"2009 NYSSBA Statements and Postions Guts.qxp"
NYSSBA’s 2009 Position Statements F I G H T I N G for NEW YORK’S FUTURE New York State School Boards Association F I G H T I N G for NEW YORK’S FUTURE NYSSBA 2009 POSITION STATEMENTS I. School Board Governance and Authority . . 2 II. State Aid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 III. Mandate Relief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 IV. Real Property Taxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 V. Pension Reform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 VI. School Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 VII. Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment . . 8 VIII. Special Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 IX. Local Management and Budgets . . . . . . . 10 X. Employee Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 XI. NYSSBA Leadership Responsibilities . . . 12 1 I. SCHOOL BOARD GOVERNANCE AND AUTHORITY 1. NYSSBA opposes charter schools that are not authorized or requested by local school districts. (2007) 2. A school district should be able to continue or modify the suspension of a student transferred from another district. (2006) 3. NYSSBA opposes state and/or federal legislation that would provide tuition tax credits or educa- tional vouchers for private or parochial schools. (2006) 4. The Education Law should be amended to enable school districts to make determinations concerning student residency, notwithstanding previously rendered judicial determinations. The board’s residency determination would be able to be appealed to the commissioner of education, who will not be bound by any prior court order. (2007) 5. The requirement for holding a special election to fill a vacancy on a BOCES board should be eliminated (Educ. Law §1950 (2-a)(f )). (2008) 6. Public school districts should have the same access to tuition-paying international (F-1 visa) students as private schools have, and to enable these students to remain in the district for their entire secondary school experience. (2008) 7. Special act school district boards of education should be able to participate in the process of determining two-person public member criteria selection of school board members. (2005) 2 II. STATE AID 1. The governor and state Legislature should reform the state education funding system in a manner that provides for: • Adequacy – sufficient resources should be provided to assure the opportunity for a sound basic education for all students. • Equity – a foundation level of state aid should be distributed for every student that is based on the actual cost of providing a sound basic education that fairly compen- sates for differences in community costs, needs and resources. The legislature should preclude municipalities from using state aid to replace local education resources. • Flexibility – the percentage of operating aid should be increased and boards of education should retain the discretion to determine what educational programs best address local needs. Local communities should not be restrained from determining the level of funding they will expend to support educa- tional programs. • Predictability – timely passage of the state budget and stable funding distributed through a consistent, uniformly applied for- mula that would not require annual manip- ulation by the governor and Legislature and that would facilitate long-term planning by school districts should be provided. • Clarity – a funding formula that is easily explained and understood should be estab- lished. (2006) 2. NYSSBA should support the creation, continua- tion and expansion of energy efficiency and green schools financial incentives for public schools. (2007) 3 III. MANDATE RELIEF 1. There should be no new unfunded and under-funded state mandates on local school districts. (2008) 2. School districts should be exempted from the Wicks Law (Gen. Bus. Law §101). (2004) 3. NYSSBA should continue its efforts to prevent the reduction of federal Medicaid reimburse- ments to school districts providing school-based medical services to Medicaid eligible, disabled students. (2007) 4. New York State should fully fund the writing and scoring of all mandatory state tests for grades 3-8. In the event that the state should pass this cost back to the federal government, NYSSBA will support that decision and advocate on behalf of the state’s action. (2007) 5. State law should be amended to permit public scrutiny of charter school financial operations by ensuring disclosure of expenditure of public funds by either the charter school or its educa- tion management company. (2006) 6. New York State should sue the federal govern- ment over its failure to fulfill funding require- ments of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, including the act’s overbearing requirements, its focus on standardized testing rather than quality instruction, and other appropriate issues. (2005) 7. Full funding of state mandates should be provided in law. (2005) 4 IV. REAL PROPERTY TAXES 1. NYSSBA will seek legislation to relieve New York State’s excessive reliance on the real proper- ty tax to fund public education. The legislation must address: • Fairness in generating appropriate federal and state revenue levels • Stability to ensure the fiscal viability of school districts and predict funding levels • Integrity of the real property tax (2006) 2. NYSSBA should seek legislation to repeal a school district’s obligation to refund taxes levied on behalf of a school district public library or a free public library to property owners as a result of an administrative correction on a tax roll, or a court-ordered assessment reduction. (2008) 5 V. PENSION REