher a second chance to prove his or her worth while allowing the district to grant or withhold tenure at the end of the extended period.

Court refuses to dismiss lawsuit by injured student wrestler On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Adam C. Hover Associate Counsel A student wrestler was injured during a match when his right arm struck a hardwood floor that was exposed after two wrestling mats, which had been taped together, separated and his opponent tripped on them. In his lawsuit against the district, the injured student argued, in part, that the mats had been improperly taped and secured.

Vote reminder signs did not constitute improper advocacy On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel With the upcoming school board elections and budget votes in mind, school districts are taking extra care to avoid engaging in activities that could be deemed to be improper advocacy. The well-established prohibition against the use of district resources to express “favoritism, partisanship, partiality, approval or disapproval…of any issue” is not limited to advocating a “yes” vote. It also forecloses even subtle promotional activities. The issue in the recent Appeal of Tillet was whether signs that read “VOTE MAY 15 TUESDAY PENFIELD SR. HIGH 6AM-9PM” violated that prohibition. As in prior years, the district placed the signs during last year’s vote and election along various roads and intersections in the district, including along roads bordering district schools and at major road intersections.

Boundary line intersection through garage did not support designation of district of attendance On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Owners of taxable property that is intersected by the boundary line between two school districts may designate which district the children residing on the property will attend if the boundary line intersects either (1) the dwelling on the property, or (2) in the case of an owner-occupied single family dwelling unit, the property on which the dwelling is located. In support of their argument that they were entitled to make such a designation, the petitioners in Appeal of Velazquez claimed that they lived in an owner-occupied single family dwelling. Therefore, the boundary line only needed to intersect the property on which the dwelling was located. However, the evidence showed they lived in a multi-family dwelling with three separate and distinct living spaces. Although the three units were occupied by the petitioners and various relatives, “familial relationship is not the determinative factor.” Therefore, the petitioners’ ability to designate a district of attendance depended on whether the boundary line intersected the dwelling itself.

No time to slow down on Common Core On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Merryl H. Tisch Chancellor, NY State Board of Regents In late April, we reached a major milestone in our state’s education reform agenda: elementary and middle school students took new state math and reading tests designed around the Common Core learning standards, rigorous new benchmarks for measuring college and career readiness. The Board of Regents adopted the Common Core standards in 2010, because we believed then as we do now that these standards will allow us finally to get a clear picture of how our students’ progress stacks up against the challenges they’ll face in the wider world – and against the progress of students in other communities and countries who will be competing against them. There is no question that this is the right strategy over the long term. There’s also no question that the introduction of the Common Core is going to cause a bit of in-flight turbulence – especially with respect to these first rounds of test-taking. As I have traveled to school districts, visiting classrooms across the state over the past month, I have heard concerns from educators, parents and students about the new format, stressing as it does critical thinking and close reading skills that in the past went under-emphasized. It’s only natural that there should be some uneasiness about the kind of results produced by a substantially different test. We have always expected that scores will drop initially. But that’s not a sign that our education community is doing something wrong. It’s a sign that we’re doing something right.

Centralized technology management system to save millions for Western NY districts On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Candace Reimer Imagine turning off 23 million 60-watt light bulbs for a 24-hour period. That’s how much energy Erie County school districts will be saving per school year, thanks to a new “end point management system” housed at Erie 1 BOCES. Funded by a $570,500 Governor’s Local Efficiency Grant, the system will save an estimated $2 million annually. An end point management system is a tool that centrally manages computers located in hundreds of buildings. It will automatically power off approximately 94,000 computers located in schools throughout Erie County. Increasingly, the audits from the state comptroller’s office have been focused on missed opportunities for efficiencies, such as energy use in school districts.

Rural, urban schools address medical needs with onsite centers On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Whether it’s time for a routine sports physical or a tetanus shot, a wheezing episode that could signal an asthma attack or a sore throat that might be a strep infection, Laurens Central School students don’t have to go far for medical attention. Help is just down the hall. “It’s quality health care right where the kids are,” Superintendent Romona Wenck says of the district’s School-Based Health Center. The Laurens School-Based Health Center (SBHC) is among 19 operated by the Cooperstown-based Bassett Healthcare Network., the state’s largest provider of school-based health care in rural communities. In all, there are 228 SBHCs throughout New York, with three-quarters of the centers operating in urban areas, according to the state Health Department. But the centers also are gaining recognition as a way to reach rural children who otherwise would lack regular access to physical health care and mental health treatment.

New York leads in SBHCs On Board Online • May 13, 2013

Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer New York leads the nation in the number of school-based health centers (SBHCs) and the amount state funding provided, according to a 2011 survey by the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care. Eighteen states have state-funded SBHCs, according to the survey. Leaders in 2011 were New York, which spent $21.76 million on 223 centers, Michigan, which spent $16.5 million on 72 centers, and Connecticut, which spent at least $10.7 million on 81 centers. New York ranked near the middle of the group on another measure, however, with just over 4 percent of all its public schools receiving state-directed money for SBHCs. New York has budgeted $17.7 million to support SBHCs in this fiscal year, said Health Department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond. That reflects a 5.575 percent cut, he said, and the sources include $9.8 million in state aid to localities and funding streams created by the federal Health Care Reform Act.

When students stress over exams, adults may need to look in mirror On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Merri Rosenberg Special Correspondent Harrison Strauss, a seventh grader with a strong academic record in the Lakeland Central School District, felt unnerved during the first day of state English Language Arts testing last month. He couldn’t finish the multiple choice questions. “There were questions I didn’t understand and vocabulary I didn’t know,” he said. No surprise there. Last month’s tests were the first based on new Common Core standards, which have yet to be fully incorporated into many districts’ curriculums. Ahead of those tests, stress levels in schools were high. “I’m seeing more anxiety kids on my caseload,” said Gale Zadoff, a seventh-grade guidance counselor in Lakeland. While the Common Core is a new twist, it’s not the primary cause of children’s nervousness, according to Zadoff and child psychologists contacted by On Board. They say adults need to look in the mirror.

How Greg got his groove back On Board Online • May 13, 2013

By Greg Ahlquist One winter day, a former student plunked himself down on a desk across from mine. “Mr. Ahlquist,” he said, “the history courses in college are a lot different than the social studies classes we took in high school.” That simple statement and the conversation that followed flung me into a professional crisis of conscience. I realized that my classes revolved around facts and minutia, rather than around my craft as a historian. There was a disconnect between my sincere desire to prepare my high school students for college and the actual work they did in my class. The road to resolving this crisis was multi-faceted. I want to simplify the storyline to two strands: implementing the Common Core State Standards and parallel changes in advanced placement curricula. With strong support from my school district, I have embarked on a new journey of learning and teaching. I first learned of the Common Core State Standards from our district’s director of social studies. I was intrigued by the emphasis on a close reading of the texts, using text-dependent questions and learning from primary sources. I began to teach with a different focus. The emphasis on a careful and close reading of a primary document was particularly liberating because it freed me to teach the skills of a historian, which I had grown to love in college and graduate school. This coincided wonderfully with the redesign of AP history courses. While grading AP World History exams at Colorado State University, I was elated to see a focus on “historical thinking skills.” When placed alongside the Core Standards, the two complimented each other perfectly. The path out of my crisis became clear.

Schools stay within tax cap; draw heavily on reserves FOR RELEASE: May 9, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Ninety-six percent of school districts are proposing tax levy increases at or below their tax levy limits in their upcoming budgets, according to an analysis of property tax report card data by the New York State School Boards Association. Overall, 641 districts are proposing budgets within their tax caps, while 28 are seeking to override their cap. “Crafting budgets this year was like walking a tightrope. Move too far in one direction and you cut too deeply into educational programs. Move too far in the other direction and you run the risk of exceeding your tax levy limit. Overall, school boards did an outstanding job of balancing the needs of students and taxpayers,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

NO NEW MANDATES! ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN May 9, 2013 NO NEW MANDATES! LET 2012 BE THE YEAR OF NO NEW MANDATES! Links: No New Mandates! Website No New Mandates! Webinar

Leaning in? Women superintendents making mark in public education On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Merri Rosenberg Special correspondent In a controversial bestseller, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says women need to “Lean In” to their careers. But several women who are prominent in educational leadership in New York State say their paths have been less a matter of “leaning in” – sometimes interpreted as putting career before family – than of being mentored up. Interviews with women administrators showed that many had paths that began in teaching. “For many in the ranks of teaching, having female mentors is an important part,” said Donna DeSiato, superintendent in East Syracuse Minoa. “It’s about balancing life and career, and making sure that you’re there for your own child and the children in your class.” Currently, about 30 percent of New York’s superintendents are women, according to the state Council of School Superintendents. Women represent nearly 54 percent of the membership of the School Administrators Association of New York State, which includes principals, assistant principals, supervisors and directors.

Regents mull writing requirement On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer New York’s high school students could be required to write a five-page research paper in order to earn a Regents diploma under a proposal being considered by the Board of Regents. High school students would need to cite a minimum of four sources for information included in the 1,250-word paper. Starting in January 2015, the writing project would be required before taking the new Common Core-aligned version of the English Language Arts Regents exam, which students typically take at the end of their junior year. Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz told Regents board members at their April meeting that the research paper is envisioned as an opportunity for students to show proficiency in Common Core writing standards and demonstrate college and career readiness in ways that cannot be measured in traditional exams because of time constraints.

Lessons from Boston On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director It’s hard to explain unthinkable evil acts to children. Yet for the second time in just four months, parents and educators find themselves having to discuss another horrific, high profile, despicable act of violence against innocent, unsuspecting people. When we learn about events such as the Newtown school shootings and now, the Boston Marathon bombings, our first impulse as parents and as educators is to shield children from the information. In many ways, we want our schools especially to be sanctuaries – a place where we can shut out the dangers in the world we live in. But children absorb what’s going on around them. They see news reports on television, read the headlines, and hear adults and other children talking. In some communities, unfortunately, this story in not unusual; violence is a daily occurrence, often linked to gangs, guns, drugs or other risks. Yet, none of our children anywhere lives in a cocoon, isolated from potential threats. While the difficult task of discussing tragic events falls first and foremost with parents, inevitably those topics of conversation crop up in the classroom. That puts educators in the fragile position of having to carefully explore difficult issues – matters of life and death, of good and evil – without traumatizing children who might be confused or scared. How does one respond to a child’s questions such as: “Could this happen in my school, or in my community? Why would someone do something like this? Did the police catch the person who did this? Why did the doctors have to amputate? My classmate is dead?”

State awaits round two of work by Cuomo’s ed reform panel On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission has set another ambitious agenda for the second phase of its work, but members have sent mixed signals about how likely they are to recommend substantial changes to the state’s system of funding schools. At NYSSBA’s Capital Conference in March, Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan, a member of the commission, said he believes the second report from the New NY Education Reform Commission will tackle “hard stuff including the (aid) formula.” School funding and the state’s complex aid formula are alluded to in a section titled “Looking Ahead” in the commission’s first report released in late December. A footnote to that discussion, however, cautions that among commission members, “opinions with respect to education funding vary greatly, whether it be that the state spends too much money, too little money or does not spend money on education efficiently. The commission will continue to explore these issues in greater detail.”

Under temporary court order, state aid flows to districts that missed APPR deadline On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Three upstate school districts that were supposed to lose state aid because they did not meet the state’s deadline for teacher and principal evaluation plans are receiving their money – at least for now. The districts are riding the coattails of a reprieve granted to New York City schools in a still-pending lawsuit that challenges the government’s authority to withhold state education aid because of a failure by school officials and union leaders to agree on an acceptable plan and submit it. The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of plaintiffs including several parents of New York City schoolchildren, contends that the aid penalty violates the constitutional right of students to “a meaningful opportunity for a sound basic education and to due process and equal protection of the laws.” “We have not lost any aid, and there is a question as to whether we will,” said Ivan Katz, superintendent of the Fallsburg Central School District in Sullivan County, which was at risk of losing just over $100,000 this spring. In February, Justice Manuel J. Mendez of state Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled that the state could not halt the flow of between $250 million and $260 million in school aid for New York City while awaiting a decision on the legality of the penalty.

NYS schools win green ribbons for environmental programs On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer Three New York schools have received national recognition as Green Ribbon Schools for their exemplary efforts to adopt environmentally responsible policies and practices. The honored schools include two public elementary schools, the Crompond School of the Yorktown Central School Disrtict in Westchester County and the P.S. 57 Hubert H. Humphrey School on Long Island. The third is the private Rye Country Day School in Westchester County. This is the second year of the national Green Ribbon program and the second year that multiple New York schools have been recognized.

NSBA final stop on 50-state tour of September 11 memorial flag On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief After touring all 50 states, the National 9/11 Flag made its final stop at National School Boards Association’s Annual Conference in San Diego. It will be on display in the National September 11 Memorial Museum when it opens in New York City. The tattered, soot-stained 30-foot-long flag was removed from a building across from the World Trade Center, and has been patched with other flags including threads from the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem and the flag that cradled President Abraham Lincoln’s head after he was shot at Ford’s Theater. In 2008, the New York Says Thank You Foundation began organizing events around the nation where citizens – particularly local service providers – added stitches. Jeff Parness, founder and chair of the foundation, told conference attendees that one stitch was sewn by a child whose father died in the terrorist attack while another was sewn by an Arkansas father whose son died in military service. NSBA’s conference, held in mid-April, was the last stop on a 50-state tour.

NSBA attorney explains legal advocacy On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief The National School Boards Association files more legal briefs in federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court than all other educational organizations combined, NSBA General Counsel Francisco Negrón said at NSBA’s 2013 Annual Conference. Other organizations seeking to influence the courts include familiar names, such as the American Federation of Teachers, and lower profile ones, such as the Council of Parent and Attorney Advocates, a disability rights group. But there is a newly aggressive voice in the courts: the U.S. departments of justice and education. Negrón said those agencies are filing briefs telling courts how they think laws ought to be interpreted in lawsuits involving bullying, students with disabilities and other topics. NSBA’s argument generally boils down to citing what the law actually says and asking courts not to interpret it in ways that will lead to new causes of action against school districts or expansion of conditions under which school boards can be liable for money damages. For instance, the U.S. Supreme Court may decide to hear a case involving the Jefferson County School District in Colorado that could expand the obligations of school districts to pay for out-of-state, residential treatment of students with certain diagnoses. The central issue is whether districts can be compelled to pay for services that NSBA contends are medical treatment rather than educational services.

Brand-building begins in the board room On Board Online • April 29, 2013

Does your school district have an image problem? If so, it probably doesn’t need a new slogan, a new logo or a new “look,” according to a trainer and a communications specialist from the New York State School Boards Association. What’s commonly needed is improvement in what happens at board meetings, they said at the National School Board’s Association’s Annual Conference in a session on “Building a Brand Image at Board Meetings.” A brand is not a logo or tagline, said Eric D. Randall, NYSSBA’s editor-in-chief. “A brand is a mental and emotional association,” he said. “It’s what people expect from a product or organization.” A good brand for a school board involves perceptions that the board really cares about students, listens to citizens and has a rational decision-making process, he said.

A breakdown of state school aid On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst School districts received an aid increase of nearly $1 billion for 2013-14 in the state’s recently enacted budget. But how was that aid distributed? NYSSBA analyzed the state aid runs published by the State Education Department to answer that question. Here are some key observations. Statewide overview Total formula aids increased by $936.6 million from 2012-13 to 2013-14. That represents an increase of 4.7 percent statewide. About 96 percent of districts received an increase in total aid, while 4 percent saw a decrease, mostly due to a drop in building aid. General purpose aids, or funding the state provides to school districts in advance, rose by 4.6 percent over their 2012-13 levels. Expense-based aids, or funding that is provided to school districts to cover the cost of prior expenditures such as transportation, special education, building aid, and BOCES, rose by 3.4 percent.

Career tech education shifts gears to target ever-changing job market On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By George Basler Special Correspondent James Lamb spends part of his school day learning how to confront some of the dark corners of the Internet. Along with 19 other students, the 18-year-old high school senior is studying topics ranging from hacker mentality to PIX firewall configuration as part of a new cyber security and networking program started this school year at Erie 1 BOCES. “This gives me the opportunity to pursue something specific that’s matched to my personal interests,” Lamb said. He’s also been exposed to job opportunities in the rapidly growing field. Erie 1 officials began the program after an advisory committee from area businesses asked the agency to expand its CISCO networking program into the area of cyber security to match the changing needs of business and industry, said Melody Jason, executive director of instructional programs at Erie 1 BOCES. The Erie County-based BOCES is far from alone. BOCES agencies across the state are developing new programs, or revising old ones, to meet employer demand and arm students with the skills they’ll need to land jobs in the new 21st century economy.

Keeping kids in school and out of court On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Linda Bakst Deputy Director of Policy Services On the same day that The New York Times ran a front page headline, “With police in schools, more children in court,” a summit meeting was held at Hofstra University in which experts said schools and the judiciary should do more to shut down the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline.” Stops on the pipeline are student discipline, suspension, dropping out and prison. Students suspended three or more times by 10th grade are five times more likely to drop out compared to peers with fewer or no suspensions. In addition, young adults (ages 16-24) who drop out of school are three times more likely to be incarcerated. The data also suggests disparate treatment, with children of color being subject to more frequent and more severe discipline. For instance, black students are suspended at rates two to three times higher than those for other students. The data don’t support the widely-held perception that black students earn a higher rate of exclusion by acting out more, according to Russell Skiba, a professor and director of the Equity Project at Indiana University. Another speaker at the Hofstra event, longtime civil rights activist Marion Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, called the school-to-prison pipeline one of the critical civil rights issues of our time.

Court annuls BOE’s appointment of president to staff position On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Senior Staff Attorney Residents of a school district have successfully challenged a school board’s decision to appoint its president to a civil service position effective at the end of his term on the board. Generally, a school board member is prohibited under the Education Law from simultaneously serving on the board and being an employee of the district. This prohibition has been interpreted by courts to mean that a person may not be a member of the board that appoints him or her to a position of employment. Exceptions involve the appointment of a school physician and the district clerk, in certain types of school districts. Neither of these exceptions applied in Fishman v. Board of Education of South Country Central School District, where the school board appointed its then-president, Gregory Miglino Jr., to a civil service position of Building Services Administrator, starting at the end of his term on the board.

Employers must use new federal I-9 form On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Kate Gaffney Senior Staff Attorney The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revised the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) which employers, including school districts, are required to use to verify a new employee’s ability to lawfully work in this country. The form is required for citizens and noncitizens. The form has been expanded from one page to two and has revised instructions. It includes additional data field requests on topics such as an employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable), telephone numbers and email addresses. The department says employers must begin using the revised form immediately, and that employers who use a prior version of the form after May 7, 2013 may be subject to penalties set forth in federal law.

Court upholds termination of bus driver for offenses related to prior responsibilities as senior bus driver On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Adam C. Hover Associate Counsel The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department, affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of a school district that dismissed a bus driver for incompetence and misconduct related to her prior supervisory and record-keeping responsibilities as a senior bus driver. In Matter of Thornton, the petitioner was found guilty of failing to maintain certain required certifications for the district’s bus drivers, which endangered the district’s eligibility for state aid and placed it at risk of other legal and financial consequences. She also jeopardized the safety of students by giving bus drivers advance notice of random drug and alcohol screenings.

District owed duty to student struck before boarding the school bus On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Adam C. Hover Associate Counsel The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Fourth Department, refused to dismiss a complaint against a school district following an accident in which a student was struck by a motorist as she tried to catch a school bus that had unintentionally drove past her. The student in Williams v Weatherstone and Jordan-Elbridge CSD had been waiting for the school bus at the end of her driveway. The bus driver unintentionally drove past her, then turned around and planned to turn again and pick her up on her side of the street. However, before the bus driver made the second turn the student crossed the street and was struck by a passing vehicle.

Board member with NCAA experience helps district develop Title IX tool On Board Online • April 29, 2013

By Lisa A. Johnson Special Correspondent One Western New York school district has developed a tool to ensure that its sports programs don’t foul out when it comes to Title IX regulations. The Honeoye Falls-Lima Board of Education has established the Title IX Self-Assessment Instrument to study its programs and determine if boys and girls are receiving equal opportunities. Dick Rasmussen, who has been vice president of the board of education for the past two years and a board member the past 11 years, spearheaded the initiative because he had experience working with Title IX compliance. For 26 years he has served as executive secretary of the University Athletic Association, which covers eight Division III schools and is hosted by the University of Rochester. He has served on several committees for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, including its chief governing council and the Committee on Women’s Athletics. While working with the Committee on Women’s Athletics in the late 1990s, Rasmussen created a spreadsheet that helped his conference track Title IX issues, and other schools in the NCAA adopted the spreadsheet for their own use. He introduced the tracking concept to his Honeoye Falls-Lima colleagues about nine years ago, and the district uses the instrument to evaluate its programs every four years.

Anne M. Byrne of Nanuet president-elect of the National School Boards Association FOR RELEASE: April 24, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Anne M. Byrne of Nanuet was elected president-elect of the National School Boards Association during NSBA’s annual conference in April in San Diego. The National School Boards Association represents state school boards association members and more than 90,000 local school board members, who lead 13,809 local school districts serving the nation's 50 million public school students. Byrne has been a member of the NSBA board since 2006. Byrne was president of the New York State School Boards Association from 2004-2005. She served as vice president in 2002-2003 and the Area 10 Director from 1997 to 2003, representing school boards in Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties. Byrne currently is president of the Nanuet School Board in Rockland County, where she has served since 1981. She was president and vice president of the Rockland County School Boards Association.

Reaction mixed to $1 billion aid increase On Board Online • April 15, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The $135.1 billion state budget passed late last month boosted school aid by some $936.6 million, a 4.7 percent in crease over last year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has touted the $21.2 billion school aid package as a transformational plan that offers “major education reforms and investments.” Noting education spending rose by nearly $1 billion, Cuomo highlighted initiatives such as:

Pension smoothing now an option On Board Online • April 15, 2013

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst While the recently enacted state budget boosts state aid for school districts by 4.7 percent, pensions for teachers are set to rise 4.41 percent, eating up much of that aid. However, a new state law will give school districts the option to pay the full amount of their pension obligations over a period of several years rather than in the year they are accrued. Here are questions and answers about the so-called “pension smoothing plan.” Q: What does pension smoothing do to the contribution rate? A: The new law would allow school districts and BOCES to voluntarily opt into a plan that would let them lock in a stable pension contribution rate over seven years, beginning with the 2013-14 plan year, rather than the normal annually calculated, actuariallyrequired contributions they otherwise would be required to pay. The flat rate would be 14 percent for at least the first two years. The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) is authorized to increase the stable contribution rate by up to two percentage points – to 16 percent – in years three and four, based on an evaluation of projected of assets and liabilities, to ensure that contributions are sufficient to fund benefits for active and retired members, and by another two percentage points beginning in year five. The stable contribution rate may not exceed 18 percent. The retirement board is authorized to decrease the stable contribution rate, if warranted, but in no event shall the stable contribution rate be less than 14 percent.

Testing prompts debate On Board Online • April 15, 2013

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President The word “testing” sparks a strong reaction from many educators and parents. I don’t know too many people – adults or students – who actually enjoy taking tests. \ Now, with New York’s adoption of the Common Core Learning Standards and a new annual professional performance review (APPR) system, standardized testing has become an everyday reality, like it or not. Schools are ramping up testing, beginning as early as this month, when students in grades 3-8 will take their first exams under the Common Core. Those exams will then be used to determine growth scores for teachers and principals under the state’s new evaluation system. Many educators and parents have voiced concerns over the fairness of the new assessments. They argue that teachers and students have not had adequate time to prepare for the tests, and that the material on the test has not yet been taught in the classroom. As a result, they say, it is too soon to evaluate both teachers and students based on the results of these tests. There are also those who oppose standardized tests in general, believing that they do not measure a student’s creativity and innovation.

Rural district’s plight reflects aid issues On Board Online • April 15, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer A 5.8 percent increase in state operating aid won’t be enough to spare the Canton Central School District from yet another year of painful cuts. The children who live in this birthplace of artist Frederic Remington already have lost advanced classes in painting and studio art, as well as sculpture. Also among the 38 curriculum offerings sliced in recent years are fourth grade chorus; seventh grade French, Spanish and Jazz Band; trigonometry; current events; personal finance; science and chemistry Olympiads and more. Canton shut down its fish farm, a unique signature program with Cornell Cooperative Extension that was a special point of pride.

Debut of tests linked to Common Core adds new wrinkle to assessment debate On Board Online • April 15, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer New state tests tied to the Common Core standards are triggering concern about a possible drop in scores and the implications for both students and teachers. Annual math and English language arts tests for students in grades 3-8 will be tied to the Common Core for the first time. The ELA tests are scheduled for April 16-18, and math tests are scheduled for April 24-26. State education officials are cautioning that – because the exams are intended to be more rigorous and because teachers and schools are still making the transition to curriculum, textbooks and teaching methods tailored to the national Common Core learning standards – test scores are likely to be lower.

Financial woes felt downstate On Board Online • April 15, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer School districts wrestling with huge budget gaps can be found everywhere in New York State, even in areas with humming regional economies and higher average income levels. Here are snapshots of three districts on Long Island. Baldwin: Reeling from Superstorm Sandy While the average operating aid increase for the 124 public school districts on Long Island is 5.28 percent, according to a Newsday analysis, the increase for Baldwin, a Nassau County district on the south shore, is 1.72 percent. “It’s going to help us in a very small way,” Baldwin school board President Kim Taylor told Newsday, “but we are still facing huge financial strains.”

Online assessments drive need for more bandwidth in districts On Board Online • April 15, 2013

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Picture a student sitting down at a computer to take her first Common Core online assessment in American History when the computer crashes. It happened in Florida last year, according to a posting on Diane Ravitch’s blog. “It was a colossal waste of time,” said a parent whose child was in the class. What was the culprit? Insufficient bandwidth. Bandwidth – the amount of connectivity needed to run online programs – is important because, upon Regents approval, online assessments will begin in New York school districts in the 2014-15 school year. So schools will need to have enough bandwidth to support the tests.

Courts reach different conclusions on paid leave for religious holidays On Board Online • April 15, 2013

By Kate Gaffney Senior Staff Attorney Are provisions in a collective bargaining agreement that allow staff to take paid leave for religious observances constitutionally valid? To date, three different courts in New York have addressed this issue. One state appellate court has ruled that such provisions violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the separation of church and state. However, another state appellate court and a federal district court have ruled differently on specific collective bargaining agreements. The two most recent decisions, issued last month, came from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Second Department. In Berkowitz v. East Ramapo CSD, the Southern District reviewed separate contractual provisions that allowed teachers and school nurses to use paid sick leave for absences related to religious observances. Other employees enjoyed the same benefit but pursuant to a standing practice that accommodated their religious beliefs. The teachers and nurses commenced litigation after the district decided to no longer allow such use. The district based its decision on a 2000 case called Port Washington UFSD v. Port Washington Teachers Ass’n, where the Second Department found unconstitutional a contractual provision that allowed teachers to get paid for days off taken to observe certain religious holidays. Those holidays used to be designated by the commissioner of education but are no longer.

Common Core is worth the stress of change On Board Online • April 15, 2013

This month, for the first time, students in grades 3-8 will take assessments that reflect Common Core State Standards. Next year, in 2013-14, the Regents exams will also begin to reflect the Common Core. Our state’s preparation for these and other changes began three years ago. In the fall of 2009 and early winter 2010, the Board of Regents created its Reform Agenda with the goal of having all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in college and careers. One of the pillars of that agenda has been a shift to Common Core standards, which require students to read more challenging texts, better support their arguments with evidence drawn from text, write from sources, apply their math skills to real-world problems and achieve deep conceptual understanding of the most important math concepts of each grade.

STATE BUDGET UPDATED ANALYSIS – ADVOCACY ALERT April 1, 2013 STATE BUDGET UPDATE TRS STABLE CONTRIBUTION OPTION FACTS Link To: Stable Option Facts SCHOOL AID INCREASE AVERAGES OVER 5% BY COUNTY NYSSBA ANALYSIS BY COUNTY, REGION, NEED AND AID CATEGORY FORMULA AIDS Total State Aid Foundation Aid Gap Elimination Adjustment High Tax Aid STATE AID BY REGION (WITHOUT BUILDING AID) STATE AID BY NEED AND RESOURCE CAPACITY (WITHOUT BUILDING AID) APPENDIX A. DISTRICTS THAT DID NOT RECEIVE AN INCREASE (WITH BUILDING AID) APPENDIX B. DISTRICTS THAT DID NOT RECEIVE AN INCREASE (WITHOUT BUILDING AID) NYSSBA’S STATEMENT ON THE STATE BUDGET Links to Tim Kremer’s video explanations of state aid YNN Budget Breakdown Interview Public Radio Budget Interview

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on the 2013-14 State Budget FOR RELEASE: March 28, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The state budget passed by the Senate and now being deliberated by the Assembly provides over $1 billion in total state aid to school districts. It will be the third on-time budget in a row, which is helpful to school districts working to add clarity to local budget deliberations. Our preliminary analysis shows that this budget begins to recognize school districts’ actual fiscal circumstances and their communities’ ability to pay. It provides increases in every aid category while giving districts flexibility and restores a large portion of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). It continues the predictability of two-year funding and does not shift any new costs to districts. The budget also:

A GLASS HALF FULL STATE BUDGET EDUCATION CHANGES FOR 2013-2014 March 27, 2013 A GLASS HALF FULL – STATE BUDGET EDUCATION CHANGES FOR 2013-14 Link To: State Aid Runs STATE BUDGET EDUCATION CHANGES EDUCATION AID EXPLANATIONS BY CATEGORY INNOVATION COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDING MANDATE RELIEF FREE STATE BUDGET WEBINAR FOR NYSSBA MEMBERS TOMORROW

INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL DISTRICT AID RUNS - ADVOCACY ALERT March 26, 2013 INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL DISTRICT STATE AID CALCULATIONS Link To: State Aid Runs

EDUCATION BUDGET BILL – ADVOCACY ALERT March 25, 2013 STATE BUDGET EDUCATION BILL LANGUAGE RELEASED

Cost of APPR evals exceed RTTT $ On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By David Albert Director of Communications and Research School districts outside the state’s five largest cities expect to spend an average of $155,355 to implement the state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system this year, based on an analysis of 80 districts that submitted cost data to NYSSBA. Those one-year costs are nearly $55,000 more than the average four-year federal grant awarded to New York school districts to implement the program. Implementation costs for APPR in the 80 school districts analyzed by NYSSBA ranged from a low of $15,500 to a high of $626,583.

No white smoke on budget On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer As On Board went to press on March 20, state leaders were pulling back the curtain on closed-door discussions about, well, almost anything except the state budget they were negotiating. A hike in the minimum wage. Alterations to ammunition magazine restrictions in the recently-passed SAFE Act. Legalization of mixed martial arts fighting. Those policy issues – and many more – were being discussed, according to the governor and legislative leaders, in the days leading up to their self-imposed early deadline of Thursday, March 21. But nothing definitive was being revealed about the nitty-gritty details of a final school aid package or other substantive aspects of a spending plan for the 2013-14 fiscal year that starts April 1. As a result, it was anyone’s guess whether agreements would be nailed down in time to print budget bills, allow the constitutionallyrequired three-day aging period to elapse, and debate and pass the bills in both houses in time for the Monday, March 25, start of Passover observances. Talk was circulating that legislators might be sent home for Passover and return to vote on the budget before breaking again for Easter.

Communities need to know On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director Few actions in Albany affect your schools more than the state budget. As this issue of On Board goes to press, details of the state’s 2013-14 spending plan were still being negotiated by legislative leaders. On the table is an additional $290 million increase in education aid above the governor’s budget, though the leaders are still hammering out details including the sources of those funds and how they are distributed. It appears pretty certain that schools will receive a state aid increase in the 2013-14 school year. But as I visit school districts around the state and follow the development of school budget proposals, I can’t help but worry if whatever is added will be too little, too late for some districts. The Binghamton school district anticipates shedding almost 55 jobs; Syracuse could lose 97. The Potsdam school district is looking at eliminating 12 positions, and Elmira 29 classroom positions. New Rochelle is planning 56 job cuts, 33 of whom are teachers. Schools are cutting sports programs and music classes, digging deeply into reserve funds and negotiating employee concessions. Elementary class sizes are reaching into the upper 20s, reducing opportunities for teachers to provide more focused attention on students.

Group questions efficiency of grants as millions remain in state treasury On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Only about a third of the $50 million in state education funding set aside for distribution through competitive grants this year actually was awarded, and a respected non-partisan fiscal watchdog group that analyzed the program says other strategies for allocating the money would likely be more effective. The 2012-13 state budget included $25 million to reward districts that saved money through management efficiencies and $25 million for districts that showed the greatest success improving student performance. However, the state awarded just $7.1 million in efficiency grants to 16 of the districts that applied for them and just $10.2 million in performance improvement grants to 24 districts. There are close to 700 local school districts in the state.

Efficiency grant winners On Board Online • March 25, 2013

Twelve school districts have been selected to share $9 million in competitive grants, which will be distributed over three years, in recognition of cost-saving management efficiencies they have identified, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The districts, their grant amounts, expected savings and efficiency measures are:

Be transparent, clear and direct On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By David Albert Director of Communications and Research Fourth in a five-part series. Right now, during budget workshops across the state, school leaders are explaining sizable budget deficits to their communities. They’re also seeking input on crucial decisions they must make regarding how high to raise taxes and what programs they should cut. No matter what they do, someone will disagree with their decision. Cutting the budget too deeply will result in reduced opportunities for students, as well as employee layoffs. That would upset parents, students and employees. On the other hand, not trimming enough expenses could result in a budget that exceeds the tax levy limit and requires a supermajority for voter approval. That might anger taxpayers. So how do you make everyone happy?

GED exam to be replaced by SED On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer The GED exam familiar to generations of New Yorkers who sought a High School Equivalency Diploma will be replaced by a new test, beginning in 2014. State Education Department officials selected CTB/McGraw-Hill of Monterey, Calif., a part of McGraw-Hill Education, to develop the new test to replace the GED (General Educational Development) exam. CTB, founded in 1926 as the Research Service Company, was known for many years as California Test Bureau. The new test will be called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).

Average cost of GEA to date: $13 million per school district On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst New York’s gap elimination adjustment may be one of the most reviled provisions of the state’s school aid formula. But what is it exactly, and how has it impacted school districts across the state? The Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, was first enacted by the Legislature for the 2009-10 school year under its original name – the Deficit Reduction Assessment. In 2011-12, the GEA was made a permanent part of state aid allocations. Its purpose was to reduce state support to public schools in order to help close the state’s budget gap. In a process that has become an annual ritual, the state budget allocates aid to school districts, then takes away a portion of that aid through the GEA. If the amount of state aid that flows to schools exceeds the projected growth in the state’s personal income growth, the GEA is increased. This serves to contain overall growth within legislated limits. If programmed state aid increases are less than the limit established by the growth in the state’s personal income, the Legislature may enact provisions to allocate the remaining amount by lowering the GEA. Generally, unless the Legislature and governor enact a provision, the GEA continues at the previous year’s levels.

State aid focus of Capital Conference On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Lynn Lillian, a school board member from Warwick Valley, Orange County, thinks the terms we often use when discussing New York’s school funding system are too divisive. “When will we stop talking about ‘low-need,’ ‘high-need,’ ‘average-need,’ when the real conversation needs to be that education is not being funded adequately in any district in the state?” she asked. Lillian liked the way a number of presenters framed the issue at NYSSBA’s Capital Conference in Albany, though. That included a call for a new starting point for discussions about school funding from attorney Michael Rebell, a member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform commission. Rather than starting by setting dollar amounts or altering a formula, he said, the first emphasis should be on determining what it takes to provide the “sound basic education” required by New York’s Constitution. Then, Rebell said, leaders can decide how to distribute the cash necessary to do that for every child in the state.

Safety experts say guns aren’t core issue On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer School safety is about a lot more than keeping armed intruders out. In a day-long kickoff to NYSSBA’s Capital Conference, school board members heard experts in mental health and law enforcement talk about some of the less-obvious elements of an effective strategy. Those steps include providing access to mental health services, enacting up-to-date safety plans, practicing drills with staff and students, creating a supportive environment for social and emotional learning, offering proper training across the staff and establishing strong working relationships with local police agencies. Keynote speaker Gil Noam, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who directs the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR), drew applause when he called for a shift in focus to concentrate more on identifying children struggling with potential mental health issues early, as well as improving the process for later-stage interventions.

Oceanside’s Maryanne Lehrer honored as NYSSBA Advocate of the Year On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Barbara Bradley Deputy director of Communications and research Maryanne Lehrer, a 36-year member of the Oceanside Board of Education, has been named NYSSBA’s Advocate of the Year.

Kolb, Little receive NYSSBA leadership awards On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Barbara Bradley Deputy director of Communications and research Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) and state Sen. Betty Little (R-Glens Falls) received awards from NYSSBA at the Capital Conference on March 10. Kolb is Assembly Leader of the Year and Little is Senate Leader of the Year. Kolb was chosen for his commitment to improving the quality of education and mandate relief, according to Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

PERB: Past practice trumps ethics code On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Adam Hover Associate Counsel A state appellate court recently upheld an order from the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) requiring a town to continue a long-standing practice permitting staff to have 24-hour access to town-owned vehicles under certain specified conditions. Although the case did not involve a school district, it is still instructive to the extent that districts may have policies and practices in place regarding the use of district-owned vehicles and other property. In Town of Islip v. New York State Public Employment Relations Board, the town had a policy that authorized the permanent assignment of a town car to staff whose position required them “to be on call 24 hours a day.” The policy also authorized the temporary assignment of town vehicles for official use upon approval by the town supervisor. However, for at least 15 years, vehicles were permanently assigned to staff that were not on call 24 hours a day and not solely used in their official capacity.

After 12 years, SED removes curtain from extraordinary mural On Board Online • March 25, 2013

By Eric D. Randall and Cathy Woodruff After a dozen years of obscurity in the State Education Building, an impressive 18-by-30-foot mural called “The Genius of America” is back on display. Among dozens of figures depicted are: Classical female figures in flowing robes representing the republic and its original states. A muscular figure reclining next to a cannon and extinguishing a torch apparently symbolizing the Civil War. Spirits of the Founding Fathers rising from their crypts. European immigrants. Cherubs representing fields of academia and education. The term “genius” in the title stems from an ancient Roman usage, meaning the divine nature of every person, place and thing, according to an interpretive brochure. Until recently, the imposing mural was hidden behind a large curtain in an auditorium called Chancellor’s Hall. Some African-American employees had complained about an image in the lower right of the painting that appears to show a black slave wearing a loin cloth being lifted from bondage by a white man, and former Commissioner of Education Richard Mills had staff cover it with a curtain beginning in 1980. After learning of the mural last year and viewing it, Commissioner John B. King Jr., the state’s first African-American education commissioner, endorsed and participated in bringing the unique piece of art back to public display.

Statement from New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy Kremer on State Budget Negotiations FOR RELEASE: March 22, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards School boards welcome the $1 billion increase in education spending in the state budget as well as the separate investments in innovations such as extended learning, early college programs, community schools, full-day prekindergarten, and teacher stipends. As lawmakers now hammer out the fine details, we urge them to take the following actions to help schools deal with looming budget deficits:

GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATIVE LEADERSOUTLINE AGREEMENT ON 2013-14 BUDGET March 21, 2013 GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATIVE LEADERS OUTLINE AGREEMENT ON 2013-14 BUDGET EDUCATION INVESTMENT AND INNOVATION OTHER BUDGET ACTIONS STAY TUNED CAPITAL CONFERENCE EVALUATIONS AVAILABLE ON LINE Link To: Evaluation Form

CALL TO ACTION ON BUILDING AID INTEREST RATE RECALCULATION March 18, 2013 CALL TO ACTION ON BUILDING AID INTEREST RATE RECALCULATION Link To: Affected School Districts and Amounts Contact Information for your Assembly member IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COMMON CORE LEARNING STANDARDS Link To: Implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards 2013 RESOLUTION KIT Link To: NYSSBA’s 2013 Resolution Kit

New School Boards Association Report on School Safety Focuses on Mental Health FOR RELEASE: March 15, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Greater access to mental health resources for students can help prevent tragedies, according to a report issued today by the New York State School Boards Association. “While tougher gun control laws and police officers in schools may help improve safety in the short-term, we must address the mental health and social well-being of students in order to reduce school violence in the long-term,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

LEGISLATIVE BUDGET PROPOSALS March 12, 2013 FIRST CAPITAL CONFERENCE RAISES THE BAR Link To: Capital Conference Survey STATE BUDGET COMPARISONS Link To: Assembly Press Release Assembly Proposal Senate Resolution Chart Illustrating How Each Part Addresses The Major Issues Under Negotiation

NYSSBA Report Tackles School Violence

NYSSBA Report Tackles School Violence Focus on Mental Health in Schools Will tougher gun control laws and police officers in schools help improve safety – or must schools also address the mental health and social well-being of students in order to reduce school violence in the long term? That question is answered in NYSSBA’s new report, “Tending to Our Youth.” The report recommends specific actions that school districts can take to increase school safety, including ways to identify possible warning signs of students at-risk and provide support to students who do not feel that they belong in the school community. Full Report (8 pages - 884 KB)

NYSSBA names Assembly Minority Leader Kolb ‘State Leader of the Year’ FOR RELEASE: March 11, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R, C, I-Canandaigua) has been named the Assembly Leader of the Year by the New York State School Boards Association. The award was presented to Kolb at the Association’s Capital Conference at the Albany Hilton (formerly Hotel Albany) on March 10. Assembly Minority Leader Kolb was chosen by the Association for his commitment to improving the quality of education and mandate relief. He introduced the NYSSBA Playbook for Fiscal Reform during the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions. Two of the proposals – Tier VI pension reform and cooperative purchasing – have already been enacted.

NYSSBA names Sen. Betty Little ‘State Leader of the Year’ FOR RELEASE: March 11, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards State Sen. Betty Little (R, C, I-Glens Falls) has been named the Senate Leader of the Year by the New York State School Boards Association. The award was presented to Senator Little at the Association’s Capital Conference at the Albany Hilton (formerly Hotel Albany) on March 10. In choosing her for the award, NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer called Senator Little a true champion of education and a leading voice for high-need and rural school districts.

Maryanne Lehrer of Oceanside honored as NYSSBA Advocate of the Year_copy FOR RELEASE: March 11, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Maryanne Lehrer of the Oceanside Board of Education has been named Advocate of the Year by the New York State School Boards Association for her longstanding dedication to public education and her tireless efforts on behalf of students. The award was presented to Lehrer at the Association’s Capital Conference at the Albany Hilton (formerly Hotel Albany) on March 10. Lehrer has served on the board for 36 years. For 35 years she has advocated on behalf of New York public schools at the federal level as a member of the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network. She has also been a decades-long State Legislative Network member “who could be relied upon to eloquently and resolutely deliver NYSSBA’s legislative priorities to our local Senators and Assembly members,” according her colleagues at the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association.

It’s a good time to be a consultant On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By George Basler Special Correspondent Implementing the new Common Core standards is a major undertaking, and officials in the Hamilton Central School District felt they needed some outside help. So for the past several years, the 600-student Madison County district has spent $25,000 to $40,000 annually for consultants who have provided staff training and curriculum mapping assistance. “It has made the transition to the Common Core almost seamless. Our teachers were ready for the changes in teaching methods and curriculum,” Superintendent Diana Bowers said. Hamilton isn’t alone in seeking outside expertise. A recent survey by Education Week’s EPE Research Center found 34 percent of responding teachers had received some of their Common Core training from consultants and independent providers. “Being an educational consultant is a wonderful way to make a living right now,” said Kate Gerson, a senior fellow specializing in the Common Core for the State Education Department (SED). “Everybody wants to know if this is the real deal. And what do I have to do to make it work.”

Preaching the gospel of FAFSA On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Merri Rosenberg Special Correspondent What good is it to be college-ready if you can’t pay the tuition? According to the Princeton Review, public colleges, including room and board, cost $19,500 for the 2011-2012 academic year. Private colleges, on average, cost $54,200. That’s why guidance counselors across the state and nation are talking up FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Gerry Battista, a school counselor at the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES Tech Center, routinely visits classes to explain how students can obtain a personal information number that they need to fill out and complete the FAFSA form. She enthusiastically distributes handouts about financial aid.

Too important to fail On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President Successful school board leadership requires many skills - the ability to identify and cultivate talent, to think three steps ahead on any initiative, and to motivate others to achieve success. But among the most important - and often unheralded - role of school board leaders is to be positive, even in the face of what seem insurmountable challenges. I know that’s not always easy, especially right now. Schools are really being squeezed from all angles - a property tax levy cap, inequities in state aid, cuts caused by federal sequestration, a state aid cap, and of course the financial equivalent of a knock-out punch: the Gap Elimination Adjustment. On top of that, many of us are suffering from “initiative fatigue” - the feeling of running out of energy for large-scale changes, despite their merits. From Race to the Top, to the Regents Reform Agenda, to Common Core Learning Standards, schools are rapidly implementing substantial changes in the way we evaluate teachers, measure student success, and even what we teach in the classroom. Nevertheless, we should not lose sight of our progress. Here are some things to feel good about with regard to education in New York State.

School librarians valuable behind scenes as schools adopt Common Core standards On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Jim Belair There is much more to today’s school librarian than the stereotypical image of a person who only circulates books and says, “Shhhh.” While school librarians have always supported students, today’s librarian has an equally important role in supporting faculty. Educators are often stressed - if not overwhelmed – by new tasks associated with Race to the Top and the Regents’ reform agenda. School librarians can help their colleagues meet these objectives and fulfill the overall goal of improving student achievement. Being “college- and career-ready” invariably means having good information skills. As anyone who performs Internet searches knows, finding information is not difficult; the challenge is being able to distinguish high quality information from less reliable sources. School librarians are experts in teaching students these skills and can collaborate with content area teachers to incorporate them into their lessons. It is not surprising that, according to multiple research studies, students in schools with certified librarians have higher test scores than those in schools that lack librarians. Librarians are particularly valuable as schools modify curriculums to reflect Common Core standards. Librarians in New York are strong supporters of the Common Core because it challenges students to think independently and do their own research. At the heart of the standards is precisely what school librarians have always done: Teach students how to read, work with technology, form research questions, locate information, analyze it and synthesize ideas.

NYS librarians endorse approach to address Common Core skills On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Jim Belair Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES School librarians in New York State have a new resource to help them collaborate with content area teachers at every grade level to ensure students become independent readers and learners. Almost all of the school library systems in the state have endorsed the “Empire State Information Fluency Continuum” (IFC), a document that identifies information skills aligned to Common Core standards at every grade level.

New media present opportunities for connected learning On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst There are some pretty awesome learning spaces for adolescents out there. One is YouLit, an online literary magazine developed by the Chicago Public Library and the Digital Youth Network. The latest issue, available at http://youlitmag.tumblr.com/, is an homage to science fiction writer Neil Gaiman. The issue showcases teen art, photography and storytelling influenced by Gaiman’s novel Neverwere. The library-sponsored site is designed to provide a forum for teens to express themselves, connect with others interested in their work and mesh their interests with academic and career goals. Educators have a name for this. It’s called “connected learning.” It describes educationally valuable learning that helps kids get careerready that takes place both in and out of school as students pursue and share their interests with peers. It’s called “connected” because it combats the lack of connection that many teens experience among their activities that involve their peers, their interests and their education. Members of a group of university researchers called the Connected Learning Research Network, say in a new report, Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design, that new media, when used appropriately, can motivate and create opportunities for disenfranchised youth thereby increasing equity in education. The report notes that unemployment rates of youth ages 16-24 are highest among blacks. “In an environment where good jobs are scarce and traditional career pathways serve a shrinking and privileged minority, optimizing existing educational pathways, assessments, and accountability systems will not serve an equity agenda on its own,” according to the report.

Second Circuit adopts new standard for employer liability in harassment cases On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Kate Gaffney Senior Staff Attorney For the first time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, with jurisdiction over New York, has adopted standards for holding employers responsible – and liable – for harassing conduct by non-employees. Summa v. Hofstra University, et. al. involved the harassment of a female graduate student by members of the football team during her employment as a team manager. The standards adopted in Summa mirror those previously adopted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for imputing employer liability in cases involving harassment by non-supervisory co-workers, except that the Second Circuit will also consider “the extent of the employer’s control and any other legal responsibility which the employer may have with respect to the conduct of such non-employees.” Pursuant to the new standards, employer liability for harassment attributable to non-employees will depend on the employer’s own negligence. To prevail, plaintiffs must demonstrate that the employer:

School district residency policy upheld On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Senior Staff Attorney In the Niagara Falls City School District, employees are required to sign documents acknowledging that personnel are required to be residents of the school district within a year after appointment and throughout their subsequent employment. New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, has upheld the district’s ability to enforce this requirement. In Beck-Nichols v. Bianco, three employees who were terminated based on residency challenged the policy’s implementation and sought reinstatement. The Court of Appeals has previously ruled that a residency policy for municipal workers serves a legitimate purpose and encourages “commitment and involvement with the government that employs them.” In this case, the court upheld the termination of two of the employees – one of whom was tenured – but remitted the case of the third employee to the lower court for further findings.

District not required to shuffle schedules when reducing offerings On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Kate Gaffney Senior Staff Attorney A state appellate court has ruled that a school district has no obligation to shuffle teacher schedules during an abolition or consolidation of positions when this would result in the assignment of a teacher to teach a subject in which he or she is certified but admittedly incompetent to teach. Seney v. Board of Education of the East Greenbush Central School District involved cuts in the district’s Spanish and French programs. Generally, districts abolishing or consolidating teaching positions must dismiss the teacher having the least seniority within the tenure area of the position being discontinued. As part of that process, schools must determine whether it is possible to make adjustments to schedules and “shuffle” teachers to retain the services of a teacher within his or her area of certification, and proceed to do so, unless the proposed schedules are “not educationally or financially feasible.”

Are ‘Holt’ letters a form of discipline? On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys For years, school districts have been issuing counseling letters to instructional and non-instructional staff members whose conduct fails to conform to expectations but does not necessarily warrant suspension, termination, or other such discipline. This widespread practice has been fundamental in allowing districts to address personnel issues without resorting to the costly and protracted procedures required by section 3020-a of the Education Law, section 75 of the Civil Service Law or contract procedures. A recent decision from New York State’s highest court, however, casts doubt on the extent to which such letters – commonly called “Holt” letters – can be used. In D’Angelo v. Scoppetta, New York City firefighter Michael D’Angelo received a letter from assistant commissioner of the Fire Department advising him that he had engaged in unprofessional conduct by denigrating an EMT with a racial epithet. The letter informed him that he would be receiving additional training from the department’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office and was placed in his personnel file. D’Angelo subsequently challenged the department’s determination, arguing that its actions were disciplinary in nature and that he was entitled to a formal hearing.

Discrimination case shows need for district record-keeping On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys A recent employment discrimination lawsuit with an unusual fact pattern illustrates the need for all school districts to have well-trained hiring committees and to carefully document all aspects of their hiring process. The case was brought by a person who had been a school board member but resigned from the board to apply for the position of superintendent of schools. Twenty-three candidates applied for the position, and the board decided to interview six (three male and three female), including the plaintiff, an African-American woman. Besides the board, a group of district residents and a group of district employees also interviewed the candidates. The community group and the employee group both rated the plaintiff the lowest of the six. The three candidates with the highest composite scores from the community and employee groups were named as finalists. Two were male and one was female. The board selected one finalist, a white male, as the superintendent. The plaintiff then was reelected to the board and served for a year and a half, until she moved outside the district.

Immigration reform – a critical priority for New York On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Merryl Tisch Chancellor, Board of Regents President Obama has made immigration reform a priority for his second term, and Congress appears ready to move forward on the issue. But while we’re waiting for Congress to act, there’s something New York’s Legislature should do now for our undocumented public school children: ensure they have access to higher education. It’s estimated that approximately 120,000 K-12 public school students in New York do not have legal status. These New Yorkers were brought to the U.S. as newborns or toddlers or very young students. Current state law prohibits such students from receiving state financial aid for college. Denying them that aid essentially denies them access to higher education. The Education Equity for DREAMers Act – a Regents legislative priority – will give undocumented students the opportunity to access higher education. The legislation would remove barriers that prevent undocumented students from receiving general financial awards, academic performance awards and student loans, including TAP.

A Closer Look at Model Teacher Evaluation Plans_copy

A Closer Look at Model Teacher Evaluation Plans Gov. Andrew Cuomo has again proposed linking school aid increases to approval of Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans. Full Report (5 pages - 326 KB)

Cost of teacher and principal evaluation system outpaces funding, NYSSBA study finds FOR RELEASE: March 7, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards School districts outside the state’s five largest cities expect to spend an average of $155,355 to implement the state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system this year, based on an analysis of 80 districts that submitted cost data to NYSSBA. Those one-year costs are nearly $55,000 more than the average four-year federal grant awarded to New York school districts to implement the program. “School boards have long supported the goals of the new teacher and principal evaluation system as a way to improve student achievement,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “Our analysis, however, shows that the cost of this state initiative falls heavily on school districts. This seriously jeopardizes school districts’ ability to meet other state and federal requirements and properly serve students.” In 2010, the federal government awarded New York State $697 million in Race to the Top grant funds. About half of the funding will go to local school districts over four years to implement the state’s new Annual Professional Performance Review system (APPR), as well as other initiatives. Yet the average Race to the Top grant of $100,670 (excluding the “Big Five” city school districts) falls $54,685 short of school districts’ average implementation costs, according to NYSSBA’s analysis.

Desperate times call for disparate numbers On Board Online • March 11, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer When Schenectady Superintendent Laurence Spring meets with community groups, he lets the numbers do a lot of the talking. 54 percent. That’s the portion of full annual state aid mandated by a 2007 law that his district’s schools actually receive. $62 million. That’s how much money the district loses out on every year because of the diminished aid. (The money would equal nearly 40 percent of the district’s $156 million annual budget.) $9.5 million. That’s the gap between expected revenue and expected costs district leaders need to close in the next annual budget. Spring estimates he has shared these numbers, and more, in about two dozen talks since Thanksgiving with neighborhood associations, business and civic organizations and other groups. At a recent forum at a Schenectady church, questions continued beyond the allotted time. “It’s okay,” Spring said. “I could talk about this stuff forever.” While public relations professionals generally advise school officials to avoid overwhelming the public with number-heavy presentations, Spring and other superintendents say times have changed. Urban schools and other have-not districts have a compelling story to tell about being grossly underfunded. A state plan to improve funding equity statewide has been shelved for four years. The pubic needs to understand this, Spring said. “Without really being aware of these numbers, I think it’s hard to realize just how outraged we should be,” Spring said in an interview with On Board.

Punk music-loving board member is still ‘Jamming’ after all these years On Board Online • March 11, 2013

My other side Editor’s note: School board members tend to be passionate about their interests. In this occasional feature, board members tell On Board about their “other side.” Name: Tony Fletcher Age: 48 School District: Onteora Central School District, Ulster County School Board Tenure: Four years His Other Side: Author, blogger, music journalist By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer In the 1970s, Tony Fletcher was a London teenager captivated by punk rock and the counterculture bands that defined the genre. While still in school, he even created a fan magazine he called Jamming in honor of one of those groups, The Jam. Now a 48-year-old married father of two sons and the vice president of the Onteora school board in Ulster County, Fletcher is still writing about rock. With the same enthusiasm for the subject that he had as a teen, he makes his living as a music journalist and biographer. He also has a personal website and blog called iJamming! Fletcher’s latest book, A Light that Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths, was published in December in the U.S. by Crown Archetype, an affiliate of Random House, and in the U.K. by another Random House affiliate, William Heineman. The timing could hardly have been better. The book on the 1980s band is arriving just as U.S. interest in the Smiths seems to be reviving. The group’s highly-regarded guitarist, Johnny Marr, recently was honored as a “Godlike Genius” by the British music magazine NME and is releasing his first solo album, “The Messenger.”

WHATCHA DOING THIS WEEKEND? CONFERENCE PREVIEW March 7, 2013 WHATCHA DOING THIS WEEKEND? Link to: Capital Conference Agenda and Advocacy Materials IMPACT OF SEQUESTRATION Link To: Your School’s Cuts REMINDER TO TURN YOUR CLOCK AHEAD

MEDIA ADVISORY and PHOTO OPPORTUNITY FOR RELEASE: March 6, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards #capconf13 Who: Approximately 200 school board members, state education officials and elected leaders What: NYSSBA Capital Conference When: Sunday, March 10, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Where: Hilton (Hotel Albany), 40 Lodge Street, Albany NY National education attorney Michael Rebell – who maintains that withholding of state aid to schools over their teacher evaluation plans deprives students of their constitutional rights to a sound basic education – will headline the New York State School Boards Association’s Capital Conference.

MEDIA ADVISORY and PHOTO OPPORTUNITY FOR RELEASE: March 5, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards #safeschools Law enforcement officials, school counselors and school board members will be on hand to outline ways school districts can prevent violence at the New York State School Boards Association’s “Safe Schools, Safe Students” conference.

NYSSBA Poll shows support for state APPR plan, minimum wage hike FOR RELEASE: March 1, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards As lawmakers contemplate whether to impose a teacher and principal evaluation system in New York City, 57 percent of school board members who responded to a recent poll think the state should impose such a system on school districts across the state that do not come to agreement by the deadline. “School board members recognize the importance of having an effective evaluation system in place for teachers and principals,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “At the same time, they know full well the challenges involved in negotiating evaluation plans and believe there should be some default mechanism in place for districts that do not reach agreement.” More than one-third (35 percent) of respondents said the state should not impose its own evaluation system, while 8 percent were not sure.

SUNY NANOCOLLEGE AND SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION PARTNER TO RECOGNIZE INNOVATIVE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS ACROSS THE STATE For Release: Immediate Contact: David Albert, Director of Communications and Research, NYSSBA (518) 783-3716 - [email protected] Steve Janack, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, CNSE (518) 956-7322 - [email protected] Albany, NY – In accordance with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vision and strategy for building a world-class nanotechnology workforce in New York, the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) today announced that nominations will be accepted starting March 1 for the second annual “Be the Change for Kids Innovation Awards,” which recognize educational programs that help students gain important 21st century learning and career skills. “In supporting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pioneering model for educational opportunity and economic growth, the SUNY NanoCollege is delighted to again partner with NYSSBA to showcase innovative programs that prepare students for our growing nanotechnologyenabled society,” said CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Dr. Alain Kaloyeros. “We look forward to recognizing the outstanding efforts of school districts across the state in thinking ‘outside the box’ as they develop and deliver next-generation STEM education and training.” “We are excited to join forces with CNSE for the second year on this great program, and we encourage school districts from around the state to showcase their innovative educational programs and apply for an award,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “Last year, we had a great turnout of innovative entries from schools at all levels and we expect similar results this year.”

MEDICAID VICTORY, GEA OPPORTUNITY - ADVOCACY ALERT February 15, 2013 ONE-TIME PARENTAL CONSENT FOR KIDS’ IDEA BENEFITS Links: Unofficial Copy of the New Regulations One-Page Summary Questions & Answer GEA ELIMINATION SOLUTION THE REGENTS REVIEW

Educators feel ‘initiative fatigue’ On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Eric Randall The flu isn’t the only thing going around schools these days. There’s another malady: initiative fatigue. Okay, it isn’t a real disease. It’s a business term that may capture the zeitgeist in schools today as they strive, with resources at hand, to implement various kinds of reform. Changes include the Common Core curriculum, student learning objective assessments, data-driven instruction and a new approach to teacher and principal evaluations.

The elephant in the classroom One in five students in poverty On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Paul Heiser Anyone who has taken a psychology class is probably familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In 1943, while on the faculty of Brooklyn College, psychologist Abraham Maslow published his theory that a person’s basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, have to be met before higher order psychological and social needs can be met, including the need for esteem and feelings of accomplishment. Cohoes Superintendent Robert Libby invoked Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when describing the problem of youth poverty in his Albany County school district.

Reinventing APPR On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Timothy G. Kremer No law is immutable. Laws are explicated by regulators, interpreted by the courts, and, sometimes, revised by legislatures. Since New York’s Legislature passed a law that made Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR) one of the cornerstones of New York’s education reform agenda, it’s become obvious that some tweaks are needed. The fact that APPR agreements are collectively bargained makes the process quite onerous and complicated. That is unlikely to change. However, here are three suggestions that could improve the current system:

Tax cap law unconstitutional: NYSUT On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Jay Worona New York State United Teachers has brought a legal challenge in state court in Albany seeking to declare unconstitutional New York State’s 2011 so-called “tax cap” legislation as it applies to school district budget votes. According to NYSUT, the tax cap “places an undemocratic and unconstitutional supermajority requirement on votes for school budgets seeking to increase the school funding tax levy by more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less” thus violating the oneperson, one-vote protections guaranteed under federal law.

Cuomo acts on NYC deadlock On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Gov. Andrew Cuomo is acting to empower state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. to resolve a dispute on teacher and principal evaluations in New York City if the current stalemate continues. Cuomo has proposed an amendment to his executive budget that would direct King to impose an Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan for New York City if union and administration leaders there do not agree on an acceptable plan by June 1.

How 19 minutes cost one district $46,000 On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Eric Randall The Harrison district in Westchester County was 19 minutes late in submitting the required signature of its board president with its Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan. Although the plan won approval five days later, the district lost $46,000 in state aid. Blame brinksmanship. When state officials refused to approve one of Harrison’s metrics, Superintendent Louis Wool insisted they get a second opinion. Wool altered the plan at the 11th hour under protest, but a crucial signature was missing. “I find it sadly ironic that the reason for our so-called late application was my unwillingness to relent to lowering our standards for evaluating the high school principal,” said Wool, who was state superintendent of the year in 2010.

Lawsuit could end King’s power to withhold state aid increases On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Eric Randall Litigation over the amount of funding that the state provides to urban schools could derail the state’s new policy of making individual districts’ state aid increases contingent on accountability compliance. New York City attorney Michael Rebell filed a lawsuit this month on behalf of New York City parents in an effort to release $250 million for city schools. Commissioner of Education John B. King Jr. withheld that money after New York failed to submit an Annual Professional Performance Review Program to the state before a Jan. 17 approval deadline. Changes include the Common Core curriculum, student learning objective assessments, data-driven instruction and a new approach to teacher and principal evaluations.

Time to end schools’ GEA cut, lawmakers say On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff A coalition of Capital Region lawmakers is urging the governor and legislative leaders to reform the school aid formula in the upcoming state budget and end the annual practice of withholding billions in aid through the so-called Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). "It was supposed to be a one-time cut,” Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, a Schenectady County Democrat and former Duanesburg school board member, said of the GEA. An across-the-board state spending rollback that began in 2010, the GEA has continued. The amount withheld from schools through the GEA is $2.15 billion this year, she said, down only moderately from the previous $2.7 billion level.

Common Core implementation on pace On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Paul Heiser New York is one of 21 states that have fully developed plans for implementing the Common Core State Standards in the three key areas of teacher professional development, curriculum guides, and teacher-evaluation systems, according to a survey of state education agencies done by Education First and the Editorial Projects in Education, Inc. The 21 states with fully developed plans represent a substantial increase from only seven states reporting this level of progress one year ago.

A good guy with a gun? SRO’s relationships seen as real weapon for school safety On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff The first voice Sgt. Mark Spain heard when he checked telephone messages was shaky. “I’m just a little overwhelmed by everything right now,” the man said. His son had been charged with drug possession. A few moments later, a school social worker dropped by Spain’s office at Watervliet Jr./Sr. High School to let him know about a possible sex abuse case. “I’m pretty sure (the student) is going to want to talk with you,” she said.

Commissioner upholds change in district’s attendance zone policy On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Adam C. Hover In a recent decision, the commissioner of education upheld a school board’s decision to change its practice of allowing elementary school students to attend the elementary school located within their childcare provider’s attendance zone. Generally, students attend school located within the attendance zone in which they legally reside. The change allowed students already enrolled in an out-of-zone elementary school to complete their elementary education at such schools subject to certain conditions, but students not yet enrolled in an out-of-zone school were prevented from doing so.

Court finds reinstatement of bus driver with positive drug test permissible On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Kimberly A. Fanniff New York’s highest court has upheld the reinstatement of a school bus driver who was terminated after a positive random drug test. In Shenendehowa Central School District Board of Education v. Civil Service Employees Association, Inc. the union filed a grievance after the district terminated the bus driver. Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) the parties agreed to arbitrate whether the termination violated the CBA.

School’s actions placed student at risk during batting practice On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Pilar Sokol It is well-established that school districts will not be held liable for injuries sustained by their student athletes as a result of assumed risks inherent in a competitive sport, particularly when students are properly equipped, well-trained, and play voluntarily. However, districts do have an obligation to exercise reasonable care to protect their athletes from injuries that may result from unassumed, concealed or unreasonable increased risks in such activities.

BOCES cultivates year-long teacher training model On Board Online • February 25, 2013

By Molly Gushea Teachers today are often asked to implement new skills after a one-day session on the newest innovation – Common Core standards, data-driven instruction and other elements of the Regents Reform Agenda. Since 2004, the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Model Schools program has changed the face of professional development in their region by implementing a professional development model in which teachers create classroom lessons that use technology, taking advantage of on-site support in the district throughout the year. More than 500 teachers have completed the year-long professional development program.

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – ADVOCACY ALERT February 8, 2013 PRESIDENT JOINS SCHOOL BOARDS TO STOP SEQUESTRATION NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN CHILD NUTRITION – JUNK-FREE VENDING MACHINES STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES MAY ACCESS EXTRACURRICULAR SPORTS Link: Guidance Document EDUCATION COMMISSIONER ADDRESSES CONGRESS ON NCLB VAIVER Link: Testimony FEDERAL RELATIONS NETWORK DEBRIEFING Link: FRN Conference Survey Congressional Visits Survey FRN Photos

Court of Appeals Decision Reinstating Shenendehowa School Bus Driver FOR RELEASE: February 12, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboard Today’s ruling by New York State’s highest court reinstating a school bus driver to her job despite her testing positive for marijuana use is most disappointing. Although the decision is based upon technical provisions of law related to the ultimate authority of courts to reverse the decisions of labor arbitrators, the result of this decision is simply wrong from a public policy perspective. The New York State School Boards Association entered this case in support of the school district to ensure that the safety of students would be preserved. Sadly, this decision yields the exact opposite result.

Is your board ready for budget season? On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Richard Daddio First in a five-part series For most school boards in New York State, a great deal of energy will be devoted during the next few months to preparing a financial plan for the next fiscal year. Here are some tips on handling your budget process in a way that increases the chances you will produce a budget that the voters will approve. 1. Display teamwork. The better your board and superintendent function as a team, the better your chances of devising a budget that will meet with voter approval. It’s not only good governance; it’s the law. The school board has a fiduciary requirement as defined in the Education Law to direct the superintendent to craft a proposed fiscal plan to support the ongoing operation and instructional goals of the district. 2. Solicit input. During the budget development cycle, your board will review and discuss the district’s core values, instructional goals, the impact of unfunded mandates, operational requirements, legal requirements, and the 2 percent tax levy cap. It will also hold public hearings, but don’t rely solely on those forums to get a sense of stakeholders’ sentiments. In your travels, talk with parents, community members, teachers, staff and students to get a sense of what’s important to them and what concerns them.

Lessons from the first year of the tax cap On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst As your board prepares its budget proposal this year, keep in mind these lessons from the first year of New York’s tax cap. Less is more. Tax levy increases at or below the tax cap were one-and-a-half times more likely to gain voter approval than tax levy increases that exceeded the cap. Budget approval rates varied greatly depending on whether a budget required simple majority or supermajority voter approval. The vast majority of school districts proposed budgets in 2012-13 with tax levy increases that did not exceed their caps and therefore required approval by a simple majority of voters. Ninety-nine percent of these budgets were approved by voters. Only 48 of the 671 school districts proposed budgets that exceeded their tax levy caps – mostly to keep pace with the burgeoning costs of pensions, health care and educational programs – and therefore required the approval of at least 60 percent of voters. Of those districts, 29 budgets passed and 19 were defeated – an approval rate of just 60 percent.

In Congressional visits, New Yorkers emphasize funding for early education On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief A delegation of school board members from New York State told members of Congress that the nation should take a cue from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and create new funding streams for pre-kindergarten and other forms of early learning. “Separate funding is needed in order to not reduce services to children receiving federally funded assistance like Title I,” according to an issue brief NYSSBA prepared for the 85 members of New York’s delegation. NYSSBA members visit Washington, D.C. every January for the National School Boards Association Federal Relations Network Conference.

DOE highlights district obligations on disabled students’ participation in extracurricular athletics On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Kate Gaffney Senior Staff Attorney The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has issued a new guidance on school district responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act regarding the participation of disabled students in extracurricular athletics. As the guidance may signal a heightened interest by OCR in this area, school officials should review the guidance to determine if they need to make any changes to their district’s policies and procedures. Furthermore, although it is unclear whether courts will agree with OCR on all points addressed in the document, it is noteworthy that U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has introduced a bill to amend the Rehabilitation Act to require that DOE promote equal opportunities for the participation of disabled students in such activities, oversee school compliance, and provide assistance and guidance to schools.

Reinstated principal entitled to back pay, benefits and seniority credit On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel The commissioner of education recently ruled that a mistakenly excessed but subsequently reinstated school principal was entitled to back pay, benefits and seniority for the time period between his termination and subsequent reinstatement. Upon being hired, the petitioner in Appeal of Ford was appointed to a probationary term in the K-12 administrative tenure area and assigned to an elementary principal position. Later he was granted tenure in the tenure area of elementary principal, and terminated when the district needed to abolish a position in that tenure area. The petitioner’s termination became effective June 30, 2011. At a meeting held the following September, the school board rescinded his termination, clarified his tenure area as Administrator K-12 and reassigned him effective Aug. 26, 2011.

Case highlights importance of aligning positions with authorized tenure areas On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel What happens when a school board has mistakenly appointed an employee to an unauthorized tenure area? A state appellate court recently ruled in such a case in Matter of Thorenz. The petitioner was appointed in 2001 to a probationary term in “High School In-School Suspension” and subsequently gained tenure in the special subject tenure area of “In-School Suspension.” Her duties centered exclusively on the supervision of students assigned to in-school suspension and working with other staff members regarding those students. She lost her job when the district eliminated a position in its In-School Suspension tenure area. The New York State Board of Regents has designated five general types of special subject tenure areas, none of which cover Thorenz’ duties. She challenged her dismissal arguing it was unlawful because “In-School Suspension” was not a legally authorized special subject tenure area. Relying on a portion of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education commonly referred to as “the DeVente regulations,” she further sought reinstatement in the physical education and recreation tenure area (for which she holds a teaching certificate).

Focus limited resources on what works On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By John King Jr. Commissioner of Education By now, we all know about the demands of the global marketplace and the fierce competition for highly skilled and educated workers. We also know that federal, state and local resources are scarce and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. But that’s not an excuse for not acting. Just because we can’t afford to do everything doesn’t mean we should do nothing. So we need to focus our limited resources on those initiatives we know will work; initiatives that will drive positive change and better outcomes in our schools. We need to make bold, systemic changes to help all students graduate high school ready for college and careers.

BOCES, hospital create workplace program for special needs students ages 18 to 21 On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Stephanie Gouss Even the best K-12 experience often is not enough for students with physical and cognitive disabilities to be ready for the world of employment. A Rockland BOCES program called Project Search is helping special needs students between the ages of 18 and 21 make the transition. Participants – called “interns” – begin each day in a classroom on the sixth floor of Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern. Academic instruction is geared to the workplace. Interns develop math skills they need for on-the-job money management and keeping personal budgets. Writing skills are strengthened through practical assignments such as drafting a resume and cover letters. Interns’ academic progress is evaluated according to rubrics. After their classroom time, interns depart for one of nine hospital departments, where they work for 20 hours per week. Over the course of the 10-month program, they will rotate through three departments. In each, interns learn to perform job-specific tasks in addition to learning a host of administrative and customer service skills.

After nutritional standards change, some drop federal lunch program On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Fresh nutritional standards served up this year by the National School Lunch Program are leading to food waste and financial losses that are prompting some districts to say “no, thanks” to the program and its subsidies. The suburban Niskayuna Central School District in Schenectady County has opted out of the federal program, citing plummeting lunch sales. By the end of December, Niskayuna’s meal program was running a $70,000 deficit because so many students had dropped out, according to the school business office. “Participation just went down dramatically, which is very disturbing to me,” said Suzanne Wixom, the food service director at Niskayuna. “What I am in this job for is to feed hungry kids.”

Pain prompts political activism On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Volunteer advocates from around New York are heeding unprecedented local and regional calls to action, mobilized by concern that a tightening financial vice threatens New York education as never before. “We’re seeing it in every part of the state,” said David A. Little, NYSSBA’s director of governmental relations. In a scene more reminiscent of a rock concert, traffic backed up for miles on Jan. 31 for a Capital District forum on school aid sponsored by a superintendents’ committee of the Questar III and Capital Region BOCES. “We had well over 1,000 at the event from 47 local school districts,” said Questar III spokesman Dan Sherman. “We also had more than 300 watching a livestream set up on http://educationspeaks.org,” he said, referring to a BOCES blog. The title of the event was “Your public schools in fiscal peril: Running out of time and options,” and the program featured a PowerPointpunctuated stem-winder by Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium.

Institutionalized underfunding On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President What are three words that school board members have grown to resent, even hate? Gap Elimination Adjustment. Most of you know the story: Four years ago, in response to the economic meltdown, state lawmakers rolled back state spending in a variety of areas including state aid to schools. In 2009-10, the so-called Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, eliminated some $1.5 billion in school aid. As tough as it was, we all understood that the national economy was in crisis. Even though we all faced rising costs in our home districts, we figured that somehow we could survive for one year. Somehow we would find the means necessary to provide a quality education to our students, balance what our local taxpayers can afford, and meet our rising expenses. So we dipped into our fund balance to make ends meet. We negotiated concessions with our employee unions. We cut programs, reluctantly. Then came another year of the GEA (reduction: $2.1 billion). Followed by another (reduction: $2.6 billion). Followed by yet another (reduction: $2.2 billion).

Merging sports teams just got easier On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The governing body for high school sports in New York has approved a change aimed at making it easier for students from small schools to play on combined sports teams with students from other districts. “This has the potential to affect a lot of schools,” said Robert Zayas, executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. “I think all the smallest schools are going to be taking a good look at this. It gives more kids the opportunity to participate, and that’s what we are all about.” Under revised classification formulas approved by the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee, only a portion of a smaller combining school’s enrollment in grades 9-11 will count toward the total grades 9-11 enrollment number used to set a merged team’s classification. The old system used the total of both districts’ entire 9-11 enrollments. When full enrollment figures were used in the calculation, it was more likely that a blended team would be bumped up to a higher classification and would wind up competing against much larger, stronger programs in sectional and championship play. That possibility sometimes discouraged mergers.

SED re-engineers bilingual education to align with Common Core standards On Board Online • February 11, 2013

By Lisa A. Johnson Special Correspondent Changes are on the horizon for bilingual instructors in New York State as the State Education Department (SED) prepares to align English as a Second Language (ESL) and Native Language Arts Standards with the Common Core. A panel of experts is helping SED create new resources, called “progressions,” designed to ensure that students are being taught grade-level skills regardless of whether they are using English or their home language. For instance, sixth graders are expected to use grade level text to be able to analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes). The planned changes will make New York a national leader in addressing the educational needs of those learning English as an additional language and those learning a foreign language, according to one member of SED’s Bilingual Common Core Initiative National Advisory Group. “New York sets an important standard for the rest of the nation as the value of multilingualism is acknowledged and supported through the progressions,” Kenji Hakuta, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford University, said in a letter to the Board of Regents. A public comment period concluded on Feb. 1, and the Board of Regents is expected to consider the changes this winter. Implementation is expected to begin in the 2013-14 academic year.

Thinking of merger? Scaled-down study can save $, effort On Board Online • February 11, 2013 By William D. Silky A school district merger study, no matter how it is approached, is surely something that will get any school community engaged. Having conducted 23 school district merger studies in New York since 1985, I know this to be true. While some degree of alarm among residents about possible changes is

NYSSBA Testimony to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committees on the 2013-2014 Executive Budget

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Rodney George joins New York State School Boards Association Board of Directors FOR RELEASE: January 25, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboard Rodney George, a retired Kodak employee and president of the Avon school board in Livingston County, has been elected to represent Area 2 on NYSSBA’s Board of Directors. As Area 2 Director, George represents school boards in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties.

Cuomo proposes school aid boost On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer A $21.1 billion education aid package proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his 2013-14 executive budget relies again on competitive grants to boost aid for some schools and offers a one-time $203 million Fiscal Stabilization Fund to help districts cope with fluctuating costs. The extra funding frills would plump up a 3 percent state school aid increase generated under a growth cap calculation and would provide, instead, a 4.4 percent year-to-year funding increase. Cuomo’s methodology also allocates additional cash to schools while it avoids significantly restructuring New York’s school aid formula or making a commitment to continue the new funding streams in future years. “We would always like to fund everything with all the money in the world, but we live in the real world,” Cuomo said as he presented his plan for increasing overall school funding by $889 million. That total includes the $203 million stabilization fund and $75 million for initiatives recommended by his New NY Education Reform Commission.

Tilt of state Senate rests on her shoulders On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The election of an upstate school board member to a new state Senate seat has cemented an unprecedented power-sharing structure in the chamber. Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk (pronounced “ka-chick”), a Schenectady County sheep farmer and vice president of the Duanesburg school board, eked out a slim 18-vote victory over Republican George Amedore, a home builder who gave up his 105th District Assembly seat to run for the 46th Senate District seat. The new district was created in last year’s redistricting process. A suspense-filled legal battle over contested ballots lasted more than 10 weeks after Election Day, and the last 99 votes were tallied on Jan. 18. Tkaczyk’s election brings to 33 the number of Democrats elected to the 63-seat Senate, which normally would provide a controlling majority. But because the chamber’s 30 Republicans have accepted Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder into their conference and crafted a power-sharing agreement with the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, neither party has outright control of the Senate.

Incremental change can be the right path On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director Bold improvements in public education are rare. Many reforms take place in small steps, and the ones that school advocates want generally cannot be accomplished in one year – or in one budget. In fact, I have often heard a good state budget slyly defined as “the allocation of disappointments.” I think a truly good state budget is the product of competent, strategic leadership and a bi-partisan sense of duty. Ideally, the governor proposes visionary initiatives that reflect the will of the people, and the Legislature makes modifications that reflect the reactions of ordinary citizens as well as the counsel of organized advocacy groups such as NYSSBA.

SED creates easy way to report test tampering On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer If you see something, you now have a way to say something about possible testing fraud by educators. A new section of the State Education Department website unveiled this month features an online reporting mechanism for anyone who notices apparent test tampering by teachers or administrators. “One of the most glaring needs was to open up this portal,” said Tina Sciocchetti, a former federal prosecutor appointed in March to lead SED’s test security and educator integrity initiative. The electronic reporting form will help state and local education officials better identify and respond to incidents of cheating on New York’s growing battery of student tests and enable them to hold educators accountable, Sciocchetti said. Tips submitted through the system can go directly to SED Test Security Unit investigators, who will work closely with a new network of local “integrity officers” from the 37 BOCES and the Big 5 school districts. Ultimately, investigative findings also should be useful to local school boards, Sciocchetti said.

As workers’ compensation costs skyrocket, NYSSBA forms partnership with PERMA On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Archa Wachowicz Business Development Manager NYSSBA has formed a partnership with the Public Employer Risk Management Association (PERMA) to help member districts address skyrocketing costs associated with workers compensation. “Workers’ compensation is the hidden financial crisis facing school districts,” said NYSSBA Director of Finance Bob Schneider. “Everyone knows that pension and health care costs are increasing at an unsustainable rate, and workers’ compensation is right behind them as a critical expense that needs to be addressed.” Workers’ compensation costs for school districts have increased 31.5 percent over the last five years, according to a June 2012 survey that NYSSBA conducted of member districts. Other research shows:

Rodney George joins NYSSBA Board of Directors On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Rodney George, a retired Kodak employee and president of the Avon school board in Livingston County, has been elected to represent Area 2 on NYSSBA’s Board of Directors. As Area 2 director, George represents school boards in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. He succeeds Michael Ellis of Geneva, who was president of the Bloomfield school board, and Tom Nespeca of Webster, who is beginning a second year in his term as NYSSBA president.

King, Cuomo signal commitment to APPR as state strategy On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer This was the rosy view: more than 99 percent of the state’s school districts managed to negotiate acceptable teacher and principal evaluation plans in time for a Jan. 17 deadline set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This was the more worrisome one: Six districts did not submit acceptable plans in time, and one of those districts – New York City – educates a third of the state’s students. Those districts lost their shares of a 4 percent, $805 million school aid increase that Cuomo included in his 2012-13 budget and tied to their adoption of Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans by the deadline. In New York City’s case, the failure means the city’s schools and students lost out on nearly $250 million in state aid and the opportunity to qualify for $200 million more in state and federal grants. Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. also said it is possible that New York City’s failure could impact the state’s eligibility for its $700 million federal Race to the Top grant.

NYS educators’ book helps teachers find own way to teach Common Core On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Merri Rosenberg Special Correspondent With full-scale implementation of Common Core national standards hovering on the horizon, school districts throughout New York State are changing what happens in the classroom to meet these new requirements. Two New York educators have written a book about how to do it in middle and high schools: Big Skills for the Common Core: Literacy Strategies for the 6-12 Classroom. The book is published by Eye on Education, a publisher in Larchmont, N.Y. that specializes in books on topics such as classroom management, block scheduling, response to intervention (RTI), instructional leadership and, lately, the Common Core. The authors are Amy Benjamin, a retired high school English teacher from Westchester County’s Hendrick Hudson Central School District and Michael Hugelmeyer, assistant principal of Suffolk County’s Riverhead Central School District. They met a few years ago when Benjamin worked in Riverhead as a consultant. Benjamin was impressed by Hugelmeyer’s philosophy that skills should drive social studies instruction. Hugelmeyer’s approach was well-suited to the goals of the Common Core, which Benjamin sees as offering schools a common frame of reference to improve literacy as well as overall learning.

Court finds district could be liable for student injury at PTSA event On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Kate Gaffney Senior Staff Attorney Can a school district be held liable for injuries sustained by a student attending a Family Fun Night event held by a Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) on school grounds? According to the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department, it depends on how much control the district exercised over the event. In Butler v. Germantown Central School District Parent Teacher Student Association, the PTSA arranged for an exhibitor to display a large “pinscreen” with moveable pins in a tight grid at a Family Fun Night event. A five-year-old student climbed on the pinscreen and was severely injured when it fell on top of her. Her parents sued both the PTSA and the district, claiming that both failed to properly supervise or monitor the use of the exhibit during the event. They also alleged that the PTSA failed to take the necessary steps to ensure that the exhibit was safe. The district argued that it should be dropped as a defendant because it did not direct or control how the event would be conducted and therefore could not be legally responsible for the accident.

Procedural defects cause district to expunge portions of a sex on school grounds suspension On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Adam C. Hover Associate Counsel While finding a five-month suspension for sexual activity on campus was not excessive, the commissioner of education ordered a school district to expunge portions of a disabled student’s disciplinary record because of procedural defects in imposing the suspension. One of the irregularities at issue in Appeal of a Student with a Disability involved the starting date of the suspension, which began weeks before the superintendent acted on the penalty recommendations of the hearing officer who conducted a student disciplinary hearing following an initial five-day suspension. The other involved the school district’s delay in conducting a manifestation determination to determine if the student’s behavior was either caused by or was a manifestation of his disability. The parents did not challenge the initial short-term suspension. They appealed only the imposition of the long-term suspension.

Federal law regarding the release of educational records amended On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Kate Gaffney Senior Staff Attorney In an effort to smooth school transitions for children in foster care, Congress has amended the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) to allow school districts to provide a student’s education records to a state or local child welfare agency legally responsible for a student’s placement and care without parental consent. The amendment does not require school districts to disclose such education records, but permits them to do so. The law was also amended to create an exception to the requirement that a school district notify parents before it discloses records pursuant to a court order in cases where a parent is a party to a child welfare court proceeding and the order is issued in the context of that proceeding.

After Newtown, boards reconsider school safety plans On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys As the nation struggles to recover after the tragic events in Newtown, school communities are reminded about the importance of maintaining vigilance concerning school safety. Sadly, while we know that there is no way to fully guarantee that our schools will be safe under all circumstances, most of us would agree with President Obama’s sentiment that “if there is even one step we can take to save another child or another parent, or another town, then surely we have an obligation to try.” For school boards and school administrators, that step involves a review of school district safety plans and emergency response plans for every school building in the district. These documents are among the most important ones that school boards must approve as they represent your district’s best effort to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from emergency situations.

A song can help bullies – and their victims? Musical BOE member says: ‘Word’ On Board Online • January 28, 2013

My Other Side Editor’s note: School board members tend to be passionate about their interests. In this occasional feature, board members tell On Board about their “other side.” Name: Sylvester Cleary Age: 68 School District: Forestville Years on School Board: 2 His other side: Hip-hop composer By Lisa A. Johnson Special Correspondent A school board leader in Chautauqua County has a novel approach to teaching students about how to deal with bullying. Sylvester Cleary, president of the Forestville Board of Education, has created a musical message that he says can help not only victims, but bullies as well.

Questar III creates regional approach to address Regents Reform Agenda On Board Online • January 28, 2013

By Erin Clary and Dan Sherman Implementing sweeping changes in state education policy in the face of fiscal uncertainty is stressful work for school boards and school staff. But in one section of upstate New York, the process has been mitigated by the BOCES. Through its School Improvement Office, Questar III BOCES developed a regional approach to implementing the Regents Reform Agenda several years ago, before many details became final on new teacher and principal evaluation systems and Common Core standards. The BOCES urged districts in Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties not to wait until final regulations were issued before beginning the process of implementing reform. And it made sure that districts had access to a significant amount of guidance on what steps were needed. Nineteen school districts from Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties pooled together $1.3 million in Race to the Top funding with Questar III to create a network of training staff for every level of the system – superintendents, principals and teachers. While the state required three embedded professional developers for every 25 schools, the BOCES went beyond that.

A song can help bullies – and their victims? Musical BOE member says: ‘Word’_copy On Board Online • January 28, 2013

My Other Side Editor’s note: School board members tend to be passionate about their interests. In this occasional feature, board members tell On Board about their “other side.” Name: Sylvester Cleary Age: 68 School District: Forestville Years on School Board: 2 His other side: Hip-hop composer By Lisa A. Johnson Special Correspondent A school board leader in Chautauqua County has a novel approach to teaching students about how to deal with bullying. Sylvester Cleary, president of the Forestville Board of Education, has created a musical message that he says can help not only victims, but bullies as well.

School board members support teacher bar exam, regionalization proposals; Express reservations about extended day/year FOR RELEASE: January 23, 2013 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Nearly six in 10 school board members (59 percent) who responded to an informal poll by the New York State School Boards Association believe prospective teachers should have to pass a bar exam-type test before they enter the profession. “School boards support efforts to improve teacher quality,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “While the details have to be worked out, there appears to be support for a bar exam-type initiative in education.” Thirty-two percent disagreed with the proposal, while nine percent were unsure. In addition, more than half of school board members (54 percent) support the governor’s recommendation to allow citizens to petition the state to consolidate or regionalize school districts, according to the poll. Thirty-four percent oppose the proposal, while 12 percent were not sure.

Statement of New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Executive Budget FOR RELEASE: January 22, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal provides a good starting point for public education. We commend the governor for his commitment to funding public education with a nearly $900 million increase at a time when the economy continues to underperform. Equally important, we welcome the governor’s proposal to relieve school districts from volatile fluctuations in budget-busting pension costs.

EXECUTIVE BUDGET ANALYSIS – ADVOCACY ALERT January 22, 2013 GOVERNOR CUOMO PROPOSES FAR REACHING HELP FOR SCHOOLS NYSSBA ANALYSIS Link To View Your School Aid Runs View the Division of the Budget’s Briefing Book EXECUTIVE BUDGET School Aid Mandate Relief Other STATE AID TOTALS BY AID CATEGORY STATEMENT OF NEW YORK STATE SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TIMOTHY G. KREMER ON EXECUTIVE BUDGET

ADVOCACY ALERT - GUN CONTROL IMPACT ON SCHOOLS January 16, 2013 STATE TAKES SWIFT ACTION ON GUN CONTROL School Safety Improvement Teams Other Provisions of the New Law Include NYSSBA ABALYSIS RELATED COMMENTS ON THE NEW LAW Assembly Republican Leader Brian Kolb Assembly Majority Leader William Magnarelli The New York Times Link to: The Bill

Athletics merger trend here to stay Sports classification categories may change On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer For student athletes who compete on a merged squad of wrestlers from the Pulaski and Altmar-Parish-Williamstown school districts, establishing a cohesive team identity has been no sweat. “We call ourselves the Rebel Devils,” said Tyler Petrie, a senior at Pulaski Academy & Central School, where the official team moniker is the Blue Devils. His erstwhile rivals from APW are known as the Rebels, but no one makes that distinction on the wrestling team. Petrie is among hundreds, perhaps thousands, of high school students around New York who regularly team up with athletes from neighboring districts as their schools turn to blended rosters as a way to sustain sports – swimming, ice hockey, soccer, softball and more – that otherwise would fizzle.

How Middletown won its federal RTTT grant On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Merri Rosenberg Special Correspondent In an unexpected victory, the Middletown City School District was the only district in New York State to be named a Race to the Top (RTTT) winner by the U.S. Department of Education. Middletown, which won $20 million in federal grants, was one of only 16 winning districts in the country. That’s not bad for a district that had been crushed by losing out in New York State’s RTTT competition. The story of how the district snatched victory from defeat could inspire other school districts to persevere in the face of inscrutable bureaucracy and frustration. When an aide to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) called school Superintendent Kenneth Eastwood last month and matter-of-factly delivered the news, Eastwood was surprised. “We were very reserved about our chance of winning,” said Eastwood. “This is a big, big deal. There’s lots of competition. When Schumer’s office called, I wasn’t prepared.”

In State of the State address, Cuomo calls for variety of K-12 projects On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer In his 2013 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo embraced virtually all of the initial recommendations of his Education Reform Commission, telling his audience “when it comes to education, I say two words: more and better.” He linked funding for many of the initiatives to competitive grants, however, apparently seeking to continue a trend started last year of delivering significant chunks of school aid with strings attached. School districts that expand learning time for students – through longer school days, longer school years or a combination of both – would need to meet a series of specific criteria in designing their programs. They also would have to negotiate the terms with teachers. Districts that succeed, could win 100 percent of the additional cost. The governor said he will propose “a robust full-day pre-kindergarten” program aimed at highest need students in lowest wealth districts. Funding, he said, would be through “a grant process limited to effective, research-based early learning models.”

Cuomo’s mandate relief panel addresses special ed, seat time, internal audits On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief The Mandate Relief Council appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has recommended the state consider changes in requirements involving special education, seat time and internal auditing, but voted against pursuing school boards’ requests to address longstanding issues such as the Triborough Amendment and the Wicks Law. The commission also declined to act on retirement contributions, transportation of private school students, last in/first out layoffs and several other issues raised by school boards, which submitted all but four of the 65 mandate relief proposals considered by the 11member commission. The commission voted unanimously to pursue a variety of special education requests, including Bedford board’s recommendation that the state eliminate mandated class sizes and teacher-student ratios for students with disabilities (estimated statewide savings: $7 billion to $10 billion).

How Newtown has changed us – maybe forever On Board Online • January 14, 2013

Education’s 9/11 By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer The killing of 20 children and six adults by a deranged young gunman inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 was one of those rare human tragedies that revise our view of the future to a “new” normal. As New York educators continued to process the emotional impact of the horrifying event in Newtown, Conn., they found themselves preoccupied by feelings of shared grief and concerns about how their own districts would handle a similarly terrifying scenario. “That could have been my school district. That could have been my kids,” said Leueen Smithling, superintendent of Beaver River Central School near Watertown. Here are five ways the Newtown killings are reordering schools’ social and educational priorities:

Who in schools should be armed? On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The national conversation about school security has reached a startling point. It now includes calls from some quarters for teachers and principals to carry guns. In Utah, teachers and other educators already can carry concealed weapons in schools under state law, despite strong opposition from the state’s educational leaders. Proposals in Arizona and Ohio also would encourage educators to bring guns to school. That idea’s not flying at all in New York. Junior High Principal Russell Moore of the North Colonie Central School District in Albany County is a hunter and target shooter who says he “grew up comfortable with guns” in a rural upstate community. Nonetheless, he wouldn’t want to bring a gun to school. That would be at odds with his role as an educator, he said. “Principals should not be armed,” said Moore. “They just should not be.”

The myth of homework’s value On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Philip S. Cicero “Do your homework!” That is the all-too-familiar cry of both teachers and parents across New York and the nation. It is widely assumed that doing homework is integral to the academic success of young people. However, this perception may be a myth. There is little evidence that doing homework results in high student achievement, and a trend of increasing amounts of homework is of questionable value. Unfortunately, time spent doing homework is on the rise. A 2004 national survey conducted by the University of Michigan found that the amount of time spent on homework is up 51 percent since 1981. Much of that increase can be attributed to the 1983 report, A Nation at Risk, and the federal No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2001. Both focused attention on shortcomings in K-12 education, and prescriptions included having students do more mathematics and science as well as implementing annual testing for greater teacher and student accountability. This “more is better” formula inevitably led to heavier daily homework assignments.

Five trends influencing New York’s teacher workforce On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Over the past decade, New York’s teacher workforce has undergone a number of changes that have implications for school districts across the state. The workforce has shrunk, gotten somewhat older, become better educated and more experienced, and received higher pay. It also continues to be dominated by women. These conclusions are based on data in the State Education Department’s Basic Educational Data System (BEDS) Personnel Master File, which is a database of information collected annually from teachers and administrators throughout New York State public schools, BOCES and charter schools. NYSSBA reviewed BEDS data for the 10-year period from 2002-03 to 2011-12.

Answers to five frustrating questions involving special education On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys At your school board’s first meeting of the New Year, you anticipate a discussion of your district’s financial woes. You arrive at the meeting and, to your surprise, it is not the school business official who looks the most haggard. The pupil personnel director, ordinarily peppy, looks frazzled and just plain worn out. You ask her, “What’s the matter?” She sighs and she tells you to expect parents to bring up some special education concerns during the public participation portion of the board meeting. As predicted, the board gets an earful. One parent demands that the board guarantee that all school buildings in the district be allergen-free zones. Another asks for permission to have a behavioral consultant attend school with her daughter for a week to prepare an evaluation to be shared with the Committee on Special Education. The next speaker, a parent who has unilaterally placed her child in a private school and is seeking tuition reimbursement, begins to review, in excruciating and intimate detail, the nature of her son’s learning and psychological problems. The board president interrupts, saying something about a need to maintain confidentiality. The parent angrily replies, “It’s my child, and I have the right to talk about him.” You wonder, “Can that be right?”

Lack of complaining witness limits discipline for anti-semitic actions On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Adam Hover Associate Counsel May a school district suspend a student for five days or less when the witnesses to the alleged misbehavior demand confidentiality? In a recent appeal, the commissioner of education ruled the answer was no. The ruling in Appeal of C.M. has serious implications for the enforcement of the Dignity for All Students Act, which requires that districts respond quickly to protect students from harassment, bullying and discrimination, including taking disciplinary action against students who participate in such behavior. At issue in Appeal of C.M., was the alleged participation of the petitioner’s daughter in a “Kick a Jew Day” during which non-Jewish students kicked Jewish ones. The victims feared retaliation if they helped school officials identify the participants. One student who witnessed C.M.’s daughter’s participation agreed to speak to the principal only in confidence.

Student’s suspension partially expunged On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Senior Staff Attorney A school district that suspended a student for nine months was recently ordered to expunge part of the suspension based upon a violation of the student’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The district ordered the suspension after the student left school in Sept. 2010 without authorization while serving an in-school suspension, then returned to the building to get his girlfriend and engaged in verbal and physical altercations when approached by two administrators. In Appeal of D.W., the student’s mother appealed her son’s suspension, arguing his actions were a manifestation of his disability.

Non-residency policy did not entitle former student to remain in school On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel It is well-established that, pursuant to the Education Law, a school district must provide a tuition-free education only to students who currently reside within its geographical boundaries. But districts can adopt policies that allow students who move out in the middle of a school year to finish out the balance of the school year, subject to conditions set out in such policies.

Unsuccessful school board candidate not entitled to new election On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel The commissioner of education will set aside the results of a school board election and order a new one only if the petitioner seeking such a relief establishes that irregularities occurred during the election, and there is a probability that any irregularities actually affected the election’s outcome.

How to maintain communications when disaster strikes On Board Online • January 14, 2013

By Angela Marshall Superstorm Sandy brought more than devastating flood waters when it barreled through New York in November, destroying several schools and displacing thousands of students. It also left a wake-up call for school districts on the importance of preparing for disasters. Although debriefing and recovery continue on Long Island, school leaders have identified several action items, including creating a regional school district command center for Nassau County. Individual districts, meanwhile, are finding ways to make improvements, particularly in communications. Some of the same lessons could apply in the event of tragic events such as the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn. One lesson learned by Michael Nagler, superintendent of Mineola Union Free School District, was the need for redundancy in communications. Districts trying to keep their communities informed after Superstorm Sandy were stymied by lack of power, downed cellular towers and over-saturated phone networks.

Athletic mergers, Newtown reaction, teacher workforce trends highlighted in On Board FOR RELEASE: January 10, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboard The Jan. 14, 2013 issue of NYSSBA’s On Board newspaper contains the following stories of possible interest to journalists: Sports merger trend: Senior Writer Cathy Woodruff reports that the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) meets this month to consider revising athletic classification categories in light of a number of merged athletic teams, including teams that were once rivals. Newtown reaction continues: Re-evaluating school security measures isn’t the only reaction to Newtown, Woodruff reports in “Education’s 9/11: How Newtown has changed us – maybe forever.” Schools officials are concerned that mental health supports are lacking, and they are becoming a larger voice in the national debate on guns. Also, Webster school board member (and NYSSBA President) Thomas Nespeca reacts to the Newtown shooting.

Statement of New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on State of the State FOR RELEASE: January 9, 2013 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Governor Cuomo deserves high marks for putting forth solid proposals that will help raise student achievement. Proposals to provide full-day prekindergarten, extend the school day, and offer “wrap around” community services in schools all make perfect sense. We support them wholeheartedly. While the governor appears to support local control, his speech was notable for its omission of any mandate relief for schools whatsoever.

STATE OF THE STATE ANALYSIS January 9, 2013 GOVERNOR FOLLOWS COMMISSION IN STATE OF THE STATE EDUCATION PLAN THE EIGHT EDUCATION PROPOSALS MENTIONED IN THE STATE OF THE STATE More Learning Time – Extended School Day and/or Year Expansion of Pre-Kindergarten to Full Day Teacher Preparation Community Schools Creation of Performance Management System Expanding Innovative Ways to Make Students College and Career Ready Create Innovation Zones Continue to Find Efficiencies Through Shared Services, Regionalization and Consolidation Link to: The Education Portion of the State of the State speech NYSSBA ANALYSIS Aggressive Agenda for Public Schools Significant Concerns Link to: Article related to Senate Rules Create Education Subcommittee for NYC Education STATEMENT OF NYSSBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TIMOTHY KREMER STATEMENT OF ASSEMBLYMEMBER BRIAN KOLB STATEMENT OF STATE COMPTROLLER THOMAS DINAPOLI ADVOCACY TOOLS YOU CAN USE 2013 State of the State Background and Talking Points Technology Wrap Around Services Extended Day/Year Bar Exam for Teachers Shared Services, Regionalization and Consolidation Merger History in New York State

Advocacy Alert - Education Commission Report January 2, 2013 EDUCATION REFORM COMMISSION ISSUES PRELIMINARY REPORT Link To: New New York Education Reform Commission’s Preliminary Report NYSSBA’s VIEW STATEMENT OF NYSSBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TIMOTHY KREMER SCHOOLS LEFT HANGING BY FISCAL CLIFF DEAL Call your Member of Congress and U.S. Senators

NYSSBA to Tweet, Provide Reaction During Governor’s State of the State Address FOR RELEASE: January 7, 2013 CONTACT: Al Marlin (518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) will be live tweeting its reaction to the education proposals in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State-of-the-State address on January 9. Members of the media looking for reaction to the education initiatives proposed by the governor can find NYSSBA on Twitter @nyschoolboards. In addition, NYSSBA Executive Director Tim Kremer will be available for interviews immediately after the governor’s address, and on Thursday, January 10. Please contact Al Marlin at (518)783-3723 or 527-6933 to schedule an interview. -30-

After Newtown, school leaders unsure about mental health services FOR RELEASE: January 4, 2013 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards

More than half of school board members who responded to an informal poll by the New York State School Boards Association either said they do not believe their students have enough access to mental health services (38 percent) or that they were unsure (14 percent) if students had adequate access.

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Education Reform Commission Report FOR RELEASE: January 2, 2013 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards School boards stand firmly behind the basic premise of the Commission’s preliminary report: Putting Students First. All of us want to provide greater access to early childhood education programs, improve teacher quality, and ensure that students receive the social and educational support services they need to succeed.

99 percent of school budgets approved_copy On Board Online • May 25, 2015 By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Voters approved nearly 99 percent of school spending plans statewide. Among 676 budgets put up for vote on May 19, 666 passed - an approval rate of 98.7 percent. That does not include the Hempstead school district in Nassau County, the status of whose budget was still unknown at press time. Budget success was uniform across the state, with no region having less than a 94 percent approval rate, and five regions having budget passage rates of 100 percent. In Dutchess County's Millbrook school district, 71 percent of voters gave thumbs up to a budget with a tax levy increase of 1.98 percent. "Millbrook, and especially the superintendent, do a great job with the money they are given," Millbrook resident Perry Hartswick told the Poughkeepsie Journal. "All of the money in this budget is necessary to better the education here."

To reduce waste and fuel science lessons, more schools build compost piles TEST On Board Online • May 25, 2015 By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer FOR TEST ...Before heading home each day, a small crew of North Country high school students pulls a cart loaded with lunch scraps a few-dozen yards out to a set of concrete bins behind the school. The students, from the Colton-Pierrepont school district, record the weight and volume of the day's left-over fruit pits and peels, bread crusts, salad greens, vegetables and more before dumping it all into one of the bins. Most days, the take is about 15 lbs. - more if whole apples were on the menu. Before shoveling on a covering layer of wood chips, the students churn the mixture a bit. To be sure the material underneath remains warm enough for the unseen micro-organisms to keep working, they spear the pile with a thermometer and note the temperature. Colton-Pierrepont is among a growing number of New York school districts, large and small, that are composting organic material to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills. Composting initiatives fuel countless science lessons and, teachers say, promote environmental stewardship and sustainability.

OCR issues guidance on responsibilities of Title IX coordinators TEST On Board Online • May 25, 2015 By Jeffrey Mongelli Senior Staff Attorney The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued an updated Title IX Resource Guide and an accompanying "Dear Colleague" letter that underscore the importance of designating, training and supporting Title IX coordinators to ensure compliance with that law. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs, athletics and other activities in schools that receive federal funds. If any part of a school district receives any federal funding for any purpose, all of the operations of the school district are covered by Title IX. According to the Dear Colleague letter, OCR has found that "some of the most egregious and harmful Title IX violations occur when a recipient fails to designate a Title IX coordinator or when a Title IX coordinator has not been sufficiently trained or given the appropriate level of authority to oversee the recipient's compliance with Title IX." This article highlights some of the key issues and recommendations discussed in the two documents.

OCR issues guidance on responsibilities of Title IX coordinators TEST_copy On Board Online • May 25, 2015 By Jeffrey Mongelli Senior Staff Attorney The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued an updated Title IX Resource Guide and an accompanying "Dear Colleague" letter that underscore the importance of designating, training and supporting Title IX coordinators to ensure compliance with that law. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs, athletics and other activities in schools that receive federal funds. If any part of a school district receives any federal funding for any purpose, all of the operations of the school district are covered by Title IX. According to the Dear Colleague letter, OCR has found that "some of the most egregious and harmful Title IX violations occur when a recipient fails to designate a Title IX coordinator or when a Title IX coordinator has not been sufficiently trained or given the appropriate level of authority to oversee the recipient's compliance with Title IX." This article highlights some of the key issues and recommendations discussed in the two documents.

Mandate Relief Commission Report Available December 28, 2012

The Mandate Relief Council is an eleven-member Executive and Legislative council charged with reviewing and advancing proposals to reduce the statutory and regulatory burden on local governments and school districts. Governor Cuomo signed the law creating the Mandate Relief Council as part of a mandate relief package that will save local governments and school districts more than $125 million. The State depends on its local governments and school districts to deliver essential services to its residents and often prescribes how these services should be provided. These requirements are woven throughout State laws and regulations – limiting flexibility and increasing costs. The Council was created to find, review, and reform these mandates.

ADVOCACY ALERT – LAST MINUTE NEWS ADVOCACY ALERT – LAST MINUTE NEWS December 21, 2012 LESSONS LEARNED FROM NYSSBA’S GEA SUMMIT Link To: Ken Slentz Presentation MANDATE RELIEF COUNCIL APPROVES WORK ON SPECIAL ED, SEAT TIME AND INTERNAL AUDITS APPR UPDATE – SED RECOMMENDS BOCES TO REVIEW PLANS PRIOR TO SUBMISSION Link To: Approved Plans by SED SCHOOL EMERGENCY PLANS – HAVE A DISCUSSION WITH THE PUBLIC

Statement of New York State School Boards Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Connecticut School Shooting FOR RELEASE: December 15, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards

Every school board member in New York feels shock and horror over the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. No words can express our sadness over the losses in this horrific tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families.

Schools ask Cuomo to modify aid cap On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer New York educational leaders are urging the governor to fine-tune a mechanism that caps annual school aid growth and bring more predictability to that critical piece of funding. In this first year of the state aid cap, calculation of the 4.1 percent increase was based on a five-year average of personal income growth in the state. But future annual updates are to be based on single-year changes in personal income, which school officials fear will result in unpredictable year-to-year swings in the amount of state aid school districts will receive. “These large annual ups and downs are not conducive to sound financial planning, either for schools or state government,” officials representing members of the New York State Educational Conference Board (ECB) wrote in a Dec. 7 letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. ECB members include NYSSBA, the state Congress of Parents and Teachers, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the state Association of School Business Officials, the Conference of Big 5 School Districts, the state Council of School Superintendents and the School Administrators Association of New York State.

On other side of the fiscal cliff, average district loses $243,000 On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst School districts in New York stand to lose at least $164 million of federal funding earmarked largely for educational programs serving students with disabilities and students in poverty in 2013-14 if lawmakers in Washington, D.C. cannot avert the so-called fiscal cliff by Jan. 2, according to a NYSSBA analysis of federal grant allocations to school districts. The cuts would average about $243,000 per district. “The consequences of lawmakers not reaching agreement on the fiscal cliff are severe for students in New York schools, especially those in city school districts,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. NYSSBA’s analysis is based on across-the-board cuts in federal programs – known as sequestration – the White House estimates to be 8.2 percent. These mandatory cuts arose from Congress’ failure to agree on a 10-year plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget in the debt ceiling deal that was struck last year between the White House and Congressional Republicans.

A ‘to do’ list for 2013 On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Timothy Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director NYSSBA fulfills many roles, but it is first and foremost an advocacy organization. As we prepare for 2013, here are five financial issues that we think our state and federal governments have to address immediately: 1. Avoid falling off the “fiscal cliff.” What can NYSSBA do about this? Shine a light on the facts. NYSSBA’s research team analyzed the effect of sequestration on schools in New York State and put out a news release on Dec. 11. News media across the state and nation picked up the story. One blog even posted our spreadsheet showing the district-by-district impact of the federal cuts. We can’t force Republicans and Democrats in Washington to compromise, but we can keep the public informed on what’s at stake. 2. Manage APPR expenses. Put this in the “prevent further harm” category. The Annual Professional Performance Review process has turned into a significant expense (dare I say, unfunded mandate?) for school districts. As of this writing, the State Education Department had approved only 358 plans. Another 40 districts had not yet submitted plans. State aid is at risk and so are student programs. While we still have another month to go before the deadline, it’s possible that action by NYSSBA may be necessary to help extend the deadline, or help those districts avoid loss of state aid increases. We will also look at securing additional appropriations for implementation of APPR and Common Core. 3. Reform the state’s education spending cap. Early next year, the governor will release his budget proposal. Under various caps, state and local revenue will cover little more than required increases in the state and teachers’ retirement systems and, maybe, employee health care. NYSSBA will be fighting for increased state aid to schools, along with structural reform to the state spending cap. State aid increases are currently tied to personal income growth - and that has the potential to cause wild fluctuations in state aid increases from year to year (see story, page 1). Schools need predictability and stability in state funding. NYSSBA’s advocacy efforts will focus on basing the spending cap on a ten-year average of personal income growth, similar to how the state caps growth in Medicaid. We will also look to adjust the state aid formula to consider current costs and deep degrees of poverty. Our schools can’t face today’s challenges with yesterday’s funding methodology.

Cash-conscious superintendents worry that ‘educational insolvency’ looms On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer More than three-quarters of the state’s school superintendents foresee a time when their districts would be unable to pay all of their bills, according to the findings of a survey by the New York State Council of School Superintendents. About 40 percent of the superintendents estimate that could happen within four years or less. Meanwhile, more than half of the superintendents responding to the latesummer survey anticipate their districts will reach a state of “educational insolvency,” meaning they will be unable to provide all mandated services and instruction for their students, within four years. Nearly one in five said that could happen within two years.

Most schools submit APPR plans On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Nine of every 10 school districts in New York State have submitted plans for conducting Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR) of their teachers and principals, Executive Deputy Education Commissioner Valerie Grey told the Regents at their December meeting. Of the 679 plans submitted, 358 – a little more than half - have been approved by the department as of Dec. 10, she said. Staff members are awaiting revised submissions from another 242 districts that have received written feedback on the original plans they submitted, said Grey.

New leaders at SED On Board Online • December 17, 2012

Valerie Grey, executive deputy commissioner at the State Education Department (SED), is leaving her post to join the Healthcare Association of New York State as executive vice president for policy. Elizabeth R. Berlin, acting chief of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, has been named to succeed her on Jan. 23. Donald Juron, SED’s director of financial administration, has become chief financial officer, which also was part of Grey’s job. Juron’s appointment became effective on Dec. 12.

Senate curriculum: Power-sharing 101 On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Staff writer An ongoing political chess match in the state Senate is setting up an unprecedented experiment in bipartisan power-sharing during the legislative session that begins in January. At stake is the power to decide which issues will reach the Senate floor for a vote – or even which issues will get discussed. Republicans, who have controlled the house for the last several decades (with a break in 2009-10), have allied themselves with a Democratic splinter group called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), apparently forming a controlling coalition. The impact of the coalition leadership deal on education legislation in the Senate remains unclear, since education hasn’t yet been mentioned in leaders’ public comments about the joint leadership plan. For now, Republicans are expressing confidence that the arrangement will prompt little change in their overall governing program.

Targeting limited resources and opening a longer-term discussion On Board Online • December 17, 2012

Regents’ state aid proposal Annually the Board of Regents offers recommendations regarding school aid for the upcoming year. While final responsibility for budget decisions rests with the governor and Legislature, the Regents seek to frame a realistic proposal in support of our educational objectives. The framework for 2013-14 is especially challenging. Five years ago, the state adopted a comprehensive foundation aid formula that envisioned substantial growth in available resources, phased in over a four-year period. As an economic slowdown became the Great Recession, New York initially froze and subsequently reduced aid levels that had been projected in 2007. The foundation formula – the general formula with which aid is distributed to almost 700 districts – is now moderated by an aid-reducing “gap elimination adjustment” and other limits. At the district level, growth in spending has slowed dramatically, fund balances have declined, and underlying costs have continued to push upward. Districts’ ability to raise local revenue is moderated by a cap on the property tax levy. Many observers warn of potential financial and educational insolvency in a group of school districts within a few years. The goals of 2007 have receded into a distant future. Against this backdrop, the Regents make four recommendations for 2013-14: First, the state should direct as many resources as possible into the general aid formula. That includes re-examining a detail of the personal income growth index. The index caps state aid to schools by limiting growth to the annual percentage increase in taxpayers’ reported personal income. While the Legislature used a five-year average increase to calculate the cap for the current fiscal year, the law calls for annual recalculations of the cap for 2013-14 and going forward. Annual fluctuations in aid levels and multi-year planning at the district level are inconsistent with each other. Therefore, the Regents propose that total aid availability be set at 3.5 percent growth for 2013-14 and that consideration be given to adopting a smoothing mechanism going forward.

What can NYS learn from other states about reform of teacher evaluations? On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst How has teacher evaluation reform worked in other states? A new report highlights what “early adopter” states – Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee – have done well and what needs improvement. The State of Teacher Evaluation Reform: State Education Agency Capacity and the Implementation of New Teacher-Evaluation Systems focuses on the role of state education agencies (SEAs). (In New York, that would be the State Education Department.) The report was produced by the Center for American Progress, a non-partisan, “progressive” policy group founded by John Podesta, who served as White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, according to the group’s website. It was written by Patrick McGuinn, who is chair of the Political Science Department at Drew University, the author of a book on the federal No Child Left Behind Act and a former high school social studies teacher. One common issue McGuinn found involved the “capacity” of SEAs to help districts implement reform. In other words, there usually isn’t enough skilled personnel. For SEAs to make the most of the personnel that they have, good relationships and communication is essential – both within SEAs and between SEAs and school district officials.

BYOD seen as next high tech learning trend On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Cell phone use for digital learning is passé, according to a report called Learning in the 21st Century: Mobile Devices + Social Media = Personalized Learning. The emerging trend is for students to “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD),” enabling personalized learning, according to the report, issued by a not-for profit group, Project Tomorrow, and Blackboard Inc. Survey results show that 62 percent of parents would purchase a mobile tool for their son or daughter if it could be integrated into classroom use. Parents want their children to do well in school and they see the benefits that mobile tablets and other tools provide for their learning.

Batavia BOE promotes positives online On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Lisa A. Johnson Special Correspondent When a study commissioned by the Batavia City Council in 2011 revealed that residents generally were not proud of their community, school district officials took the message to heart. While district leaders knew that many good things were happening inside schools, those accomplishments seemed to be overshadowed by a perception that the Genesee County community had seen better days. A consultant hired by the city diagnosed Batavia’s problem as psychological. “It is a solid community with outstanding assets, but its competitiveness is being undermined by too many residents and business leaders who express little confidence in the community as a place of choice,” said a report by czb LLP, an Alexandra, Va.-based neighborhood planning firm. “Regardless of how effective the city government is, or how successful the schools are, or how homeowners keep up beautiful homes, there is always the perception that things used to be better,” said czb, which does not use uppercase letters in its name.

Legal considerations when selling a school building in New York State On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys A survey by the New York State Council of School Superintendents released in November found that 29 percent of districts with at least 5,000 students reported having closed a school in the last three years. This has prompted many districts to consider selling school buildings. While such transactions can benefit taxpayers and the community, individuals opposed to a sale may challenge whether it was accomplished in accordance with the law. Boards that understand the law and follow an exemplary process will be in a much better position to defend their actions and keep their attention on student achievement and school improvement. The statutory framework for selling school property in New York varies between the various district designations; union free, central, and other types of districts. This article will focus on the two most common school district types: union free and central.

Tips on researching a sale of property On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Gary L. Steffanetta, Guercio & Guercio Be sure you own it. Perform a title search prior to listing the property for sale to ensure there are no restrictive covenants on the property – some school districts were granted land only for as long as it was used as a school. Know your zoning. Check local government records for zoning and use restrictions that may exist for potential purchasers of the property.

Types of school districts in New York State On Board Online • December 17, 2012

There are 705 operating school districts and 37 BOCES in New York: Common School Districts In existence since 1812, common school districts do not have the legal authority to operate a high school. They are governed by either a sole trustee or a board of trustees comprising three members. Nine are still in operation. Union Free School District Since 1853, common school districts have been able to combine as union free school districts and provide a high school. There are 75 union free school districts plus 10 “special act” schools. Union free school districts are governed by a board of education composed of between three and nine members who serve three-, four- or five-year terms.

Federal court upholds $1 million race discrimination award On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel A federal appellate court with jurisdiction over New York has upheld a $1 million award against a school district after determining that a jury reasonably found the district did not sufficiently address racial harassment targeted against a high school student by other students. Anthony Zeno, who is of mixed racial background, was subjected to numerous incidents of verbal and physical harassment based on his race during a period of three and a half years. In Zeno v. Pine Plains CSD, he sued the district under Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act claiming that the district discriminated against him by being deliberately indifferent to the harassment. NYSSBA submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to urge the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit not to expand the scope of school liability beyond the parameters of current U.S. Supreme Court standards. Although ruling against the district, the Second Circuit relied on that precedent, further explaining what kinds of acts and omissions can trigger liability.

Districts may wish to speed action on Dignity Act anti-harassment policies On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel The federal court ruling in Zeno v. Pine Plains CSD has added significance for New York school districts in light of the state’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). Like Title VI, DASA is an anti-discrimination law. It prohibits discrimination, harassment (and, starting July 1, 2013, bullying and cyberbullying) of students that is based on factors including race. A close review shows that DASA requirements cover many of the issues addressed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Zeno.

Boards must approve agreements extending probationary periods On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel In Matter of Marshall v. Pittsford Central School District, a teacher was properly dismissed after an agreement to extend her probationary period expired. Though the agreement was flawed because the school board had not been approved, the teacher was unsuccessful in claiming she had achieved tenure by estoppel. In general, the Education Law provides a teacher must serve a three-year probationary period so the district can evaluate the competency of a teacher prior to awarding tenure. Tenure may not be awarded without the positive recommendation of the superintendent. However, a probationary period may be extended for an additional year if recommended by the superintendent and agreed to by both the teacher and the school board. Such an agreement is known as a Juul agreement. Such agreements prevent a teacher from claiming tenure by estoppel (by operation of law) if he or she is allowed to teach beyond the expiration of the probationary period.

District ordered to provide required health instruction On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel Commissioner’s regulations mandate that boards of education must provide students with a half unit of health education by the end of eighth grade. In Appeal of Doyle, a school board approved moving the required health offering from seventh to sixth grade beginning with the 2011-12 school year. In March 2012, Doyle appealed on behalf of her son who had entered seventh grade in fall 2011 and was not offered health instruction because it had been shifted to the sixth grade curriculum. The district said it relied in part upon advice it received from unnamed staff at the State Education Department (SED) that “a lapse in the offering of certain curricula to a select grade cohort is unavoidable.” The commissioner noted that he is not bound by any alleged advice offered by SED staff and, furthermore, he was constrained to follow the plain language of the regulations.

Employee sanctioned for frivolous lawsuit On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Patricia H. Gould Associate Counsel A school employee and her attorney were recently sanctioned by a state court for frivolously suing her school district because the employee had agreed to not sue the district in a settlement deal to resolve disciplinary charges against her. In Korba v. Board of Education of the Stamford CSD, the district brought 3020-a disciplinary charges against Korba. As required by law, the superintendent also notified the State Education Department (SED) that at least some alleged misconduct raised a reasonable question as to Korba’s moral character, triggering a Part 83 proceeding on her teaching certificate. Korba and the district entered into a settlement agreement to resolve the 3020-a proceeding and mutually agreed to “‘irrevocably and unconditionally’ release each other from any and all causes of action, known or unknown against the other from the beginning of time to the date [the agreement was signed]”.

Re-trial granted regarding injury on school’s icy sidewalk On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel As a landowner, a school district has a responsibility to act as a reasonable person in maintaining its property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all circumstances. Under the law, once a landowner has notice of a dangerous condition he or she has a reasonable time to undertake appropriate remedial action. In this regard, winter in New York poses unique challenges for school districts facing the need to remove snow and ice. In a recent decision, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Fourth Department, set aside a jury verdict that had been rendered in favor of a school district, and ordered a new trial regarding the district’s liability for personal injuries a plaintiff sustained when she slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk at a school.

As baby boomers age, need grows for succession planning in districts On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Fred Langstaff Area 12 Director Has your school board been talking about succession planning? If not, it should start. A recent article in On Board noted that school districts in the Lower Hudson region are anticipating that more than 50 percent of administrative positions will be vacated in the next three years. My area of the state – Long Island – is facing similar prospects, and your district probably is, too. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 81.5 million persons aged 45-64, known as baby boomers, comprise approximately 26 percent of the population. Their eventual retirement will drain talent from all industries, including public education. This has been an item of discussion in Eastern Suffolk BOCES, where I have been a member of the board for many years. Our BOCES employs 2,100 people and anticipates a sizeable percentage of its instructional and administrative staff will retire over the next two years.

‘Online Courses for the 21st Century’ developed by PNW BOCES, districts On Board Online • December 17, 2012

By Ellen Lane While many school districts are scaling back on high school course offerings as a result of budget woes, some districts in Westchester and Putnam counties are expanding offerings to include topics like archeology, architecture and sustainability. It’s all thanks to a unique program known as Online Courses for the 21st Century, created by Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in collaboration with 12 forward-looking school districts. Now in its second year, the OC 21 program offers students in participating districts the opportunity to study subjects not typically offered in local high schools, to gain valuable experience in online learning and to engage with peers across the region. The courses use a blended approach that combines online learning with in-person activities such as field trips and all-day symposia. OC 21 grew out of the desire of school districts in the region to offer innovative online/blended learning to their high school students. “The idea came up at a regional planning meeting of districts interested in working together to create new and exciting learning opportunities for their students,” said Marla Gardner, director of curriculum and instruction for PNW BOCES. “But our districts are highperforming. They didn’t want to buy something off the shelf. They wanted to offer courses that were meaningful and relevant to their students and that had the same rigor as what is offered in their schools.”

Fiscal Cliff Consequences Steep for New York Schools FOR RELEASE: December 11, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards School districts in New York State would lose an average of $243,000 in federal funding for their 2013-14 school budgets if lawmakers in Washington, D.C. cannot avert the so-called fiscal cliff by January 2, according to a NYSSBA analysis of federal grant allocations to school districts. “The consequences of lawmakers not reaching agreement on the fiscal cliff are severe for students in New York schools, especially those in city school districts,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. In total, schools in New York stand to lose $164 million in federal funding earmarked largely for educational programs serving students with disabilities and students in poverty. NYSSBA’s analysis is based on across-the-board cuts in federal programs – known as sequestration – that the White House estimates to be 8.2 percent.

Fiscal Cliff Consequences Steep for New York Schools _copy1 FOR RELEASE: December 11, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards School districts in New York State would lose an average of $243,000 in federal funding for their 2013-14 school budgets if lawmakers in Washington, D.C. cannot avert the so-called fiscal cliff by January 2, according to a NYSSBA analysis of federal grant allocations to school districts. “The consequences of lawmakers not reaching agreement on the fiscal cliff are severe for students in New York schools, especially those in city school districts,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. In total, schools in New York stand to lose $164 million in federal funding earmarked largely for educational programs serving students with disabilities and students in poverty. NYSSBA’s analysis is based on across-the-board cuts in federal programs – known as sequestration – that the White House estimates to be 8.2 percent.

School Board Members Mixed on Targeting Pre-K $ to Lower Wealth Areas FOR RELEASE: December 10, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards About one-half (49 percent) of school board members favor giving priority placement in state-funded universal pre-kindergarten programs to children living in poverty, according to a new poll by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). Fortythree percent oppose the measure, while 8 percent are uncertain. The poll comes as the state Board of Regents prepares to vote on proposals that would give priority placement in universal pre-K programs to children who qualify for free- and reduced-price lunch, as well as direct more state pre-K funding to average and low wealth school districts. The Regents’ vote is whether to recommend these policy changes. To become law, the state Legislature would have to adopt both proposals. “Board members recognize that children living in lower wealth areas often have fewer options for early childhood programs,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “At the same time, if the universal pre-K program is truly going to be ‘universal,’ then all three- and four-year old children should have access to it.”

NOMINATE THE BEST OF THE BEST! November 28, 2012 NYSSBA’s ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR AWARD Each year as part of NYSSBA’s State Issues Conference, you help us pay tribute to the very best public education advocates among us. Their efforts and example inspire us to do all we can to preserve and promote public education. There are a great many board members who work hard in their community to pass the local school budget, engage the community or build relationships with staff. While there is no question that these activities are “advocating for your district”, NYSSBA’s Advocate of the Year Award is for outstanding advocacy at the state and federal level. Who among you never fails to write your legislators? Who works to bring state leaders into your schools to see firsthand what must be preserved? Who travels to Albany or Washington to fight for funding and to relieve you of burdensome mandates? These are the appropriate nominees for NYSSBA’s Advocate of the Year Award!

Districts slowly recover from Sandy On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer At least 100 Long Island schools were damaged when Superstorm Sandy roared ashore overnight on Oct. 29, including about 10 that will need major renovations because of deep saltwater flooding, according to a State Education Department official who toured the region with local school leaders. “It was painful to see,” said Assistant Commissioner Chuck Szuberla, recalling a flooded middle school where new library books had just been placed on shelves in preparation for a ribbon-cutting. No one has yet tried to put a price tag on the school recovery costs. But Nassau BOCES District Superintendent Thomas Rogers expects it will easily reach into the tens of millions of dollars. “There is not a school district on Long Island that has come out of this unscathed,” Nassau Suffolk School Boards Association Lorriane Deller told On Board on Nov. 8, while she was bundled against the cold in an office that remained without heat. At least 358 districts across the state closed some or all of their schools for at least a day after Sandy hit, according to the State Education Department. Closings at dozens of districts on Long Island extended for more than a week, and several that had opened were forced to close again on Nov. 8 because of snow and ice dropped by a Nor’easter. Students whose families lost homes have been hard to locate. Some are in shelters, some are staying with friends or relatives and some are in hotels. Some parents have taken advantage of their rights under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act and enrolled their children in other schools.

New conversation urged about suicide prevention On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Merri Rosenberg Special correspondent When suicide strikes a school community, should flags be flown at half-mast? Is it appropriate to allow people to post comments on the district’s Facebook page? Although it’s not often easy for school personnel to know the best approach to console those who are grieving, a new set of guidelines may help them respond to suicides as well as take appropriate steps to prevent them. This fall, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General released a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. “This is relevant for schools,” said Linda Bakst, deputy director of policy services for NYSSBA. “A lot of school districts have serious concerns. Suicide is traumatic for everyone involved. When schools do have a tragedy like that, they need guidance.” It’s not just a job for school counselors, said Christine Miara of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. “Teens are at risk of suicide. Within schools, everyone has a role to play. Staff and students need to be able to identify students who are vulnerable.” Students need to feel they belong and know where to get help, Miara said. “The key action is having this culture that promotes connectedness, where students feel a sense of connection to the school staff and feel they have support. Everybody needs to know who the mental health contact is.” Because bullying is considered a risk factor for suicides, a suicide prevention plan may fit in with districts’ efforts to comply with New York’s new Dignity for All Students Act. “Local suicides of students had a bullying component,” said Kathy Miller, a certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES in Syracuse. “This is helping to raise people’s awareness. If students are being bullied and harassed, you see more people stepping up, speaking out and taking action. There are no statistics on student suicide related to past bullying, but it’s significant enough that you have to pay attention. School has to be a safe place for everybody.”

Sandy, climate change and schools On Board Online • November 19, 2012

Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President Hurricane Sandy swept through New York, leaving a trail of physical devastation, heartbreak and displaced lives in its wake. The storm flooded lower Manhattan and parts of Long Island, downed trees, cut off fuel supplies and left millions without power. Last year, a similar catastrophe occurred upstate, when Tropical Storms Irene and Lee delivered a dramatic one-two punch that left schools flooded, roads unpassable and residents wondering where to turn next. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently commented that we are having a 100-year storm every two years. “It’s undeniable that the frequency of extreme weather conditions is up, and we’re going to have to learn from that, and that’s going to be the next chapter of this situation,” remarked the governor. It is frightening to think that storms of this magnitude could occur on a regular basis.

TRS rate expected to jump in 2013-14 On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst School district contributions to the state Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) are expected to jump to at least 15.5 percent for the 2013-14 school year, according to an administrative bulletin issued by the pension plan. The 2013-14 rate is expected to be between 15.5 percent and 16.5 percent, up from 11.84 percent in 2012-13. This rate will apply to fiscal year 2013-14 TRS payroll and will be collected in the fall of 2014. Four TRS representatives plan to meet with NYSSBA’s Board of Directors at its Dec. 1 meeting. They are: Thomas Lee, executive director; Wayne Schneider, general counsel; Richard Young, actuary; and Michael Kraus, board member. The TRS board will not formally adopt a rate until next July, but provides advance notice to help school districts with planning and budgeting. TRS will issue another bulletin in February 2013 with a more precise estimate of the employer contribution rate.

Talk vs. action: Keep your eye on Pre-K On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Two lines of public conversation about education in New York – one centered on boosting student achievement and the other on helping school districts cope with a tightening financial vise – are converging in a surprising place: the pre-kindergarten classroom. Money spent on pre-K will help more students succeed and reduce government expenditures ranging from remedial education to prisons, advocates say. “We have a belief that this is a place, even in a time of constrained financial resources, where we can have an impact” on college- and career-readiness, Regent James Tallon said as he led a discussion of the board’s State Aid Subcommittee last month. Spending more on pre-K also could be a politically popular recommendation for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission. Over months of hearings throughout the state, the commission has repeatedly heard testimony citing research showing that children who attend pre-K programs are less likely to require costly remedial services later and more likely to succeed in high school and college.

NYSSBA proposes four steps for state hurricane relief On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By David Albert Director of Communications and Research NYSSBA is asking state lawmakers to take up four steps to help school districts affected by Hurricane Sandy and other catastrophic events. For one, NYSSBA is calling on lawmakers to exempt school districts from the 180-day attendance requirement for state aid. While the commissioner of education may waive up to five days, many schools will exceed those five days. In fact, dozens of school districts were closed for multiple days as a result of Sandy. “While in a perfect world schools would make up lost time, the fact is, that just may not be possible and we should hold those districts harmless from the loss of state aid,” said NYSSBAExecutive Director Timothy Kremer. Second, NYSSBA is asking lawmakers to grant school districts the authority to expend money during the 2012-13 school year beyond the limits approved by voters in the 2012-2013 school budget. This is necessary because many districts face unexpected costs such as leasing facilities, making tuition payments to other districts, repairing and replacing school buses, implementing new bus routes and emergency staffing levels.

Little relationship between tougher standards and higher achievement On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Tougher curricular standards appear to have little impact on overall student achievement but may raise achievement of eighth-graders, according to a study by a professor at Harvard University. Joshua Goodman of Harvard’s School of Government matched up data on state-level student achievement from 1994 through 2011 with measures of the quality of states’ curricular standards as judged by two independent organizations – the American Federation of Teachers and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute – at three different moments in time.

Extended learning time shows promise, but more study needed On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Expanded learning time programs, such as longer school years and school days, show promise in improving educational outcomes, but research is too limited to make broad generalizations about their effectiveness, according to a recently published study commissioned by the Wallace Foundation. The Child Trends study was based on an analysis of previous studies of three expanded learning time models: Extended School Day (ESD), which lengthens the school day beyond the typical 6.5 hours; Extended School Year (ESY), which lengthens the school year beyond the standard 180 school days; and Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO), which provides extra academic help during or outside of schools or outside of regular operating school-day hours.

Getting to yes in your district’s teacher contract negotiations On Board Online • November 19, 2012

Getting to yes in your district’s teacher contract negotiations By Howard Smith In gearing up for teacher contract negotiations, school boards often form negotiating positions by defining a list of “gotta haves.” After the give-and-take of the negotiation process, board members can be disappointed when the agreement that they are asked to approve does not match their expectations. The key to a negotiations process that is successful and satisfies your board’s goals is working with your negotiator to develop a well-informed set of expectations. Begin by reviewing relevant data. While comparisons with other school districts in the region are important, they tempt board members to cherry pick what they consider to be the best features of the other contracts with the unrealistic expectation that they can somehow be assembled into a single, substantially more managementfriendly contract. Expanding the kind of data you consult will open new options. For example, it has become increasingly apparent to the general public that there is a growing gap between the benefits and salary guarantees offered by teacher contracts and the declining benefits packages and lack of salary guarantees for employees in other sectors. Seek salary and benefits data for other sectors, such as major private and government employers in the region. Such data are starting to make their way into fact-finding opinions that are issued when negotiations deadlock.

A journalist’s view on civics education On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief I first met education writer Lawrence Hardy at a National School Boards Association conference more than a decade ago. Energetic and mirthful, he can find more things to chuckle over in a conversation than Joe Biden in debate mode. He has been an editor at the American School Board Journal magazine since 1997 and previously was a reporter for the Charlottesville (Va.) Daily Progress and the Wilmington (Del.) News-Journal. Larry wrote the cover story for ASBJ’s Nov. 2012 issue, which asked two questions of importance to school board members and anyone who cares about democracy: “Why is civics education on the wane? What can you do about it?” Below, our conversation. Q: Not all school board members are familiar with the American School Board Journal. Tell me about it. A: The American School Board Journal is NSBA’s monthly magazine. It was founded in 1891 and is one of the oldest magazines in the country. NSBA acquired it in 1967. The magazine has a circulation of about 30,000 and is read by school board members, administrators, and other subscribers throughout the United States and Canada. Q: The magazine has sent up a red flag by stating that civics education is “on the wane.” How so? A: Yes, that’s true in a lot of school districts. A recent report by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) called students’ civic knowledge “dismal,” noting, for example, that only 27 percent of fourth graders could identify the purpose of the U.S. Constitution, and just 22 percent of eighth-graders understood the role of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Move over, Starbucks: Windsor High School library gets buzz On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By George Basler Allen Stout starts his school day by handing out items to students and staff members who line up at a counter in the Windsor High School library. Books? No, the 17-year-old senior is selling beverages and baked goods at the Blue Stone Café, a student-run coffee café located in his school’s library. Borrowing a concept from Barnes & Noble and other retailers, Windsor Central School District officials opened the café three years ago in hopes of increasing traffic – and circulation – in the library. “We wanted it to be the hub of the school,” said Jason Andrews, superintendent of the Broome County school district. Coffee cafés have been popping up in school libraries nationwide, according to Susan Ballard, president of the American Association of School Librarians. No count is available, though. Ballard acknowledged the idea of students sipping coffee and munching on muffins is quite a change from when she first started as a school district librarian in New Hampshire in 1975, when even bottled water near the stacks was frowned upon.

How to lease a school building without losing zoning exemptions On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Since 1970, elementary and secondary public school enrollment in New York State has dropped by 800,000 students to less than 2.7 million. At least 250 school buildings have closed across the state since 2006, and many school districts have sought tenants for these buildings to create a new source of revenue. When a school building is leased, local government officials may claim the district is no longer entitled to local tax or zoning exemptions. In such cases, school officials need to know how the law applies and often protects the district’s interests. District’s authority to lease school buildings Education Law section 403-a authorizes boards of education to lease unneeded school district property if they determine that leasing is in the best interest of the district. Section 403-a requires: (i) the rent must be at least fair market value, as determined by the board; (ii) the lease cannot be for more than 10 years, (except that the voters can approve a longer term or it can be renewed for up to 10 years with the consent of the commissioner of education); and (iii) the lessee is obligated to restore the property to its original condition, unless the board of education waives this requirement because removing improvements would cause substantial damage. While school districts are expressly authorized by statute to lease school district property, significant legal issues may offset the benefits. Will the school district’s property lose its tax-exempt status once it is leased? Will the school property and buildings be subject to local zoning laws and local ordinances if the property is no longer used for public education purposes?

District not liable for injuries in off-campus altercation On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel It is well-established that school districts have an obligation to adequately supervise students, and they have been held liable for student injuries that occurred as a result of inadequate supervision. On the other hand, districts are not necessarily liable in every case in which a student injures another, as in the Court of Appeal’s ruling in Stephenson v. The City of New York. In Stephenson, two students were involved in an altercation between classes. The district kept them apart for the rest of the school day and the following day during school hours. But when they saw each other on school grounds the second day, after school hours, one threatened the other. The following morning, before school hours, the threatening student assaulted the other two blocks from school. The victim’s parents sued and alleged that school officials were negligent as a result of their failure to ensure their son’s safety. They also argued that the district should have informed them of the threat. Relying on prior rulings, the Court of Appeals – New York’s highest court – explained that the duty of care a district owes a student ends when the student passes out of the “orbit” of its authority and parents are “perfectly free to reassume control” over their child’s protection. According to the court, the school had properly addressed the first incident, and the second assault occurred outside the school’s orbit of authority. It occurred off school premises, prior to the start of the school day and outside school staff supervision. The court also noted that districts have no statutory duty to inform parents about “generalized” threats. Under the circumstances in the case, the district did not have a common law duty to inform them of the threat issued by the other student, either.

Drug-related dismissal of school custodian upheld On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel A state appellate court has upheld the termination of a school custodian found to have possessed and used crack cocaine. In McKenzie v. Board of Educ. of the City School Dist. of Albany, the police found the custodian in possession of 3.5 grams of crack cocaine during his arrest in connection with a domestic violence complaint. Based on those circumstances, the district charged him with conduct unbecoming a school district employee and misconduct, and dismissed him after adopting the recommendations of a hearing officer following a disciplinary hearing conducted under the state’s Civil Service Law.

Commissioner sends back immunization decision On Board Online • November 19, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Determinations regarding parental requests for a religious exemption from immunization requirements can be difficult for school officials, who are often called upon to assess an individual’s sincerity regarding alleged religious beliefs. The commissioner of education recently heard the appeal of a parent whose children were denied a religious exemption in Appeal of C.O. Identifying herself and her husband as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, the mother stated:

CALL TO ACTION – FEDERAL FUNDING UNDER THREAT November 16, 2012 FEDERAL SEQUESTRATION PREVENTION CAMPAIGN Link To Pass a Resolution New Video on Sequestration NSBA’s Sequestration Webinar (registration) Talking Points and Background Information Contact Francine Campbell to share feedback ONE DAY SUMMIT State Aid Superstorm: The GEA and State Aid in the Wake of Sandy Friday, December 14, 2012 – Tarrytown, NY WHO NEEDS TO BE THERE WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHERE IS IT

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order #70 FOR RELEASE: November 14, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards On behalf of school boards, the New York State School Boards Association thanks Gov. Andrew Cuomo for extending the payment deadline for property taxpayers in certain school districts affected by Hurricane Sandy. Executive Order #70 issued Nov. 9 extends the period for paying taxes without interest or penalties for up to 21 days for taxpayers in 34 school districts in Nassau County and one school district in Orange County.

Teach Students about Impact of Climate Change, Most School Board Members Say FOR RELEASE: November 14, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of school board members believe students should be taught about the impact of climate change on natural disasters, according to a new Pulse Poll by the New York State School Boards Association. “Hurricane Sandy wreaked devastation on many communities,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “The fact that Hurricane Sandy followed so soon after Tropical Storms Irene and Lee could provide a teachable moment about the role of climate change on our environment.” In addition, an overwhelming majority (77 percent) of school board members believe the state should allow districts that were affected by Hurricane Sandy to have fewer than 180 days of instruction without losing state aid. Unless lawmakers waive the 180-day requirement, school districts would face a loss of state aid if they were unable to make up classes. There is currently legislation pending in Albany to waive the requirement.

ADVOCACY ALERT – ELECTION, STORM IMPACTS November 8, 2012 NYSSBA ELECTION ANALYSIS NYSSBA SEEKS RELIEF FOR SCHOOLS REELING FROM SANDY SED STORM GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS Link to: Resource and Guidance Documents TO DONATE TO RELIEF EFFORTS, CALL 1-800-RED CROSS

School Boards Association Seeks Relief for Schools Reeling from Sandy FOR RELEASE: November 7, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) today asked state lawmakers to consider four initiatives in order to help school districts and students affected by Hurricane Sandy. “Right now, many of those communities hit hardest by Sandy are dealing with the loss of basic necessities – food, power, fuel and shelter,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “But as life slowly begins to return to normal, schools will be facing a slew of issues as they sort through legal requirements.” The four initiatives that would help schools impacted by Sandy include:

Despite the name, it isn’t a tax cap! On Board Online EXTRA • November 5, 2012

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Memo to school board members and school administrators: Do not refer to last year’s tax levy legislation as a “2 percent tax cap”! This misnomer has contributed to misperceptions about the law’s impact on taxes, according to a presentation at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention & Education Expo in Rochester on Oct. 27. Capital Region BOCES presenters Deborah Bush-Suflita and Michele Levings explained that the legislation does not cap anyone’s tax bill, but it does have a real impact on contingency budgets. The misperception over the law has caused credibility problems for school districts with taxpayers. The message from the presenters at the workshop, called “Lessons Learned from Year One of the NYS Tax Levy ‘Cap’ ” was that educators need to wage an aggressive campaign to help taxpayers understand what the law really means. Despite the fact that state aid increased this school year for the first time since 2009-10, this is not a time to celebrate. State aid is now limited to growth in personal income, there is no aid increase for districts without an approved evaluation system in place by January 2013, and it will take districts a while to recover from the painful cuts they made over the last few years. Bush-Suflita and Levings advised districts to: Get out in front of difficult issues. It is up to districts to clear up any myths and misperceptions, and you should not rely on politicians or reports. Critique your district’s communications efforts. You no longer have to rely on traditional media to tell your story. Use social media to get your message out. Sharing information, not hoarding it, is key to success. Pay special attention to communications with faculty and staff. This is the group most directly impacted by a district’s fiscal realities. Boards faced pressure from employees to exceed the tax levy cap; educating staff on the needs to make responsible, yet painful cuts is key to obtaining employee buy-in and concessions at the bargaining table. An important message is that the risks of a defeated budget can be far more damaging than the proposed cuts. Get out the vote. While it is important to avoid even the appearance of advocacy or electioneering, districts can and should heavily promote the vote, along with details about the budget. Use the district website social media and traditional media to achieve this. Conduct an exit survey! This simple step can provide the district with a wealth of information, such as feedback on the effectiveness of communications efforts, trends in voter sentiment, and useful data to inform the next year’s budget development. If your budget is defeated, you will really wish you had conducted a survey, as you can use voter insights to get the second vote right. Knowing why the budget was defeated is far better than guessing the reasons. Mobilize going forward for better solutions. Energize your base, demand better legislation from elected leaders, and work with NYSSBA to try to achieve adequate, predictable and fair state aid funding in additional to meaningful mandate relief.

Technology makes customized learning possible now On Board Online EXTRA • November 5, 2012

By Barbara Bradley What if school districts could customize learning for individual students the same way Amazon.com suggests books for its customers? They can, with a system called mass customized learning, according to Bea McGarvey, an educational consultant and author, who spoke to a full house at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention & Education Expo on Oct. 26. Just as Amazon.com tailors book selections to individual customers based on their purchasing profiles, schools can tailor instruction to individual students based on their needs, interests and abilities – and enable them to learn anywhere, any time. Mass customized learning is now possible with today’s technology – it wasn’t necessarily possible 10 years ago, she explained. We’ve gone from the Industrial Age to the Information Age in everything but education, she said. McGarvey co-authored the book “Inevitable – Mass Customized Learning – Learning in the Age of Empowerment.” It is a vision for education, she said, and it takes strong leadership to bring it about. The secret for changing the current system is to borrow (“or steal”) an idea from another market or industry for your market or industry, she explained. Students learn in different ways and on different timeframes, according to Garvey. Mass customized learning embraces this and shifts the focus from graded, time-driven system used by most schools to a customized system with a balance of teacher-facilitated and online learning based on individual student needs. Students are assessed on a series of learning outcomes derived from the courses, or seminars, in their individualized learning schedule. They must demonstrate mastery of the outcome before they can move on to a new seminar. McGarvey introduced Lori, a 14-year-old high school student, in a YouTube video, to demonstrate how high school students create and follow their individualized learning schedules: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdCHvLSR_Iw&feature=plcp. Examples of high school learning seminars include “Lewis and Clark and Westward Expansion,” “Democracy and the History of the United States,” and “Career Options that Fit Me.” Mass customized learning focuses on learning goals rather than activities and assignments, she said. For more on mass customized learning, read a chapter on transformational technologies from McGarvey’s book, co-authored with Chuck Schwahn, at http://masscustomizedlearning.com/docs/InevitableChapter2.pdf

Expert explains Google Apps for educators On Board Online EXTRA • November 5, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Google Apps – sweet! That was the general consensus from the education session, “Google Apps for Education: Free Tools for a Safer Web Experience,” at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention & Education Expo on Oct. 27. The presenter was Carol LaRow, a teacher in the Niskayuna Central School District and Apple Distinguished Educator. She discussed online Google tools including Google Docs, Forms, Maps, and Presentations. LaRow described how Google’s online educational tools allow secure collaboration in “real time.” According to LaRow, all you need is your web browser. There are no hidden costs. Google Docs is a tool, somewhat like a wiki, that, in education, can be used to have students read and comment on their peers’ writing. Also, teachers can use it to review a paper, see where students are commenting on the paper and identify who is reviewing the paper and when it was reviewed. There is even a “Research Tool” inside Google Docs that allows users to access images, facts, and web search results for projects they are working on (with citations provided). Google Forms is another tool which allows teachers to give quick surveys and quizzes to their classes and get the responses back immediately. The tool allows teachers to “customize” their replies to students. To show how these tools can change how teachers teach, LaRow suggested a lesson on the poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” that uses Google Maps. Students can customize the format of a project by adding text, links, and pictures to an interactive map to enhance such a history project. School board members and administrators can use Google apps too, LaRow said. Google Presentation is a tool similar to Microsoft’s PowerPoint that board members can use for board presentations. Google apps for education are budget-friendly, “not platform dependent,” secure, and rather effortless to implement in the classroom, she said. And, most of all, students like using the online tools, so they’ll be motivated to learn and do well in school.

Members chronicle Convention on Twitter On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Barbara Bradley Staff Writer During NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention, board members and the commissioner of education conducted a running commentary of their Convention experiences on Twitter. It was the third year that NYSSBA created a conversation thread dedicated to the convention, but the first year that dozens of participants chimed in. For the uninitiated, Twitter is a 140-character microblogging social media platform. Messages are called “tweets.” Members were able to contribute to the same thread by ending their messages by typing a code called a hashtag. The Convention hashtag was “#nyssba12.” Under the name @nyschoolboards, NYSSBA staff got the conversation going with announcements of upcoming convention events, observations and links to photos. One example: “Anti-bullying expert Barbara Coloroso tells a full house kids should have a healthy regard for themselves & language matters #nyssba12”.

Schools are the mirror of America, Juan Williams tells Convention-goers By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief When journalist Juan Williams visited a Minneapolis high school and asked to meet with student leaders as well as top scholars and athletes, two-thirds of the students had something in common: They were all girls. “Young women set the pace for achievement in school,” Wiliams said, noting that women outnumber men in all graduate programs except physics and engineering. In fact, a college admissions officer told him that boys seem more in need of an affirmative action-style edge in admissions than minorities. That’s just one example of many changes that deserve the attention – and thoughtful response – of school district leaders, Williams told attendees in the keynote speech at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention and Education Expo in Rochester. “It’s unbelievable what’s happening in education,” Williams said. “There is constant change impacting our society,” and every societal shift has some effect on public education.

Kremer to delegates: Vision is imperative In today’s economy, schools must prepare students for jobs that don’t even exist yet, NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer told delegates at NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting. “Just ask Beth LaPierre, who became Kodak’s first ever ‘Chief Listening Officer’ in 2010,” Kremer said. Before moving on to another job, LaPierre monitored more than 300,000 daily mentions of Kodak on Facebook, Twitter, message forums, YouTube, blogs, and elsewhere on the Web each day. “Other graduates will become app developers, data miners, social media managers, eldercare consultants, sustainability experts and user experience designers. None of these well-paying careers existed 10 years ago.”

Sandy shutters 200 districts By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Nearly 200 school districts in New York State shut down due to power outages and other disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy. “It’s way too early to get any kind of accurate count on the number of schools damaged,” Jonathan Burman, a spokesman for the State Education Department, said as On Board went to press Oct. 31. “We’ve received a half dozen reports so far, but it’s obviously going to be many, many more than that.”

Charter schools to remain guests, not family, at NYSSBA trainings On Board Online • November 5, 2012

Annual Business Meeting By Barbara Bradley Staff Writer Delegates to NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting overwhelmingly voted down a resolution that would have created a committee to study whether charter schools should become members of the Association. While acknowledging charter schools’ status as public schools, delegates argued there are important distinctions. Public schools exist to educate all children, regardless of their abilities, unlike charter schools, which are able to choose their students, delegates said. They added that charter schools are not subject to the same mandates as public schools, which contributes to different political priorities. While charter school personnel and board members might benefit from attending NYSSBA training events, delegates pointed out they can do so by taking advantage of NYSSBA’s nonmember attendance rates (typically twice the amount charged to member districts). “This Association is an advocate for public schools, schools that provide for the brightest of our students and for those that need and require the most,” said Pat Burk, a board member from Batavia. “At this crucial time it is even more imperative that we advocate and represent public, all inclusive schools and not recognize charter schools that can discriminate with regards to a student’s ability and remove resources from our budgets.” Delegates reinforced their charter schools stance by passing a resolution that directs NYSSBA to oppose a potential parent trigger law for converting a failing public school into a charter school. Delegates also voted to have NYSSBA and its governmental relations department oppose legislation to include virtual charter schools in the state’s charter school law. In other action, they passed resolutions directing NYSSBA to seek legislative help in revamping the delivery of education. Among those were resolutions to have the state give local boards of education incentives to create regional high schools and give local school boards authority to determine how much “seat time” is required for students to earn course credit or meet graduation requirements. Another resolution seeks more digital learning opportunities for students.

NYSSBA president sees progress On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Eric Randall Editor-in-Chief Stepping up to the plate as an advocate for public education can be like stepping onto a treadmill, NYSSBA President Thomas Nespeca told delegates at NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting. “It seems that as soon as you cross one item off the list, three others have to be added,” he said. Nevertheless, NYSSBA had an exceptionally good year of advocacy, Nespeca reported just prior to being re-elected to a second one-year term. His examples: “With your help, NYSSBA secured a huge victory when Gov. Cuomo vetoed a very bad bill that would require consideration of a student’s culture and home environment when making special education placements.” “NYSSBA was the lead advocate on pension reform, which was recognized when New York’s lawmakers delivered Tier VI pension reform, that will make employee retirement systems more affordable in the long term.” “Lawmakers agreed to allow schools to use national purchasing cooperatives and ‘piggyback’ onto large municipal contracts, paving the way for millions in cost savings. Passage of this legislation was also led by NYSSBA.” “We have a reputation as an organization of school boards that is progressive and results-oriented,” Nespeca said. The involvement of rank-and-file school board members in advocacy is vital, he added.

King remains high on regionalization On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Expanding the role of BOCES could help school districts cut the Gordian Knot of school finance, Commissioner of Education John B. King Jr. said in a dialogue with school board members at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention. “We’ve got to figure out a way to leverage the BOCES as the true regional leaders they should be,” King said. Schools face a myriad of financial issues, he said. A local property tax levy cap enacted last year and tight restrictions on the growth of state school aid will continue to financially hamstring New York’s school districts, he said. Meanwhile, districts have been struggling with lower property values and diminishing options to cut staff and program spending, he said. “I don’t want to pretend there are new resources coming along. I think the reality is that they are not,” King told one questioner. “The cavalry with new resources is not coming.” Therefore, King said, regionalism and cooperation hold the most promise for districts looking to preserve or improve their programs and build student achievement. He acknowledged that mergers and consolidations are “a difficult, challenging subject,” recalling the murmurs that spread throughout the crowd at last year’s NYSSBA convention when he raised the issue. Nonetheless, he insisted, “If you were starting from scratch, you would not design a system of 700 school districts.” King urged school leaders to more readily embrace joint options such as regional high schools, early college high schools, career and technical programming and health insurance cooperatives as they look ahead.

Attorneys discuss issue of cheating On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief After listening to a Georgia attorney tell a gripping tale about how a team of investigators broke through denials to uncover a top-to-bottom cheating scandal in Atlanta schools, attendees at the 16th Annual PreConvention School Law Seminar heard New York’s test security chief describe the State Education Department’s strategy to discourage and crack down on cheating. Tina Sciocchetti, who has been SED’s head of Test Security and Educator Integrity since March, entitled her presentation “Learning from Atlanta.” “You do not want to be like Atlanta,” where cheating was found in 44 of 56 schools, said attorney Robert E. Wilson of the Decatur, Ga., law firm of Wilson, Morton & Downs. He described an urban school system where the then-superintendent (Beverly Hall) created a culture of intimidation that placed pressure on principals and teachers to improve scores and meet defined “targets.” The Atlanta saga began when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published articles questioning the validity of Atlanta’s stellar improvement in test scores in 2001. Nine years later, in 2010, Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered an investigation that involved a team of seven lawyers, two law firm investigators and 50 agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Investigators found no evidence of written or oral directives to cheat. But Wilson gave the example of a teacher whose students had low scores and was told she had to sit under a table at a meeting where better performing colleagues sat normally. “They created a culture of fear and silence. Some bucked it and they lost their jobs.” Erasure analysis uncovered unfathomably improbable events, such as patterns in which 85 to 100 percent of changed answers were changed to the right answer. Noting patterns of cheating going back eight years in some schools, a statistical expert said one pattern of improvement was so far from what one would expect statistically that it was like flipping a quarter and having it land on its edge, then flip a second that also lands on its edge – on top of the other one.

Expert provides review of NYS Dignity Act and coordinator’s role On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Staff Writer Improving school climate is “the heart of the intent” of New York’s new Dignity for All Students Act, according to Mary Grenz Jalloh, executive director of the New York State Center for School Safety at Ulster BOCES. She led a session called “The Dignity Act Coordinator: Supporting and Strengthening their Role,” at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention. Jalloh reviewed the list of 11 protected classes under the Dignity Act and four sections of regulations that cover: The code of conduct. Instruction. School employee training. Reporting. To avoid being accused of violating the law, school personnel need to choose their words carefully when dealing with students, she said. A well-meaning teacher concerned about a thin student’s health might say, “Go get something to eat before class.” Given the fact that the law states that students cannot be discriminated against on the basis of weight, such a statement would be potentially problematic because a student may interpret it as being forced to eat something before they can attend class. Jalloh suggested a better phrasing would be, “The cafeteria is around the corner….”

Renowned author, trainer brings bullying message to Rochester On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Paul Heiser Staff Writer Barbara Coloroso distilled a 30-hour course into a 90-minute session at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention. The renowned writer and educational consultant presented “The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander – Breaking the Cycle of Violence,” to attentive listeners at the Saturday morning session, which was repeated in the afternoon. Coloroso has written several books and travelled the country bringing her message to schools about the harmful effects of bullying, how to recognize it, and what to do about it. Coloroso said bullying is not about conflict. It’s about contempt – a powerful feeling of dislike toward someone considered to be worthless, inferior or undeserving of respect. Bullying is a conscious, willful and deliberate hostile activity, intended to harm. It has four signs: an imbalance of power between the bully and the one being bullied; an intent to do harm; a threat of further aggression; and, if it continues unabated, it leads to terror. Coloroso said that any bullying situation has three components: the bully, the person being bullied, and the bystander (or bystanders). Each has his or her own role to play. The bully. Bullies feel a contempt for others that grows out of a sense of entitlement, or the right to control, dominate, subjugate, and abuse another human being. Bullies are intolerant to those who are different. Bullies also feel at liberty to bar, isolate, and segregate a person deemed not worthy of respect or care. The bullied. The one thing that all kids who are bullied have in common is that a bully or a bunch of bullies has targeted them. Each one was singled out to be the object of scorn, and thus the recipient of bullying, merely because he or she was different in some way.

Expert offers tips on school foundations On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Staff Writer Is your community tired of supporting galas and golf tournaments, bake sales and chicken dinners as fundraising vehicles for your district? While there is nothing wrong with these types of activities, presenter Nancy Dye provided dozens of ideas to reinvigorate school district fundraising at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention. She solicited additional ideas from attendees throughout her program. The executive director of the American Schools Foundation Alliance (ASFA), Dye helps school districts set up and manage their foundations. From her national perspective, she comes across successful ideas all over the country, including: A district in New Jersey that raised $96,000 when 20 host families charged guests to attend a dinner at their homes at which a different member of the school community was honored. Such feel-good donations are an effective way to bring in money for schools. A district that raised $6,000 by partnering with a local community college to have professors lead book discussions in homes throughout the community, some including local authors. A phonation that raised $100,000 by having high school students call all the alumni in the district’s database. A district that raised $300,000 through a campaign to encourage community members to commit to a dollar a day donation to its foundation. Yard signs were distributed to everyone who made a pledge, the signs providing a visible symbol of community support which helped the effort snowball. A district that raised $5,000 by distributing 20 ceramic, hand-painted piggy banks to local businesses, collecting donations from patrons of those businesses.

Creative ways to save money On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Paul Heiser Staff Writer Is your district looking everywhere it can to save money and run more efficiently? Adam Haber, a board trustee for the Roslyn school district on Long Island, has some cost-savings tips that his district has tried or considered. At NYSSBA’s Annual Convention, he presented them in an educational seminar on creative ways to save money. The bottom line: everything is negotiable, and working together with other districts when possible is better than going it alone. For instance, Roslyn refinanced its debt and saved nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the process. The district had a $3.175 million bond with nearly five-and-a-half years remaining. Simply by renegotiating the terms of the bond, the district was able to lower its interest rate from 4.39 percent to 2.28 percent, saving $238,000. Haber is a big advocate of cooperative purchasing as well. His district borders six other districts in Nassau County, and they have found great success in creating an ad hoc bidding unit to purchase goods and services more cheaply. Haber cautions about hidden fees in the cooperative bidding process, though. For example, Roslyn bought five new high-end printers for roughly $62,000. However, there was nearly $6,000 in extra charges for such items as an attorney financing fee, project management and coordination, and a 2 percent receiving and inventory fee.

Regents authorize new diploma option for special ed students On Board Online • November 5, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel At their October meeting, the state Board of Regents took emergency action to give school boards a new way to enable students with disabilities to graduate with a local high school diploma. The so-called “compensatory option” allows students with disabilities to “compensate” for a score of between 45-54 on certain Regents exams that are required for graduation by achieving a score of 65 or higher on a separate required examination. The option is available beginning with the current school year. Until now, students with disabilities that are unable to earn a Regents diploma have been able to graduate with a local high school diploma only if:

Nespeca re-elected president of State School Boards Association FOR RELEASE: November 1, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Thomas Nespeca of Webster, NY has been re-elected president of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). His oneyear term begins Jan. 1, 2013> The election took place Saturday, Oct. 27, at NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting in Rochester. A total of 228 voting delegates participated in the business meeting, which was held in conjunction with the Association’s 93rd Annual Convention and Education Expo attended by nearly 2,500 members of the education community. "NYSSBA is committed to providing strong leadership to New York schools," said Nespeca. "As an organization, we are particularly focused on being advocates for education and children. We're committed to making progress, every week, every month and every year." Nespeca, who served two terms as vice president of NYSSBA, was first appointed to the Board of Directors in 2006. He served as NYSSBA’s Area 2 Director where he represented school boards in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. Nespeca has been a member of the Webster School Board since 1998, having served as president and vice president. He is also a member of the Monroe County School Boards Association and served as president in 2004-05. Nespeca also served on the Monroe County School Board Association’s Executive Committee and formerly co-chaired the Legislative Committee.

Planning for 2013: Lessons from Year 1 of the Tax Levy Cap

Lessons from Year 1 of the Tax Levy Cap This year, school districts for the first time ever held budget votes under New York’s new property tax levy cap. A new NYSSBA report details four key lessons from the first year of the tax cap that school board members and superintendents should take note of as they prepare budgets for the 2013-14 school year. Full Report (4 pages - 131 KB)

New NYSSBA research brief offers up lessons on tax cap FOR RELEASE: October 26, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards School districts around the state should take note of four key lessons from the first year of the property tax cap, according to a new research brief issued today by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). “As school districts begin community budget forums and planning sessions, now is an opportune time to reflect back and ask, ‘What can we learn from our first go-round with the cap?’” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

Anne L. Bryant named 2012 President’s Award recipient FOR RELEASE: October 25, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Anne L. Bryant, recently retired as executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), has been named the 2012 New York State School Boards Association’s President’s Award winner. The President’s Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions toward the betterment of public education in New York. It is the highest tribute that the Association bestows outside its membership.

Thousands of educators heading to Rochester FOR RELEASE: October 18, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Nearly 2,000 school board members, superintendents and educators from across New York will arrive in Rochester next week for the New York State School Boards Association’s 93rd Annual Convention and Education Expo. The three-day event is being held Oct. 25-27 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Among the headline speakers are FOX News political analyst and Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist Juan Williams; teacher and best-selling author Erin Gruwell, whose journey is chronicled in The Freedom Writers Diary, which became a movie with Oscar winner Hilary Swank; and bullying prevention expert Barbara Coloroso. The convention comes as New York schools implement a number of key federal education initiatives – including Race to the Top and Common Core learning standards – as well as a number of new statewide measures such as teacher and principal evaluation systems and the Dignity for All Students Act. State Education Commissioner John King will also be on hand to discuss the impact of these initiatives on schools.

Three districts win NYSSBA/NanoCollege Be the Change for Kids Innovation Awards On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Merri Rosenberg Special Correspondent and Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief It wasn’t easy picking the winners of the inaugural Be the Change for Kids Innovation Awards. Out of a field of 38 entries from 36 districts, the successful programs impressed the judges with evidence that they had made a difference. “They had been operating for several years, had good assessments, and do carry over,” said Richard Collier, chair of the judges’ committee. “We wanted something that isn’t dependent on one heroic teacher.” The winning districts were the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District for its “Community Connections” program, the New Lebanon Central School District for its “Exploring Nanotechnology” program, and the Rondout Valley Central School District for “Science Research in the High School.”

Enrollment losses grow worrisome On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer Shrinking student enrollments are leading many local school leaders to consider choices that might have seemed inconceivable just a decade ago. In the Hudson River city of Kingston, where enrollment easily topped 10,000 in the heyday of super-employer IBM, the number of students has dipped below 7,000. The school board voted in August to close three elementary schools at the end of this school year. Erie County’s Kenmore-Tonawanda, which was among the state’s largest districts in the 1960s and 1970s with more than 22,000 students, now has just 7,300. An elementary school is slated to close next year, and the district is studying consolidation among KenTon’s 13 remaining schools.

Inspiration, NYSSBA style On Board Online • October 15, 2012

Every once in a while we get to experience something really special as a school board member – something that reminds us of why we ran for school board in the first place. We all beam with pride, for example, during graduation ceremonies, school concerts, and athletic events when we see our students demonstrate their academic, musical or athletic proficiencies. I recently had such an experience when I participated in the announcement of the inaugural “Be the Change for Kids” Innovation Award winners, which was held at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE). Each of the winning districts receives $5,000, funded by CNSE. You may recall that NYSSBA started the “Be the Change for Kids” campaign in the aftermath of the recent national economic decline, as a way to help school leaders make the most of their limited resources. “Be the Change for Kids” has evolved into an organizational theme for NYSSBA. It captures the near-universal desire among school board members to find new and better ways of delivering public education and meet unique challenges of the 21st Century.

‘We’re in the problem-solving business’ On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Merri Rosenberg Special Correspondent When it comes to school districts that are scientific powerhouses, Ossining doesn’t fit the profile. Its student body is 60 percent Hispanic or black, and 38 percent of students receive free or reduced-price lunch. Its high school is a community-based school, not a magnet. No matter. The Intel Foundation has awarded Ossining High School its highest honor, the Star Innovator Award, in recognition of its demanding, hands-on science programs, which include robotics, engineering and a Science Research Program in which professional scientists mentor students. Ossining emerged from a field of 18 finalists to claim the top prize of $20,000 on top of a prior award of $5,000. The school will also receive at least $75,000 in equipment, computer hardware and software, professional development resources and curriculum materials.

SED offers architectural tours to honor building’s 100th year On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer The State Education Department will mark the centennial of its grand Albany headquarters with guided tours offering a rare look inside the magnificent Beaux Arts building dedicated in October 1912. Open houses are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 21, from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors may sign up in advance for scheduled tours, which begin during the open house days and are expected to continue through December, by following a link on the centennial portion of SED’s website, http://usny.nysed.gov/centennial/. On Board got a sneak peak in a tour with George Webb, who oversaw a painstaking restoration of the building as the department’s director of facilities and building operations. Each detail reflects the vision articulated by Andrew Sloan Draper, New York’s first education commissioner, Webb explained.

Dealing with low black male grad rates On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst New York trails other states concerning black male graduation rates with an alarming 37 percent for 2009-10, according to a new report from the Schott Foundation, The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males. In Rochester City School District, the rate is a mere 9 percent, according to the report. Black male graduation rates improved from a dismal 42 percent in 2001-02 to 52 percent in 2009-10, the report said. The difference in graduation rates of black males and white (non-Latino) males during that time only amounts to a slight improvement of 3 percentage points.

Education and employability On Board Online • October 15, 2012

It’s no secret that today’s students will face a more demanding job market than 50, 25 or even 10 years ago. Employers want new skill sets that require a more rigorous form of P-12 education. As school board members, you have to strike a difficult balance between managing dwindling resources and making sure your students have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to succeed. The relationship between education and employability is clear. In a recent New York Times column, Thomas Friedman reported that the unemployment rate is about 4 percent for those with four years of college, about 7 percent for those with two years, roughly 9 percent for high school graduates and at least 12 percent for dropouts (not counting those who have left the work force entirely). We’ve made real gains in graduation rates in the past decade – even as the Regents have raised the standards for high school graduation. But, despite those gains, only 74 percent of students who enter high school graduate four years later. That’s clearly not good enough.

Motions for entry into executive session – what is required? On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys The next time a motion is made for an executive session during a meeting of your school board, don’t be surprised if your school attorney recommends that the motion be more specific. Citizens have successfully challenged the legality of motions that merely recite boilerplate statutory language as the reason for an executive session, resulting in board members being ordered to receive special training and the district to pay attorneys’ fees. This article will review the requirements of the state’s Open Meetings Law (OML), case law and advisory opinions to help boards avoid these potential problems. Reasons to meet in executive session Because school boards are public bodies, all meetings of a quorum of the board must be open to the public except where an executive session is properly convened for certain reasons authorized by law. While the OML lists eight reasons, the most common grounds invoked by school boards are to discuss:

District did not violate Taylor Law when it contracted for preK services On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A school district did not violate the Taylor Law when it unilaterally transferred duties of teaching assistants in a universal prekindergarten program (UPK) from unit members to a private contractor, according to the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). The decision to offer a prekindergarten program rests with the board of education, PERB noted in Matter of CSEA v. Springs Union Free School District. Under Education Law section 3602-e, decisions to reassign UPK program duties are not a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. If a school board decides to offer a preK program, it must adopt a plan that is “designed to effectively serve eligible children directly through the school district or through collaborative efforts between the school district and an eligible agency or agencies,” PERB said. That could be fulfilled by staff or it could be accomplished by contracting with a provider of child care and early education, a day care provider, an early childhood program or other organization that meets certain standards and qualifications.

District properly laid off teacher On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel When a district abolishes a position, the teacher with the least seniority in the tenure area is excessed and placed on a preferred eligible list for reinstatement to a similar position in the tenure area of service. In Appeal of Scarpinati de Oliveira, a laid-off first grade teacher claimed the district improperly calculated her seniority by excluding maternity leave she took pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The petitioner also argued that the district improperly excluded two sixth-grade teachers from the elementary tenure area and that one of those teachers was actually the least senior teacher in the elementary tenure area. Despite finding that the two sixth-grade teachers, Goodwin and Murphy, were part of the elementary tenure area, the commissioner of education determined the petitioner still was the least senior teacher because her time on maternity leave under the FMLA did not increase her seniority.

Where is Finland’s space rover? On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Peggy Zugibe Area 10 Director A year ago, I was beside myself because our manned space program had ended. I’m considerably chipper now that we’ve landed a rover on Mars. There is something about exploring space that makes me proud to be an American. I’m also proud to be a school board member, because I believe public education is essential to our national character as well as our success. Our founding fathers believed in public education as much as they believed in a system of checks and balances. As John Adams wrote in 1785, “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

Involvement of dads sought through statewide program On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief More than 700 men visited the Niagara Falls City School District on Sept. 20 to participate in the statewide Dads Take Your Child to School Day. “We want this to be step one in making fathers and men feel valued and welcomed in our schools,” said district Community Relations Director Judie Gregory Glaser, an organizer of her district’s event. The district plans to invite the men (who include uncles, grandfathers and others) to participate in a reading campaign.

Mandatory drug education programs – for parents On Board Online • October 15, 2012

By Lisa A. Johnson Special Correspondent If a parent education program that some schools in Western New York currently use had been around in 2005, Janice Struebel believes that her son might still be alive. A mother of five in the Erie County village of Angola, Struebel wishes she had known more about teenagers and alcohol before her youngest son, Mathew, fell from a balcony and suffered a fatal injury at age 17. And if better parent education had been available back then, maybe adults in her community would have been more likely to report underage drinking parties and those who feel it is acceptable to host them – including the mother who was present at the house where Mathew drank. “Parents are not supposed to bury their children,” Struebel said. After her son’s death, she joined Citizens for Responsible Choices (CRC), a Buffalo-area group that thinks all high schools should require parents to attend drug awareness sessions. The group models its approach off a program that started in Arizona.

ADVOCACY ALERT – LEVERAGING SUCCESS October 5, 2012 GIVE ME A LEVER AND I CAN . . . SAVE $80 MILLION FOR SCHOOLS! GOVERNOR VETOES COST SHIFT ONTO LOCAL DISTRICTS

What does Common Core really mean? On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer State education officials estimate New York is hitting the halfway point in an overhaul of standards and curriculum sparked by adoption of a multi-state approach called the Common Core. But educators who are deeply immersed in the effort still struggle to define the concept and explain how it is changing public education. Three enthusiastic local educators who were invited to brief the state Board of Regents this month said their colleagues have been uneasy about how the Common Core will change how they teach and how students learn. “A lot of the anxiety around this was just not knowing,” said Courtney Jablonski, a network team leader with the Washington-SaratogaWarren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES. She told the Regents at their September meeting that the most common question was very basic: “What does it look like?” Jose Carrion, assistant superintendent for instruction in Poughkeepsie schools, said that sitting in on training sessions on math instruction was a revelation for him. Even though “I probably could do the calculations,” he said, “I realized I didn’t really know math.” He said, “I love the Common Core” because it requires a sophisticated approach that helps students reach a deeper understanding of math.

Political expressions in school can be ‘gray area’ for officials On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer At a time when an impending presidential election is fueling super-heated political passions and rhetoric, the public environment often feels virtually saturated with partisan messages delivered via television, radio, social media, campaign signs and mailings. But what about the public space of school classrooms and hallways? Should faculty members be allowed to wear political campaign buttons in school? How about a teacher arguing on behalf of his or her personal political preference during a spirited classroom discussion of American democracy – or simply even expressing a political preference? What if a teacher’s car in the school parking lot displays a Romney or Obama bumper sticker? “You get into some knotty issues regarding freedom of speech and First Amendment rights, and it’s a very gray area,” said Jay Boak, district superintendent for the Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES, based in Watertown.

Education reform, Chicago style On Board Online • September 24, 2012

One of a community’s worst fears just played out in the Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third largest school system. For more than a week, teachers went on strike, creating chaos for 350,000 students and their parents. The strike in the Windy City loomed large nationally because the debate mirrored issues in other U.S. communities. School districts across the nation are implementing teacher evaluation reforms, competing with charter schools and looking for heroes to champion the cause of public education, even if that hero is a big city mayor. Adding significance was the fact that the strike took place in Chicago – a Democratic stronghold with strong links to the Obama Administration. President Obama cut his political teeth there, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel served as Obama’s chief of staff and led campaign fundraising, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan formerly headed up the Chicago Public Schools. When Chicago (on the eve of a presidential election) becomes hamstrung in its efforts to implement the administration’s key reforms, hopes dim nationwide for an educational decision-making and delivery system based on metrics that includes some measure of student performance.

One-third of BOE members interested in merging districts On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Interest in school mergers is growing among school board members, but they say their support would hinge on whether the merger would expand educational opportunities for students, according to the results of NYSSBA’s latest Pulse Poll, a survey of school board members conducted via email. One-third of the responding school board members said their school district should consider merging with a neighboring district, while 60 percent did not. Seven percent of board members said their district had already recently merged or considered a merger. Asked to name the most important factor when considering a school merger, nearly half of school board members surveyed – 47 percent – said that expanded educational opportunities is key. Cost savings through potential economies of scale were a somewhat lesser – but still significant – factor. One-third of school boards said that would be the most important factor in considering a school merger.

Two Western NY communities help build Nicaraguan school On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer In a project led by married school principals, the students and staff in two western New York school districts have helped build a school for a rural Nicaraguan community. Support from colleagues and students in the Honeoye Falls-Lima and Avon districts in Livingston County enabled principals Jeanine and Robert Lupicella to travel with their children to Las Minitas last December to help transform a tattered shed into a sturdy brick-andmortar school. The Lupicellas say building the school was an example of “service learning.” “Our school motto talks about being citizens in a global society,” Rob Lupicella told On Board. He said the project was a way to put that motto into action.

16 schools win National Blue Ribbon status On Board Online • September 24, 2012

Among more than 100,000 schools in the nation, 269 have been named 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools, including 16 public schools in New York State. “Great schools don’t happen by chance. Great schools happen by design,” said U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan. The federal government created the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program in 1982 and award criteria were revised in 2003 to place a stronger emphasis on state test data. Awards are given to two types of schools:

Court finds reports on financial irregularities to be unprotected speech On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel As a general rule, government may not regulate or take retaliatory action against individuals who exercise their free speech rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On the other hand, the First Amendment protects the free speech rights of public employees only when they speak as citizens. It does not protect statements made by public employees pursuant to their official duties, even when the subject of their speech relates to a matter of public concern. Recently, a federal appeals court with jurisdiction over New York determined that reports of financial irregularities made by a former school district payroll clerk typist were made pursuant to her official duties, and thus were not entitled to First Amendment protection. The payroll clerk in Ross v. Breslin, et. al. was terminated after the district found out she had failed to disclose in her job application that she had previously worked for a BOCES and two other school districts. She claimed the district terminated her in retaliation for reports she made to the school superintendent and the board regarding improper payments.

Nonpublic student not entitled to transportation to child care location On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A board of education has authority under the Education Law to choose to offer transportation for children to and from a child care location in addition to the child’s residence. In Appeal of Milliman-Estus, a parent appealed to the commissioner of education after the district denied her request that her children, who were not enrolled in the school district, receive district transportation from a child care location to a nonpublic school.

Resolutions for the new school year On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Dorothy Slattery Area 9 Director Why do we make resolutions at the beginning of the calendar year but not the school year? Goal-setting is a big part of progress. As school board members, we are the stewards of our school districts and as such it is important that we stay informed, work together and move forward. I’ve put together three “New School Year Resolutions” for you to consider.

Oswego County BOCES programs address gifted & talented On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Lani Camp and Amy Rhinehart The state Legislature created regional BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) in 1948 to provide cost-effective shared educational programs and services to school districts. More than 60 years later, the goal remains the same, but it has evolved to include a focus on preparing students for their role in a global economy while collaborating with districts to close gaps in student achievement. While the state’s 37 BOCES are well-known for providing student programs for special-needs students, alternative educational opportunities and career and technical education, the mission doesn’t stop there. A variety of programming serves to fill the gaps for a wide variety of needs among component districts – including the need to challenge students and serve the most gifted and talented. “We are working with our school districts to implement instructional strategies and structures to promote high engagement and challenging learning opportunities for all students; for those students who are struggling and those who are at the higher end of the academic spectrum,” said Oswego County BOCES District Superintendent Christopher Todd.

Official should not have voted in section 75 hearing On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel Earlier this year the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, determined that “individuals who are personally and extensively involved in the disciplinary process should disqualify themselves from … acting on the charges.” Based upon that ruling, government officials who meet that standard must recuse themselves from reviewing recommendations of a hearing officer and participating in the final vote.

Student not living with guardian was not district resident On Board Online • September 24, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel Generally, a child is deemed to be a resident of the school district where his or her parents reside. However, when custody of a child is transferred by a court from the parents to a third party located in a different school district and the child actually resides with the guardian, the second school district must honor the custody order and enroll the child as a resident. In Appeal of G.G., the petitioner commenced an appeal to the commissioner of education after the school district determined her grandchildren, for whom she was the legal guardian, were not district residents. In February, the district commenced a residency investigation with respect to the two students in question after their father submitted a document listing a home address in Clarence Center, which is located outside the district. In early March 2012, the petitioner submitted court papers that appointed her as guardian for the children. Subsequent to the custody orders, however, the children’s mother signed an athletic eligibility form and also listed her telephone number on a late note.

CONGRESSIONAL CALL TO ACTION September 19, 2012 URGE CONGRESS TO RESCIND ACROSS-THE-BOARD CUTS TO EDUCAITON – ACT NOW! Links to Pass a resolution Send a letter to your senators and representatives Send a letter to your local newspaper editor Talking points and background information NSBA Survey Respond to Governmental Relations Representative, Francine Campbell

70+ evaluation plans win state okay On Board Online • September 10, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer More than 70 professional performance review plans submitted by school districts had passed muster with the State Education Department (SED) as the school year began. Just over 200 more awaited full review and, in some cases, revisions by the districts. But fewer than 300 of New York’s nearly 700 school districts – about 40 percent — had submitted an Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan to the department for evaluation by the end of August, according to SED. “I’m cautiously optimistic about the development, submission, review and approval of the remaining APPR plans,” Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said on Aug. 22 after the department posted the first 10 approved plans as models to guide other districts.

Harry Reeder of Herkimer wins State School Boards’ highest award FOR RELEASE: September 7, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Harry Reeder, a member of the Herkimer Central School District Board of Education, is the 2012 winner of the New York State School Boards Association’s top award for school board service. Reeder, who has served as a school board member for 20 years, will receive the 2012 Everett R. Dyer Award for Distinguished School Board Service from NYSSBA President Thomas Nespeca Friday, Oct. 26, at the Association’s annual convention in Rochester.

ERS pension contribution rates to jump to 21 percent in 2013 On Board Online • September 10, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst School districts will be paying 20.9 percent of employee payroll to the state Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) in 2013-14, up from 18.9 percent in 2012-13, the state comptroller’s office has announced. ERS covers non-instructional school district employees such as food service workers, custodians and secretaries.

Foul fowl Districts at wits’ end over Canada geese On Board Online • September 10, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer Multiple boilers were on the fritz just a couple of weeks before the first day of school, but that wasn’t the biggest worry weighing on Lee Daunais, buildings and grounds superintendent for the Saranac Lake Central School District. The boilers, he knew how to handle. The inevitable return of the Canada geese, with their endless deposits of excrement on the district’s running track and athletic field, was another matter. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a bigger challenge than the geese,” he said.

My ‘State of the Schools’ address On Board Online • September 10, 2012

It’s a longstanding tradition that the governor delivers a State of the State address when the state Legislature begins a new session. The speech provides an assessment of where New York State stands and sets both the tone and agenda for the upcoming legislative session. With a respectful nod to that tradition, here is a “state of the schools” commentary that offers up my humble assessment of what lies ahead in the new school year – our challenges and our aspirations. If there is one value that is closely held by all New Yorkers, it’s our desire to offer the best possible education to students at a price we can afford. For school boards, this year will be another in an endless series of attempts to balance the educational needs of students with the ability of taxpayers to fund those needs.

If a student pleads ‘no contest’ at hearing, can district impose disciplinary penalty? On Board Online • September 10, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel A student, D.B., claimed that his “no contest” plea to a disciplinary charge in connection with hazing incidents did not constitute sufficient proof nor an admission of guilt to support the hearing officer’s determination. However, the commissioner of education ruled in Appeal of T.B. (on behalf of D.B.) that the hearing officer’s guilty determination was proper. While New York’s penal law does not provide for a “no contest” plea, courts have recognized that plea amounts to an admission of the facts as charged. The commissioner noted that very few previous cases have addressed a student entering a no contest plea. In his appeal to the commissioner, D.B. alleged the charge to which he pled “no contest” was too vague. However, D.B. never raised that claim to the hearing officer, the commissioner noted, so D.B. was precluded from raising it either to the school board or to the commissioner on appeal.

Our school reform begins with ensuring good teaching On Board Online • September 10, 2012

For all of us devoted to improving New York’s public schools, the back-to-school season brings with it an unrivaled sense of possibility and excitement. Just as our returning students are eager to perform at the next grade level, we, too, are resolved to do our jobs better, to get more out of a school year that we know will fly by. This year, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department will be moving forward with many critical reforms to help ensure that every student has the opportunity to thrive. That starts with making sure we’re recruiting the very best teachers – and that the curriculum they teach is preparing our young people for college and demanding careers. We all know there is nothing more critical to the success of a child than the quality of the teacher at the front of the classroom. Study after study shows us the difference that an excellent teacher makes. We all know that the best teachers have that ineffable spark – the ability to reach, encourage, explain, and inspire – that can’t always be measured on paper. That’s why New York is at the front of a pack of states that are rethinking the way we educate and recruit teachers.

New standards, teacher evaluations, bullying prevention top school board members’ back-to-school lists this year FOR RELEASE: August 28, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards In response to a flurry of new initiatives this year, schools for the first time will be adopting new Common Core math and English/language arts standards for grades 3 through 8, tying teacher evaluations to growth in student achievement, and stepping up bullying prevention efforts. “The start of the new school year often brings many new initiatives, but this year is notable for the breadth and complexity of them,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “School board members are poised to raise academic standards, put the best possible teachers in the classroom, and create a safe school environment. They certainly have their work cut out for them, but they are up to the challenge.”

ADVOCACY ALERT – SCHUMER, NYSSBA OFFER HELP August 24, 2012 U.S. SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER AND NYSSBA TEAM UP TO HELP DISTRICTS WIN LOCAL RACE TO THE TOP AWARDS Link to: Further information, including the application for the RTT-D competition

ADVOCACY ALERT – GOVERNOR’S ACTION August 20, 2012 GOVERNOR ADVANCES NYSSBA ADVOCACY AGENDA ACTS FAVORABLY ON TEN NYSSBA PRIORITY BILLS UNION GIVEAWAY THWARTED EXPANSION OF BOCES SERVICES GOOD NEWS FOR DISTRICTS GOVERNOR TO STATE AGENCIES: HELP OUR SCHOOL DISTRICTS NEW LAWS HELP BUFFALO, NEW YORK CITY DISTRICTS PROGRESS DURING DIFFICULT TIMES

ADVOCACY ALERT – GOVERNOR’S ACTION_copy1 August 20, 2012 GOVERNOR ADVANCES NYSSBA ADVOCACY AGENDA ACTS FAVORABLY ON TEN NYSSBA PRIORITY BILLS UNION GIVEAWAY THWARTED EXPANSION OF BOCES SERVICES GOOD NEWS FOR DISTRICTS GOVERNOR TO STATE AGENCIES: HELP OUR SCHOOL DISTRICTS NEW LAWS HELP BUFFALO, NEW YORK CITY DISTRICTS PROGRESS DURING DIFFICULT TIMES

Daunted by cost implications, Cuomo vetoes special ed bill On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer School leaders are breathing a sigh of relief following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of legislation that would have required local committees to consider a child’s “home environment and family background” when deciding special education placement. “We looked at the dollars and cents of it and thought it would have been an absolute killer,” said Superintendent William H. Johnson of the Rockville Centre Union Free School District in Nassau County.

Partnerships with businesses grow as boosters try ‘passive fundraising’ On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Merri Rosenberg Special Correspondent When a wooden playground in the Lakeland school district needed to be replaced 10 years ago, elementary school principal Patricia McIlvenny-Moore remembers the options were limited. “Back then, we did different types of fundraising, like read-a-thons or a jump rope event for the playground.” For the modern playground that opened at Benjamin Franklin Elementary in June, the fundraising approach was more sophisticated. The school raised more than $20,000 through a combination of efforts including corporate grants, sales of local entertainment coupon books (“Kids’ Stuff”) and sales of student-decorated bricks.

Summer school in the city On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Eexecutive Director NYSSBA is an organization that believes in the value of training, even for its executive director. It’s hard to get away during the school year, but I was fortunate to attend a series of meetings this summer hosted by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) in New York City. The NSBA is our national affiliate, composed of state school boards associations from around the country. NSBA even has a global following, as attendees for our annual leadership conference came from Canada and New Zealand. With a presidential election on the horizon, I and my counterparts from other state school boards associations were anxious to learn how NSBA will maintain a strong presence in the current political climate.

TRS contribution rate edges up to 11.84% On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Paul Heiser SeniorResearch Analyst School districts will see an increase in their contribution rates toward the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) for the 2012-13 school year. At its July meeting, the TRS board adopted an employer contribution rate of 11.84 percent, up from 11.11 percent in 2011-12.

SED loosens rule on sunscreen On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer New York’s students no longer need a doctor’s note to slather on sunscreen at school. With a directive signed July 31 by Executive Deputy Commissioner Valerie Grey, the State Education Department (SED) carved out an exception to its longstanding guidelines covering use of medications in schools.

Let’s try a little bragging On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Rebecca Albright In the beginning I had just two children. When my son and daughter were five and two, respectively, I adopted 1,200 others between the ages of 5 and 21. Other school board members know the feeling. When I was first elected to the Wilson school board in Niagara County in 1986, I felt like I became “mom” in a much broader sense of the word. These were all my kids! In 1994 I was elected to Orleans/Niagara BOCES and my brood grew to 37,000, give or take. I don’t remember their birthdays and they will never get my car keys, but they are mine nonetheless! I fret over them, I advocate for them, and I brag about them every chance I get.

Is a shared business official right for your school district? On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Russ Hearton Financial pressures have prompted many school boards and BOCES to consider sharing services as one way to operate more efficiently. As someone with experience working as a shared business administrator in Central New York, here are my suggestions on things to consider when trying to decide if sharing a business administrator is right for your district. First, define the concept. Which district will be the primary employer? Which district will evaluate this person? Will benefits be available? If so, from which district will benefits be accessed? How will the business official’s time be divided? Will it be 50/50 or 60/40? Will that mean working two days on and two days off or three/two? Will this position be implemented as part of a BOCES CoSer? If so, which district will be designated as the primary employer?

Laws require school districts to alert parents on policies On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Courtney Sanik Policy Consultant Federal and state laws require many notifications to be provided to students and their parents or guardians in the 2012-13 school year. These notifications cover topics ranging from access to student records to staff qualifications and pesticide applications. School districts have wide discretion in how this information can be distributed. Some common forms of distribution are letters, booklets, and mailings including the district calendar or newsletter. It is also appropriate to include the information in student handbooks or similar handbooks distributed to parents.

Districts report cost-saving measures in contracts On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Two-thirds of districts that responded to a recent NYSSBA survey question said they were able to negotiate contractual changes in their most recent round of negotiations that resulted in monetary savings for their district. More than half of the savings came from salary concessions, while the remainder came from health care coverage, prescriptions, instruction and other items. The 2012 Teacher Contract Survey is the latest in a series of annual surveys of collective bargaining agreements between New York state school districts and their teaching staffs. School districts provided data on salaries, health insurance premiums, leave policies, and other items. A summary appeared in the July 2 issue of On Board (“A snapshot of NYS teacher contracts”). This article will examine the negotiating environment and the trends evident in the data.

Binghamton University tackles summer middle/high school transition On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By George Basler Erin Washburn, an assistant professor in the School of Education at the State University of New York at Binghamton, was looking for a way to give her graduate students practical experience in applying theoretical knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom. A few miles east, administrators in Broome County’s Windsor Central School District were looking for a way to give an academic edge to students as they make the transition from middle school to high school. The result? Brian Ellsworth, 14, created a slide show on the Southern Tier’s economy this summer. And Camryn Perry, 13, created an animated film on animal abuse. They were among 20 students who were taught and mentored by a team of four Binghamton University graduate students and five district teachers for four weeks in July and August. “The work showed me different ways to do a project, not just writing an essay,” Ellsworth said.

NanoCollege program gets urban youth interested in science, college study On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer In a lab at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Sciences, a half-dozen middle school students from the Newburgh Enlarged City School District were taking turns viewing ultra-small cells and proteins through a fluorescent microscope. Graduate student Rick Hynes explained that a blue light helped to “excite” molecules on a slide and make otherwise invisible things visible. “Awesome! I can actually see the vapor,” one student exclaimed as he examined a slide through the lens of the sophisticated instrument, valued at $25,000 to $50,000.

Commissioner urges caution in advocating for ‘yes’ vote On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel It is well established that school boards may use public resources to present objective, factual information to voters, and that it is improper to use district resources to exhort the electorate to vote in a particular way. The same restrictions apply when school district libraries seek voter approval for referendums, according to a recent decision by the state commissioner of education. The commissioner of education ruled recently that trustees of school district libraries must refrain from using school district or public library funds or resources in a partisan manner during votes on library propositions and must avoid the appearance of impropriety in activities related to the vote.

Rule requiring participation in marching band upheld On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel A school district can require students to participate in an extracurricular activity as part of an elective course for academic credit, according to a decision by the commissioner of education. In Appeal of Garifi, a high school student auditioned for and was accepted into concert band, a class for academic credit. The district required that students enrolled in concert band also participate in marching band, an extracurricular activity. The student did not wish to do so and, as a result, was excluded from concert band. He was permitted to participate in symphonic band, a different class, in which he would also be able to earn academic credit.

A back-to-school assignment for school board members On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By John King Jr. Commissioner of Education This school year, your schools will be undergoing major changes, including implementation of the Common Core standards, a move to more challenging assessments, and, of course, rigorous teacher and principal evaluations that support professional growth. To make sure all of these changes get implemented efficiently and effectively, everyone involved in school governance and administration has a crucial role to play. Principals must make certain that their teachers are aware of the instructional shifts called for by the Common Core and integrate those shifts in their instruction. They must have a laser-like focus on teaching and learning and must build a culture of reflection and continuous improvement in their schools. Additionally, principals must spend as much time as possible in classrooms to collect evidence and artifacts that will drive improvements in teacher planning and practice.

BOCES’ workers’ compensation consortium saves millions, encourages workplace safety On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Lisa Bielmeier When Orleans/Niagara BOCES and several member districts started taking a close look at payments made for worker’s compensation two decades ago, patterns emerged. “The number of people out with back injuries was just overwhelming,” recalls Clark Godshall, then the BOCES’ school business official and now the district superintendent. “We had to hire private investigators to follow people.” That’s part of what it takes to responsibly self-insure workers’ compensation. For 20 years, the BOCES has partnered with component districts in the Orleans/Niagara Workers’ Compensation Consortium, resulting in savings in premiums of $3.2 million when compared with other insurers.

Statutory deadline trumps publicized deadline On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel A small city school district improperly calculated the deadline for school board candidate nominating petitions as April 27, 2012 and provided notice of that date to the public. According to the Education Law the deadline was actually April 25, 2012, which was the 20th day preceding the annual election. When a potential board candidate submitted her nominating petition to the district clerk prior to the district’s published deadline, but after the correct statutory deadline, the district clerk refused to accept the petition on the grounds that it was untimely. The candidate appealed to the commissioner of education.

Court affirms termination of retiree’s workers’ comp benefits On Board Online • August 20, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel In 2006, a school district health teacher sustained injuries to his head and back while attempting to break up a fight between students. Those injuries qualified him to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Following his retirement, in 2009, the district and its workers’ compensation carrier sought to suspend the teacher’s workers’ compensation benefits because he voluntarily withdrew from the labor market. The state Workers’ Compensation Board agreed, and the teacher appealed.

5 Steps to Higher Student Performance

As the start of the school year draws near, the New York State School Boards Association’s new research brief, “Five Steps to Higher Student Performance,” outlines ways that school districts can improve the quality of their educational programs, given limited dollars to improve student performance. School leaders today are facing new challenges both academically and financially, including implementing new teacher and principal evaluation systems, adopting a national Common Core curriculum, and developing budgets under a tax levy cap. Through this new research brief, we hope to provide decision makers with cost-effective options to help improve education in their districts. 5 Steps To Higher Student Performance : Full Report (12 pages - 7.24 MB) Supplement: Change Leadership: Digging Deeper (3 pages - 887 KB)

CALL TO ACTION – ACT NOW – PUT THIS RESOLUTION ON YOUR AGENDA! August 3, 2012 SAMPLE OF BOARD RESOLUTION

ADVOCACY ALERT – NYSSBA APPLAUDS GOVERNOR FOR VETO OF SPECIAL EDUCATION BILL August 2, 2012 Link to: Full Text of Governor Cuomo’s Veto Message BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING JUST GOT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS CHEAPER

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on S.7722-A / A.10722 dealing with Special Education Placements FOR RELEASE: July 31, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards School board members welcome the governor’s veto of 7722-A / A.10722-A. The bill would have made a child’s cultural and family background a factor in special education placements, thereby promoting religious segregation in special education placements at taxpayer expense. This result is contrary to the pluralistic values upon which our public education system was established.

Cuomo education commission hears sobering testimony, wants solutions On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer As they travel around the state listening to testimony about the condition of New York’s public schools, members of an education reform commission named by Gov. Andrew Cuomo are hearing plenty about what is wrong. Commission Chairman Richard Parsons says that’s fine with him, as long as he and his fellow commission members hear some proposed solutions, as well. “The purpose of these hearings is not to pat ourselves on the back,” Parsons said during a break at the first hearing in Albany. “It’s to get under the problems, find out what the solutions are and make recommendations to the governor.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New NY Education Reform Commission launched a series of 10 hearings with July sessions in Albany, Buffalo and the Bronx.

Form on district’s website helps anti-bullying efforts On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Reporting a bullying incident in the Eldred School District in Sullivan County is as easy as clicking an icon on the district’s website and filling out an online form. Thanks to that one simple mechanism, district administrators were able to promptly address several individual episodes of verbal and physical bullying and are better able to recognize places and times – such as certain bus routes and lunch periods – where more supervision is needed. “We can look for patterns,” said Superintendent Robert M. Dufour. Having systems in place to make school leaders aware of bullying and help them take steps to stop it has become more important for schools in New York State with passage of a new law called the Dignity for All Students Act. The law took effect on July 1.

My commission wish list On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President What should we make of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New NY Education Reform Commission,” which began holding hearings around the state this month? NYSSBA has already testified and is preparing policy materials to bring the reform vision of school boards to life for the commission and governor’s staff. We all have a stake in progressive educational reform to keep New York State a leader, and that’s what we hope will emerge from this commission. The commission has a broad mandate. The governor has asked its members to look at the structure of New York’s schools, which includes everything from financing to parent participation, from student achievement to teacher quality.

214 districts file APPR agreements On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Just under a third of New York’s nearly 700 school districts have submitted evaluation agreements negotiated with teachers and principals to the State Education Department. The department’s latest tally adds 50 districts to the list of 164 released on July 2. The latest additions are a mix of urban, suburban and rural districts, such as the Albany City School District, Jericho Union Free School District on Long Island and Hancock Central School District in Delaware County. Under a February agreement championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, districts were supposed to submit their Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans by a July 1 deadline. If their plans are not in operation by mid-January, they risk losing state aid.

Small gain in grade 3-8 exams On Board Online • July 30, 2012

Average scores on the April 2012 grades 3-8 state exams in math and English language arts are slightly higher than last year in most grades, and there is a small increase in the percentage of grade 3-8 students across the state who met or exceeded the proficiency standard on both exams, according to the State Education Department. Overall, 55.1 percent of grade 3-8 students across the state met or exceeded the English language arts proficiency standard (an increase from 52.8 percent last year), while 64.8 percent met or exceeded the standard in math (up from 63.3 percent last year).

August conference days authorized On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Thanks to a new state law, school districts will be able to hold superintendents’ conference days during the last two weeks of August, provided it’s allowed under local collective bargaining agreements. Such conference days will count toward the 180-day requirement for state aid. Chapter 260 of the Laws of 2012 was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 18 and took effect retroactively to July 1.

The case of Karen Klein proves that bullying isn’t personal On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Libby Copeland Slate columnist One of the most striking things about the abuse of 68-year-old school bus monitor Karen Klein by middle-schoolers – aside from the shocking level of the abuse itself, and the incredible attention and support and money she’s garnered in the aftermath – is what it teaches us about how bullying works. The online videos of Klein’s treatment at the hands of her adolescent charges in Greece, a town in upstate New York, are pretty hard to watch. But they’re proof of the wisdom your parents once offered you, when you were a tearyeyed 11-year-old booed by soccer teammates, or taunted at the school dance: It isn’t about you, sweetheart. It’s about them.

5 tips for new school board members On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By John Carroll Leadership Development Manager If you are a newly-elected school board member, you’ve got a couple meetings under your belt and maybe a committee assignment. What does it take to contribute the most in your new role? While we can’t tell you everything you need to know in a single article (this should be the “100 Tips for New School Board Members”), we can highlight some important things you need to know in your new role. Here are five suggestions to help new school board members hit the ground running:

Dignity and cyberbullying at the schoolhouse gate On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Generation after generation, we have encountered the “playground bully” whether it be literally on the playground at school or offcampus on the way home. Once home, we had an opportunity to step away from the bully, find safety and regroup. With the invention of the Internet, smart phones, gaming consoles and other forms of technology, bullies ares now capable of infiltrating the home and permeating a student’s life. “Cybercides” (suicide after cyberbullying) have become an alarming new trend. New York State’s Legislature and governor have reacted by enacting the Dignity for All Students Act (“Dignity Act”) and amending it this June in what has been described as a cyberbullying law. The Dignity Act became effective on July 1, 2012, and the new cyberbullying provisions take effect on July 1, 2013.

Districts tackle Dignity Act requirements On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Linda Bakst Deputy Director of Policy Services School districts across the state are gearing up for fall implementation of the Dignity for All Students Act, which went into effect July 1, 2012. Here are profiles of two districts’ approaches: In the Shenendehowa Central School District in Saratoga County, the school board approved updated policies to comply with the Dignity Act at their June meeting. They have an active district Character Education Committee that has developed a one-page document for staff that informs them what the Dignity Act entails. Multiple presentations were made to staff at all levels before the end of the last school year by Rebecca Carman, the district’s director of policy and community development, about the provisions of the law.

Concern grows over ‘civic empowerment gap’ On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst The Bill of Rights. The “Melting Pot.” You’d think U.S. school children would have a pretty easy time recalling those terms and their meanings, right? Well, guess again. A recent Educational Testing Service (ETS) report, Fault Lines in Our Democracy: Civic Knowledge, Voting Behavior, and Civic Engagement in the United States, recounts the alarmingly dismal results of a 2010 civics assessment. The report highlights a growing “civic empowerment gap.” ETS used data from the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics assessment. Only 2 percent of fourth graders, 1 percent of eighth graders, and 4 percent of 12th graders scored at the highest level on the exam, while the majority of students in all three grades scored at the lowest level.

They’re playing on ‘the biggest team in the school’ On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Incoming West Genesee High School freshman Laura Zwerger originally expected to be training with the cross-country team this fall. That plan changed after friends persuaded her to attend an organizational meeting of the marching band. “I felt like I really belonged,” Zwerger recalled before a June rehearsal. Now, the young French horn player is working to master the mellophone, which projects more sound, and is happily spending many of her summer evenings practicing the steps mapped out on a thick drill chart.

School boards urged to ensure policies allow discipline for synthetic marijuana On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel The State Education Department (SED) has issued a field memo urging school boards to ensure that their codes of conduct permit district officials to take disciplinary action against students who possess or distribute synthetic marijuana on school property or at school functions. Synthetic marijuana is a plant material coated in a chemical compound which is designed to mimic the effects of real marijuana. Also known as fake marijuana, Relaxinol, and other names, it has been marketed and distributed as incense, herbal mixtures, potpourri, and occasionally even as “legal marijuana.” Like marijuana, synthetic marijuana is smoked, but the synthetic version has been known to cause acute renal failure and other negative health effects, including on the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.

Teacher’s receipt of counseling memo does not prevent disciplinary action On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Patricia H. Gould Associate Counsel A school board is not barred from pursuing disciplinary charges against a tenured teacher who previously had been issued counseling letters for the same misconduct less than three years earlier, a state appellate court has recently ruled. In Board of Education of the Dundee Central School District v. Coleman, the teacher was accused of a variety of improper behaviors. After a Section 3020-a hearing, a hearing officer found the teacher guilty of some disciplinary charges, but dismissed a number of other charges because the school district had already addressed the alleged misconduct in counseling letters issued to the teacher and the teacher had not repeated that specific conduct. The school district appealed, and, as previously reported in On Board, a state Supreme Court ruled the district was not precluded from bringing 3020–a charges based upon the same conduct that gave rise to the counseling letters.

School district cautioned on use of flyers regarding budget vote On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel A school district came “perilously close” to violating the rule forbidding school districts from urging voters to approve a district budget, the commissioner of education ruled recently. In Appeal of Sotirovich, the district posted flyers on doors at the entrance to and inside the polling place. The flyers stated that:

Ensuring educational opportunities for all students On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Lynne Lenhardt Area 7 Director I recently listened to a panel convened by the University at Albany’s Rockefeller Institute to discuss “Safeguarding the Right to a Sound Basic Education in Times of Fiscal Constraint.” Behind this genteel title was a very serious issue involving the chronic underfunding of many school districts, especially those in rural areas and urban centers. The New York State Constitution states that every student is entitled to a “sound basic education.” NYSSBA has been closely involved with efforts to ensure the state lives up to this obligation. As I looked around the room, I noticed representatives from the teachers’ union and the state superintendents’ council and, of course, NYSSBA. But there were very few I recognized as rank-and-file school board members. (One was a Rockefeller Institute employee.) The scarcity of board members prompted me to wonder how much we board members ought to know about students’ right to a sound basic education, which has been championed by Columbia University law professor Michael Rebell for decades.

Conversion of former hospital to benefit BOCES health career, culinary students On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Elizabeth Xanthis To train students for fast-growing careers in health and medicine, BOCES often create labs that simulate a medical setting. OrangeUlster BOCES is taking that idea one step further by re-purposing the former Arden Hill Hospital in Goshen to become the OrangeUlster BOCES Regional Education Center at Arden Hill. The architectural design of the building lends itself to a fairly seamless reconfiguration from a hospital to an education center, according to BOCES officials. Both high school and adult students who use the former hospital will benefit from the expanded and improved training programs.“Our labs and classes will be offered in a true ‘hospital’ environment,” said Jodie Yankanin, career & technical education director, adding this is a “significant benefit” for students. The OU BOCES Career and Technical Education Center offers a Health Careers Academy and a New Vision Medical program for high school students. BOCES also offers adult education programs in practical nursing and other health careers.

Superintendent of buildings and grounds cannot retreat to former teaching position On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A former teacher who accepted two successive civil service positions did not have the ability to retreat to his teaching job when his civil service position was abolished, according to a state appeals court. Craig Fehlhaber was a tenured teacher in his school district until 1997, when he accepted a position as “clerk of the works.” At that time the district granted him a leave of absence to serve in that position. In 2002 Fehlhaber was appointed as superintendent of buildings and grounds, and he served until the position was eliminated in 2010. After his position was abolished, Fehlhaber sought to either exercise bumping rights under the Civil Service Law to become a maintenance foreman or to resume a teaching position. The district rejected both requests and Fehlhaber brought suit to compel the district to place him in one of those positions.

Commissioner annuls district’s contract for online courses On Board Online • July 30, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel A school district learned recently that its agreement with an independent contractor to offer online courses to high school students violated the regulations of the commissioner of education. The contract provided access to courses such as health, biotechnology, to calculus, environmental science and forensic science. It also required that district students taking the online courses be assigned a state certified teacher of record. In Appeal of Boyd, a district resident and teacher asked the commissioner to annul the agreement arguing, in part, that the district lacked authority to enter into a contract for instructional services with an independent contractor. The district asserted that it was offering the online courses in accordance with regulations of the commissioner of education that authorize districts to offer students the opportunity to earn course credit through online or blended courses.

ADVOCACY ALERT – END OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION REVIEW July 2, 2012 POSITIVE LEGISLATIVE ACTION NEGATIVE LEGISLATIVE ACTION NEGATIVE BILLS BLOCKED BY NYSSBA

Amid grumbles, testing gets scrutinized On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer When education experts testifying at a recent state legislative hearing on testing were asked to grade New York’s student assessment system, there was a clear consensus: nobody is satisfied. State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. was the first to be asked at the Senate hearing, and he was the most generous in his scoring. He suggested “a 6 or a 7” on a 10-point scale. King said he would expect to raise that barely-passing grade to an 8, once New York’s tests and teaching are all aligned with a Common Core curriculum that has yet to be implemented. A Schenectady junior high teacher who testified as part of a New York State United Teachers delegation suggested a grade of 5, and NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer estimated that school board members would assign a grade “between 4 and 5.” Even lower grades came from other witnesses including superintendents, principals and representatives of the state’s “Big 5” city districts.

NYSSBA seeks special ed veto On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer NYSSBA is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to veto a costly special education bill that experts say could violate the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The bill, believed to be supported by religious groups, would require district committees on special education to consider a student’s home environment and family background when making placement decisions. “The bill would expand the power of parents to place their children in private school programs and gain tuition reimbursement from the district, even if the program is not approved by the local Committee on Special Education or by the state,” said David A. Little, NYSSBA director of governmental relations.

Getting it right On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director Author Malcolm Gladwell defines the tipping point as “The name given to that one dramatic moment in an epidemic when everything can change all at once.” The state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system – and the subsequent disclosure of this information to parents and the public – has the potential to be the tipping point in our efforts to improve student performance. The evaluation system by itself is not the answer to student achievement, but it can serve as a catalyst for change.

State officials express frustration with ‘still too low’ graduation rates On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief More than a quarter of New York State’s students do not graduate after four years, according to new state figures. Graduation rates show an uptick “but not nearly enough progress,” Commissioner of Education John B. King Jr. said in recent legislative testimony. Statewide, 74 percent of the students who started ninth grade in 2007 had graduated after four years, by June 2011. The previous year’s graduation rate – for the 2006 cohort – was 73.4 percent, while the rate for the 2003 cohort was 69.3 percent, according to the State Education Department (SED).

After revotes, 99.7% of budgets approved On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer With 22 new approvals during a second round of balloting in June, voters boosted this year’s overall passage rate for New York school budgets to 99.7 percent. That’s up from 96.5 percent in May and left just two of 678 districts without approved budgets. All three districts that sought 60 percent supermajority approval after an initial defeat won voter approvals:

ADVOCACY ALERT - ACT NOW-PUT THIS RESOLUTION ON YOUR AGENDA! June 28, 2012 SAMPLE BOARD RESOLUTION WHEREAS, a last minute legislative effort has resulted in passage of a bill that would heap new financial and administrative burdens on our school districts by requiring Committees on Special Education to, upon a parent request ,take a student’s home life and cultural environment into account within 90 days when making a special education placement and require reimbursement of tuition within 30 days of an approved placement. And WHEREAS, The bill may well violate federal IDEA requirements and according to the Poughkeepsie Journal, “leave local school districts exposed to a myriad of lawsuits and soaring special educational costs.” And WHEREAS, this legislation came without sufficient time for due consideration, leaving schools blindsided with new costs after their budgets were decimated to stay under the tax cap. And WHEREAS, the legislation leaves districts with high ethnic and religious populations subject to outlandish parental demands, jeopardizing funds budgeted for other special education students and the general education population of the district; ignoring the fact that under the tax cap, unexpected funds must be taken from existing programs and services, hurting other students.

Cuomo wins day on evaluation disclosures On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer State lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate came together during the final days of the legislative session to pass Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill limiting disclosure of teacher and principal performance ratings. The new law, promptly signed by the governor, requires schools to release evaluation scores of teachers and principals to parents of students currently in their classes or schools, upon request. It is designed, however, to prevent wholesale public release of teacher names and data as districts around the state enact new state-mandated teacher evaluation programs. Rankings for some 18,000 New York City school teachers were released to the general public and published online by newspapers in February as the result of a Freedom of Information Law request. The release triggered wide concern about teachers’ expectations of privacy, management’s ability to use publicized scores to coach employees and the reliability of ratings based on a measurement system still under development.

Tebowing and other unusual reasons for suspensions On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Twenty-nine seniors in Albany County’s Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District were so proud of their pasting tens of thousands of Post-It notes over school lockers, doors and windows in what they thought was a harmless prank that they posted a video of their antics on YouTube – and listed their names. The students were suspended from the last day of school and barred from a senior picnic held that day. “The well-intentioned prank went a little too far,” the district said in a statement on its website. While no permanent damage was done and the some of the students involved helped with cleanup, it still disrupted the learning environment and “made for a rocky start to the school day” the next morning. “Unsupervised occupancy of the school after hours is a safety and liability concern,” Superintendent Elisabeth Smith told On Board. “Students used rollerblades and scooters in the hallways and jumped down staircases. We do not want a young person to be injured.”

10 things you should know about New York’s NCLB waiver On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Editor’s Note: New York State has received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education from specific provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (also known as ESEA – the Elementary and Secondary Education Act). The Board of Regents has adopted emergency regulations that will be described in detail in the July 30 issue of On Board. Below is information that officials at the State Education Department released just after the ESEA waiver was announced. We see this as an opportunity to align federal funds and requirements with the work we’ve already started through the Regents Reform Agenda and Race to the Top. It’s a chance to spur innovative ideas while eliminating programs and mandates that have not proven to be effective in helping our students.

In PSAs, middle school students take on tough issues On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Merri Rosenberg Special to On Board It takes more than a well-written essay to persuade others in a world of Twitter, YouTube videos and Facebook. So when it came time to teach persuasive skills to seventh graders, English teachers in the Irvington public schools took a different approach: they had students produce their own video public service announcements (PSAs). The students tackled topics including:

Court rules school districts exempt from anti-bias provisions of Human Rights Law On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel The state’s highest court has ruled that an anti-discrimination and harassment provision of the state Human Rights Law does not apply to public school districts. NYSSBA filed a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of the Ithaca City School District, which, along with the North Syracuse Central School District, found itself fighting the state Division of Human Rights (DHR), which enforces the Human Rights Law. The decision by the Court of Appeals in Matter of North Syracuse Central School District v. NYS Division of Human Rights resolves a split among lower courts.

Experts offer suggestions to ease SLO implementation On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel School districts and BOCES have been learning about, and planning for, the implementation of student learning objective (SLO) requirements that go into effect this upcoming school year as part of the evaluation of classroom teachers and principals. New York’s efforts in this area constitute the first attempt in the nation to institute the use of SLOs on a statewide basis. Lack of familiarity with their use, tight timelines, reduced staffing levels and other resource limitations present significant challenges for the work ahead. At a recent State Education Department training for Network Teams across the state, presenters experienced in the implementation of SLOs outside New York offered some suggestions for districts and BOCES as they move forward. School boards and their superintendents should discuss which might be appropriate to meet their district’s or BOCES’ particular needs.

40 years after Title IX became law, new gender issues arise in athletics On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Keeling Pilaro is a 14-year-old boy who likes to play field hockey. His bid to remain the lone male player on his school’s varsity field hockey team has required athletic officials on Long Island to wrestle with how to apply decades-old legal standards to new kinds of gender issues in interscholastic sports. Pilaro spent many years in Ireland, where, as in other parts of Europe, field hockey is commonly played by both males and females. In the United States, field hockey is predominantly a female sport, although the U.S. Olympic field hockey team is male. After Pilaro’s family moved to the Southampton school district in Suffolk County, he sought to play on the girls’ junior varsity field hockey team. Regulations of the state’s commissioner of education permit a boy to participate in a female sport for which there is no male team, but only when the boy’s participation will not have a “significant adverse effect upon the opportunity of females to participate successfully in interschool competition in that sport.” (Notably, the “significant adverse effect” standard does not apply when a girl wishes to play on a boys’ team.)

More students waiting to get into charter schools On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst An estimated 610,000 students nationwide were on waiting lists as of last fall to get into charter schools – an increase of nearly 200,000 students from two years ago, according to a new survey by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), a national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. The survey was conducted in the spring of 2012. It found that since the 2008-09 school year, charter schools added more than 300,000 students through the opening of new schools and another 350,000 students through the expansion of existing charter schools.

About 7.5 million students chronically absent nationwide On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst As many as 7.5 million students may be chronically absent from school each year, according to a report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Based on data from the only six states that track chronic absenteeism – Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Nebraska, Oregon and Rhode Island – Robert Balfanz and Vaughn Byrnes estimate that chronic absenteeism is between 10 and 15 percent nationwide. That means that between 5 million and 7.5 million students miss at least one month of school every year, raising the likelihood that they’ll fail academically and eventually drop out of high school.

Education stimulus dollars appear to be driving reform On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Federal stimulus money provided to schools appears to have had a positive impact on education reform, according to the results of a survey by the Center on Education Policy (CEP). CEP surveyed deputy state superintendents of education in late 2011 and received responses from 37 states and the District of Columbia. It found:

BOCES student sees future in hospital lab but says college degree must come first On Board Online • July 2, 2012

By Laurie Cook Like any teaching hospital, SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse has a fast-paced atmosphere, with nurses and doctors hurrying about, patients and families spilling out into hallways and a myriad of beeps, squeals and loudspeaker noises filling the air. In the University’s clinical pathology laboratory, it’s quieter but there is the same bustling feeling of urgency as staff wearing lab coats use medical equipment and computers to perform a wide variety of tests. It is also the place where Kaitie DuGuid, a high school senior from the Liverpool Central School District, discovered her passion. “This has been an amazing experience – it has changed my whole outlook,” said DuGuid, who interned at the lab as part of a laboratory technology program at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison (OCM) BOCES. “This is the everyday feel of the lab and I love it. Working here is what I want to do!”

ADVOCACY ALERT – LEGISLATIVE SESSION WRAP UP June 22, 2012 MANDATE RELIEF MEETS NEW MANDATES – 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION WRAP UP – NYSSBA ANALYSIS Look for a Complete Listing of Legislation Affecting our Schools Next Week

Statement from NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on End of 2012 Legislative Session FOR RELEASE: June 22, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards As school districts around the state hold their graduation ceremonies, state lawmakers have also adjourned for the summer having completed a productive legislative session. First, lawmakers delivered on mandate relief. They enacted Tier VI pension reform to make employee retirement systems more affordable, and allowed schools to use national purchasing cooperatives and “piggyback” onto large municipal contracts, paving the way for millions in cost savings. Next, they preserved a degree of confidentiality in teacher and principal evaluations while still allowing those who need the information the most – parents – to know the quality ratings and effectiveness scores of their children’s teachers.

Statement of New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Disclosure of Teacher Evaluations FOR RELEASE: June 21, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards State lawmakers had two choices: Keep the status quo of allowing full public disclosure of the names of teachers and principals along with their evaluations, or make an individual teacher’s overall rating score available only to parents.

CALL TO ACTION – STOP NEW YORK STATE’S FIRST VOUCHER PROGRAM June 21, 2012 HATE UNFUNDED MANDATES? DROP WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING AND CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR! Call Your Member of Assembly Call Speaker Silver’s Office EXPRESS YOUR SERIOUS OPPOSITION TO A.10722-A (Weinstein) / S.7722-A (Flanagan) WHICH IS UP FOR VOTE TODAY

END OF SESSION PREVIEW – CALL TO ACTION June 18, 2012 SPECIAL END OF SESSION UPDATE HIGH PROFILE LEGISLATION Confidentiality and Disclosure of APPR Evaluations Bill Call To Action Item – Cyber Bullying Bill NYSSBA SUPPORTED LEGISLATION The New York State Mandate Relief for Schools Act Lever Voting Machines Bill Regional High Schools Bill Mandate Relief SED Program Bill Call To Action Item – Shared Purchasing Bill SED Underperforming Schools Program Bill Comptroller’s Ethics Bill Special Education Bill Call To Action Item – Student Personal Contact Information Bill Call To Action Item – CPR Instruction Mandate Bill Call To Action Item – Interstate Compact for Military Children Bill Reinstate the Federal Mandate of Providing Supplemental Educational Services CALL YOUR LEGISLTORS TODAY!

Statement of New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Testing Requirements FOR RELEASE: June 11, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The New York State School Boards Association recognizes that the reasonable testing of students is an important tool to evaluate student, teacher, and school performance. That said, school boards have concerns that too much testing is eating into instructional time, to the detriment of our students. From school board members, the message is clear: less testing for students means more instructional time from teachers.

Statement of New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on High School Graduate Rates FOR RELEASE: June 11, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards While there are many school districts in New York with graduation rates well above average, other districts are struggling. School boards and state policymakers must work in tandem to improve the situation. We can begin, for example, by targeting academic support, investing in literacy programs and using technology to foster personalized learning – all programs that have proven effective at dropout prevention.

Tax levy ‘banking’ available to 478 districts On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Hundreds of New York school districts will start preparing their budgets next year with a little extra taxing authority in their back pockets. Under a little-noticed provision of the state’s tax cap legislation, districts that pass budgets with tax levy increases below their local caps can carry over the unused levy increases, up to 1.5 percent, to the next year. NYSSBA research indicates that 478 districts, about 71 percent, managed to stay below their levy limits with their budgets this spring. The total amount of potential taxing authority that districts left on the table this year was worth more than $117.8 million. But just how much of that could be available for use in next year’s budgets is unknown because of the 1.5 percent limit. For a list of districts that qualify, go to http://goo.gl/E9HTa. The math can be tricky. Suppose a school district’s local tax levy limit for the 2012-13 budget approved this year was an increase of 4 percent, but the approved budget increased the levy by just 3 percent. That means the district can keep the extra 1 percent in reserve for possible use the following fiscal year.

Lesson of first tax cap vote: Take nothing for granted On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer In dozens of New York school districts where leaders proposed tax levy increases beyond a state-imposed cap this spring, history was encouraging. Voters had strongly supported their proposed budgets in past years and seemed likely to do so again. But this time around, history wasn’t always a great guide. Among the 48 districts that sought a 60 percent supermajority in order to exceed the cap, 19 (40 percent) saw defeat – sometimes by a frustratingly tiny margin. Such was the case in Three Village School District in Suffolk County, where the approval tally was 57 percent, and in the New Paltz district in Ulster County, where more than 59 percent of voters supported the spending plan.

Juan Williams to speak at Convention On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Journalist, television commentator and author Juan Williams will be speaking at NYSSBA’s 93rd Annual Convention in Rochester in October, along with teacher Erin Gruwell, whom Hilary Swank portrayed in the 2007 movie Freedom Writers. Gruwell will officially open the Convention at the Keynote Kickoff, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25. She will explain how her at-risk students rose above their circumstances to become education advocates as well as how their story became a book, a movie and a charitable foundation.

Fighting mandates is a full-time job On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President For years, school board members have been rallying around the need for mandate relief, with the goal being to relieve schools from some of the more onerous laws and regulations on the books. NYSSBA is probably the most prominent organization in the state for its consistent stance that mandates are inefficient and contrary to the ever-narrowing idea of local control of public education (look for a session at our Annual Convention in October on that subject). But NYSSBA has found fighting mandates is not an easy task. There’s a story – and a constituency – behind every mandate. Somebody, somewhere, at one time thought every mandate was a darned good idea.

It’s time to boost STEM, CTE On Board Online June 11, 2012

By Merryl H. Tisch Chancellor, Board of Regents President Obama visited Albany in May to check out the amazing work being done at SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. “This community represents the future of our economy,” he told the audience. And it’s true: according to findings from the National Math and Science Initiative, job-creation in the STEM fields (science, math, technology and engineering) will grow 17 percent in the next 10 years. Non-STEM job creation will grow only 9.8 percent. What’s more, the U.S. Department of Commerce predicts that workers in the STEM fields will earn 26 percent more than their peers in other fields. Yet a 2011 study from Harvard shows that our education system is failing to prepare students for the careers of the future. And employers complain that they can’t find enough workers with the advanced technical skills to meet demand. It’s time to boost STEM and career education – not just for the sake of our students, but for American competitiveness.

After 100+ episodes, NYSSBA Mailbag still answering governance questions On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Al Marlin Communications Manager What kind of training can school board members receive in order to work better as a team? Who can run for school board? These are just a few examples from the more than 100 questions the NYSSBA staff have answered over the past three years in a video series called The NYSSBA Mailbag. “It has been our goal since Episode 1 to answer questions from NYSSBA members across New York State and respond with expert advice in a video format,” said David Albert, director of communications and research.

Al Marlin hired as NYSSBA communications manager On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Deputy Director of Human Resources and Administration Al Marlin was hired in May as NYSSBA’s communications manager. Marlin has a broad communications background in media relations and developing content for broadcast, digital and social media. His 25 years in the Capital District news market includes launching and managing Time Warner Cable’s YNN 24-hour news channel in Albany, and overseeing the station’s news operations and websites. He was also responsible for YNN’s news channels in Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton. In his role as vice president and general manager of YNN, Marlin also managed the station’s sports channel in Albany.

Schools with later start times show higher student performance On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Less absenteeism, less time watching television, more time doing homework, and higher student performance – sounds like a pipedream, right? Well, according to a recent study of the Wake County Public School District in North Carolina, this pipedream can become a reality if schools change to a later school start time. Until recently, there has been a lack of “rigorous evidence” connecting student performance to start times, according to Finley Edwards, a visiting assistant professor at Colby College. He offers a low-cost and evidence-based strategy to increase student performance: shift start times by one hour. Some schools in New York State have been experimenting with later start times. For example, Glens Falls City School District changed its high school start time from 7:45 to 8:25 a.m. beginning in September 2012. “Teenagers’ biology is not suited to starting school earlier than 8:30 a.m.,” noted board President Anna Poulos, a physician and mother of four, including two high school students.

Glens Falls tackles the sleep issue On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief In the Glens Falls City School District, interest in changing the start time of school began when a group of high school teachers and administrators sat down to review research on the teenage brain. They were looking for ways to improve learning, decrease tardiness, increase graduation rates and improve daily attendance. What stood out was research related to sleep and the adolescent. One of the members of the group had taught at a school in Oklahoma years ago that changed their start time, with dramatic results. When the proposal reached the school board, President Anna Poulos, a retired gastroenterologist, was a strong supporter. “When I was a medical resident and a GI fellow, there was much interest in the sleep studies from the medical community,” Poulos told On Board. “Lack of sleep contributed to medical errors, social, emotional, and health problems of the residents themselves.”

Court addresses lawfulness of prayer before gov’t meetings On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel No state or federal court has ruled directly on point whether school boards in New York may open their meetings with a prayer. However, a recent decision from a federal appellate court may bring school districts closer to an answer. In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the validity of a state’s practice of opening its legislative sessions with prayer in a case entitled Marsh v. Chambers. Since then, courts outside New York addressing the applicability of Marsh to school districts have been divided as to whether “legislative prayer” practices by school boards are permissible. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which has jurisdiction over New York State, recently ruled that the Town of Greece violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because of the totality of circumstances under which it opened its board meetings with prayer. But the court said it is possible to open such meetings with a prayer without violating the U.S. Constitution.

Guidelines for lawful legislative prayer On Board Online • June 11, 2012

Lawful prayer is possible before municipal board meetings, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which has jurisdiction over New York State. But there is risk of violating the Establishment Clause of the Constitution’s First Amendment, the court said in Galloway v. Town of Greece. To avoid that, the court said a municipal body must consider any prayer practice in context and as a whole. It should also examine whether its actions or inactions, in context, reasonably can be interpreted as endorsing a particular faith or creed over others.

Second Circuit tries to make prayer ruling perfectly clear On Board Online • June 11, 2012

Acknowledging the difficulties inherent in assessing the constitutionality of prayer practice cases, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit took care to emphasize what it held and did not hold in its recent ruling in Galloway v. Town of Greece. What the Second Circuit held

To avoid claims of ‘viewpoint’ discrimination, brush up on the U.S. Equal Access Act On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys When school officials receive requests from students to form clubs, they should make decisions in light of the U.S. Equal Access Act, which has been used to support the rights of students to form groups ranging from conservative Christian groups to support groups for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) students. The law prohibits school districts from engaging in what courts have called “viewpoint discrimination” and generally requires the door to be open to either everyone or no one.

Is politeness passé? On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Dana Smith Area 6 Director When my children were in high school, an incident occurred at the dinner table. Our son arrived wearing a cap. In our family, wearing a hat indoors, much less at the dinner table, is considered rude, inconsiderate and just plain inappropriate. But he had a quick comeback: “Everyone wears their ball cap inside nowadays, Dad.” I would have none of it, and an amazing thing happened. The hat came off and was placed on the floor until dinner was over. At that time, the hat was returned to the bedroom, not my son’s head.

Architects’ annual ‘Canstruction’ competition inspires students On Board Online • June 11, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Staff writer An annual building competition for professional architects at the New York State Museum provided a solid foundation for a community service project carried out by Niskayuna Central School District middle schoolers this spring. Known as “Canstruction,” the contest challenges architects and engineers to build whimsical structures out of canned and packaged food, which is donated to food pantries at the end of the competition and exhibit. The competition, now held in more than 150 cities around the world, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with an animal-centered theme, “Zoo Can Do It.” The student council at Iroquois Middle School was inspired to tie a school spirit and fund-raising project to the building competition, with good results.

Peru board member helps youths find their paths through Upward Bound On Board Online • June 11, 2012

My other side. Editor’s note: School board members tend to be passionate about their interests. In this occasional feature, board members tell On Board about their “other side.” Name: Brian Post Age: 45 School District: Peru Central School District, Clinton County School Board Tenure: One year His Other Side: Director of a federally funded program to encourage college attendance By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer High school students from Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties have a number of excellent colleges and universities in their own back yard. But for some local students, said Brian Post, the possibility of graduating from one of those institutions can seem a million miles away. “Really, it’s about exposure,” said Post, a member of the school board in Peru and director of Upward Bound Plattsburgh. “If you don’t have a family that has a bachelor’s degree in the house, you’re not thinking about college aid applications or college visits. It’s not part of your world.”

ADVOCACY ALERT – THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND NYSSBA’S BIG UGLY June 1, 2012 THE GOOD… NEW YORK STATE’S NCLB WAIVER HAS BEEN APPROVED! Link to NYSED’s 20 Thing to Know About New York’s ESEA Waiver THE BAD… FEDERAL FUNDING AT RISK FOR DEFAULT CUTS OUR OWN “BIG UGLY”! ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER INTRODUCES THE NYSSBA “PLAYBOOK” AS AN OMNIBUS BILL

ADVOCACY ALERT – THE TESTING ISSUE; NYSSBA NEEDS YOU! May 29,201 Senate hearing on testing – NYSSBA needs you!

96% of budgets win voter approval On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer In the first year of a state-imposed property tax cap, voters approved a hefty 96.4 percent of proposed school budgets on May 15. Among districts where tax increases were proposed at or below the cap and the traditional simple majority was required for passage, a remarkable 99 percent of budgets passed. Margins of victory in many districts were reported to be unusually wide, and turnout was said to be strong. “Voters recognized that school leaders did everything they could to comply with the spirit and intent of the property tax levy cap,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “They were responsive to their communities.”

Principals cry foul over state tests On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer New York’s race to ramp up reliance on student testing for evaluating educators is bringing out an unprecedented rebellious steak among school principals. A grassroots group that started on Long Island, New York Principals, has emerged as the loyal opposition to the push by state lawmakers and the Board of Regents to beef up testing. “We feel that our schools and our instructional practices are being taken over by testing that is not valuable in any way,” elementary school Principal Sharon Emick Fougner of Great Neck Public Schools told On Board. “It really goes against everything that we believe about what good teaching practices look like.” This month, Fougner sent a blistering critique of this year’s elementary math exams to Education Commissioner John B. King Jr..

Rising to the challenge of education reform On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Timothy Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director What constitutes success for a school board? To some, it’s hiring a great superintendent and working in harmonious partnership. To others, it’s articulating a vision that the entire community rallies around. Both are reasons to be proud. Ultimately, though, success has to be measured in terms of student achievement. If we aren’t improving student achievement, we aren’t succeeding. This is why NYSSBA has been supportive of the Regents Reform Agenda and is following with great interest the New NY Education Reform Commission assembled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. School board members welcome all rational forms of change that serve the goal of raising student achievement.

Regents to seek feedback on alternate diploma plans On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The Board of Regents is weighing creation of two new pathways to high school graduation: one for students who want to place greater academic emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and the other for students who want to focus on career and technical education (CTE). In order to gather public input on the plan, the State Education Department plans to conduct a statewide survey and establish an advisory panel to help guide the process, said department spokesman Jonathan Burman. BOCES superintendents around the state already have begun reaching out to encourage public discussion of the proposal, Burman said, and discussion by the Regents is scheduled to continue when they meet this week in Rochester.

New SED guidance document addresses APPR compliance issues On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Second of a series of two articles Many school district and BOCES officials across the state are combing through a recently issued state guidance document in hopes of getting answers to their questions regarding implementation of the state’s annual professional performance review (APPR) system for the evaluation of classroom teachers and principals. Legislative and regulatory amendments to that evaluation system were adopted earlier this year. Since then, districts and BOCES have been scrambling to make sure they can comply with both the letter and the spirit of the new APPR requirements in time for the start of the 2012-13 school year. The State Education Department (SED) clarified many issues in its Guidance on New York State’s Professional Performance Review for Teachers and Principals to Implement Education Law §3012-c and the Commissioner’s Regulations, which SED issued in early May.

SEDclarifies ‘60 percent’ portion of evaluations On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Under the state’s new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) system, 60 percent of a teacher’s or principal’s evaluation will involve the assessment of teaching/leadership standards. For that purpose, each district and BOCES will use a rubric that it selected from a state-approved list. The State Education Department (SED) has provided updated information on this topic in a recently released guidance document. Scope of the ‘60 percent’ evaluation Districts and BOCES annually must assess each teacher’s or principal’s performance on applicable teaching/ leadership standards as required by law and regulation. Each of the standards includes related elements and performance indicators. According to the guidance, it is not necessary to address all of the specific elements or performance indicators in each standard. Instead, districts and BOCES may emphasize some over others. School districts and BOCES should consult with their school attorney regarding the advantages and disadvantages of not assessing each of the elements and performance indicators for each standard.

Survey tools expected before summer On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Under state law, districts may use student and parent feedback in evaluations but only if the data is obtained though a survey instrument approved by the State Education Department (SED). SED officials expect to produce an “Approved Survey List” by late spring or early summer of 2012. SED is not planning on creating an additional list of approved tools for use as part of a structured review of student work, teacher artifacts and portfolios, however.

Results of special election upheld On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel The results of a special election for a board of education seat recently were upheld by the commissioner of education. In Appeal of the Board of Education of the North Colonie Central School District, the board asked the commissioner to overturn the results of the Jan. 31, 2012 special election due to discrepancies in the vote tallies. When challenging the results of an election, the petitioner bears the burden of proof to show that “irregularities occurred, but also a probability that any irregularities actually affected the outcome of the election.” The election results as certified in this case resulted in 248 votes for candidate Von Dell and 246 votes for candidate Rosenthal. In its petition, the district explained that after the election results were certified it learned of discrepancies with the tallies in two polling locations. At the Loudonville Elementary School 47 votes were recorded but only 46 voters signed the poll book. At the Southgate Elementary School 42 voters signed the poll book but the machine recorded 25 votes for Von Dell and 44 votes for Rosenthal, which is 27 more votes that the number of voters recorded.

Showcase your students On Board Online • May 21, 2012

By Bill Miller Area 5 Director Budget votes are now over, and we have spent a tremendous amount of energy talking about our districts’ finances. Wrestling with financial difficulties is one of the duties of being a school board member, and we are all weary from tough decisions we had to make. There is another duty of school boards that is equally important but much more pleasant: providing a forum to recognize and honor various forms of student achievement.

99% passage rate for school districts within tax cap; 60% passage rate for districts exceeding cap FOR RELEASE: May 16, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Overall, 96% of school budgets pass New York State voters approved 96.4 percent of school district budgets on Tuesday, May 15, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association. “Today’s results are a ringing endorsement by voters of their public schools and place an exclamation point on the fact that local school governance works,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters have passed 651 of 675 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was 24. This is the first year school districts have had to contend with a property tax cap. Six hundred twenty-three districts, or 92.8 percent, were at or below their maximum allowable tax levy increases under the cap, and required a simple majority to pass their budgets. Of those districts, 99.2 percent passed.

The New Reality for Schools

On May 15, school districts in New York will present their budgets to voters for the first time ever under the state’s new property tax cap – and those spending plans will not be pretty. Full Report (4 pages - 367 KB)

School districts erode programs, cut positions and drain reserve funds to comply with tax cap FOR RELEASE: May 9, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards -or- Michael Borges (518) 434-2281 As school districts present their first budgets to voters under the property tax cap on May 15, they have cut instructional and noninstructional staff, sports, extracurricular activities and elective courses, as well as maintenance and transportation in order to keep their budgets within the cap. Those are the findings of a new survey of 403 school districts released today by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and the New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO). Based on responses to the survey, the groups estimate that those 403 districts alone will eliminate a total of 4,263 positions, including both teachers and non-teachers, in the 2012-13 school year. “School leaders are taking extraordinary steps to keep their budgets in line with the tax levy cap,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “They are negotiating salary freezes, sharing administrators, and outsourcing services. But that isn’t always enough.”

CALL TO ACTION – NATIONAL CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS DAY May 9, 2012 CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS Links to: Article featuring an FRN member with his member of Congress Letters to Congress sent to both the House and the Senate Contact your Member of Congress Pass a Resolution Additional Information – ESEA Now! WE NEED A NEW ESEA NOW

99% of school districts tap reserves On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst School boards throughout New York State made tough choices this budget season, according to the results of a survey by NYSSBA and the New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO). Nearly two-thirds of districts plan on cutting teaching positions, more than half of school districts are set to increase class sizes, and a third will reduce extracurricular activities, including sports. Meanwhile, the State Education Department (SED) reported that nearly all districts (98.7 percent) plan to use reserve funds to minimize their 2012-13 tax levies. Districts plan to use $1.3 billion in 2012-13 – an average of nearly $2 million per district. (In the current school year, school districts used $1.45 billion in reserves– an average of nearly $2.2 million per district.) Districts are proposing spending increases of just 1.5 percent, on average, according to state Property Tax Report Card data.

NYSSBA, NanoCollege offer innovation awards On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-IN-Chief NYSSBA has teamed up with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany to recognize innovative programs in public schools. The “Be the Change for Kids Innovation Awards” will call attention to new ways that schools are preparing students for the 21st century, including but not limited to programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Has the tax cap worked? On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President This year is the first under the state’s new property tax levy cap, and the question on everyone’s mind is: Has the cap “worked”? The final determination will be made on May 15 when voters across the state cast their vote on local school budgets. But judging from what we’ve seen, it certainly appears that the tax levy cap has influenced the thinking of school leaders – and others in the school community – as they put together their district budgets. An overwhelming 92 percent of districts are proposing budgets with tax levy increases at or below their maximum allowable tax levy under the cap.

No BOE representation on Cuomo ed panel On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo has handed the members of a new education commission a broad “soup-to-nuts” mandate to produce a blueprint for improving New York students’ academic performance and career preparation. “Government has failed to do what government should be doing” to improve education in New York, Cuomo said. NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer described the commission members as “an all-star cast,” but pointed to the notable omission of any school board member among those who will serve.

Regents tackle talking pineapple issues On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The topic of examination quality jumped to the top of the Board of Regents’ agenda after a flurry of news stories about a strange fable on last month’s statewide ELA test. At their April meeting, Regents questioned how items are being prepared and vetted for future exams. Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch used the words “troubling episode” to describe a controversy over reading comprehension questions on “The Hare and the Pineapple,” an absurdist story in which a talking pineapple challenges a hare to a race. Students have complained there is no right answer to some of the reading comprehension questions, and plenty of adults – including Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings – have confessed to being similarly dumbfounded.

Study points to lack of data on instructional materials On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst The state Board of Regents expects every public school teacher to teach at least one instructional unit aligned with Common Core standards this academic year, and all English language arts and mathematics instruction is supposed to be aligned to the Common Core standards in the 2012-13 school year. This will require changes in curriculums and, in many cases, new instructional materials, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution called Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness, and the Common Core. Authors Matthew Chingos and Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst of the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings argue that efforts to improve student achievement and make students college and career-ready is hampered by too little information on what instructional materials are being used by schools. In fact, only one state, Florida, gathers data from school districts on instructional materials.

To reduce conflict and improve achievement, boards should look at trust: NYSSBA staffers On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer Trust and conflict are opposite sides of the same coin. That means managing conflict productively is much easier when school boards first take steps to build trust, two NYSSBA staffers said in a workshop at the National School Boards Association’s Annual Conference, held in Boston last month. In a presentation called “Building Trust and Overcoming Conflict on Your Board,” NYSSBA Leadership Development Manager Darci D’Ercole-McGinn and Editor-in-Chief Eric Randall led a packed room of board members through exercises to help them recognize types of conflict and practice tactics for dealing with it. The stakes extend beyond the obvious goals of leading smooth, productive meetings, Randall said. He summarized research that found a correlation between high levels of trust among school leaders – including board members, administrators and teachers – and improved achievement among students.

NYSSBA lawyer decries decline in civility On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer Boorish behavior by other lawyers who ought to know better is an all-too-frequent fact of professional life these days for attorneys, two veterans of school law practice said during a presentation at the National School Boards Association Conference. The decline of civility takes a personal toll on lawyers who report disproportionately high levels of stress, depression, divorce and drug and alcohol abuse, they said, and it drains time and energy from their clients’ interests. Nonetheless, there are ways for honorable lawyers who face rude ones to cope, they said. In many cases, the bad actors can be sanctioned under state rules guiding proper and ethical conduct. Finally, if all else fails, they demonstrated, the prospect of public embarrassment can be a real incentive to use better manners.

Anne Byrne elected NSBA officer On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Eric Randall Editor-in-Chief For the first time since the 1990s, a New Yorker has become one of the top officers of the National School Boards Association (NSBA). Former NYSSBA President Anne M. Byrne of Nanuet was elected Secretary-Treasurer by NSBA’s 150-member Delegate Assembly. New York has a history of producing NSBA leaders. New York and California have each produced five of NSBA’s 65 presidents since the organization was formed in 1940. C. Ed Massey of Kentucky’s Boone County Schools was elected president and David A. Pickler of Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools was elected President-elect at the association’s Annual Conference, which took place in Boston April 21-23.

Are schools becoming homogenized? On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer The ability of local boards to control the destiny of their own schools is under siege on several fronts, a panel of experts led by David A. Little, NYSSBA’s director of governmental relations, warned in a presentation at the 2012 Annual Conference of the National School Boards Association. The session’s title was ominous: “School Boards’ Last Stand.” Threats to local control often are characterized as educational reform, the panelists said, and they include: charter schools, bids for mayoral control, voucher programs, virtual charter schools, for-profit school operators, state and federal funding tied to adoption of specific programs and approaches, and efforts to standardize curriculum and textbooks.

SED finally issues new APPR guidance On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel First of a series of two articles The State Education Department (SED) has issued a new Guidance on New York State’s Professional Performance Review for Teac hers and Principals to Implement Education Law §3012-c and the Commissioner’s Regulations. School districts and BOCES had been awaiting the document which provides information on critical issues related to the implementation of the State’s annual professional performance review (APPR) system for the evaluation of classroom teachers and principals. The 91-page document was released May 2. It updates and revises prior guidance in light of recent amendments to the APPR law and accompanying commissioner’s regulations. A summary of the recent statutory changes appeared in the Feb. 27 issue of On Board.

SED details APPR submission process On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel For annual professional performance review plans to be approved by the State Education Department (SED), school districts and BOCES must submit their plan online using a form provided by SED. Review of submitted APPR plans will begin on or about May 21, 2012. Only a complete APPR plan may be submitted; SED will not accept incomplete plans. APPR plans will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The review will take four to six weeks from the date of online submission.

Providing new graduation options On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By John King Jr. Commissioner of Education Why does it matter that some students don’t graduate high school? Why is it so tragic that so many who do graduate need remediation once they get to college? And that, worldwide, the U.S. ranks 17th in the number of science degrees awarded? Why are the Regents focusing on improvement with such great intensity? Let’s start with the obvious: economic competition both here and abroad is fierce, and gets more so every day. A society simply cannot thrive in this environment unless knowledge and skills are strong and continually renewed. New York’s economic and civic vitality depends on getting more students to graduate high school prepared for the rigors of college and the working world. We call it college and career-ready.

Three NYS districts win Magna awards On Board Online • May 7, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Three school districts from New York State have been honored with Magna Awards from the American School Board Journal and Sodexo School Services. They were also honored in April at the Annual Conference of the National School Boards Association, which publishes the magazine. Monroe-Woodbury Central School District took the grand prize in the 5,000-20,000 enrollment category for English as a Second Language Family Night at the district’s North Main Elementary School. The North Salem Central School District won a Magna Award in the under 5,000 enrollment category for a new curriculum that encourages students to be problem-solvers, while the Bridgehampton Union Free School District won an honorable mention for its development of an Edible Schoolyard.

Statement on Gov. Cuomo’s New NY Education Reform Commission FOR RELEASE: April 30, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Timothy G. Kremer, Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association Gov. Cuomo has established an all-star cast for his New NY Education Reform Commission, with one notable omission: the absence of any school board member. The perspective of those who are elected by their communities to provide leadership and direction, oversee millions in taxpayer dollars, and make decisions about programs that impact students for the rest of their lives ought to have a place at the table.

NYSSBA: Expect strong support for school district budgets; school district tax levy trend bodes well for May 15 budget vote FOR RELEASE: April 26, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Statement by Timothy G. Kremer, Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association This week brought some good news for school districts and property taxpayers. According to data from the State Education Department, 92 percent of school districts are proposing tax levy increases at or below their maximum allowable tax levy in their upcoming budgets. While school districts are allowed to raise their property tax levies by 3.0 percent in 2012-13, on average, they are proposing increases of just 2.3 percent. That’s more than a full percentage point below last year’s statewide average tax levy increase of 3.4 percent – when schools saw a 93 percent budget passage rate – and also below the average tax levy increase of 3.2 percent in 2010-11, in which 92 percent of budgets passed.

UALBANY NANOCOLLEGE AND SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION PARTNER TO RECOGNIZE INNOVATIVE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS ACROSS THE STATE For Release: Immediate - Monday, April 23, 2012 Contact: David Albert, Director of Communications and Research, NYSSBA (518) 783-3716 | [email protected] Steve Janack, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, CNSE (518) 956-7322 | [email protected] Nominations are now being accepted for the inaugural ‘Be the Change for Kids Innovation Awards’ Innovative local school programs that help students gain important 21st century learning and career skills in emerging fields such as nanotechnology will be rewarded under a new partnership between the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. “In line with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s advocacy for the future of our children in further developing the UAlbany NanoCollege as an international nanotechnology powerhouse, this collaboration will help enable our schools to be active partners in developing our future high-tech workforce,” said CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Dr. Alain Kaloyeros. “CNSE is delighted to join with the New York State School Boards Association on an initiative that will ultimately encourage students to pursue educational and career paths in the fast-growing field of nanotechnology, giving New York an important competitive advantage in the global economy.”

Lawmakers debate eval disclosures On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators face a lingering detail following their passage of a statewide teacher and principal evaluation program: should the ratings produced by the evaluation process be made public? New York City, which has its own teacher ratings, disclosed results for some 18,000 teachers in February to comply with a state court ruling that said results must be public under provisions of the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

Can I count on your vote? On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director As the May 15 school board elections approach, I am filled with admiration for all the volunteers who run for school board. Almost without exception, people who run for school board have a deep commitment to their communities and care about public education. This got me thinking: how would I present myself to the public if I were running for school board? What values and priorities would I emphasize? Below is my idea of a good school board campaign speech in today’s environment. Let me know whether it hits notes that resonate for you. Citizens of our proud school district…

Deadline of June 6 for state ed grants On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief School districts must submit applications to the State Education Department by June 6 for a shot at a $75 million pool of state grant money for the 2012-13 school year. The School District Management Efficiency Awards program is designed to “reward school districts that have implemented long-term efficiency or cost-saving measures in school district management and operations,” according to a news release by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Districts will have to document that they have maintained or improved student achievement while implementing the cost-saving measures.

School boards adapting to revisions in the state Open Meetings Law On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys A recent revision of the New York State Open Meetings Law (OML) appears to be a workable requirement that serves the public interest. While new requirements have only been in effect a couple of months, initial concerns that the revised law would be a burden on school districts have abated. The law, which took effect on Feb. 2, requires the online posting or advanced public access to materials used in open meetings, such as school board meetings, prior to the meeting taking place. The law states that there should be disclosure on items “scheduled to be the subject of discussion,” which initially prompted many calls to the New York State Committee on Open Government, a unit within the Department of State that advises policymakers, news media and the public on laws involving freedom of information, open meetings, and personal privacy protection.

Text of new law requiring disclosure before board meetings On Board Online • April 23, 2012

On Jan. 3, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law to expand the state’s Open Meetings Law. Chapter 603 of the Laws of 2011 took effect on Feb. 2. It added this subsection under Section 103 of the Open Meetings Law:

Parents barred from disavowing settlement of student discipline On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel Parents who orally entered into a settlement agreement regarding discipline at their daughter’s hearing could not later disavow the agreement when the parties could not agree on the exact written terms. In Appeal of a Student with a Disability, the commissioner of education determined the parents voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waived their daughter’s due process rights. In November 2009, the student admitted to her guidance counselor that she smoked marijuana on school grounds. A search of the student’s backpack later that day revealed a box cutter. Based upon the presence of the weapon, the student was immediately suspended. At the hearing, the parents and school district agreed the student’s actions were a manifestation of her disability and on the record before the hearing officer agreed to place the student in an interim alternative educational setting for 45 days.

District properly eliminated shift after layoffs made it unnecessary On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) recently determined a school district did not act improperly when it eliminated a warehouse shift to save money. The district maintains a warehouse from which regular supply deliveries emanate. Prior to July 2010, the district offered two shifts - 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Two shifts were warranted to afford sufficient time for seniority-based selection of assignments. Sixty percent of the employees worked the earlier shift and by contract received an extra half hour of shift differential. In June 2010, the district decreased the number of loaders and handlers assigned to each delivery truck from two to one for approximately eight routes. Due to this decision, the district laid off 10 of the handlers and loaders. It subsequently eliminated the earlier shift based upon its conclusion that the shift was no longer operationally necessary, given the lesser number of employees.

Collective bargaining may be needed before installing cameras in schools On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel School districts should take note of an important decision issued recently by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) concerning a district’s ability to use video cameras in public schools. In CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME, AFL-CIO and Nanuet Union Free School District, PERB ruled that, in general, an employer’s decision to use surveillance cameras in the workplace to monitor and investigate employees is mandatorily negotiable under the Taylor Law. In this case, the school district decided to install surveillance cameras in hallways and other public areas both inside and outside schools. The district informed the union representing custodial staff that footage captured could lead to employee discipline, although no cameras would be installed in break rooms or bathrooms. The decision was also announced at a public board meeting. The union did not demand that the district submit the issue to collective bargaining.

District cannot alter service requirement for retirement health insurance benefit On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel In 2007, an actuarial analysis showed a district’s liabilities for retiree health insurance would be $76 million, which district officials regarded as an extremely large liability. Without negotiating with either of two employee unions, a school district amended its policy in 2009 to state that only employees with 20 years of service immediately prior to retirement would receive medical insurance benefits in retirement. The unions challenged the new requirement, and an administrative law judge (ALJ) recently ordered the school district to revert to a 2002 policy that granted these benefits to employees who retired with 10 years of service.

Keeping school buses running gets more complicated On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer A mechanic who looks under the hood of a new full-size school bus these days will find more than a combustion engine. Among other things, he or she is likely to see a half-dozen computers playing a role in operating the engine and the mechanical and electronic systems. “You can’t diagnose a faulty diesel engine without a laptop computer now,” said David Christopher, transportation supervisor for the Shenendehowa Central School District in Saratoga County and president of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation. National movements to improve fuel efficiency, air quality and school bus safety have driven a revolution in bus design and manufacturing. High-efficiency diesel engines have been joined by hybrid electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) models, as well.

State aid for schools by the numbers On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst School districts received an overall increase of $751.8 million in total state aid for 2012-13. But how is that aid broken down? NYSSBA peered into the state aid runs published by the State Education Department to determine how state aid to schools was allocated.

Early College HS exposes students to clean technology, energy careers On Board Online • April 23, 2012

By Alan Wechsler Twenty-five students at Ballston Spa and Saratoga school districts are about to finish their first year in an innovative program that prepares them for college and jobs of the future. Soon to expand to other districts in the Capital Region, the Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School gives students hands-on access to emerging technologies such as solar power, wind turbines and clean-room operations. Students will receive up to 25 units of college credit after completing two years in the program in their junior and senior years. During a recent class in Photovoltaic and Electric Design, students learned about electrical load, current and a term called “operating point” from instructor Steve Karr, the owner of a photovoltaic installation company in Schenectady. Karr is also an adjunct professor at Hudson Valley Community College, where he teaches classes on solar panel installations.

ADVOCACY ALERT - ESEA ACTION NEEDED April 17, 2012 REAUTHORIZE ESEA NOW! Links to: Contact y our Member of Congress Write a letter – your Senator and House Representative Pass a Resolution Additional Information - ESEA Now!

ADVOCACY ALERT - END OF SESSION PREVIEW April 13, 2012 NYSSBA ADVOCACY - WHERE WE’VE BEEN – WHERE WE’RE GOING THE REST OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION – WHERE ARE WE GOING AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? PLAYING DEFENSE NYSSBA – GREATER INFLUENCE MEANS GREATER RESPONSIBILITY GOVERNOR’S VETOES BYPASS EDUCATION AID BRINGING YOUR MESSAGE TO ALBANY? – LET NYSSBA HELP!

‘Dave, please start breathing’ On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Teamwork never felt so good to the board members in Peru Central School District. When board member Dave Hall suffered cardiac arrest just after a budget workshop, it was literally a life-saver. “I owe my life to these people,” Hall told On Board in a telephone interview from his room at Champlain Valley Physicians Medical Center Hospital in Plattsburgh six days after he collapsed at a board meeting. “My heart was dead, and they brought me back.” Hall, 67, doesn’t remember much of it, but he has learned the details from those who were there in the district’s community room around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27. The night began well. “I felt wonderful. I drove my Corvette to the school board meeting,” said Hall, a retired BOCES diesel mechanics teacher and a 30-year board member in the Beekmantown and Peru districts.

Overall, praise for state budget On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Charles Dickens could have been writing about the state education budget when he wrote his famous opening sentence in A Tale of Two Cities. “This is the best state aid we’ve seen in three years,” Robert Lowry of the state Council of School Superintendents enthused on a panel assembled by NYSSBA and broadcast across the state in a webinar April 3. But at the same time, Lowry acknowledged that in many school districts, it is the worst of times. “I just checked – 80 percent of districts are getting less than they were four years ago.” Federal aid that kept many teachers employed has not been replaced, he noted. Personnel, pension and health care costs continue to rise. And the state’s new tax cap has forced many districts to continue years of cutbacks.

Educational insolvency and the state budget On Board Online • April 9, 2012

Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President Let’s be clear: The 2012-13 state budget agreement has some positive aspects and is likely the best schools could have hoped for this year. The spending plan incorporates much of what NYSSBA and its member districts have advocated for the past three months. Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature provided a school funding increase, an on-time budget and two-year predictability. Most important, the parties agreed to shift funding away from an ill-timed competitive grant program and back to direct aid for our neediest school districts.

SED hires big names in education to develop core curriculums On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief On the road to higher academic standards, school districts in New York State are about to get a GPS. State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. has announced he will spend $12.9 million of federal Race to the Top (RTTT) funds to have three outside vendors develop curriculums and professional development programs aligned with the state’s P-12 Common Core Learning Standards.

Hudson Valley study shows weakness in succession planning On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Kathleen Rockwood, Manhattanville College, Debra Thomas, Rockland Teachers’ Institute, and Lenora Boehlert, White Plains School District Although school districts that participated in a recent survey in the Lower Hudson region anticipate filling 50 to 100 percent of top administrative positions internally within the next three years, written succession plans are rare. Succession planning ought to be a planned, multi-faceted process that focuses on developing and sustaining leadership capacity at all levels of the organization. But our research suggests many school districts tend to limit succession planning to the top executive positions (such as superintendent and assistant superintendent) and do not have a formal, comprehensive plan that addresses multiple facets of leadership development.

Study examines depth of middle school slumps On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst One of the most troubling trends in public education is the decline in academic achievement once students are in middle school. Researchers have been looking at many aspects of this phenomenon, including: How pronounced is this problem? Do results differ by grade configuration (K-5, K-8, etc)? What can be done about it?

Three NYS districts nominated as potential Green Ribbon Schools On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Linking environmental initiatives to educational programs has earned three New York middle schools a shot at being honored as the nation’s first Green Ribbon Schools. Selected from among 26 applicants by the State Education Department, the schools are candidates for federal recognition in a competition that parallels the famous Blue Ribbon Schools program. One nominee, Hampton Bays Middle School, was the first LEED-certified public school building in the state when it opened in 2008.

New state test security unit seen as improvement in SED’s ability to police teacher misconduct On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys In March, the state Board of Regents voted to create a new office within the State Education Department (SED) called the Test Security Unit. Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. announced that a federal prosecutor, Tina Sciocchetti, would become the first executive director of the unit. Overlooked in initial coverage of this appointment is the role this office will play in addressing the problem of education professionals who have engaged in egregious misconduct, regardless of whether testing is involved. An SED news release said that Sciocchetti “will also be responsible for overseeing teacher and administrator discipline, including the department’s enforcement of moral character regulatory provisions that are applied when certified educators are found to have engaged in misconduct, ranging from test integrity violations to inappropriate relationships with students.”

3020-a changed in budget bill On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Patricia Gould Associate Counsel The 2012 state budget bill included several reforms to Section 3020-a. Under those revisions: All evidence must be submitted by both the district and the charged employee within 125 days of the filing of charges, and no evidence is to be accepted after that time, absent “extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the parties.” The commissioner of education is now authorized to appoint a hearing officer if the school district and the charged employee have not notified the commissioner of the hearing officer they have agreed upon within 15 days of receiving a list of potential hearing officers.

Light penalties are risk of 3020-a process On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Patricia Gould Associate Counsel Even in cases of violations of test integrity, the school-level disciplinary process under Education Law Section 3020-a decisions can result in light penalties. In Matter of Board of Educ. of William Floyd UFSD is an example. The record established that the district had trained a middle school English teacher on the English Language Assessment (ELA) testing procedures, including the requirement that visual aids be removed from classroom walls. After that, and before the exam was given, the teacher posted a checklist for better essays in each of the five classrooms in which his students took the ELA. He also informed his students he would be doing so. He also admittedly did not read the testing protocol, as required.

Board members who testified in hearing should not have voted on discipline: court On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Jay Worona General Counsel New York State’s highest court ruled that two school board members erred when they failed to disqualify themselves from voting to terminate a school employee after giving testimony at the employee’s disciplinary hearing. Three of seven judges dissented, however. NYSSBA filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Baker v. Poughkeepsie City School District, arguing that the fact that school board members testified about conversations and events that involved them did not suggest bias or prejudice their judgment.

Suspension ruled appropriate for child who wrote wish to ‘blow up the school’ On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Jay Worona General Counsel After a fifth grader expressed a desire to “blow up the school with teachers in it” in a classroom assignment, school officials suspended him for six days. That penalty has been upheld by the federal courts, which have rejected his parent’s claim that his drawing was protected by the First Amendment. In Cuff v. Valley Central School District, a split 2-1 panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a decision in favor of the school district by a lower federal court. The Second Circuit has jurisdiction over all school districts in New York State, so the ruling sets an important precedent on the latitude school officials can exercise to prevent disruption in schools, particularly in our postColumbine/9-11 world. The student in this case had previously been disciplined by teachers and school administrators for misbehavior in and around school, and had previously drawn other pictures that school staff perceived as “disturbing.”

How can special education be improved? Nassau BOCES uses curriculum mapping On Board Online • April 9, 2012

By Angela Marshall The academic environment for special education students at Nassau BOCES has drawn the attention of two Ivy League universities. Research teams from Yale and Columbia universities are engaged in projects in two of the BOCES’ 11 schools devoted to special education students – Jerusalem Avenue Elementary School and Eagle Avenue Middle School. Researchers from Yale’s Department of Psychology are using the BOCES’ classrooms in a project called “Measuring Social Processes in Special Education Classrooms.” The idea is to develop a tool that assesses the types of interactions that take place in special education classrooms to identify the characteristics of special education settings that promote positive youth development. And researchers from Columbia University are evaluating the abilities of elementary students who have Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism to solve mathematical word problems. The research is seeking to determine if there is a relationship between their performance level and the nature of their spectrum disorder.

ADVOCACY ALERT – ON TIME AND ON TASK March 30,2012 ON TIME AND ON TASK – STATE PASSES BUDGET Link to View: Member Items Link to View: State Aid School Runs 2012-13 STATE AID FUNDING CHART NYSSBA BUDGET ANALYSIS FREE NYSSBA STATE BUDGET ANALYSIS WEBINAR TUESDAY Link to Register ITEMIZED LIST OF STATE BUDGET ACTIONS

ADVOCACY ALERT - STATE AID SCHOOL RUNS March 29, 2012 STATE BUDGET TO BE VOTED ON FRIDAY STATE AID SCHOOL RUNS AVAILABLE Link to State Aid School Runs

ADVOCACY ALERT - STATE BUDGET AGREEMENT March 27, 2012 STATE REACHES BUDGET AGREEMENT LAST CALL FOR MEMBER RESOLUTIONS SURVEY Link to Resolution Survey

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on State Budget Agreement FOR RELEASE: March 27, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature earn straight As for a school funding increase, an on-time state budget and two-year predictability. The 2012-13 state budget incorporates much of what NYSSBA and its member districts have advocated throughout negotiations. The budget ensures that state aid increases target high-needs school districts. Lawmakers struck a balance between the desire to promote innovation through competitive grants and schools' need for flexible operating aid.

ADVOCACY ALERT – 2012 RESOLUTION KIT March 27, 2012 2012 RESOLUTION KIT Link to NYSSBA’s 2012 Resolution Kit

The Resolutions kit is designed to guide you through the resolutions process in the event that your district wishes to submit a resolution for consideration at NYSSBA’s 2012 Annual Business Meeting in Rochester. It provides you timelines, structure and suggestions for the appropriate focus of resolutions. Thank you for participating in this important advocacy effort. All resolutions received by the Wednesday, August 1, 2012 deadline will be compiled in the 2012 Proposed Bylaw Amendments and Resolutions booklet, which will be electronically mailed to all member boards. NYSSBA’s 2012 Resolution Kit (1 page - 36 KB) 2012 Position Statements (1 page - 36 KB)

Regents adopt anti-cheating plan On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Someday soon, those who administer standardized tests to New York students could be asked to raise a hand and pledge to uphold a code of ethics. Or perhaps they would make that promise silently by signing a document affirming their commitment to honesty and integrity.

New York second in nation in grad rate improvement On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Tennessee and New York led the nation with double-digit gains in high school graduation rates from 2002 to 2009, according to a report by a coalition of groups that want the U.S. graduation rate to be 90 percent for the Class of 2020. New York produced an estimated 31,978 more graduates in 2009 than 2002 – more than double the improvement of any other state. While Tennessee led the nation with a 17.8 percentage point gain, New York’s graduation rate improved by 13 percentage points – from 60.5 percent to 73.5 percent. New York and Tennessee were the only states to achieve double-digit gains since the research began in 2002.

‘Negotiate harder’ On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Timothy Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director Another NYSSBA “murmur moment” occurred this month. Remember when State Education Commissioner John King, speaking at NYSSBA’s 2011 Annual Convention in Buffalo, first advocated for school district consolidations in places like Long Island? The press referred to this as a “murmur moment” as the crowd audibly gasped its surprise. Well, it happened again – only louder – during State Budget Director Robert Megna’s budget presentation at our 2012 State Issues Conference earlier this month. When pressed about the local impact of the property tax cap, competitive performance grant funding, and collectively-bargained teacher and principal evaluation procedures, Megna urged school board members to “negotiate harder.” They murmured, then they engaged the budget director in what some who were there might call a passionate exchange.

Rebell still fighting for funding equity On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Meghana Godambe Governmental Relations Representative School districts that won a court case and have been waiting for more equity in state education funding will have to wait a little longer, according to Michael Rebell, an attorney who has been prominent in the effort since the 1980s. “We are right back where we started as far as state aid is concerned,” said Rebell, a professor of law and educational practice at Teachers College, current executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equality (CEE) and former executive director of The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE). He spoke at CEE’s March 9 conference, “Safeguarding Sound Basic Education in Hard Economic Times,” at NYSSBA’s offices in Latham.

Andrew Brown joins Board of Regents On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Rochester attorney T. Andrew Brown was elected to the state Board of Regents during a joint session of the state Legislature on March 13. He will succeed Milton L. Cofield, a Rochester scientist who has served as vice chancellor of the board since 2009. His five-year term representing the Seventh Judicial District will begin on April 1. Also during the special legislative session, incumbent regents James R. Tallon Jr. of Binghamton, who represents the Third Judicial District, and Charles R. Bendit of Manhattan, who represents the First Judicial District, were re-elected to their seats.

Making the most of your audit committee On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By John Carroll Leadership Development Manager The state Legislature has required school boards to have audit committees since 2006, but is your audit committee being fully used to ensure the fiscal integrity of your school district? Meeting the technical requirements of the law is not enough, according to financial experts. The law provides districts with latitude to structure audit committees to make them powerful and efficient tools for accountability and oversight. This is true regardless of whether your board appoints an audit committee or chooses to have the entire board function as the audit committee, as permitted by law.

Three win NYSSBA advocacy awards On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Brian Butry Communications Manager NYSSBA bestowed advocacy awards on two school board members and a state legislator at the Association’s annual State Issues Conference at the Hotel Albany, in downtown Albany on March 11. Jim Kaden, president of the South Huntington Board of Education, was named the Advocate of the Year and Anita Feldman, president of the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES board, was honored with the Lifetime Advocacy Achievement Award. State Senate Education Committee Chair John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) was named the State Leader of the Year.

Four ways to help H.S. students become college- and career-ready On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Almost 3,000 high schools in the United States don’t offer Algebra II. And Patte Barth finds that appalling. “Without Algebra II, you probably don’t go to college,” said Barth, director of the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education. “If you do go, you are probably going to end up in remediation. Without Algebra II, you don’t become an auto mechanic. Without it, you don’t get into one of the growing service jobs in growing fields like communications.”

Where Megna sees progress, BOEs see pain On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer More than state budget details became clear when state Budget Director Robert Megna spoke at NYSSBA’s State Issues Conference. School board members’ questions got testy, showing how the same financial landscape can look much different, depending on whether you see it from the high perch of the governor’s office or from the ground level walked by board members. Megna stressed signs of a slowly improving financial climate and called the governor’s proposed new pension Tier VI “the most important thing for fiscal stability” in the long run. He pointed to progress on controlling state costs, bringing back revenue and providing more sustainable and predictable growth in aid to schools.

Separate budget propositions possible due to tax cap legislation – but there’s a catch On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Do boards of education have the option of placing multiple expenditure propositions on the ballot for voters to consider in addition to the main budget this May? For instance, can funding for sports, extra-curricular activities and kindergarten be voted on separately from other general fund expenditures? The answer is yes, thanks to wording of the tax cap legislation. The State Education Department confirmed this in a guidance document issued March 20 and posted on the SED website (www.p12.nysed.gov/mgtserv/propertytax/taxcap/). The issue has been debated in the state’s legal community because the commissioner of education ruled in 2006 that, with some exceptions, school districts are not permitted to place separate expenditure propositions on the ballot.

SLOs – Is your district on track? On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel This year school districts and BOCES are preparing for the implementation of student learning objectives (SLOs) to be used in teachers’ annual professional performance reviews (APPRs). School districts and BOCES will start using these measures in the 201213 school year when no student growth data is available from state assessments for the purpose of calculating the state’s 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation score under the APPR law. SLOs will be academic goals set at the start of a course or class that establish what students must know and be able to do by the end of the course. Teachers’ student growth scores will be based on the level to which their individual SLO goals are met.

Scoring of SLOs and teacher ratings On Board Online • March 26, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Districts and BOCES also need to establish their expectations for the scoring of SLOs, and for determining teacher ratings within the four rating categories of highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective and the associated state prescribed scoring ranges. What level of student growth will they deem appropriate for each of those categories?

ACT NOW! CALL TO ACTION March 22, 2012 GEA IS DISMANTLING OUR SCHOOLS – ACT NOW! Link to send a letter to your Legislator

ADVOCACY ALERT – PAGE OUT OF THE PLAYBOOK March 16, 2012 STATE ENACTS MANDATE RELIEF PENSION PLAN – TAKES PAGE FROM NYSSBA PLAYBOOK 1. Changes common to both the state’s Employee Retirement System (ERS) and the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) 2. Changes applicable only to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) for Instructional Employees 3. Changes applicable to the Employee Retirement System (ERS) for Non Instructional Employees 4. Defined-contribution 5. Protection from sweeteners NYSSBA ANALYSIS

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Pension reform, teacher and principal evaluations FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards In a flurry of legislative activity, state lawmakers passed two key reforms that will have far-reaching implications on school districts in New York State for generations to come. Pension Reform By enacting a new Tier VI in the state retirement system, Governor Cuomo and the Legislature challenged the status quo in New York. As new employees contribute more into the pension system under Tier VI, school districts and local governments should expect to see their contribution rates decline, thereby freeing up needed revenue for classroom programs and easing the burden on taxpayers. The optional defined contribution plan is a leap forward in the way we provide retirement security for our new non-union employees. This is a significant reform that should rightfully be available as an option for all new employees.

ADVOCACY ALERT - BUDGET SUCCESS March 14, 2012 STATE ISSUES CONFERENCE SUCCESS BREEDS STATE BUDGET RESULTS CUOMO APPROVES BEST VALUE FOR SCHOOL PURCHASING TIME TO FILL OUT YOUR RESOLUTIONS SURVEY Link to 2012 Resolutions Survey LEGISLATURE ELECTS NEW REGENT - RE-ELECTS TALLON AND BENDIT

State Education Commissioner John King's presentation at Monday's State Issues Conference Regents Reform Agenda A Call for Transformational Leadership NYSSBA State Issues Conference March 12, 2012 Download (20 pages - 6.39 KB)

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Senate and Assembly Budget Proposals FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The budget resolutions put forth by both the state Senate and Assembly are very helpful to school districts. School boards appreciate that both houses reduced funding for Governor Cuomo’s School Aid Incentive Grant Program from $250 million to $50 million, and shifted $200 million of that funding toward the day-to-day operations of high-need school districts throughout the state. A $250 million competitive grant program that recognizes laudable gains in student performance and administrative efficiencies simply does not make sense this year when so many districts are teetering on the brink of financial insolvency, and when a $50 million grant program introduced this past fiscal year drew application from only 70 school districts.

Budget development, never easy, gets harder under new tax cap On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer For decades, New York’s local school administrators have honed their skills for crafting budgets without having final state aid numbers or knowing what changes might alter local tax rolls. But this year, there is a new wrinkle in the seldom-smooth fabric of school finance. School business officials now must calculate districtspecific caps on how much they can raise property taxes and still keep the proposed increase at a level requiring only a simple majority approval from voters. “I have been doing this for about 26 years, and we are kind of reinventing the wheel here,” said Nick Rosas, business manager for the Unatego Central School District, which serves the rural communities of Unadilla and Otego in Otsego County.

NYSUT: We’re willing to sue again on teacher evaluations On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer A week after joining New York Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. to tout an agreement that ended legal wrangling over teacher evaluations, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) pledged to fight King again in court if his implementation of the program is not to the union’s liking. In a set of changes supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and expected to be approved by the state Legislature, the union and King agreed on Feb. 16 that the State Education Department (SED) should have the authority to reject evaluation plans negotiated by school boards and NYSUT locals if they are not consistent with legal requirements. But “if SED abuses its authority, NYSUT is prepared to respond, through litigation if necessary,” according to a question-and-answer document posted Feb. 24 on the NYSUT website.

Should boards release teacher evaluation ratings? On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President While changes to the state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system await final action by state lawmakers as part of budget deliberations, the next battle on this issue most likely will relate to whether the final numerical scores that teachers and principals receive on their evaluations must be disclosed to the public. Under the new evaluation system, teachers and principals will receive a composite score on a scale of 0-100 points. Depending upon that score, the educator will be labeled as either highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective. New York City already has a similar system, and the city Department of Education recently released the names and composite scores of 18,000 teachers. The data was widely reported by the media, prompting a robust debate on the pros and cons of making this type of specific information about a teacher’s performance public.

Cuomo website tracks local APPR progress On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo is using the Internet to make it easy for New Yorkers to track individual school districts’ progress toward putting a new state-mandated teacher evaluation system in place. The governor on March 6 added new features to the interactive “Students First” portion of his state website, including a map that allows users to click on specific counties and determine the status of individual school district evaluation plans. Right now it’s a blank, but check marks are due to appear as soon as districts submit plans and after they are approved by the State Education Department. Site visitors also receive frequent opportunities to sign up for email alerts notifying them of a particular school district’s progress on implementing a teacher and principal evaluation system. A handy button leads to links to school district websites, which visitors are encouraged to use to send a message urging completion of evaluation pacts before a Jan. 17, 2013, deadline set by Cuomo.

SED releases guidelines on implementing APPR On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Although the plan to revise teacher and principal evaluations still awaits approval by the Legislature, the State Education Department (SED) released a seven-page summary of requirements for districts to follow in implementing the new system. The document includes a lengthy section outlining the information that each district must include in its Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan in order to be considered for approval by the commissioner of education. Districts must have submitted documentation that they have fully implemented the new APPR standards and procedures by Jan. 17, 2013 or they will lose state aid under a new approach championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The case for increasing class sizes On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Phil Cicero Try suggesting that public school class sizes be raised – even by just a few students – and see what happens: Parents and teachers both will likely rush to school board meetings, loudly protesting the unthinkable. This is unfortunate because school boards ought to be considering larger classes as a way to economize without compromising educational quality. Simply put, the quality of the teacher in front of the class is more important than the number of students seated before that teacher. But New Yorkers have come to enjoy and expect low class sizes in their schools, particularly at the elementary level. The average class here is considerably below the national average of 25 students. Data from the New York State Education Department listed the average class size combined for kindergarten through sixth grade as 21.8 in 2009-10.

An agreement to be proud of On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Merrly Tisch Chancellor, Board of Regents The old saying has it that “if it’s not difficult, it’s not worth doing.” That’s how I feel about the crucial work of education reform in New York State – and why I am so proud that we have finally reached an agreement that will ensure that every school district will create a first-class teacher and school leader evaluation system over the coming year. With a critical deadline looming, Governor Cuomo brought NYSUT to the table with the Regents and the State Education Department (SED). We forged an agreement that puts our students first. When we committed ourselves to the Regents Reform Agenda in New York’s successful Race to the Top application, we knew it wouldn’t always be easy for the education community to come together. But we also knew that our students deserved nothing less.

Principals feel frustrated in developing teacher quality On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Principals feel stymied in their efforts to cultivate teacher quality, according to a recent report from the Center on American Progress, Principals’ Approaches to Developing Teacher Quality: Constraints and Opportunities in Hiring, Assigning, Evaluating, and Developing Teachers. The study is one of the few that examines what obstacles and opportunities influence how principals can help teachers improve. In general, principals think they have more freedom to enhance teacher quality via professional development than through teacher evaluation – the subject of so much recent attention and effort in New York State. Principals also feel limited in influencing teacher quality through hiring, placement or dismissal, even in many charter schools.

Commack expects millions from energy efficiency On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Brenda Lentsch Commack school district in Suffolk County is about to begin work on an energy efficiency project that is expected to yield a net gain of more than $10 million over the next 18 years. Under the terms of an energy performance contract, energy usage will be reduced by more than 30 percent after district-wide installation of energy conservation measures. Costs will be $18 million, but savings in three areas – energy, operations and maintenance – are guaranteed to amount to at least $28 million by 2030. Also, the project will generate $8 million in additional state aid. Savings strategies include lighting system improvements, lighting controls, integrated and new energy management systems, improved window and door insulation, pipe insulation, computer load management, exterior door replacements, premium efficiency motors, high efficiency transformers, exhaust fan installation, window replacements and an extensive energy management system.

District accused of negligence after school bus driver admits fondling students in pool On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel In 2004, a former school bus driver named Willard Setzer pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in the first degree for, among other things, touching the breasts and buttocks of female students while swimming with them during a field trip. The parents of those students have sued the school district claiming negligent retention and supervision of a bus driver as well as negligent supervision of the students. During the field trip, the driver asked two girls to return to the school bus, located in the parking lot, to retrieve his bathing suit. When they did, the driver boarded the bus, offered them candy, invited them to his house, provided them his telephone number, and grabbed the bottom of one student’s bathing suit, causing it to come undone. He later touched the students and sexually abused them while roughhousing with children, including the girls, in a pool.

Wrestling against skin infections takes a team effort On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer Skin touches skin. Mats touch skin. Wrestling shoes touch mats, which touch skin, which touches more skin. There’s no way around it. Wrestling is a contact sport. And germs love it. “Being a wrestling coach, you are constantly aware of skin infections and making sure you are doing your due diligence,” said Regan Johnson, assistant athletic director at Guilderland Central School District in Albany County. “To me, the skin infection thing is one of those things that could just ruin the sport. At our school, it’s a high priority.” Particularly worrisome are a stubborn form of staph bacteria known as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and herpes “gladiatorum,” a virus of the same strain that causes cold sores.

Probationary teacher properly terminated after disruptive remarks On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A probationary teacher was terminated after she entered another teacher’s classroom and made remarks about the students’ grades and a school personnel matter, prompting several complaints by parents. She failed in her appeal for reinstatement, which included a claim her First Amendment rights had been violated. The commissioner of education dismissed Appeal of Stephenson on procedural grounds because the teacher failed to commence the appeal within 30 days of the board’s vote and because she had filed a grievance about her termination. An employee who elects to pursue a grievance may not bring an appeal to the commissioner of education. But the commissioner also commented on the merits of the teacher’s claims.

Road signs informing of election details are ok On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel The commissioner of education determined that 16 signs placed by a school district on roads throughout the district stating the date, time and place of the annual election and budget vote were not improper. In Appeal of Tillett, the petitioner argued the signs constituted improper partisan activity and did not comply with the notification requirements of the Education Law. The school district posted the signs on roads bordering district schools and at major intersections within the district’s boundaries the day before the vote in May 2011, Tillett petitioned to the commissioner asking him to direct the school district to refrain from such behavior in the future. He argued that if the signs were to constitute the official notice of annual meeting they should have been placed at least 45 days before the vote.

Child with serious behavior problems not neglected On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel Parents who blamed teachers for a student’s violent and disruptive behavior and rebuffed efforts to obtain counseling for the child showed poor judgment, but the situation did not rise to the level of child neglect, a state appellate court has ruled. The Delaware County Social Services Department brought a family court proceeding charging the parents with indifference to their child’s emotional well being and excessive corporal punishment. After the Family Court declined to declare the child neglected, the Department of Social Services appealed. The Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court, Third Department, also found the evidence in Matter of Alexander G. to be insufficient to support a charge of neglect against Alexander’s parents.

Teacher can be charged for false job application On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Patricia H. Gould Associate Counsel In the course of investigating corporal punishment charges against a teacher, the Hauppauge school district learned that the teacher had previously been a probationary teacher at another school but resigned after being told he would be denied tenure because of corporal punishment allegations against him. Although the teacher certified that his job application to Hauppauge was “true, correct and complete,” it did not reflect his prior employment with the other district. In Board of Educ. of Hauppauge U.F.S.D. v. Hogan, a state Supreme Court ruled that the school district could bring a 3020-a charge against a teacher for this omission more than three years after it occurred. In general, 3020-a charges must be brought within three years of the alleged misconduct, unless the charge is for misconduct “constituting a crime when committed.” (A different rule applies to large city school districts).

Former NYSSBA President Sandra Lockwood dies at 69 On Board Online • March 12, 2012

Former NYSSBA President Sandra Lockwood, 69, died Feb. 25 from injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident Feb. 9. “We all remember Sandi very fondly,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. He described her as a “light-hearted and bubbly” woman “who never lost sight of what it means to be a school board member and her interest in seeing kids get an education.”

Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES trains veterans for ‘green’ jobs On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Grace Griffee New York State has 913,000 military veterans, and more return from conflicts around the globe each year. Since 9/11, 11,000 National Guard members alone have deployed and returned, according to the state Division of Military & Naval Affairs. For veterans in the Rochester area, a program run by Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Center for Workforce Development is helping veterans qualify for rewarding jobs in a matter of months. The Green Initiative for Veteran Employment (G.I.V.E.) program began in September 2009. A partnership with the Veterans’ Outreach Center Inc. in Rochester, it is supported by a federal grant to retrain veterans with skills in green technologies and sustainable practices.

School boards, superintendents plan joint national conference in 2013 On Board Online • March 12, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief While the quality of the relationship between school boards and the superintendents they hire varies among school districts, the leaders of the two national organizations serving these groups say working in partnership toward shared goals is more critical than ever. In a symbolic move in that direction, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) are planning to merge their annual national conferences starting in 2013. “By joining the conferences we’re sending a message to the world that we’re working together as a team – and we’re much stronger when we’re together,” said Anne L. Bryant, NSBA executive director. “It’s an opportunity to show that our organizations are in sync and working to make sure the board and superintendent see itself as a team.”

South Huntington’s Kaden honored at School Boards conference FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Jim Kaden, president of the South Huntington Board of Education, has been named the New York State School Boards Association’s Advocate of the Year for his dedication to public education and tireless work on behalf of students. The award will be presented during the Association’s annual State Issues Conference at the Hotel Albany, in downtown Albany on Sunday, March 11. Kaden has served on the South Huntington board for nearly 20 years and has been unanimously elected board president every year since 1997. He is also the former president of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association.

NYSSBA names Sen. Flanagan ‘State Leader of the Year’ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards New York State Senate Education Committee Chair John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) has been named the 2011-2012 State Leader of the Year by the New York State School Boards Association. The award is being presented during the Association’s annual State Issues Conference at the Hotel Albany, in downtown Albany on Sunday, March 11. NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer said Senator Flanagan has continued to distinguish himself above all state leaders in responding to and promoting the Association’s legislative agenda.

Putnam-Northern Westchester’s Feldman honored by NYSSBA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Anita Feldman, president of the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES school board, has been honored with the Lifetime Advocacy Achievement Award from the New York State School Boards Association. The award is being presented during the Association’s annual State Issues Conference at the Hotel Albany, in downtown Albany on Sunday, March 11. Feldman has served 20 years on the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES board. She previously served 24 years on the Mahopac school board. She has also been on the board of the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association since 1982.

ADVOCACY ALERT - RESOLUTION SURVEY March 7, 2012 THE SCHOOL BOARDS ARE COMING! THE SCHOOL BOARDS ARE COMING! STATE ISSUES CONFERENCE MATERIALS Link to view State Issues Conference Materials REMINDER – DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME YOUR 2012 RESOLUTION SURVEY IS NOW ONLINE Link to view 2012 Resolutions Survey

SREB helps Monroe 1 BOCES take CTE to a higher level On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By John Walker and Joyce Cymber To better prepare career and technical students for college and career, Monroe 1 BOCES is participating in a CTE improvement program called Technology Centers That Work (TCTW). TCTW is a program of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, founded in 1948 to improve public pre-K-12 and higher education. A long-term commitment, the program involves periodic trainings and site visits. One result is that four “focus” teams led by faculty members have been meeting monthly since September at the BOCES’ Eastern Monroe Career Center (EMCC). All career center staff participate on one of the four teams:

ADVOCACY ALERT February 27, 2012 LET NY WORK TACKLES TIER VI MYTHS AND TRUTHS Link to view Tier VI Pension Reform: Myths vs. Realities Link to view other reference documents which are available from the Empire Center for New York State Policy; Optimal Option and Triborough Trouble SIG FUNDING RESTORED FOR FIVE SCHOOL DISTRICTS MANDATE RELIEF COUNCIL HEARINGS CONTINUE IN CENTRAL NEW YORK Link to view previous Mandate relief Council Hearings Link to view NYSSBA’s Essential Fiscal Reform Playbook

Cuomo brokers deal to revamp evaluations On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer In an announcement energized by a month of growing suspense and the adrenaline rush of an impending deadline, state education and teachers union leaders joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Feb. 16 to trumpet their agreement on a revised professional evaluation system for teachers and principals. Cuomo, who set the deadline when he released his budget plan in January and threatened to impose his own evaluation system if a deal wasn’t reached, hosted the Capitol news conference that included New York State United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.

Goodbye NCLB labels, hello ‘priority’ schools On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Under a requested waiver from provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), New York would toss out labels that pigeonhole schools as “persistently low achieving” or “in need of improvement.” Instead, the State Education Department (SED) would designate struggling schools as “priority” or “focus” schools – terms that state education officials say signal the level and type of attention they will receive to foster improvement.

Collective bargaining will be key to APPR success On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director If you were expecting negotiations over the state’s 2010 teacher and principal evaluation law to result in radical changes, you may be disappointed in the outcome. While there indeed were some notable changes, the spirit and intent of the original law would remain in place if the state Legislature approves the revisions during the state budget process. That intent, of course is to ensure that teachers and principals are effective, so that our students leave school college and career ready. The law still requires school boards and employees to negotiate through collective bargaining such items as the scoring of practice rubrics and developing appeals procedures.

At least one Regent to change On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer State lawmakers have interviewed 10 candidates, including two incumbents, for three 5-year seats on the Board of Regents. Charles R. Bendit of Manhattan, a real estate investor who represents the First Judicial District, and James R. Tallon Jr. of Binghamton, a former Assemblyman who represents the Sixth Judicial District, are seeking reappointment to new terms starting April 1. But Milton L. Cofield of Rochester, vice chancellor for nearly three years, is stepping down after 10 years as a regent.

Just 70 districts apply for Cuomo’s grants On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Only one in 10 public school districts has applied for a new form of state education aid – performance improvement and management efficiency grants. As reported in the Feb. 6 issue of On Board, many school officials didn’t believe it was worthwhile to apply because the process required a lot of time and effort and they thought it unlikely that their districts would qualify.

Botox and Triborough On Board Online • February 27, 2012

About this feature: While a new state Mandate Relief Council explores ways to reduce expensive mandates on local governments and school districts, On Board periodically will examine a government mandate, how it got started and how it affects one NYSSBA member district. Mandate: The Triborough Amendment. What it requires: Allows public employees to continue working under the terms of an expired contract until a new contract is in place. How it plays out: Most employees in the Buffalo City School District can opt for an insurance rider that covers the cost of cosmetic surgery including elective procedures such as face lifts, laser hair removal, chemical peels, Botox injections and liposuction.

Be the Change for Kids campaign wins national, state awards On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Brian Butry Communications Manager NYSSBA has garnered two awards for its Be the Change for Kids campaign. The National School Boards Association awarded NYSSBA with the 2012 Thomas A. Shannon Award for Excellence, a national award for leadership in public education. The award, established in 1977 in honor of former NSBA Executive Director Thomas A. Shannon, is given annually to recognize extraordinary efforts performed on behalf of NSBA, local school board constituencies and school communities.

Brian LaTourette joins NYSSBA board On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Brian Butry Communications Manager Brian LaTourette, a member of the Downsville Central School District Board of Education, has been elected to the NYSSBA Board of Directors. As Area 8 Director, LaTourette will represent school boards in Delaware, Fulton, Montgomery, Otsego and Schoharie counties. He began serving on Jan. 27. He will serve the remaining term of Antha Robbins, who resigned last month after serving five years on the board.

Charter school closures decline On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst The percentage of charter schools that are being closed when they are up for renewal fell markedly over the latest three-year period, but it’s unclear why. It could be a result of improved quality, a change in authorizer practices, or political pressure to keep lowperformers open. The findings are from the latest annual report by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), a group that studies and works to improve the practices of those who determine which charter schools will be allowed to open and which must close. The New York State Education Department, the state university system’s Charter Schools Institute and the New York City Department of Education are all members of NACSA.

New Yorkers lobby in Washington, D.C. on ESEA reauthorization, funding On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Meghana Godambe Governmental Relations Representative “ESEA Now!” That was the rally call of 700 school board members from across the country when they met in Washington, D.C. Feb. 7 for the National School Boards Association’s 2012 Federal Relations Network Lobby Day. Board members met with members of Congress to appeal for an end to the gridlock that has prevented the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), preferably in a much less onerous form than the No Child Left Behind Act.

School boards have a to-do list on Dignity for All Students Act On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Linda Bakst Deputy Director of Policy Services As the implementation date for the Dignity for All Students Act, July 1, 2012, draws closer, districts need to begin planning so that they can be in compliance with the new law. If your district does not have a comprehensive harassment and bullying prevention policy, NYSSBA recommends it adopt one and ensure it is consistent with the Dignity Act. Boards can take the opportunity in policy to communicate to the school community that compliance with the Act is an enduring priority. School boards should review and update the district’s code of conduct as well as policies on equal opportunity and nondiscrimination.

Free and reduced-price lunch counts don’t begin to tell poverty’s story On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst No family vacations. Families leaving the district to find employment elsewhere. More kids receiving assistance from various government safety-net programs. Those are some of the ways the stubbornly persistent economic recession has affected students, families and schools in the Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School District. In fact, the percentage of students in the district receiving free or low-cost meals jumped from 36 percent in 2007-08 to 52 percent in 2009-10, according to State Education Department statistics. “One of the reasons for the increase is that we were under reported in the past,” Cattaraugus-Little Valley Superintendent Jon Peterson told On Board. “We intentionally sought out our free and reduced families and installed a web-based debit-like system where the user next to you is unaware how a meal is paid for. With that said, we have seen an increase due to recession as well.”

Compliance with the Concussion Management and Awareness Act On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Effective July 1, a new law will require school districts to have procedures in place to deal with students who are suspected of suffering concussions while participating in athletics or engaging in any school-sponsored activity, including academics. Although the act’s effective date is months away and regulations are forthcoming, school districts should start compliance efforts now, if they have not already done so. School boards at times seek to exceed legal requirements, particularly in the context of student health and safety. Concussion management may be one such example. For instance, the law requires all school coaches, physical education teachers, nurses and athletic trainers to complete a training course designated by the school district every two years. School boards could, instead, require annual training, which is available from multiple sources. For instance, a video of a training program can be viewed at www.keepyourheadinthegame.org, a website co-sponsored by the New York State Athletic Administrators Association and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA).

Anatomy of the new APPR changes On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Gov. Andrew Cuomo has amended his budget bill to propose multiple changes in the state’s system of annual professional performance reviews (APPRs) for teachers and principals. The changes to Education Law Section 3012-c reflect an agreement between the State Education Department and New York State United Teachers over issues related to a lawsuit (see story, page 1). Some of the changes are new and unprecedented, while others incorporate or modify previously adopted regulatory language. Following are highlights of the changes:

Ways to magnify our voice On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Michael Ellis Area 2 Director I began my service as school board member at the insistence of the friend who thought that I had something to offer our community. The impression I had was that board service would entail only a few meetings per month, but I soon realized that the work was more challenging than that. During my board service I have seen a steep decline in the funding available for education while the expectations for increasing rigor have expanded significantly. I have seen districts eliminate positions, cut programs, eliminate opportunities and live on the edge of insolvency. Few volunteers would sign up to cope with such conditions, but that’s where we are in school board service.

Can a voluntary dress code work? On Board Online • February 27, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer The morning routine is much smoother this year for Darlhya Morales, the mother of two elementary students in Poughkeepsie, where the district is testing the fit of a new school uniform policy. “It’s a lot easier to just pick from a few skirts and pants and shirts and sweaters,” she said. “It takes a lot less time. We just grab something out of the closet and iron it, and they’re ready to go.” Two of Morales’s children, third-grader Nadia and fifth-grader Matthew, are among Poughkeepsie public school students who began this school year in uniform and like the change. Matthew favors khaki pants and polo shirts in Columbus Elementary School’s “spirit color,” yellow, and Nadia usually likes to wear a skirt as part of her outfit. “She’s a real ‘girly girl,’” Morales explained, laughing.

Poll: School board members support pension options FOR RELEASE: February 14, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Providing future employees with the option of a 401 (k)-type retirement package was overwhelmingly supported by school board members in a recent poll from the New York State School Boards Association. Of the 550 respondents to the online poll, 85 percent of board members said new school employees should be given the choice of a 401 (k)-type defined-contribution pension plan. “The creation of a new pension tier, which provides a defined contribution and the option to enroll in a 401 (k) plan, is the best way to ensure future employees receive the benefits they deserve while also ensuring our students receive the education they deserve,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Regents approve NCLB waiver application FOR RELEASE: February 13, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards We applaud the Board of Regents for seeking a waiver from the unrealistic goals imposed by No Child Left Behind. The fact is, school districts can still be held accountable without having to face quixotic expectations such as requiring 100 percent student proficiency in math and English/language arts by 2014. By gaining more flexibility from Washington, New York will be able to focus its attention and resources on its lowest performing schools while also rewarding its highest performing schools. Furthermore, by streamlining the use of federal funds, the state will be able to better assist those students most in need of help.

NYSSBA honored for ‘Be the Change for Kids’ Campaign FOR RELEASE: Febuary 6, 2012 CONTACT: Barbara Bradley (518) 783-3719 On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) has garnered two awards for its “Be the Change for Kids” campaign. The National School Boards Association awarded NYSSBA with the 2012 Thomas A. Shannon Award for Excellence, a national award for leadership in public education. The award, established in 1997 in honor of former NSBA Executive Director Thomas A. Shannon, is given annually to recognize extraordinary efforts performed on behalf of NSBA, local school board constituencies and school communities. The Empire State Society of Association Executives also honored NYSSBA’s “Be the Change for Kids” campaign with its 2011 Association Excellence Award in Marketing/Public Relations.

Little optimism on grant-style aid On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to carve out a big chunk of state school aid to be awarded through competitive grants is maddening school officials who say applying for the money will be a lot of work for a slim chance at a reward. Cuomo wants the Legislature to set aside $250 million to reward – and inspire – high performance by school districts. That’s nearly half the amount Cuomo proposed for a formula-driven portion of an $805 million state aid increase – $552 million. Officials at three regional BOCES told On Board they don’t think school funding should be a contest, though. They say they aren’t sure any of their member districts – 44 in all – will even apply.

Crunching Cuomo’s proposed aid On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst Eight in 10 school districts would receive increases in total state aid under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed school aid package. Excluding $250 million set aside for two competitive grant programs, the aid package includes a $552 million increase in total state aid. When building aid is subtracted from the equation, the aid increase equals $460 million.

Care about kids? Come to Albany On Board Online • February 6, 2012

Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President Have you heard the news? A must-attend event is happening in Albany next month. It’s the event of the year for the students’ lobbyists. I am speaking, of course, about NYSSBA’s annual State Issues Conference. A bit of hyperbole? Maybe. But I do so only to emphasize how important it is for every school board member to be present at this event. Here are some of the issues in play: A $250 million pot of state aid that is earmarked for competitive grants. NYSSBA supports reallocating a portion of this funding to foundation aid.

In budget testimony, NYSSBA official opposes competitive grant aid format On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief While praising much of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget, NYSSBA’s top lobbyist asked legislators to “moderate” the governor’s proposal to provide $250 million to schools in the form of competitive grants. “Having afforded our schools the newfound predictability of two-year aid funding, please do not descend into an unknowable scenario,” David A. Little, director of governmental relations, said in testimony before the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committees on Jan. 23. “If school districts are to keep their promise of improved academic achievement of our students and wise fiscal stewardship of public funds, you must keep your promise of predictable and adequate funding.”

In Middletown, $135,000+ for helping the homeless On Board Online • February 6, 2012

About this feature: As a new state Mandate Relief Council explores ways to reduce expensive mandates on local governments and school districts, On Board periodically will examine a government mandate, how it got started and how it affects one NYSSBA member district. Mandate: Transportation for homeless students

Answers to common questions on tax cap, tax levies and tax rates On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Paul Heiser SeniorResearch Analyst Although New York State now has what is commonly called the “2 percent tax cap,” taxpayers in school districts that follow the law may see proposed increases in their personal taxes that exceed 2 percent. And voters may see proposed district tax levy increases that exceed 2 percent but meet all requirements of the new tax cap law. Below are answers to questions that the New York State School Boards Association anticipates will be asked in many districts. A PDF of this page is available at www.nyssba.org. Click on Advocacy/Legislation and Key Issues.

What’s the best way to assess teacher effectiveness? On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Wondering how to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers in your school district? Ask Bill and Melinda Gates. An ongoing national study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is delivering a well-researched assessment of what works and what doesn’t. In the wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget ultimatum linking the 4 percent increase in school aid to teacher and principal evaluations, such research may be of particular interest in New York State. Initial findings o

Talking about Steinbeck breaks down stereotypes On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst In November 2011, students from two New Jersey schools were asked to describe each other. The more affluent Westfield students used disparaging words like “ghetto” and “gang” to describe Plainfield students, while the less affluent Plainfield students thought Westfield students were “snotty.”

Some student vices decline On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are declining among American teenagers, but marijuana use is rising, according to a survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Just under 47,000 private and public school students in grades 8, 10 and 12 completed the 2011 Monitoring the Future survey.

School counselors and a state agency get creative to promote college aid form On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer When it comes to helping students obtain financial aid for college, schools have to overcome what Marty Anderson calls “the intimidation factor.” The first step is for students and their parents to fill out a form called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). “People think, ‘I don’t even do my own taxes. How am I going to do this?’” said Anderson, a counselor in the Albany City School District, in Albany County. To reach more parents and overcome that intimidation factor, Albany High School has begun providing free income tax preparation help at the same annual events where parents receive help filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. “A lot of parents who probably qualify for a lot of need-based financial aid are people who don’t do their own taxes,” relying instead on a professional tax preparer, Anderson said.

Purple Tues., hat Weds., bow tie Friday On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Malayshia Seymour spoke up when her schoolmates started picking on a new girl, making fun of her accent and tossing out wisecracks about the newcomer from Africa. “When I see people being called names, I will stand up for them because I’m not really a fan of name-calling,” said Seymour, a ninthgrader at the School Without Walls Foundation Academy in Rochester. Another ninth-grader, Lexus Hernandez has noticed hostile comments aimed at kids who wear unusual clothing or sport sneakers lacking a prestigious brand name. “There’s a lot of verbal abuse going on,” said Hernandez.

Request for immunization exemption rejected On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A school district properly denied a family’s request for an exemption from immunization requirements, the commissioner of education ruled in Appeal of M.C. and A.S.C. New York Public Health Law requires children to be immunized before they may attend school. When a parent can show a genuine and sincere religious objection to immunization, the law allows for an exemption. In Appeal of M.C. and A.S.C., the issue was whether the parents were sincere in their beliefs.

Using CTE programs to help prepare students for college and careers On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By John King Jr. Commissioner of Education While New York’s graduation rate continues to slowly improve, it is clear that too many of our graduates are unprepared for college and careers. In one survey, college instructors said that about 42 percent of high school graduates weren’t ready for college-level work; in that same survey, employers reported that about 45 percent of recent graduates were unprepared for work. At the same time, we know that the global economy is changing the nature of work and the kinds of jobs young people will enter. Jobs that once required a high school degree and paid a family-sustaining-wage are disappearing, and new jobs require more knowledge and skills than ever before. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that seven of the top 10 fastest growing occupations require a postsecondary degree. Experts say this percentage will only increase in the future. And a recent report by the National Skills Coalition found that while New York is poised to generate one million new “middle-skills” jobs over the next seven years, we simply don’t have enough qualified workers to fill those positions.

PaySchools online payment system praised as ‘dependable accountability’ On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Archa Wachowicz Business Development Manager How can a school business office be made more efficient? In the West Islip Union Free School District, the answer has been PaySchools, an online payment processing service endorsed by NYSSBA and other school board associations. Wendy Duffy, assistant superintendent for business, said 80 percent of all outside payment transactions are handled through PaySchools. The Suffolk County district has processed $1.5 million through the online system since it began using it three years ago.

Alternative, CTE programs partner to reach middle school students On Board Online • February 6, 2012

By Sapna Kollali By the time students reach 11th grade and become eligible to enroll in a traditional career and technical education (CTE) program, it is often too late. Some students who are disengaged and might benefit from CTE cannot be persuaded to try something different. That’s why Madison-Oneida BOCES created its new Middle Level CTE program. This fall, 32 seventh and eighth graders from four component school districts enrolled in the pilot program’s first class. The pilot program is part of a revamping of the BOCES' Alternative Middle School program, which has moved away from exclusively lecture-based classes and is incorporating project-based learning in grades 5-8. In the pilot program, middle school students spend the last hour of every day in the CTE building. They take short units in conservation, equine studies, construction trades, culinary arts, cosmetology and nursing.

ADVOCACY ALERT - NYSSBA’s BUDGET PLAN January 25, 2012 NYSSBA TO LEGISLATURE: SHIFT COMPETITIVE GRANTS TO OPERATING AID Link to view NYSSBA’s Testimony as well as the Video Clip

Testimony of the New York State School Boards Association to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committees on the 2012-2013 Executive Budget January 23, 2012 Legislative Office Building Albany, New York Chairman Farrell, Chairman DeFransisco, members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to share the perspective of the nearly 700 member school districts of the New York State School Boards Association and the over 5000 locally elected school officials who govern them. The coming year is much more than one more lean year that we must weather while waiting for a return to normal. Video Clip

NYSSBA to Legislature: Shift competitive grants to operating aid FOR RELEASE: January 23, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Lawmakers should scrap the governor’s plan for $250 million in competitive grants and instead distribute those funds to high needs school districts, the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) said today in testimony to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. “Shifting the governor’s proposed $250 million grant program toward further reduction in the Gap Elimination Adjustment would do a great deal in rescuing many of our school districts from the brink of educational insolvency,” said David Little, NYSSBA’s director of governmental relations, who pointed out that districts are now operating under a property tax cap for the first time and facing the loss of $353 million in federal education funds after the 2011-12 school year.

Cuomo’s tough love links evals, state aid On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget would tether an $805 million increase in school aid to implementation of a new professional evaluation system for teachers and principals in districts throughout the state. “The equation is simple at the end of the day,” Cuomo said in his budget address. “No evaluation, no money. Period.” The plan echoes a tactic already adopted by Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. King is withholding more than $100 million in School Improvement Grants from 10 districts pending better proof that evaluation systems are in place. Meanwhile, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has expressed impatience with the pace of progress in New York State and suggested that some $700 million earmarked for New York in federal Race to the Top money also could be jeopardized by the lack of agreements on teacher and principal evaluation systems.

New BOE disclosures required after Feb. 2 On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A new provision of law requires school boards and other entities subject to the state Open Meetings Law to make available to the public certain records that are scheduled to be discussed at an open meeting. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed the amendment to the law, which takes effect Feb. 2. It requires school boards to make the documents available upon request, to the extent practicable as determined by the school board, both prior to and during meetings in which the records will be discussed. The records include:

Deconstructing the executive budget On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director Governor Cuomo’s state budget presentation produced few surprises. The governor honored his commitment to the 4 percent funding increase negotiated last year with the state Legislature, and pledged to direct a greater percentage of the aid increase to high needs districts. That makes sense. By our calculations, more than 20 percent of school districts would raise less than $100,000 if their property tax levies were capped at 2 percent growth. For these districts, state aid is vital to maintain basic programs and services. However, the governor failed to mention in his presentation how the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) would apply to school districts. We’re in the process of analyzing that right now. It’s possible that some districts might end up with no increase, or a net reduction.

10 big districts see layoffs, hope federal aid is restored On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer Now that Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. has suspended some $100 million in federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) awarded to 10 districts, administrators in districts hit by the freeze say they may have to lay off teachers and scrap programs at the very schools they were directed to improve. Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse were among six districts that submitted proposals for implementing an Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) process for evaluating teachers and principals before the Dec. 31 deadline but were told they had not hit the mark. All are seeking hearings with King to try to reverse his decision.

New York third in nation on education report card On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst New York ranks third in the nation in Education Week’s Quality Counts 2012, an annual education report card billed as the most comprehensive ongoing assessment of the state of American education. New York’s grade of B exceeds that of the nation as a whole, which earned a C. Ahead of New York were Maryland and Massachusetts. Each state’s overall grade is comprised of their rankings on six areas of policy and performance:

In wake of new federal food safety law, NSBA offers guidance on food allergies On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in Chief The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has published a policy guide to help school leaders establish policies and practices that support the safety, well-being and academic success of students with life-threatening food allergies. Safe at School and Ready to Learn: A Comprehensive Policy Guide for Protecting Students with Life-threatening Food Allergies is available for free download at http://www.nsba.org/foodallergyguide. The report was developed in response to new standards created by the one-year-old FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), billed by the Obama administration as “ the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years.” The law requires U.S. secretary of health and human services, in consultation with the secretary of education, to develop “Voluntary Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Guidelines” for schools by June 2012.

Home-baked goodies seen as allergy risk On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief To avoid introducing potential food allergens into classrooms, schools should only allow pre-packaged food items with complete ingredient lists in the classroom for projects, activities and celebrations, according to Safe at School and Ready to Learn: A Comprehensive Policy Guide for Protecting Students with Life-threatening Food Allergies, a new policy guide from the National School Boards Association. Other policy recommendations in the guide advise districts to:

NSBA study refutes perception that U.S. lags in time in school On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst At a recent Congressional hearing, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “Our students today are competing against children in India and China. Those students are going to school 25 to 30 percent longer than we are. Our students, I think, are at a competitive disadvantage. I think we’re doing them a disservice.” Did Duncan get his facts right? Do students in other countries spend more time in school than students in the U.S.? Researchers at the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education (CPE) recently looked into these questions and found some surprising results. For instance, elementary schools in Finland require only 608 hours of instruction per year, which is less than every U.S. state. Yet Finland scores near the top of nearly every international assessment.

Versatile student ‘iStaff’ helps school hum On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior writer When about 90 seventh graders in the East Syracuse Minoa Central School District began a research project analyzing a hypothetical plan to extract natural gas from a local campground using hydraulic fracturing, they had help from a tech support crew composed of fellow middle school students. Members of the all-student “iStaff” set up the computers, confirmed that students were properly logged in and made sure wireless connections were working. The team’s efforts helped to ensure that both students and teachers were using their time on the exercise rather than untangling technical problems. Sue Verbeck, lead teacher on the seventh-grade project, said the iStaff students were “fantastic peer tutors” who helped students with computer and software issues while teachers were busy helping others.

Small district finds avenue to big science On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Staff writer Epigenetics. Methylation. Transgenic mouse. Such terms are frequently on the lips of Germantown High School seniors Suma Hussien, Spencer Buhler and Brittany Klawson, each of whom will have spent some 240 hours on individual medical research projects by graduation. “They are eloquent. They speak like scientists,” said Principal Karol Harlow. “Once they focus on an area, they learn the vocabulary.”

Non-resident students in institutional care not entitled to free tuition, court rules On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Jay Worona General Counsel In an important ruling from the New York State Court of Appeals, school districts have been provided with a clear signal that school districts are not required to provide tuition-free education to children who live in child-care institutions located within the district but are not legal residents of the district. In Board of Education of the Garrison Union Free School District, the state’s highest court settled an issue has plagued the Garrison district for more than 25 years. The Greek Archdiocese Institute of St. Basil, which is located within the district, houses orphans and children from impoverished or dysfunctional homes.

In dispute over class load, district must use arbitration On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel The Oswego City School District must proceed to arbitration over a grievance filed by the president of the teachers’ union after the district assigned additional instructional classes to teachers for the 2010-11 school year. The district and the union proceeded through three grievance stages without a satisfactory resolution. The union then sought to submit the issue to arbitration, which the district opposed. In Matter of the Arbitration between Brian Haessig v. Oswego City School District, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Fourth Department, noted that the arbitration clause in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) has broad application. In this district, arbitrability depends on “whether there is a reasonable relationship between the subject matter of the dispute and the general subject matter of the CBA.”

Student injured in gym class may proceed with case On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A 125-pound student who dislocated his elbow when wrestling with an opponent who weighed approximately 220 pounds in gym class may proceed with his lawsuit seeking damages for the injuries he sustained. According to the Fourth Department of the New York State Appellate Division, the school district could not impose the defense of assumption of the risk to escape liability.

NYSSBA files amicus brief on counseling memo issue On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Brian Butry Communications Manager NYSSBA has filed a friend-of-the- court brief before a New York State appeals court in support of a local school district’s right to warn a teacher about potential misconduct – by placing a “counseling memo” in the teacher’s personnel file – and then file disciplinary charges without first waiting for the teacher to repeat the misconduct. “School districts should be able to counsel a teacher before having to resort to an expensive and time-consuming formal disciplinary process,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

Remembering my BBB On Board Online • January 23, 2012

By Linda Hoffman Area 1 Director You never know whom you are going to sit next to at a school board workshop. You might be lucky, like I was one wintery Saturday morning in 1983, and meet your BBB (best board buddy). I was usually the first to arrive at workshops sponsored by the Erie County Association of School Boards (ECASB). But this particular Saturday there was someone in the Cheektowaga High School cafeteria before me. She was about my age, with reddish brown short curly hair, blue eyes, a wide smile and crutches. (My new acquaintance would prove to be an absolute magnet for accidents, and over the years I would see her sport casts, stitches, canes, crutches, splints, walkers and bandages. But her attitude would always be, “I’m here, I’m fine, let’s get to work!”)

Poll: Linking teacher evaluations to state aid won’t expedite agreement FOR RELEASE: January 19, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards School board members don’t see a quick resolution to the teacher evaluation process even though state and federal aid are at stake, according to a recent online poll from the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). Nearly two-thirds of the 526 respondents to the poll said they did not believe linking state aid to the completion of a teacher and principal evaluation system would expedite a fair agreement. “School boards do not want to be put in a position to accept a watered-down evaluation system,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “The threat of funding losses will not resonate as strongly with employees as it does with school officials who must manage the budget and make ends meet.”

Cathy Woodruff hired by School Boards Association FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Award-winning journalist Cathy Woodruff has joined the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) as senior writer. Woodruff worked as a staff writer and columnist for the Albany Times Union since 1998. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Daily Gazette in Schenectady for 15 years and The Recorder of Amsterdam. Woodruff replaces Marc Humbert, the former chief political writer for the Associated Press in Albany, who retired after four years at NYSSBA.

Statement from NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Gov. Cuomo’s executive budget proposal FOR RELEASE: January 17, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commitment to a 4 percent education funding increase is crucial to school districts, some of which face the possibility of financial ruin under the state’s property tax levy cap. Let’s devote more of the aid increase to basic operating aid.

ADVOCACY ALERT - EXECUTIVE BUDGET ANALYSIS January 17, 2012 GOVERNOR TIES AID INCREASE TO APPR PROPOSES LONG AWAITED PENSION REFOM NYSSBA ANALYSIS VIEW YOUR SCHOOL STATE AID RUNS Link to view the School Aid Runs, 2011 Executive Budget Proposal Link to view the Summary of 2012-13 School Aid Runs by District VIEW THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET BRIEFING BOOK View the Description of 2012-13 New York State Executive Budget Recommendations for Elementary and Secondary Education STATEMENT BY NYSSBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TIMOTHY G. KREMER STATEMENT BY EDUCATION COMMISSIONER JOHN KING SPECIFIC EXECUTIVE BUDGET PROPOSALS Foundation Aid Pre School Special Education 3020-a Teacher Disciplinary Hearings Cost Report Deadline for Building Aid State Assessments and GED Exams Centralized Bus Purchases Education Reform Commission Early Childhood Education Building Aid Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Special Services Aid Transportation Aid Private Special Education Aid High Cost Special Education Aid Special Act School Districts Charter Schools Teachers of Tomorrow Teacher Mentor Intern Program Bilingual Education / English Language Learners Reorganizational Aid Big Four City District Health Services High Tax Aid MTA Payroll Tax Private Schools for the Blind and Deaf Other Programs Mandate Relief Maintain the Contract for Excellence Program Allow Access to Employee Benefit Accrued Liability Reserve Funds School Tax Relief (STAR) Summer School Special Education Private Schools for the Blind and Deaf

Statement from NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Teacher and principal evaluations and Race to the Top funding FOR RELEASE: January 10, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The inability to come to an agreement on implementing a new teacher and principal evaluation system illustrates the difficulty going up against the entrenched status quo in New York. School board members are prepared to roll up their sleeves and get this done. But they are not prepared to accept a weak and watered-down teacher evaluation system just to bring this matter to a quick close.

NYSSBA: Preserve school districts’ ability to counsel teachers FOR RELEASE: January 11, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) has filed an amicus curiae brief before a New York State appeals court supporting a local school district’s right to warn a teacher about potential misconduct – by placing a “counseling memo” in the teacher’s personnel file – and then file disciplinary charges without first waiting for the teacher to repeat the misconduct. “School districts should be able to counsel a teacher before having to resort to an expensive and time-consuming formal disciplinary process,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

Cuomo to appoint education panel On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer Legislation passed in 2010 that was intended to help New York schools qualify for federal Race to the Top funding “just didn’t work,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday in his second State of the State Address to lawmakers. While the new law was supposed to clear the way for more effective evaluation of teachers and principals, using student test performance as one of the measures, the governor blamed the state’s education bureaucracy and the conflicting agendas of advocates for bogging down the effort. “We need a new blueprint for education,” he said.

Leadership through advocacy On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Thomas J. Nespeca NYSSBA President Welcome to 2012! Inevitably, every New Year brings change. This year is no exception. I am delighted to begin my tenure as NYSSBA president. It’s an honor to follow Florence Johnson, who led the Association during some very challenging financial times for school districts. Florence is a great leader and certainly set the bar high for those who follow. By way of introduction, let me begin by saying that, like many of you, I served as a volunteer in my children’s school district for many years before taking the plunge and running for school board. Like you, I care deeply about our school system, as well as the future of our children and our nation. And like you, I see education as the key not only for developing the children in our communities into balanced, informed citizens, but to preparing them to compete for college admissions and jobs on the world stage.

King yanks improvement grants from 10 districts On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.’s Jan. 3 decision to suspend millions in federal grants aimed at improving troubled schools leaves leaders in 10 districts wondering whether they will be able to carry through with plans they are developing to boost student and teacher performance. King said he was suspending School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding for all 10 districts because of their failure to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for revising collective bargaining agreements and establishing new evaluation programs for teachers and principals.

Gov wants to expand abuse reporting to coaches On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Paul Heiser Senior Research Analyst On the heels of sexual abuse allegations at Penn State and Syracuse University, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he will introduce new legislation requiring high school and college coaches to immediately report to law enforcement possible acts of child sexual abuse. High school coaches currently are not subject to mandatory reporting requirements under state law. “The governor proposes what should be done each and every time child sex abuse is suspected by anyone in a position of authority,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy Kremer. State Education Law sets forth specific responsibilities for certain district employees regarding reporting allegations of child abuse. The law addresses child abuse in both educational and domestic settings.

Natale shifts focus to member outreach On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Deputy Director of Human Resources and Administration NYSSBA’s Board of Directors has approved staffing changes to boost membership outreach in 2012. Dr. Joseph Natale, a former superintendent who has worked for NYSSBA for almost six years, has taken a new role as a liaison to members. Natale will spend most of his time reaching out to newly appointed superintendents. He will also work on member recruitment and retention.

Three new directors join NYSSBA Board On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Cathy Woodruff Senior Writer NYSSBA begins 2012 with three new members of its board of directors: Michael Ellis (Area 2), Christine Schnars (Area 3) and Willa Powell (Big 5 city school districts). Ellis and Schnars were both elected by NYSSBA member boards in their respective areas to two-year terms. Powell was appointed by the Conference of Big 5 School Districts to a one-year term. An election is also taking place in Area 8 to replace Antha Robbins, who plans to step down from NYSSBA’s board. Results will be available on Jan. 27.

Anxious officials meet to brainstorm on rescue plan for high-need schools On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Eric D. Randall Editor-IN-Chief It was Samuel Johnson who observed that the prospect of impending death “concentrates the mind wonderfully.” He could have been talking about officials from high-need schools who are worried about the viability of their school districts. More than 260 board members, administrators and others attended a Dec. 16 summit meeting in Syracuse that was organized by NYSSBA and the BOCES Educational Consortium. The event was called “The Canary in the Coal Mine or the Elephant in the Room? New York’s Approach to Funding High-Need Schools.” “These are the districts most profoundly affected by the tax cap and state aid cuts, because they have very limited local tax bases,” said Thomas Nespeca, a school board member from Webster who became NYSSBA’s president on Jan. 1.

State officials say their message isn’t ‘do more with less’ On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Meghana Godambe Governmental Relations Representative At a summit on fiscally troubled, high-need schools, state officials said they don’t think school districts are being asked to do more with less. Rather, they said districts are being asked to do things differently with less. “One place we are number one in is spending,” said David Wakelyn, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top education advisor, at the Dec. 16 event, which was co-sponsored by NYSSBA and the BOCES Educational Consortium. “We have to look at the relationship between spending and student achievement and what we should be doing differently at both the school district and state levels. How might we use existing resources more effectively?”

Whatever happened to CFE? On Board Online • January 9, 2012

Meghana Godambe, Governmental Relations Representative and Eric D. Randall, Editor-in-Chief The New York State Constitution guarantees each child a sound basic education. Given all the problems with school finance, why doesn’t someone file a lawsuit and get the courts to recognize the duty of the state government to maintain certain level of state education aid, at least for high-need districts? Of course, it’s already been done. In 2003, the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, handed down a historic ruling in a case called Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. v. State of New York. Michael Rebell, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and formerly executive director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), said that decision remains a valuable lever for advocacy. He spoke at the Dec. 16 summit in Syracuse sponsored by NYSSBA and the BOCES Educational Consortium.

DOE offers guide to productivity On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst How can schools increase educational productivity while reducing or maintaining costs? This is the burning question that has been on the minds of policymakers and educators for the past couple of years. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) recently addressed it by making a top 10 list of reform ideas and publishing them on their website (http://www.ed.gov/oii-news/increasing-educational-productivity). Several programs in New York State were among the examples offered. The reform ideas build off of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s “Promising Practices” for productivity and flexibility, which outline efficient and effective uses of resources given the current economic climate. The OII’s reform ideas cover the gamut from increasing student achievement to “improving human capital” – that is, teacher professional development, teacher pay, and workforce staffing.

Uncracking the creativity code On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education has called creativity “one of the five ‘minds,’ or ways of thinking – along with discipline, synthesis, respect, and ethics—that will be essential for young people to succeed in the future.” Ellen Winner, chair of Boston College’s psychology department – and Gardner’s wife – says a “valid measure of creativity” is not apparent, but studies show risk-taking is supportive of creativity. For instance, college students that were assigned a maze puzzle to solve in which an obstacle prevented them from following a choice route “scored nearly 60 percent higher on the remote-associates test, a common gauge of creativity,” according to a recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Play is more salient for children in poverty On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Play bears more importance for children in poverty than more well-to-do children, according to a new report, “The importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bond: Focus on Children in Poverty” in the American Academy of Pediatrics. The known benefits of play for children’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical well-being has long been documented, but the current economic climate has influenced how budgetary concerns have forced school officials to shortchange play in exchange for more academic activities.

Penn State case focuses attention on child abuse reporting On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys The allegations of child sexual abuse leveled at Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky have served as a reminder that officials in both collegiate and P-12 education must be prepared to respond to such allegations quickly and in accordance with law. High school coaches currently are not “mandated reporters” for child abuse in an educational setting, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that he will introduce new legislation to change that (see story, page 3). In the wake of the Penn State scandal and allegations against Syracuse University’s Bernie Fine, it may be useful to review the reporting process required by state law.

Court permits defamation claim to proceed against district On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel A retiree’s lawsuit against his former district alleging defamation and breach of a settlement agreement’s confidentiality provision may proceed following a recent decision of the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department. In Gosden et al v. Elmira City School District, audits by the state comptroller and the school district revealed that Gosden may have been improperly paid in excess of $35,000 for accrued annual leave upon his retirement. Gosden disputed the audits, but entered into a settlement agreement (the agreement) with the district pursuant to which Gosden repaid the district $8,000. The agreement also included a confidentiality provision and a statement from Gosden disputing any overpayment.

Court of Appeals settles question on involuntary leaves of absence On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel When civil service employees seek to return from voluntary leaves of absence for medical reasons, are they entitled to a hearing before their employer, such as a school district, deems them unfit for duty and places them on an involuntary leave of absence? Reversing a lower court, the state’s highest court has ruled the answer is yes. In Matter of Sheeran v. NYS Dep’t of Transportation, the issue was the applicability of Civil Service Law (“CSL”) section 72. That law states that when an employer believes an employee cannot perform his or her job duties “by reason of a disability,” the employer may require the employee to undergo a medical exam from a state physician. If the exam shows the employee is unfit to perform his or her job duties, the employee can be placed on involuntary leave of absence. The employee may object and request a hearing, during which time the leave of absence is held in abeyance pending a final determination unless the employee’s continued presence on the job creates a potential danger.

New state aid needs to reflect district needs On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By John King Jr. Commissioner of Education Even in good economic times, the job of allocating state aid to schools in a way that is equitable and improves student outcomes is difficult. In times like this, when resources are stretched to the breaking point, the degree of difficulty escalates exponentially. A quick review of the impact of New York’s economic situation on school funding is sobering. The state faces a projected budget deficit in the coming fiscal year; the newly enacted property tax cap will significantly constrain your ability to raise revenues; and federal stimulus funds, which helped stabilize your budgets, will expire this year. On top of all this, district expenses like health insurance contributions continue to escalate dramatically. None of this comes as news to you. But those issues only scratch the surface of a more painful concern.

Nespeca: Focus on common causes to make best case to state officials On Board Online • January 9, 2012

By Brian M. Butry Communications Manager When an Eastman Kodak executive named Thomas Nespeca lived in Chicago, he and his wife discussed sending their three children to a private school. But when his job moved to New York and the family settled in the Rochester suburb of Webster in 1987, all thoughts of private school vanished. The children attended Webster public schools and, according to Nespeca, “did very, very well ...They were able to do some tremendous things.” After he spent years volunteering with extracurricular activities and booster clubs, people took notice of Nespeca’s dedication. It was then-superintendent Lawrence Pereira who first suggested Nespeca think about running for school board.

Poll: School board members back Cuomo’s education panel, overhaul of APPR FOR RELEASE: January, 6, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for a new education commission aimed at improving student achievement and district accountability has the support of local school board members, according to a recent poll from the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). Two-thirds of the 486 respondents to the informal online poll said they support the creation of a statewide commission to recommend reforms in the education accountability system. “The governor is right to expect the best performance possible from the public school system,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “School boards are working hard to raise student performance and improve accountability. That’s why they understand the need to develop legitimate measures of school district performance and use those so we can better prepare students for college and the workforce.”

Start of Session Legislative Letter (3 pages - 275 KB) The 3 Keys to Changing Public Education (2 pages - 3.13 MB)

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2012 State of the State Address FOR RELEASE: January 4, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards Governor Cuomo and school boards certainly agree on one thing: The future of our state depends on our public schools. In focusing on results and efficiency, Mr. Cuomo has taken a page from the school board agenda. Since the fiscal crisis began, school boards have proposed school district efficiencies and innovations through our “Be the Change for Kids” campaign.

ADVOCACY ALERT - 2012 STATE OF THE STATE ANALYSIS January 4, 2012 EDUCATION PORTION OF THE STATE OF THE STATE SPEECH Accountability Mandate Relief Link to view the full text of the State of the State speech STATEMENT OF NYSSBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TIMOTHY G. KREMER STATEMENT OF ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SHELDON SILVER STATEMENT OF SENATE MAJORITY LEADER DEAN SKELOS STATEMENT OF STATE COMPTROLLER THOMAS DINAPOLI NYSSBA ANALYSIS Opportunities outlined in the State of the State Disappointments ADVOCACY “TOOLS YOU CAN USE” Link to talking points and backgrounders for today’s State of the State

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State Address FOR RELEASE: January 3, 2012 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell On Twitter: @nyschoolboards In his State of the State message tomorrow, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce the creation of a commission to address accountability in New York’s schools. The governor is right to expect the best performance possible from the public school system. We hope the commission will:

Dec. 31 deadline for school improvement grants State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. warned on Dec. 27 that millions of federal education dollars are in jeopardy because districts aren’t meeting the requirements for continued funding. He said with just a few days left to meet the Dec. 31 deadline for providing evidence of necessary modifications to teacher and principal evaluation systems, most of the districts receiving School Improvement Grants (SIG) have not implemented the changes to maintain eligibility for the funds. King said there are 10 districts currently receiving SIG funding: New York City, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, Albany, Schenectady, Roosevelt, Poughkeepsie and Greenburgh 11. Only Rochester and Syracuse have submitted materials for review.

Ellis elected to NYSSBA Board of Directors FOR RELEASE: December 23, 2011 CONTACT: Eric Randall (518) 783-3724 Michael Ellis, president of the Bloomfield School Board, was elected to the New York State School Boards Association’s (NYSSBA) Board of Directors. As Area 2 Director, he represents school boards in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. His two-year term begins Jan. 1. Ellis replaces Thomas Nespeca of Webster, who was elected president of NYSSBA for 2012.

Cuomo, lawmakers hike some taxes to protect school aid increase On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer After three years of being battered with flat or reduced state funding, school districts got a bit of pre-holiday cheer from Santa, who surprised many by arriving in the guise of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In a rare December special session of the Legislature, the governor engineered lightning-fast approval of tax legislation that Cuomo said would protect a planned $800 million increase in school aid scheduled for next year. Only eight lawmakers voted against the bill, which imposes higher income tax rates on the wealthy. In adopting the 2011-12 state budget, Cuomo and lawmakers played Scrooge, cutting more than $1 billion in state school aid. But they committed the state to increase school aid by at least 4 percent, or about $805 million, as part of the 2012-13 state budget.

Stocking stuffers for all On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director With only days before Christmas, as usual, I have yet to buy any presents. Fortunately, I happen to know that Santa is an avid reader of On Board. (Who isn’t?) So, Santa, I am counting on you to help me out. Here is my wish list, if you would be so kind: For Gov. Andrew Cuomo: A100 percent approval rating. While I’m not a fan of the tax cap and could quibble about other things, you have to respect the governor’s outrageous success during his first year in office – especially in light of New York’s well-deserved reputation for legislative gridlock. In the last year he has convinced the state Legislature to enact the tax cap, legalize same sex marriage, and adopt ethics reforms. He has negotiated tough new contract provisions with state employee unions, then topped things off with a middle class tax cut that brilliantly results in additional revenue for the state budget. Come on, Santa, give the governor whatever he wants (subject to passage by a supermajority of the elves).

Board of Regents aid request favors high-need districts On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator If policymakers in Albany have their way, high-needs school districts could be seeing a windfall in the next state budget. The state Board of Regents finalized its 2012 state aid proposal and is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature to simplify their approach to funding school districts and boost state aid by $755 million in next year’s state budget, 73 percent of which would go to the state’s poorest districts.

State mandate relief coalition finds 46 bills of interest On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief A coalition of education and business groups committed to mandate relief, pension reform and other moves to make school districts and local governments more efficient has identified 46 relevant bills pending in the state Legislature. Members of the Let NY Work Coalition, which includes NYSSBA, are analyzing the bills to determine which are strong enough to become part of the group’s legislative agenda. “We see good intentions, but a lack of a coherent approach,” said incoming NYSSBA President Thomas Nespeca. “Some bills would delay mandates on school districts for a year. Others would place a permanent moratorium on unfunded mandates costing more than $10,000 to any school district or local government.”

Groundbreaking study shows Title I schools shortchanged On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Are school districts equitably distributing state and local funds among schools within districts? Apparently not, according to a groundbreaking study by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Title I schools, where high percentages of students are from lowincome families, tend to get shortchanged, according to the national study. DOE compared per-pupil spending on personnel and found disheartening gaps between personnel expenditures for Title I schools and non-Title one schools. For example, a high percentage of Title I districts claim lower than district average personnel expenditures in comparison to non-Title I districts and the problem seems to be more pronounced in elementary schools — at a steep rate of 74 percent. The comparable figures are 59 percent for middle schools, and 54 percent for high schools.

EngageNY is for all education reformers On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Merryl Tisch Chancellor, Board of Regents Being a good school board member is often about asking the right questions. This is going to be particularly true in 2012 and beyond as your districts initiate changes in consistent with the Regents’ reform agenda. While response to our reform agenda has been overwhelmingly positive, we want to make sure we’re answering your questions and providing you and others in your districts with the resources you need to understand, in detail, what is being asked of you. That’s why we’ve launched EngageNY.org, an innovative and interactive new website and resource center.

Outdoor course a civics lesson in disguise On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Fiona Mitchell “We learned from our mistakes.” “We didn’t blame each other when someone messed up.” “We were encouraging to each other.” Conclusions after a faculty retreat? No, those were comments fifth-graders made after working as a group to complete tasks at a sixstation outdoor challenge course at Seven Bridges Middle School in the Chappaqua Central School District. Called Project Adventure, it presents challenges to students that can only be resolved by group cooperation.

New York schools win coveted physical education grants On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer The four elementary schools of the South Glens Falls School District are all getting rock climbing walls while the high school and the middle school are getting high-rope adventure courses. Meanwhile, the high school’s fitness center is being renovated and brand-new fitness centers will be outfitted at the middle school and all four elementary schools. There will be new programs to improve nutrition. At a time when many districts are struggling to just make ends meet, South Glens Falls is expanding its fitness and nutritional programs thanks to a three-year federal grant worth almost $2.2 million.

U.S. DOE honors 17 NYS schools with 2011 Blue Ribbon awards On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief At an awards luncheon in Washington, D.C. in November, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan honored 256 public schools as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools, including 17 public schools from New York State. Forty-nine private schools were also recognized. Of more than 138,000 in the United States, just over 6,000 of America’s schools have received this honor over the past 28 years from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The awards are viewed largely as kudos for principals who have shown strong leadership.

Get ready for ‘Green Ribbon’ Schools On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief In addition to the coveted Blue Ribbon School honor, schools soon will compete for a new “Green Ribbon School” designation. The awards will recognize schools that promote environmental literacy and develop environmentally sensitive practices. The State Education Department plans to issue a call for applications on Jan. 20, with a deadline of Feb. 24. New York State winners will be announced about March 30, and federal winners will be named in April, during Earth Day Week.

Court clarifies 3020-a judicial review On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Patricia H. Gould Associate Counsel In a decision that clarifies the standard for judicial review of 3020-a decisions, New York’s highest court upheld the suspension of a high school teacher who repeatedly exchanged inappropriately personal emails, texts, and in-person comments with a 15-year old student. In City School District of the City of New York v. McGraham, the teacher also posted her romantic sentiments in an online blog. The 3020-a hearing officer found that the teacher’s blog writings were not misconduct in and of themselves, but because they were made at the same time as her in-person comments and texts, they could be used to show her state of mind in her other contacts with the student. On her blog, which was accessed by the student, the teacher described “salacious” thoughts about kissing, “moving beyond …fantasy” and wanting more from a relationship with an unnamed person believed to be the student.

Fast track to SLO-growth On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel The state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system requires that 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation score be based on student growth data on state assessments. Where such data is not available, the law requires use of comparable measures of student growth. A recent State Education Department Guidance n the New York State District-Wide Growth Goal Setting Process: Student Learning Objectives (“the Guidance”) explains the new process for creating such measures. The process is grounded on the use of student learning objectives (SLOs) which consist of academic goals for a teacher’s students at the start of a course. According to the Guidance, SLOs must be “specific and measurable, based on available prior student learning data, and aligned to Common Core, state, or national standards, as well as any other school and district priorities. Teachers’ scores are based upon the degree to which their goals were attained.”

Moving scoring into the 21st Century On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Fred Langstaff Area 12 Director In a recent editorial cartoon, kindergarteners are taking a state exam. One whispers to another, “I hear Timmy paid him with tooth fairy money to take his test.” The SAT cheating scandal on Long Island has reminded everyone in the education community and especially those of us on the Island of the importance of protecting the integrity of state tests. We need safeguards so that our young people have no doubt that hard work is the only viable path to success.

Herkimer BOCES blurring line between career tech, college work On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator Rather than offering high school students a few disconnected college level classes, what if there was a career technology program that helped students obtain a college degree in emerging technology fields? Well, Herkimer BOCES has done just that. In conjunction with Herkimer County Community College (HCCC), BOCES officials designed a new Information Technology Academy with the help of college and industry professionals.

Why lawyers hold their breath during employee holiday parties On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Can an employee be disciplined for doing something legal? This is a question that may arise after holiday parties and other work-related social occasions, which may involve events that could turn your school attorney’s hair as white as Santa’s beard. The answer lies in New York Labor Law section 201-d, also known as the “Legal Activities Law.” Among other things, this law protects employees from adverse employment actions because of lawful activities, recreational activities, and “an individual’s legal use of consumable products.” However, this protection only exists if the activity takes place (1) outside of work hours, (2) off of the employer’s premises, and (3) without use of the employer’s equipment. (N.Y. Labor Law § 201-d(2)(b)-(c)).

Subjective teacher evals complement objective measures On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Paul Heiser and Gayle Simidian Research Analysts Both objective and subjective measures of teacher effectiveness bear a positive relationship to students’ future academic achievement and complement each other well, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University. Using data from New York City public schools between 2003-04 and 2007-08, the study linked student demographic, behavior and achievement test score data in math and English in grades 3 to 8 to their math and English teachers. Data collected on teachers included demographics, possession of a master’s degree, type of certification/program, and teaching experience.

Higher rates of bullying leads to lower achievement On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Paul Heiser and Gayle Simidian Research Analysts High schools in Virginia with high rates of bullying had significantly lower scores on standardized tests students must pass to graduate, according to a study by researchers at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education.

Pre-K and kindergarten: The secret to early educational achievement On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Paul Heiser and Gayle Simidian Research Analysts While there is consensus that both kindergarten and pre-kindergarten are valuable, if not critical, for children’s academic and social development, there is a $50 million question: is half-day kindergarten enough? The National School Boards Association (NSBA) tackled the topic in its recent report, Starting Out Right: Pre-K and Kindergarten. Third-grade reading skills increased as much as 18 percent if students attended pre-k and half-day kindergarten rather than full-day kindergarten alone.

Scrooge-like effects of tax cap analyzed On Board Online • December 19, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Analyst School boards have a lump of coal in their stocking this year: the new tax cap. How can school districts maintain quality educational programs in 2012 when their ability to raise revenues will be restricted? A new NYSSBA report, called “The New 3 Rs,” analyzes how districts can survive in the tax cap era. “The new 3Rs are Reducing, Restructuring and Redesigning,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “‘The New 3 Rs’ include many of the familiar budget strategies that school leaders have adopted over the past three years, such as drawing on reserves, cutting personnel, negotiating salary freezes, and using attrition and retirements to reduce personnel costs. Less common are ambitious changes such as restructuring school buildings, redesigning programs by sharing teachers and administrators with other districts, and using new technologies to deliver instruction.”

The New 3 Rs: Reducing, Restructuring and Redesigning

The New 3 Rs analyzes the impact of the state’s new property tax cap on school districts, provides recommendations for state lawmakers to allow schools to operate more efficiently, and suggest ideas for local school boards to consider in order to survive in the tax cap era. Full Report (20 pages - 6.67 MB)

NYSSBA Report: Major changes ahead for schools under tax levy cap FOR RELEASE: December 14, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell The state’s new property tax levy cap promises to bring sweeping changes to New York’s public school system – including more school closings, greater sharing of teachers among districts, and a renewed push for consolidations, predicts a new report from the New York State School Boards Association. The report, entitled The New 3 Rs: Reducing, Restructuring and Redesigning, found that if the tax levy cap been in place during the current school year, 74 percent of school districts surveyed would have had to exceed the cap in order to meet expenses. That would mean putting forward a budget that requires a 60 percent “supermajority” approval or cutting deeper into school programs. “School districts and the tax cap are on a collision course,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer, who pointed out that statewide, projected expenses for health insurance and pensions alone would have exceeded the maximum allowable property tax levy increase this year by $103 million.

Statement of New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Regents State Aid Proposal FOR RELEASE: December 13, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell The Regents state aid proposal recognizes school districts’ struggles to deal with the property tax cap and represents a first step in the state budget process. The Gap Elimination Adjustment is inequitable as applied to school districts. We support the Regents attempt to remove the Gap Elimination Adjustment from the budget.

ADVOCACY ALERT - SPECIAL SESSION UPDATE NYSSBA LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY BECOMES LAW! December 8, 2011 School Districts, BOCES, Special Act Districts Now Exempt From MTA Tax For several years now, schools within the area served by the Metropolitan Transit Authority have been forced to pay a surcharge based on their payroll. NYSSBA was initially successful in having the state reimburse school districts for this tax, but the lag often forced districts to borrow funds to pay the tax and pay the interest on the loan. This of course increased costs and made it harder to stay below the state imposed tax levy cap. Making matters worse, BOCES and special act districts were not reimbursed, creating financial problems for them and increasing costs for districts that use their services. As had been the case from the initial enactment of this outrageous law, NYSSBA lobbied state leaders and legislators to include BOCES, special act districts, as well as all component school districts in an outright exemption from the MTA payroll tax. Last night, the state corrected the inequity, making all schools, BOCES and special act districts completely and permanently exempt from the MTA Tax. School districts will be reimbursed for payments made to date and then be free of the need to pay at all. BOCES and special act districts will no longer have to pay the tax, lowering their operating costs. The act takes effect immediately, with the state reimbursing districts for past payments and no payments will be due after the state of the new state fiscal year on April 1st.

ADVOCACY ALERT - 2011 SPECIAL SESSION December 8, 2011 TAX DEAL TO AFFECT SCHOOLS Revenue Enhancements MTA Tax New York Works Public Works Infrastructure Fund Flood Relief Non Native American Casinos NYSSBA ANALYSIS TELL THEM Call your member of Assembly Call your Senator NYSSBA STATEMENT ON REVENUE AGREEMENT AND POLL RESULTS School Board Members: Revise Tax Code Mandate Relief Trumps State Aid

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA: Next up, mandate relief FOR RELEASE: December 7, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell When Governor Cuomo took office, he promised bold action to improve New York’s future. He has delivered on his promise to enact a property tax cap. He has delivered on his promise to restructure state public employee contracts. And he is delivering on his promise to reform the tax system and stimulate the economy.

School board members: Revise tax code FOR RELEASE: December 6, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell With the Legislature poised to enact changes to the state’s tax code in order to raise more revenue for the ailing state budget, school board members overwhelmingly support these efforts if it means an end to payment delays and state aid cuts, according to a recent poll from the New York State School Boards Association. But in their haste to make changes to the tax code, lawmakers must not lose sight of the one single issue that means even more to school boards: mandate relief. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of school board members responding to NYSSBA’s informal online poll said mandate relief was a greater priority than state aid.

Savings in Action: Case Studies from AdvisorySolutions - December • 2011 We hope you enjoyed the first issue of Savings in Action from NYSSBA’s AdvisorySolutions, sent to you late summer. This issue includes examples of how AdvisorySolutions helped school districts address specific issues with significant savings for their taxpayers. As we confront the challenges of the 2012- 13 school year, districts are looking to reduce costs and at the same time preserve education programs. AdvisorySolutions can help you meet those demands with expert services in areas such as staffing analysis, operational analysis, special education program reviews and school closings. We hope you find this second issue of Savings in Action informative. Please feel free to contact us for assistance on projects to position your school district for the future. Dr. Joseph Natale Director of AdvisorySolutions Inside this issue.. Maintenance Review Could Save Niagara Falls $645,000 Special Education Program Reviews Insurance Audit; Personnel Office and Staffing Reviews

Tone of labor talks positive as fiscal pressures mount On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Analyst Labor negotiations are full of knotty issues this year but cooperation, not rancor, is the dominant tone, according to school district attorneys and other experts. There is a siege mentality as both management and unions grapple with bad economic conditions. Negotiators representing both sides across the state have been working hard to find common ground, according to Richard A. Curreri, director of conciliation for the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). “Given this year’s reduction in state aid to school districts, the continuing dismal economic environment, concerns surrounding the new teacher evaluation statute, and the property tax cap scheduled to go into effect next year, it is somewhat surprising, and a tribute to labor-management professionals on both sides of the aisle, that we are not witnessing far more volatility at the bargaining table,” said Curreri. “To their credit, the parties, by and large, appear to have moderated their demands and assumed more realistic postures in the face of both fiscal realities and statutory bargaining obligations.”

High-need schools seen as tax cap casualty On Board Online • November 28, 2011

NYSSBA summit to brainstorm solutions By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief More than 20 percent of school districts in New York State have such small tax bases that they won’t be able to raise more than $100,000 in new money from local taxes, assuming they don’t override the state’s new tax cap, according to a NYSSBA analysis of State Education Department (SED) data. NYSSBA will be holding a no-cost summit meeting in Syracuse on Dec. 16 to analyze the plight of high-need school districts, particularly in light of the tax cap, and brainstorm solutions. The event is titled, “The Canary in the Coal Mine or the Elephant in the Room? New York State’s Approach to Funding High Need Schools” (see notice, page 20). The six-hour meeting and luncheon is co-sponsored by the state’s 37 BOCES through its lobbying arm, the BOCES Educational Consortium.

Seeking perfection in an imperfect world On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA President It’s been two years since I took on the presidency at your state association. In that time, I think I’ve gotten to know school board members across the state pretty well. It’s been a privilege to travel the state and meet so many of you. I’ve enjoyed learning about many wonderful things going on in your school districts and sympathized with the challenges you face. I never cease to be impressed with the time and dedication I see in school board members, from districts just below the Canadian border all the way down to the Southern tier. In this, my last On Board commentary as president, I’d like to focus on the role of school board members as change agents – and how NYSSBA supports you in that endeavor.

Regents seek to ease special ed mandates On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator Curbing mandates on local schools is no easy task. Just ask the state Board of Regents. The decision to relieve schools of several special education mandates was at the fore during the panel’s November meeting in Albany. But the decision to ease these regulations was met with both disapproval from some Regents and laments from others that more couldn’t be done.

Cuomo refuses to reaffirm plan to boost aid On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer School districts are facing the end of the federal stimulus package, fallout from two straight years of reduced state aid and limitations imposed by a new property tax cap. Now Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned that the state’s own budget projections have been far too rosy. Asked by reporters whether the state’s deteriorating fiscal condition could threaten the plan to increase school aid by $805 million next year, the governor has repeatedly refused to be pinned down. “Let’s get the numbers … rather than posing potential hypotheticals,” Cuomo said recently.

At the 2011 Superintendent of the Year Forum,concern over accountability methods, funding On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Bernard P. Pierorazio Superintendent Yonkers Public Schools The elegant backdrop of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. belied the theme of a national education forum that I recently attended: “The New Normal: Doing More with Less.” The event was the 2011 Superintendent of the Year Forum, which I attended as New York’s representative. It was a personal privilege for me to exchange best practices with so many accomplished superintendents, each honored by his or her state. But amid the high-spirited atmosphere of collaboration was a palpable disquiet, if not a sense of emergency.

NYSUT’s new evaluation plan seen as ‘starting point’ On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Analyst New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has released a plan to guide teacher evaluations under the state’s new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) system. The plan, known as Teacher Evaluation and Development, or TED, is the result of labormanagement collaborations among six school districts from across the state. TED has four phases. The first begins in the fall with a period of teacher “self-reflection,” in which teachers analyze their perspective on professional and instructional practices. The second involves a pre-observation conference, evidence collection and a formal observation of the teacher in a classroom setting, followed by analysis by both teacher and evaluator. The third phase is a summative evaluation encompassing the formal classroom observation, the teacher’s preparation and philosophy of professional practice that contributed to it, and an analysis of student work that followed. Finally, phase four sets out a plan for continued professional growth.

High school student’s protest strategy works On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer Dominic Daoust says that someday he might like to be president of the United States. Don’t bet against him. After all, it took the Niagara Falls High School senior less than two days to execute a campaign that got chocolate milk back on the menu in his school’s cafeteria. Daoust said it all began when he and some friends were grousing during lunch about the school district’s recent decision to ban chocolate milk. “I said, ‘We can get it back,’” he recalled.

To attract students, ambassador of blues speaks for free, pays for school bus gas On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer When he was 12 years old, guitarist Joe Bonamassa opened for B.B. King at a concert in Rochester, and King was so impressed he took the kid along for that summer’s tour. Twenty-two years later, the Utica-area native has been called a “titan” of blues rock by Guitar World magazine and is in the middle of a sold-out tour. He often schedules talks on his tour route with students to talk about life as a professional musician. “I try to do this a couple of times a month,” he recently told Albany-area students between riffs on both acoustic and electric guitars. He’s been sitting down with students for 10 years, first with the “Blues in the Schools” program begun more than a decade ago by the Memphis-based The Blues Foundation.

Parting the waters of student requests for religious accommodations On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Few legal issues facing school districts today can escalate into a public relations nightmare as quickly as requests for religious accommodations. How should a district respond when a Muslim student wishes to be excused from class to pray? What happens when a ban aimed at gang-related apparel also affects religious garb? Is it lawful to play Christmas music at a winter concert? This article will provide an overview of the state of the law, which includes some issues that are well-settled and others that have changed or are developing. For instance, students who do not wish to dissect animals for religious or moral reasons have long had the right pursuant to Education Law Section 809(4) to have the opportunity to complete an alternative project. Effective July 1, 2011, the law also requires districts to develop a policy to give reasonable notice of these rights to all students (and their parents or guardians) enrolled in a course that includes animal dissections. The notice must be distributed to students (and their parents or guardians) enrolled in a course that includes dissection at the beginning of the school year.

Protecting assessments On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By John King Jr. Commissioner of Education We’ve all read about test integrity violations around the country. Those investigations have fostered growing concern about the integrity of standardized test administration and scoring in general. Virtually all of New York’s educators are committed to providing a valid test process; they have no interest in violating the integrity of assessments. But prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. That’s why the Board of Regents approved a series of measures aimed at reinforcing the integrity of New York’s testing system.

Innovation and collaboration pays off for Nassau BOCES On Board Online • November 28, 2011

By Susan Bergtraum Area 11 Director Everyone says public education has to improve, but how? Several initiatives by Nassau BOCES show how innovation and collaboration can help us do what seems so elusive – delivering better educational services, improving efficiency and sometimes even saving money. Nassau BOCES has had a good experience with a pilot project that initially involved using a computer adaptive in seven Nassau County school districts. The aim of the pilot was to assess the ease of administering the test, created by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), as well as the quality of the information obtained and the efficacy of districts’ use of the information.

Board member, a former teacher, still into tests On Board Online • November 28, 2011

My Other Side Name: Linda Harrison Age: 63 School district: North Colonie Years on school board: Six Her other side: Test specialist developer, State Education Department By Marc Humbert Senior Writer When five top graduates of the North Colonie Central School District were honored in a regional recognition program in 1997, each was asked to name an outstanding teacher in their school. Four cited the same person: history and social studies teacher Linda Harrison. When she retired in 2005, Harrison decided 34 years with North Colonie wasn’t enough. She ran for an open seat on the school board.

ADVOCACY ALERT - NYSSBA NEEDS YOU November 22, 2011 NYSSBA PROCLAIMS VICTORY AGAINST COSTLY AND RESTRICTIVE NUTRITION REGULATIONS NOMINATE THE BEST OF THE BEST! NYSSBA’s Advocate of the Year Award NYSSBA’s Board Advocacy Award Link to Nomination Guidelines NYSSBA’S REQUEST FOR DISTRICT INFORMATION ONE-DAY SUMMIT : The Canary In The Coal Mine Or The Elephant In The Room? Friday, December 16, 2011 / Sponsored by New York State School Boards Association & The BOCES Educational Consortium Who Needs To Be There? What Will Happen? Where Is It? How Much Does It Cost And How Do I Sign Up? Link to Register Now

NOMINATE THE BEST OF THE BEST! NYSSBA ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR Do you know a colleague or a school board deserving of the title “NYSSBA Advocate of the Year”? Does their work serve as an inspiration to their fellow local school leaders about the importance of state and federal advocacy to public education? Each year NYSSBA recognizes an individual and a school board for epitomizing state and federal school board member advocacy. The winning nominations of both of these distinguished awards will be determined by the NYSSBA Board of Directors and the honorees will be recognized at your State Issues Conference held in Albany on March 11 and 12. Please submit nominations by Francine Campbell at [email protected] by the close of business on Friday, December 30, 2011. NOMINATION GUIDELINES (6 pages - 219 KB)

Message and Talking Points on the Let NY Work Agenda Message: Now that New York State has enacted a real property tax cap, it is critical that lawmakers provide mandate relief to local governments and school districts that will enable them to function within the cap. The tax cap, without relief from state-imposed mandates, is a blunt instrument. It provides a ceiling, but not the steps to get there. The state must eliminate mandates that at one time were well meaning but are now outdated and unrealistic, so that local governments and school districts can more efficiently serve taxpayers. These action items described below are long overdue, and must be the next step in an ongoing effort by the Legislature and the Governor to relieve local governments and school districts of unnecessary state mandates and lessen the burden on taxpayers. Background: The agenda (Let New York: A Common Agenda for the Common Good) supported by various groups representing local government officials, school district officials, and business organizations includes six key measures designed to ease the burdens of mandates faced by local governments, school districts and taxpayers.

Statement by NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer Governor Cuomo’s property tax cap message FOR RELEASE: November 7, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell Gov. Cuomo’s video message today called attention to the property tax cap’s effectiveness in thus far holding down municipal property tax levies. The property tax cap may well serve its intended purpose, but it’s going to come at a cost to educational programs and services in school districts, unless the state loosens its reins on school districts by providing significant mandate relief.

Convention message: ‘Believe in your students’ On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Staff writer “My message is simple,” New York State Teacher of the Year Kathleen Ferguson told attendees at NYSSBA’s 92nd Annual Convention. “Believe. Believe in your students. As their leaders, we have a duty to see in our students what they cannot see in themselves.” For four days, the recently renovated Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center was bustling as nearly 3,000 attendees sampled more than 100 education seminars and heard from speakers including Ferguson, a Schenectady elementary school teacher whom the State Education Department recently named the 2012 Teacher of the Year.

Nespeca elected next NYSSBA president On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Barbara Bradley Staff writer Thomas Nespeca of Webster was elected president of NYSSBA during the Association’s Annual Business Meeting in Buffalo. Nespeca’s one-year term begins Jan. 1, 2012. Lynne Lenhardt of Bethlehem was elected first vice president, Susan Bergtraum of Nassau BOCES was elected second vice president, and Michael Masse of Fayetteville-Manlius was re-elected treasurer. Nespeca, NYSSBA’s Area 2 Director, has been a member of the Webster school board since 1998, having served as president and vice president. He is also a member of the Monroe County School Boards Association, having served as president in 2004-05.

Eternal optimism On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Timothy Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director I am glad to be naturally, unabashedly optimistic. Research shows that optimists achieve more and enjoy better health, while pessimists are more prone to give up and fall into depression. How we view our circumstances is almost always more important than the circumstances themselves. This is true in public education as well as one’s personal life. While I’ve heard plenty of theories on how public education is failing and what needs to change, we are well served by our belief that things can and will get better. That’s probably why I enjoy working with positive, forward-thinking school board members. Where else can one find so many optimists? No one runs for school board without a strong belief that there is an opportunity to make things better.

Delegates reinforce local control On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Barbara Bradley Staff Writer Voting delegates made local control their theme during NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting Saturday, Oct. 29 in Buffalo. “The governor has decided to balance the state budget on the backs of students,” said Ray Krebs of Carmel, who spoke in support of a resolution that would limit state special education mandates to those required by the federal government. The resolution passed. Delegates amended a resolution that would seek legislation to set fixed health insurance contribution rates for current employees. They agreed to remove retirees from the resolution. Yet several delegates argued against the resolution because it would remove local control. “This should be a local option,” said Patricia Bentley of Plattsburgh.

NYSSBA joins coalition seeking mandate relief On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Staff Writer NYSSBA has joined a coalition of education and business groups in an effort to bring meaningful mandate relief to New York. The group - Let NY Work - announced a six-point plan Nov. 1 that addresses big ticket items such as pension reform, health care contributions, the Wicks Law, the Triborough Amendment, arbitration rules and unfunded mandates. The coalition also includes: Associated General Contractors of New York State; the Business Council of New York State; the Council of School Superintendents; Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York; National Federation of Independent Business; New York Farm Bureau; New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials; New York State Association of Realtors; Unshackle Upstate; and the Westchester County Association.

Nespeca calls for ‘leadership through advocacy’ On Board Online • November 7, 2011

To sustain and advance public education, school board members must set aside regional loyalties in favor of collective action, according to NYSSBA President-elect Thomas Nespeca. “No more upstate versus downstate, high wealth versus low wealth, urban versus suburban versus rural,” Nespeca said after being elected at NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting for a two-year term beginning Jan. 1.

Boss named 2011 outstanding school board member On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Brian Butry Staff writer Bill Boss, a member of the Orange-Ulster BOCES school board, is the 2011 winner of the NYSSBA’s Everett R. Dyer Award for Distinguished School Board Service. Boss, who has served as a school board member for nearly 30 years, received the award from NYSSBA President Florence Johnson Thursday, Oct. 27, in Buffalo, at the NYSSBA’s Annual Convention.

King: Fiscal pressures to continue for years On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Staff Writer State Education Commissioner John King Jr. warned more than 1,000 school board members at NYSSBA’s 92nd Annual Convention that today’s tough fiscal times aren’t going away any time soon. At an Oct. 28 appearance before school board members and other school officials in Buffalo, King said that current projections show New York’s school costs rising to almost $80 billion by the 2016-17 school year while revenue, constrained by the state’s new tax cap, will reach only about $62.4 billion.

Top Cuomo aide calls on schools to be more efficient On Board Online • November 7, 2011

Leadership Roundtable By Marc Humbert Staff Writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new education adviser told school board members at NYSSBA’s 92nd Annual Convention that they must make schools more efficient. David Wakelyn, hired away from the National Governors Association by Cuomo to become the governor’s deputy secretary for education, was making a public debut of sorts on the New York education scene as he participated in a leaders’ roundtable discussion at the NYSSBA convention. “State taxpayers have been pouring lots of additional funds into schools over the last decade – $23 billion more today than in 2001 – and so we have to ask ourselves what we’re doing to be more effective with the resources that we do have,” he said.

Buffalo State professor wins 2011 President’s Award On Board Online • November 7, 2011

Buffalo State College professor Lloyd Elm has been named the 2011 NYSSBA President’s Award winner. Elm was honored during the Association’s 92nd Annual Convention in Buffalo on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Florence Johnson: Patience is not a virtue On Board Online • November 7, 2011

Editor’s Note: Below are excerpts from remarks by NYSSBA President Florence Johnson at NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting in Buffalo on Oct. 22. Johnson’s term ends Dec. 31. Two years ago I stood before you at the Annual Convention in New York City and urged you to be champions of opportunity for every child. I asked you to follow the theme of my presidency - empowerment through education for opportunity and success. Empowerment involves actions by leaders to ensure every student has the opportunity to obtain a quality education.

Speed of security response at issue in negligence claim On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A discrepancy in deposition testimony regarding how quickly a school security officer responded to a fight prompted an appellate court to overturn a ruling dismissing a negligence lawsuit against a district. In Buchholz v. Patchogue Medford School District, a student sought damages for injuries he sustained after he was attacked in a hallway on the last day of school.

Sexual abuse lawsuit allowed 10 years after alleged assault On Board Online • November 7, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel In order to commence a law suit against a school district, a plaintiff must file a notice of claim describing the basis of the suit with the school district within three months of the accrual of the claim. But exceptions can be made for claims involving children, as was the case in the sexual abuse lawsuit of Doe v. North Tonowanda Central School District.

Dealing with bomb threats in school districts By Archa Wachowicz Do you know what to do if you find what appears to be a bomb in school? Edward Knaak, director of security for the Greece school district and a former police captain, gave the following advice at NYSSBA’s 92nd Annual Convention & Education Expo Oct. 28: Do not touch the light switch, use a phone or turn on the radio in the room. Open a window, then leave the room. A bomb will do less damage if the room is not airtight. Call 911. Notify administrators, who can trigger an evacuation either by fire alarm or announcement. If necessary, relocate students 1,000 feet away or behind a barrier (brick wall or building). Knaak’s presentation was one of more than 100 educational sessions at the Annual Convention, held in Buffalo. Preserving evidence is important, Knaack said. A nationally renowned handwriting expert, Knaak said that notes and wall graffiti can offer valuable clues. He said the best people to identify handwriting in notes and graffiti messages are English and math teachers. Knaak said he has solved more cases by scrutinizing the word “the.” People write that word so often it almost always appears the same.

Getting Value Out of “Value Added” By Jeffrey S. Handelman Research shows that teachers are the most important school influence on student achievement, and that teachers vary widely in effectiveness, as measured by standardized tests. It is also generally accepted that the current system of teacher evaluation is broken. Why is it so difficult to come up a teacher evaluation system that works? Presenter Sean Patrick Corcoran, assistant professor of education economics at New York University, discussed the pros and cons of using value-added for teacher evaluations. What is value-added? The theoretical definition is a teacher’s unique impact on student learning, while in practice value-added measures are estimates of a teacher’s unique impact on student learning. Measuring this impact is complicated, as there are many factors that can impact test scores, including family, the community, as well as other teachers. Value-added seeks to isolate the impact of an individual teacher on student test scores by comparing the actual progress of individual students and groups of students with the statistically expected amount of progress. There are also numerous implementation challenges. Districts must determine:

Sean Patrick Corcoran

Strategies to cope with sexual misconduct in your district By Paul Heiser As presidential candidate Herman Cain and anyone who follows the news knows, allegations of inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct can have major repercussions – sometimes unfairly. A speaker at NYSSBA’s 92nd Annual Convention & Education Expo urged school districts to take all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously, including anonymous ones. Each one should be investigated, speaker Elizabeth Bradley told school board members and administrators Oct. 29. Bradley served for 23 years as an assistant superintendent for instruction and human rights officer for the Frontier Central School District in Hamburg, N.Y. and now runs a consulting business that trains school districts, insurance companies and law firms on handling complaints of improper behavior. Bradley said orientation of new employees and volunteers should establish clear expectations of appropriate boundaries and complaint procedures. Sound policies are essential and districts should accept complaints orally or in writing, she said. The complaint procedure should be is well-publicized and accessible for all staff, students, club members, volunteers and visitors. All staff should be trained annually, she said. She recommended hiring an expert in the field with a question and answer at least every other year, and said a PowerPoint or online training could be used in the off years. There should also be specific additional training for personnel who have close contact with students outside the classroom setting – coaches, advisors and mentors.

Elizabeth Bradley

Nespeca elected president of State School Boards Association FOR RELEASE: October 27, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell Thomas Nespeca of Webster, NY has been elected president of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). His oneyear term begins Jan. 1, 2012. The election took place Saturday, Oct. 29, at NYSSBA’s Annual Business Meeting in Buffalo. A total of 233 voting delegates participated in the business meeting, which was held in conjunction with the Association’s 92nd Annual Convention and Education Expo attended by nearly 3,000 members of the education community.

Dr. Lloyd Elm named 2011 President’s Award recipient FOR RELEASE: October 27, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell Noted educator Dr. Lloyd Elm has been named the 2011 New York State School Boards Association’s President’s Award winner. Elm was honored during the Association’s 92nd Annual Convention in Buffalo on Thursday, October 27.

Boss named 2011 outstanding school board member FOR RELEASE: October 27, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell William Boss, a member of the Orange-Ulster BOCES school board, is the 2011 winner of the New York State School Boards Association’s (NYSSBA) top award for distinguished service. Boss, who has served as a school board member for nearly 30 years, received the 2011 Everett R. Dyer Award for Distinguished School Board Service from NYSSBA President Florence Johnson Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Association’s annual convention in Buffalo.

ADVOCACY ALERT - NYSSBA TO GOVERNOR CUOMO THREE THINGS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE October 21 , 2011 Each year, NYSSBA begins its advocacy for the upcoming legislative session by briefing the governor, legislators and the Regents on your most important priorities. This year, those priorities revolve around the distribution of adequate and equitable state aid, relief from onerous mandates and developing a new social compact with school employees. With dwindling resources and increasing academic expectations, our schools are facing unprecedented challenges. Even though the legislative session is more than two months away, the governor and state agencies are preparing their budgets, making it vitally important that your priority issues are front and center. As always, NYSSBA will be vocal, visible and vigilant on behalf of public education.

Thousands of educators heading to Buffalo FOR RELEASE: October 19, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell Nearly 3,000 school board members, superintendents and educators from across New York will arrive in Buffalo next week for the New York State School Boards Association’s 92 nd Annual Convention and Education Expo.

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer New York to seek NCLB waiver, improve test security FOR RELEASE: October 17, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell Today’s decision by the state Board of Regents to seek a federal waiver from the strictures of No Child Left Behind is welcome news for school districts across this state that were facing unrealistic expectations, such as requiring 100 percent proficiency in English/Language Arts and mathematics by 2014.

The gauntlet of anxiety On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA President State-level education policymakers in New York State are expected to apply for a waiver from the federal government for the stringent English/Language Arts and math proficiency requirements. Of course they should. While NCLB served the purpose of calling attention to the fact that all children can learn, our nation’s approach to accountability is evolving and becoming more sophisticated.

New Cuomo ed advisor to speak at Convention On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new point man on education issues, David Wakelyn, will join with Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and state Education Commissioner John King Jr. for a wide-ranging discussion at NYSSBA’s annual convention in Buffalo. The Leader’s Roundtable, hosted by NYSSBA President Florence Johnson and NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer, will also feature a Wakelyn deputy, Katie Campos. “This should be an exciting discussion about the state of public education in New York, and about its future direction,” said Kremer.

Updated SED guidance tackles key APPR issues On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Lingering issues related to collective bargaining and other aspects of implementing the state’s new teacher and principal evaluation system are addressed in a 71-page guidance document recently issued by the State Education Department (SED).

Two APPR systems required in 2011-12 On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel Prior to the state’s enactment of its new teacher and principal evaluation system under Education Law section 3012-c, commissioner’s regulations at section 100.2(o) already required that districts adopt an annual professional performance review (APPR) plan for the evaluation of teachers. SED’s updated APPR Guidance on New York State’s Annual Professional Performance Review Law and Regulations clarifies that during the 2011-12 school year, districts and BOCES will be operating under a dual system of evaluations.

Tech Valley student wins 9/11 writing contest On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Xena Pulliam, a student at Tech Valley High School, won a writing contest sponsored by MTV in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. In cooperation with the creative writing website Figment.com, MTV solicited submissions that “use storytelling to help us better understand one another, celebrate our differences and fight intolerance.”

NSBA program gets BOE members, students talking On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator National research has shown that feeling welcomed and connected to school can have a huge impact on student achievement. With that in mind, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) decided to partner with the Pearson Foundation to get school board members talking with students about school climate. In joining the national effort to combat bullying and improve school environment, NSBA’s Students on Board initiative is putting elected officials together with the students they serve in order to gain practical, straightforward guidance on how to truly gauge school climate.

NYSSBA rehires former employee to fill retirement vacancy On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Deputy Director of Human Resources and Administration District clerks throughout the state are hearing a new voice on the phone. NYSSBA staff member Michele Oliveri retired from her position as membership data coordinator last month, ending a 26-year career with NYSSBA. Taking her place is Denise Carmichael, who earlier worked at NYSSBA as an administrative assistant and production coordinator from 1985 to 1988. As membership data coordinator, Carmichael will be in frequent contact with district clerks across the state, striving to ensure that NYSSBA’s information on board membership and district leadership remains accurate and up-to-date.

How Americans really feel about public education On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst School board members have a fan club among the American public, but it’s not that big. Only 37 percent of respondents to the annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll gave school boards and A or B. That’s a drop of four percentage points since the last time the poll asked the same question – 1984. But teachers gained 19 percentage points, leaping from 50 to 69 percent of respondents giving them and A or B.

Dogs make good reading partners On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Struggling young readers show increased reading ability and attitude when reading to a dog rather than a person, according to Tufts University researchers. The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program partners struggling readers with therapy dogs. To test this program’s effectiveness, Tufts researchers recruited 18 local second graders to partake in a five week R.E.A.D. program in summer 2010.

School absentee rates diminish if household smoking ceases On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Gayle Simidian Research Analyst Absentee rates of six- to 11-year-old children living with adult smokers can drastically lessen by 24 to 34 percent if smoking ceases at home, according to a National Institutes of Health-funded study at Massachusetts General Hospital.

What public education is all about On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Peggy Zugibe Area 10 Director July 21, 2011 was a sad day for me as a citizen of the United States. That was the day the space shuttle landed for the last time. We must now pay to be passengers of the Russian space program. This is a shocking change to those of us who lived through the space race and the Cold War, and who remember President John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural speech in which he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” In that speech, Kennedy declared that the U.S. would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. There was a tremendous sense of national pride as we tackled this challenge together. The goal was achieved on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Alumni help save BOCES machine tool program On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer When Dan Komarony of Fort Edward heard that his local BOCES might be shutting down its machine tool technology program, he knew he had to do something. “I graduated from that program in 1980. BOCES was the extent of my education,” Komarony, the president of DK Machine, told On Board. “I’ve always had a soft spot for BOCES,” especially his alma matter, Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES, said Komarony. All but one of his 11 employees are BOCES alumni.

District near Fort Drum grows as war deployments continue On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer When soldiers go off to war, families get left behind – including a whole lot of children. Consider the Indian River Central School District, located near Fort Drum, home to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. Enrollment in the district near Watertown was about 3,400 in 2000-01, before 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it’s 4,329. While about two-thirds of Indian River students are the children of soldiers, just 25 percent of the district’s funding comes from the federal government in the form of “impact aid” that has been frozen at 2005 levels.

NYSSBA, district sway court to rule district treasurer is at-will employee On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel A school district treasurer is an “at-will employee” who serves at “the pleasure of the board” and may be dismissed at any time, according to a Sept. 30 decision by the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court, Fourth Department. In Scro v. Board of Education of Jordan-Elbridge Central School District, Anthony Scro challenged his dismissal as treasurer by claiming that he had a year-long statutory term of office. He asserted that the only way to remove him from office was through a petition to the commissioner of education. A state Supreme Court justice agreed and ordered Scro reinstated with back pay.

Residency determination overturned On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel Based upon surveillance that a school district conducted, a deputy superintendent decided that a student and her mother resided outside the district in Copiague. The mother was observed in Copiague four times over a six-month period, and her car was observed at the Copiague address on 11 occasions.

Six alternative sources of revenue On Board Online • October 10, 2011 Thinking outside the cap By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Your school district is facing double-digit increases in insurance costs, energy costs and pension costs. Salaries probably are going up 3 to 4 percent due to step increments without any increases in base salary. And now the state has

A passing grade for testing in New York On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Merryl Tisch Chancellor, Board of Regents New York is a national leader in education in part because we have such high standards for our students. We expect the best from our classrooms, and we do our utmost to make sure that when our kids file out of the graduation ceremony they’re ready for college and careers. As a community of educators, we know that there’s no magic formula for readiness and achievement. But we also know that an essential part of any program is an effective, dynamic testing system. And one of our responsibilities is to ensure the integrity of that system.

New anti-bullying law seen as policy opportunity On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Linda Bakst Deputy Director of Policy Services The recent suicide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer in Williamsville was a tragic and disturbing reminder of the profound pain that students can experience as a result of the cruel words and social stigma still attached to being “different.” According to Jamey’s own account, and his mother’s comments, he had been questioning his sexuality and was perceived as gay by classmates and as a result was subjected to vicious taunts online and in school.

When is a BOCES not a BOCES? On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator Two years ago, the Genesee Valley BOCES decided renaming two of its satellite academies wasn’t enough to spruce up its image. So rather than just hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the two career and technical centers, the BOCES decided to launch a top-tobottom rebranding effort at the start of the 2009 school year that turned the district into the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.

Board of Regents to decide on NCLB waivers On Board Online • October 10, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer While state Education Commissioner John King Jr. stood with President Obama as he announced that states could seek waivers from the strictures of No Child Left Behind, New York has yet to make the decision to do so. Following the White House event on Sept. 23 at which the president and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan unveiled the anticipated NCLB waiver program, King said the New York Board of Regents would begin discussing the proposal at its next meeting, Oct. 17-18.

Weather-related school delays affect 5,000 students On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator Opening school this year was a battle against nature in many New York communities. Tropical Storm Irene barreled into New York the weekend of Aug. 27-28, resulting in widespread power outages, washed-out roads and extensive flooding in portions of the Adirondacks, Catskills, Hudson Valley and Long Island. A week later, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee wrecked havoc on an already waterlogged Southern Tier. More than 5,000 students across the state had the start to their school year delayed.

Study: NYS schools were better off in 2008 On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Analyst Despite federal stimulus money, New York’s public schools were better funded in 2008 than today, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. In real (inflation-adjusted) dollars, schools in New York State are receiving less state funding than they were just prior to the economic recession of 2008, and significantly less than they received just a year ago, according to a new report from the center.

When community counts most On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Timothy G. Kremer NYSSBA Executive Director Though it’s been more than a few years, I still remember fondly my experience at the start of the school year: sporting new clothes for the first day of school, seeing my friends and reliving our summer vacations one last time, and comparing notes on our assigned teachers – Who gives more homework? Who is a tougher grader? Who is known as a disciplinarian? As I recall, the schools themselves were ready for a new beginning, with new books piled high, hallways and lockers sparkling, desks and chairs polished clean, and chalkboards washed down and ready for action. Contrast this to the way school is beginning this year for many students in New York State. Tropical Storm Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee have devastated many communities. In those school districts, roads and bridges are out, homes and some schools are flooded, athletic fields are saturated, and fleets of school vehicles are being inspected for damage. Some schools have delayed opening because they are housing emergency crews or being used as a base for clean-up operations in the community.

SED readies multiple anti-cheating strategies On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator After a summer of notable testing scandals in places like Atlanta and Philadelphia, State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. is taking steps to make New York the Fort Knox of standardized testing. New York is the only state that uses local teachers to score exams, which introduces a unique set of risks, according to King. The State Education Department (SED) began increasing oversight of local districts to ensure accurate scoring on assessments in 2010, but the commissioner said more changes are needed.

SED updates APPR guidance, revises rules on evaluations On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel According to an updated State Education Department (SED) guidance document, school districts and BOCES are “encouraged – but not required – to use the four rating categories [of] highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective; and incorporate student growth” for the evaluation of teachers not covered by the new Subpart 30-2 teacher and principal evaluation regulations during the 2011-12 school year.

How to choose teacher and principal evaluation software On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Adam Cobb Regional Manager, Education Halogen Software In light of New York State’s new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) requirements, employee performance management software provides an easier and faster way to measure teacher and principal effectiveness as required by new legislation and regulations. Such software can incorporate measures of student achievement and evidence of educator effectiveness. Software can automate a variety of other performance management tasks, including competency assessments, goal setting, teacher and principal improvement plans (TIP/PIP) and “onboarding” checklists to help new employees become productive.

Syracuse finds simple way to get parents to read to children On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Paul Heiser and Gayle Simidian Research Analysts A free book distribution program in Syracuse is increasing the frequency by which parents read to their children, according to a study by researchers at LeMoyne College. Research has shown that children who are strong readers come from families that value books and promote literacy activities such as reading aloud.

Quality teaching in early grades influences later achievement On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Paul Heiser and Gayle Simidian Research Analysts Teachers in early grades have significant influence on their students’ later academic achievement, according to a new study.

Parents matter when it comes to student achievement On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Paul Heiser and Gayle Simidian Research Analysts If there is any doubt that parental support makes a difference in student achievement, it should be put to rest by the Center for Public Education’s newest report, “Back to school: How parent involvement affects student achievement.”

Four districts launch ‘8-Ounce Backpack Project’ On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer Four central New York school districts are teaming up this year to experiment with Kindles in the classroom – an innovation quickly dubbed “The 8-Ounce Backpack Project.” “I think kids who are used to carrying really heavy books home in their backpacks are going to be thrilled,” Mary Ann Murphy, the principal of the Tully Junior-Senior High School, told On Board. The Tully Central School District has been joined by the LaFayette and Fabius-Pompey school districts in southern Onondaga County and the DeRuyter district in Madison County for the pilot project that was born after a Tully high school teacher bought herself a Kindle last year.

Like pro athletes, Rocky Point players take pre-season cognitive test On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator Student athletes in Long Island’s Rocky Point School District now have something in common with every player in the National Hockey League – they are being tested with the most innovative concussion evaluation system on the market. The Suffolk County district has partnered with Long Island’s Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson to assist team physicians and athletic trainers in evaluating and treating head injuries.

Federal court upholds principal’s actions after student discusses suicide in essay On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel After a student submitted an essay in which he described carrying out violent activities and his own suicide, the school principal acted appropriately by sequestering the student in a detention room for a few hours while considering whether the student was a threat to himself or others, according to a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In Cox v. Warwick Valley Central School District, the Second Circuit, which has jurisdiction over New York, determined such action was protective in nature and could not be seen as retaliation for the essay submission.

To determine residency, Internet searches not enough On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Associate Counsel The commissioner of education recently cautioned school districts not to rely solely on Internet searches and blog postings in conducting residency investigations. Residency is determined by physical presence and the intent to remain in the district. A determination that a child is a non-resident must be supported by sufficient evidence.

SED explains evidence-based classroom observations On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel At a recent training event, experts explained the importance of conducting evidence-based classroom observations to the implementation of the state’s new teacher evaluation system and the basic skills involved in conducting such observations.

What is a rubric? On Board Online • September 19, 2011

In the context of a teacher’s evaluation, a rubric is a framework that allows districts and BOCES to assess a teacher’s practice consistent with the New York State Teaching Standards. The use of a teaching practice rubric specifically applies to that portion of a teacher’s composite evaluation score, commonly referred to as “the other 60 percent” under new rules that are currently being phased-in for the evaluation of teacher and principal effectiveness.

Service animals in schools: Recommendations for school districts On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Service animals can help people with a variety of disabilities such as hearing impairments, physical handicaps and sight impairments. Service animals often develop strong bonds with their owners, and a student with a disability may request the companionship of his or her service animal in school. However, a service animal may not be necessary for a student’s success in school, and reliance on the animal could interfere with the student’s ability to develop skills of independence. Also, the presence of the animal could trigger allergic reactions or anxiety among other students, some of whom may also have a disability and rights under law. Therefore, a student who requests the presence of a service animal in school presents a complicated issue that requires legal counsel.

How to have a great school year On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Dorothy Slattery Area 9 Director Renewed energy! That is what we expect from our students, faculty and administrators as a new school year begins. It is equally important that we, as school board members, demonstrate the same energy and zest that we expect from everyone else. Considering the current fiscal climate, that may be easier said than done. We will all be facing many difficult decisions during the year. I cannot stress enough the importance of being well-informed before making these all-important decisions. A school board that does its “homework” is a board that will ensure that its district will benefit from the actions of the board.

A wet start to a new school year On Board Online • September 19, 2011

By Scott Waldman Staff writer, Times Union WINDHAM — School bus 90 woke up Tommy Martin. It was tapping at his wall on Sunday morning, part of a district’s bus fleet bobbing in a raging torrent that surrounded his house when Tropical Storm Irene ravaged the town. And though Martin made it out of his house by scrambling onto a forklift that a neighbor had extended to a second-story window, the Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School District lost at least eight buses after the Batavia Kill engulfed its bus garage.

ADVOCACY ALERT - LEGISLATIVE UPDATE September 16, 2011 $805 MILLION STATE INCREASE FOR 2012 CONFIRMED RELIEF FOR SCHOOL TAXPAYERS IN FLOOD AREAS STUDENT ATHLETE CONCUSSION BILL ON GOVERNOR’S DESK FEDERAL STIMULUS FUNDS SET TO EXPIRE – ACT NOW! Link to view the list of school districts and BOCES with unclaimed ARRA funds that are set to expire. PRESIDENT OBAMA’S AMERICAN JOBS ACT NYSSBA’S LEGISLATIVE PLATFORM DEVELOPMENT PROCESS Amendments and Rebuttal Statements to Resolutions Proposed Resolutions and Voting Delegate’s Guide Voting Delegate Card New This Year

Poll: Don’t allow teachers to grade their students’ exams FOR RELEASE: September 15, 2011 CONTACT: David Albert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell A large majority of school board members – 70 percent – responding to a NYSSBA poll believe that teachers should not grade their own students’ state assessments, but are more evenly divided on other test security issues. Earlier this week, the state Board of Regents approved a series of measures to combat possible cheating on state exams. The board is set to consider additional proposals next month, including: barring teachers from grading or proctoring their own students’ tests; developing a centralized statewide scanning system; and distributive scoring, in which answer sheets are scanned and uploaded onto computers, and graded by other educators across the state. In the wake of the Regents' decision, board members were asked if they believed teachers should be prohibited from grading their own students’ state assessments. Seventy percent of the respondents to the online poll answered yes.

Key APPR regs ruled invalid On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Pat Gould Associate Counsel With only weeks before a new teacher and principal evaluation system takes effect, a state judge has invalidated key provisions in regulations recently adopted by the Board of Regents to implement the state’s new annual professional performance review (APPR) system. The decision by Albany County Supreme Court Justice Michael C. Lynch leaves many districts wondering how to comply with the new law. While several regulatory provisions challenged by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) have been invalidated, other regulations recently adopted remain in effect, as does the new APPR law.

SED’s newest school tool: engageNY.org On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer Not sure exactly what Common Core State Standards will mean to your school district? Wondering how to implement DDI and SBI – or what they even are? The State Education Department has created a website to help districts and BOCES implement the Regent’s reform agenda: www.engageNY.org. Log onto the website and you will learn that “EngageNY is an evolving, collaborative platform for educators.” It is also “your one-stop shop for resources related to New York’s Race to the Top reforms.”

NYSSBA Facebook fans top 1,000 On Board Online • September 5, 2011

NYSSBA’s Facebook page now has more than 1,000 fans. All have clicked a box to indicate they “like” NYSSBA and want NYSSBA’s postings to appear in the Facebook news feeds along with postings by their Facebook friends.

Your commitment to lifelong learning On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA President As we begin a new school year, please remember that learning is not just for the young – it’s essential for adults, too, including school board members. We teach our students that learning doesn’t stop once they graduate. As adults we should practice what we preach. We constantly need to acquire new knowledge in our fields of endeavor. This year we school board members are confronting new challenges in the form of the property tax cap, core curriculum standards and the new Annual Professional Performance Review process (APPR). How can we bring all students to perform at higher standards? How can our school districts operate more efficiently as our resources become scarce?

Some districts’ spring break disrupted by SED test date changes On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator Oswego Superintendent William Crist sent an unusual message to staff, students and parents in late August: “Please do not proceed with any vacation planning for the week of April 16 through 20 if you have a student in grades 3-8.” The reason was that the State Education Department had finally released the 2011-12 schedule for grades 3-8 exams. To ensure that scoring of those assessments is completed by June 15, SED moved the tests up two weeks – right in the middle of spring break for many upstate districts.

ERS rates to rise On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Analyst School districts will be paying 18.9 percent of employee payroll to the state Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) in 2012-13, up from 16.3 percent in 2011-12, the state comptroller’s office announced.

Are school boards part of problem or the solution? On Board Online • September 5, 2011

Editor’s Note: In cooperation with the National School Boards Association, The Washington Post has begun featuring opinion pieces by school board members on Wednesdays on its website (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet). Reprinted below is the first of the series, which was submitted by NSBA Board Member and NYSSBA Past President Anne M. Byrne. It appeared Aug. 10. By Anne M. Byrne In the drama of public education, many people seem to see school boards as wearing black hats. When is the last time you heard a positive reference to school boards in our ongoing national debate? School boards are part of the problem, right?

New public engagement strategies move beyond ‘decide-announce-defend’ On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Deborah Bush-Suflita Capital Region BOCES School boards and superintendents around the state are bracing for the new tax cap, another year of painful budget cuts and a host of evolving school reform initiatives that are certain to stir more controversy and debate about our public schools. In this environment, board meetings can quickly turn polarizing and contentious when it comes time to make difficult decisions about budget cuts, tax increases, school closings or district mergers.

BOE presidents, others can download free handbook from NYSSBA On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief NYSSBA’s latest publication is called The School Board President’s Handbook, but it’s not for presidents only. “We think every school board member can benefit from this material,” said Barry Entwistle, NYSSBA director of leadership development. “It explains practices that will promote effective teamwork and productive decision-making.”

Teachers’ health contributions lag in NYS On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Analyst The percentages that school districts in New York ask teachers to contribute toward their health insurance premiums are well below the national average for all industries, according to a NYSSBA analysis of its latest teacher contract survey results. The analysis compared the contributions of two kinds of teachers in New York – newly hired full-time teachers (those who started in 2010) and more senior full-time teachers – with national averages.

Long Island teacher finds way to help heal 9/11 losses On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Marc Humbert Senior Writer What if you discovered that you had a talent that could help families honor the memory of loved ones lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001? That’s what happened to Frank Musto, an art teacher in the Commack school district on Long Island. “It was about six months after 9/11 that a teacher here, a colleague, came to me and asked if I could do a pencil drawing of her brotherin-law who had died in the attack,” Musto recalled recently in an interview with On Board.

Younger students taking Regents exams in biology, math On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Communications Coordinator By immersing students in higher level math and science at a younger age, educators in the North Shore school district are hoping they can better prepare their pupils for college and the workforce. Entering its fourth year this fall, the Nassau County district’s accelerated math and science program begins in middle school. All eighth graders study integrated algebra and biology, and take Regents exams in June. Come ninth grade, the students’ curriculum includes geometry and earth science.

Implementing Common Core Standards On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By John King Jr. Commissioner of Education Recently, the State Education Department (SED) released graduation rates and assessments data for New York students. The results? Cause for celebration, and cause for concern. The concern is that results for grades 3-8 testing remain flat. The reason for celebration is the evidence that graduation rates are moving ever higher. But while graduation rates are indeed increasing, our standards for graduation may no longer be the right standards. Approximately 40 percent of students at our two-year colleges are in remedial courses – not a good sign that our high school graduates are collegeready. And those flat 3-8 assessment results are not reflective of a move in the right direction.

NYS Court of Appeals tackles competitive bidding cases On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel The Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has ruled that a municipality may not select a higher bid based on a subjective belief that a higher bid is preferable and more responsible when such criteria is not included in a bid proposal. The ruling will affect school districts because the state General Municipal Law (GML) requires that public entities, including school districts, advertise for sealed bids in the manner required in the law and award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder that furnishes the required security.

Suit against district over negligent retention, supervision can proceed On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Associate Counsel A suit against a school district for negligent supervision and retention may go forward, ruled the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department, in Gray et al v. Schenectady City Sch. Dist. The plaintiffs were co-workers of, and union members with, Steven Raucci, a former director of facilities who was sentenced to prison following felony convictions, including threatening the plaintiffs and vandalizing their property when he was employed by the district. To win their lawsuit, the plaintiffs must show the district knew or should have known of Raucci’s propensity to engage in the conduct that caused their injuries. They must also prove that negligent supervision or retention was the proximate cause of those injuries and that Raucci did not act within the scope of his employment.

Network teams trained on key reform tools On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy General Counsel In early August, the State Education Department (SED) conducted a five-day long Summer Institute for Network Team (NT) and Network Team Equivalents (NTE). NTs (at the BOCES level) and NTEs (at the school-district level) will provide training and support on the implementation of Race to the Top goals and the state Board of Regents’ reform agenda.

Common core state standards phased-in On Board Online • September 5, 2011

The Board of Regents adopted the national common core standards in July 2010. Those were subsequently revised to reflect specific state expectations and prekindergarten standards, with the Regents approving P-12 common core state standards (CCSS) in January 2011.

Regional approach to food service puts cafeteria budgets in the black On Board Online • September 5, 2011

By Andrea Walton Genesee Valley Educational Partnership School cafeteria budgets traditionally have been money-losers. This trend has been reversed by a regional approach to food service operations in the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, a BOCES organization. Regional Food Service Coordination debuted as a service in 2007 with the leadership and support of school superintendents and business officials. Regional Food Service Director Deborah Naples played a key role in the successful launch of the service, and has overseen its steady growth. Twelve of the 22 school districts in the Partnership currently use the service, and another two districts from neighboring BOCES are cross contracting.

School boards focus on innovation, efficiency for new school year FOR RELEASE: September 1, 2011 CONTACT: Brian Butry (518) 783-3723 or (518)522-6249 cell Facing a changing education landscape and challenging fiscal environment, school boards across New York are embracing innovation and efficiencies to help improve student achievement as the school year begins. While state budget cuts forced most districts to cut valuable programs and lay off staff, New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer said the dawn of a new school year has brought with it a renewed sense of commitment.

2011 Proposed Resolutions and Voting Delegate's Guide for the Annual Business Meeting Including Amendment and Rebuttal

This is your report of the recommendations of the Resolutions Committee on proposed resolutions, which will be acted upon by the delegates at the New York State School Boards Association's Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 1 p.m. at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Download the Full 2011 Proposed Resolutions and Voting Delegate's Guide Including Amendment and Rebuttal (38 pages - 1.10 MB) View Additional Information Regarding Amendments and Rebuttal Statements to Resolutions, Proposed Resolutions and Voting Delegate's Guide, Voting Delegate Card and New This Year. Amendment and Rebuttal Submitted by Wallkill Board of Education Resolution 20 - Audit Schedule. (1 page - 36 KB)

Albany County Supreme Court Rules Many provisions of APPR Regulations Invalid By Jay Worona and Patricia Gould On August 24, 2011, Albany County Supreme Court Justice Michael C. Lynch handed down his decision in NYSUT’s lawsuit against the Board of Regents, Chancellor Tisch and Commissioner King contesting the legitimacy of the Department’s APPR regulations. The following summarizes the key rulings of Justice Lynch’s decision. First, under Section 3012-c of the New York State Education Law (the APPR statute), 40% of a teacher or principal’s evaluation score must be based on student achievement measures. Twenty percent of the evaluation composite score must be based on student growth data on state assessments.........

Philanthropists restore January Regents exams On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Editor-in-Chief Private donors including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are donating $1.5 million to the State Education Department (SED) to restore the cancelled January administration of Regents exams. Despite repeated appeals from the Board of Regents, the state Legislature refused to provide $1.4 million for the January Regents exams in a variety of subjects. The state also dropped exams in Spanish, French and Italian to save $700,000. SED officials said they did not know if the cancelled foreign language exams would also be restored as a result of the donations.

TRS employer rate hits double digits On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Analyst School districts will see a large jump in their pension contribution rates toward the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) for the 2011-12 school year. The TRS board adopted an employer contribution rate at its July meeting. School districts in the 2011-12 school year will be required to pay a rate of 11.11 percent of total salaries toward the pension fund, up from 8.62 percent in 2010-11. TRS covers teachers, teaching assistants, guidance counselors and educational administrators in public school districts outside of New York City and BOCES.

Summer ‘vacation’ On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director I got away twice this summer – Cape Cod and Florida. But while everyone else was playing golf, swimming, or lounging on the beach, I kept being reminded about my “to do” list back at the office. Sure, I joined in on the family fun, but my mind was always elsewhere. For some reason, I could never really slip out of work mode. For instance, while everyone around me was enjoying some down time by the ocean, I was preoccupied with solving a challenging new puzzle called Rubrics Cube. The object of this maddening exercise is to select the right scoring rubric for assessing teachers and principals, and then convert it to one of four categories: “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing” or “ineffective.” You have until Sept. 1 to find a solution. I am told that th s puzz e s a ready mesmer z ng schoo board members and adm n strators statew de. Teachers, not so much.

ELA and math exam results flat On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Resu ts of statew de exams n grades 3-8 n May show that a ot of students ust aren t mak ng the grade. In Eng sh Language Arts (ELA), ust 52.8 percent of grade 3-8 students met or exceeded the state s prof c ency standards. That s down from 53.2 percent n 2010, when the state made t harder to “pass” such exams am d comp a nts that the tests had s mp y gotten too easy. On math exams, 63.3 percent of grade 3-8 students met or exceeded the prof c ency standards th s year, up from 61 percent n 2010.

SED delay forces school districts, BOCES to print calendars without state test dates On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator The state s assessment program has caused yet another headache for oca educators. Many schoo d str cts around New York were forced to go to press w th the r schoo ca endars w thout the p anned dates for the annua math, sc ence and Eng sh anguage arts exams. Typ ca y, the State Educat on Department (SED) announces the dates n Apr or May, months before most d str cts pr nt the r ca endars – usua y m d-Ju y.

NYSSBA fills three positions On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Deputy D rector of Human Resources and Adm n strat on NYSSBA has f ed three vacant pos t ons by h r ng two attorneys and a researcher w th a doctorate from Harvard. Francine Campbell o ned the Governmenta Re at ons department on Ju y 18, mov ng from a pos t on she had he d n Leadersh p Deve opment s nce January. Campbe rece ved her bache or s degree n rura soc o ogy from Corne Un vers ty s Co ege of Agr cu ture and L fe Sc ences, and her J.D. n nte ectua property from A bany Law Schoo . She a so rece ved a Master of Law and Letters n taxat on, cum aude, from A bany Law Schoo .

NYS, Fla. win charter school money On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter New York and F or da have beaten out a dozen other states n a compet t on for federa charter schoo grants worth a most $50 m th s year. The awards, announced Ju y 21 by U.S. Educat on Secretary Arne Duncan, w br ng New York $28.26 m rece ve $21.42 m on. Overa , New York w rece ve $113 m

on

on th s year. F or da w

on over f ve years, accord ng to New York s State Educat on Department.

More police not seen as solution On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Gayle Simidian Research Ana yst In 2003, New York C ty attempted a “cu tura transformat on” of cr me-r dden pub c h gh schoo s by ass gn ng unprecedented numbers of po ce off cers to them, nc ud ng 12 schoo s w th so many f ghts, drug dea s and other prob ems that the med a abe ed them, “the d rty dozen.” The “Impact Schoo s In t at ve” of Mayor M chae B oomberg s mpress ve y d ssected by Karen No an n her new book, Po ce n the Ha ways (Un vers ty of M nnesota, $22.95). She focuses on a Bronx schoo she ca s Urban Pub c H gh Schoo (UPHS), where 12 po ce off cers and 20 safety agents were ass gned n 2004-05. The on-s te po ce off cers hand ed d sc p nary ssues former y hand ed by teachers and adm n strators, so the atter cou d focus on educat on. It backf red. Cutt ng c ass, d srupt ng c ass, wear ng hats, and gamb ng were some ways UPHS students bo stered the r sense of se f, promoted se f-respect, and c mbed the soc a adder at schoo .

Texas study questions use of harsh disciplinary policies On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Gayle Simidian Research Ana yst A study of a most one m on Texas schoo ch dren by researchers at Texas A&M Un vers ty ch ps away at the popu ar not on that str ct d sc p nary measures such as suspens on or expu s on are the best way to address d srupt ve student behav or. “A schoo that makes frequent use of suspens on and expu s on does not necessar y create an env ronment that enab es the overa schoo to ach eve better academ c outcomes,” accord ng to Break ng Schoo s Ru es: A Statew de Study of How Schoo D sc p ne Re ates to Students Success and Juven e Just ce Invo vement.

Summer learning loss is reversible, study says On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst The oss of know edge and educat ona sk s over the engthy summer break s cumu at ve over the course of a student s career and further w dens the ach evement gap between ow- and upper- ncome students, but t can be ha ted by qua ty summer programs, accord ng to a study by the RAND Corporat on.

Lax grading in ed schools? On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Educat on schoo s at pub c un vers t es award the r students h gher grades than do other academ c d sc p nes, fue ng specu at on that educat on schoo s engage n grade nf at on. Cory Koede , an ass stant professor of econom cs at the Un vers ty of M ssour , eva uated data from three pub c un vers t es w th arge undergraduate programs n educat on – Ind ana Un vers ty, M am (Oh o) Un vers ty, and the Un vers ty of M ssour -Co umb a. Us ng undergraduate c assroom- eve grade reports from the 2007-2008 academ c year, Koede compared the grade d str but ons found n the educat on departments to those n 12 other academ c departments found at most ma or un vers t es.

Northern NY school tapping sun, wind and even old paving On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter At the LaFargev e Centra Schoo , part of the roof s green and part s wh te. So ar pane s hang from the wa s of the new 20,000 square-foot add t on to the d str ct s preK-12 fac ty, and a w nd turb ne s about to go up. There are a so ght ng f xtures that automat ca y turn off when a room empt es and ones that d m when the sun peaks out from beh nd the c ouds. Wh te rubber ro ed roof ng ref ects the sun ght. A sma er sect on of the roof s not on y green, but “green.” Grass p anted there w he p keep the bu d ng coo n the summer and warm n the w nter.

PE teacher becomes fitness entrepreneur On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter When morn ng announcements end at the K-3 pr mary schoo n the V ctor Centra Schoo D str ct n Ontar o County, students stand up. They know t s t me to get act ve. Mus c pours though oudspeakers, and, under the superv s on of c assroom teachers, ch dren do f ve m nutes of movements that they earned n phys ca educat on c asses. “It s a great way to start the day,” sa d Tom Mandara, who has been teach ng phys ca educat on n the F nger Lakes area d str ct for 30 years. “It puts a tt e pep nto the r step.” Over the schoo year, the rout nes become more comp ex and the mus c faster as the students get used to the da y dose of exerc se.

Intern teacher can’t claim tenure by estoppel On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse In a case of f rst mpress on for the state s appe ate courts, the Appe ate D v s on of state Supreme Court, Second Department, has ru ed that a teacher d d not accumu ate tenure cred t for t me he spent subst tute teach ng pursuant to an ntern cert f cate. In Matter of Ber os v. Board of Educ., Jesus Ber os worked as a subst tute math teacher under an ntern cert f cate dur ng the 2005-06 schoo year. Under the regu at ons of the comm ss oner of educat on, such a cert f cate s ssued to a student n a reg stered or approved graduate teacher educat on program wh ch nc udes an nternsh p exper ence.

Failure to obtain voter authorization makes districts’ contract invalid On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse The comm ss oner of educat on has ru ed that one-t me voter approva to contract for the educat on of a d str ct s m dd e and h gh schoo students n another d str ct d d not const tute author zat on to enter nto repeated mu t -year contracts. The Oysterponds and Greenport schoo d str cts are cont guous d str cts ocated on the northeastern t p of Long Is and. In 1977, Oysterponds voters approved a contract for three years durat on to educate students n grades 7-12 n Greenport. Oysterponds m dd e and h gh schoo students have cont nued to attend Greenport schoo s s nce that t me.

State human rights law applies to school districts, court rules On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse A state appe ate court ru ed aga nst a schoo d str ct when t determ ned that the state Human R ghts Law (HRL), wh ch proh b ts d scr m nat on n an “educat on corporat on or assoc at on,” app es to schoo d str cts. The dec s on n Matter of Ithaca C ty Sch. D st. v. NYS D v. of Human R ghts furthers a d v s on among courts n th s state as to the app cab ty of the HRL to schoo d str cts.

MRSA resists expulsion as well as antibiotics On Board Online • August 15, 2011

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys There s a new bu y n schoo . Meth c n-res stant Staphy ococcus Aureus, common y known as MRSA, s usua y contracted when one comes nto phys ca contact w th an nfected surface. Accord ng y, students engaged n schoo ath et cs such as wrest ng, footba , and other contact sports are suscept b e to the harmfu bacter a. Recent outbreaks n schoo s across the country have ed schoo d str cts to quest on the r ob gat ons n prevent ng the spread of MRSA and other bacter a sk n nfect ons, as we as how to protect themse ves from potent a ega ab ty. MRSA typ ca y nfects one s nostr s then moves qu ck y throughout the body, caus ng p mp e- ke b em shes that can become arger and open up, appear ng as sk n es ons. If not treated proper y, MRSA can be fata .

In the North Country, two districts share a superintendent On Board Online • August 15, 2011

As enro ments n rura areas of New York dec ne, schoo d str cts are f nd ng ways to save money by comb n ng serv ces and shar ng personne . In the North Country, two d str cts are even shar ng a super ntendent. Frank n-Essex-Ham ton BOCES has been encourag ng such nnovat ons. The BOCES 10 component d str cts are ocated n the Ad rondacks and the eastern per phery of the St. Lawrence Va ey, and a but two are fac ng drops n enro ment.

Savings in Action: Case Studies from AdvisorySolutions - August • 2011 We come to the f rst ed t on of the new Adv sorySo ut ons news etter. Our goa s to prov de you w th rea examp es of how NYSSBA s Adv sorySo ut ons consu t ng serv ce has he ped schoo d str cts save money and confront some of the r b ggest cha enges such as c os ng a schoo bu d ng and tak ng a hard ook at adm n strat ve spend ng. Wh e our pub cat on h gh ghts a few recent pro ects, Adv sorySo ut ons has prov ded more than 300 consu t ng serv ces n a w de range of rev ew areas to schoo d str cts throughout New York State. Our serv ces are de vered by nd v dua s w th expert se n spec f c areas such as schoo f nance, schoo operat ons, educat ona program rev ews, and strateg c p ann ng. We hope you f nd th s f rst ssue nformat ve and ook forward to hear ng your feedback. In the meant me, fee free to contact us for ass stance on future pro ects. Dr. Joseph Natale D rector of Adv sorySo ut ons Inside this issue.. Schoo C os ngs Save D str ct $1.5 M on We gh ng Adm n strat ve Staff ng n Schoo D str cts Fac tat ng an Impend ng Schoo C osur

ADVOCACY ALERT – LEGISLATIVE UPDATE Ju y 27, 2011 NYSSBA ADVOCACY TEAM AT FULL STRENGTH We come new members to the Governmenta Re at ons staff YOU DO THE MATH – WHAT S YOUR DISTRICT S TAX CAP? L nk to down oad Tax Cap Formu a LEGISLATIVE SESSION – WRAP UP BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW NYSSBA SUPPORTED BILLS – PASSED BY BOTH HOUSES NYSSBA OPPOSED – BLOCKED BILLS NYSSBA S WORK CONTINUES – NYSSBA SUPPORTED BILLS – PASSED IN ONE HOUSE BILLS VETOED BY THE GOVERNOR QUESTIONS THANK YOU

Members express satisfaction with NYSSBA On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst S deshow of NYSSBA s top 10 serv ces Schoo board members, super ntendents and d str ct c erks are happy w th the r d str ct s membersh p n NYSSBA, accord ng to a recent membersh p survey. NYSSBA s 2011 Membersh p Survey was conducted between Apr 19 and June 5. Resu ts:

Sept. 1 deadline looms on APPR On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Between now and the start of the fa semester, one ssue w ke y stand out for schoo boards, super ntendents, pr nc pa s and teachers – and t s not the property tax cap. Rather, t s the new y adopted annua profess ona performance rev ew system, or APPR. D str cts have unt Sept. 1 to negot ate deta s of APPR w th the r teachers and pr nc pa s before they can beg n us ng the system.

It may be summer, but opportunity still knocks On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Schoo s out for summer, r ght? Not for schoo eaders. Wh e schoo s may on y be n fu sess on for 10 months, ead ng a schoo system s a year- ong process. Dur ng the summer, schoo adm n strators are busy p ann ng c ass schedu es, mak ng necessary changes to transportat on routes, and tack ng the many other tasks needed for a smooth open ng n September. We board members have had our organ zat ona meet ngs and e ected our off cers. Some new y e ected board members found themse ves vot ng on ayoffs and bu d ng sa e transact ons n the r f rst meet ngs.

Local officials demand more help as Cuomo touts tax cap On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter As Gov. Andrew Cuomo cr sscrossed New York tout ng h s cap on oca property tax cap ncreases as the key to econom c sa vat on, schoo d str ct and oca government off c a s warned of d re consequences from the measure w thout re ef from cost y state mandates. “We ve k ed pub c educat on,” Mark Mondanaro, super ntendent of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Schoo D str ct, to d the Buffa o News. “It ust hasn t d ed yet.” “Peop e have no c ue as to what s rea y happen ng,” Mondanaro added n an e-ma to On Board.

Moody’s: Tax cap bad news for districts On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Gayle Simidian Research Ana yst The new property tax cap aw puts New York State s oca governments and schoo d str cts n a precar ous f nanc a pos t on, accord ng to a Ju y 5 report by Moody s F nanc a Serv ces, a cred t rat ng agency. Not ng a dec ne n state a d and r s ng costs of state-mandated expend tures ke pens on contr but ons, ana yst Robert Weber sa d the tax cap “on y adds to the r weakened f nances.” Cou d bond rat ngs – and, therefore, costs of borrow ng – be affected? A though the report d dn t address that d rect y, a Moody s news re ease quoted Weber as say ng that the property tax cap “ s ke y to put add t ona pressure on the f nances and cred t stand ng of the state s oca governments and schoo d str cts.”

Cuomo vetoes bill to bond out teacher pension fund payments On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter A measure that wou d have a owed schoo d str cts to borrow up to $1 b System for the next two years has been vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

on to cover ba oon ng payments to the Teachers Ret rement

The governor sa d the measure wou d have sadd ed future taxpayers w th huge costs, a w thout voter approva of the borrow ng. “The peop e of the State of New York have made t c ear that they w no onger to erate the f sca rrespons b ty and reck ess spend ng that has dr ven the r property taxes through the roof,” Cuomo sa d n h s veto message.

School accountability for realists On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Richard E. Jetter, Ph.D. Th s art c e s about h gh-stakes test ng. But t s not one of those “rebe on” p eces we have a seen (and maybe even agreed w th). Rather, t s background and recommendat ons for schoo board members and adm n strators who – ke t or not – w be us ng test ng data to make personne dec s ons. It s qu te a respons b ty – mak ng udgments about human worth. What do schoo eaders need to know about measur ng student ach evement, growth, earn ng, and ab ty?

Summer learning loss is reversible, study says On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst The oss of know edge and educat ona sk s over the engthy summer break s cumu at ve over the course of a student s career and further w dens the ach evement gap between ow- and upper- ncome students, but t can be ha ted by qua ty summer programs, accord ng to a study by the RAND Corporat on.

Lax grading in education schools? On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Educat on schoo s at pub c un vers t es award the r students h gher grades than do other academ c d sc p nes, fue ng specu at on that educat on schoo s engage n grade nf at on. Cory Koede , an ass stant professor of econom cs at the Un vers ty of M ssour , eva uated data from three arge, pub c un vers t es w th arge undergraduate programs n educat on – Ind ana Un vers ty, M am (Oh o) Un vers ty, and the Un vers ty of M ssour -Co umb a. Us ng undergraduate c assroom- eve grade reports from the 2007-08 academ c year, Koede compared the grade d str but ons found n the educat on departments to those n 12 other academ c departments (b o ogy, chem stry, computer sc ence, econom cs, mathemat cs, phys cs, po t ca sc ence, psycho ogy, soc o ogy, Eng sh, h story and ph osophy) found at most ma or un vers t es.

Hispanic-white achievement gap persists On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst H span c students cont nue to ag far beh nd wh te students n read ng and math, accord ng to the resu ts of an ana ys s by the Co ege Board. The ana ys s compared data from the 2009 Nat ona Assessment of Educat ona Progress (NAEP) w th ear er adm n strat ons of NAEP.

NYSSBA members keen on electronic info On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Wh e express ng a h gh eve of sat sfact on w th NYSSBA s On Board newspaper and e-C ps, the assoc at on s free news c ps serv ce, schoo off c a s who responded to a recent NYSSBA membersh p survey sa d they wou d ke to rece ve more nformat on e ectron ca y. The membersh p survey was sent to 5,934 board members, super ntendents and d str ct c erks and garnered 913 responses – a response rate of about 15 percent. Near y ha f (48 percent) of respondents sa d they wou d ke NYSSBA to send updates for month y board meet ngs. These wou d be sent to board c erks and m ght descr be NYSSBA s obby ng act v t es, st upcom ng eadersh p deve opment events or suggest a top c for board d scuss on.

Supts. are from Mars, BOEs from Venus On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Lynne Lenhardt Area 7 D rector Research shows that h gh-ach ev ng schoo d str cts have schoo boards and super ntendents that funct on as a team. But what, exact y, const tutes good teamwork? Board members and super ntendents somet mes have d fferent perspect ves on th s. To get our adm n strators v ews and suggest ons, I sent a four-quest on survey to a Area 7 super ntendents and et them know the answers wou d be conf dent a . The resu ts are be ow.

Scientist brings lab-in-a-bus to students On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter When the 1970s-v ntage Go den Gate Trans t bus sw ngs nto schoo park ng ots, fans of The Honeymooners w ke y sm e. But the person beh nd the whee sn t Ra ph Kramden but a b ophys c st and c ean energy enthus ast named Ben Dub n-Tha er. “F rst, they see the outs de of the bus. It s a super o d bus – very retro,” Dub n-Tha er to d On Board. “When they step ns de, t s th s ncred b y advanced m croscope ab.” Reach ng over 10,000 students a year dur ng ts f rst three years of operat on, the “B oBus” has v s ted more than 80 schoo s ust s nce January.

Ithaca program looks to grow bookworms On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter In Ithaca, t s hard to m ss the message. Huge “Read to Me!” banners are draped from bu d ngs. Br ght red bookshe ves stuffed w th “gent y used ch dren s books” are found a over town, nc ud ng the po ce stat on. V s t a k tchen where a todd er ves and you m ght f nd a co orfu “Read to Me, Any T me, Any P ace!” ca endar. Br g d Hubberman founded the Fam y Read ng Partnersh p n 1997 after hear ng from k ndergarten teachers that up to a quarter of the r students were start ng schoo ack ng any exposure to books. “Th s was n Ithaca, New York, that has Corne (Un vers ty) and Ithaca Co ege,” sa d Hubberman.

Ready for my close-up On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Photos of students rout ne y appear n schoo d str ct news etters and on d str ct webs tes and d str ct Facebook pages. To pub c ze events and student ach evements, many d str cts furn sh photos of students to externa med a such as oca newspapers, te ev s on stat ons and spec a zed pub cat ons such as On Board. Is parenta consent requ red before a schoo d str ct can take a student s photo, pub sh t or share t w th news med a? What aws app y? What schoo po c es make sense?

Commissioner sets aside sale of school building On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse A schoo board abused ts d scret on by “hast y” approv ng the sa e of a schoo bu d ng, accord ng to a recent dec s on of the comm ss oner of educat on. There was no nd cat on the board cons dered a strategy to obta n the best pr ce, accord ng to the comm ss oner s dec s on n Appea of Wh te. The schoo board had c osed a d str ct schoo and des gnated t as surp us. It obta ned an appra sa that was based n part on the va ue of schoo bu d ngs n prox m ty to the d str ct and va ued the bu d ng at $5.9 m on. The board ssued “forma requests for proposa s” (RFP) for the bu d ng and advert sed n a oca newspaper and on the d str ct s webs te, w th a dead ne of one month. The board rece ved three b ds: $1.65 m on, $4.6 m on, and $3.1 m on, the ast of wh ch was from a oca Jew sh congregat on. C t ng the d screpancy between the appra sed va ue and b ds, the board obta ned a second appra sa . That appra sa used comparab e propert es ocated a s gn f cant d stance from the schoo and va ued the property at $3.24 m on. Two days ater, the board accepted the congregat on s b d.

Commissioner annuls election results at school board’s request On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse The comm ss oner of educat on recent y annu ed the May 2011 budget resu ts of the Beekmantown Centra Schoo D str ct and ordered a spec a e ect on to be he d. The board of educat on pet t oned the comm ss oner because one of ts three vot ng mach nes mproper y d sp ayed the budget and bus purchase proposa s for the pr or year nstead of 2011-12 proposa s. On the day of the e ect on, the d str ct c erk was nformed that one vot ng mach ne d sp ayed ncorrect propos t ons. She determ ned that the budget propos t on d sp ayed n vot ng mach ne 2 showed a proposed operat ng budget of $37.45 m on as opposed to the 201112 proposed budget of $38.72 m on. The bus purchase propos t on was a so erroneous. It descr bed a purchase of three s xty-f ve passenger buses and one forty-e ght passenger bus at a cost of $406,153 as opposed to four s xty-f ve passenger buses at a cost of $424,811.66. The d str ct c erk shut down the mach ne and nstructed the e ect on nspectors to not perm t any further use of mach ne 2.

District faces breach of contract claim On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse Afue o vendor can proceed w th a breach of contract c a m aga nst a schoo d str ct after the d str ct agreed to purchase fue o from one vendor but sw tched supp ers before the end of the contract term. In Gran te Cap ta Ho d ngs, Inc. v. Sherburne-Ear v e CSD, the court noted that b ds subm tted by Gran te were based on the d str ct s est mated annua fue usage.

Making reform work On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Merryl Tisch Chance or, Board of Regents Reform starts w th conv ct on – the dea that we can and must do better – but t doesn t stop there. A of us who have been work ng to mprove our schoo s know that mp ementat on of sound deas s where the rubber meets the road. As the schoo year draws to a c ose and another appears on the hor zon, th s s our cha enge. We made ncred b e progress th s year ay ng the groundwork for our reform agenda. New York s nnovat ve Race to the Top app cat on made us one of ust 11 states to w n the compet t on, and we set to work r ght away to frame our goa s: adopt ng common core earn ng standards for our students, aunch ng a key n t at ve to prepare and reta n great teachers n our h gh-needs schoo s, and mp ement ng a statew de system for fa r y eva uat ng teachers and pr nc pa s.

Erie 2 BOCES creates ultimate reality show On Board Online • July 18, 2011

By Jen Osborne-Coy In 1562, at the age of 87, M che ange o wrote ancora mparo (“I am st earn ng”) n the marg n of one of h s sketches, mak ng h m one of the h stor ca f gures most c ose y assoc ated w th a ove of fe ong earn ng. So when Er e 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES (E2CCB) started g v ng un vers ty students ma or ng n educat on v deo access to c assrooms of ts component schoo d str cts, t seemed f tt ng to ca the pro ect the M che ange o In t at ve. The pro ect enab es ent re c asses of co ege undergraduates to observe P-12 c assrooms w thout d srupt ng the day-to-day act v t es. An unobtrus ve portab e v deo conferenc ng dev ce, about the s ze of a br efcase, broadcasts the aud o and v sua s gna . The techno ogy g ves students the opportun ty to v ew the u t mate rea ty show – master teachers at work n pub c educat on.

End of 2011 Legislative Session: Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer FOR RELEASE: June 25 , 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The 2011 eg s at ve sess on was a m xed bag for schoo d str cts. On the p us s de, the Leg s ature passed severa mandate re ef tems that w prove very usefu to schoo d str cts. A so noteworthy: Lawmakers mposed no new unfunded mandates on schoo s. C ear y, the focus n A bany has sh fted from spend ng to re gn ng n state costs and to start a ow ng schoo d str cts to do the same. ADVOCACY ALERT – TAX CAP AND MANDATE RELIEF Tax cap looks permanent On Board Online • June 27, 2011

ADVOCACY ALERT – TAX CAP AND MANDATE RELIEF June 25,2011 LEGISLATURE PASSES TAX CAP, NYSSBA PRIORITY BILLS The ca cu at on of the tax evy cap us ng current f gures STATE TAKES FIRST STEPS TOWARD MANDATE RELIEF Student Transportat on Cooperat ve Purchas ng Pens on Borrow ng Mandate Re ef Counc Energy Purchas ng Loca Cooperat ve Serv ces Shared Super ntendents Pre-K Census Deputy C a ms Aud tor and C a ms Samp ng NYSSBA ANALYSIS CONGRESS: NO NEW SCHOOL NUTRITION COST INCREASES

Tax cap looks permanent On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter State government was po sed to mpose a tax cap on schoo d str cts and oca governments as On Board went to press, and the f ne pr nt suggests the cap w be permanent. The tax cap s part of a eg s at ve dea n wh ch Repub cans from outs de New York C ty, who contro the state Senate, agreed to extend and somewhat expand the aw that keeps rents on many apartments be ow open market rates n New York C ty. The c ty s home to the bu k of the state Assemb y s Democrat c ma or ty.

SED sees college preparedness issue On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Wh e the state s h gh schoo graduat on rate cont nues to nch upward, a troub ng number of students are eav ng h gh schoo unprepared for co ege, accord ng to data re eased ast week by the State Educat on Department (SED). A though 73 percent of the students enter ng n nth grade n 2006 were ab e to graduate w th n four years, SED says 63 percent of those students fa ed to reach the state s bas c benchmark for co ege-read ness – scor ng 80 or better on a Regents math exam and 75 or better on an Eng sh exam.

BOE survival skills On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Timothy G. Kremer Execut ve D rector Wh e schoo d str cts have endured econom c downturns before, a ot of peop e te me that th s one fee s d fferent. In the past, we have t ghtened our be ts and gotten through t. But many peop e are now say ng that cost-cutt ng s not enough, espec a y as the demand for serv ces s go ng through the roof. The pressures force schoo boards nto quest on ng the r pr or t es and how they def ne the r m ss ons. Am d the sou -search ng, here are my suggest ons on the va ues that can serve as touchstones:

Bill sidelines school athletes with possible concussions On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter On New York s h gh schoo footba f e ds there cou d soon be new ru e: Get your be rung – take a seat. And, p an on warm ng that bench for awh e. The state Leg s ature has approved a measure that wou d requ re student ath etes to be mmed ate y removed from games f they may have suffered a concuss on.

63% of budgets pass on revote On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator On y 63 percent of schoo budgets were approved by voters dur ng ast week s budget revotes. It was the second- owest passage rate s nce 2000. On May 17, there were 44 schoo budgets defeated. Schoo boards n 22 of those d str cts dec ded to mmed ate y adopt a cont ngency budget rather than ho d a second budget vote. Of the rema n ng 22 d str cts, there were 20 d str cts that sent a rev sed budget back to voters. Fourteen of those budgets passed on June 21 and 8 were defeated. Two d str cts sent the same budget back to voters a second t me; both were defeated.

NYSSBA endorses BoardDocs software On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator NYSSBA has endorsed BoardDocs software, wh ch perm ts schoo governance teams to stream ne operat ons and reduce the s ze of board packets by as much as 75 percent. BoardDocs has a ready he ped over 440 organ zat ons around the country reduce costs w th ts eGovernance serv ces. “Few products are as easy-to-use as BoardDocs,” sa d James Page, NYSSBA s d rector of nformat on techno ogy and member serv ces. “If your eadersh p team wants more eff c ent meet ngs, th s product s for you.”

A mom checks out kindergarten On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Holly Brooker Robert Fu ghum apparent y got t r ght n h s 1986 book, A I Rea y Need to Know I Learned n K ndergarten. But the soc a and emot ona essons Fu ghum emphas zed – how to share, how to treat others, how to take care of onese f – are on y part of what s on the check sts of today s k ndergarten teachers. “The new k ndergarten focuses on b end ng soc a and emot ona growth w th academ c and nte ectua deve opment to meet ncreas ng performance expectat ons,” sa d Tara Ho f e d, k ndergarten teacher and grade- eve cha r at H gh and E ementary Schoo n U ster County s H gh and Centra Schoo D str ct.

Buffalo school continues to win national recognition On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter In a c ty where recent head nes about the schoo system have not been f atter ng (“Graduat on rates drop” “Ca for change vo ced at ra y”), Buffa o s C ty Honors Schoo stands out ke the proverb a sh n ng c ty on a h . In fact, the magnet schoo s ts on one of the h ghest po nts n the c ty – f tt ng for an nst tut on that, s nce 2006, has been recogn zed as one of the f nest schoo s n Amer ca. Educat on ourna st Jay Matthews annua rank ng of a most 2,000 schoo s nat onw de, wh ch appeared th s year n The Wash ngton Post, had C ty Honors as n nth nat onw de, up one spot from ast year. S nce 2006, the schoo has never ranked ower than 13th and has been as h gh as fourth. The rank ngs are based on the percentage of graduat ng sen ors who have taken Advanced P acement or Internat ona Bacca aureate tests.

District may deny church access to building for worship On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Jay Worona Genera Counse For more than 16 years, the New York C ty pub c schoo d str ct has argued that t shou d have the author ty to deny re g ous organ zat ons the r ght to conduct re g ous worsh p serv ces n the r schoo bu d ngs after hours. In a recent ru ng, a federa appea s court w th ur sd ct on over a schoo d str cts n the State of New York agreed w th the c ty s ong-he d ega pos t on. The case ent t ed Bronx Househo d of Fa th v. Board of Educat on of the C ty of New York began n 1994 when a church app ed to use space at a New York C ty pub c m dd e schoo on Sunday morn ngs for re g ous serv ces. The New York C ty schoo system den ed the church s app cat on, c t ng a standard operat ng procedure (SOP) that proh b ted “the use of schoo fac t es by outs de groups outs de of schoo hours for re g ous worsh p serv ces.” Th s act on prompted the f ng of a awsu t by the church.

Union waived 3020-a process for reprimands, placement in teachers’ files upheld On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Patricia H. Gould Assoc ate Counse Two New York C ty teachers were not ent t ed to have repr mands removed from the r personne f es because the r un on know ng y wa ved certa n r ghts granted n Educat on Law sect on 3020-a, accord ng to a recent dec s on by the state Court of Appea s. In Matter of H ckey v. New York C ty Department of Educat on, a etter p aced n H ckey s personne f e nd cated she demonstrated ncompetence and an “unsat sfactory profess ona att tude” n prepar ng students for a f e d day. A etter n another teacher s f e deta ed an nc dent where she made mproper heated remarks to her pr nc pa .

Rubrics to be key in APPR evaluations On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse Under new state regu at ons, schoo d str cts and BOCES must use a “pract ce rubr c” to assess the effect veness of teachers and pr nc pa s n the “other measures” component of Annua Profess ona Performance Rev ews (APPR). A st of approved rubr cs s expected to be ssued by the State Educat on Department (SED) next month.

Changes affect content of APPR plans On Board Online • June 27, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse D str cts and BOCES have been requ red to adopt Annua Profess ona Performance Rev ew (APPR) p ans for years. However, the content of such p ans has changed due to (1) new y adopted regu at ons now n effect, and (2) amendments to pre-ex st ng regu at ons schedu ed to go nto effect n Ju y. The new y adopted regu at ons are found n subpart 30-2 of comm ss oner s regu at ons. The amended pre-ex st ng APPR regu at ons are found at sect on 100.2(o).

CALL TO ACTION – TAX CAP UNDER CONSIDERATION June 15, 2011 TAX CAP UNDER CONSIDERATION - SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE IT S TIME TO LITERALLY LIFT A FINGER TO HELP! L nk to: Send a persona zed etter faxed to eg s ators REPEAL THE MTA TAX

Lawmakers mull requiring reports on vote influence On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Groups and nd v dua s spend ng heav y to nf uence schoo budget votes wou d no onger be ab e to h de beh nd a c oak of anonym ty under eg s at on sponsored by two nf uent a state awmakers. The measure, sponsored by Buffa o Democrat Sam Hoyt n the state Assemb y and by Long Is and Repub can Kenneth LaVa e n the Senate, wou d requ re nd v dua s or groups spend ng $1,000 or more to nf uence schoo budget votes, or votes on other schoo re ated proposa s, to d sc ose deta s of the expend tures to the state Board of E ect ons. “The pub c deserves to know who s nf uenc ng the r vote on schoo budgets,” sa d Hoyt. Th s spr ng, a group ater nked to charter schoo operators n the A bany area began anonymous y send ng out ma ngs and conduct ng other act v t es oppos ng the budget of the A bany C ty Schoo D str ct. The budget was narrow y approved.

Tax cap first, mandate relief second? On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter If you re go ng to swa ow a b tter p , wou d you prefer to have a m kshake at the same t me … or at some undeterm ned po nt n the future? Top po t c ans n New York State seem to prefer the dea of hav ng schoo s and oca governments swa ow what they cons der a b tter p (a 2 percent tax cap) by tse f. That wou d set the stage for the ntroduct on of a m kshake (mandate re ef) at a ater date, they say.

The privilege of school board service On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Much of the attent on ast month was focused on schoo budget votes, but you may be nterested to know that 475 new schoo board members were e ected to serve n the r commun t es. Another 644 ncumbent members were ree ected to serve on the r schoo boards. In th s co umn, I want to speak to our new y e ected board members, most of whom w beg n rece v ng On Board w th th s ssue. I hope much of what I say w resonate w th veteran board members as we . F rst, we come to one of the most d ff cu t – and reward ng – ro es n pub c serv ce.

State orders schools to stop ‘scrubbing’ Regents exam results On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The state has ordered schoo d str cts to mmed ate y stop rescor ng Regents exams that fa ust be ow the pass ng grade of 65 am d comp a nts that teachers were too often g v ng students extra cred t they d dn t deserve. The act on, a med at end ng a pract ce known as “scrubb ng” n educat on c rc es, comes as the state Board of Regents has a so dec ded to stop a ow ng teachers to score the Regents exams of the r own students. That change cou d start as ear y as the 2011-12 schoo year. In the past, the state has requ red schoo s to take a second ook at a math and sc ence Regents exam scores that came w th n f ve po nts of a pass ng grade. In pract ce, most schoo s were do ng that for a Regents exams where the scores came c ose.

How’m I doin’? On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Linda Bakst Deputy D rector of Po cy Serv ces “How m I do n ?” Wh e that catchphrase was co ned by former New York C ty Mayor Ed Koch, schoo board members ought to be ask ng themse ves a var at on of that quest on: How are we do ng? NYSSBA has he ped about 300 members do that through a free, anonymous on ne se f-assessment too des gned to he p the board governance team members dent fy areas of strength and weakness. The 11- tem survey asks board members to answer yes or no n regard to whether the r board funct ons effect ve y n a g ven area of operat on – rang ng from commun cat ng w th each other to hand ng pub c comp a nts.

NYSSBA fine-tunes New Member Academy to help members fulfill state requirements On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Marilyn Morey Leadersh p Deve opment Manager NYSSBA s ongt me ro e as a prov der of tra n ng for schoo board members w take on new s gn f cance th s summer as NYSSBA w beg n offer ng mandatory tra n ng on the ro e of schoo board members n mprov ng student ach evement. “We v ew eadersh p deve opment as one of our three core m ss ons, a ong w th advocacy and prov d ng nformat on to both schoo eaders and the genera pub c,” sa d NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer. “Our curr cu um for the 2011 New Schoo Board Member Academy has been approved by the State Educat on Department as fu f ng a state requ rements. We th nk th s year s sess ons w be the meat est, and most va uab e, ever.

The hidden achievers On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Brian Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator A student doesn t have to be accepted by an Ivy League un vers ty or w n a meda n the Inte Sc ence Compet t on to be a h gh ach ever. How about students who have overcome s gn f cant odds ust to graduate and attend a oca co ege? Or the honor ro student who knows the path he or she wants to pursue and spends as much t me as poss b e n re evant career and techn ca educat on programs? Each spr ng, BOCES across the state sh ne the spot ght on students w th notab e persona ach evements. From scho arsh ps to awards n ghts, BOCES and component d str cts are f nd ng ways to te the r stor es, wh ch are somet mes dramat c and a ways nsp rat ona .

Court upholds district’s actions to prevent publication of sexually explicit cartoon On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse “Not for the f rst t me, and sure y not for the ast,” the U.S. Court of Appea s for the Second C rcu t, a federa appea s court w th ur sd ct on over New York State, has ru ed on whether the F rst Amendment prevents schoo off c a s from proh b t ng certa n mater a from be ng pub shed n a student newspaper. In R.O. v. Ithaca C ty Sch. D st., the ssue was whether h gh schoo adm n strators v o ated the F rst Amendment r ghts of students by proh b t ng the pub cat on of a sexua y exp c t cartoon n a student pub cat on d str buted on schoo grounds. Adm n strators acted proper y, accord ng to the court. In th s case, student ed tors of a schoo -sponsored paper, The Ithaca H gh Schoo Tatt er, sought to nc ude a cartoon n a 2005 ed t on that dep cted a teacher po nt ng to a b ackboard conta n ng e ght draw ngs of st ck f gures n var ous sexua pos t ons, w th the phrase “Test on Monday” wr tten on the b ackboard. The paper s facu ty adv sor deemed the cartoon and ts accompany ng art c e nappropr ate and proh b ted ts pub cat on. The next month, student ed tors tr ed to nc ude the cartoon w th a more ser ous art c e about how sex was taught n hea th c ass. Aga n, the facu ty adv sor refused to a ow the cartoon s pub cat on.

Some U.S. Supreme Court decisions every school official should know On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse You ve heard of Brown v. Board of Educat on of Topeka. But how about T nker v. Des Mo nes Indep. Cmty. Sch. D st. (1969), Bethe Sch. D st. Number 403 v. Fraser (1986) and Haze wood Sch. D st. v. Kuh me er (1988)? Recent y c ted n a federa appea s court dec s on nvo v ng m ts of student free speech n Ithaca H gh Schoo , these U.S. Supreme Court dec s ons are cons dered touchstones on the author ty of schoo s to m t student speech and express on. Under T nker, student express on can be m ted when schoo off c a s reasonab y be eve that the express on w mater a y and substant a y nterfere w th the requ rements of appropr ate d sc p ne or mp nge upon the r ghts of other students. But, as Just ce Abe Fortas famous y wrote n the ma or ty op n on, students do not “shed the r const tut ona r ghts when they enter the schoo house door.”

BOCES’ entrepreneurship curriculum complements CTE programs On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Renee Hoey and Tracy Musso Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES To be successfu n the 21st century, students w need a var ety of “soft sk s” such as be ng an effect ve commun cator and be ng resourcefu . They w a so need to understand the g oba economy and how bus nesses compete w th each other n the marketp ace. In centra New York, Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES s address ng these 21st Century sk s and others through entrepreneursh p educat on. Entrepreneursh p educat on can be much more than teach ng students how to own and operate a bus ness. It can encourage c v cm ndedness by ra s ng the same k nds of quest ons schoo board members and other commun ty eaders ask: What makes a commun ty funct on at ts opt ma eve ? How much of a d fference can nd v dua s make by nvest ng n the r commun t es?

In reading, suburban third-graders have edge On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst In another examp e that soc oeconom c factors p ay a arge ro e n educat on, suburban ch dren rea ze greater ga ns n read ng ach evement from k ndergarten to grade 3 than the r rura or urban counterparts, accord ng to a br ef re eased by the Carsey Inst tute at the Un vers ty of New Hampsh re.

Foreign language enrollment up, but still ‘unsatisfactory’ On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst The number of Amer can pub c K-12 students enro ed n fore gn anguage courses ncreased by more than 3 percent from 2004-05 to 2007-08, yet on y 18.5 percent of a students were enro ed n a fore gn anguage c ass, accord ng to the atest survey by the Amer can Counc on the Teach ng of Fore gn Languages (ACTFL). ACTFL conducts regu ar nat ona fore gn anguage enro ment surveys of U.S. K–12 pub c schoo s. Its atest survey found that fore gn anguage study n the U.S. was “unsat sfactory” compared w th other nat ons, where near y a students study a second or th rd anguage. The overa p cture rema ns unsat sfactory to meet future pub c and pr vate sector demand for anguage sk s, ACTFL sa d.

Autism may be more widespread than previously thought On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst A recent study of aut sm n South Korea pub shed n the Amer can Journa of Psych atry suggests that the d sorder may be more w despread than prev ous y thought. A group of researchers ed by Dr. Young-Sh n K m of the Ya e Ch d Study Center screened 55,266 ch dren, ages seven to 12, n one commun ty n South Korea. They est mated the preva ence of aut sm spectrum d sorders to be 2.64 percent of the popu at on – about one n 38 ch dren. That rate s much h gher than the est mate of 1 n 110 ch dren for the U.S. by the Centers for D sease Contro and Prevent on.

Dandelions on school lawn? ‘Get used to it’ On Board Online • June 6, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter How w schoo groundskeepers ma nta n ath et c f e ds and other property now that a new aw bans a most a uses of pest c des and herb c des on schoo grounds? “You re go ng to have a few more dande ons,” sa d Peter R gg , the super ntendent of bu d ngs and grounds for the Schuy erv e Centra Schoo D str ct. “You better get used to t.” R gg p ans to spend h s t me worry ng about b gger threats, ke grubs. “Grubs can be devastat ng to a sports f e d. You can have k ds out there p ay ng on a f e d where the sod s oose and t s unsafe,” he exp a ned.

ADVOCACY ALERT – SPEAKER SILVER INTRODUCES TAX CAP May 26, 2011 SPEAKER SILVER INTRODUCES TAX CAP SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF A.7916 – TAX CAP LEGISLATION TAX LEVY LIMIT A owab e Levy Growth Factor Tax Base Growth Factor Ava ab e Carryover EXCEPTIONS OVERRIDE VOTE CONTINGENCY BUDGETS REORGANIZED SCHOOL DISTRICTS TRANSPORTATION EXPIRATION L nk to: V ew Statement of NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy Kremer L nk to: V ew Fu Text of the Leg s at on NYSSBA ANALYSIS AS A SCHOOL LEADER, WHAT CAN I DO? L nk to : V ew Home F e d Advantage Advocacy Day Mater a s

Transcript: John Flanagan Q: We are on the eve of school budget voting across the state. School boards have held the rate of spending increases to an average of 1.3 percent and the average tax levy increases to 3.4 percent. What do you think of that performance? And, do you think voters should back their local budgets? A: I th nk the performance on the who e s pos t ve, but I wou d respectfu y suggest that every d str ct s d fferent. Even n the commun t es that I represent, I see some var at ons. Some are up at 6 or 7 percent. To me, that s rea y not a prudent course of act on at th s t me. But I wou d a so respectfu y say that there are p enty that are toe ng the ne. We re n a tough s tuat on, as you we know. There was a $10 b on def c t that we were ab e to c ose w th no new taxes or fees. But t s the f rst t me w thout federa money be ng ava ab e that there are rea cuts. That s a fact of fe that schoo d str cts have to dea w th. But I wou d aga n ust say, peop e shou d be ook ng at what goes on n the r own commun ty. And, s nce we are ta k ng about schoo boards – one of the great equa z ng factors n a of th s s that a of the fo ks who serve on the schoo board are oca commun ty members who stand for e ect on. So, I th nk that s a very va uab e component of our exerc se n democracy.

School boards: No tax cap without mandate reliefStatement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer FOR RELEASE: May 24, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Let s be c ear: a 2 percent tax cap on schoo d str cts fa s to address the root causes of our ever- ncreas ng tax burden. Po t c ans and spec a nterest groups can trumpet the tax cap a they want, but homeowners across New York w f nd the r taxes cont nu ng to r se un ess the r e ected off c a s get ser ous about re ev ng oca schoo s of m ons of do ars of costs t ed up n state mandates that do noth ng to advance student ach evement. Unfortunate y, awmakers have focused str ct y on m t ng a schoo d str ct s ab ty to ra se revenue. Th s w undoubted y force off c a s to ay off emp oyees and cut spend ng on c assroom programs, sports and other extracurr cu ar act v t es n order to pay for mandated costs.

Should master’s degrees matter? Spring 2011 • Volume 9 • Issue 2

In K-12 pub c educat on, master s degrees matter. New York State requ res teachers to obta n master s degrees to earn permanent cert f cat on, and schoo d str cts n New York and across the country typ ca y offer h gher pay to teachers w th these advanced degrees. However, two of the most nf uent a peop e n K-12 educat on – U.S. Educat on Secretary Arne Duncan and b ona re entrepreneur and ph anthrop st B Gates – are among those who contend pay ng prem ums for master s degrees s rrat ona and ought to be stopped. Cou d t rea y be that, n the f e d of educat on, add t ona educat on s not worth a that much?

Voters approve 94 percent of proposed school budgets On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Desp te a $1.3 b on state a d cut that s forc ng schoo d str cts to f re teachers, cut programs and dra n reserves, voters across New York approved 93.5 percent of proposed schoo budgets on May 17, up from 92.3 percent ast year. The approva rate s the fourth-h ghest for n t a budget votes s nce NYSSBA began keep ng records n 1969. The record was 97.4 percent n 2009, fo owed by 95.3 percent n 2007 and 93.6 percent n 1998. “Schoo board members shou d fee proud of th s resu t,” sa d NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson.

SED approves NYSSBA curriculum on new board member training On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef The State Educat on Department has approved NYSSBA s curr cu um for new y-e ected schoo board members as fu f ng a new yexpanded set of state tra n ng requ rements. A state aw passed n 2010 requ res schoo board members and BOCES board members who beg n the r f rst term on or after Ju y 1, 2011 to “comp ete a tra n ng course to acqua nt h m or her w th the powers, funct ons and dut es of boards of educat on” w th n one year of tak ng off ce.

Revolutionary thinking On Board Online • May 23, 2011 By Timothy G. Kremer Execut ve D rector

Thomas Jefferson once sa d that “every generat on needs a new revo ut on.” At the r sk of sound ng too dramat c, the state s new teacher and pr nc pa performance rev ew (APPR) process cou d represent exact y that today – a revo ut onary way of do ng bus ness that w eventua y benef t generat ons of students. Under the new aw, every teacher and pr nc pa w rece ve a s ng e compos te effect veness score ead ng to a rat ng of “h gh y effect ve,” “effect ve,” “deve op ng,” or “ neffect ve.” Tenured teachers and pr nc pa s w th a pattern of poor performance – def ned as two consecut ve annua “ neffect ve” rat ngs – may be charged w th ncompetence and cons dered for term nat on through an exped ted hear ng process.

In split vote, Regents approve APPR On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Desp te some d ssent, the state Board of Regents forged ahead n adopt ng regu at ons on a new teacher and pr nc pa eva uat on system for the 2011-12 schoo year. By a vote of 14-3, the Regents on May 16 approved mp ement ng the annua profess ona performance rev ew (APPR) system, effect ve Ju y 1. The statew de system, deve oped by the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Pr nc pa Effect veness, w put a greater emphas s on standard zed test ng. At the request of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ast-m nute changes were made to the regu at ons days before the vote to requ re that as much as 40 percent of teachers eva uat ons depend on the r students performance on state tests. If d str cts choose to deve op oca measures of student performance, however, those can count for 20 percent wh e state test resu ts count 20 percent. In another change requested by Cuomo, teachers w be not be ab e to rece ve pos t ve eva uat ons f student test scores are poor.

King to be youngest SED commissioner On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef After os ng both h s parents to ness by the age of 12, John B. K ng Jr. went on to rece ve degrees from Harvard, Ya e Law Schoo and Teachers Co ege at Co umb a Un vers ty, where he earned h s doctorate n educat ona adm n strat ve pract ce. On June 15, at the age of 36, he w become the youngest comm ss oner of educat on n the h story of the state and the youngest person n the nat on to head a state department of educat on. “Ho ywood used to make mov es about peop e ke John K ng,” sa d Regent Wade S. Norwood, who made the mot on nom nat ng K ng to succeed the current comm ss oner, Dav d Ste ner, at a meet ng May 16. K ng requested a sa ary that s 15 percent ower than Ste ner s. K ng s sa ary as comm ss oner of educat on and pres dent of the Un vers ty of the State of New York w be $212,500 per year, wh e Ste ner rece ves $250,000. Ste ner s predecessor, R chard M s, who ret red n 2009, was pa d $195,165.

Adios, adieu and ciao On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator To offset a mu t -m on do ar def c t n the state s assessment program, the Board of Regents has agreed to e m nate January Regents exams as we as exams n Span sh, French and Ita an. Ear er th s year, the State Educat on Department (SED) asked the state Leg s ature for an add t ona $15 m on to cont nue ts Regents exam program. The f na state budget, however, on y nc uded an add t ona $7 m on n fund ng, eav ng an $8 m on ho e. On May 16, the Regents fo owed the recommendat on of SED staff to e m nate the January tests to save $1.4 m adm n strat on of rema n ng fore gn anguage exams to save $700,000.

on and the

Flanagan brings new face, ideas to education politics On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Who s John F anagan and why s he mportant to pub c educat on n New York State? If you sa d, “cha rman of the state Senate s Educat on Comm ttee,” g ve yourse f a pos t ve profess ona performance rev ew. F anagan s name s probab y most fam ar to schoo board members on Long Is and, where he has been a state eg s ator for ha f of h s 50 years. Cons dered a r s ng star n New York s Repub can Party, F anagan had been v ewed as a ke y GOP cand date th s year n the Suffo k County execut ve s race, an off ce that cou d have served as a stepp ng stone to h gher off ce. And F anagan s amb t ous. “It s someth ng that I c ear y th nk about,” F anagan to d On Board when asked about runn ng for governor. He ca ed the post “the best ob n government” and compared t to “p ay ng for the New York Yankees.”

A primer on contingency budgets On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse If the voters have re ected your schoo board s proposed budget, your board has the opt on of prepar ng and adopt ng a cont ngency budget or go ng to the voters aga n on June 21 (the statew de un form budget revote day). If the voters have tw ce re ected a board-proposed budget for a g ven f sca year – e ther the same budget or a second vers on – the aw proh b ts subm tt ng a budget or other expend ture propos t ons to the voters a th rd t me. The schoo board must then adopt a cont ngency budget for the ensu ng f sca year by Ju y 1. Th s can be done p ecemea by pass ng mu t p e reso ut ons to approve cont ngency budget appropr at ons for spec f c purposes, as needed, unt the board adopts the overa cont ngency budget. U t mate y, the board must adopt a cont ngency budget pr or to the ssuance of the tax evy to ensure the co ect on of taxes suff c ent to fund expend tures dur ng the f sca year.

Ordinary contingent expenses On Board Online • May 23, 2011

The fo ow ng const tute ord nary cont ngent expenses under state aw and dec s ons of the comm ss oner of educat on: Legal obligations Debt serv ce (both pr nc pa and nterest payments). Judgments from courts and orders of the comm ss oner of educat on and other adm n strat ve bod es or off cers. Soc a Secur ty and ret rement ob gat ons, as we as other payro taxes and assessments. Pre-ex st ng contractua ob gat ons, nc ud ng co ect ve barga n ng agreements under the Tay or Law. Payments made to a former super ntendent n sett ement of c a ms ar s ng from a contract.

Should master’s degrees matter? On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Edwin C. Darden New York State requ res teachers to obta n a master s degree to earn permanent cert f cat on, and schoo d str cts n New York and across the country typ ca y offer h gher pay to teachers w th a master s degree. However, two of the most nf uent a peop e n K-12 educat on – U.S. Educat on Secretary Arne Duncan and b ona re entrepreneur and ph anthrop st B Gates – are among those who contend pay ng prem ums for master s degrees s rrat ona and ought to be stopped. In a November 2010 speech to the Amer can Enterpr se Inst tute n Wash ngton, D.C., Duncan sa d, “D str cts current y pay about $8 b on each year to teachers because they have master s degrees, even though there s tt e ev dence teachers w th master s degrees mprove student ach evement more than other teachers – w th the poss b e except on of teachers who earn master s n math and sc ence.”

‘I want to find a cure for ALS’ On Board On ne • May 23, 2011 By Ke y Cary When the Ba dw nsv e Centra Schoo D str ct n Onondaga County began offer ng a course ca ed Pr nc p es of B omed ca Sc ences th s schoo year, t qu ck y proved popu ar. Forty-n ne n nth- and 10th-graders s gned up. Teacher Sherr W ne and suspects students know where the obs are. An ag ng

Small district makes big splash with educational technology On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Last year a one, the webs te of the Spr ngv e-Gr ff th Inst tute Centra Schoo D str ct was v ewed 1.3 m w th fewer than 2,100 students.

on t mes. Not bad for a d str ct

“You re ook ng at a s te that costs the d str ct a few thousand do ars a year,” sa d Ben am n H gg ns, techno ogy ntegrator for the d str ct, wh ch stradd es the border of Er e and Cattaraugus count es south of Buffa o. Last year, wh e at home “w th a s ck ch d throw ng up a over the p ace,” H gg ns descr bed the d str ct s webs te and other ways the d str ct uses techno ogy on a survey form sent by a group ca ed the Center for D g ta Educat on. He hoped the survey m ght resu t n some k nd of recogn t on for the d str ct and ts students, and t d d.

NYSSBA mourns loss of staff member On Board Online • May 23, 2011

Dar ene Peat, secretary n NYSSBA s Leadersh p Deve opment Department s nce 2007, d ed of cancer May 13 at the age of 54. Known for her cheerfu energy and tact, Dar ene had been on med ca eave s nce December. She nteracted w th many NYSSBA members on the phone and when she staffed the off ce of NYSSBA s Annua Convent on. She a so staffed the reg strat on tab es at numerous NYSSBA tra n ng events.

District held liable in lab explosion On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse An appea s court recent y determ ned that a schoo d str ct s ab e for n ur es susta ned by a student when a c assmate gn ted a ghter n a sc ence ab, caus ng an exp os on that resu ted n severe second- and th rd-degree burns on much of the student s body. The nc dent took p ace after c asses for the day had ended. At the t me, the students were work ng n the ab unsuperv sed. Ru ng aga nst the d str ct n Nash v. Port Wash ngton UFSD, the Appe ate D v s on of state Supreme Court, Second Department, had to determ ne wh ch standard of ab ty to app y. Schoo s genera y have a duty to adequate y superv se students n the r care and w be ab e for foreseeab e n ur es prox mate y re ated to the absence of adequate superv s on. Dur ng schoo hours, the standard of care s that of the “reasonab y prudent parent.” A esser standard, the “reasonab e and prudent person,” app es when students vo untar y part c pate n an ntramura or extracurr cu ar sport.

Discipline possible after counseling memo On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Patricia H. Gould Assoc ate Counse A schoo board may pursue d sc p nary charges aga nst a tenured teacher who had been ssued counse ng etters prev ous y for the same under y ng m sconduct, a state court has ru ed. In Board of Educat on of the Dundee Centra Schoo D str ct v. Co eman, a hear ng off cer found a teacher had mproper y touched students, used mproper student n cknames, and regu ar y gnored fa r grad ng pract ces. However, he d sm ssed other charges because the d str ct had a ready addressed the a eged m sconduct n counse ng etters, and the teacher had not repeated that spec f c conduct.

Negligence claim proceeds in Roslyn On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse Schoo d str cts have s x years to commence awsu ts aga nst current or former d str ct off cers to recover damages for waste or n ury to property, accord ng to a recent dec s on of the Court of Appea s. In Ros yn UFSD v. Bark n, et a , the state s h ghest court exam ned whether the d str ct f ed a t me y awsu t aga nst former board members, a eg ng neg gence and breach of f duc ary duty for ax f sca management under wh ch two emp oyees sto e over $11 m on do ars from the d str ct.

What policy is needed on sports concussions? On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Linda Bakst Deputy D rector of Po cy Serv ces F gur ng out what your schoo board shou d do about concuss ons m ght make anyone s head ache. Shou d your board have a po cy on sports-re ated concuss ons? If so, what shou d t say? Both NYSSBA and the New York State Pub c H gh Schoo Ath et c Assoc at on (NYSPHSAA) have been act ve regard ng the po cy mp cat ons of concuss ons, a so ca ed m d traumat c bra n n ur es (MBTIs). Each year, 10 percent of contact sport ath etes susta n concuss ons, accord ng to the Sports Concuss on Inst tute. Concuss ons can have ong-term hea th effects – espec a y f the concuss on goes unrecogn zed or s gnored.

Improving literacy in upper grades On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Douglas Ann Land Area 4 D rector In fa 2010, the New York State Department of Educat on (SED) formed a Statew de L teracy Team, and I was appo nted as a schoo board representat ve. The m ss on was to work w th SED staff to rev ew pr mary research n the f e d of teracy and deve op a framework for mprov ng teracy from pre-K (b rth, rea y) through adu t educat on. I went to my f rst meet ng understand ng that the term “ teracy” mp ed more than the ab ty to s mp y read and wr te, but I had no dea of what add t ona sk s “ teracy” nc uded. I soon earned the cr t ca ro e teracy p ays n an nd v dua s ab ty to comprehend and process new and ncreas ng y comp ex nformat on.

100 districts join forces in WNY to improve education technology On Board Online • May 23, 2011

By Candace Reimer Rache Wagner, a s xth-grade sc ence teacher n the Tonawanda C ty Schoo D str ct, has taught th s year us ng Pads, netbooks and a Mood e webs te. Tonawanda s one of 100 schoo d str cts n western New York that have worked together for near y seven years to take advantage of 21st Century teach ng techno ogy. Thanks to a reg ona broadband network and a federa y funded Enhanc ng Educat on Through Techno ogy (EETT) grant, students n western New York are co aborat ng on w k s, v deoconferenc ng w th guest speakers and tak ng courses streamed from “the c oud.” The network, a behemoth that uses a “ eave no d str ct beh nd” approach, was created by the Western New York Reg ona Informat on Center (WNYRIC), wh ch serves four BOCES reg ons between Buffa o and Rochester.

93 percent of school budgets pass FOR RELEASE: May 18, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce New York State voters approved 93.5 percent of schoo d str ct budgets on Tuesday, May 17, accord ng to an ana ys s by the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on. In t a statew de resu ts gathered by NYSSBA nd cate voters have passed 634 of 678 schoo d str ct budgets. The number of budgets defeated was 44. Last year, taxpayers approved 92 percent of schoo d str ct budgets. The average passage rate s nce 1969 s 84 percent. “Voters rea zed that schoo off c a s d d a they cou d to m t spend ng and taxes th s year,” sa d NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer.

Statement of Timothy G. Kremer, Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association New State Education Commissioner FOR RELEASE: May 16, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce We congratu ate John B. K ng, Jr. on h s appo ntment as State Educat on Comm ss oner. Dur ng h s t me as sen or deputy comm ss oner, John has been a thoughtfu eader and g ven generous y of h s t me to schoo board members. Moreover, John has shown a f rm grasp of the cha eng ng prob ems fac ng our schoo s, and a w ngness to reach out and work w th schoo boards and other stakeho ders to confront these cha enges. We apprec ate h s nc us ve approach to deve op ng educat on po cy, and h s open and d rect commun cat on sty e.

NYSSBA legislative package seeks stronger schools with less spending On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Assert ng that state aw forces schoo d str cts across the state to operate neff c ent y, NYSSBA unve ed a eg s at ve reform package ast week to tack e runaway costs n seven key areas. The 2011 NYSSBA Essent a F sca Reform P aybook nc udes draft eg s at on to curta r s ng hea th care and pens on costs, eve the p ay ng f e d dur ng contract negot at ons, mpose t ghter contro s on the teacher d sc p nary process, and br ng spec a educat on costs nto ne w th other states.

Districts continue to propose lean budgets On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Confront ng the stark f sca rea t es of the state s economy, New York s schoo d str cts are curb ng spend ng growth for the seventh stra ght year, ho d ng the average proposed spend ng ncrease n 2011-12 to ust 1.3 percent, accord ng to the atest state Property Tax Report Card comp ed by the State Educat on Department (SED). And desp te a $1.2 b on cut n state a d for 2011-12, schoo d str cts are ho d ng the average statew de property tax evy ncrease at 3.4 percent n the proposed 2011-12 d str ct budgets. That s s m ar to ast year s average proposed tax evy ncrease of 3.2 percent, when taxpayers overwhe m ng y supported 92 percent of schoo d str ct budgets. “G ven the f sca cond t ons and m ted management contro s ava ab e to d str cts, schoo off c a s are do ng a they can to m t spend ng and taxes,” sa d NYSS

A ‘playbook’ for reform On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Last week, I had the p easure of represent ng a of you, my schoo board co eagues, at a news conference at the state Cap to . The purpose of the event was to ntroduce NYSSBA s “Essent a F sca Reform P aybook” – a package of seven mandate re ef and educat on reform proposa s. We ca ed the eg s at ve reform package a “p aybook” because we need to change the ru es of the game, so to speak, for schoo d str cts. We need a new way of do ng bus ness f we are go ng to surv ve the worst f sca cr s s n a generat on.

Census data sheds light on causes of rural schools’ enrollment declines On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Rura schoo s are exper enc ng dec n ng enro ments not because students are mov ng away after graduat ng, but because rura areas can t attract peop e to come ve there, accord ng to a prom nent researcher speak ng at NYSSBA s f rst-ever Rura Schoo s Summ t. John S pp e, d rector of the New York State Center for Rura Schoo s and a professor at Corne Un vers ty, po nted to U.S. Census data show ng that upstate New York s med an out-m grat on rate (the percentage of peop e eav ng the area) of 13.4 percent s rough y equ va ent to the nat ona med an of 13.3 percent.

Who’s watching Washington for you? NSBA On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Anne M. Byrne Dec s ons made n Wash ngton can have andscape-chang ng repercuss ons for oca schoo boards, as we have seen w th the No Ch d Left Beh nd Act and the Race to the Top compet t on. Based on reports I see as a member of the Board of D rectors of the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on, I ant c pate th s trend w cont nue. That s why a schoo board members shou d keep appr sed of po cy changes at the federa eve and to support the efforts of NYSSBAand the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on to nf uence federa po cymakers. For nstance, d d you know that U.S. Department of Educat on off c a s n the Off ce of C v R ghts (OCR) have set a standard regard ng the duty of schoo d str cts to prevent bu y ng that goes far beyond the express anguage of federa aw and court nterpretat ons of those aws? The NSBA has been h gh y act ve on th s ssue, w th m xed resu ts so far.

Nassau BOCES dedicates Iris Wolfson High School On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef The h ghest honor a schoo board member can earn from NYSSBA s the Everett R. Dyer D st ngu shed Serv ce Award, but the h ghest honor schoo board members can earn from the r oca commun t es probab y s to have a schoo named after them. The ate Ir s Wo fson, who served as NYSSBA s treasurer for many years, has had a h gh schoo on Long Is and named for her. Located n Greenva e, Nassau County, Ir s Wo fson H gh Schoo s home to a spec a educat on program for teenagers w th emot ona d sab t es and those w th aut sm spectrum d sorders.

How to raise student achievement while lowering costs in special ed On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Nathan Levenson Schoo d str cts face two ma or cha enges. The dr ve toward greater accountab ty s compe ng d str cts to de ver h gher eve s of student ach evement at the same t me that the f sca cr s s s forc ng schoo budgets to shr nk. The obstac es are daunt ng, but the so ut ons are not mutua y exc us ve. Dur ng my tenure as super ntendent of the Ar ngton Pub c Schoo D str ct, n the suburbs of Boston, we were ab e to ra se student ach evement wh e reduc ng rea ( nf at on-ad usted) spec a educat on spend ng.

Simple form of energy management nets big savings for Newburgh CSD On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter You won t f nd w ndm s outs de the Newburgh Free Academy h gh schoo nor pane s of so ar co ectors atop the d str ct s e ementary schoo s, but you w f nd dramat ca y ower ut ty b s n the bus ness off ce. “S nce November 2009, we have reduced our energy consumpt on by 19 percent,” sa d Roger Ram ug, the Newburgh c ty schoo d str ct s energy educat on adm n strator. “That equates to about $700,000.”

Hornell, GST BOCES explore online learning in high profile project On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The 2,000-student Horne C ty Schoo D str ct, n partnersh p w th the Greater Southern T er BOCES, s part of an e te nat onw de group w th a b g m ss on: to reshape how schoo s de ver nstruct on. Focus ng on the b end ng of trad t ona c assrooms w th on ne earn ng, the Horne -GST BOCES effort s part of the Next Generat on Learn ng Partnersh p. That n t at ve was aunched ast year by the Counc of Ch ef State Schoo Off cers.

NYSSBA, superintendents submit comments on SED’s draft APPR regulations On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse One year ago th s month, then-Gov. Dav d Paterson s gned nto aw the add t on of a new sect on 3012-c to the Educat on Law to enhance teacher and pr nc pa eva uat on requ rements. S nce then, schoo d str cts and BOCES have been anx ous y awa t ng ssuance of comm ss oner s regu at ons that w set standards for negot at ons that must precede the mp ementat on of th s aw and the redef n t on of annua profess ona performance rev ews (APPR). Recent y, the State Educat on Department (SED) pub shed draft regu at ons for pub c comment. NYSSBA and the state Counc of Schoo Super ntendents o nt y subm tted a 29-page document w th comments and suggest ons.

APPR 101 On Board Online • May 9, 2011

Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse Under a new state aw to be phased n beg nn ng Ju y 1, schoo d str cts and BOCES must rate teachers and pr nc pa s as e ther h gh y effect ve, effect ve, deve op ng or neffect ve based on a s ng e compos te score der ved from mu t p e measures of effect veness that nc ude student growth on state assessments, oca y se ected measures of student ach evement, and other oca y deve oped rat ngs.

Beating the budget blues On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By William Miller Area 5 D rector Every year t seems ke a m rac e, m nor or ma or, when we create a ba anced budget proposa and present t to the voters for approva . Th s year has been espec a y cha eng ng for the vo unteers who serve on schoo boards. A though what we are exper enc ng f nanc a y n each of our d str cts certa n y shou d not have been a surpr se, t s st d ff cu t to wrap our arms around. We can no onger expect eg s ators n A bany to f nd add t ona money at the ast m nute. It s mp y ust sn t there anymore. Our taxpayers have been pushed to the m t. The unemp oyment rate of a most 9 percent for the past two or three years has put peop e n pos t on to bare y pay what b s they have today.

Making teacher evaluation work On Board Online • May 9, 2011

By Merryl Tisch Chance or, Board of Regents No s ng e factor ns de the c assroom s more mportant to boost ng the performance of our k ds than the qua ty of our teachers. That s why recru t ng, tra n ng, support ng and deve op ng our best teachers must be ob one as we work to ensure that a of New York s students graduate h gh schoo ready for co ege and the workforce. That dea was at the center of New York s successfu Race to the Top app cat on and has formed the core of many of the reforms the Regents have pursued dur ng the ast two years.

Regional alternative high gives Suffolk students another chance On Board Online • May 9, 2011

Near y 30,000 New York State students dropped out of h gh schoo n 2009-10, but programs known as a ternat ve h gh schoo s (AHS) are g v ng dropouts and at-r sk students another chance to earn the r d p oma. Eastern Suffo k BOCES has created AHS programs on the campuses of three component d str cts – Connetquot, Eastport-South Manor and Rocky Po nt. S nce AHS c asses began n January 2010, 22 students have graduated. “If t wasn t for the A ternat ve H gh Schoo , I probab y wou dn t be n schoo , wou dn t be gett ng a d p oma, and wou dn t be ab e to enro n co ege next year,” sa d Amber Weber, a 17-year-o d AHS student.

ADVOCACY ALERT – NO MORE EMPTY BUSES! May 5, 2011 NO MORE EMPTY BUSES! Better use of Schoo Buses. Do you need a seat for every student? 200 RURAL SCHOOL OFFICIALS ATTEND NYSSBA SUMMIT L nk to: 2011 NYSSBA Rura Schoo s Summ t

NYSSBA introduces fiscal reform “playbook” to curb state mandates on schools FOR RELEASE: May 2, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on (NYSSBA) today unve ed ts f sca reform “p aybook” – a package of seven mandate re ef n t at ves that wou d a ow schoo d str cts to operate more eff c ent y. “As schoo d str cts cont nue to grapp e w th the worst f sca cr s s n a generat on, they need a new set of ru es go ng forward,” sa d NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson, a member of the Buffa o Board of Educat on. “Severa years of frozen or d m n shed state a d coup ed w th the prospect of a oca property tax cap ca for a new way of do ng bus ness.” The p aybook nc udes draft eg s at on to curta r s ng hea th care and pens on costs, eve the p ay ng f e d dur ng contract negot at ons, mpose t ghter contro s on the teacher d sc p nary process, and br ng spec a educat on costs nto ne w th other states.

NYSSBA s Essential Fiscal Reform Playbook

NYSSBA s Essent a F sca Reform P aybook proposes a game p an for dea ng w th the new f sca rea t es fac ng schoo d str cts. W th n these pages, you f nd br ef ng mater a s on ma or cost dr vers for pub c educat on. More than that, you f nd eg s at ve anguage and a samp e sponsor s memorandum n support of proposed eg s at on a med at he p ng schoo d str cts and oca taxpayers. Down oad the Fu P aybook (108 pages - 1.80 MB)

ADVOCAY ALERT - SECOND HALF STRATEGY May 2, 2011 NYSSBA INTRODUCES FISCAL REFORM "PLAYBOOK" TO CURB STATE MANDATES ON SCHOOLS NYSSBA PLAYBOOK HIGHLIGHTS Contract Negot at ons Hea th Care Costs Layoffs Teacher D sc p nary Procedures Pens ons Spec a Educat on Purchas ng L nk to Down oad – NYSSBA Essent a F sca Reform P aybook

School boards continue to hold down spending, taxes FOR RELEASE: Apr 27, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce New York s schoo d str cts are curb ng spend ng growth for the seventh stra ght year, ho d ng the average proposed spend ng ncrease n 2011-12 to ust 1.3 percent, accord ng to the atest state Property Tax Report Card comp ed by the State Educat on Department. In the face of a dramat c $1.2 b on cut n state a d, schoo d str cts he d the average statew de property tax evy ncrease at 3.4 percent under the proposed 2011-12 d str ct budgets. That compares favorab y w th ast year s average evy of 3.2 percent, when taxpayers overwhe m ng y supported 92 percent of schoo d str ct budgets.

Resignations surprise NYS ed communit On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter In the most dramat c eadersh p shakeup n the h story of New York pub c educat on, the head of the State Educat on Department and the eaders of the argest and th rd- argest schoo d str cts n the state a headed for the ex ts w th n two weeks. On Apr 7, after ust 18 months on the ob, Dav d Ste ner shocked many by say ng he wou d step down as state educat on comm ss oner. He ater descr bed the ob as both “exh arat ng” and “tota y exhaust ng.” He sa d he wou d return to h s former post as dean of Hunter Co ege s Schoo of Educat on. The t m ng of Ste ner s departure s uncerta n, descr bed n a news re ease as “ ater th s year.”

Unions sharing burden through concessions On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Thanks to a negot ated teacher pay freeze, next year s proposed tax evy ncrease n the LaFargev e Centra Schoo D str ct n Jefferson County s expected to be ust 3.98 percent rather than more than 17 percent. “Th s s the second year n a row emp oyees have agreed to concess ons,” Super ntendent Susan Wh tney to d On Board. “We are a sma rura , poor d str ct that has been great y mpacted by cuts n state a d. On y w th the pu ng together of the schoo commun ty have we been ab e to stay ntact.” S m ar negot at ons have been tak ng p ace across the state. In 2010 and 2011, un on oca s n at east 200 d str cts have agreed to some form of concess on rang ng from g v ng up profess ona days to sa ary freezes and h gher hea th nsurance contr but ons, accord ng to Car Korn, a spokesman for New York State Un ted Teachers. Some changes came through sett ement of new contracts wh e others nvo ved open ng and renegot at ng prov s ons of ex st ng contracts. The un on was n the process of po ng ts oca s to update ts f gures as On Board went to press.

14 NYSSBA positions due to expire On Board Online • April 25, 2011

NYSSBA s reso ut ons passed by de egates at the Annua Bus ness Meet ng rema n on the advocacy agenda for f ve years. Th s year the 14 pos t ons that were or g na y approved n 2006 are set to exp re. Boards may v ew these “sunsett ng” reso ut ons by ogg ng onto the NYSSBA webs te.

We hardly knew them On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Timothy Kremer Execut ve D rector Three very h gh prof e eaders n New York State educat on c rc es ust recent y announced the r res gnat ons. State Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner s stepp ng down from h s post ater th s year to return to Hunter Co ege. Ste ner s tenure at SED asted ess than two years. In New York C ty, Cath e B ack res gned from her pos t on as schoo s chance or after on y four months on the ob.

Draft APPR regulations released On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator The State Educat on Department (SED) has re eased draft regu at ons for the state s new annua profess ona performance rev ew (APPR) system, and the Regents are expected to cons der the regu at ons at the r May meet ng. SED s now seek ng comment on the regu at ons from the genera pub c as we as the 63 members of the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Pr nc pa Effect veness. The dead ne for comments s Apr 29. SED posted the draft regu at ons on ts webs te on Apr 15, two weeks after rece v ng a report from the task force.

DiNapoli authorizes districts to use EBALR $ On Board Online • April 26, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter State Comptro er Thomas D Napo , act ng under spec a state budget eg s at on, has author zed 98 schoo d str cts to d p nto $155.6 m on n excess Emp oyee Benef ts Accrued L ab ty Reserve funds to he p offset $204.4 m on n state a d cuts they are fac ng. Under the spec a eg s at on, d str cts have been g ven a one-year w ndow to use excess EBALR fund ng, as cert f ed by the comptro er, up to the amount of the r a d cut. Due to mba ances between EBALR fund amounts and a d cuts n spec f c d str cts, a $155.6 m on cannot be used. For nstance, the Comptro er sa d the Massena Centra Schoo D str ct n St. Lawrence County had an EBALR excess of $9 m on, but ts operat ng a d cut s ust $2.7 m on. That means Massena can ega y use up on y about one-th rd of ts excess over the com ng schoo year.

Benjamin Ferrara honored as ‘giant’ of school law On Board Online • April 25, 2011

Syracuse attorney Ben am n J. Ferrara rece ved a L fet me Ach evement Award from the Counc of Schoo Attorneys (COSA), a nat ona group aff ated w th the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on (NSBA). Ferrara and a Ch cago attorney, Anthony G. Scar ano, both were recogn zed for exemp ary eadersh p n ega advocacy and d st ngu shed serv ce at the NSBA s 2010 Annua Conference n San Franc sco Apr 8. “Both of our honorees are g ants n the f e d of educat on aw and have made s gn f cant contr but ons to the profess on through the r expert se and support for pub c educat on,” sa d Thomas E. Whee er II, COSA cha r.

Small LI district’s reading program wins coveted Magna award On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter E a ne Kanas has a s mp e p an for dea ng w th the prob ems ch dren typ ca y have when earn ng to read. “We want to c ose the gap before t s rea y even there,” sa d Kanas, super ntendent of Va ey Stream Un on Free Schoo D str ct 30. Her Long Is and d str ct was honored for ts read ng ntervent on program, ca ed “A St tch n T me,” at Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on s 71st Annua Conference n San Franc sco th s month. The 1,400 student d str ct, wh ch nc udes on y e ementary schoo s, earned f rst p ace and $4,000 n the annua Magna Awards compet t on n the under 5,000-student category. The contest s sponsored by the Amer can Schoo Board Journa and Sodexo.

School promotes awareness, action on human rights issues On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter “We a have th s moment n our ves when we are compe ed to act,” accord ng to Mary Staudt, an Eng sh Language Arts teacher n the Byram H s Centra Schoo D str ct n Westchester County. That moment came for Staudt n October 2006. The front-page art c e n The New York T mes carr ed the head ne: “Afr ca s Wor d of Forced Labor, n a 6-Year-O d s Eyes.” Moved by the gr m story of Mark Kwadwo s fe padd ng a eaky canoe and hau ng f sh ng nets on Ghana s Lake Vo ta, Staudt sought out a co eague, soc a stud es teacher She a St. Onge.

Commissioner warns districts to adhere to law limiting retention of budget surpluses On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse In a pa r of recent dec s ons, the comm ss oner of educat on ordered two schoo boards to ensure they fu y comp y w th a state aw m t ng retent on of surp us funds to 4 percent of the budget for the upcom ng schoo year. In both cases, boards had reta ned more than the statutor y perm tted 4 percent. In one case, Appea of Wo f ey and McCau ey, the pet t oners sought remova of the board of educat on, wh ch the comm ss oner d sm ssed on techn ca grounds. The awsu t d d not name the nd v dua board members, and ega not ce was not served upon them nd v dua y, as requ red by Educat on Law and regu at ons. The comm ss oner d d not address the mer ts of th s aspect of the appea .

Bullying: The problem that doesn’t go away On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Dana Smith Area 6 D rector Is bu y ng a prob em n our schoo s? Of course, the answer s yes. Somet mes t eads to su c des or awsu ts, and that ends up mak ng head nes. More common y, bu y ng coasts under the radar of adu ts n the form of soc a ostrac z ng, taunt ng and catty post ngs on the Internet. As schoo eaders, what have we been do ng about th s prob em? Let s see. Assemb es have been he d, profess ona deve opment opportun t es have been prov ded and many board members have attended workshops ke the ones that NYSSBA has offered on po cy mp cat ons of cyberbu y ng. The Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on has offered workshops at the nat ona convent ons. Peer counse ors have been tra ned. Schoo po c es have been wr tten and rewr tten.

Plattsburgh grad joins NYSSBA team On Board Online • April 25, 2011

Kat e V mann has o ned NYSSBA as a member of the market ng and educat on expo team. Her respons b t es nc ude be ng d str cts contact for emp oyment advert s ng n On Board and on NYSSBA s webs te. V mann graduated from SUNY P attsburgh w th a bache or s degree n market ng. Her exper ence nc udes nternsh ps w th the P attsburgh Pub c Broadcast ng Stat on, Pr meL nk, and Chartwe s. She was v ce pres dent of programm ng for her co ege market ng c ub, as we as a member of the Nat ona Honor Soc ety n Market ng.

Young board member is Wikipedia guru On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter W k ped a s a d rty word n many c assrooms because teachers don t want students to use the pub c y created on ne encyc oped a as a pr mary source. But f Matthew Wade has h s way, h gh schoo students wou d be on W k ped a a the t me – as authors. “Twenty-f rst Century sk s s a buzz phrase heard constant y by board members,” Wade noted. “What cou d be more 21st century than wr t ng scho ar y work for an on ne encyc oped a?” A 25-year-o d eng neer who works for an A bany-area defense contractor, Wade was e ected to the Brunsw ck/Br ttonk schoo board n Rensse aer County n 2008, ust two days after rece v ng h s undergraduate degree from George Wash ngton Un vers ty. He had ma ed campa gn s gns to a buddy back home, and they used Goog e Street V ew to dec de where to p ace them.

What ‘emergency’ justifies pesticide use despite ban? Boards must decide On Board Online • April 25, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A though a new aw bans schoo d str cts and BOCES from app y ng pest c des to ath et c f e ds and p aygrounds ( nc ud ng p ayground equ pment) beg nn ng May 18, schoo boards are empowered to author ze app cat ons of pest c des n case of emergency. The aw, does not def ne an emergency, but the state Department of Env ronmenta Conservat on (DEC) has ssued a gu dance document. Rather than exp c t y def n ng what an emergency s, the DEC gu dance out nes three s tuat ons wh ch genera y do not warrant an emergency pest c de app cat on: When the prob em can be managed w th the a owed products and/or a ternat ve pest management methods. For rout ne or repet t ve pest prob ems (pest prob ems wh ch occur on a rout ne or seasona bas s do not usua y r se to the eve of emergency). When the pest c de app cat on wou d be for pure y aesthet c reasons.

ADVOCACY ALERT - HEADS UP Apr 19, 2011 END OF SESSION ISSUES LOOM LARGE FOR SCHOOLS SENATOR SCHUMER INTRODUCES NYSSBA BILL L nk to: Informat on on NYSSBA s Rura Schoo s Summ t L nk to: State Budget Web nar Quest ons and Answers

Expectations dim for APPR debut On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator A though a state aw requ res schoo d str cts to put nto p ace a new teacher and pr nc pa eva uat on system next schoo year, proper y mp ement ng the system by September s a ong shot, accord ng to a state report. In deta ng the deve opment of a statew de annua profess ona performance rev ew (APPR) system, the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Pr nc pa Effect veness ssued a 114-page report ast week that sa d oca schoo d str cts ack the wherew tha to comp ete many requ red tasks. Factors nc ude costs, comp ex ty and the requ rement that many deta s be co ect ve y barga ned w th emp oyees.

Buffalo taxpayers save $100 million in salary ‘step’ case decision On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Jay Worona Genera Counse Accept ng arguments made by the C ty of Buffa o and NYSSBA, the state s h ghest court has ru ed that a mu t -year, c tyw de wage freeze n Buffa o ha ted “step” ncreases n teachers sa ar es. “Th s s a very mportant day for the taxpayers of Buffa o,” sa d R. N s O sen Jr., cha rman of a state-created f nanc a contro board that mposed the freeze. “Th s ru ng w save taxpayers over $100 m on,” he to d the Buffa o News. “Th s case represents a b g w n for a schoo d str cts n the state that may, sad y, f nd themse ves n the same pos t on of Buffa o,” sa d NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson, who s a member of the Buffa o schoo board.

As funding dwindles, mission remains On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Part of be ng a schoo board member s keep ng up on news to better understand the wor d that we are prepar ng our students to enter. What I ve been read ng ate y rem nds me that the 21st century depends a great dea on h gh y- tra ned eng neers and other spec a sts who have a strong foundat on n math and sc ence, as we as the cr t ca th nk ng sk s to app y th s know edge n ways that w benef t human ty. Recent head nes:

Grumbles greet new state budget On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Schoo off c a s have found tt e to ke n Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Leg s ature s new $132.5 b schoo a d by $1.3 b on.

on state budget, wh ch s ashes

“An outrage,” sa d New York C ty Mayor M chae B oomberg. Rochester Schoo s Super ntendent Jean-C aude Br zard sa d, “It s go ng to be devastat ng.”

Cuomo yet to warm to mandate relief On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Gov. Andrew Cuomo has an amb t ous post-budget eg s at ve agenda that nc udes perm tt ng gay marr ages and adopt ng sweep ng eth cs reform eg s at on cover ng pub c off c a s. But, to the d sappo ntment of eg s ators and groups nc ud ng NYSSBA, he has yet to endorse a comprehens ve package of mandate re ef. To f the gap, NYSSBA s prepar ng a set of eg s at ve proposa s ca ed the Management Team P aybook, accord ng to Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer.

Why board members should oppose the superintendent salary cap On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Robert Reidy Execut ve D rector, New York State Counc of Schoo Super ntendents Gov. Andrew Cuomo s proposa to cap super ntendent sa ar es shou d ra se the re of schoo board members across the state. Not on y wou d t weaken profess ona eadersh p n schoo d str cts at the t me when strong eaders are needed most, t asserts that schoo boards cannot be trusted to dec de how to compensate the r ch ef adm n strators. It prescr bes a s ng e set of ru es to be fo owed by every d str ct, everywhere n the state.

Prevailing wages in New York: Are we being overcharged? On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By John Faso Each year, schoo d str cts, oca governments and the state government spend hundreds of m ons of do ars (and somet mes b ons) on construct on pro ects. Part of the cost s pay ng “preva ng wages” for abor, n accordance w th a state aw ntended to prevent contractors from ga n ng a compet t ve advantage by pay ng workers ess on government pro ects. But there s a prob em. The “preva ng” wages taxpayers pay are far more generous than what preva s n the marketp ace.

Do you know the rules of trust? On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Darci D’Ercole-McGinn Leadersh p Deve opment Manager When I am ca ed to conduct a retreat w th a board and super ntendent, the f rst th ng I ook for s the eve of trust among board members and between the board and super ntendent. Trust s the most mportant e ement of a good operat ng team. L ke a we -o ed mach ne, a th ngs run more smooth y on the board when trust s n good supp y. In t mes of stress, an absence of trust eads to a k nds of behav ors that underm ne good governance – grandstand ng, eak ng nformat on, sn p ng and obstruct on sm. Such behav or su es the reputat on of the board and schoo boards n genera .

8 characteristics of school board effectiveness On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst The connect on between qua ty teachers and student ach evement has ong been estab shed. But what about the nk between schoo boards and student ach evement? That connect on has been harder to prove. However, research s mak ng t ncreas ng y c ear that schoo boards n h gh-ach ev ng d str cts exh b t character st cs that are marked y d fferent from boards n ow-ach ev ng d str cts. D fferences n these character st cs are ev dent when compar ng h gh- and ow-perform ng d str cts w th s m ar eve s of poverty and d sadvantage.

Use of school health center use linked to dropout rate On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst H gh schoo students who used schoo -based hea th centers (SBHC) were ess ke y to drop out or de ay dropp ng out than the r c assmates that d d not use them, accord ng to a new study that appears n the March ssue of Arch ves of Ped atr cs and Ado escent Med c ne.

Late-hired teachers more likely to leave school, profession On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Teachers h red after the beg nn ng of the schoo year were tw ce as ke y to eave the teach ng profess on as the r peers who were h red before the schoo year began, accord ng to a statew de study of teachers n M ch gan. Late h res were a so ess ke y to rema n n the r or g na schoo after one year. The study by researchers from M ch gan State Un vers ty and Northwestern Un vers ty s be eved to be the f rst study to connect teacher turnover to the t m ng of teachers h r ng.

NYSSBA member survey begins April 18 On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Beg nn ng Apr 18, NYSSBA w conduct a survey of ts membersh p. Ema nv tat ons w th a nk to the on ne survey w be sent to board members, super ntendents and d str ct c erks. Hard copy vers ons of the survey w be ma ed to those for whom NYSSBA acks e-ma addresses.

NYSSBA hosts free event for rural schools On Board Online • April 11, 2011

Representat ves of rura schoo s are nv ted to v s t NYSSBA headquarters n Latham May 3 for a free tra n ng sess on on rura schoo ssues. Presenters w nc ude:

Attention, technology helps at-risk students stay in school On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator W th today s accountab ty standards, d sengaged students drag a schoo s numbers down and dropouts can he p schoo rat ngs mprove. In th s c mate, how much energy shou d schoo s nvest to keep prob em students n schoo and persuade dropouts to return?

Committee on Open Government issues model rules for recording gov’t meetings On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse Effect ve Apr 1, the state Open Meet ngs Law requ res any meet ng of a pub c body, nc ud ng schoo boards, “be open to be ng photographed, broadcast, webcast or otherw se recorded/transm tted by aud o or v deo means.” As part of that aw, pub c bod es may adopt ru es address ng the ocat on of equ pment and personne to carry out the record ng of meet ngs cons stent w th recommendat ons from the comm ttee on open government. Be ow are mode ru es deve oped by the state Comm ttee on Open Government, wh ch s author zed by state aw to oversee and adv se governmenta bod es and the pub c w th regard to the Freedom of Informat on, Open Meet ngs and Persona Pr vacy Protect on Laws.

14-year-old felony conviction deemed irrelevant in hiring On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse New York s h ghest court has ru ed that a schoo d str ct acted arb trar y when t refused to grant emp oyment c earance to an ndependent contractor s adm n strat ve ass stant who was conv cted of four counts of robbery at age 17, more than 14 years ago.

Join the discussion in pursuit of reform On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By David Steiner Comm ss oner of Educat on It has been an eventfu few weeks n A bany w th the adopt on of the 2011-12 budget, the mm nent re ease of the Regents Task Force on Teacher Leader Eva uat on and our cont nu ng work on mandate reform for schoo d str cts. The budget enacted by the governor and the Leg s ature w prov de for some $270 m on n restorat ons n schoo a d. I am we aware of the great f sca d ff cu t es the state faces and deep y concerned about the mp cat ons for schoo d str cts of what now appears to be a $1.3 b on reduct on n schoo a d over current year eve s.

Mandate relief: No shortage of ideas On Board Online • April 11, 2011

David Steiner Comm ss oner of Educat on As the state works ts way out of f sca d ff cu t es, the Board of Regents and the State Educat on Department are ma nta n ng a susta ned focus on a number of mandate re ef measures that f enacted, cou d prov de add t ona re ef on the cost s de. Examp es nc ude:

Little-known government surplus program strikes right note for district’s music dept On Board Online • April 11, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter When Kath een Kopask e, a sen or n the Rensse aer C ty Schoo D str ct, began to p ay the t ng theme mus c of the mov e Pear Harbor on her h gh schoo s Ste nway, crysta c ear notes f ed the schoo s vast aud tor um. Before she p ayed th s p ano, she sa d, “I had never heard essent a y c ean sound.” The concert grand, made n 1994, s cons dered an except ona nstrument, and s va ued at $80,000. The pr ce the d str ct pa d for the p ano ate ast year was mus c to the ears of B Lyons, the d str ct s bus ness execut ve – t was ust $2,500.

The 2011 Distinguished Service Award Seeking the best of the bestWe re ook ng for an exemplary school board member who has made outstand ng contr but ons to pub c educat on. Know someone who f ts the b ? Then nom nate that person for NYSSBA s prest g ous Everett R. Dyer Distinguished Service Award for School Board Service.

ADVOCACY ALERT - FINAL BUDGET AND STATE AID RUNS March 31, 2011 ON TIME STATE BUDGET BRINGS – PAINFUL, PREDICTABLE AID – PREVENTED COST SHIFTS – PRESERVED FUNDING STREAMS L nk to: NYSSBA s ana ys s of the state budget agreement L nk to: Your d str ct s state a d run NYSSBA REACTION – THE REAL BATTLE HAS JUST BEGUN From NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy Kremer REACTIONS OF STATE LEADERS Governor Andrew Cuomo Assemb y Speaker She don S ver Senate M nor ty Leader John Sampson Assemb y M nor ty Leader Br an Ko b State Comptro er Thomas D Napo

Statement from NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer State budget agreement FOR RELEASE: March 28, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce There s no s ver n ng for schoo s n th s year s state budget. Even w th a restorat on of $272 m budget cut of $1.2 b on – one of the argest n state h story.

on, schoo s w st exper ence a

To be sure, an on-t me state budget w he p schoo d str cts p an the r own budgets. But that s where the good news ends. The cut w present ser ous f nanc a cha enges n many schoo d str cts. In the com ng weeks, schoo boards w make the tough but necessary cuts to the r own oca budgets.

ADVOCACY ALERT - STATE BUDGET AGREEMENT March 28, 2011 STATE BUDGET PROVIDES - TIMELINESS – PREDICTABILITY – PAIN NYSSBA STATEMENT NYSSBA BUDGET ANALYSIS

Survey: State aid cuts to force teacher layoffs, school closures and tax increases FOR RELEASE: March 23, 2011 CONTACT: Br an Butry (518) 783-3723 or (518) 522-6249 ce Barbara Brad ey (518) 783-3719 or (518) 312-9448 ce Schoo d str cts w have to ay off more staff, ncrease c ass s zes, ra se taxes and reduce e ect ve courses and, n some nstances, c ose bu d ngs next year f Gov. Andrew Cuomo s state schoo a d cuts are enacted, accord ng to a New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on survey of pub c schoo super ntendents. And that s after they use reserve funds and rema n ng federa obs money to he p offset the $1.5 b on cut n state a d proposed by the governor. “For weeks we have been hear ng about what w happen and who s to b ame, much of t overheated rhetor c and some of t downr ght m s ead ng,” sa d NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer n re eas ng the survey. “We fe t t was t me to ook at the co d, hard facts – what are schoo eaders actua y p ann ng to do f Gov. Cuomo s proposed a d cuts are adopted. It s gr m news. But, t s someth ng New Yorkers need to know before awmakers and the governor comp ete work on a new budget. Cutt ng the state budget has a dramat c negat ve mpact on oca schoo d str cts.”

Senate, Assembly vote to restore some school aid On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The state Senate and Assemb y both have voted to restore a sma port on of the $1.5 b as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo s $132.5 b on state budget proposa .

on reduct on n state a d to schoo s ca ed for

In separate budget reso ut ons adopted on March 15, the Senate s Repub can ma or ty voted to add back $280 m wh e the Assemb y s Democrat c ma or ty opted for a $200 m on restorat on.

on n schoo a d

Both houses a so voted to re ect much of the governor s p an to sh ft costs to schoo d str cts for such th ngs as summer schoo for spec a educat on students. The two chambers a so re ected the governor s p an to cut d rect state fund ng for spec a schoo s that serve the deaf, b nd and phys ca y d sab ed.

Comptroller DiNapoli: NYS school districts are facing up to fiscal realities On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Schoo d str cts n New York State are square y fac ng the f sca rea t es and mak ng tough cho ces, accord ng to State Comptro er Thomas D Napo . Genera fund expend tures dec ned n 33 percent of New York s schoo d str cts n 2010, the comptro er sa d at NYSSBA s State Issues Conference March 14. From 2008 to 2010, there was a s x-fo d ncrease n the number of d str cts reduc ng the r spend ng, accord ng to a research report he re eased at the event. “Th s not on that we somet mes read about that schoo d str cts are not respond ng to the rea t es of today – and not mak ng some of the tough cho ces that New York fam es are mak ng – our report nd cates very def n t ve y that schoo d str cts have reordered pr or t es and have been work ng on cost sav ngs,” D Napo sa d. Schoo boards are dea ng w th c rcumstances arge y beyond the r contro , he added.

A four-ring circus On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Timothy Kremer Execut ve D rector I ust returned from NYSSBA s annua State Issues Conference, where 339 schoo board members and adm n strators spent two days catch ng up on news from the state Cap ta and obby ng the r awmakers for state a d and mandate re ef. Sett ng the agenda for our meet ngs w th eg s ators was more d ff cu t than usua . There are so many ba s up n the a r r ght now n A bany, everyone fee s ke c rcus ugg ers. We come to the B g Top! A though A bany has prev ous y been compared to a three-r ng c rcus, th s year t s a four-r ng c rcus.

Three new members join Regents On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Lawmakers n A bany e ected three new members to the Board of Regents ear er th s month, nc ud ng James Cottre , an anesthes o og st who becomes the pane s f rst open y gay member. Dur ng a o nt sess on of the Assemb y and Senate, Kath een Cash n, and James Jackson were a so named members of the board. Each w serve f ve-year terms. “I am p eased that Dr. Cottre has been e ected a member of the Board of Regents,” sa d Sen. Thomas Duane, the f rst open y gay member of the New York State Leg s ature. “As an open y gay man, I know he w make t a m ss on to ensure that our esb an, gay and transgender students have a vo ce n the Board of Regents.” Cottre w serve as a Regent at- arge. He w rep ace Sau Cohen, who stepped down from the board after serv ng for more than 17 years.

No tax cap without mandate relief, Senate Ed chairman Flanagan says On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Dec ar ng the Cuomo adm n strat on s n t a effort at mandate re ef “abso ute y use ess,” the new cha rman of the state Senate s Educat on Comm ttee sa d the governor needs to get ser ous about the ssue f he wants h s coveted property tax cap to become aw. “I want to be very, very c ear – the members of our (Repub can) conference be eve that f there s go ng to be any type of property tax cap, that mandate re ef has to abso ute y go hand n hand w th t,” Sen. John F anagan, a Long Is and Repub can, to d more than 300 attendees at NYSSBA s 2011 State Issues Conference n A bany on March 14.

TRS: A sustainable public pension model On Board Online • March 21, 2011

Ed tor s Note: NYSSBA supports the creat on of ret rement opt ons beyond def ned benef t p ans. Be ow, another v ew. By R. Michael Kraus Board Pres dent, New York Staten Teachers Ret rement System The ong-term v ab ty of def ned benef t pens on p ans ke those adm n stered by the New York State Teachers Ret rement System (TRS) has come under much scrut ny of ate. The cost to taxpayers for fund ng pub c pens on benef ts has a so been quest oned.

Alternatives to LIFO On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Philip S. Cicero Faced w th reduct ons n state a d, many schoo boards w be forced to e m nate teach ng pos t ons th s year. W th compensat on for teachers represent ng about 70 percent of d str cts budgets, teacher ayoffs can be the on y way to rea ze deep and mmed ate sav ngs needed to ba ance budgets. New York s among 14 states where sen or ty s the most mportant factor n ayoff dec s ons Th s ast- n, f rst-out (LIFO) approach tends to max m ze the number of peop e a d off because h gh-exper ence, h gh-wage emp oyees are usua y spared wh e a arger number of newer, ower-pa d teachers are et go. LIFO and other w de y used approaches to schoo staff ng are based on some commonsense assumpt ons that turn out not to be true. The f rst s that the most exper enced teachers are the best ones. A body of research conc udes that teachers n the r th rd year of teach ng are genera y as effect ve as ong-tenured teachers.

How safe is your district’s computer network? On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By John Carroll Leadersh p Deve opment Manager Accord ng to aud ts by the Off ce of the State Comptro er, about 40 percent of schoo d str cts statew de had f nd ngs re ated to nformat on techno ogy (IT) contro s. Common prob ems nc uded secur ty of f nanc a data, over y broad access to student and emp oyee records and absence of po c es and procedures spec f c to IT contro s. IT secur ty has been one of the top f ve ssues dent f ed by the comptro er s off ce every year s nce 2007, a ong w th weaknesses n the c a ms aud t funct on and payro def c enc es. Future aud ts w pay spec a attent on to the des gn of IT contro s. As n the past, these aud ts are expected to assess the adequacy of schoo po c es and nterna contro s, as we as the overs ght ro e of the board of educat on. To ca attent on to the ssue, NYSSBA partnered w th the App ed Techno ogy Un t at the Off ce of the State Comptro er to offer a oneday sem nar, “Safeguard ng Your Schoo s Informat on Techno ogy” n Latham on March 18. The same sem nar w be offered n three other ocat ons throughout the state n Apr .

Fuschillo: Let’s limit salaries of all school administrators On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef Sen. Char es Fusch o Jr., a Repub can from Long Is and, kes Gov. Cuomo s proposa to m t the sa ar es of schoo super ntendents but th nks t does not go far enough. Fusch o has authored a b that wou d m t the sa ar es of a schoo adm n strators, nc ud ng deputy super ntendents, pr nc pa s, ass stant pr nc pa s, coord nators and “any other pos t on of an adm n strat ve nature.”

School district needs no local ok to destroy historic building On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A schoo d str ct s “ak n to a state agency” w th regard to any h stor c andmarks on ts property, an ntermed ate appe ate court has ru ed n a case of f rst mpress on. In Ithaca C ty Schoo D str ct v. C ty of Ithaca, et a ., a d spute arose regard ng the d str ct s des re to demo sh a former coa gas manufactur ng p ant on ts property that s c ass f ed by the state Department of Env ronmenta Conservat on as a hazardous waste s te that presents a s gn f cant threat to the pub c hea th or env ronment and n need of remed a act on.

Big hole in bus circle leads to lawsuit On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fannif Assoc ate Counse A 16-year-o d student who was n ured dur ng a game of touch footba when he fe nto a ho e approx mate y one foot n d ameter and depth may proceed w th h s awsu t aga nst the schoo d str ct. In S mmons v. Saugert es Centra Schoo D str ct, the Appe ate D v s on of New York State Supreme Court, Th rd Department, refused to d sm ss the comp a nt am d quest ons about the adequacy of the d str ct s superv s on.

School district must go to trial over liability for student’s stabbing On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A student stabbed n the eg by another student after a ser es of a tercat ons between two g r s may proceed to tr a over whether the schoo d str ct s ab e for the n ur es she susta ned. There were three a tercat ons between the two students pr or to the stabb ng at ssue n Wa ey v. B v ns and Onondaga Centra Schoo D str ct. The f rst occurred two weeks ear er when a teacher restra ned B v ns after a verba argument between the g r s.

Court rules arbitrator exceeded authority On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse A schoo d str ct has successfu y cha enged an arb trator s determ nat on that an emp oyee s gr evance was sub ect to arb trat on under the part es co ect ve barga n ng agreement (CBA). In Matter of Massena CSD and Massena Confederated Schoo Emp oyees Assoc at on, the Appe ate D v s on of state Supreme Court, Th rd Department, noted that a party to a CBA cannot be compe ed to arb trate un ess there s express, d rect and unequ voca agreement to do so. The case nvo ved an emp oyee who was absent for 11 months due to a work-re ated n ury. The d str ct ater determ ned that dur ng part of h s absence, hea th nsurance payments were made n error and demanded re mbursement. The un on f ed a gr evance and demanded arb trat on of the d spute.

Special education changes: The good, the bad and the ugly On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Perenn a schoo d str ct budget woes have been compounded by the ever-r s ng cost of spec a educat on. Wh e many forms of spec a educat on ob gat ons are mandated by the U.S. Ind v dua s w th D sab t es n Educat on Act (IDEA) and ts mp ement ng regu at ons, others are requ red by state aw and regu at ons of the comm ss oner of educat on. Recent y, the Board of Regents has a tered some state regu at ons to prov de spec a educat on mandate re ef. However, these changes have ed to m xed resu ts for schoo d str cts. From our perspect ve, these recent efforts to prov de spec a educat on mandate re ef and other regu atory changes fa nto three categor es: the good, the bad and the ug y.

NYS students - past and present - were stars on Oscar night On Board Online • March 21, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter New York pub c schoo students, past and present, sto e the show at th s year s “Oscars” awards ceremony. The 83rd annua Academy Awards show c osed w th 64 f fth-graders from PS 22 on Staten Is and s gn ng “Somewhere Over the Ra nbow.”

Statement on Senate and Assembly budget proposals NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer FOR RELEASE: March 15, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Schoo boards app aud the state Senate and Assemb y for putt ng New York s pub c schoo students atop the r st of fund ng pr or t es. In separate budget proposa s, both houses restored funds for educat on and re ected harmfu cost sh fts proposed by the governor. However, even w th the proposed state a d restorat ons, schoo s are st eft to grapp e w th a ma or fund ng cut.

ADVOCACY ALERT - STATE BUDGET UPDATE March 15, 2011

STATE ISSUES CONFERENCE L nk to: Comptro er s Report L nk to: Fu text of Dave L tt e s address to the State Issues Conference LEGISLATURE RELEASES BUDGET BILLS NYSSBA ANALYSIS LET S REACH OUT TO OUR NEIGHBORS!

DiLallo honored at School Boards conference FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 11, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Gary D La o, a member of the Shenendehowa and Cap ta Reg on BOCES schoo boards, has been named the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on s Advocate of the Year for h s ded cat on to pub c educat on and t re ess work on beha f of students. The award w be presented dur ng the Assoc at on s annua State Issues Conference at the Crowne P aza Hote n A bany on Sunday, March 13. D La o s the former pres dent of the Shenendehowa board and the past pres dent of the Saratoga County Schoo Board Assoc at on.

Nelson, former board member, honored by NYSSBA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 11, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Lor Ne son, the former v ce pres dent of the Byron-Bergen schoo board, has been posthumous y honored w th a fet me advocacy ach evement award by the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on. The award w be presented to Ne son s fam y dur ng the Assoc at on s annua State Issues Conference at the Crowne P aza Hote n A bany on Sunday, March 13.

Nassau BOCES honored by NYSSBA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 11, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The Nassau BOCES schoo board w rece ve the 2011 Board Advocacy Award from the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on. The award w be presented dur ng the Assoc at on s annua State Issues Conference at the Crowne P aza Hote n A bany on Sunday, March 13. The n ne-member board, wh ch s e ected by Nassau County s 56 oca schoo d str cts, cons sts of: Stephen W tt, pres dent; Er c Schu tz, v ce pres dent; Susan Bergtraum, d str ct c erk; M chae We n ck, v ce d str ct c erk; and trustees Deborah Coates, Rona d E erbe, Mart n Kaye, Ga e Ross-Sru ev ch and Robert “BA” Schoen.

ADVOCACY ALERT - STATE ISSUES CONFERENCE SETS HIGH MARK March 8 , 2011

ADVOCACY ALERT – RELIEF AT LAST? STATE ISSUES CONFERENCE HIGH MARK MOVEMENT ON MANDATE RELIEF L nk For A Comp ete Descr pt on Of The Regents Mandate Re ef P ans GOVERNOR CUOMO SIGNS EDUCATION CLEAN UP BILL LAURA MANN TAKES NEW POST

Critics attack Cuomo’s fiscal approach On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter March came n ke a on for Gov. Andrew Cuomo as muff ed cr t c sm turned nto a roar. On March 1, the state Assemb y s powerfu ma or ty dec ared tse f n open rebe on over fe ow Democrat Cuomo s p an to s ash $1.5 b on n schoo a d wh e g v ng wea thy New Yorkers a mu t -b on do ar tax cut. The act on came on the hee s of a te ev s on advert s ng campa gn by New York State Un ted Teachers that ca s for the cont nuat on of the state s two-year-o d ncome tax surcharge on New Yorkers mak ng more than $200,000 a year as a way to ma nta n educat on spend ng.

School chief resents Cuomo budget plan On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Wh e Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expressed the v ew that schoo d str cts are spendthr fts who need to earn to econom ze, T conderoga Super ntendent John McDona d begs to d ffer. Last year, the 850-student d str ct at the top of Lake George faced a state a d cut of $450,000. But w th he p from the oca teachers and other emp oyees, McDona d managed to w n voter approva – on the second try – of an $18.1 m on budget that e m nated e ght obs through attr t on and avo ded ayoffs. A ot of sacr f ce was nvo ved. Teachers gave back a ha f percent of a schedu ed 4 percent ra se and went a ong w th a freeze n st pends pa d to coaches and extracurr cu ar adv sers. That brought $50,000 n sav ngs. Teachers a so agreed to sw tch hea th nsurance p ans to save another $150,000.

Cuomo proposes supt salary caps On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator In a move that w reported y save $15 m sa ar es based on d str ct enro ment.

on statew de, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed eg s at on to cap schoo super ntendent

W th a cap a ready n p ace for BOCES super ntendents, Cuomo has subm tted a program b that wou d create a s x-t er sa ary structure based on student enro ment that wou d pay schoo ch efs a m n mum of $125,000 and a max mum of $175,000, w th New York C ty exempted.

How much is a great leader worth? On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Gov. Andrew Cuomo s proposed super ntendent sa ary cap wou d underm ne oca contro and depr ve our commun t es of the best ava ab e ta ent. Wh e schoo boards have gotten used to be ng asked to do more w th ess, we depend on these coo -headed profess ona s to f nd ways to do what seems mposs b e. Our super ntendents put up w th end ess headaches and cha enges – from parents, staff and, yes, even us schoo board members.

NYSSBA offers 4-point plan in letter to Gov. Cuomo On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator In response to an open etter Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent to New Yorkers, NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson and Execut ve D rector T mothy Kremer are ca ng for a more sens b e approach to dea ng w th th s year s budget cr s s. NYSSBA s Four-Po nt P an focuses on reform ng the Tr borough Amendment, e m nat ng cost y mandates, mp ement ng a statew de mandatory m n mum hea th care contr but on and f x ng the schoo a d formu a.

Starting an honest conversation about college-readiness On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Merryl Tisch Chance or, Board of Regents Pass ng New York s Regents exams and rece v ng a h gh schoo d p oma are supposed to nd cate that a graduat ng sen or s ready for co ege. Today, unfortunate y, they do not. We need to f x th s. The sk s requ red of h gh schoo graduates have changed. Today the vast ma or ty of the fastest grow ng profess ons requ re post-h gh schoo educat on, so the d st nct on between be ng co ege-ready and career-ready has a but d sappeared. We have been ook ng at our Regents exams n ght of th s to ensure a of our students are meet ng the bar. The task w not be easy. In February the State Educat on Department re eased new data exam n ng the corre at on between performance on the Regents exams and a student s performance n the r f rst year of h gher educat on, and the resu ts were shock ng.

Career studies seen as valuable for students in elementary grades On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst “Paws In Job and” may sound ke a wh ms ca ch dren s fa ry ta e. But t s actua y a program mp emented n a e ementary schoo s n the Lake Shore Centra Schoo D str ct to he p st mu ate nterest n careers. A package of software and re ated act v t es g ve th rd- and fourth-graders an ntroduct on to 100 d fferent obs. The d str ct has 12 counse ors, nc ud ng a fu -t me counse or at each e ementary schoo bu d ng, wh ch s not mandatory n New York.

Guidance counselors as leaders On Board Online • March 7, 2011

Own the Turf s a nat ona advocacy campa gn that asks schoo gu dance counse ors to take the ead n estab sh ng a co ege-go ng cu ture n the r schoo s, d str cts and commun t es. Created by the Co ege Board s Nat ona Off ce for Schoo Counse or Advocacy. t ca s on schoo counse ors to ensure that the r schoo s offer:

NAEP, Common Core Standards poorly aligned On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst The nat onw de assessment regarded as the “Nat on s Report Card” s poor y a gned w th the nat on s new y adopted common nat ona standards and needs rev s on, accord ng to a study from the Brook ngs Inst tut on.

Child obesity tied to less sleep On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst A new study f nds that ch dren who get more regu ar s eep are ess ke y to be obese. Researchers at the Un vers ty of Ch cago and the Un vers ty of Lou sv e tracked the s eep t me of 308 ch dren from four to 10 years o d for a week us ng wr st mon tors. They a so ca cu ated the k ds body mass ndex, a standard measurement based on we ght and he ght and d d b ood work to measure g ucose and nsu n eve s n some ch dren.

Propane-fueled buses winning converts On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter One of the f rst th ngs you not ce when Wayne Ak n, Hoos c Va ey Centra Schoo D str ct s transportat on d rector, f res up one of h s d str ct s new propane-fue ed buses s how qu et t s. “The k ds do not ce t,” sa d Ak n. “They re not try ng to ta k over the bus no se. Go ng down the road at 50 (m es per hour), you have a most no motor no se.” And n recent co d weather, the buses were mpress ve. “At 22 be ow (zero), they started r ght up,” Ak n sa d. D ese eng nes usua y requ re b ock heaters n rea y co d weather.

Orange County district tries eBay for surplus property sales On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Jeanne DeLong s, the purchas ng agent for the Wash ngtonv e Centra Schoo D str ct, sa d that when she tr ed to se f ve surp us Phones “the o d-fash oned way,” she was offered $5 for each one. Then, DeLong s turned to eBay.

New record-keeping requirements for non-teachers in effect on April 9 On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse New record-keep ng requ rements for nd v dua s emp oyed n non-teach ng capac t es by schoo d str cts and BOCES go nto effect Apr 9. The Wage Theft Prevent on Act, an amendment to New York s Labor Law, requ res that schoo d str cts and BOCES estab sh, ma nta n and preserve for s x years “payro records show ng for each week worked” by a non-teach ng emp oyee, a ong w th nformat on on the r “rate of pay and bas s thereof, whether pa d by the hour, sh ft, day, week, sa ary” or other bas s. The emp oyer must a so document the emp oyee s gross wages, deduct ons, a owances c a med as part of the m n mum wage, and net wages, as we as any other nformat on the comm ss oner of abor m ght request.

Law requires new language on absentee ballots On Board Online • March 7, 2011

The Leg s ature has rev sed the statement that must appear on the reverse s de of absentee ba ot enve opes. The rev sed anguage went nto effect on June 22, 2010. Absentee ba ots used n the upcom ng schoo board e ect on and budget vote must ref ect the changes cod f ed n Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2010 (Part LL, Sect ons 8 and 9).

Absentee ballot properly denied On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse As a genera ru e, qua f ed voters of a schoo d str ct may vote by absentee ba ot at a schoo d str ct e ect on or budget vote f they are unab e to vote n person because, for examp e, they are or are trave ng for emp oyment or bus ness reasons. Pursuant to the Educat on Law, one of the factors cons dered n determ n ng whether someone s a qua f ed voter who may be ent t ed to vote by absentee ba ot s whether the person app y ng for such a ba ot s a res dent of the schoo d str ct. In th s respect, a person s res dency refers to the p ace he or she ntends to have as h s or her permanent res dence.

Reflections on 27 years of service On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Delores Ackerman Area 3 D rector After 27 years, th s s my f na year of schoo board serv ce. As I ook back, I can t be eve t has been that ong. It puts me n a contemp at ve mood. What have we accomp shed? What haven t we accomp shed? These are quest ons schoo board members shou d ask themse ves from t me to t me, regard ess of how ong they have served.

In the Southern Tier, a BOCES thinks through hydrofracking On Board Online • March 7, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Much of the d scuss on about gas dr ng n New York has concerned what wou d happen underground. For the De aware-ChenangoMad son-Otsego BOCES, the concern has been about what m ght happen above ground. “The potent a for obs s huge n th s area,” accord ng to Stephen Perr n, DCMO BOCES s d rector of career and techn ca educat on. A though the techn ca obs at dr ng and operat ng gas we s wou d ke y be f ed w th out-of-state workers, Perr n has stud ed commun t es n p aces ke Pennsy van a and West V rg n a and conc uded that there w be p enty of obs to go around – as ong as there s a tra ned workforce.

ADVOCACY ALERT - WHAT S IT WORTH TO YOU? March 3, 2011

THE LARGEST EDUCATION AID CUT IN NEW YORK STATE HISTORY! PERMANENT LOSS OF BOCES AND BUILDING AID! SUPERINTENDENT SALARY CAP LEGISLATION! SPECIAL ED COST SHIFTS TO LOCAL DISTRICTS! TAX CAP! STATE ISSUES CONFERENCE L nk for: Reg strat on nformat on TAX CAP RESOLUTIONS NEEDED L nk to: Tax Cap Oppos t on Reso ut on IF YOU THROW ENOUGH AGAINST THE WALL

Copy of NYSSBA letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo FOR RELEASE: February 25, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The Honorab e Andrew Cuomo New York State Governor Execut ve Chamber, State Cap to A bany, NY 12224 Dear Governor Cuomo: We are wr t ng n response to your February 16 etter to fe ow New Yorkers on educat on reform. We agree that New Yorkers e ected you to be the r vo ce n A bany and to make tough dec s ons; t s a so true that New Yorkers e ected 5,000 schoo board members around the state to be the vo ce of the r schoo d str cts. Few ssues are as cr t ca to the future of our state as fundamenta y reform ng our educat on system. We are prepared to work c ose y w th you to make the necessary changes so schoo s can prov de a h gh qua ty educat on at the owest poss b e cost.

ADVOCACY ALERT - NYSSBA s FOUR-POINT-PLAN / LETTER TO GOVERNOR CUMO February 24, 2011

NYSSBA s FOUR-POINT-PLAN

National tests could replace Regents exams On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator In three years, Regents exams n Eng sh and math may be a th ng of the past. By the 2014-15 schoo year, students n New York probab y w take a ser es of computer-based assessments based on the new nat ona common core standards. Ex st ng assessment systems used by var ous states are not cha eng ng enough to measure co ege and career read ness, and t s mposs b e to compare students from d fferent parts of the country, accord ng to a 26-state consort um ca ed the Partnersh p for the Assessment of Read ness for Co ege and Careers (PARCC). The 26 states educate more than 60 percent – or 31 m on – of the K-12 pub c schoo students n the Un ted States.

Former NYSSBA president meets with Obama On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef After part c pat ng n a meet ng w th Pres dent Barack Obama that asted 65 m nutes, former NYSSBA Pres dent Edward L. McCorm ck sa d the pres dent seemed to agree that a ma or p ece of federa educat on eg s at on needs to be rev sed th s year. “The body anguage was very pos t ve,” sa d McCorm ck, pres dent of NYSSBA n 2000 and 2001. “He thanked me for my comments and nodded n agreement.” McCorm ck met w th Obama n h s ro e as cha rman of the Nat ona B ack Caucus of Schoo Board Members. He was accompan ed by representat ves of the Nat ona Conference of B ack Mayors, the Congress ona B ack Caucus and other organ zat ons that focus on how pub c po c es affect Afr can-Amer cans and work together as the “Nat ona Po cy A ance.”

Desperate measures On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Timothy G. Kremer Execut ve D rector I know why you ran for schoo board. Because you wanted to make schoo s better for the ch dren of your commun ty. But n many d str cts, th s year the dec s ons probab y won t be about mak ng schoo s better, but m t ng the damage be ng done to them by state budget cuts. Look at what s happen ng n Texas. Schoo s n the Lone Star State are grapp ng w th mass ve state a d cuts, r s ng enro ment and a pun sh ng oca property tax cap. Schoo eaders there are desperate y cry ng out for mandate re ef from the state as they shutter schoo bu d ngs and ay off teachers. Th ngs have gotten so bad that one schoo super ntendent has attempted to trademark the d str ct s mascot n order to generate revenue.

Steiner’s cost-saving ideas shot down by Regents On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Brian Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator State Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner s f nd ng mandate re ef s eas er sa d than done. At the February meet ng of the state Board of Regents, Ste ner subm tted a st of 53 opt ons for mandate re ef and cost conta nment, such as e m nat ng requ rements for techno ogy and home and career courses for m dd e schoo students. But the Regents re ected that dea and expressed reservat ons for many other cost-sav ng measures, part cu ar y those dea ng w th spec a educat on.

Board members: Time for union concessions On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Brian Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator E ghty-n ne percent of 663 schoo board members respond ng to a NYSSBA Pu se Po sa d the r d str ct shou d seek concess ons from emp oyees rather than ay off teachers and other staff.

More under-performing schools expected On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Brian Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator The percentage of schoo s fa ng to make adequate year y progress (AYP) n grades 3-8 w ncrease from 36 percent to 45 percent n Eng sh anguage arts and from 5 percent to 37 percent n mathemat cs, accord ng to the State Educat on Department (SED).

Cuomo: Schools are crying wolf On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Marc Humber Sen or Wr ter Accord ng to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, schoo d str cts n New York State have b oated bureaucrac es that must be tr mmed. “The argument we have n A bany s, they say, We , c ear y there are no sav ngs to be found n the bureaucracy of educat on, ” the governor sa d n a rad o nterv ew. “The prem se of the argument s the educat on system and these 700 schoo d str cts (are) f ne y tuned Sw ss watches that are operat ng at peak eff c ency.”

SED braces for staff reductions On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Brian M. Butr Commun cat ons Coord nator Gov. Andrew Cuomo s budget proposa has state educat on off c a s ust as worr ed as oca schoo d str cts. Va er e Grey, ch ef operat ng off cer at the State Educat on Department (SED), warned the state Board of Regents that more ayoffs and program cuts may be needed to meet the governor s 10 percent cut n fund ng to the department and any further reduct ons n the f na state spend ng p an.

NYS public education: Better than you think On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Jeffrey M. Bowen, Ed.D When present ng h s state budget on Feb. 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed that we shou d beg n to put k ds f rst – odd y enough by spend ng ess on them. He d d h s best to make the case that New York State both overspends and underperforms n educat on. Th s s e ther a m sread ng or m sreport ng of comparat ve data. Based on the percentage of adu ts w th h gh schoo d p omas, the governor sa d New York schoo s angu sh n 34th p ace among the states. But f we ook at a var ety of stat st cs, New York ooks far better.

Too few grads meet ‘college-ready’ mark On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Brian Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator The number of students who are prepared for co ege s s gn f cant y ower than the number of students who graduate from h gh schoo , accord ng to data re eased by the State Educat on Department (SED). To be deemed “co ege- and career-ready,” students must earn both an 80 or better on the r math Regents exam and a 75 or better on the r Eng sh Regents exam. On y 40 percent of genera educat on students are meet ng that standard.

Glens Falls considers 8:30 a.m. HS start On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Anyone who has teenagers n the house doesn t have to be to d that they ke to s eep n. Wou d h gh schoo s see better academ c resu ts f they accommodated th s preference? After a year of study, members of a comm ttee n the G ens Fa s C ty Schoo D str ct th nk the answer s yes. Compr sed of facu ty members, adm n strators, students and parents, the comm ttee s expected to recommend that the schoo board sh ft the h gh schoo start t me from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. Super ntendent Thomas McGowan, who s ret r ng at the end of th s schoo year, sa d he s uncerta n what the schoo board w dec de.

What the research says about students and sleep On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter A grow ng body of research suggests that ett ng teenagers s eep n, even a b t, can ead to mproved academ c performance, happ er k ds and poss b y even better performance on the ath et c f e d. A Ju y report by Sc ent f c Amer can c ted a study that exam ned what happened when a Rhode Is and h gh schoo pushed back ts start t me by a ha f hour, to 8:30 a.m.

If your district’s APPR negotiations fail, then what? On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Under a new state aw, boards of educat on throughout New York State have the onerous task of negot at ng a rev sed staff eva uat on process n the next four months. Passed n part to he p New York mprove ts app cat on for federa Race to the Top money, Chapter 103 of the Laws of 2010 requ res schoo d str cts and BOCES to create a system for annua profess ona performance rev ews (APPRs) of teachers and pr nc pa s as ear y as Ju y 1, 2011. Because some ssues nvo ved a most certa n y w be mandatory sub ects of co ect ve barga n ng, there s a quest on regard ng how d str cts may ensure comp ance w th the mandate f un ons refuse to s gn on. May schoo d str cts un atera y mpose a system of eva uat on cons stent w th that out ned n the new eg s at on pend ng further and successfu negot at on of ts terms?

Some aspects of APPR subject to negotiation On Board Online • February 21, 2011

Chapter 103 of the Laws of 2010 requ res schoo d str cts and BOCES accomp sh severa goa s nvo v ng sub ects that appear to be mandatory sub ects of co ect ve barga n ng. They are:

Seven ways to expand your influence On Board Online • February 21, 2011

By Thomas Nespeca Area 2 D rector At some po nt n ust about every schoo board member s tenure, a ght bu b goes on. We rea ze that, as hard as we try ng to support our oca schoo s, we aren t do ng enough. It s not enough to attend oca meet ngs and make the best oca dec s ons we can. To do r ght by our schoo ch dren and taxpayers, we have to seek to nf uence other p ayers n educat on, espec a y the state Leg s ature. Every schoo board and schoo board member has duty to be act ve n advocacy.

ADVOCACY ALERT - STATE BUDGET NEWS February 16, 2011

EXECUTIVE BUDGET AND STATE AID RUNS L nk to: V ew the ana ys s and other budget re ated documents BUDGET TESTIMONY L nk to: V ew the test mony SCHOOL JOB LOSS UNDER A TAX CAP L nk to: V ew the charts of these f gures FEDERAL RELATIONS NETWORK (FRN) CONFERENCE L nk to: V ew more nformat on on the FRN conference and federa ssues STATE ISSUES CONFERENCE L nk to: V ew further nformat on on the State Issues Conference as we as reg ster RESOLUTION KIT L nk to: V ew the reso ut ons process and get your copy of NYSSBA s 2011 Reso ut on K t

Poll: School boards prefer concessions to layoffs FOR RELEASE: February 15, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce An overwhe m ng ma or ty of schoo board members be eve the r d str cts shou d ask oca un ons to re-open ex st ng abor contracts to freeze wages or make hea th care concess ons, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed, accord ng to a recent po from the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on.

2011 RESOLUTIONS KIT February 11, 2011

2011 RESOLUTIONS KIT

Cuomo slashes state aid by 7% On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter As a m d-w nter storm s ammed nto New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo de vered a bone-ch percent cut n schoo a d.

ng budget proposa that nc uded a 7.3

The new governor sa d that under h s p an to c ose a pro ected budget gap of about $10 b by $1.5 b on, to $19.4 b on.

on, state a d to schoo s wou d be tr mmed

Cuomo sa d that when federa a d and oca funds are added n, operat ona fund ng for d str cts wou d on y dec ne by 2.9 percent due to h s proposed cut, when measured aga nst current year spend ng. In a s gn that he ntends to restra n future ncreases n state schoo a d, Cuomo sa d, “The budget proposes a new Gap E m nat on Ad ustment formu a n permanent aw that m ts growth n the out-years based on the growth n persona ncome.”

Had tax cap been in place this year, teacher layoffs could have hit 13,000 On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Had Governor Cuomo s property tax cap proposa been n effect th s schoo year, schoo d str cts cou d have been forced to ay off more than 13,000 teachers, accord ng to a NYSSBA ana ys s. Cuomo has proposed a property tax cap for schoo d str cts and other mun c pa t es of 2 percent or the rate of nf at on, wh chever s ower. In the current schoo year, the tax cap wou d have been zero, s nce the nf at on rate was zero.

Tax caps & achievement gaps On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Gov. Andrew Cuomo f na y unve ed h s ong-awa ted property tax cap proposa . Wh e many thought that he wou d nc ude the tax cap n h s budget proposa , he nstead subm tted the b to the Leg s ature the weekend before announc ng h s budget. There were a few surpr ses n the governor s tax cap eg s at on, such as abo sh ng the cont ngency budget and remov ng the vote on the annua schoo budget. Instead, res dents w vote on the annua property tax evy. Oh, and the governor a so put n a “po son p ,” f you w . The b requ res a superma or ty of voters (60 percent) to pass a spend ng p an above the annua tax evy m t. The b a so mandates a zero-growth tax evy n d str cts n wh ch a superma or ty of voters tw ce oppose spend ng p ans above the tax evy m t. S nce no one has a crysta ba on how the voters w respond to a proposa , th s s a strong d s ncent ve for even attempt ng to go above the tax cap.

Local budget approval process altered under Cuomo’s tax cap plan On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Gov. Andrew Cuomo has offered up a p an to cap the growth n oca property taxes and, n the process, turn oca schoo budgetmak ng and the budget approva process on ts head. The proposa , wh ch has a ready won approva n the state Senate, wou d m t property tax evy ncreases to no more than 2 percent or the rate of nf at on, wh chever s ess.

Lawsuit on state withholding of school aid dismissed as moot On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter A NYSSBA-backed awsu t that cha enged former Gov. Dav d Paterson s unprecedented w thho d ng of schoo a d payments n two separate nstances has been d sm ssed as “moot” by a state udge. In a dec s on dated Jan. 14, act ng state Supreme Court Just ce Roger McDonough sa d that because the payments had eventua y been made, and because NYSSBA and the others cou d a ways sue aga n f a future governor w thhe d such payments, there was no need for h m to ru e on the mer ts of the awsu t.

Survey shows BOE focus on student achievement On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst A new nat ona survey of schoo board members f nds that two-th rds of them be eve the current state of student ach evement s unacceptab e and dramat c and rap d mprovements must be made. But schoo board members a so be eve that def n ng success on y n terms of student ach evement s narrow and short-s ghted. They be eve the top pr or ty for board members and super ntendents s to he p students fu f the r potent a and prepare them for sat sfy ng and product ve ves.

Switching schools hurts educational achievement On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst About 13 percent of U.S. K-8 students change schoo s four or more t mes before enro ng n h gh schoo , wh ch may have a negat ve mpact on the r educat ona ach evement, accord ng to a report from the U.S. Government Accountab ty Off ce (GAO). That s a concern because the recent econom c downturn may be spurr ng a r se n student mob ty. GAO ana yzed federa survey data from 1998 to 2007 and conducted s te v s ts n s x schoo d str cts. It found that:

60 percent of districts saved jobs with ARRA $ On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst More than 60 percent of schoo d str cts that rece ved federa st mu us funds used them to save or create teach ng obs. St , 45 percent of d str cts a d off staff n f sca year 2009, accord ng to a recent ana ys s of the st mu us b by Be wether Educat on Partners, a Wash ngton-based educat on consu t ng group.

Global warming can be a downer, but alternative energy projects aren’t On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Students tend to be a tt e “s ck” of hear ng about g oba warm ng and many “fee there s noth ng they can do about t,” accord ng to J E ch er, a sc ence teacher who began teach ng courses n a ternat ve energy for Otsego Northern Catsk s BOCES th s fa . But hands-on pro ects engage the r mag nat ons about what s poss b e, she sa d.

Students explore careers in ‘J-term’ projects On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Lore Behan spent a good part of January hang ng out n a skat ng r nk w th a bunch of preschoo ers – for academ c cred t. Behan s a un or at Tech Va ey H gh Schoo , an A bany-area magnet schoo that emphas zes pro ect-based, 21st century earn ng. “I ve been f gure skat ng s nce I was 9 years o d,” she to d On Board. For a schoo pro ect, she dec ded to ook at skat ng nstruct on as a bus ness.

Court says reasons for closed sessions must be clearly stated On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse The Jordan-E br dge Centra Schoo D str ct, a member of NYSSBA, recent y has been a defendant n c a ms nvo v ng severa state aws, wh ch shou d be of nterest to a schoo boards n the state because the court s conc us ons add confus on to ssues that have proven cha eng ng n the past. Be ow s NYSSBA s ana ys s, wh ch h gh ghts areas of concern presented by these dec s ons.

Court upholds disclosure of teachers’ names under FOIL On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse The New York C ty Department of Educat on d d not act arb trar y or capr c ous y by d sc os ng teachers names nc uded n performance assessments ca ed “teacher data reports,” accord ng to a court ru ng. The Un ted Federat on of Teachers, ed by M chae Mu grew, commenced a proceed ng to b ock th s re ease. In Mu grew v. Board of Educat on, the Supreme Court for New York County sa d t was not arb trary or capr c ous for the d str ct to re ease the nformat on n response to Freedom of Informat on Law (FOIL) requests by severa news organ zat ons.

Immediate suspension upheld for student who possessed marijuana, threatened suicide On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse After a v s b y upset student adm tted possess ng mar uana n schoo w th the ntent to smoke t and threatened to k h mse f, a pr nc pa asked the student s parents to p ck h m up from schoo . The same day, the pr nc pa hand-de vered to the parents a not ce that the student was mmed ate y suspended for f ve days and referred the matter to the super ntendent for a poss b e ong-term suspens on.

Boards have key role in APPR On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By David Steiner Comm ss oner of Educat on Th s year prom ses to be fu of cha enges and opportun t es for a of us who are comm tted to mprov ng student ach evement and prepar ng our students for co ege and careers. We have much work to do as we move forward w th mp ementat on of the Regents reform agenda and address the many d ff cu t es that w resu t from the state s cont nu ng f sca cr s s. Among the most mportant w be act on by boards of educat on and super ntendents to mp ement the state s new aw requ r ng a statew de comprehens ve teacher and pr nc pa eva uat on system. A contracts entered nto after Ju y 1, 2010 must be cons stent w th the new aw (Educat on Law Sect on § 3012-c as added by Chapter 103 of the Laws of 2010). Ex st ng contract prov s ons are not abrogated, a though the aw perm ts d str cts, BOCES and the r co ect ve barga n ng un ts to re-negot ate eva uat on procedures at any t me.

Education philanthropists help public school students succeed On Board Online • February 7, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Long before Mark Zuckerberg and B and Me nda Gates became K-12 educat on ph anthrop sts, there was Bob Wegman. One of the f rst to grasp the ut ty of the Un versa Product Code and the concept of the grocery superstore, Wegman transformed h s fam y s grocery bus ness nto a cha n of upsca e supermarkets. There are 48 Wegmans stores n western New York and 29 scattered throughout Pennsy van a, New Jersey, V rg n a and Mary and. The Wegman Fam y Char tab e Foundat on s effort to mprove pub c schoo s began two dozen years ago. Then-Rochester Urban League Pres dent W am Johnson (who wou d ater go on to be e ected Rochester s mayor) had cha enged oca bus ness eaders to he p do someth ng about the c ty s h gh cr me and poverty eve s, and ts d sma h gh-schoo graduat on rates.

ADVOCACY ALERT - PAIN WITHOUT RELIEF IN CUOMO’S BUDGET PLAN February 1, 2011

Pa n W thout Re ef n Cuomo s Budget P an NYSSBA Ana ys s L nks to: V ew Your Schoo State A d Runs / V ew the Governor s Budget Br ef ng Book Proposed A d Changes by Category Senate Passes Governor s Tax Cap L nk to: V ew Pro ected Job Losses n Your Area Under a tax Cap

Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer FOR RELEASE: February 1, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce It w requ re a Hercu ean effort by schoo boards to absorb Governor Andrew Cuomo s whopp ng 7.3 percent fund ng cut to schoo s w thout mpact ng student ach evement.

Poll: School boards warm to competitive grants FOR RELEASE: January 27, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Gov. Andrew Cuomo s proposa to nk state fund ng w th student ach evement and adm n strat ve eff c enc es may have garnered n t a cr t c sm from some educators, but a recent po from the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on shows schoo board members may be warm ng to the dea. Under the governor s proposa , $250 m on wou d go to schoo d str cts that mprove c assroom performance, and another $250 m on wou d be d rected to d str cts that mprove eff c ency and share serv ces. As ong as those do ars do not come from other ex st ng state schoo fund ng sources, 51 percent of board members respond ng to the recent on ne po sa d they wou d support Cuomo s dea.

Unions face new political climate as states confront spending issues On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter As states confront huge budget def c ts, med ocre student performance and other prob ems, governors nc ud ng New York s Andrew Cuomo are defy ng teacher un ons and other pub c emp oyee un ons. Once k ngmakers, un ons appear to be tak ng on a new ro e: wh pp ng boy.

Private donors funding talent for SED On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator A pr vate y-funded group of educators w be gu d ng the State Educat on Department (SED) as t mp ements Race-to-the-Top reforms such as creat ng new teacher and pr nc pa eva uat on systems, deve op ng a statew de curr cu um and redes gn ng assessment programs. The Regents Research Fund has secured comm tments for donat ons of about $4 m “Fe ows” program.

on of a des red $18 m

on for the new

Christina was right On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Timothy Kremer Execut ve D rector Accord ng to Pres dent Barack Obama, Chr st na Tay or Green saw pub c serv ce as someth ng “exc t ng and hopefu .” That s why she was eager to meet her congresswoman n Tucson and why a of us know her name. Chr st na was r ght. Pub c serv ce s someth ng exc t ng and hopefu . Rem nd ng ourse ves of that s a f tt ng tr bute to her memory.

Regents complete adoption of common core standards On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator After add ng add t ona math requ rements for k ndergartners and f rst graders, as we as pre-k ndergarten earn ng standards, the state Board of Regents has put the f n sh ng touches on ts adopt on of nat ona common core standards deve oped by the Nat ona Governors Assoc at on and the Counc of Ch ef State Schoo Off cers. At the r January meet ng, the Regents approved the new common core earn ng standards for Eng sh anguage arts (ELA) and teracy, mathemat cs and pre-k ndergarten. The board prev ous y adopted the nat ona common core standards n Ju y w th the understand ng that add t ona state spec f c K-12 expectat ons and pre-k standards wou d be added.

Cuomo plans weekly webcasts to schools On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Gov. Andrew Cuomo s host ng a week y “A bany at Work” nteract ve webcast a med at he p ng h gh schoo students earn about how the r state government operates. The webcasts, ava ab e on www.governor.ny.gov, w feature an “Ask A bany” segment n wh ch students can get answers from Cuomo or other state off c a s, and poss b y even state awmakers, to the r quest ons.

Why I’m active in NSBA (and your district should be, too) On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Anne M. Byrne One of the trends n pub c educat on that we can expect to cont nue s a arger ro e of the federa government. And there are nat ona ssues – poverty, home essness, mm grat on, obes ty, federa eg s at on, mandates and fund ng – that affect schoo d str cts throughout the nat on. Who s speak ng for schoo boards on the nat ona eve as we confront these cha enges? The answer s an organ zat on that I am proud to be part of – the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on (NSBA). I have been a member of the NSBA board s nce 2006 and am current y a cand date for the pos t on of secretary-treasurer.

I’m waiting for a different superman On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Paul Finch Spend any amount of t me n a facu ty room n a pub c schoo and you are ke y to hear one of the fo ow ng statements: “The students are unmot vated. The parents don t care. The state tests are r d cu ous. I m not a m rac e worker.” These sound ke the words of v ct ms, not profess ona s. If the system s so horr b y f awed, why aren t teachers at the forefront, act ve y seek ng to change t and rep ace t w th someth ng better? Instead, there s on y hushed wh n ng beh nd c osed doors. Why s t that profess ona educators are so afra d to speak out pub c y n defense of the r profess on?

Why they cheat On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Edwin C. Darden Numerous recent research stud es, coup ed w th f rst-hand teacher observat ons, portray pub c schoo s as r fe w th cheat ng. Among them: A survey by Who s Who Among Amer can H gh Schoo Students d scovered that 76 percent of h gh-ach ev ng teens cheated because t “d dn t seem ke a b g dea .” N nety percent of those who adm tted cheat ng sa d they had never been caught. The Management Educat on Center at Rutgers Un vers ty surveyed 4,500 h gh schoo students and found 75 percent engaged n ser ous cheat ng and 88 percent be eved cheat ng s “common” among the r c assmates.

Ithaca offers teachers an annual getaway On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter It may not yet rank up there w th Spr ng Break at Daytona, but a grow ng number of teachers are f ock ng to Ithaca each February for “W nter Recess Teachers Week.” Now n ts f fth year, the 2011 w nter recess fest va for teachers, other schoo emp oyees and the r guests w be he d Feb. 18-27. It s expected to attract about 5,000 peop e to the p cturesque c ty n the F nger Lakes reg on of New York State that s home to Corne Un vers ty and Ithaca Co ege.

A crash course in bus safety On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Bernie Mulligan Schoo bus safety has been on V rg n a G ambrone s m nd s nce the day when, more than 25 years ago, smoke began pour ng out of her bus as she drove a ong the New York State Thruway. She was ab e to pu over safe y – fortunate y w th no students on board – to dea w th a potent a y dangerous mechan ca defect. “As many years as you dr ve, you can a ways earn more,” sa d G ambrone, who works for Er e County s Front er Centra Schoo D str ct and s a member of the Front er Centra Educat on Assoc at on.

Disclosure of teacher’s fibromyalgia not violation of privacy On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse The U.S. Court of Appea s for the Second C rcu t recent y ru ed the d sc osure n a report posted on the Internet of a teacher s f bromya g a, a d sorder wh ch causes musc e pa n and fat gue, d d not v o ate any const tut ona y protected r ght to pr vacy because, un ke HIV, there s no st gma assoc ated w th the d sease.

Compensation for athletic league work properly excluded from retirement benefits On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A former schoo super ntendent was not ent t ed to have compensat on that he earned serv ng as the cha rperson for the M d-Hudson Ath et c League nc uded n the Teacher Ret rement System (TRS) ca cu at on of h s f na average sa ary, accord ng to the Appe ate D v s on of state Supreme Court, Th rd Department. The M d-Hudson Ath et c League s a vo untary ath et c assoc at on of pub c and pr vate schoo s, nc ud ng the Wa k schoo s, where Dona d Andrews was super ntendent unt h s ret rement n 2005. Andrews served as the League s cha rperson, a part-t me pos t on, from 1986 to 2005.

Education funding case may proceed On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A group of p a nt ffs from 11 sma c ty schoo d str cts outs de New York C ty may cont nue the r awsu t a eg ng the r ch dren are den ed a sound bas c educat on because the r schoo d str cts are substant a y underfunded, accord ng to a recent dec s on by the Appe ate D v s on of state Supreme Court, Th rd Department.

Reduction in hours not abolition of position On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A c v serv ce emp oyee whose hours were reduced from fu t me to 75 percent of fu t me sued her emp oyer c a m ng th s act on v o ated her sen or ty r ghts under the state C v Serv ce Law. In Schoonmaker v. Cap ta Reg on BOCES, the Appe ate D v s on of state Supreme Court, Th rd Department, he d that the BOCES act on d d not v o ate the aw. C v Serv ce Law sect on 80 prov des that “where because of economy, conso dat on or abo t on of funct ons, curta ment of act v t es or otherw se, pos t ons n the compet t ve c ass are abo shed or reduced n rank or sa ary grade, suspens on or demot on…among ncumbents [ n the same governmenta ur sd ct on] ho d ng the same or s m ar pos t ons sha be made n the nverse order of or g na appo ntment.”

Social networks and the rights of public employees On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Judg ng by recent news head nes, schoo d str cts are dea ng w th new forms of personne ssues assoc ated w th Facebook and soc a med a. Some recent examp es: “NYC E ementary Teacher Adm ts Be ng Cra gs st Prost tute”; “F red Teacher: Facebook Post Stup d, But I m Not Sorry”; “Former Teacher Sues for Be ng F red Over Facebook P cs.” What the art c es c ted above have n common s they a nvo ved emp oyees who suffered adverse emp oyment act on for “speech” that occurred outs de of the workp ace and on the emp oyees own t me. Emp oyees be eved the r soc a med a post ngs were “pr vate” and unre ated to the r emp oyment.

Courts uphold dismissals based on Internet postings On Board Online • January 24, 2011

Be ng f red for someth ng posted on the Internet has become common enough that a word has been co ned. It s ca ed be ng “dooced” n reference to a woman who ost her ob after cr t c z ng her fe ow emp oyees on dooce.com n 2002.

North Country districts take a regional approach to APPR On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Dan Mannix A new state aw requ res schoo d str cts and BOCES to use student resu ts to eva uate the performance of teachers and pr nc pa s. To ensure comp ance w th Chapter 103 of the Laws of 2010 w th m n mum expense, Champ a n Va ey Educat ona Serv ces (C ntonEssex-Warren-Wash ngton BOCES) s pursu ng a reg ona approach. “Th s s a s gn f cant new mandate w th fast-track mp ementat on,” sa d Cra g K ng, d str ct super ntendent of Champ a n Va ey Educat ona Serv ces. “A reg ona approach makes sense.”

You can read this, but can your students? On Board Online • January 24, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator After the State Educat on Department (SED) created new cut scores for the Eng sh anguage arts (ELA) test ast year, the resu ts were shock ng. The number of students n grades 3-8 who were deemed “prof c ent” dropped to 53 percent from 77 percent. That has prompted schoo s across the state to p ace emphas s on teracy sk s, espec a y read ng. “Learn ng rea y starts w th teracy,” sa d Beth Masc tt -M er, deputy super ntendent for teach ng and earn ng n the Rochester C ty Schoo D str ct. “We are encourag ng a of our schoo bu d ngs to come up w th creat ve ways to get our students engaged n read ng,”

Cuomo calls for competitive school grants On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Gov. Andrew Cuomo used h s f rst State of the State address to say New York s government, nc ud ng ts schoo d str cts, must re nvent tse f. “Th s s not about budget tr mm ng or cutt ng, t s about ook ng at how we can f x government and make t work for the peop e,” Cuomo sa d Jan. 5. He noted the state s fac ng a pro ected budget gap of about $10 b on, the argest n state h story, and that New Yorkers are be ng chased out of the state by h gh taxes. He amp f ed h s message w th a s ck PowerPo nt presentat on aced w th humor. One s de dep cted Cuomo as the capta n of a batt esh p, w th m ss es f red at h m from a p ane abe ed “spec a nterests.”

Cuomo’s tax cap plan feared by some, adored by others On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator It has ong been specu ated that new y e ected Gov. Andrew Cuomo wou d make a property tax cap h s f rst pr or ty upon tak ng off ce. De ver ng h s f rst-ever naugura address on New Year s Day n A bany, Cuomo made t c ear that the esca at ng property tax burden has to end. Assemb y Speaker She don S ver has a so endorsed the dea of a tax cap.

A bold agenda? On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Th s year s eg s at ve sess on ho ds great prom se for schoo boards. Perhaps never before has there been as much nterest on the part of powerfu state awmakers, most notab y our new governor, n ser ous y ook ng at some of the ongstand ng cost-dr vers n our schoo s. The Great Recess on has a ready prompted emp oyee concess ons n severa schoo d str cts, a new T er V n the state ret rement system, ca s for a statew de sa ary freeze and a renewed nterest n mandate re ef – th ngs ong thought to be unobta nab e.

NYSSBA aims for Triborough reform On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator As the state s econom c c mate cont nues to hamper oca schoo d str cts, NYSSBA s recommend ng the Leg s ature reform the Tr borough Amendment and take other bo d steps that wou d create a more effect ve and eff c ent pub c educat on system. The Tr borough Amendment s a sect on of the Tay or Law that requ res pub c emp oyers to honor exp red contracts and cont nue pay ng the standard “step” ncreases n those contracts. Th s means teachers pay cont nues to ncrease every year regard ess of what happens n co ect ve barga n ng.

Regents make modest state aid proposal On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator As expected, the New York State Board of Regents approved a 2011-12 state a d proposa that ca s for a modest boost over currentyear fund ng eve s but no ncrease n foundat on a d. Descr bed as a “bare-bones” approach by the Regents, the p an defers any ncrease n foundat on a d, but does ca for a new phasen schedu e for the a d as the economy rebounds. Overa , the spend ng p an w ncrease by $91 m on.

New requirements take effect involving access to meetings On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse As a resu t of act on by the state Leg s ature n 2010, schoo boards and other pub c bod es sub ect to the state Open Meet ngs Law must ensure that meet ngs are he d n fac t es that can accommodate the members of the pub c who w sh to attend and observe the proceed ngs. Th s may enta us ng a arger meet ng room than usua when a top c of great commun ty nterest s before the board.

Task force to seek mandate relief On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Gov. Andrew Cuomo s format on of a task force on mandate re ef w address ssues ong champ oned by NYSSBA. “We we come Governor Cuomo s w Kremer.

ngness to tack e mandate re ef for schoo s,” sa d NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G.

Poll: Pay teachers more, but remove the ineffective ones On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Most Amer cans be eve that teachers shou d be pa d more, but they a so th nk t shou d be eas er to remove neffect ve nstructors, accord ng to a recent po . The Assoc ated Press-Stanford Un vers ty Educat on Po found that 57 percent of respondents th nk teachers are pa d too tt e for the work they do. At the same t me, 78 percent wou d strong y or somewhat favor mak ng t eas er for schoo d str cts to f re teachers for poor performance. The po s based on the responses of 1,001 adu ts.

Preschool shown to boost literacy of both poor and black students On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst A recent study on preschoo part c pat on may ho d a key to he p ng narrow rac a ach evement gaps.

Charter schools vulnerable to leadership turnover On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Seventy-one percent of charter schoo eaders say they expect to eave the r schoo s w th n f ve years, ra s ng quest ons about the stab ty of those schoo s, accord ng to researchers at the Un vers ty of Wash ngton s Center on Re nvent ng Pub c Educat on. On y about ha f of the charter schoo eaders surveyed for the study reported hav ng success on p ans n p ace, and many of those p ans are weak. In add t on, whereas trad t ona schoo s are often ass gned a pr nc pa from a poo of cand dates determ ned by a centra off ce, charter schoo s are often ndependent and unab e to tap nto a poo of ready cand dates.

Good to great On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst How does a med ocre schoo system become good, and a good one become great? A new report by the g oba management consu t ng f rm McK nsey and Company attempts to answer that quest on by ana yz ng 20 d fferent schoo systems from around the g obe. These schoo systems vary w de y n the r eve of student performance, but they have two th ngs n common: they have each ach eved s gn f cant, susta ned and w despread ga ns on nat ona and nternat ona standards of assessment s nce 1980, and, rather than rema n ng stat c, each s undergo ng a cont nuous progress on a ong a spectrum of student performance – from poor to fa r to good to great to exce ent.

How to improve your school From poor to fair: Address the basics On Board Online • January 10, 2011

Focus on he p ng students ach eve teracy and math bas cs. Schoo s at th s stage focus on prov d ng support and mot vat on for owsk teachers, such as g v ng them scr pted teach ng mater a s, coach ng them on curr cu um, prov d ng ncent ves for h gh performance, and v s ts from centra adm n strators. Schoo s at th s stage a so focus on fu f ng students bas c needs – food, she ter, etc. – to ra se attendance.

Small district offers wide array of classes On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The North Warren Centra Schoo D str ct has ess than 600 students, and Dan e H s on y a n nth grader. But n the past two years H has en oyed a st mu at ng curr cu um nc ud ng semester- ong courses about the Lew s and C ark Exped t on and the Ho ocaust. H , 15, has been enro ed n web-based c asses offered by V rtua H gh Schoo , a nonprof t organ zat on based n Maynard, Mass., ust west of Boston.

Reading teacher turns to texting On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter When students n Me Wesenberg s c asses at Chester M dd e Schoo use the r ce phones to text each other, they aren t necessar y break ng the ru es. As part of an effort to ntegrate techno ogy nto the c assroom n the Orange County-based schoo , the veteran read ng teacher s us ng ce phones and text ng to he p s xth- and e ghth-grade students n h s academ c ntervent on serv ces c asses.

High school gang deemed ‘organization’ under hazing statute On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse An appe ate court has ru ed that a h gh schoo gang s an “organ zat on” w th n the mean ng of New York s cr m na statutes proh b t ng haz ng. The case nvo ved a h gh schoo student named Kha who recru ted a fe ow student to o n a gang organ zed for the purposes of mutua protect on. Jo n ng the gang requ red part c pat on n a “ ump ng n,” n wh ch gang members beat and repeated y str ke the potent a member. The “ ump ng n” was recorded w th a v deo camera and d scovered by an ass stant pr nc pa at Kha s schoo , who dent f ed Kha as the person who cou d be heard on camera d rect ng the other gang members when to start and stop the assau t.

Medical exemption for vaccination properly denied despite parent’s illness On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse The comm ss oner of educat on recent y uphe d the New York C ty schoo d str ct s den a of a parent s request for a med ca exempt on from the Pub c Hea th Law s mmun zat on requ rements because no threat to the student s hea th was shown. In Appea of N.C., the parent suffered from non-Hodgk n s ymphoma tr ggered by var ce a (ch cken pox). She c a med that exposure to the var ce a vacc ne through her ch d s mmun zat on cou d be a r sk to her hea th. A so, because ymphoma may be hered tary, she asserted that the vacc ne cou d be detr menta to the student s hea th.

Board properly disqualified candidate with greatest number of votes On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A schoo board proper y d squa f ed a board cand date who rece ved the most votes n the May 2010 e ect on, accord ng a ru ng by the comm ss oner of educat on n Appea of Fr es. Sue Fr es, a comm ss oner of the Cattaraugus County Board of E ect ons, ran for Sa amanca schoo board desp te certa n proh b t ons about ho d ng mu t p e off ces n the state E ect on Law.

You can be a presenter at NYSSBA’s 92nd Annual Convention On Board Online • January 10, 2011

Is your schoo d str ct do ng someth ng d st nct ve or noteworthy that cou d he p other schoo boards and super ntendents govern the r d str cts more effect ve y, eff c ent y and econom ca y? If so, NYSSBA nv tes you to share your know edge and expert se w th your counterparts throughout the state at NYSSBA s 92nd Annua Convent on and Educat on Expo. Sem nars w be conducted on Thursday, Oct. 27, Fr day, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, at the Buffa o Convent on Center. Proposa s must be subm tted on ne at www.nyssba.org/cfp by Feb. 7, 2011.

What makes a school board member effective? On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Barry Entwistle D rector of Leadersh p Deve opment Before I o ned NYSSBA, I was a schoo board member. Pr or to mak ng the dec s on to run for a seat on my oca board I wanted to know what schoo board serv ce enta ed. At the t me there were few resources that c ear y descr bed the dut es and character st cs of schoo board serv ce. L ke many of you, I attended oca board meet ngs as a c t zen before o n ng the board. A number of these meet ngs nc uded ntense d scuss ons on agenda tems, wh ch n turn drew a number of res dents to the meet ng. Often the atmosphere was tense w th members of the board express ng strong deo og es, wh ch rout ne y ed to sp t votes. The board a so had to contend w th commun ty groups who had spec f c agendas.

Let’s get 21st Century Skills in report cards On Board Online • January 10, 2011

By Linda Hoffman Area 1 D rector Every n ght my mother wou d ask, “L nda, d d you f n sh your homework?” And I wou d rep y, “Uh huh, d d t.” The fact s that, most of the t me, I d dn t. Then the note wou d come home. A v s t to the gu dance off ce wou d be arranged and I wou d once aga n prom se to try to do better. “If you on y d d your homework regu ar y and ra sed your hand n c ass, you wou d be a stra ght-A student!” a the adu ts (parents, teachers and gu dance counse ors) wou d exc a m.

NYSSBA: Governor is right, we need a new approach FOR RELEASE: January 5, 2011 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce In h s f rst State of the State message, Gov. Andrew Cuomo hammered on a message that schoo boards have ong champ oned – curta ng the state s burdensome mandates n order to contro property taxes and spend ng. “New York s e ected schoo board members cannot th nk of a better t me to f na y a ow oca d str cts to operate free of outdated and burdensome state constra nts,” sa d NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer. “Our schoo s and property taxpayers need re ef from externa y mposed mandates that unnecessar y dr ve up the cost of prov d ng a sound educat on.”

ADVOCACY ALERT - STATE OF THE STATE ANALYSIS January 5, 2011

“The Emp re State Str kes Back” Cuomo ca s for caps, cuts n f rst State of the State NYSSBA s V ew React on of Assemb y Speaker She don S ver React on of Senate Ma or ty Leader Dean Ske os Statement of NYSSBA s T m Kremer State of the State ssue ta k ng po nts Regents Host Reg ona Forums on Graduat on Requ rements

Why they cheat Winter 2011 • Volume 9 • Issue 1

When a student takes a test, educators presume that the resu ts w revea what the earner knows and s ab e to do. Test resu ts morph nto "data" that adm n strators and schoo board members use to make dec s ons that affect the d str ct and ts commun ty. But when students – or the r teachers – cheat to boost resu ts, the funct on of educat on and ts accountab ty mechan sms are both underm ned. Equa y d sturb ng are the soc a aspects, as cheat ng s v ewed by ts many perpetrators as mora y acceptab e. A survey by Who s Who Among Amer can H gh Schoo Students d scovered that 76 percent of h gh-ach ev ng teens cheated because t "d dn t seem ke a b g dea ." Once one gets past the mora ssues, cheat ng appears to have a favorab e cost-benef t ba ance; 90 percent of respondents to the Who s Who survey who adm tted cheat ng sa d they had never been caught.

ADVOCACY ALERT - GOVERNOR GRANTS 11th HOUR MANDATE REPRIEVE December 28, 2010

Governor Grants 11th Hour Mandate Repr eve Regents Issue 2011-2012 State A d Proposa The Regents State A d proposa nc udes the Fo ow ng Reforms NYSSBA s V ew Last M nute For Advocacy Award Nom nat ons

Report: School districts face $815M shortfall under tax cap FOR RELEASE: December 13, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Schoo d str cts across New York face a potent a shortfa of $815 m on per year over the next four years ust n meet ng personne costs under a property tax cap, accord ng to a report ssued today by the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on. The report, ent t ed Property Tax Cap: Pass or Fa for Schoo D str cts, ustrates how a tax cap of 2 percent or the rate of nf at on – wh chever s ess – wou d m t property tax ncreases n schoo d str cts to an average of $229 m on per year over the next four years. At the same t me, schoo d str cts cou d have a pro ected average annua ncrease of more than $1 b on n sa ar es, hea th nsurance, and emp oyee pens on contr but ons. That wou d eave schoo d str cts w th an average shortfa of $815 m on each year ust n meet ng these bas c personne costs.

Property Tax Cap: Pass or Fail for School Districts

Property Tax Cap: Pass or Fail for School Districts - h gh ghts the mpact of a tax cap and offers seven a ternat ves that wou d be more effect ve than a property tax cap at ower ng the cost of pub c educat on and reduc ng the property tax burden. Fu Report (12 pages - 5.52 MB)

Condition Critical: Research Report on Health Insurance Consortiums

We come to the Hea th Insurance Consort ums sect on of the NYSSBA webs te! Hea th nsurance s on everyone s m nd these days. Schoo board members and adm n strators know fu we that the costs of emp oyee hea th nsurance have soared. Here, NYSSBA prov des you w th nformed research on hea th nsurance consort ums w th our new research report, “Cond t on Cr t ca .” Webs te:Cond t on Cr t ca : Research Report on Hea th Insurance Consort ums Fu Report (16 pages - 562 KB)

Under a tax cap, districts face $ gap On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst If the property tax cap env s oned by Gov.-e ect Andrew Cuomo had been put nto effect at the beg nn ng of th s schoo year and rema ned n effect through 2014, ncreases n personne costs wou d exceed the max mum a owab e ncrease n revenue from property taxes by some $3.3 b on, accord ng to a new NYSSBA report. The ana ys s assumed no ayoffs or other nterven ng factors. Dur ng the gubernator a campa gn, Cuomo champ oned a cap on property tax ev es of 2 percent or the nf at on rate – wh chever s ower. NYSSBA s report compared est mated annua statew de ncreases n schoo d str ct expend tures on sa ar es, hea th nsurance and pens ons for the per od 2010-11 through 2013-14 w th est mated annua growth n oca property taxes under Cuomo s proposa . “The report s ntended to show the cumu at ve, four-year mpact of a property tax cap on schoo d str ct personne costs,” sa d Dav d A bert, NYSSBA s d rector of commun cat ons and research. Personne costs represent more than 70 percent of a typ ca schoo d str ct s expend tures.

SUNY study sees need to focus on supt evals On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter About three-quarters of super ntendents and schoo board pres dents n New York State are sat sf ed w th the r d str ct s system for eva uat ng the super ntendent s performance, accord ng to a new survey. But researchers at the State Un vers ty of New York at New Pa tz say there s a ot of room for mprovement. “Board members rea ze t s an essent a that they need to do, but they don t g ve t the amount of t me they shou d,” sa d Edward Su van, cha rman of New Pa tz s Department of Educat ona Adm n strat on and a co-author of the study a ong w th ass stant professors Robert D on and Joseph ne Moffett. Too often, the super ntendent eva uat on process gets shoved off unt the end of the schoo year, they sa d. They suggested t be done m d-way through the year, before the board and the super ntendent get swept up n the budget-mak ng process.

Dear Santa On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Timothy Kremer Execut ve D rector On everyone s ho day w sh st th s year ought to be reforms that w tru y resu t n academ c progress for a students. I ve a ready checked my st tw ce, and t s pretty ong. F rst, Santa, s a eve p ay ng f e d too much to ask? In today s econom c c mate, t s absurd to have a aw that forces d str cts to pay automat c step ncreases once a contract has exp red. Econom c cond t ons may requ re d str cts to offer compensat on and benef ts that teachers and staff th nk are humbug. W th the Tr borough Amendment n p ace, un ons have a fa -safe fa back pos t on n any negot at on. Repea ng Tr borough wou d encourage true co aborat on at the barga n ng tab e n the best nterests of both students and taxpayers.

More money flows to charter schools On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter New York s ame-duck state Leg s ature has fa ed to re- mpose a freeze on charter schoo fund ng, a move that cou d cost New York s b g-c ty schoo d str cts $70 m on at a t me when they are a ready cop ng w th cuts n state a d. The Senate, meet ng on Dec. 7, fa ed to take up eg s at on sent t by Gov. Dav d Paterson that wou d have re- mposed that freeze. The state Assemb y had fa ed to act on the measure the week before. Both houses voted to author ze the state to d str bute $607 m on n federa a d meant to preserve obs n New York s schoo s, however. Most of that fund ng s expected to be used by schoo d str cts as part of the r 2011-12 budgets.

NYSSBA creates ‘blueprint’ for board operating procedures On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Linda Bakst Deputy D rector of Po cy Serv ces Dur ng the pub c comment port on of a board meet ng, a res dent steps to the m crophone to descr be an nc dent that nvo ved h s daughter, a spec a educat on student. He names the teachers and the students nvo ved, attr butes behav or and comments to a part es (a though he obv ous y was not present), and conc udes by suggest ng the d str ct s deny ng students the serv ces they are ent t ed to by aw. Such events can make board members wonder about the w sdom of hav ng pub c comment sess ons on the agenda. They are not requ red by aw, a though they are part of the cu ture of democracy and are encouraged by the state comm ss oner of educat on.

Study questions effectiveness of character education On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Character educat on programs a m to promote pos t ve student behav or and mprove student earn ng. But do they work? The argest federa study ever conducted on character educat on programs sheds doubt on the r effect veness. The study, conducted through the U.S. Dept. of Educat on (DOE), eva uated seven d fferent character educat on programs and found that wh e they ncreased the number of c assroom act v t es ntended to mprove students soc a and character deve opment, they had no effect on students soc a and emot ona competence, behav or, academ c performance, or percept ons of schoo c mate compared w th students who were not exposed to the programs. Fourteen e ementary schoo s n Buffa o were nvo ved n the study – 12 regu ar pub c schoo s and two charter schoo s.

Building turbine easy decision On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The dec s on to bu d a w nd turb ne atop a grassy kno between Mont ce o H gh Schoo and one of the d str ct s three e ementary schoo s “was bas ca y a no-bra ner,” accord ng to Pat M che , super ntendent of the Mont ce o Centra Schoo D str ct n Su van County. “Everybody was shov ng money at us to put t up.” Thanks to grants from the New York State Energy Research and Deve opment Author ty and other energy ncent ves, the turb ne has cost d str ct taxpayers noth ng. W thout the grants and ncent ves the pro ect ke y wou d have cost the d str ct between $100,000 and $150,000.

Send in the auditors, please On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Kath een Wood, super ntendent of Harpursv e Centra Schoo D str ct, had ust earned the outcome of an app cat on for a state grant to study the feas b ty of bu d ng a o nt transportat on fac ty to serve the d str ct, a oca town government and the town f re company. The app cat on had been den ed. Then more potent a bad news: a ca from the off ce of the state comptro er. “That s usua y not a rea fr end y ca ,” Wood to d On Board.

Effective use of the school attorney in the superintendent search process On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Part 2 of a 2-part ser es In ast month s art c e on th s top c, we rev ewed ways the schoo attorney can be an asset n p ann ng a super ntendent search. Be ow are recommendat ons for procedures when se ect ng a new super ntendent, nc ud ng ways to promote a pos t ve outcome by tapp ng the expert se of your schoo attorney. Once the app cat on process has c osed, an n t a eva uat on of super ntendent cand dates s genera y undertaken by the search consu tant. W th the consu tant s adv ce, the board can dent fy an n t a s ate of v ab e cand dates t w shes to nterv ew.

Residency policy deemed unenforceable On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse Imprec se anguage n a schoo d str ct s res dency po cy made t unenforceab e, accord ng to a ru ng by state Supreme Court, N agara County. The po cy requ red emp oyees h red or promoted after a certa n date to be d str ct res dents. In Luckey v. Board of Educat on of the C ty Schoo D str ct of the C ty of N agara Fa s, the court ordered the d str ct to re nstate two tenured teachers who had been d sm ssed for fa ure to comp y w th the po cy.

Occupational therapist may be entitled to new job after BOCES takeover On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse An occupat ona therap st whose ob was e m nated when a schoo d str ct contracted w th a BOCES for those serv ces may be ent t ed to emp oyment w th the BOCES, accord ng to a recent dec s on of the Appe ate D v s on of state Supreme Court, Fourth Department. Under the Educat on Law, nstruct ona emp oyees are ent t ed to transfer r ghts when a BOCES “takes over” a program from a schoo d str ct. An occupat ona therap st – a non- nstruct ona emp oyee – was deemed to have transfer r ghts n He ner v. Board of Educat on of W son CSD et a .,

NYSUT not entitled to FOIL charter school teachers’ names On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse The state s h ghest court has dera ed a un on s effort to obta n the names and home addresses of s x charter schoo s emp oyees, poss b y for recru tment purposes. New York State Un ted Teachers (NYSUT) c a med t was ent t ed to the nformat on under the state s Freedom of Informat on Law, wh ch requ res pub c emp oyers to ma nta n a st sett ng forth the name, pub c off ce address, t t e and sa ary of every off cer or emp oyee. Such st must be made ava ab e for pub c nspect on and copy ng.

Huge salary increases excluded from retirement calculation On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A recent y ret red adm n strator appea ed the ca cu at on of h s f na average sa ary, wh ch exc uded ncreases for h s f na two years of emp oyment. Benef ts are determ ned by ca cu at ng the average of the emp oyee s h ghest three consecut ve years of sa ary – typ ca y the ast three years. Under a memorandum of understand ng the d str ct granted the pet t oner and another adm n strator near ng ret rement 10.22 percent and 6.5 percent ra ses n those two years pr or to ret rement. The co ect ve barga n ng agreement granted on y 3.5 percent annua sa ary ncreases to members of the adm n strat ve un t.

Termination of bus driver after positive drug test upheld On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A abor contract s requ rement that a schoo d str ct use progress ve d sc p ne for a but the most ser ous offenses d d not requ re t to keep emp oy ng a bus dr ver who tested pos t ve for mar uana use, accord ng to a court ru ng n Shenendehowa CSD Board of Educat on v. CSEA. After her term nat on, the bus dr ver f ed for arb trat on c a m ng her term nat on v o ated the d str ct s contractua prom se to use progress ve d sc p ne, .e., to ensure that pena t es are proport ona to offenses.

RTTT shows why we need BOCES On Board Online • December 13, 2010

By Fred Langstaff Area 12 D rector Schoo d str ct eaders depend on BOCES to he p address emerg ng needs. BOCES are frequent y ca ed upon to des gn new shared serv ces when d str cts determ ne that such an approach wou d be more cost-effect ve then offer ng the serv ce on a stand a one bas s. In these d ff cu t econom c t mes, our state s f nd ng new ways to use BOCES. Cons der the federa Race to the Top (RTTT) program. The State Educat on Department s RTTT app cat on env s oned the creat on of Network Teams to serve as the veh c e for mp ement ng the n t at ves embedded n the federa program. The app cat on ant c pated that BOCES across the state wou d house these teams. In fact, the app cat on was wr tten n a way to encourage d str cts to co aborate w th each other and/or w th a BOCES to fu f the requ rements.

Baugh to receive NYSSBA President’s Award FOR RELEASE: December. 1, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce F orence Baugh, the former pres dent of the Buffa o c ty schoo board, w rece ve the 2010 Pres dent s Award from the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on. NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson w present the award to Baugh n a spec a ceremony dur ng the Buffa o Board of Educat on meet ng on Wednesday Dec. 1. NYSSBA g ves the annua award to recogn ze those who have made outstand ng contr but ons to pub c educat on.

SED mulls fewer Regents exams, charging districts On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Off c a s at the State Educat on Department (SED) are cons der ng charg ng d str cts $5.93 per student annua y to cover costs of deve op ng and adm n ster ng Regents exams. The a ternat ve, SED off c a s say, s to e m nate a rema n ng Regents exams that are not requ red for federa accountab ty, nc ud ng Regents Span sh, French, Ita an, U.S. h story and government, g oba h story, phys cs, chem stry, earth sc ence, and geometry. SED wou d a so abandon p ans to create Regents exams n n nth- or 10th-grade Eng sh anguage arts. A of the above are cont ngency p ans f the Leg s ature does not come through w th $15 m on as requested by SED. The proposa s were nc uded n the Regents 2011-12 conceptua proposa on state a d to schoo d str cts.

Cuomo raises hopes for mandate relief On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Andrew Cuomo, New York s governor-e ect, faces a andscape strewn w th f sca andm nes and an uncerta n eg s at ve neup as he prepares to ro out a grand p an to overhau state government. Cuomo has sa d that what state schoo a d New York can afford shou d be handed out d fferent y, w th more money go ng to poor urban and rura d str cts. He wants to create poo s of bonus money that wou d go to d str cts that f nd nnovat ve ways to ho d down costs. And he has vowed not to ra se taxes. After h s ands de v ctory over Repub can Car Pa ad no n the governor s race, Cuomo s f rst references to pub c educat on were negat ve. Dur ng a v s t to a conference of New York s H span c state eg s ators n Puerto R co, he asked, “How do you have the h ghest educat on spend ng n the state of New York and you re number 40 n terms of (graduat on rate) performance?”

Will Cuomo be good for education? On Board Online • November 22, 2010

The resu ts of th s month s e ect ons w have a profound mpact on schoo d str cts. Sweep ng changes n Wash ngton, D.C., coup ed w th a new governor and a potent a sh ft n contro of the state Senate, means we can expect a new d rect on n educat on po cy and a reca brat on of budget pr or t es. F rst, et s ook at the changes n Wash ngton. We are a keen y aware that the federa st mu us funds run out at the end of th s schoo year. There s no doubt that the nfus on of $2.9 b on n federa “stab zat on” fund ng (on top of add t ona formu a-dr ven T t e I and IDEA funds) n 2009 made a dramat c mpact on schoo d str ct f nances. W thout the st mu us fund ng, many of us wou d have faced more severe ho es on the revenue s de of our budget, most ke y requ r ng cuts n personne and programs.

Regents favor modest aid request On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Schoo d str cts w need to t ghten the r be ts a few more notches next year, based on a state a d proposa that the state Board of Regents w cons der next month. The Regents subcomm ttee on state a d met on the same day that Comptro er Thomas D Napo announced New York s fac ng a current $1 b on def c t and potent a $9.5 b on def c t next f sca year. In ght of the state s f nanc a cond t on, members of the comm ttee are recommend ng that a port on of the foundat on a d formu a be phased- n for h gh-needs schoo d str cts. Other d str cts w need to re y on cost-conta nment measures to offset a oss of federa a d and poss b e freeze n state a d.

Panel recommends teacher training be ‘turned upside down’ On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter A b ue-r bbon nat ona pane on teacher tra n ng co-cha red by Nancy Z mpher, chance or of the State Un vers ty of New York, says the current system must be “turned ups de down.” Under the pane s recommendat ons, wh ch e ght states nc ud ng New York have a ready agreed to mp ement, prospect ve teachers w be spend ng much more t me n e ementary and secondary schoo c assrooms and ess t me w th the r co ege professors. The recommendat ons doveta w th an agenda that Z mpher had a ready been push ng for a number of years, ca ng for teacher tra n ng to be more ke that prov ded by med ca schoo s tra n ng doctors.

Gates Foundation grant to fund core standards On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The B & Me nda Gates Foundat on has awarded New York an $892,500 grant to he p the state deve op a K-12 statew de curr cu um a gned w th nat ona Common Core State Standards. Regents Chance or Merry T sch sa d the grant wou d support the work of the Regents Research Fund Fe ows as they works on the Regents reform agenda.

Capital region districts pool RTTT money On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef Twenty-one schoo d str cts from A bany, Schenectady, Saratoga and Schohar e count es have poo ed the r federa Race to the Top (RTTT) fund ng to create a consort um a med at ra s ng student ach evement. Ind v dua d str ct Race to the Top fund ng was as ow as $6,500, but the poo ava ab e to the new y formed Cap ta Reg on Network Team s near y $3 m on. The state p edged to encourage the format on of oca and reg ona teams statew de n ts RTTT app cat on.

Big-picture thinking key for boards that aim to make a difference On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Marilyn Morey Leadersh p Deve opment Manager Today s schoo board members must possess many sk s, ta ents and capab t es that may not have come to m nd wh e campa gn ng for the pos t on. Schoo board members, new and seasoned a ke, must be av d representat ves, cont nua earners, grac ous steners, fear ess dec s on-makers, creat ve p anners, adept commun cators, forward-th nkers and ab e-bod ed connectors w th the commun ty. However, on top of these ab t es, there are e ght essent a areas that a boards shou d make a pr or ty. They nvo ve b g-p cture th nk ng.

Fifth graders issued iPads in Mineola’s ‘grand experiment’ On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter When M neo a Super ntendent M chae Nag er persuaded h s board of educat on to g ve every f fth grader at the d str ct s Jackson Avenue Schoo a new App e Pad, he knew t m ght shake th ngs up n the c assroom. You cou d say t has turned them topsy-turvy. “One of the beaut fu th ngs s watch ng a student teach a teacher,” Nag er to d On Board.

Central Square students’ writing featured in science textbook On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter When J m Kuh s sc ence students at the Centra Square M dd e Schoo opened the r new textbooks th s September, they saw some fam ar faces. “Hey, I r de the bus w th that k d!” was one response, Kuh reca ed n an nterv ew w th On Board. Centra Square students who are now n e ghth grade are contr butors to the new Pearson textbook, “Interact ve Sc ence.”

Bullying may violate anti-bias laws On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse D str cts that perm t bu y ng cou d be n v o at on of federa ant -d scr m nat on aws, the U.S. Department of Educat on (DOE) sa d n a etter ssued Oct. 26. The DOE etter rem nds d str cts that, depend ng on the c rcumstances, bu y ng can v o ate aws that protect both adu ts and students, nc ud ng T t e VI of the C v R ghts Act of 1964 (proh b t ng d scr m nat on on the bas s of race, co or, or nat ona or g n); T t e IX of the Educat on Amendments of 1972 (proh b t ng d scr m nat on on the bas s of sex); and Sect on 504 of the Rehab tat on Act of 1973 and T t e II of the Amer cans w th D sab t es Act (both of wh ch proh b t d scr m nat on on the bas s of d sab ty).

Probationers entitled to representation by union during questioning On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A pub c emp oyees n New York covered by the Pub c Emp oyees Fa r Emp oyment Act, nc ud ng those ho d ng probat onary, prov s ona and temporary appo ntments under the C v Serv ce Law, are ent t ed to un on representat on dur ng nterv ews the emp oyee reasonab y be eves may ead to d sc p ne, accord ng to a recent dec s on by the Pub c Emp oyment Re at ons Board (PERB). In New York State Correct ona Off cers and Po ce Benevo ent Assoc at on, Inc. v. State of New York, the un on f ed an mproper pract ce charge after a probat onary correct ons off cer was den ed un on representat on dur ng an nterv ew fo ow ng a su c de attempt by a pr soner under the off cer s superv s on. After the nvest gat on, the off cer was p aced on pa d adm n strat ve eave for three weeks.

No 3020-a violation in relocation On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A d str ct s mod f cat on of a tenured adm n strator s dut es and re ocat on of her off ce to a d fferent bu d ng to fac tate carry ng out her new dut es d d not const tute d sc p ne n v o at on of the Educat on Law, accord ng to a ru ng by the comm ss oner of educat on. The pet t oner n Appea of Jodre was a tenured d rector of gu dance serv ces for grades K-12. In October 2009, her pr mary off ce was re ocated from the h gh schoo to the m dd e schoo and her dut es were mod f ed to focus more of her t me on the m dd e schoo gu dance program. On appea , the pet t oner argues that such act ons were d sc p nary n nature and done n contravent on of her due process r ghts pursuant to Educat on Law Sect on 3020-a.

Superintendent search discussion, interim appointment belong in open session, court rules On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse Schoo board d scuss ons to p an a super ntendent search, nc ud ng the qua t es and qua f cat ons des red, ought to be done n open sess on, accord ng to a recent court ru ng that found a Syracuse-area schoo board v o ated the state s Open Meet ngs Law. One factor n the dec s on was the d str ct s news re ease about the appo ntment of an nter m super ntendent after an execut ve sess on.

Individuals may simultaneously accrue tenure, seniority as teacher, administrator On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse In a recent dec s on, the comm ss oner of educat on addressed an ssue of f rst mpress on – whether an nd v dua may accrue tenure and sen or ty cred t n both adm n strat ve and teacher tenure areas s mu taneous y. The answer s yes, prov ded the nd v dua performs more than 50 percent of the r dut es n an adm n strat ve tenure area and at east 40 percent of the r dut es n a teacher tenure area. In Appea of Pearse, the pet t oner cha enged the determ nat on of the d str ct to abo sh the port on of her pos t on as a fore gn anguage teacher, argu ng she was not the east sen or n that tenure area. Pearse had been appo nted n 2005 to a probat onary pos t on n the tenure area of dean of students where she spent 60 percent of her t me as dean and 40 percent as a fore gn anguage teacher. In 2008 she was granted tenure n the adm n strat ve tenure area of dean of students. After the board abo shed her teach ng pos t on n 2009, Pearse c a med she acqu red tenure by estoppe as a fore gn anguage teacher and the d str ct s act ons v o ated her tenure and sen or ty r ghts.

Effective use of the school attorney in the superintendent search process On Board Online • November 22, 2010

Ed tor s Note: The fo ow ng art c e exp a ns ways schoo boards can make use of the r schoo attorney n a super ntendent search. Wh e nvo vement of outs de profess ona s can he p ensure a pos t ve outcome, readers shou d bear n m nd that other than the rev ew of contracts and other documents by ega counse , de egat on of search tasks s opt ona . D fferent boards have used d fferent approaches successfu y. By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Part 1 of a 2-part ser es One of the most daunt ng and essent a tasks a schoo board faces s the dent f cat on and se ect on of new eadersh p for the schoo d str ct. In super ntendent searches, boards ook for adv ce and gu dance from a search consu tant or BOCES d str ct super ntendent. Another resource that shou d not be over ooked s the schoo attorney.

Adult business education teacher denied recall from PEL On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse The comm ss oner of educat on recent y exam ned the “nove ssue” of def n ng “ ength of serv ce n the system” when d str cts appo nt nd v dua s to a pos t on from a preferred e g b e st (PEL). In Appea of Mars co, the pet t oner worked as an adu t bus ness educat on teacher n a d stance earn ng program n the d str ct unt her pos t on was abo shed. She was p aced on the PEL, but when a new pos t on was created, t was offered to another teacher. She appea ed, c a m ng she was the most sen or teacher on the PEL and was ent t ed to the pos t on.

Let’s say it again: Mandate relief On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Merryl Tisch On Oct. 22, Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner and I had the pr v ege of o n ng many of you at the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on s 91st Annua Convent on n New York C ty for a ve y town ha d scuss on w th NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson and Execut ve D rector T m Kremer. The d scuss on centered most y on what I ca the ta e of two c t es of pub c educat on n Amer ca today: rare y has there been so much energy and momentum for reform coup ed w th so much ntense f sca pressure from dec n ng state a d, r s ng costs, unfunded mandates and frustrated taxpayers.

Computer-adaptive tests could be better mousetrap On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Susan Bergtraum Area 11 D rector Wou dn t t be great f there were an assessment of student ach evement that cou d do a the th ngs the state s test cannot? A test that gave teachers and adm n strators nstant feedback? A test that cou d stretch to measure ach evement we beyond grade eve ? A test that cou d be adm n stered severa t mes a year to benchmark nter m progress? A test that on y took about an hour, even for k ds w th accommodat ons? A test that def ed cheat ng?

Online auctions help BOCES turn ‘garbage’ into cash On Board Online • November 22, 2010

By Susan Smith In any g ven month, the board of Western Suffo k BOCES dec ares about 15 tems to be “surp us, obso ete or no onger hav ng any va ue.” They can range from used veh c es to damaged c assroom furn ture to ant quated computers. Lorra ne He n, d rector of purchas ng, has d scovered she can se these tems on ne. “BOCES s mak ng money on garbage,” she sa d. “We don t know f th ngs work, yet peop e are buy ng these tems.”

ADVOCACY ALERT - REGENTS RECAP November 19, 2010

3020a Reform Spec a Educat on Mandate Re ef Mandatory Tra n ng for Schoo Board Members Intervent on n Chron ca y Underperform ng Schoo s Increased Ro e of D str ct Super ntendent and BOCES Common Core Standards Grant State A d Proposa SUNY CHARTER INSTITUTE PUBLIC COMMENTS

ADVOCACY ALERT - NOMINATE THE BEST OF THE BEST November 9, 2010

NYSSBA Advocate of the Year Award

ADVOCACY ALERT - ELECTION ANALYSIS November 5, 2010

NYSSBA ANALYSIS What the E ect ons Mean for Educat on

Timing Is Everything: Should School Board Elections Be Moved to Coincide With November Voting? Fall 2010 • Volume 8 • Issue 3

By aw and trad t on, New York c t zens str de to the po s each May to e ect or ree ect schoo board members. Many other states s m ar y host spr ng ba ots to se ect who s ts on boards of educat on. But turnout s chron ca y ow, prompt ng cr t cs to ask whether schoo e ect ons are a mean ngfu democrat c process. Turnout was14.2 percent n schoo e ect ons statew de n May 2006, accord ng to a study by the Loca Government Educat on Comm ttee, a mun c pa tra n ng organ zat on based n One da County,N.Y. In the same year, 40 percent of e g b e voters n New York State turned out to vote for governor,and 63 percent part c pated n 2004 vot ng for pres dent.

Johnson re-elected president of State School Boards Association Nespeca, Lenhardt, Masse re-elected board officers FOR RELEASE: October 29, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce F orence Johnson of Buffa o, NY has been re-e ected pres dent of the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on (NYSSBA). Her second one-year term beg ns Jan. 1, 2011. The e ect on took p ace Saturday, Oct. 23, at NYSSBA s Annua Bus ness Meet ng n New York C ty. A tota of 260 vot ng de egates part c pated n the bus ness meet ng, wh ch was he d n con unct on w th the Assoc at on s 91st Annua Convent on attended by near y 3,000 members of the educat on commun ty.

Ravitch: Local control is still best form of accountability On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Brian M. Butry Staff Wr ter D ane Rav tch s ca ng on schoo board members to be the front ne n defend ng trad t ona pub c educat on from reform tact cs that have po t ca appea but tt e or no sc ence beh nd them. “We need oca schoo boards,” sa d the renowned educat on h stor an and prom nent author n an address at NYSSBA s 91st Annua Convent on & Trade Show, he d n Manhattan Oct. 21-24. “We need oca schoo boards because we need democracy, not autocracy. We need a p ace where the pub c can go to ta k about the ssues they care about, to debate ssues and to make dec s ons n pub c and not have dec s ons made beh nd c osed doors and thrust upon them.”

Delegates freeze NYSSBA dues On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Barbara Bradley Staff Wr ter De egates at NYSSBA s Annua Bus ness Meet ng overwhe m ng y approved a by aw amendment to freeze ex st ng members dues for two years beg nn ng n 2011, then, beg nn ng n 2013, base future dues on the prev ous year s dues p us an ad ustment for nf at on.

Kremer sizes up threats, opportunities On Board Online • November 1, 2010

Am d numerous threats to schoo boards and pub c educat on, NYSSBA s focus ng on ways to “turn those threats nto opportun t es,” accord ng to Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer. Speak ng at the Annua Bus ness Meet ng on Oct. 23, Kremer sa d, “At no other t me dur ng my 12 years as execut ve d rector of th s organ zat on have there been so many new and d verse threats to the nst tut on of pub c educat on – a ntroduced n the name of schoo reform.”

The reform train has left the station On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Marc Humbert Staff Wr ter Former F or da Gov. Jeb Bush has thrown down an educat ona performance gaunt et to New York schoo board members, say ng they better c mb on the change bandwagon. Just ook at F or da s performance s nce 1998 on the Nat ona Assessment of Educat on Progress exams, he adv sed board members attend ng NYSSBA s 91st Annua Convent on and Trade Show. “F or da s k ds were a grade and a ha f beh nd the r New York counterparts n the fourth-grade read ng, and now they are s ght y ahead,” sa d Bush dur ng a more than 30-m nute keynote address to the convent on.

Johnson: Be ‘champions for children’ On Board Online • November 1, 2010

At an August graduat on ceremony n Buffa o, NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson met a new graduate who to d her, “I made t! Now I can do someth ng other than take tests!” As a member of both the Buffa o Board of Educat on and pres dent of NYSSBA, Johnson sa d the remark made her th nk. “It made me ref ect: Are we too focused on test scores and not enough on prov d ng opportun t es to earn fe s essons about accept ng no m ts and be ng true to one s se f?” she sa d at NYSSBA s Annua Bus ness Meet ng Oct. 23.

Puccio receives Dyer Award On Board Online • November 1, 2010

Pau Pucc o, a member of the Schodack, Questar III BOCES and Tech Va ey H gh Schoo boards, was named the 2010 w nner of the Everett R. Dyer Award for D st ngu shed Schoo Board Serv ce dur ng Convent on. “One th ng that has been made c ear by h s co eagues on a three boards s Pau s cons stent eadersh p,” sa d NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson Oct. 21. “H s eadersh p and work on beha f of ch dren s tru y outstand ng. He s a ro e mode for other board members and a consummate advocate for the va ue of pub c educat on.”

Attorneys urge districts to strategize for next round of labor negotiations On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Eric D. Randall Staff wr ter Schoo boards shou d not take the eas est route to contract sett ement n the next round of negot at ons, a pane of experts to d a record 420 attendees at the 14th Annua Pre-Convent on schoo aw Sem nar n New York C ty Oct 21. Some super ntendents or un on eaders m ght say, “Let s ust ro over the contract, offer a sma ncrease and be done w th t,” sa d Ben am n Ferrarra, a partner n the Syracuse-based Ferrara, F orenza, Larr son, Barrett & Re tz aw f rm. “That s the Novoca ne effect. It ust postpones the pa n.”

Evaluating the superintendent On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Eric D. Randall Staff wr ter On y about 30 schoo d str cts are us ng a mode super ntendent eva uat on format endorsed by the New York State Counc of Schoo Super ntendents, but the nstrument s worth a ook, accord ng to Tony Aras , d rector of deve opment for the Georg a Schoo Boards Assoc at on. Aras spoke on “Eva uat ng the Super ntendent n the Age of Accountab ty” on Oct. 22 at NYSSBA s 91st Annua Convent on and Trade Show.

State certification for teachers to get tougher, state officials say On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Marc Humbert Staff Wr ter New York w soon have a system where even tenure-protected teachers cou d f nd themse ves barred from c assrooms because of tougher state cert f cat on standards, Regents Chance or Merry T sch to d attendees at NYSSBA S 91st Annua Convent on and Trade Show, he d n New York C ty. “If we ra se the bar on the standards for what t means to get permanent cert f cat on, you cou d be tenured u t mate y n th s state, and not have permanent cert f cat on f we do t the r ght way – wh ch means you can t teach n New York State,” sa d T sch.

68% of RTTT money to go to schools On Board Online • November 1, 2010

State Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner announced at NYSSBA s Annua Convent on that more than two-th rds of the $700 m on the state w rece ve n Race to the Top fund ng wou d go to nd v dua schoo d str cts.

Google expert offers search tips On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Lisa Earley-Cooper Staff Wr ter Do you know what happens f you add a m nus s gn (-) n front of a keyword n the Goog e search w ndow? The resu ts w exc ude that word. And us ng a p us s gn (+) ensures the word w appear n a resu ts. That was ust one t p that Goog e expert J m Spe os offered at NYSSBA s 91st Annua Convent on and Trade Show n a workshop ent t ed “Goog e- c ous: How to f nd anyth ng on the Internet.”

Want a diverse faculty? Grow your own On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Marc Humbert Staff Wr ter When t comes to putt ng together a d verse teach ng corps, an expert recommends ook ng f rst n your own backyard. “I ove Teach for Amer ca. I ove those k ds,” She a Evans-Tranumn to d a workshop on “Recru t ng B ack and B ngua Educators for Greater D vers ty” offered at NYSSBA s 91st Annua Convent on and Trade Show. “But when you mport peop e from the outs de, w th n three years, they are go ng to be gone.”

What’s wrong with young black kids? Newark principal’s answer: nothing On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Brian M. Butry Staff Wr ter As the pr nc pa of a h gh-ach ev ng nner-c ty schoo , Barut Kafe e can take pr de n h s nat ona M ken Educator Award and hav ng U.S. News and Wor d Report tw ce rank h s schoo as one of the best n the nat on. Kafe e, however, sa d h s greatest sat sfact on comes from hear ng students ca h m “Dad.” It s a so from watch ng students whose on y opt ons m ght have been the street fe nstead graduate h gh schoo and go on to co ege.

Pre-Convention workshop offers help for engaging the public On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Staff Wr ter D srupt ve commun ty members and schoo board members w th a persona agenda were among the top cs ra sed for d scuss on by attendees of the second annua pre-convent on commun cat ons workshop. The nteract ve workshop d scussed best pract ces for engag ng the pub c, nc ud ng the mportance of embrac ng soc a med a to connect schoo d str cts to const tuent groups.

Giving students the tools to break the cycle of bullying On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Staff Wr ter To successfu y combat bu y ng, we must nst an eth c of do ng the r ght th ng, sa d educat ona consu tant and author Barbara Co oroso, at her featured workshop, “The Bu y, the Bu ed and the Bystander – Break ng the Cyc e.” “We do not need pra se-dependent, reward-dependent k ds,” Co oroso sa d at her Oct. 23 sess on at NYSSBA s 91st Annua Convent on and Trade Show. “We need to ra se res stors and defenders who are taught to va ue our common human ty and overcome nto erance.”

Sexual identity issues come to the fore On Board Online • November 1, 2010

By Jeffrey S. Handelman Staff Wr ter Gay-stra ght a ance c ubs have ncreased n h gh schoo s across the country, from a few dozen n the m d-1990 s to at east 3,200 today. Same-sex coup es are seek ng go to proms together, and some students are hav ng surgery to change the r gender dent t es. In today s soc ety, schoo s need to have po c es and awareness to dea w th such ssues when they ar se, accord ng to a workshop on ega and soc a aspects of sexua dent ty ssues.

Bush, Ravitch headline school boards convention in NYC FOR RELEASE: October 12, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Former F or da Gov. Jeb Bush and renowned educat on h stor an D ane Rav tch w head ne the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on s 91st Annua Convent on, wh ch s expected to draw near y 3,000 schoo board members, super ntendents and pub c educators from across New York State. The four-day event s be ng he d Oct. 21-24 at the Sheraton New York Hote & Towers n Manhattan.

Prop tax debate on 2011 agenda On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The dec s on on whether New York shou d enact a cap on oca property tax ncreases probab y w have to wa t unt a new governor takes off ce n January. Wh e depart ng Gov. Dav d Paterson had vowed to ca state awmakers back to A bany to vote on h s property tax cap proposa before the November e ect ons, he b nked. He sa d he was recons der ng after state Assemb y Speaker She don S ver softened h s prev ous y staunch ant -tax cap oppos t on. In September, S ver to d the New York Post that he expected to work we w th Andrew Cuomo, the state attorney genera who s the po - ead ng Democrat c cand date for governor.

Paterson resists unions in veto of plumber bill On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Quinn Morris Governmenta Re at ons Representat ve A veto by Gov. Dav d Paterson has preserved the ab ty of schoo d str cts to h re any qua f ed p umber or e ectr c an rather than on y un on zed ones. A p ece of eg s at on known as “the Master P umbers B ” wou d have requ red that schoo repa r work be undertaken by a master censed e ectr c an or censed p umber. Such a des gnat on requ res an apprent cesh p that s offered exc us ve y by un ons, so on y un on members can obta n them.

Lose the cap On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Timothy Kremer Execut ve D rector Po t c ans on the campa gn tra ke the phrase “tax cap.” Short and sweet, t sends a message to voters: “I be ook ng out for you.” That s why the state Senate passed Gov. Dav d Paterson s 4 percent tax cap b , and why gubernator a cand date Andrew Cuomo favors an even ower cap. Car Pa ad no has sh fted h s pos t on to favor a 2 percent cap as a temporary measure unt taxes – and spend ng – are dramat ca y cut. But NYSSBA s Board of D rectors s opposed to tax caps, and for good reason. S mp y put, a oca property tax cap wou d be bad pub c po cy. For decades we ve been trust ng oca schoo boards and voters to approve schoo budgets (successfu y, I m ght add), but now A bany wants to mpose ts own arb trary m t.

SED offers guidance on getting RTTT $ On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By David Albert D rector of Commun cat ons and Research Schoo d str cts that want fund ng from the state s Race to the Top (RTTT) award must create “network teams” by Ju y 2011 as we as adopt eva uat on systems for teachers and pr nc pa s that ncorporate student ach evement, Sen or Deputy Educat on Comm ss oner John K ng sa d dur ng a statew de v deo conference w th schoo eaders. Network teams shou d cons st of three nd v dua s w th techn ca expert se n the areas of curr cu um, nstruct on and data ana ys s. BOCES are expected to prov de network teams to a ma or ty of the state s schoo d str cts, and d str cts w be ab e to use up to 75 percent of the r four-year a ocat on to purchase or create network team serv ces.

SED to solicit proposals for district RTTT efforts On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By David Albert D rector of Commun cat ons and Research The State Educat on Department p ans to make $100 m on ava ab e to schoo d str cts and charter schoo s for pro ects that are cons stent w th the federa Race to the Top program. Those funds w ke y be a ocated through a compet t ve grant/RFP process.

Paladino, Cuomo differ on school aid positions On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter When t comes to state schoo a d, Repub can gubernator a cand date Car Pa ad no says he wants no cut. Democrat c r va Andrew Cuomo says a reduct on may be needed. For schoo s, the eve of schoo a d supp ed by the state s an overr d ng ssue each spr ng as governors and the state Leg s ature f na ze a new state budget. The state prov des a most 50 percent of the money spent by New York s pub c schoo s. Pa ad no made h s pos t on c ear n a ate-September nterv ew w th the New York Da y News.

Should school board elections be moved to November? On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Edwin C. Darden New York s Educat on Law requ res schoo d str cts to ho d e ect ons and budget votes on the second Tuesday n May each year, w th a few except ons. But turnout s chron ca y ow, prompt ng cr t cs to ask whether schoo e ect ons are a mean ngfu democrat c process. Turnout was 14.2 percent n schoo e ect ons statew de n May 2006, accord ng to a study by the Loca Government Educat on Comm ttee, a mun c pa tra n ng organ zat on based n One da County, N.Y. In the same year, 40 percent of e g b e voters n New York State turned out to vote for governor, wh e 63 percent part c pated n 2004 vot ng for pres dent.

Much-maligned state Legislature ‘does some things well’ On Board Online • October 11, 2010

Ed tor s Note: A new book from SUNY Press ent t ed Ins de the Sausage Factory: Mak ng Laws n New York g ves a m xed assessment of the New York State Leg s ature. A though authors Dan Fe dman and Gera d Ben am n say the Leg s ature needs reform, they a so assert that the nst tut on does some th ngs we . Fe dman and Ben am n w be speak ng at NYSSBA s Annua Convent on dur ng the Cr t ca Issues Meet ng (2 p.m. Fr day, Oct. 22 at the Sheraton New York Hote & Towers). Be ow, n a prev ew of that ta k, s a d a ogue based on se ect ons from the book.

After five ‘frivolous’ lawsuits by teacher, court protects district from future claims On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A former teacher n the Honeoye Fa s-L ma Centra Schoo D str ct who has f ed f ve awsu ts n both federa and state courts aga nst the d str ct s proh b ted from commenc ng further t gat on aga nst the d str ct n federa d str ct court regard ng emp oyment ssues w thout express ud c a perm ss on. Accord ng to the U.S. D str ct Court for the Western D str ct of New York, Bern ce Ma co m has engaged n a pattern of “fr vo ous and base ess t gat on at both the state and federa eve , wh ch mu t p e unfavorab e outcomes have apparent y not d scouraged … and t appears that she has no ntent on of ceas ng her campa gn of t gat on n the absence of court ntervent on.”

Second 3020-a action proper for teacher who broke agreement On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Patricia H. Gould Assoc ate Counse When a teacher a eged y fa ed to comp y w th terms of an agreement that sett ed a d sc p nary act on, the schoo d str ct had to n t ate a second proceed ng before t cou d d sc p ne her for her noncomp ance. So ru ed a state Supreme Court n Matter of Schu man v. New York C ty Department of Educat on. Schoo off c a s f rst brought d sc p nary charges aga nst the teacher under Educat on Law Sect on 3020-a n 2005. Those charges were reso ved when the teacher and the schoo d str ct entered nto a sett ement agreement n wh ch the teacher agreed to pay a f ne and take remed a coursework. Severa years ater, the d str ct brought a second set of 3020-a charges aga nst Schu man a eg ng that she fa ed to take appropr ate remed a courses as requ red by the sett ement agreement.

Legal action often necessary to protect district tax revenues On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By the New York StateAssociation of School Attorneys W th enormous state def c ts and a poss b e tax cap oom ng ahead, schoo d str cts must act ve y protect the r oca revenue sources. Threats nc ude d sputes over property assessments as we as negot at on of payments n eu of tax agreements (PILOTs). A schoo d str ct s f nanc a exposure n a g ven case can range from tens of thousands of do ars up to m ons of do ars of tax revenue for a s ng e tax year.

E-learning can be key element in 21st Century Learning On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Laurie Sanders-MacVittie E- earn ng, on ne earn ng, v rtua earn ng and d stance earn ng are a terms used to refer to educat on w thout the phys ca presence of a teacher. Thanks to new state n t at ves supported by Race To The Top fund ng, d str cts throughout the state are be ng encouraged to exam ne how v rtua /e- earn ng can prov de h gh-qua ty educat on at ow cost. Cattaraugus-A egany BOCES has embraced a mode for v rtua /e- earn ng that has been successfu n meet ng the needs of students n rura commun t es. The BOCES began offer ng courses through v deo conferenc ng n the ear y 1990s, and now offers hundreds of on ne courses for m dd e and h gh schoo students through an Internet porta (www.caboces.org/ s/resources).

Farmers try ‘junk food’ packaging in schools On Board Online • October 11, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter A refr gerated vend ng mach ne stocked w th noth ng but carrots was nsta ed Fayettev e-Man us H gh Schoo at 2 or 3 o c ock on a Thursday afternoon. “By noon on Fr day, t was empty,” sa d Cor ss Ka ser, super ntendent of the Fayettev e-Man us Centra Schoo D str ct. Emb azoned w th the message, “Eat Em L ke Junk Food,” the mach nes that have been nsta ed n the Syracuse-area d str ct and n C nc nnat , Oh o schoo . They are part of a $25 m on nat ona market ng campa gn mounted by Ca forn a-based Bo thouse Farms and about 50 other carrot producers. The campa gn, off c a y sponsored by “A Bunch of Carrot Farmers,” nc udes g tzy v deo games, edgy te ev s on ads and new “ unk food packag ng.”

NYSSBA Advocacy - An annual report to the membership Dear NYSSBA Members: Each year, pr or to the Annua Bus ness Meet ng, we prov de a report to the vot ng de egates and the membersh p at arge assess ng the progress our Assoc at on has made on goa s set at pr or Annua Bus ness Meet ngs. Th s year, desp te a po t ca , f nanc a and soc a env ronment that has been nhosp tab e – f not host e – to both trad t ona pub c schoo s and oca contro , NYSSBA has rema ned a strong and we -respected vo ce on beha f of schoo s and schoo ch dren. Dur ng stressfu t mes, eg s ators and other government off c a s re y even more on organ zat ons such as NYSSBA to prov de accurate, re ab e nformat on to a d n dec s on-mak ng. For th s reason, head ne-grabb ng events n A bany usua y don t comprom se our advocacy efforts. But the past two years have been d fferent. The Senate has been n d sarray, the governor was under nvest gat on and the state government s mp y d d not funct on proper y. Fu Report (7 Pages - 1.11MB)

Poll: EduJobs fund to have greater impact in 2011-12 FOR RELEASE: September 30, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Near y two-th rds of schoo board members respond ng to a recent NYSSBA po th nk the r d str ct shou d use the r ent re port on of the federa Educat on Jobs Fund to preserve schoo obs n 2011-12, rather than the current schoo year. On y 3 percent of the 436 respondents to the on ne po sa d the r d str ct shou d use a the fund ng th s schoo year; wh e 32 percent want to use the funds n both years. “Schoo d str cts are gratefu for the nf ux of federa funds,” sa d NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer. “But s nce most staff ng and h r ng dec s ons were made pr or to the beg nn ng of the schoo year, t appears the extra money w be earmarked to he p m n m ze the drop n federa st mu us fund ng ant c pated for next year.”

CALL TO ACTION - WICKS FOR REPAIRS? September 28, 2010

No Need for Master P umbers and L censed E ectr c ans to Perform Work n Schoo s Ch d Nutr t on Reauthor zat on – Congress Vote De ay E-Rate Program Update: Good News!

ADVOCACY ALERT - CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CANDIDATES September 21, 2010

NYSSBA Issue Br efs For Cand dates NYSSBA Convent on: Cr t ca Issues Fa State A d Payment Update: Late and Short

Amendments to the Proposed Bylaws & Resolutions

The fo ow ng amendments were subm tted to the Assoc at on by the September 3, 2010 dead ne. They are presented n th s brochure for your rev ew and cons derat on. Amendments pr nted here n do not have to be subm tted n wr t ng at the rostrum of the Bus ness Meet ng but must be moved and seconded from the f oor to be cons dered. (No rebutta s were subm tted by the dead ne.) Fu (2 pages - 5.36 MB)

New movie about schools urges public to take action On Board Online • September 20, 2010

Wa t ng for Superman By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Schoo reform s about to get the Ho ywood treatment. The makers of An Inconven ent Truth have turned the r ens on pub c educat on. The resu t ng documentary, Wa t ng for Superman, opens n New York and Los Ange es on Sept. 24 and s schedu ed to be re eased nat onw de n October.

ERS rates to rise On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Schoo d str cts w see a 37 percent ump n the r pens on contr but on rates for the Emp oyees Ret rement System (ERS) n 2012, the comptro er s off ce announced.

On board member training On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Some of you may have m xed fee ngs over the new state aw requ r ng new schoo board members to undergo tra n ng w th n one year of tak ng off ce. On the one hand, you cou d po nt to the fact that other e ected off c a s – such as mayors, town superv sors, and county eg s ators – do not share a s m ar requ rement. Why s ng e out ust schoo board members, espec a y when the overwhe m ng ma or ty of board members serve the r commun t es vo untar y?

Paterson signs anti-bullying measure On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Schoo off c a s across New York have a new too to use n the f ght aga nst bu y ng n schoo s or at schoo funct ons. On Sept. 8, Gov. Dav d Paterson s gned nto aw the “D gn ty for A Students Act,” end ng New York s status as one of the few states w thout a spec f c ant -bu y ng aw. Under the new measure, wh ch takes effect on Ju y 1, 2012, harassment and d scr m nat on based on, among other th ngs, race, gender, re g on, d sab ty, we ght or sexua or entat on are proh b ted n pub c schoo s.

Labor relations steady despite weak economy On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst The number of schoo d str cts enter ng the schoo year at mpasse w th the r teachers un on rema ned v rtua y unchanged from ast year. In ts annua Labor Day report, the state Pub c Emp oyment Re at ons Board (PERB) sa d that 54 schoo d str cts began the 2010-11 schoo year at mpasse n co ect ve barga n ng negot at ons w th un ons represent ng teachers, up from 53 at the start of the 2009-10 schoo year.

Paladino wants to oust BOEs who graduate less than 60% On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Car Pa ad no, who has prom sed to take a baseba bat to A bany s po t ca structure, wants to take an axe to some schoo boards and super ntendents, as we as some members the state Board of Regents. Pa ad no, who won the Repub can Party s gubernator a pr mary Sept. 14, has sa d he w demand the state Board of Regents remove a schoo boards and super ntendents n d str cts where the graduat on rate s be ow 60 percent.

SED to begin reporting percentage who score high on Regents exams On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Beg nn ng th s December, the State Educat on Department (SED) w report the percentage of students graduat ng from h gh schoo w th a score of 80 or better on the r math Regents exam and a score of 75 or better on the r Eng sh Regents exam. As part of the department s push to redef ne student prof c ency, SED be eves by pub c z ng th s nformat on, oca schoo d str cts w “get a better sense of how effect ve y they are prepar ng students for co ege and careers.”

Advice for new board members On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Kristi Hughes 1. Remember that you br ng a un que perspect ve. Don t worry that someone has more degrees than you, a fanc er profess ona t t e, a background n educat on; you br ng your own un que fe exper ences, sk s and know edge to the board. D vers ty s a good th ng.

How much should test scores count in teacher performance evaluations? On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst To better pos t on tse f to w n federa Race to the Top grant fund ng, New York ear er th s year adopted a ser es of reforms that nc uded estab sh ng a new teacher and pr nc pa eva uat on system that makes student ach evement data a substant a component of how educators are eva uated. NYSSBA has advocated such a move for years. The new eva uat on system w he p determ ne emp oyment dec s ons, tenure determ nat ons, supp ementa compensat on, and term nat on.

‘Crazy’ ideas boost food sales in Gates-Chili On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Mark Davey, super ntendent of the Gates-Ch Centra Schoo D str ct, s fond of te ng peop e that “we have the argest restaurant n the Gates-Ch commun ty.” “Between breakfast and unch, we serve thousands and thousands of mea s every day,” sa d Davey. The 5,000-student d str ct near Rochester appears to have cut the Gord an Knot of schoo food serv ce – t serves hea thy food that se s we .

Green ideas shared through K-12 website On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef When a Buffa o-area bus ness aunched a “Green Schoo s” contest to co nc de w th Earth Day (Apr 22), t found that students and the r teachers had p enty of creat ve deas. At Como Park E ementary Schoo n the Buffa o C ty Schoo D str ct, a water conservat on pro ect nvo ved us ng co ect on system to use ra nwater n a schoo garden. And Front er E ementary Schoo n Er e County s Hamburg Centra Schoo D str ct created a pro ect to study ways to use w nd power to prov de e ectr c ty to a trout hatchery on Lake Er e.

Music teacher’s big classes lawful On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse A New York C ty schoo s ass gnment of a mus c teacher to teach 227 students over f ve c ass per ods was recent y uphe d by the comm ss oner of educat on. In Appea of Koen g, Ke ee Koen g requested that the pr nc pa recons der her work oad, c t ng sect on 100.2 of the comm ss oner s regu at ons, wh ch m ts a teacher s da y teach ng oad to 150 pup s un ess a schoo can ust fy dev at ng from that m t. The pr nc pa den ed her request, based n part on a prov s on n the teachers co ect ve barga n ng agreement that perm tted up to 50 students n each requ red mus c c ass.

Unusual interpretation of Bible wins immunization exemption On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse The comm ss oner of educat on recent y found two Orthodox Jew sh s b ngs were ent t ed to a re g ous exempt on from mmun zat on based on the r parents be ef that “the sou of man dwe s w th n the b ood of one s body.” State aw requ res ch dren to be mmun zed from certa n d seases as a prerequ s te to adm ss on to schoo but a ows for exempt ons when a parent or guard an ho ds a s ncere re g ous be ef aga nst mmun zat on.

The path of education reform On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By David Steiner Comm ss oner of Educat on In the r mportant 1995 book T nker ng Toward Utop a: A Century of Pub c Schoo Reform, authors Dav d Tyack and Larry Cuban dent f ed a pers stent h stor ca pattern n Amer can educat on reform – our tendency to sw ng from one pos t on to ts po ar oppos te. The resu t, they po nted out, was often the worst of both wor ds: one reform movement wou d ust be gett ng underway on the ground when t wou d encounter the arr va on the po cy stage of ts oppos te, w th the pred ctab e resu t of chaos.

Team approach makes difference in information technology service On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Don Sbarra When adm n strators at B nghamton C ty Schoo D str ct went ook ng to max m ze student exposure to the vast opportun t es offered through today s ever-expand ng techno og es, they turned to the new Managed IT serv ce offered by Broome-T oga BOCES. W th educat ona techno ogy and ts app cat ons advanc ng at warp speed, B nghamton dec ded to outsource support serv ces.

Facebook presence helps board members spread ideas, win elections On Board Online • September 20, 2010

By Barbara Bradley Deputy D rector of Commun cat ons and Research What do the three gubernator a cand dates have n common w th schoo board members W Farmer, Son a Lew s and Debb e McQu an? They ve a used Facebook n the r e ect on campa gns. “I th nk Facebook rea y he ped my name recogn t on,” sa d Farmer, who was e ected to h s f rst term on the Burnt H s-Ba ston Lake schoo board n Saratoga County. “I had one co ege student work ng at a oca p zza p ace te me she voted for me because she saw my page,” he sa d.

Lansing board member receives top award FOR RELEASE: September 17, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Chr st ne Iacobucc , a member of the Lans ng schoo board, has rece ved a New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on Honorary Master of Boardsmansh p Award. The award s current y the h ghest honor bestowed by the Assoc at on s Leadersh p Deve opment Recogn t on Program. It recogn zes the extens ve t me, effort and comm tment requ red of exemp ary board members who cont nua y str ve to expand the r know edge of educat on and sk n schoo d str ct governance.

NYSSBA ISSUE BRIEFS NYSSBA has begun to reach out to cand dates vy ng for state and federa e ected off ce to prov de mportant perspect ve on cr t ca po cy ssues affect ng schoo s. To ass st w th your conversat ons w th cand dates ook ng to represent you p ease c ck on the nk be ow to rev ew our pos t ons and ssue br efs about key top cs such as Rea Property Tax, Mayora Contro , Charter Schoo s, Pens on Reform, Schoo D str ct Reserve Funds and Procurement Reform. NYSSBA Issue Br efs

Cloud Computing for Schools

It s not ust the n-th ng anymore. Cloud Computing s ga n ng tract on among bus nesses and emp oyers due to ts cost sav ngs potent a - espec a y n th s t ght economy. Schoo d str cts are us ng c oud comput ng to enhance student earn ng, save money and commun cate more effect ve y w th the pub c. What do schoo board members and adm n strators need to know about c oud comput ng? NYSSBA s new research report exp ores the ns-and-outs of th s techno ogy. Webs te:C oud Comput ng for Schoo s Fu Report (12 pages - 1.58 MB)

New law expands required training On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator New schoo board members w now be requ red to undergo tra n ng that w acqua nt them w th the powers, funct ons and dut es of boards of educat on w th n one year of tak ng off ce. Passed toward the end of th s year s eg s at ve sess on by the state Senate and Assemb y, the measure exempts current schoo board members from the requ rement. It was s gned nto aw by Gov. Dav d Paterson on Aug. 13 and w f rst mpact new y-e ected board members next Ju y. S m ar eg s at on was passed by the Assemb y ast year but sta ed n the Senate. NYSSBA supported the eg s at on.

Schumer: Federal aid won’t last forever On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter As soon as the Great Recess on ends, so w the b g checks from Wash ngton, accord ng to Sen. Char es Schumer. The New York Democrat, nstrumenta n w nn ng more than $2.5 b on n federa st mu us fund ng for the state s schoo s n 2009 and n secur ng $607 m on for New York as part of a schoo obs program th s year, sa d those a d measures were recess on-re ated and w a most certa n y end when the economy p cks up.

An uphill ‘Race’ On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Timothy G. Kremer Execut ve D rector When U.S. Secretary of Educat on Arne Duncan came to A bany ast week he to d teachers that the r comm tment to educat on reforms was “breathtak ng.” But, he a so admon shed New Yorkers to “stop y ng to ch dren” by dumb ng down our performance standards. The top c s a sore one for our state. In a dracon an but needed move, Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner recent y ad usted “cut scores” for grade 3-8 assessments so that students deemed “prof c ent” w f t a stat st ca prof e for co ege read ness. In p a n Eng sh, our grad ng had become too easy. As a resu t, the port on of grade 3-8 students deemed prof c ent n math dropped from 86 percent to 61 percent. Those prof c ent n Eng sh anguage arts dropped from 77 percent to 53 percent.

SED mulling ways to spend RTTT money On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter W th a near y $700 m on federa Race to the Top award n hand, state Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner says he w be work ng w th schoo d str cts over the next 90 days to determ ne exact y how the money w be spent. “Th s s not a two-m nute dr , th s s a four-year opportun ty,” Ste ner sa d at an Aug. 30 state Cap to news conference w th U.S. Educat on Secretary Arne Duncan, Gov. Dav d Paterson and others. Ste ner and Regents Chance or Merry T sch have sa d about ha f the Race to the Top money w go to nd v dua schoo d str cts. Most of that s expected to go to ow-perform ng schoo s w th New York C ty s ated to rece ve about $250 m on.

Test cost-cutting pared back On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator The January Regents exams have been spared from the chopp ng b ock. After announc ng a bevy of proposed cuts to ts assessment program to he p c ose an $11.5 m on budget def c t n 2010-11, off c a s w th the State Educat on Department (SED) have f na zed the r p an and nc uded enough money to cont nue adm n strat on of the January 2011 Regents exams, and adm n strat on of the June 2011 fore gn anguage Regents exam n Ita an. There s a so enough money to cont nue trans at ng exams nto Ch nese, Ha t an-Creo e, Korean, Russ an and Span sh.

Paterson vetoes bill on teaching materials On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Quinn Morris Governmenta Re at ons Representat ve Governor Paterson has vetoed a NYSSBA-supported b that wou d have prov ded schoo d str cts w th greater purchas ng f ex b ty n the use of textbook a d. The b , vetoed Aug. 30, wou d have a owed schoo d str cts to use textbook a d – now used exc us ve y for textbooks – to purchase other curr cu um and nstruct ona resources that are “a gned w th state standards used by students and teachers to support and enhance teach ng and earn ng.” Purchases of many software programs, man pu at ves and other teach ng a ds cou d have qua f ed for such a d.

You’ve heard of Twitter - how about Moodle? On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Teachers n 99 percent of schoo d str cts n New York State sa d they use the Internet n student nstruct on. And teachers n n ne of every 10 d str cts are us ng web-based educat ona software and too s to he p w th student assessment and eva uat on, curr cu um p ann ng, and profess ona deve opment. These are f nd ngs from a survey of techno ogy d rectors by NYSSBA and the New York State Assoc at on for Computers and Techno og es n Educat on (NYSCATE). The survey addressed how d str cts are us ng c oud comput ng and other types of web-based techno og es.

What’s cloud computing? On Board Online • September 6, 2010

L ke b ons of peop e and thousands of bus nesses around the wor d, schoo d str cts are ncreas ng y us ng c oud comput ng. And, chances are, they are f nd ng t cheaper and more effect ve than the o d, trad t ona ways of teach ng students and commun cat ng w th the pub c.

Schumer: Pro-education groups helped pass stimulus On Board Online • September 6, 2010

U.S. Sen. Char es Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke w th NYSSBA Sen or Wr ter Marc Humbert on Aug. 30 about federa st mu us spend ng for educat on. Q: Tell us about your role in the $10 billion education jobs bill just approved by Congress that is set to bring $607 million to New York. A: R ght from the beg nn ng, I fe t that t was extreme y mportant to a d our schoo s d rect y. In fact, I was very much nvo ved n the st mu us b (approved by Congress n 2009) wh ch a ded the schoo s separate y from FMAP (Federa Med ca d Ass stance Percentage).

Immigration documents and admissions On Board Online • September 6, 2010

Ed tor s Note: The New York C v L bert es Un on recent y wrote to 139 schoo d str cts n New York State to ask them to drop requ rements for mm grat on documents n the r adm ss ons process, and on Aug. 30 the State Educat on Department ssued a memo c ar fy ng what documents schoo d str cts may requ re n the adm ss ons process. The art c e be ow summar zes the re evant aws – and gray areas – for schoo d str cts. NYSSBA has no pos t on on what types of nqu r es schoo d str ct shou d make n the adm ss ons process.

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys The ru es that determ ne mm grant ch dren s access to pub c educat on n the Un ted States send a m xed message. A though the U.S. Supreme Court s sweep ng dec s on n P y er vs. Doe perm ts fore gn nat ona s w thout documentat on to attend pub c schoo , the USA PATRIOT Act proh b ts certa n n-status v sa ho ders (tour sts and bus ness v s tors) from enro ng n schoo . The same federa aw prevents certa n academ c v sa ho ders (F-1 and M-1) from enro ng n schoo un ess the schoo part c pates n a program ca ed the Student and Exchange V s tor Informat on System (SEVIS). Loca schoo off c a s may f nd t d ff cu t to understand wh ch categor es of fore gn nat ona s are e g b e to enro n a pub c schoo and wh ch are not, as we as what types of nqu ry can be made at reg strat on. The genera ru e s that ch dren are e g b e to enro n a pub c schoo d str ct f they meet the res dency requ rements of that d str ct. That nc udes a out-of-status fore gn nat ona s as we as U.S. c t zens, U.S. permanent res dents, asy ees, refugees and many fore gn nat ona s ho d ng awfu temporary status.

Medical exemption from immunization requirements properly denied On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A schoo d str ct proper y exc uded a student who had not been fu y mmun zed, even though her phys c an subm tted documents express ng concern that the shots cou d detr menta to the k ndergartener s hea th, accord ng to a dec s on by the state comm ss oner of educat on. The g r s s ster had a bad react on to comb ned meas es mumps rube a (“MMR”) vacc ne, but the d str ct subm tted ev dence that th s fact was not suff c ent to support an exempt on from mmun zat on. State aw requ res ch dren to be mmun zed aga nst certa n d seases and ch dren may not attend schoo n the absence of such mmun zat ons. There are two except ons to mmun zat on. Immun zat on s not requ red f a parent ho ds a s ncere re g ous be ef contrary to mmun zat on or f a censed phys c an cert f es that mmun zat on may be detr menta to a ch d s hea th. In Appea of D.F., a parent sought to overturn a schoo d str ct s dec s on to deny her ch d a med ca exempt on from mmun zat on requ rements.

Suspension upheld for improper remarks, e-mails and texts to student On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Patricia H. Gould Assoc ate Counse A state appe ate court has uphe d a three-month suspens on of a h gh schoo teacher who posted her romant c fee ngs for a 15-yearo d student n a b og and repeated y exchanged ate n ght e-ma s w th the student that conta ned nappropr ate y persona content. The teacher made s m ar comments both n person and by “text ng” h m. The teacher s b og, or on ne d ary, descr bed her “sa ac ous” thoughts about an unnamed person who she thought of k ss ng and “mov ng beyond the rea m of fantasy” and the conf ct she was exper enc ng for want ng more from the re at onsh p. The student and h s fr ends were ab e to access her b og, and t was apparent that some of her b og wr t ngs were n response to what the student had wr tten on h s own b og.

‘Proficient’ must mean on track for college On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Merryl Tisch Chance or, Board of Regents When I became chance or n March 2009, I made a comm tment to New Yorkers that we wou d accept noth ng ess than co ege read ness for a of our k ds. We qu ck y dent f ed the need to end debate about whether each year s assessments were harder or eas er than the year before. The Regents goa was to restore conf dence n how we measure student performance – nc ud ng our own. At the t me, I caut oned aga nst read ng too much nto what appeared on ts face to be tremendous ga ns n student ach evement on math and Eng sh tests n grades 3-8. Wh e the ga ns seemed mpress ve, they were at odds w th student performance on nat ona exams and were accompan ed by a grow ng body of research suggest ng that success on our state tests was a poor pred ctor of future ach evement. C oser nspect on revea ed that the ga ns of prev ous years appeared to be the resu t of ower ng the bar rather than dramat c ncreases n the number of students ach ev ng true prof c ency.

The art of the deal: Savings through regionalized negotiations On Board Online • September 6, 2010

By Mike McCagg Cap ta Reg on BOCES In a t me of d re f sca stra ts, Cap ta Reg on BOCES s offer ng schoo d str cts a reg ona approach to negot at ng and manag ng contracts. The BOCES Labor Re at ons and Negot at ons Serv ce, wh ch debuted ast year, enab es schoo adm n strators to h re negot ators w th exper ence negot at ng contracts n the Cap ta Reg on and beyond. A reg ona approach makes sense, sa d Kev n Harren, d rector of the serv ce. “We are fam ar w th contracts around the reg on and the r prov s ons,” he sa d. The serv ce puts d str cts on a eve p ay ng f e d n negot at ons w th emp oyee un ons such as New York State Un ted Teachers (NYSUT) and the C v Serv ce Emp oyees Assoc at on (CSEA), accord ng to Harren. The BOCES s 23 component d str cts have about 14,500 emp oyees, 95 percent of whom are represented by a barga n ng un t.

School board members to focus on reform in upcoming school year FOR RELEASE: September 2, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce As the new schoo year beg ns, schoo board members around the state are po sed to ay the groundwork for ong-term reforms ntended to mprove student ach evement for years to come. “The comprehens ve reforms we are str v ng towards w a ow our schoo s to mprove and our students to succeed n the c assroom, n co ege and n the r careers,” sa d NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer. “Th s s the year of reform.”

Student Registration Guidance FOR RELEASE: August 30, 2010 Attached s a nk to a Gu dance document wh ch the State Educat on Department ust posted on ts webs te th s morn ng. The ssues presented n th s Gu dance document perta n to quest ons wh ch schoo d str cts have been rece v ng ate y regard ng the r ob gat ons n enro ng and mak ng res dency determ nat ons, part cu ar y w th respect to students who are not c t zens of the Un ted States. We forward to you th s document n the hope that t w prov de greater c ar ty to you. http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/sss/pps/res dency/studentreg strat ongu dance082610.pdf

CALL TO ACTION: STOP THE GOVERNOR’S CUT! August 25, 2010

STOP THE GOVERNOR S CUTS 2010-11 STATE AID RUNS EDUCATION JOBS FUND AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT (ARRA) 2009 – UPDATE RACE TO THE TOP STATEMENT FROM NYSSBA S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TIM KREMER RE: RACE TO THE TOP

Statement of Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association New York wins Race to the Top funds_copy FOR RELEASE: August 24, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Congratu at ons to the State Educat on Department, Board of Regents and state awmakers for he p ng New York secure $700 m on n federa Race to the Top fund ng to foster nnovat ve changes n our pub c educat on system. The r d gence to make the necessary changes to the state s Race to the Top app cat on and ncrease support among schoo boards and oca teachers un ons was adm rab e, and today s announcement s a testament to the r hard work.

ADVOCACY ALERT - CONGRESS TO THE RESCUE! NEW FEDERAL LAW HELPS OFFSET STATE AID CUT AND HEADS OFF LARGE ADDITIONAL MID YEAR CUT August 8, 2010 EDUCATION JOBS FUND FMAP

Districts face parents’ questions as state raises bar on test scores On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Worr ed that New York s students are fa ng beh nd the r counterparts across the nat on and are -prepared for fe after h gh schoo , the State Educat on Department (SED) dec ded to mp ement new scor ng regu at ons for grades 3-8 assessments The mpact showed up mmed ate y n test scores and super ntendents ant c pate strong react ons from parents. “The ru es have changed, and now we have to p ay by the new ru es,” sa d M chae Marce e, nter m super ntendent of the Gu der and schoo d str ct n A bany County. “I understand why they d d t, but my concern s about how d str cts and my fe ow super ntendents w have to dea w th t.”

New York adopts nat’l core standards On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Desp te some n t a trep dat on, New York has become the atest state to off c a y o n the nat ona common core standards movement. As part of ts effort to secure m ons of do ars of Race to the Top fund ng, the state Board of Regents has p edged to mp ement new common core standards deve oped by the Nat ona Governors Assoc at on and the Counc of Ch ef State Schoo Off cers n Eng sh anguage arts (ELA), h story, sc ence and mathemat cs.

Education and big business On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent The re at onsh p between bus ness and educat on has a ways been a comp cated one. At both the oca and corporate eve , bus ness has a strong nterest n qua ty pub c educat on, and our d str cts va ue the many partnersh ps that ex st. But there s a ways a ne that, when crossed, makes us co ect ve y ho d our breath. For nstance, some of you may remember the debates n the 1990s about whether or not schoo s shou d a ow for-prof t compan es to a r commerc a messages n the c assroom n return for educat ona programm ng and equ pment.

Congress nears new stimulus package as schools face new state aid delay On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Wash ngton to the rescue! Aga n. As On Board went to press, Senate Democrats n Wash ngton appeared to have put together a federa a d package that cou d send states an extra $16 b on to he p w th Med ca d costs and another $10 b on to prevent teacher ayoffs. The measure, w th the support of Ma ne s two moderate Repub can senators, O ymp a Snowe and Susan Co ns, was expected to pass that chamber and then be acted on by the House, poss b y n a spec a sess on the week of Aug. 9. Pres dent Obama supports the package.

TRS rate climbs to 8.6% On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Schoo d str cts w see a b g ump n the r pens on contr but on rates toward the Teachers Ret rement System (TRS) for the 2010-11 schoo year. Emp oyer contr but on rates were adopted by the TRS board at ts Ju y meet ng. Schoo d str cts n the 2010-11 schoo year w be requ red to pay a rate of 8.62 percent of tota teacher sa ar es toward the r teachers pens on funds, up from 6.19 percent n 2009-10. TRS covers teachers, teach ng ass stants, gu dance counse ors and educat ona adm n strators n pub c schoo d str cts outs de of New York C ty and BOCES.

Large-scale school climate survey to launch in the fall On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst D str cts have unt Sept. 1 to s gn up Schoo d str cts have unt Sept. 1 to enro n a arge nat ona study on schoo c mate n the U.S. The study, p anned to be the argest n the h story of pub c educat on, w so c t responses and react ons from teachers, students, adm n strators and parents from urban, suburban and rura schoo s n a 50 states about the r v ews on safety, respect, bu y ng and parenta nvo vement. The Nat ona Schoo C mate Survey 2010 s a fo ow-up to a ser es of stud es on urban schoo c mate conducted by the Center for the Study of Schoo C mate n con unct on w th the Counc of Urban Boards of Educat on. The new study a ms to study the v ews and percept ons of the ent re spectrum of schoo s and nd v dua s represented n the Amer can educat on system.

Getting past the anger regarding charter schools On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Peggy Zugibe Area 10 D rector The top c of charter schoo s often evokes a strong emot ona react on from schoo board members. Those of us who don t have a charter schoo w th n our borders sympath ze w th those who do. The atest nsu t to these d str cts was the governor s veto that removed a eg s at ve freeze on d str ct payments to charter schoo – dump ng an unexpected and substant a f nanc a ob gat on on d str cts nc ud ng Buffa o and A bany. New York State seems obsessed w th obta n ng the Race to the Top fund ng even though n t a ca cu at ons seem to show that nd v dua d str cts won t be reap ng substant a fund ng. In ts determ nat on to try to obta n these funds, the state ncreased the number of charter schoo s that can be author zed from 200 to 460 – ust above the number that U.S. Secretary of Educat on Arne Duncan to d Gov. Dav d Paterson wou d garner the most po nts from federa eva uators.

School libraries seen as vital to student success On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst As a brary med a spec a st at Watk ns G en H gh Schoo , there s never a typ ca day for Magg e F e d Edg ey. One moment she m ght be ass st ng an Eng sh sen or thes s c ass w th research and the next work ng w th students on a Human t es pro ect. Her ma n goa s to teach both students and staff how to become cr t ca th nkers n the research process. A so mportant s teach ng students how to become d scernab e users of the Internet and nformat on found there, as we as users of va uab e pr nt matter.

Later school start helps students On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst De ay ng the start of the schoo day by ha f an hour mproves students a ertness, mood, c ass attendance – and even the amount of s eep students got, accord ng to a study n the Ju y ssue of Arch ves of Ped atr cs and Ado escent Med c ne. Researchers stud ed the mpact de ay ng the start of schoo from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. had on 201 students n an ndependent h gh schoo n Rhode Is and. Part c pants comp eted an on ne s eep hab ts survey before and after the change n schoo start t me.

Comparing perceptions of racial differences On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst M nor ty ch dren and teenagers have fewer opportun t es to be hea thy, obta n a qua ty educat on and ach eve econom c success than the r wh te counterparts, accord ng to a recent nat ona survey.

Adirondack’s loon is window on ecology On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Th s fa , schoo s w have a new opportun ty to teach students about conservat on, eco ogy and protect ng the env ronment. And Gav a mmer s ready to p ay a starr ng ro e. Gav a mmer? Better known as the common oon, the b rd has a sou fu , haunt ng cry that seems to capture the frag ty of nature. “They are pretty char smat c,” sa d Dr. N na Schoch (pronounced “Shock”), coord nator of the B od vers ty Research Inst tute s Ad rondack Center for Loon Conservat on.

School board member removed for three successive absences On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse The comm ss oner of educat on recent y uphe d a schoo board s dec s on to remove a schoo board member for m ss ng three success ve meet ngs w thout suff c ent excuse. As part of the r dut es, members of boards of educat on are requ red to attend every meet ng of the board wh ch they are ab e to attend. A schoo board member was removed fo ow ng a hear ng on charges of m sconduct wh ch nc uded repeated y fa ng to attend board meet ngs w thout va d excuse. At the hear ng, the board rev ewed a st ng of board meet ngs and pet t oner s absences s gned by the board secretary. That document showed the pet t oner m ssed 13 meet ngs n the 2007-08 schoo year, nc ud ng three consecut ve meet ngs n September 2007. The board voted to dec are pet t oner s off ce vacant under Educat on Law sect on 2109, wh ch prov des that a board member vacates off ce by refusa to serve f he or she refuses or neg ects to attend three success ve meet ngs for wh ch not ce s rece ved, w thout prov d ng good, va d excuse or exp anat on.

BOEs have broad authority to determine class sizes On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A board of educat on has broad author ty to manage the affa rs of the schoo d str ct, nc ud ng the ass gnment of students to schoo s and c asses. In Appea of St nes, the comm ss oner of educat on dec ned to order a schoo board to reduce the s ze of a f rst grade c ass. In February 2009, after ana yz ng data from a demographer and d scuss ng the ssue w th stakeho ders, the board of educat on adopted a new m n mum c ass s ze of 16 students. Th s new po cy ba anced “budgetary concerns w th overa nstruct ona goa s to ach eve a program that was academ ca y sound and cost effect ve” wh e a so prov d ng c ass s ze par ty among the d str ct s schoo s.

Challenges can be significant when closing a school building On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By the New York Association of School Attorneys Boards of educat on are author zed by aw to c ose schoo bu d ngs. A though often unpopu ar, such act on may be needed to cope w th changes n the schoo -age popu at on or other oca concerns. State aw prov des a recommended – but not requ red – procedure. Un ess the board faces a d re c rcumstance that requ res sw ft act on, t s adv sab e to fo ow the procedure out ned n Educat on Law sect on 402-a, wh ch “author zes and recommends” that boards estab sh adv sory comm ttees to nvest gate the mpact of c os ng schoo bu d ngs.

Behind the cut score decision On Board On ne • August 9 2010

By David Steiner Comm ss oner of Educat on At the Ju y Regents meet ng, I presented research to the Regents that c ear y suggests the need to ad ust the “cut scores” on the state s grade 3-8 Eng sh and math exams to more accurate y nd cate student prof c ency on those exams. The board endorsed the rat ona e I presented, and I w ad ust those scores accord ng y. Why am I tak ng th s act on? And what w t mean for your students and your schoo s?

One family, four valedictorians On Board On ne • August 9 2010

My other s de Ed tor s note: Schoo board members tend to be pass onate about the r nterests. In th s occas ona feature, board members te On Board about the r “other s de.” Name: Caro Qu Age: 52 School district: Un on Spr ngs Years on school board: 22 Her other side: Ra s ng h gh-ach evers By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Last year Caro Qu was re-e ected to an e ghth term on the Un on Spr ngs schoo board n Cayuga County, n the F nger Lakes reg on. When she f rst o ned the board, the e dest of her four ch dren, T mothy Jr., was n k ndergarten. She and her husband T m were qu te proud when he graduated as va ed ctor an from Un on Spr ngs H gh Schoo . D tto for her daughter Beth, son Chr stopher, and, th s year, daughter Stephan e.

ADVOCACY ALERT - PASSAGE OF LAST STATE BUDGET BILL ENDS NIGHTMARE SESSION FOR SCHOOLS August 4, 2010

Advocacy A ert PASSAGE OF LAST STATE BUDGET BILL ENDS NIGHTMARE SESSION FOR SCHOOLS NYSSBA ANALYSIS

Statement of New York State School Boards Association on FMAP Contingency Bill FOR RELEASE: August 3, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on has ser ous concerns about the state s FMAP cont ngency p an. In part cu ar, the state s adopt ng a cont ngency p an that cou d resu t n a m d-year cut of $300 m on or more n state schoo a d, shou d federa Med ca d fund ng be reduced. Moreover, the FMAP b conta ns a prov s on a ow ng the September schoo a d payment to be de ayed unt September 30, rather than the f rst of the month as s the norm. The September a d payment s funded by the ottery, the proceeds of wh ch must be used for educat on, not the rep acement of federa Med ca d payments.

Proposed Bylaws & Resolutions and Voting Delegate’s Guide for the Annual Business Meeting

Th s s your report of the recommendat ons of the Reso ut ons Comm ttee on proposed by aws and reso ut ons, wh ch w be acted upon by the de egates at the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on s Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 1 p.m. at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. Fu Report (35 pages - 1.03 MB)

Statement of Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association Grades 3-8 ELA, Math Results FOR RELEASE: Ju y 28, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The nformat on that schoo boards rece ved today from the State Educat on Department s a b tter p to swa ow. Statew de resu ts on grades 3-8 Eng sh and math exams under the new cut scores show that schoo s have a huge task ahead of them n order to make a students ready for co ege- eve work. But the sky s not fa ng. Students are earn ng. In fact, New York e ghth-graders scored above the nat ona average n the Grade 8 Nat ona Assessment of Educat ona Progress (NAEP), accord ng to the U.S. Department of Educat on.

Statement of Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association New York named Race to the Top finalist FOR RELEASE: Ju y 27, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce W th schoo d str cts cont nu ng to fee the effects of the state def c t, today s announcement that New York s one step c oser to w nn ng Race to the Top funds s we come news.

ADVOCACY ALERT - A BIG WEEK AT SED Ju y 21, 2010

REGENTS APPROVE SCORING CHANGES (CUT SCORES-GRADE 3-8 MATH AND ENGLISH TEST) REGENTS SED ADOPT COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS REGENTS APPROVE EMERGENCY REGULATIONS GIVING DISTRICTS MORE FLEXIBILITY VALERIE GREY APPOINTED CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF SED SED RELEASES DRAFT OF NYS TEACHING STANDARDS

Gov. Paterson’s budgetary action includes charter payment whammy On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Gov. Dav d Paterson s vetoes of state budget-re ated tems – more than 6,700 so far – have eft schoo d str cts across New York fac ng not on y a $1.4 b on cut n state a d, but the prospect of b gger payments to support charter schoo s. The unexpected charter schoo whammy came on Ju y 8 when Paterson sa d he had no cho ce but to veto an ent re b nstead of ust sect ons of t.

Steiner seeks BOE input on details of new teacher evaluation process On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Schoo d str cts w p ay “an mportant ro e” n deve op ng the new system for eva uat ng teachers that w for the f rst t me re y n part on student progress on state and oca exams, accord ng to state Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner. “I th nk th s s go ng to be a partnersh p. There s no quest on there s a very mean ngfu ro e for d str cts,” Ste ner to d On Board dur ng a Ju y nterv ew n h s wood-pane ed off ce ns de the wh te-co umned State Educat on Department headquarters n A bany.

Inside the sausage factory On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Timothy Kremer Execut ve D rector You ve probab y heard Mark Twa n s observat on that those who respect the aw, ke those who en oy sausage, shou d never be present when e ther s be ng made. But part of our ob here at NYSSBA s ak n to be ng food safety nspectors n a sausage factory. Wh e we have seen our share of outrageous code v o at ons (chron ca y ate state budgets, b s passed at 2 a.m. and party-sw tch ng b ackma ), the current eg s at ve sess on set a new ow as the mach nery c anked and wh rred but prec ous tt e product made t to the oad ng dock.

As states adopt national standards, New York remains a question mark On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst New York s not among 23 states that have adopted a set of common nat ona educat on standards on Eng sh and math, but the state Board of Regents s expected to cons der the top c when t meets Ju y 19. The $4 b on federa Race to the Top contest g ves more po nts to states who adopt the nat ona standards by Aug. 2. The Counc of Ch ef State Schoo Off cers expects 41 states to meet that dead ne. Wh e Gov. Dav d Paterson has p edged support, t s the Regents, not the governor, who contro the State Educat on Department.

Have you got the right stuff for school board leadership? On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Darci D’Ercole-McGinn Leadersh p Deve opment Manager The schoo board reorgan zat on meet ng ust ended, and you ve been e ected board pres dent. As you rece ve the hearty handshakes, you sudden y have a moment of doubt: “Do I rea y have what t takes to ead th s board?” Leadersh p s somewhat of an ns de and outs de ob. You have to know yourse f as we as the act ons you must take n order to ead others.

Resolutions committee endorses dues change, recommends passage of nine resolutions On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

Annua Bus ness Meet ng By Barbara Bradley Deputy D rector of Commun cat ons and Research NYSSBA s Reso ut ons Comm ttee unan mous y agreed to recommend a by aw amendment that wou d freeze ex st ng members dues for two years beg nn ng n 2011, then, beg nn ng n 2013, base future dues on the prev ous year s dues p us an ad ustment for nf at on.

Five questions for David Steiner On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

Ed tor s Note: On Ju y 7, after n ne months as comm ss oner of educat on, Dav d Ste ner answered quest ons from NYSSBA Sen or Wr ter Marc Humbert. 1. Do you think we will win Race to the Top funding in Round 2 and could that help make up for some of this year’s reduction in state funding?

Steiner-Transcript On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

Q: As State Education Commissioner, you have now seen your first school year come and go. How would you grade David Steiner? A: I wou d eave that to others, but I th nk that w th the eadersh p of the Regents and w th a rea y good team we ve been ab e to make a start. There are mu t p e d mens ons to educat on reform and near the beg nn ng of the year w th the Regents we set out an amb t ous, but rea st c agenda for those mu t p e aspects. We are work ng very hard to turn those deas nto concrete rea t es. Obv ous y, the econom c c rcumstances we face make th ngs exponent a y more d ff cu t for everybody concerned. The po t ca env ronment s a ways comp ex, part cu ar y n New York. I th nk we ook forward to bu d ng on these f rst n ne months wh e consc ous of the fact that there are go ng to cont nue to be mu t p e pressures of var ous k nds tat make for a cha eng ng env ronment.

Computers-for-all benefits students On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Schoo s w th one-to-one comput ng programs – n wh ch every student has access to a persona computer – had fewer d sc p nary prob ems, ower dropout rates and h gher test scores than schoo s w th fewer computers, accord ng to the resu ts of a recent study.

National Guard programs help high school dropouts earn degrees On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Youth enro ed n a res dent a , “quas -m tary” program for h gh schoo dropouts run by the Nat ona Guard were more ke y to obta n h gh schoo d p omas or GED cert f cates than the r peers not enro ed n the program, accord ng to a new study.

Sen. Byrd’s legacy lives on in teacher training grants On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef Thanks to recent y deceased U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd, 30 e ementary schoo teachers from the Hudson Va ey spent two weeks n Ju y v s t ng West Po nt and the Frank n D. Rooseve t Pres dent a L brary and Museum, as we as G ded Age andmarks n New York C ty as part of a profess ona deve opment program. A champ on of h story and c v cs educat on, the West V rg n a Democrat spurred Congress create the Teach ng Amer can H story grants program n 2001. About 120 grants averag ng about $1 m on are funded each year.

Oswego County BOCES snags award for career and tech ed On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter As d rector of career and techn ca educat on (CTE) and a ternat ve programs for Oswego County BOCES, Rona d Camp has spent a ot of t me n recent years exp a n ng that today s CTE s “not the o d voc-ed” that BOCES used to offer. The d fference s that essons n math, sc ence and Eng sh anguage arts have been ntegrated nto career-or ented BOCES c asses, wh ch n Oswego range from cu nary arts to “motorsports fabr cat on” – bu d ng race car bod es.

Districts have a duty to inform excessed teachers of job vacancies On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse Must schoo d str cts d rect y not fy teachers on a preferred e g b ty st when a vacancy for a s m ar pos t on ar ses? In Appea of D ck nson, the comm ss oner of educat on ru ed the answer s yes. A teacher whose pos t on s abo shed s p aced on a preferred e g b ty st (PEL) for appo ntment to a s m ar pos t on and rema ns on the st for seven years after the pos t on s abo shed. Such a teacher does not wa ve h s or her r ght to reappo ntment by accept ng a pos t on n another tenure area w th n the d str ct or even by refus ng an offer of reemp oyment.

Access to ‘college day’ properly denied On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse Most schoo d str cts ho d a “co ege day” dur ng the schoo year to g ve co eges, un vers t es and the m tary access to h gh schoo students for recru tment purposes. In Macu a v. Bd. of Educ., Geneseo CSD a parent sought perm ss on to set up a “truth- n” tab e so he cou d present mater a s about peace-or ented organ zat ons such as Amer Corps and the Peace Corps. The parent a so wanted to observe the behav or of m tary recru ters n the schoo sett ng.

Locked ballot boxes must stay closed On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse A schoo board recent y asked the comm ss oner of educat on to annu the resu ts of a schoo budget vote that was n t a y deemed a t e and ater dec ared to have passed by one vote. The vote n Appea of Bd. of Educ. of the Depos t CSD was the f rst t me the schoo board conducted the annua meet ng us ng paper ba ots. Fo ow ng severa recounts of the ba ots, w th vary ng resu ts nc ud ng a t e n some of the counts, the e ect on nspectors cert f ed the resu ts as a t e and the d str ct c erk ocked the ba ot box. However, they a so agreed to count the ba ots aga n the fo ow ng morn ng. That recount resu ted n a determ nat on that the budget had passed by one vote.

District can’t continue suspension imposed by student’s prior district On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys Some students arr ve n new schoo d str cts w th reputat ons. If a super ntendent d scovers that a student was suspended for m sbehav or n a pr or schoo d str ct, and the student has not fu y served that pena ty, how shou d the new schoo d str ct dea w th the student? For years, n the absence of c ear statutory or dec s ona author ty, numerous d str cts offered “fu fa th and cred t” to another d str ct s suspens on of a student upon the student s enro ment nto ts schoo s. Th s pract ce d scouraged students from transferr ng to another schoo d str ct so e y to escape d sc p nary consequences.

Professional development reform still waiting in the wings On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Tra n ng, cert f cat on, eva uat on and profess ona deve opment. A have been deemed essent a to mprov ng the qua ty of teach ng n New York State, but the state s strategy to address on ast of these appears far ess deve oped than the f rst three.

The antidote for the school board blahs On Board On ne • Ju y 19 2010

By Antha Robbins Area 8 D rector Wh e attend ng the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on s Annua Conference n Ch cago th s spr ng, I met an educat on attorney from Canada. He sa d he attends our schoo board assoc at on conferences because he f nds them very worthwh e. In fact, he frequent y attends NYSSBA s schoo aw sem nars because, n h s words, “NYSSBA s ega team s one of the f nest and most regarded group n the country.” As a member of the NYSSBA Board of D rectors, t gave me a rea sense of pr de to hear that. Isn t t reassur ng to know, am d a the uncerta nty that s nvo ved n schoo board serv ce, that we can rema n conf dent n our statew de organ zat on?

Grade 3-8 exams aren’t long enough, Steiner says FOR RELEASE: Ju y 15, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce New York State exams for grades 3-8 are go ng to get onger and cover more mater a , accord ng to Comm ss oner of Educat on Dav d Ste ner.

CALL FOR ACTION - FINISH THE BUDGET - Call Your Assembly Member – Call Your Senator Ju y 15, 2010

SUNY CHARTER INSTITUTE RELEASES RFP / CALL FOR COMMENTS FROM THE FIELD (L nks prov ded)

ADVOCACY ALERT – LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS … FOR NOW Ju y 2, 2010

Assemb y Member Jose R vera “I want to get pa d and go home!” Schoo A d Restorat ons Schoo Property Tax Cap Mayora Contro Of Rochester Schoo s NYSSBA SUPPORTED BILLS PASSED BY BOTH HOUSES NYSSBA OPPOSED – BLOCKED BILLS NYSSBA SUPPORTED BILLS PASSED ONE HOUSE NYSSBA REQUESTS VETOS

Timothy G. Kremer on the Governor s Extender Bill and Tax Cap Proposal FOR RELEASE: June 26, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Governor Dav d A. Paterson seems to be on a m ss on to destroy pub c educat on n New York State. H s atest barrage aga nst schoo s s an onerous property tax cap that wou d create a s tuat on where a m nor ty of voters cou d turn down a schoo d str ct budget. Even after propos ng a record $1.4 b on cut n state schoo a d fo owed by thousands of ob osses n schoo d str cts, the governor wants to m t the ab ty of schoo d str cts to ra se funds oca y.

CALL FOR ACTION - GOVERNOR’S FINAL EXTENDER – TAX CAP – UNDERRIDE VOTE - CALL YOUR ASSEMBLY MEMBER – CALL YOUR SENATOR June 26, 2010

Statement of Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer on the Governor s Extender B and Tax Cap Proposa Assemb y & Senate Introduce Jo nt Budget Leg s at on to Prevent State Shutdown & Restore Schoo A d

Paterson’s anti-bullying plan involves human rights agency On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Vow ng to crack down on bu y ng and d scr m nat on n schoo s, Gov. Dav d Paterson has proposed eg s at on that wou d make schoo s sub ect to the state s Human R ghts Law. Meanwh e, a d fferent ant -bu y ng measure ca ed the D gn ty for A Students Act has passed both houses of the Leg s ature. Paterson had not nd cated whether he wou d s gn the b as On Board went to press.

23% of districts see drop in property values On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter A most one-quarter of New York s schoo d str cts saw property va ues dec ne n 2009, w th the bu k of the dec nes n suburban count es surround ng New York C ty, state Comptro er Thomas D Napo has reported. “New York s fortunate to have had fewer forec osures than many other states. But we re not out of the woods yet,” D Napo sa d when re eas ng the tt e-not ced June 8 report. “The weak hous ng market s ust one more nd cator that we have a ong, s ow recovery ahead of us.”

Feeling your pain On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent F nanc a y, we re a n the same boat: d str cts have been ay ng off emp oyees, cutt ng programs for students, ra d ng reserve funds, obta n ng concess ons from un ons, re gn ng n operat ng costs and respond ng to ant -property tax sent ment n the commun ty. Lead ng a schoo d str ct through the Great Recess on has been a Hercu ean task, and by most accounts t s on y go ng to get tougher n the com ng year. The state budget def c t w grow, federa st mu us funds w exp re, and pens on costs w cont nue to skyrocket.

Regents eliminate some S.S. exams, identify other cost-saving measures On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator In a be t t ghten ng move, the state Board of Regents w e m nate soc a stud es exams for grades 5 and 8 as we as component retest ng n math and Eng sh anguage arts (ELA) start ng next year. W th the State Educat on Department (SED) fac ng a pro ected $11.5 m costs wh e affect ng the fewest number of students.

on def c t for 2010-11, off c a s have been seek ng ways to cut

Final budget battle comes down to school aid On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Members of the state Leg s ature were wrest ng w th how much of Gov. Dav d Paterson s proposed $1.4 b nc ude n the f na budget as On Board went to press.

on schoo a d cut to

Fac ng Paterson across the negot at ng tab e, Assemb y Speaker She don S ver sa d he wanted the schoo a d cut tr mmed back to $800 m on. And, the r fe ow Democrat, Senate Ma or ty Leader John Sampson, demanded oca property tax re ef.

Changes your board needs to make before hiring your next superintendent On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By John A. Chambers Super ntendents are ret r ng n h stor c numbers, the poo of cand dates s shr nk ng and searches have become more t me-consum ng and comp cated. Many schoo d str cts are f nd ng t s equa y d ff cu t to f nd h gh-qua ty rep acements for h gh schoo pr nc pa s. As a recent y ret red super ntendent who serves as super ntendent search consu tant, I see a need for schoo boards and the r super ntendents to p ace a pr or ty on p ann ng for eadersh p success on.

NYSSBA Board of Directors recommends 2-year dues freeze On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By David Albert D rector of Commun cat ons and Research The NYSSBA Board of D rectors has unan mous y recommended a two-year dues freeze for ex st ng members, beg nn ng n 2011. Beg nn ng n 2013, dues wou d be based on the prev ous year s dues p us an ad ustment for nf at on. De egates w vote on the proposa at the Annua Bus ness Meet ng, he d Oct. 23 n con unct on w th NYSSBA s Annua Convent on n New York C ty.

Dues: Small in district budgets, but critical to NYSSBA On Board On ne • June 28 2010

NYSSBA dues average $7,751, mak ng them a sma fract on of schoo d str ct s annua expend tures, accord ng to Robert Schne der, NYSSBA s d rector of f nance. The port on of d str ct spend ng that goes to NYSSBA dues typ ca y s ust one ten-thousandth (0.0001) of tota d str ct spend ng.

How new school board members can get off to a productive start On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Marilyn Morey Leadersh p Deve opment Manager E ect ons are over. Now super ntendents and schoo boards must to he p new board members get or ented. G v ng new board members the r ght nformat on at the r ght t me can have a cr t ca effect on the ent re board s ab ty to funct on; every board member s essent a . Many super ntendents set up an or entat on meet ng for new schoo board members n wh ch they prov de mater a s, ntroduce them to key centra off ce staff and g ve them a tour of the d str ct.

Balancing act: How big should reserve funds be? On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Edwin C. Darden In every budget season, schoo board members must do more than ba ance expenses w th revenue. They must determ ne f the d str ct s sav ng enough. It s never easy. Ind sputab y, ma nta n ng reserve funds s part of sound f nanc a management, but schoo d str cts f nd cr t c sm no matter how they hand e them. To starve them s to gamb e, to fund them modest y can v o ate account ng standards and r sk ower bond rat ngs, and to fund them to the account ng profess on s spec f cat ons wou d break state aw and br ng accusat ons of hoard ng from po t c ans and spec a nterest groups.

BOCES teacher has students building a better school roof On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Fanny Perez M chaud has been tak ng her occupat ona sc ence students at Rock and BOCES Career & Techn ca Educat on Center to new he ghts th s year. L tera y. The students have, n fact, been spend ng a ot of the r t me up on the roof. And, not ust one roof. In add t on to the CTEC roof n West Nyack, the h gh schoo k ds have been atop the Un on Restaurant and Bar Lat no n Haverstraw on a regu ar bas s.

Small, rural school becomes the Yankees of eco smarts On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter When t comes to w nn ng streaks, a 278-student h gh schoo n T oga County ranks w th the kes of the New York Yankees and the Montrea Canad ens. But wh e the Yankees once won a record f ve stra ght Wor d Ser es champ onsh ps (1949-53) and the Canad ens have an equa number of stra ght Stan ey Cups (1956-60), Candor H gh Schoo ast month notched ts s xth consecut ve w n (and seventh n e ght years) n New York s annua Env rothon, a compet t on that tests students know edge of env ronmenta and conservat on ssues.

Audit of pager text messages ruled reasonable by U.S. Supreme Court On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse A recent dec s on by the U.S. Supreme Court favored emp oyers but s destepped a st -unsett ed ssue of what eve of pr vacy emp oyees shou d expect when us ng emp oyer- ssued equ pment. In 2001, a po ce department n Ca forn a ssued pagers capab e of send ng and rece v ng text messages to members of ts Spec a Weapons and Tact cs (SWAT) Team to he p the team mob ze and respond to emergency s tuat ons. Usage n excess of the a otted month y number of characters wou d resu t n an add t ona fee. Fo ow ng severa months of overage fees, the c ty conducted an aud t of text messages n the pagers to determ ne whether the ex st ng character m t was too ow or f the overages were for persona messages.

District not liable for alleged sexual assault On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse Schoo d str cts owe the r students a duty to exerc se the same degree of care and superv s on that a reasonab e, prudent parent wou d under comparab e c rcumstances. Genera y, d str cts w not be he d ab e n neg gence for the unant c pated acts of others that resu t n n ury to a student. For such ab ty to ar se, t must be estab shed that schoo author t es had “suff c ent y spec f c know edge or not ce of the dangerous conduct wh ch caused n ury” so that the th rd party s acts were reasonab y foreseeab e.

Delayed claim costs district taxes on intersected property On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse When a res dent a property s ntersected by the boundary ne of two schoo d str cts, the owner of the property dec des what schoo d str ct h s or her ch dren w attend. But somet mes a d spute can ar se over property taxes, ead ng to an appea to the comm ss oner of educat on. Th s what occurred n Appea of the Bd. of Educ. of the Manhasset UFSD. Genera y, the d str ct that does not prov de nstruct on pays the schoo taxes t co ects on the property to the des gnated d str ct of attendance. Payments owed become due at the comp et on of the app cab e schoo year.

Looking for innovation? Try next door On Board On ne • June 28 2010

By Lynne Lenhardt Area 7 D rector Last year, a fe ow board member shared a quote that gu ded us through two budget cyc es: “Overcome resource constra nts by us ng them to foster nnovat on.” Many schoo d str cts have been do ng exact y that. Schoo d str cts have been f nd ng new forms of eff c ency and creat ve ways to keep the focus on mprov ng student earn ng and ach evement. Here, n no part cu ar order, are some examp es from Area 7:

School boards to governor: Put mandate relief in budget extender FOR RELEASE: June 17, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Schoo s boards today ca ed on Gov. Dav d A. Paterson to nc ude mean ngfu mandate re ef prov s ons for schoo d str cts n any f na budget extender. W th Governor Paterson ra s ng the specter of a catch-a , emergency budget appropr at on b to be presented June 28 to the state Leg s ature, the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on s recommend ng that the governor s eg s at on nc ude four key tems of mandate re ef for schoo d str cts.

ADVOCACY ALERT - BUDGET UPDATE June 17, 2010

NYSSBA’s Four-Point Plan to Save Schools & Taxpayers Money Repea the W ck s aw. Create a ower-cost statew de hea th nsurance p an under NYS Hea th Insurance Partnersh p for a schoo emp oyees. A ow schoo d str cts to use nat ona buy ng cooperat ves or “p ggyback” the r purchas ng on nexpens ve contracts secured by other schoo s and oca governments Empower schoo s to part c pate n a trust that wou d beg n to fund the cost of the r tota post-emp oyment benef t ab t es. Spec a Educat on Mandate Re ef –Ca Regent Now (L nks Prov ded) Ear y Ret rement Incent ve - Part A & B Deta s About Ear y Ret rement Prov s ons (L nks Prov ded)

Cuomo targets schools, health care for cuts On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Andrew Cuomo began h s front-runn ng campa gn for governor w th a gr m message for pub c schoo s: be prepared for even more cuts. After accept ng the Democrat c State Comm ttee s unan mous endorsement of h s gubernator a cand dacy May 29, New York s attorney genera stepped off the stage at a Westchester County hote and mmed ate y to d reporters that the state s f nanc a s tuat on requ red tough act on.

State restricts pesticides in schools On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Staff reports Governor Dav d Paterson recent y s gned eg s at on that restr cts the use of pest c des on schoo grounds and day care centers to emergency s tuat ons. NYSSBA opposed the eg s at on, argu ng that schoo d str cts a ready have effect ve po c es n p ace and attempt to m n m ze student exposure to a chem ca s.

Jeb Bush, Diane Ravitch to speak at NYSSBA’s 91st Annual Convention On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Brian Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Former F or da Governor Jeb Bush and renowned educat on h stor an D ane Rav tch w head ne NYSSBA s 91st Annua Convent on n New York C ty. Known as the "Educat on Governor," Bush w de ver the keynote address dur ng the Convent on s open ng n ght fest v t es on Thursday, Oct. 21. Rav tch w bookend the event when she de vers the c os ng address at the "Sunday Ce ebrat on" on Oct. 24. "W th educat on reform at the fore, I can th nk of no better t me than to br ng n the types of speakers that w he p our membersh p understand where the debate s headed and what an ntegra ro e oca schoo boards w p ay n th s movement," sa d NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson

Cuomo and the schools On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Timothy G. Kremer Execut ve D rector Often cand dates for off ce fa to be deta ed and exp c t n the r po cy agenda. Not Andrew Cuomo, though. Just before Cuomo accepted the nom nat on for governor ast week at the state Democrat c Party convent on, he unve ed h s ong-awa ted p atform, ent t ed "The New NY Agenda," a 250-page tome on everyth ng from gett ng the state s economy back on track to mprov ng pub c educat on, wh ch he ca s "the new c v r ghts batt e." Cuomo s cho ce of a runn ng mate - Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy - cou d s gna an nterest n exp or ng the ssue of mayora contro of schoo s, as Duffy has been push ng for contro of the Rochester schoo d str ct. I ve had the p easure of meet ng w th the mayor, who struck me as nte gent and s ncere, desp te our d fference of op n on over the ssue of mayora contro .

NYS gets $20 million for improved ed data system7 On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Staff reports New York has been awarded near y $20 m on n federa funds to he p w th the des gn and mp ementat on of a ong tud na data system that w he p ncrease ach evement by track ng statew de student progress from pre-k ndergarten through co ege. It cou d a so he p the state and a s gn f cant y arger f nanc a w ndfa . The data system has ram f cat ons for the state s second round Race to the Top (RTTT) app cat on wh ch was subm tted on June 1. In the f rst round of the compet t on, New York ost the most po nts - 14 of a poss b e 24 - for not hav ng fu y mp emented ts statew de ong tud na data system. The state f n shed 46 po nts beh nd De aware and 36 po nts beh nd Tennessee - the on y two w nners from the f rst round of RTTT.

Coming soon to your school district: Bottom-line oriented state audits On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Marianne Van Duyne CPA Now that the state comptro er has comp eted aud ts of more than 733 schoo d str cts and BOCES, what have we earned - and what can we expect n future state aud ts? The focus of the n t a round of aud ts, wh ch took f ve years, was on mprov ng the nterna contro s of schoo d str cts. Aud ts by the Off ce of State Comptro er (OSC) w cont nue but w th a d fferent focus: cost sav ngs and revenue enhancements. These upcom ng aud ts w cover adm n strat ve staff ng, energy sav ngs, purchas ng, emp oyee benef ts, transportat on and other operat ona areas. They w a so focus on best pract ces for cooperat ve and conso dated schoo serv ces.

NYSSBA modifies, expands training programs under ‘School Board U’ umbrella On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator A new, comprehens ve tra n ng program for schoo board members and d str ct off c a s w be aunched by NYSSBA n Ju y. Ca ed Schoo Board U, the campus-themed curr cu ar mode represents a restructur ng and expans on of NYSSBA s tra n ng and recogn t on programs. Schoo Board U nc udes a core curr cu um for new board members. A brochure on the core curr cu um w be ma ed to a new y e ected board members n ear y June.

91 percent of districts endorse new RTTT bid On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator W th the charter schoo cap fted and a new aw ty ng teacher eva uat ons to student-performance data, state off c a s are fee ng much better about New York s chances n the second round of the federa Race to the Top (RTTT) compet t on. The State Educat on Department (SED) a so announced that New York s app cat on was mproved because of a dramat c ump n oca buy- n from schoo off c a s and teachers.

Hispanics lag in GED attainment On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst H span c h gh schoo dropouts are ess ke y than the r wh te and b ack counterparts to earn a genera educat on deve opment (GED) credent a , accord ng to a new study by the Pew H span c Center. On y one n 10 H span c h gh schoo dropouts has a GED, wh ch s w de y regarded as the best pathway - as de from a h gh schoo d p oma - to co ege, vocat ona tra n ng and m tary serv ce for adu ts who have not graduated from h gh schoo . By compar son, two n 10 b ack h gh schoo dropouts and three n 10 wh te h gh schoo dropouts have a GED, based on the Pew H span c Center s ana ys s of educat ona atta nment data from the U.S. Census Bureau s 2008 Amer can Commun ty Survey.

Collective bargaining endorsed in development of merit pay plans On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef Federa off c a s ant c pate mak ng 60 to 80 grants of between $500,000 and $5 m creat on of ncent ve compensat on p ans n h gh-need schoo s. App cat ons are due Ju y 6 for the $400 m Educat on.

on to schoo d str cts th s year to support the

on Teacher Incent ve Fund grant program, adm n stered by the U.S. Department of

NSBA backs federal education jobs fund to avert layoffs On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Staff reports W th schoo boards fac ng the r toughest budget cyc es n many years, some 300,000 teachers and schoo staff nat onw de are at r sk of os ng the r obs th s year because of state and oca budget shortfa s, accord ng to U.S. Secretary of Educat on Arne Duncan. Congress s cons der ng a $23 b on measure that wou d he p restore many of these obs through the federa st mu us funds. Dubbed the "Keep Our Educators Work ng Act" n the Senate and the "Loca Jobs for Amer ca Act" n the House, the b s wou d he p oca schoo d str cts keep essent a obs, nc ud ng teachers, schoo brar ans, counse ors and c assroom a des. Pres dent Obama has vo ced support.

An unsettled issue involving contingency budgets On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By New York State Association of School Attorneys Wh e the ega requ rements nvo v ng cont ngency budgets genera y are c ear, some ssues are open to nterpretat on. One nvo ves a schoo board s author ty to dent fy cont ngent expenses w th n the statutory cap. Spec f ca y, are there any m tat ons on the amount of a cont ngency budget other than the overa cont ngency budget cap and the adm n strat ve component cap prescr bed by the Educat on Law? Off c a s at the Off ce of Educat ona Management Serv ces of the State Educat on Department (SED) th nk the answer s yes, but that v ew appears ncons stent w th other, we -estab shed standards and procedures nvo v ng cont ngency budgets.

Dishonest treasurer, business official to return $1.5 million of compensation On Board On ne • June 7 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse Two former emp oyees of a schoo d str ct who prev ous y p ed gu ty to stea ng from the d str ct over a per od of years were ordered to pay more than $1.5 m on (comb ned) to the schoo d str ct. Th s f gure represents the compensat on and benef ts the former ass stant super ntendent for bus ness and d str ct treasurer had rece ved after the r f rst acts of d s oya ty. In W am F oyd UFSD v. Wr ght, a state Supreme Court re ected the defendants attempt to re- t gate the r c a m that they shou d on y repay compensat on assoc ated w th the tasks re ated to the r acts of d s oya ty. The court a so re ected arguments that the pena ty was excess ve y harsh and tantamount to the mpos t on of pun t ve damages. Accord ng to the court, t s we -recogn zed that the "d sgorgement of compensat on rece ved by a fa th ess emp oyee s not tantamount to the mpos t on of pun t ve damages."

CALL FOR ACTION - PROCUREMENT REFORMS - CALL YOUR ASSEMBLY MEMBER - SEND STATEMENT TO GOVERNOR’S CHIEF OF STAFF June 1, 2010

Legislature Passes Charter School and Teacher Evaluation Reform in Race to the Top

CALL FOR ACTION - CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR May 25, 2010

Urge Reform n Ra s ng the Charter Cap and Support for New Teacher Eva uat on Procedures

Voters approve 92% of school budgets On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter For the fourth stra ght year, New York voters have approved more than 90 percent of the proposed budgets sent to them by the r oca schoo boards. Unoff c a returns for the 2010 vote showed 624 of the 678 proposed schoo budgets approved – a 92 percent approva rate. In 2009, a record 97 percent of schoo budgets were approved. For 1969-2009, the average budget approva rate was 83 percent.

RTTT application in legislative limbo On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Schoo boards cou d be ca ed upon for a ast-m nute endorsement of New York State s app cat on for Round 2 of the federa Race to the Top (RTTT) compet t on f the Leg s ature approves changes requested by the state Board of Regents. One change wou d author ze the use of student performance data n teacher eva uat ons (see Chance or s Commentary, page 17) and the other wou d ncrease the number of charter schoo s.

Amid chaos, a progressive step? On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent Two events w th potent a y profound ram f cat ons for New York schoo s recent y occurred. One contr butes to the f nanc a chaos schoo s are contend ng w th, and the other cou d be a g ant step forward. F rst, the chaos. State off c a s mused a oud ear er th s month that they m ght not make any payments to schoo d str cts n June. They ater announced that on June 1 they ntend to pay schoo s some $2.1 b on n educat on a d that was or g na y expected n March and seek eg s at ve author ty to de ay the schedu ed June payment unt the end of the month.

Delaying aid becomes habit for Paterson On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter After de ay ng schoo a d tw ce, Gov. Dav d Paterson s threaten ng schoo d str cts w th yet another w thho d ng of money a ready author zed by the state Leg s ature. Paterson s budget d rector, Robert Megna, sa d the state w seek perm ss on from the Leg s ature to de ay about $1.5 b a d payments from June 1 to June 30.

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State aw current y requ res the state to make $3.6 b on worth of schoo a d payments by June 1. That nc udes about $2.1 b a d payments that had been expected by schoo s n March, but that Paterson ordered w thhe d.

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Should your school district offer deferred compensation? On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Edward Lilly Execut ve D rector, New York State Deferred Compensat on Board Ret rement p anners say ret rees shou d have at east 80 percent of the r pre-ret rement sa ary to ma nta n the r standard of v ng. But many teachers n New York State are ret r ng w th benef ts that fa far short of that 80 percent. Of the 5,644 members of New York State Teachers Ret rement System (TRS) who rece ved n t a benef ts between Ju y 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009, more than 34 percent ret red w th a benef t of ess than $30,000. On y those ret rees w th more than 30 years of serv ce ret red w th an average benef t of greater than $50,000.

Safety coalition promotes awareness of product recalls through website On Board On ne • May 24 2010

Reca ed products are a h dden hazard n homes and somet mes schoo s, accord ng to Consumers Un on. The pub sher of Consumer Reports magaz ne, n con unct on w th the recent y estab shed Nat ona Schoo Safety Coa t on, s us ng a webs te to ra se awareness of reca ed products. The effort s supported by NYSSBA, the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on and the Nat ona PTA, among other groups.

Disadvantaged preschoolers weak in basic motor skills On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst More than e ght n 10 ow- ncome urban preschoo ers ack even bas c motor sk s, accord ng to a study by researchers at Oh o State Un vers ty appear ng n the ourna Research Quarter y for Exerc se and Sport.

Study of twins shows importance of good teachers On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst A study of read ng ach evement among pa rs of dent ca and fraterna tw ns n F or da schoo s n the ourna Sc ence adds to the grow ng ev dence of the mportance of good teachers Researchers from F or da State Un vers ty ana yzed data of more than 800 pa rs of tw ns n f rst- and second-grade c assrooms across F or da. Ident ca tw ns who had teachers that were udged to be more effect ve n teach ng read ng tended to have h gher scores on tests of ora teracy than s b ngs w th ess effect ve teachers.

Suicides renew focus on bullying issue On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Brian M. Butry, Commun cat ons Coord nator and Eric D. Randall, Ed tor- n-Ch ef Events th s schoo year have prov ded d sturb ng rem nders about the prob em of bu y ng n schoo s. Two h gh schoo g r s, nc ud ng one New Yorker, comm tted su c de after be ng sub ected to repeated harassment. In a case that has garnered nat ona attent on and been descr bed by some as a watershed moment, Phoebe Pr nce, 15, hanged herse f n January after a group of students n her South Had ey, Mass. h gh schoo a eged y bu ed her over severa months. N ne of her c assmates have been charged by the d str ct attorney for such cr mes as c v r ghts v o at ons and sta k ng.

For school boards, bullying means a focus on policy, relationships On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Locker room haz ng, taunts on the schoo bus, f ghts on the p ayground and now verba assau ts on ne. What s a schoo adm n strator or board member to do? Accord ng to L nda Bakst, NYSSBA s deputy d rector of po cy serv ces, schoo off c a s need to take a d rect approach to bu y ng prevent on to he p ensure the efforts are worthwh e. “Many board members we ta k to fee power ess or overwhe med when th s top c comes up,” sa d Bakst. “But there are th ngs you can do.”

Tech Valley High checks out ‘the SAT of critical thinking’ On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Students at Tech Va ey H gh Schoo , a o nt venture by Cap ta Reg on BOCES and Questar III BOCES, are gett ng fam ar w th an e ectron c exam ca ed the Co ege and Work Read ness Assessment (CWRA). Haven t heard of t? Not surpr s ng. In 2007, when the CRWA debuted, on y f ve schoo s adm n stered the exam. Th s year, Tech Va ey – a reg ona h gh schoo ocated n Rensse aer County – s one of ust 46 schoo s nat onw de g v ng the test.

RPI outreach encourages students to pursue science, engineering On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Troy H gh schoo sen ors John and Steve Reeves are dent ca tw ns who share an amb t on to become eng neers, ke the r father and grandfather. When they both enro n Syracuse Un vers ty n the fa , they w have a head start, thanks to Questar III BOCES and Rensse aer Po ytechn c Inst tute (RPI). RPI, one of the nat on s prem er eng neer ng schoo s, s host of a BOCES New V s ons program for h gh schoo students nterested n math, eng neer ng and sc ence.

2nd Circuit finds no basis for individual liability in ADA retaliation claims On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse In a case of f rst mpress on, the U.S. Court of Appea s for the Second C rcu t, a federa appea s court w th ur sd ct on over New York State, has ru ed that nd v dua s cannot be he d ab e for reta at on under the Amer cans w th D sab t es Act (ADA). Wh e the case d d not nvo ve a schoo d str ct, the esson for schoo boards s that schoo off c a s who engage n a eged acts of un awfu reta at on aga nst emp oyees cannot be found persona y respons b e for that conduct under the ADA, even f reta at on s found to have occurred and the schoo d str ct s deemed ab e.

Can districts discipline students for postings on social media? On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys A student creates a Myspace.com prof e us ng a teacher s name and mage to mpersonate the teacher n posts on that account. Another uses h s Facebook account to cr t c ze h s schoo d str ct, argu ng that the d str ct unfa r y requ res a certa n eve of academ c performance to part c pate n ath et cs. And a th rd student posts photographs on her Facebook account of an underage dr nk ng party that she attended. May schoo d str cts awfu y d sc p ne students for these k nds of act v t es f they occurred off-campus, and outs de of the schoo day?

A new era in teacher evaluation On Board Online • May 24, 2010

By Merryl Tisch Chance or, Board of Regents The Board of Regents and Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner recent y announced an agreement w th the New York State Un ted Teachers (NYSUT) and ts argest oca , the Un ted Federat on of Teachers (UFT), that w revo ut on ze how New York eva uates teachers and stream ne the process for remov ng neffect ve teachers from the c assroom.

Reducing your stress level On Board On ne • May 24 2010

By Douglas Ann Land Area 4 D rector On March 15, the L verpoo schoo d str ct n Syracuse ost a ded cated advocate for ch dren. Board of Educat on Pres dent Pat Mouton, a we - oved and respected ret red Eng sh teacher, d ed after suffer ng an apparent heart attack wh e s tt ng at the board tab e. Mouton has been on the m nds of many schoo board members, espec a y n Area 4, because of the c rcumstances. Newspapers have po nted out that the atmosphere at the board meet ng was tense as members of the pub c spoke out about a proposa to c ose an e ementary schoo . Mouton even ca ed for a secur ty guard at one po nt.

NYSSBA: 92 percent of school budgets pass FOR RELEASE: May 19, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce New York State voters approved 92 percent of schoo d str ct budgets on Tuesday, May 18, accord ng to an ana ys s by the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on. In t a statew de resu ts gathered by NYSSBA ear y Wednesday nd cate voters have passed 621 of 675 schoo d str ct budgets. The number of budgets defeated was 52. Two d str cts were st too c ose to ca . "Schoo d str cts worked hard under very try ng c rcumstances to make sure the budgets they presented to voters ba anced educat ona qua ty w th the very rea concerns of oca taxpayers," sa d NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer. "Today s resu ts are a testament to the r efforts."

Statement of Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association Race to the Top Legislative Reforms FOR RELEASE: May 11, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on s caut ous y opt m st c about a proposa to nc ude student ach evement data n teacher eva uat ons. At f rst g ance, the proposa seems to str ke a ba ance, w th 40 percent of a teacher s eva uat on be ng based on student performance data and 60 percent based on oca y def ned cr ter a. If enacted, the proposa cou d g ve adm n strators and schoo boards new too s to measure student ach evement, make dec s ons about teacher effect veness, and chart a path toward profess ona deve opment.

Governor hit with second suit on school aid On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator A coa t on of educat on groups nc ud ng NYSSBA has f ed a second awsu t aga nst Gov. Dav d Paterson for w thho d ng a $2.1 b schedu ed state a d payment to schoo d str cts.

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Paterson has sa d he be eves he has no ega ob gat on to re ease the money – represent ng state a d for March, Apr , May and June – unt June or ater. But the awsu t, f ed n state Supreme Court n A bany on Apr 22, asserts that a mandatory schedu e has been dent f ed n Educat on Law to ensure state a d f ows to oca d str cts. By gnor ng th s schedu e, the p a nt ffs a ege, d str cts are eft to wonder when, f ever, they w rece ve these funds.

Feds, foundations offer shot in the arm On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter In a rare b t of good news as New York s budget mpasse dragged on nto ts second month, Gov. Dav d Paterson sa d the state had been awarded $308 m on n federa funds to he p ts most troub ed schoo s. That s a s zeab e sum. If New York w ns a Race to the Top grant, the est mated va ue wou d be $700 m

on.

You matter! On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Timothy Kremer Execut ve D rector As we approach schoo board e ect ons, t s appropr ate to ask why. Why do some of us seek th s form of h gh-octane vo unteer sm? Schoo board members typ ca y answer, “Because t matters.” But so much has changed n pub c educat on. Does schoo board serv ce st matter the way t used to? Be ng a schoo board member has never been easy, but t s gett ng harder. You work n a very dynam c, h gh y po t ca env ronment. The breadth and comp ex ty of ssues – f nanc a , ega , and educat ona – can be overwhe m ng. And the potent a for unpopu ar dec s ons s greater now than ever. Unfortunate y, de berat ons can – and occas ona y do – get ug y and persona .

School spending growth slows On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Brian Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Schoo d str cts across New York have he d proposed spend ng ncreases to an average of ust 1.4 percent for 2010-11 – the owest n f ve years, accord ng to the atest state property tax report card. Ha f of the state s schoo d str cts kept the r proposed spend ng ncreases under 1 percent for next year. Th rty percent of d str cts wou d actua y reduce proposed spend ng. Desp te a proposed mass ve state a d cut and payment de ays n the current schoo year, the average statew de property tax evy w ncrease by on y 3.2 percent under the proposed 2010-11 budgets – ower than average of the pr or f ve years – 4.8 percent (2005-06 through 2009-10).

NYSSBA launches local lobby day June 4 On Board On ne • May 10 2010

Home F e d Advantage By Quinn Morris Governmenta Re at ons Representat ve Th s spr ng, NYSSBA s aunch ng a new advocacy event ca ed Home F e d Advantage. Wh e most NYSSBA-sponsored advocacy events take p ace n A bany, Home F e d Advantage organ zes meet ngs w th state eg s ators n the r home d str ct off ces. W th the ass stance of many oca schoo boards assoc at ons – New York has 36 – th s year s meet ngs w take p ace on June 4.

Battle continues on charter cap On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The war over ra s ng New York s cap on charter schoo s cont nues to ro the waters at the state Cap to . Hedge fund managers and other we -f nanced supporters of charter schoo s are on one s de, and the equa y we -hee ed teachers un ons are on the other. Leg s ators, uncomfortab y, are n the m dd e. At stake may be hundreds of m ons of do ars n federa fund ng for New York s pub c schoo s n Round 2 of the Race to the Top compet t on, n wh ch state educat on off c a s say New York w part c pate. New York ranked 15th among the 40 states and the D str ct of Co umb a that competed n the f rst round, os ng po nts for fa ng to ra se ts charter schoo cap and for not hav ng a statew de student performance data system n p ace that cou d be used to eva uate teachers. On y De aware and Tennessee won awards n Round 1.

New leadership skill identified: Resilience On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By John Carroll Leadersh p Deve opment Manager As every schoo board member knows, one cannot ast as an effect ve eader f one cannot cope w th advers ty. Cha enges m ght come from outs de your organ zat on (governor w thho ds state a d payments), ns de your organ zat on (conf ct among board members on spend ng pr or t es) or w th n yourse f (does anyone s eep we after vot ng to c ose an e ementary schoo ?). The w nds of change b ow so strong y that eaders have no cho ce but to bend rather than break. The mark of a great eader m ght not be mak ng the best dec s on – somet mes there s no best dec s on – but hand ng the d ff cu t c rcumstances so we that they are an nsp rat on to others.

Study: Math professional development yields minimal positive results On Board On ne • May 10 2010

Research br efs By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Teacher tra n ng had v rtua y no effect on teacher know edge and student ach evement n math, accord ng to pre m nary resu ts from the f rst year of a two-year federa study. The U.S. Dept. of Educat on s “M dd e Schoo Mathemat cs Profess ona Deve opment Impact Study” s the f rst to test the mpact of profess ona deve opment on m dd e schoo math teachers. Seventh-grade teachers n the treatment group had the opportun ty to rece ve 68 hours of tra n ng offered by the study n add t on to any profess ona deve opment they wou d have rece ved otherw se. Teachers n the contro group rece ved on y the profess ona deve opment that they wou d have rece ved n the absence of the study.

U.S. math teacher prep lags behind other countries On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst E ementary and m dd e schoo math teacher preparat on n the U.S. ags beh nd that of a number of other countr es and must mprove f U.S. students are to compete g oba y, accord ng to a new nternat ona research study re eased by a M ch gan State Un vers ty professor.

Kingston teachers offer ‘Chemistry for Artists’ On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter For most art students, t may be enough to earn how to put pa nt to paper, but at K ngston h gh schoo there are budd ng art sts who are earn ng how to make the pa nt and the paper. The “Chem stry for Art sts” e ect ve s the resu t of a co aborat on between art teacher Lara G ordano and chem stry teacher Chr st ne Marmo. G ordano sa d the dea for the c ass came to her wh e she was sten ng to a show on Nat ona Pub c Rad o about a co ege course m x ng art and sc ence.

Play it straight with the voters On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse Accord ng to New York State s h ghest court, the Court of Appea s, boards of educat on have both the r ght and respons b ty to prov de d str ct res dents w th factua nformat on about schoo budgets and other tems on the ba ot. However, they do not have the r ght to use the pub c s money to encourage them to vote n any part cu ar way. A ega ru ng by the comm ss oner of educat on, st pu ates “[S]tatements that do not spec f ca y urge a yes vote may neverthe ess v o ate [the aw] f such statements otherw se persuade or convey support for a part cu ar pos t on.”

School board members may express personal views on budget proposals On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse Schoo off c a s, nc ud ng schoo board members, may express the r own persona v ews on a proposed budget, board member e ect on, or other propos t on on the ba ot, as ong as they do so at the r own expense w thout the use of d str ct funds, fac t es or channe s of commun cat on. Ind v dua board members may wr te and subm t persona op n on etters for pub cat on n oca newspapers wh ch urge d str ct res dents to vote n favor of the schoo d str ct budget but must take part cu ar care not to present themse ves as speak ng for the d str ct or persons other than themse ves. Accord ng to the comm ss oner of educat on, when the t t e of board member s used as part of a by ne that g ves the mpress on the author s speak ng n h s or her off c a capac ty. Therefore, board members shou d express y state that the v ews expressed are the r own n order to avo d any c a m of mproper advocacy.

Students permitted to advocate for the budget – sometimes On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse The U.S. Supreme Court has estab shed that students do not shed the r const tut ona r ghts to free speech or express on when they are on schoo grounds. How do these free speech r ghts mesh w th a d str ct s respons b ty to ensure that ts resources and channe s of commun cat on are not be ng used mproper y, such as urg ng voters to pass the schoo budget? Accord ng to the comm ss oner of educat on, d str cts may “not end nd rect support to part san act v t es through ts channe s of commun cat on.” Therefore, t s not perm ss b e dur ng c ass t me to have students address mater a s support ng the budget to the r parents. (It s a so mproper for students to de ver mater a s from outs de organ zat ons urg ng support of the budget to d str ct staff, accord ng to the comm ss oner.)

ADHD claim inadequate in student bid for special disciplinary process On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse Agenera educat on student who a eged y had been d agnosed as hav ng attent on def c t hyperact v ty d sorder (ADHD) was not ent t ed to be presumed to be d sab ed for the purposes of d sc p ne the comm ss oner of educat on ru ed n Appea of a Student A eged to Have a D sab ty. The student was charged and found gu ty of possess ng a cha n brace et fash oned out of spent bu et cas ngs, wh ch he had purchased for $10 from another student who brought t to schoo . The student s purchase and possess on of the brace et came to the attent on of schoo off c a s when a th rd student reported t to a teacher. The unusua ewe ry mater a prompted schoo off c a s to contact po ce, who determ ned there was no gunpowder n the bu et cas ngs.

SED properly denied clearance to custodian with 3 convictions On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse The State Educat on Department (SED) proper y den ed a schoo custod an c earance for emp oyment based on a cr m na record, accord ng to a state appe ate court. The custod an n t a y was h red on a temporary bas s. When he sought a permanent custod a pos t on, a cr m na background check revea ed that three pr or cr m na conv ct ons. Occurr ng between 1989 and 1997, one of the conv ct ons nvo ved dangerous drugs, another possess on of a contro ed substance, and the th rd cr m na m sch ef. SED den ed the custod an c earance for emp oyment after determ n ng the conv ct ons were re evant to the pos t on he sought. He wou d have d rect and frequent contact w th students and staff, and c ear ng h m for emp oyment wou d pose an unreasonab e safety r sk to them.

Student’s suspension annulled On Board On ne • May 10 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse Not ce sent, hear ng he d wh e fam y was on vacat on The comm ss oner of educat on has annu ed a student s 45-day suspens on for f ght ng and nappropr ate y touch ng a fema e student because the fam y was on vacat on when not ce of a hear ng was sent. In Appea of P.D. the pet t oner

Governor Proposes Expanded Early Retirement Bill May 4 2010

Th s afternoon Governor Paterson proposed new eg s at on to dramat ca y expand ear y ret rement opt ons for pub c emp oyees, nc ud ng those of schoo d str cts. The p an arge y m rrors eg s at on passed n 2002 and has two separate ncent ves. E g b ty for the ncent ve wou d be determ ned by the schoo d str ct. Those d str cts dec d ng to part c pate n the ncent ve program wou d offer a w ndow of between 30 and 90 days n wh ch an emp oyee wou d nd cate the r ntent to ret re. Schoo s wou d need to be ab e to nd cate that a ret r ng emp oyee s pos t on wou d e ther be e m nated, resu t n a sav ngs of one ha f of the r gross sa ary or wou d avo d a ayoff of an emp oyee. Pos t ons wou d not be e g b e f e m nat ng the pos t on wou d resu t n a hea th or safety r sk. Part c pat ng d str cts wou d need the r board to pass a reso ut on pr or to th s com ng Ju y 30th. Emp oyees who are opt ng to take advantage of the ear y ret rement ncent ve a ready passed th s year are not e g b e to take advantage of these add t ona ncent ves under th s eg s at on.

School boards hold down spending, taxes FOR RELEASE: Apr 29, 2010 Lowest spend ng ncrease n past f ve years Schoo d str cts across New York have he d proposed spend ng ncreases to an average of ust 1.4 percent for 2010-11, accord ng to the atest state property tax report card. The data, comp ed by the New York State Educat on Department (SED), a so shows that desp te a proposed mass ve state a d cut and payment de ays n the current schoo year, the average statew de property tax evy w ncrease by on y 3.2 percent under the proposed 2010-11 budgets - ower than the f ve-year average of 4.8 percent.

NYSERDA chief wants to put a solar panel on your roof On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Over the past s x months, Frank Murray has been hand ng out m York can put photovo ta c pane s on the r roofs.

ons of do ars n federa st mu us fund ng so schoo s across New

As pres dent and ch ef execut ve off cer of the New York State Energy Research and Deve opment Author ty (NYSERDA), Murray wou d ke to see one of those “PVs” atop a most every schoo bu d ng n the state.

35 school districts save $10 million by negotiating labor concessions On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Th rty-f ve schoo d str cts have rece ved concess ons from the r teachers un ons under ex st ng co ect ve barga n ng agreements w th n the past year, accord ng to the resu ts of a NYSSBA survey. These d str cts were ab e to negot ate concess ons n the areas of hea th nsurance benef ts, sa ar es, and other types of contractua ob gat ons, such as ength of workday. D str cts reported sav ng a tota of $10.1 m on – an average of about $289,000 per d str ct.

Being part of the solution On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent The budget cr s s represents a test of schoo board eadersh p. Sad y, state a d shortfa s, emp oyee ayoffs, reserve fund dep et on, short-term borrow ng, schoo c os ngs and spend ng freezes have a become part of the budget vernacu ar th s season. By now, most of you have seen or heard NYSSBA s pro ect ons of 20,000 ob osses, nc ud ng near y 15,000 teacher ayoffs, f the governor s proposed $1.4 b on schoo a d cut n 2010-11 s enacted by the state Leg s ature.

Pension bill promises budgetary relief On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By David A. Little D rector of Governmenta Re at ons Teachers w th 25 years of serv ce may now ret re at age 55 w thout ncurr ng any pena ty for ear y ret rement under a new aw s gned by Gov. Dav d Paterson. Former y teachers needed to be at east 57 years of age to rece ve fu pens on benef ts. The ear y ret rement ncent ve s ava ab e th s June, Ju y and August. It was negot ated as part of the agreement that ed to the format on of T er V ast fa .

State heads toward second month with no new budget On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Schoo boards across New York have been adopt ng 2010-11 budget proposa s to put before voters on May 18 not know ng a cruc a p ece of nformat on – how much state a d to nc ude. On average, state a d accounts for a most ha f of oca schoo d str ct spend ng, accord ng to the most recent f gures ava ab e. There are w de var at ons n fund ng. More than a dozen d str cts re y on the state for ess than 10 percent of the r fund ng wh e ust as many count on state a d for more than 80 percent of the r budgets. The de ay n adopt ng a new state budget for the state f sca year that began Apr 1 was c ear y headed for the one-month mark as On Board went to press, w th no nd cat on that an end was n s ght.

Byrne re-elected to NSBA board On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

Former NYSSBA Pres dent Anne M. Byrne of Rock and County has been re-e ected to the board of the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on (NSBA) as northeast reg on d rector. As a member of the NSBA board, Byrne w cont nue to be an ex-off c o member of the NYSSBA Board of D rectors.

Exit polls seen as window on community sentiment On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Schalmount Central Schools Budget Vote Exit Poll Dur ng Va er e Ke sey s f rst budget vote as super ntendent of the Scha mont schoo d str ct n 2005, the d str ct d d ts annua ex t survey of voters. From the resu ts of that survey she earned that voters had deep concerns about d sc p ne and the eve of student safety n the schoo s. As a resu t, d str ct eadersh p was ab e to focus attent on and resources on the ssue. S nce then, d sc p ne has not been ment oned as a prob em on ex t surveys.

Energy conservation becoming a way of life in Cohoes schools On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter John W he m wanders the ha s of the s x schoo s n the c ty of Cohoes ust north of A bany, eav ng co orfu notes n h s wake. “Great ob,” reads an orange one w th the sm ey face. “When I stopped by your room, I not ced that a of the energy us ng equ pment was off.”

Board may abolish positions without superintendent’s support On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse The comm ss oner of educat on recent y aff rmed a board of educat on s author ty to abo sh pos t ons for sound econom c reasons, even w thout the recommendat on of the super ntendent. In Appea of Roberts, the board earned the d str ct was fac ng a $2.5-m on budget def c t. It proposed to the super ntendent a reorgan zat on p an that abo shed s x adm n strat ve pos t ons and created four new adm n strat ve posts. The dut es of the two cut pos t ons wou d be red str buted among the rema n ng four pos t ons.

School board members must report child abuse in educational setting On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse In a ru ng nvo v ng a schoo board member who heard an a egat on of an mproper contact between a d str ct emp oyee and a student, the comm ss oner of educat on urged a schoo d str ct to make sure t prov des In Board of Educat on for the C ty Schoo D str ct of the C ty of E m ra, the comm ss oner den ed a request to remove the board member from off ce, but he adv sed her to comp y str ct y w th mandatory report ng requ rements n the future.

Cheerleading case shows import of ‘reasonable care’ standard On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff Assoc ate Counse A cheer eader who struck her head on the gymnas um f oor after ncorrect y perform ng a stunt may move forward w th her awsu t aga nst the schoo d str ct. In Ba ou v. Ravena-Coeymans-Se k rk Schoo D str ct, the Appe ate D v s on of State Supreme Court, Th rd Department, concurred w th a ower court that the case cou d not be d sm ssed w thout a tr a . Courts do not ho d schoo d str cts ab e for the assumed r sks of compet t on, nc ud ng n ury and fat gue, nherent n team compet t ve sports part cu ar y when students are proper y equ pped, we -tra ned and p ay vo untar y. However, schoo d str cts must exerc se reasonab e care to protect student ath etes from n ur es that may resu t from unassumed, concea ed or unreasonab y ncreased r sks.

When parents divorce, schools can be caught in the middle On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By the New York State Association of School Attorneys At your ne ghborhood supermarket, you pass a ne ghbor who, unfortunate y, s go ng through a b tter d vorce. “I m g ad I ran nto you because I wanted to ta k to you,” he says. “I m be ng treated unfa r y by your d str ct. They to d me I cou dn t attend my daughter s parent-teacher conference because my ex-w fe d dn t want me there. And she wants the schoo to stop g v ng my son resource room. Just because I don t have custody doesn t mean I have no r ghts when t comes to my k ds educat on!”

Look within for answers On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By William Miller Area 5 D rector The state budget s a mess and ooks to be for some t me nto the future. There s no new money for schoo d str cts to count on to he p offset taxpayer share. The way the Leg s ature cou d ncrease a d wou d be to take t out of another part of the budget. The a d needed wou d be $1.4 b on, but ta k ng w th eg s ators the best we m ght hope for s to get perhaps ha f as much – $600,000 to $800,000.

Yonkers, Katonah-Lewisboro snag NSBA Magna awards On Board On ne • Apr 26 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Want to boost graduat on rates and encourage more students to attend co ege? How about promot ng we ness n your schoo s and commun t es? We , two Westchester County schoo d str cts have deve oped award-w nn ng approaches to those near y un versa goa s n pub c educat on. The Yonkers Pub c Schoo s “Pro ect A+” has garnered the d str ct f rst p ace n the 2010 Magna Awards, sponsored by the Amer can Schoo Board Journa w th support from the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on (NSBA) and Sodexo.

Education Groups File Second Lawsuit Against Governor FOR RELEASE: Apr 22, 2010 The New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on, New York State Counc of Schoo Super ntendents, New York State Un ted Teachers, and the Schoo Adm n strators of New York State have f ed a awsu t cha eng ng the ega ty and const tut ona ty of Governor Paterson s act on n w thho d ng $2.1 b on n a d payments due to be made by March 31. The su t a so seeks to en o n any w thho d ng of the rema n ng payments for th s schoo year, due n May and June. In December, the four groups f ed a awsu t cha eng ng the ega ty and const tut ona ty of the Governor s act on n w thho d ng $582 m on n schedu ed state a d payments and STAR re mbursements to schoo d str cts, based on the same grounds. Those funds were pa d after the su t was f ed.

At NSBA conference, NYSSBA staffers explain legal, policy implications of social media On Board On ne • Apr 25, 2011

By Barbara Bradley Deputy D rector of Commun cat ons and Research acebook and YouTube, ce phones and other hand-he d dev ces – they can send sh vers down the sp nes of schoo d str ct off c a s, Fyet soc a network ng and techno ogy dev ces are be ng used more preva ent y by students and staff across the country. NYSSBA staffers Jay Worona and L nda Bakst exam ned the ega and po cy mp cat ons of techno ogy n a sess on on “Nav gat ng the Landm nes of Techno ogy: Lega Context and M suse” at the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on s Annua Conference on Saturday, Apr 9. As students and staff ncreas ng y use soc a network ng, nstant messag ng, p ctures and v deo s tes to commun cate w th one another, th s has ed, n some nstances, to nc dents of cyber-bu y ng, cheat ng, sext ng and quest onab e speech.

CALL TO ACTION - Legislature to Use Earth Day to Impose New Mandate Apr 16 2010

The Senate and Assemb y are p ann ng on pass ng eg s at on next week for Earth Day that wou d proh b t the use of certa n pest c des on schoo property. Wh e we mean ng, the b s harmfu . In the m dst of weather ng the f sca cr s s, the state wou d force schoo s to buy new products, as we as h re and pay to tra n new staff. It wou d a so mpose a sense ess un form approach to prob ems that are un que n each schoo d str ct. The eg s at on purports to advance the safety of ch dren but gnores the threat of Lyme D sease and other pest-borne d seases and, ust as mportant y, the h story of schoo d str cts ud c ous use of these products.

FEDERAL CALL to ACTION - Preserve Your District’s Authority Oppose The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids (HHFK) Act Apr 12 2010

The U.S. Senate Agr cu ture Comm ttee has unan mous y approved the Ch d Nutr t on Act reauthor zat on known as The Hea thy, Hunger-Free K ds (HHFK) Act. Th s b s expected to go to the fu Senate f oor for a vote th s month. The House of Representat ves may unve ts vers on th s month as we . The eg s at on nfr nges on the ab ty of oca d str cts to determ ne the best nutr t ona approach for the r students, resort ng nstead to the t me honored governmenta approach of “one s ze f ts a and we know best.” NYSSBA has a ready commun cated ts oppos t on to th s b to the Senate Agr cu ture Comm ttee, as we as to both Senator Schumer and Senator G brand. NYSSBA w cont nue to advocate strong y on beha f of recogn z ng oca schoo board author ty to address ssues of student nutr t on. As a ways, we need your he p to dr ve home schoo board oppos t on to th s ntrus on nto oca author ty. P ease share your oppos t on w th your federa representat ves n both the House and Senate by send ng a faxed etter to your representat ves!

State aid payment delay to cost school districts FOR RELEASE: Apr 12, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce W th Gov. Dav d Paterson once aga n de ay ng state a d payments to schoo s, d str cts across New York w be forced to borrow money or premature y d p nto reserve funds, accord ng to the atest “Pu se Po ” from the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on. When asked the s ng e best way to accommodate the $2.1 b on March 31st payment de ay, 56 percent of schoo board members who responded to the po sa d they wou d use d str ct reserve funds. Another 18 percent sa d they wou d borrow money and 14 percent sa d they wou d freeze spend ng.

A young family wonders if it can stay On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Bryan Fitzgerald Two years ago, Shannon Kavanagh took a pos t on as an art teacher at Tupper Lake M dd e/H gh Schoo . It was the same schoo from wh ch she graduated n 1997, n the same town n wh ch she f rst met her husband n th rd grade. Rather than pack ng up and mov ng to a b gger c ty where the schoo d str cts are arger and ob opportun t es more p ent fu , the Kavanaghs dec ded to make a home for themse ves n the on y p ace they ve ever ca ed home.

SED’s identity crisis On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Gov. Dav d Paterson has proposed a $7.9 m on cut n fund ng for the State Educat on Department, a move that wou d reduce d rect state support for the department to ust 7 percent of ts overa budget. That proposed cut from $50.5 m eadersh p of SED.

on to $42.6 m

on was nc uded n Paterson s 2010-11 budget p an. It s not s tt ng we w th the new

“If you f gure we are spend ng somewhere over $50 b on a year on pub c educat on n the state, t seems reasonab e to th nk that we need at east a $50 m on nvestment n the nfrastructure to support that,” Sen or Deputy Comm ss oner John K ng to d On Board dur ng an Apr 2 nterv ew at the department s headquarters, ust across the street from the state Cap to n A bany. The proposed cut, f adopted, wou d mean the state s genera fund support for SED has dec ned by 30 percent s nce the 2008-09 budget was adopted two years ago.

It’s your move On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Timothy Kremer Execut ve D rector A schoo board member recent y sent me an e-ma that sounded a tt e desperate. It read, “Te us what you can do to he p us! We are frustrated and need deas on how to get out of th s mess!” I m proud that our staff at NYSSBA can he p our members n many ways – answer ng quest ons about the aw, g v ng PR adv ce, keep ng you nformed, he p ng mprove dysfunct ona boards, and ensur ng the vo ce of oca d str cts s heard oud and c ear n A bany and Wash ngton, D.C., to name a few. Now our members need a f nanc a rescue. Unfortunate y, we are a ook ng at the same br ck wa .

‘One day is not an opportunity to plan’ On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Just three months after temporar y w thho d ng a most $600 m d str cts $2.1 b on n a d expected on March 31.

on n payments due schoo s, Gov. Dav d Paterson refused to send

The atest Paterson move came w thout advance not ce on March 30, ust a day before the end of the state s current f sca year and w th the state Leg s ature on recess for the re g ous ho days. For the Cohoes schoo d str ct ust north of A bany, the w thho d ng meant off c a s had to scramb e to f nd a most $1.7 m

on.

Federal evaluations reveal why NYS didn’t win RTTT On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter New York s next-to- ast p ace f n sh n the f na s of the f rst round of the Race to the Top (RTTT) compet t on for $4.3 b on n federa fund ng has h gh ghted the ser ous prob ems fac ng those seek ng to dramat ca y overhau the state s educat on system. It has a so underscored the d ff cu ty the state may have n mak ng t to the w nner s c rc e n Round 2.

NYSSBA members offered discount on Kchecks Medicaid vetting service On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef Schoo d str cts that part c pate n federa y funded hea thcare programs nc ud ng Med ca d, Med care and Ch d Hea th P us have a new way to fu f the r ega ob gat on to ensure that they are us ng serv ce prov ders who rema n n good stand ng w th state and federa government agenc es. NYSSBA has partnered w th K nney Management Serv ces to offer a d scounted serv ce ca ed Kchecks, accord ng to Deputy Execut ve D rector R ta Lashway. Kchecks s a web-based program that enab es schoo d str ct personne to search the federa and state databases that dent fy wh ch nd v dua s and compan es are author zed to prov de spec f c serv ces such as speech therapy to Med ca d-e g b e students.

New survey of members informs NYSSBA resolutions process On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By David A. Little D rector of Governmenta Re at ons In an attempt to ncrease member part c pat on and mprove the t me ness and re evance of NYSSBA s eg s at ve pos t ons, NYSSBA added two new features to ts reso ut on process th s year. The f rst change was the creat on of an annua member survey on educat on ssues. Sent e ectron ca y to a members n February, the quest onna re asked about 18 advocacy and organ zat ona ssues that staff members dent f ed as of nterest to schoo board members.

Finding ways to cut costs in tough times On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By David Steiner Comm ss oner of Educat on As you know a too we , our current f sca s tuat on s d re. The state, the State Educat on Department (SED), your commun t es and your schoo s are a exper enc ng a eve of f sca pa n that has been seen rare y, f ever, before. In ght of these extraord nary econom c cha enges, I d rected a of the BOCES D str ct Super ntendents to convene reg ona taskforce meet ngs n the r superv sory d str cts to study and recommend ways to ach eve cost sav ngs and eff c enc es. I asked them to br ng together those who know the r commun t es and the r schoo s best – super ntendents, oca stakeho ders and, of course, schoo board members.

9 in 10 NYS superintendents rate their BOE as effective On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

Tr enn a survey By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Near y n ne n 10 super ntendents v ew the r schoo board as “h gh y” or “somewhat” effect ve, accord ng to the atest survey of super ntendents by the New York State Counc of Schoo Super ntendents. Snapshot 2009: The Seventh Tr enn a Study of the Super ntendency n New York s the atest n a ser es of surveys The Counc has conducted every three years s nce 1991. The report co ected op n ons on current ssues n pub c educat on po cy from 464 of 698 super ntendents surveyed, a response rate of 66.5 percent.

Want to save millions? Try cooperation On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef An eff c ency pro ect nvo v ng Nassau BOCES, component schoo d str cts and the Nassau County government prom ses to save taxpayers m ons of do ars a year by conso dat ng government and schoo serv ces. Last year, Nassau off c a s won a $1 m

on state grant to exp ore ways to mprove operat ons and reduce costs.

STEM conference draws 1,200 On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef Wh e a $4.2 b on sem conductor manufactur ng fac ty s be ng bu t n the Saratoga County town of Ma ta, off c a s n the nearby Ba ston Spa schoo d str ct see a br ght future for the r students n the sc ences and espec a y nanotechno ogy. On March 26, the d str ct hosted a “STEM 2010 Expo” that drew about 1,000 educators, most y teachers, to cont nu ng educat on sess ons on teach ng of the STEM f e ds – sc ence, techno ogy, eng neer ng and math. About 200 others came from ndustry, h gher educat on, and government, nc ud ng severa h gh-rank ng execut ves who part c pated n a roundtab e d scuss on.

No right to arbitration following termination for failure to maintain license On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse Two state emp oyees who were f red due to ack of requ red ob credent a s are not ent t ed to arb trate the quest on of whether the r d sm ssa s were d sc p nary act ons, the state s h ghest court has ru ed. The Court of Appea s ru ng n Matter of New York State Off ce of Ch dren and Fam y Srvcs v. Lanterman and a compan on case nd cates that oss of a credent a such as a teach ng cert f cate s not a d sc p nary matter. Wh e state aw requ res some form of due process before d sc p nary pena t es take effect, the Court of Appea s ru ed n th s case that d sc p nary due process was not needed before term nat on of emp oyees who acked necessary credent a s.

Parochial special ed student entitled to classroom aide On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Jay Worona Genera Counse L t gat on has abounded n New York State on the quest on of whether students are ent t ed to rece ve an array of spec a educat on serv ces on the prem ses of the paroch a schoo s that they attend. Most recent y, New York s h ghest court, the Court of Appea s, answered th s quest on by ru ng aga nst a schoo d str ct. But the dec s on turned on un que facts nvo v ng the serv ces of teacher a de, and the court d d not conc ude that paroch a students are automat ca y ent t ed to ons te serv ces at the expense of schoo d str cts. In a case ent t ed, Matter of Board of Educat on of Bay Shore Un on Free Schoo D str ct v. Thomas K., a student attend ng a paroch a schoo had been d agnosed w th attent on def c t hyperact v ty d sorder. The student s Ind v dua zed Educat on Program stated that he needed 40 m nutes of resource room serv ces per day as we as the serv ces of a c assroom a de dur ng h s academ c c asses for three hours da y.

City did not discriminate in ‘shy bladder’ case On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff and Aileen Abrams, Assoc ate Counse s New York C ty d d not v o ate the U.S. Amer cans w th D sab t es Act (ADA) when t f red a mun c pa s udge boat capta n who suffered from parures s (“shy b adder”) and was unab e to take a ur ne test, accord ng to the U.S. Court of Appea s for the Second C rcu t, a federa appe ate court w th ur sd ct on over New York State.

Application to remove board member denied On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Kimberly A. Fanniff and Aileen Abrams, Assoc ate Counse s The comm ss oner of educat on has den ed a pet t on to remove a board member over a controversy nvo v ng broadcast of a cand date forum. In App cat on of G en, the pet t oner sought to remove N cho as Mauro from the M dd etown schoo board for a eged v o at ons of board po c es and aws that m t board members nd v dua author ty.

Claims auditing: Protecting the district’s bottom line On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Linda Bakst Deputy D rector of Po cy Serv ces Most schoo board members are aware from the r f sca overs ght tra n ng that the Educat on Law requ res that before a b s pa d by the schoo d str ct, the c a m must be “aud ted and approved.” But what does th s rea y mean? That quest on was answered recent y n reg ona workshops, sponsored by NYSSBA, ent t ed, “C a ms Aud t ng: Protect ng Your D str ct s Bottom L ne.” It s easy to be confused about how c a ms aud t ng f ts n w th d str ct s nterna and externa aud t ng respons b t es.

We must rise above the quagmire On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Dana Smith Area 6 D rector Wh e attend ng the State Issues Conference March 14 and 15, I fe nto a funk over the dysfunct ona government we have n A bany. It s easy to get angry over the g ac a progress we see on so many ssues that wou d make a pos t ve d fference for schoo s and the r commun t es. Even when we w n (as n the Campa gn for F sca Equ ty awsu t) the money or eg s at on needed ust does not mater a ze as we ant c pate.

As military deployments lengthen, family issues affect some districts On Board On ne • Apr 12 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator For most students n the Carthage and Ind an R ver schoo d str cts, Amer ca s ongo ng wars n Iraq and Afghan stan aren t ust someth ng that gets d scussed n soc a stud es c ass or on the n ght y news. It s part of what matters most n the r ves. Both Jefferson County d str cts serve students whose parents are stat oned at Fort Drum, home of the U.S. Army s 10th Mounta n D v s on. Known for ts expert se n f ght ng n rough terra n and harsh weather cond t ons, t s one of the Army s most heav y dep oyed nfantry un ts.

CALL TO ACTION - Help Stop the State Tax Shift to Schools! Apr 7 2010

If the dev s tru y n the deta s, he s been work ng overt me n the educat on port on of the state budget proposa s. W th the state def c t at ts worst n a generat on and the dead ne for passage of the state budget n the rear v ew m rror, both eg s at ve houses and the governor have proposed s gn f cant cost sh fts onto oca schoo taxes. Your eg s ator needs to know that the oss of state a d must not be compounded by ncreased oca costs. Everyone understands the state s d re f sca p cture, but mere y chang ng pockets to an a ready overburdened schoo property taxpayer s poor pub c po cy. The st s ong and nc udes:

Balancing act: How big should reserve funds be? Spring 2010 • Volume 8 • Issue 2

In every budget season, schoo board members must do more than ba ance expenses w th revenue. They must determ ne f the d str ct s sav ng enough. It s never easy. Ind sputab y, ma nta n ng reserve funds s part of sound f nanc a management, but schoo d str cts f nd cr t c sm no matter how they hand e them. To starve them s to gamb e, to fund them modest y can v o ate account ng standards and r sk ower bond rat ngs, and to fund them to the account ng profess on s spec f cat ons wou d break state aw and br ng accusat ons of hoard ng from po t c ans and spec a nterest groups.

Statement of Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association Race to the Top announcement FOR RELEASE: March 29, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Wh e we were d sappo nted that New York was not one of the states awarded fund ng n the f rst round of the federa Race to the Top compet t on, we app aud the hard work and determ nat on of State Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner and h s staff n putt ng together a compet t ve proposa .

20,000+ positions on chopping block in NYS schools On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Newspaper head nes across the state are te ng s m ar stor es: “Ba ston Spa schoo budget ke y to e m nate 13 obs” “Cananda gua may n x up to 40 obs” “Mont ce o schoo s offer 3 d re budgets”

New SUNY chief plans to overhaul teacher training On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The chance or of the state un vers ty system, who began her profess ona career n a one-room schoo house n the Ozarks, wants to change how teachers are tra ned n New York. And she appears to be n a pos t on to nf uence teacher tra n ng throughout the nat on. The U.S. ought to have “teach ng schoo s” that are ak n to “teach ng hosp ta s,” accord ng to Nancy Z mpher, who has headed the 64campus State Un vers ty of New York (SUNY) system s nce June and was ust named co-cha r of a nat ona pane on teacher educat on.

Feeling optimistic despite it all On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent I recent y had the pr v ege of part c pat ng n NYSSBA s annua State Issues Conference w th more than 300 schoo board members from around the state. It was great to see so many ded cated vo unteers turn out for th s mportant event. State awmakers were n no pos t on to make prom ses about protect ng schoo s from dracon an cuts, but our conversat ons w th representat ves were encourag ng neverthe ess. Our awmakers seem genu ne y to want to he p schoo d str cts.

State Senate passes mandate relief bill On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Spurred by New York s poor f sca c mate, the state Senate has passed a package of mandate re ef measures a med at he p ng schoo s conta n costs and ease a grow ng tax burden. Sen. Suz Oppenhe mer (D-Mamaroneck) promoted the Educat on Mandate Re ef Act of 2010 and severa other measures dur ng a news conference at the State Cap to that co nc ded w th NYSSBA s annua obby day. Oppenhe mer, cha r of the Senate Educat on Comm ttee, was o ned by NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson and other schoo board members at the event.

Senate Democrats cut school aid in budget plan On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Just two weeks after 16 Democrat c state senators sa d they cou dn t “ n good consc ence” support a state budget that nc uded any educat on cuts, they voted w th the r 16 fe ow Democrats n the chamber to s ash schoo a d by $1.4 b on. That s the s ze of the schoo a d cut proposed by Gov. Dav d Paterson n January when he unve ed h s proposed 2010-11 state budget.

16 Senators tell Paterson his cuts would go too far On Board On ne • March 29 2010

S xteen Democrat c state senators wrote to Gov. Dav d Paterson on March 8 to oppose h s proposed $1.4 b

on schoo a d cut.

“We cannot, n good consc ence, vote for a f na budget that nc udes any cuts to educat on,” the 16 had wr tten. One of the etter s s gnator es, state Sen. Ne Bres n of A bany, to d On Board that the etter probab y went too far g ven the ser ousness of the state f sca prob ems.

Point/Counterpoint On Board On ne • March 29 2010

Point Charter schools: Separate and unequal By Sen. Bill Perkins The C v R ghts movement was champ oned around a fundamenta deo og ca f aw n Amer can soc ety – rac sm. The po t ca , econom c and organ zat ona express on of th s deo ogy was “segregat on” – the r ght, by aw, and author ty to separate peop e w th the benef ts to one over the other. Today, the batt e over charter schoo s has once aga n put th s segregat on st p atform nto focus. In October 2006, New York C ty Mayor M chae B oomberg, dur ng an nterv ew w th the Amsterdam News, stated “Charter schoo s are the pr vate schoo s for the m nor ty commun ty.” The mayor, n one br ef sentence, def ned an educat ona po cy that says the pub c schoo system of New York C ty w a ow and support a doctr ne of separate and unequa . Counterpoint Why ugly rhetoric in charter school debate By Ken Peterson Charter schoo advocates are a ways open to reasonab e d scuss ons and changes to enab e charters to get the r own fac t es by prov d ng equ tab e fund ng for bu d ng needs, serve more spec a educat on students or cod fy ex st ng charter author zer requ rements for transparency. Where the d scuss on and debate breaks down s over h gh y-charged and out-of-p ace attacks such as the “separate and unequa ” nonsense emanat ng from the Un ted Federat on of Teachers and re terated by state Sen. B Perk ns.

Albany charter school forced to close On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter The State Un vers ty of New York s board of trustees has voted to c ose down one of the state s or g na charter schoo s after t repeated y fa ed to meet standards set by the board. SUNY off c a s sa d the New Covenant Charter Schoo n A bany wou d c ose at the end of the current schoo year.

Five questions for SUNY’s Nancy Zimpher On Board On ne • March 29 2010

Nancy Z mpher became chance or of the State Un vers ty of New York n June. She spoke w th Sen or Wr ter Marc Humbert about teacher educat on. Q: -New York s new Regents chance or, Merry T sch, and ts new educat on comm ss oner, Dav d Ste ner, have both sa d that better teacher preparat on s key to turn ng around New York s schoo s. Do you share that fee ng?

Zimpher’s K-12 point person is a familiar name to many On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Johanna Duncan-Po t er, the ongt me number two at the State Educat on Department (SED), s st work ng on statew de K-12 ssues n her current post at the State Un vers ty of New York (SUNY) system. Her t t e: Chance or s Deputy for the Educat on P pe ne. Duncan-Po t er, a fam ar face at many NYSSBA Annua Convent ons, s respons b e for oversee ng the deve opment of a system of partnersh ps between SUNY s 64 campuses and the state s pr mary and secondary schoo s, as we as un ons and bus ness eaders.

DiNapoli: Crisis will not go away quickly On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter State Comptro er Thomas D Napo has warned schoo board members that the f sca cr s s ra s ng havoc w th the state budget and the r own spend ng p ans sn t go ng away anyt me soon. “It s a cha eng ng t me and th s cha enge s go ng to be w th us for a s gn f cant per od of t me,” D Napo , who served on h s own oca schoo board on Long Is and wh e st a teenager, to d hundreds of board members attend ng NYSSBA s State Issues Conference n A bany on March 15.

LeRoy’s Don Hobart named Advocate of the Year On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Brian M. Butry Commun cat ons Coord nator Don Hobart, a ongt me member of the LeRoy schoo board n Genesee County, has been named the 2010 NYSSBA Advocate of the Year. The award was presented dur ng the Assoc at on s annua State Issues Conference n A bany on March 15. Hobart was noted for h s eg s at ve advocacy at both the state and federa eve s and h s ded cat on to pub c educat on and t re ess work on beha f of students.

School officials could be held liable in obesity discrimination case On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Aileen Abrams Assoc ate Counse Aschoo board pres dent cou d be found persona y ab e f a former probat onary teacher s successfu n h s c a m n federa court that he was den ed tenure because of obes ty d scr m nat on. The U.S. D str ct Court for the Eastern D str ct of New York, wh ch has ur sd ct on over the southeastern part of New York, refused to exempt the board pres dent as a defendant because the teacher s attorney made h m aware of the teacher s d scr m nat on comp a nt before the board voted to term nate the teacher. The rest of the board was exempt from nd v dua ab ty, however, because there was no ev dence they had rece ved a copy of the attorney s etter or that they usua y rece ved such etters.

With help from Screen Actors Guild, author visits take on new dimension On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter W th n New York State, you can t get much farther away from New York C ty than Watertown, and that s ust f ne w th Thomas Ke y. A wr ter known for produc ng gr tty nove s about fe n the B g App e, Ke y chose the sma c ty near the Canad an border as the aunch s te for the Actors and Wr ters Book C ub. A o nt pro ect of the Screen Actors Gu d and the Foundat on of the Wr ters Gu d of Amer ca, East, t s a program to br ng h gh-prof e actors and wr ters to schoo s – espec a y ones n rura or over ooked areas.

Long Island board member shares ‘inventor of the year’ honor On Board On ne • March 29 2010

My other side Name: Ke th Kowa sky Age: 46 School District: Oyster Bay-East Norw ch Years on school board: Seven His other side: Award-w nn ng eng neer By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Ke th Kowa sky never expected to be part of the team named 2009 “Nat ona Inventor of the Year” by the Inte ectua Property Owners Educat on Foundat on. An eng neer, he fe t he wasn t n the r ght profess on for such an acco ade. “Peop e who save ves – that s typ ca y where these awards go,” the Oyster Bay-East Norw ch schoo board member to d On Board. “Eng neers usua y don t get anyth ng.”

Why join a school board? On Board On ne • March 29 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Ke th Kowa sky sa d he dec ded to run for the schoo board for a s mp e reason: “I m a b g be ever n pub c educat on.” For Kowa sky, who went to pub c schoo s on Long Is and, t s pub c educat on that prov de students w th a ook at the rea wor d, and a ow them to meet a sorts of peop e and earn to nteract w th them.

Legislature Releases Budget Resolutions March 24 2010

Yesterday, the Senate s Democrat c Ma or ty ntroduced and passed a reso ut on out n ng the r p an for the 2010-2011 budget. The Assemb y s schedu ed to fo ow su t today, sett ng the stage for next week s reconc ng negot at ons. By aw, the two houses must convene conference comm ttees of members from both houses, n an effort to reach a f na agreement. However, the process s hampered by the fact that the eg s ature has schedu ed a vacat on for next week that thus far, t appears ntent on ho d ng to. The Senate Ma or ty wou d accept Governor Paterson s proposed $1.4 b on cut n Schoo A d but re ects the governor s p an to freeze Foundat on A d. The Senate Ma or ty a so p ans to a ow schoo d str cts to use EBLAR reserves to e m nate the Schoo A d reduct on and to sh ft funds to teacher pens on reserve funds. The budget p an wou d a so e m nate $1.72 m on n fund ng for the Charter Schoo Inst tute at SUNY. The p an does not nc ude Lt. Governor R chard Rav tch s p an to borrow funds to ba ance the budget.

Shortchanging Students

New York State schoo s are po sed to ay off some 14,800 teachers f the governor s proposed state educat on cuts are enacted. Another 5000+ obs cou d be ost through a comb nat on of teacher ret rements and attr t on, as we as ayoffs, ret rements and attr t on of non-teach ng staff. “Shortchang ng Schoo s,” a report ssued o nt y by the New York State Counc of Schoo Super ntendents and the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on, ustrates the mpact of the state a d cuts on New York s schoo s. The report s based on a survey of schoo super ntendents, and nc udes a reg ona breakdown of cuts and mpacts on schoo s. Fu Report (8 pages - 243 KB)

Schools: 14,800 teaching jobs in jeopardy FOR RELEASE: March 22, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert - NYSSBA (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Bob Lowry - The Counc of Schoo Super ntendents (518) 449-1063 or (518) 435-5996 ce Schoo s cou d ay off more than 14,000 teachers next year f Gov. Dav d Paterson s proposed $1.3 b on cut n educat on a d s enacted, accord ng to a report ssued today by the New York State Counc of Schoo Super ntendents (the Counc ) and the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on (NYSSBA). These cuts wou d trans ate nto arger c ass s zes, ess extra he p, fewer advanced c asses, and other ost opportun t es for students, the report showed. Under the governor s proposed 2010-11 Execut ve Budget, 99 percent of schoo d str cts n New York wou d see state a d cuts next year. In response to these proposed cuts, the Counc and NYSSBA surveyed schoo super ntendents across the state to gauge the mpact of the oss of state a d on schoo s. Comp eted surveys were rece ved from 323 of 702 super ntendents – a response rate of 46 percent.

Poll: Cut costs, not exams FOR RELEASE: March 19, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce A ma or ty of schoo board members surveyed say the State Educat on Department shou d make Regents test ng and scor ng mater a s ava ab e on ne, accord ng to the atest “Pu se Po ” from the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on. The State Educat on Department and Board of Regents recent y d scussed e m nat ng 13 of 17 Regents exams – one each n g oba h story, geography, and U. S. h story and government, three n sc ence, two n math, and a fore gn anguage exams.

Hobart honored at School Boards conference FOR RELEASE: March 12, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce Don Hobart, pres dent of the LeRoy Centra Schoo D str ct board of educat on, has been named the New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on s Advocate of the Year for h s ded cat on to pub c educat on and t re ess work on beha f of students. The award w be presented dur ng the Assoc at on s annua State Issues Conference at the Crowne P aza Hote n A bany on Sunday, March 14. Hobart, who s a so the pres dent of the Genesee Va ey Schoo Boards Assoc at on, has served on the LeRoy schoo board for 13 years and has cha red a of the board s comm ttees, nc ud ng: budget and f nance, aud t, po cy, negot at ons and nstruct on.

Statement of Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association State Graduation Rates FOR RELEASE: March 9, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The atest h gh schoo graduat on rate report, wh e show ng some modest progress, a so ustrates how much work s eft to be done. Now s not the t me to cut fund ng for our pub c schoo s. To do so wou d be short-s ghted and cou d ead to ower graduat on rates.

Paterson’s troubles mount On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter W th the dead ne for adopt ng a new state spend ng p an ess than a month away, New York State was fac ng a eadersh p cr s s as On Board went to press. If Gov. Dav d Paterson were to heed newspaper ed tor a s ca s for h s own res gnat on, or be mpeached (as was suggested by Repub can state Assemb y-man Ph p Boy e of Long Is and) and removed from off ce, New York wou d have ts fourth governor n ess than four years. NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer warned that the cr s s threatened to para yze the Paterson adm n strat on at a t me when t shou d be comp ete y focused on the worst f sca cr s s to face the state n decades.

NYSSBA forms dues task force On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef NYSSBA s Board of D rectors has formed a task force to exam ne both the Assoc at on s dues structure and ts ong-term f nanc a p an. NYSSBA ast formed a dues task force n 2005. The membersh p approved the group s recommendat on for dues restructur ng at the 2005 Annua Bus ness Meet ng.

‘Hubris is terminal’ On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Timothy G. Kremer Execut ve D rector I w never forget when, dur ng a uncheon speech at a NYSSBA convent on, then-Attorney Genera E ot Sp tzer uttered the memorab e phrase, “Hubr s s term na .” If on y he had fo owed h s own adv ce. The end ng of h s governorsh p was a sord d ta e for sure, but at east he owned up to h s nd scret ons and qu ck y ex ted the governor s mans on. By the t me you read th s, Dav d Paterson may have bowed to pressure and eft off ce. Or he cou d be tenac ous y c ng ng to the off ce of governor.

Steiner seeks cost-saving ideas On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter NYSSBA Execut ve D rector T mothy G. Kremer has asked schoo board members statew de to part c pate n reg ona meet ngs to deve op cost-sav ng oca n t at ves. C t ng the “extraord nary econom c cha enges” fac ng New York and ts schoo d str cts, Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner has d rected a 37 BOCES d str ct super ntendents to form taskforces that nc ude oca “super ntendents, schoo board members and other stakeho ders.”

Senator renews push for mandate relief On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter State Senate Educat on Comm ttee Cha rwoman Suz Oppenhe mer has renewed her quest for a mandate re ef package des gned to “empower our schoo d str cts to conta n spend ng and use ex st ng resources more eff c ent y.” “Cha eng ng t mes ca for creat ve approaches to stretch our educat on do ars further,” sa d the Westchester County Democrat as she announced that the Senate Educat on Comm ttee had approved, for the second year n a row, her Educat on Mandate Re ef Act.

Why your district should be teaching about the U.S. Census On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Leonard Gaines and Robert Scardamalia S nce 1970, New York has ost near y one-th rd of ts Congress ona de egat on to states n the south and west. That s a tremendous oss of po t ca power n Wash ngton, and t po nts to the mportance of the U.S. Census, wh ch s requ red by the U.S. Const tut on to take p ace every 10 years. Th s month, Census forms are be ng de vered to every known res dent a address n the U.S. It s v ta y mportant that your schoo board take steps to encourage every fam y n your schoo d str ct to respond.

Social and emotional learning catches on On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Gu ty! That s the verd ct n Long Is and s Jer cho schoo d str ct when students observe bu y ng behav or but don t do anyth ng to stop t. In a scene out of a m dd e schoo vers on of Law and Order, s xth-graders act ng as awyers and urors try a hypothet ca case of bu y ng and harassment n a mock courtroom sett ng. W th teachers act ng as the udges, students earn the def n t on of bu y ng, ts effects and – most mportant – the cu pab ty of bystanders.

Charter schools found to lack racial balance On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Charter schoo s appear more rac a y segregated than trad t ona pub c schoo s, accord ng to a new report from the C v R ghts Pro ect at UCLA.

Teachers, principals see need for more collaboration On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Two-th rds of teachers and three-quarters of pr nc pa s th nk greater co aborat on among teachers and schoo eaders wou d have a ma or mpact on mprov ng student ach evement, accord ng to the atest annua survey of teacher s op n ons by MetL fe.

Teacher’s grievance deemed unprotected speech On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse A federa appe ate court w th ur sd ct on over New York has uphe d the d sm ssa of a awsu t by a teacher who c a med he was d sm ssed n reta at on for f ng a gr evance. The court ru ed that he f ed the gr evance n accordance w th h s off c a dut es and, therefore, he cou d not c a m protect on under the F rst Amendment. The teacher n We ntraub v. Board of Educat on of the C ty Schoo D str ct of the C ty of New York was upset over the adm n strat on s fa ure to d sc p ne a student who threw books at h m n c ass on two occas ons.

Section 3020-a findings precluded ADA claim On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse A schoo brar an who c a med that chem ca sens t v t es and schoo bu d ng cond t ons prevented her from work ng n any brary n her schoo d str ct cannot use the federa Amer cans w th D sab t es Act (ADA) to cha enge the schoo board s dec s on to term nate her, accord ng to a federa d str ct udge.

Commissioner upholds board’s public comment policy On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Jay Worona Genera Counse Are schoo boards that perm t members of the pub c to r se and speak to agenda tems aff rmat ve y ob gated to so c t comments by members of the pub c before vot ng? Th s was the prec se quest on ra sed n dec s on by the comm ss oner of educat on ent t ed, Appea of Kushner.

Teacher removals of students from classroom On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse Teachers may remove from the r c assroom students who substant a y d srupt the educat ona process or nterfere w th the r author ty n the c assroom. Such remova s, however, are sub ect to procedures prescr bed by aw. In Appea of K.M., the comm ss oner of educat on d rected a schoo d str ct to “rev ew and rev se” ts teacher remova po c es and procedures after f nd ng they d d not comp y w th aw.

Student residency On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse The comm ss oner uphe d a schoo d str ct s refusa to a ow two non-res dent students to cont nue attend ng schoo , notw thstand ng a pr or arrangement w th the former super ntendent, who p anned to perm t the r attendance through the end of the 2010-11 schoo year.

Short-term suspension notice On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse In Appea of B.B. the comm ss oner annu ed and ordered expunged a one-day suspens on of a student who “kneed” another n the gro n dur ng an a tercat on because of the d str ct s noncomp ance w th ega y requ red procedures. Pursuant to those procedures, students who are suspended for f ve days or ess, and the person n parenta re at on to them, must be nformed, n wr t ng, of the reason(s) for the suspens on and the r r ght to an nforma conference w th the pr nc pa to present the student s vers on of events and quest on comp a n ng w tnesses.

Despite economy, now is time for reform On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Merrly Tisch Chance or, Board of Regents In January, the Board of Regents subm tted our state s Race to the Top proposa to the U.S. Department of Educat on. S gned by more than 800 schoo d str cts and charter schoo s who educate more than 90 percent of New York s pub c schoo students, our proposa was more than ust an app cat on for federa funds; t was a b uepr nt for change to ensure that a of our students rece ve a f rst-rate educat on from h gh y qua f ed, we -prepared teachers and graduate from our schoo s ready to succeed n h gher educat on, n the workforce and as c t zens.

iPod joins Winnie the Pooh as friend to first graders On Board On ne • March 8 2010

By Catherine Knight Even recent h gh schoo graduates wou d be surpr sed by how techno ogy s be ng ntegrated nto today s pr mary schoo c assrooms. One recent morn ng, f rst graders n Nassau County s Garden C ty schoo d str ct were so v ng math prob ems by v ew ng an Pod screen pro ected through a document camera.

Statement of Timothy G. Kremer Executive Director, New York State School Boards Association New York’s Race to the Top Application FOR RELEASE: March 4, 2010 CONTACT: Dav d A bert (518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 ce The New York State Schoo Boards Assoc at on app auds Board of Regents Chance or Merry T sch and State Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner for putt ng together a very strong app cat on for “Race to the Top” fund ng under ess than dea cond t ons.

The 2010 Resolutions Kit NYSSBA Resolutions Process Your nvo vement n the NYSSBA reso ut ons process shows that you recogn ze that for boards of educat on to mprove pub c educat on, they must nf uence pub c po cy at a eve s of governance. Once reso ut ons have been approved at the Annua Bus ness Meet ng, we urge you to act ve y part c pate n NYSSBA s advocacy efforts. 2010 Reso ut ons K t (11 pages)

Westchester districts quantify mandate costs On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Laura Mann Governmenta Re at ons Representat ve S xteen percent. That s the average percentage of the tota budgets of n ne Westchester schoo d str cts consumed by state and federa mandates. Th s f nd ng comes from an ongo ng ana ys s performed by members of READ - Reg ona Educat ona Advocacy D str cts. READ formed n 2004 when representat ves of f ve ne ghbor ng schoo d str cts - Br arc ff, Croton-Harmon, Garr son, Ha dane and Hendr ck Hudson (Brewster o ned ater) - met to d scuss mutua concerns and so ut ons. Mandate re ef qu ck y emerged as a one of the top pr or t es, and the d str cts started gather ng data.

Westchester districts quantify mandate costs On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Laura Mann Governmenta Re at ons Representat ve S xteen percent. That s the average percentage of the tota budgets of n ne Westchester schoo d str cts consumed by state and federa mandates. Th s f nd ng comes from an ongo ng ana ys s performed by members of READ - Reg ona Educat ona Advocacy D str cts. READ formed n 2004 when representat ves of f ve ne ghbor ng schoo d str cts - Br arc ff, Croton-Harmon, Garr son, Ha dane and Hendr ck Hudson (Brewster o ned ater) - met to d scuss mutua concerns and so ut ons. Mandate re ef qu ck y emerged as a one of the top pr or t es, and the d str cts started gather ng data.

Overall, NYS school districts deemed ‘honest and ethical’ with finances On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter C os ng out a f ve-year program that aud ted every schoo d str ct and BOCES n the state, state Comptro er Thomas D Napo sa d prob ems are the except on, not the ru e. “We found the overwhe m ng ma or ty of schoo d str cts are honest, eth ca and care on y about prov d ng the best educat on poss b e,” sa d D Napo at a Feb. 9 A bany news conference attended by the state Board of Regents and state Educat on Comm ss oner Dav d Ste ner. State aud tors exam ned 733 schoo d str cts and BOCES. D Napo sa d they found exce ence n 39 d str cts, or more than 5 percent of a those aud ted. Among d str cts n wh ch aud tors found prob ems, b g and sma , more than 80 percent of the d str cts responded pos t ve y to the recommendat ons offered for mprovement, sa d D Napo , a former schoo board member n M neo a, Long Is and.

Positive audits On Board On ne • February 22 2010

Th rty-n ne schoo d str cts rece ved top marks from the Off ce of the State Comptro er for f nanc a management based on f ve years of aud ts. They are: Broome County Depos t

NYSSBA, NSBA endorse Obama anti-obesity effort On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Eric D. Randall Ed tor- n-Ch ef NYSSBA and the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on are among a ong st of organ zat ons that have p edged support for f rst ady M che e Obama s “Let s Move” campa gn to f ght ch dhood obes ty. A so on board are the Schoo Nutr t on Assoc at on, Aramark and even N cke odeon. “Amer cans n genera and young peop e n part cu ar need to make hea th er food cho ces,” sa d NYSSBA Pres dent F orence Johnson. “Schoo s can be part of the so ut on.”

Education must be NYS top priority On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Florence Johnson NYSSBA Pres dent The budget season s now n fu sw ng for both schoo board members and state awmakers. Both w be mak ng tough cho ces n the “great recess on” economy. We often hear our state awmakers say they don t want to cut educat on a d – they s mp y have no cho ce because t makes up such a arge component of the state budget. In essence, they cannot tr m the state def c t w thout cutt ng schoo s, or so the og c goes. S nce educat on s one of the argest parts of the state budget, t must absorb the argest share of the cuts. That og c bew ders me.

Paterson offers budget gap solution On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Marc Humbert Sen or Wr ter Gov. Dav d Paterson has sa d an extra $1 b on n federa a d s the answer to dea ng w th the state s atest budget gap, a pro ected $750 m on shortfa . But the spend ng s not yet approved by Congress. The new $750 m on gap was dent f ed n ear y February, ust two weeks after the governor had presented h s $136 b budget p an that ca ed for a cut n schoo a d of more than $1 b on.

on, 2010-11

DiNapoli to ask Legislature to revamp reserve accounts On Board On ne • February 22 2010

Schoo d str cts across the state ma nta n var ous reserve accounts that ho d $615 m on that shou d be used to ho d down oca property taxes, accord ng to Comptro er Thomas D Napo . Wh e d str ct off c a s say they are fo ow ng nat ona account ng ru es to use the money to cover future pens on and hea th nsurance costs, D Napo contends the money s n excess of what s needed for the purposes of the accounts. D Napo sa d he was propos ng a eg s at ve reform package that wou d, among other th ngs, a ow schoo d str cts to transfer money from the des gnated reserve funds for other uses.

Buttons ban upheld On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse A federa d str ct court for the Southern D str ct of New York ru ed that a schoo d str ct may bar teachers from wear ng po t ca campa gn buttons, p ns and other ke tems wh e on duty or n contact w th students. Ru ng n favor of the d str ct, the

Federally funded team documents best practices in NYS special education On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Harold J. Dean Under the federa Ind v dua s w th D sab t es Educat on Act (IDEA), schoo s must use ev dence-based pract ces to teach students w th d sab t es. Ev dence-based pract ces are a so requ red under the federa No Ch d Left Beh nd Act. There s a mechan sm n wh ch techn ques used n your schoo d str ct can be va dated as ev dence-based pract ces cons stent w th federa requ rements. S nce September 2008, a team n New York State has been dent fy ng, va dat ng, and document ng pract ces n K-12 schoo s that pos t ve y mpact outcomes for students w th d sab t es.

Schumer, Gillibrand voice support for schools On Board On ne • February 22 2010

Schoo board members who trave ed to Wash ngton, D.C. to meet w th federa eg s ators d dn t need to persuade the state s two senators that Congress needs to step up t s comm tment to pub c educat on. They sa d t themse ves. “Educat on s the one p ace we can put money; t s our future and t s the way Amer ca can rema n number one,” sa d Sen. Char es Schumer, a Democrat, at a meet ng w th schoo board members from New York. Both Schumer and Sen. K rsten G brand, another Democrat, spoke w th the 79-member New York de egat on at the annua Federa Re at ons Network conference sponsored by the Nat ona Schoo Boards Assoc at on. New York had the argest de egat on of any state.

Untimely termination notice proves costly On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse Schoo d str cts that term nate a teacher dur ng h s or her probat onary per od must g ve the teacher wr tten not ce of term nat on at east 30 days pr or to the effect ve date of the term nat on of serv ces. A d str ct s fa ure to comp y w th th s requ rement ent t es the teacher to back pay for each day the not ce was ate. Does the same remedy app y, however, f the app cab e not ce per od nc udes summer vacat on t me when the teacher wou d not be pa d any sa ary even f the d str ct had g ven t me y not ce? The answer s yes, accord ng to the New York Court of Appea s, the state s h ghest court.

Unreported dance incident raises supervision issue On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Pilar Sokol Deputy Genera Counse As a genera ru e, schoo d str cts have a duty to adequate y superv se the r students. In that regard, they must exerc se the same degree of care a reasonab y prudent parent wou d n comparab e c rcumstances. Accord ng y, d str cts may be he d ab e for n ur es susta ned by students wh e n the r care. L ab ty for nadequate superv s on, however, requ res the p a nt ff to show that the n ur es were reasonab y foreseeab e or ant c pated based on pr or not ce or spec f c know edge.

Head Start yields temporary gains On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst Head Start, the federa program meant to boost the schoo read ness of ow- ncome ch dren, has a pos t ve mpact on ch dren s preschoo exper ences wh e they are n the program, but the ga ns they make tend to d ss pate by the end of f rst grade, accord ng to an eva uat on of the program by the federa government.

Kids spend almost a third of their day with entertainment media On Board On ne • February 22 2010

By Paul Heiser Research Ana yst The amount of t me young peop e spent var ous types of enterta nment med a ncreased dramat ca y over the past f ve years, accord ng to a new study by the Ka ser Fam y Foundat on. Youths 8 to 18 years of age devote an average of seven hours and 38 m nutes a day to us ng enterta nment med a – more than 53 hours a week. That represents a 20 percent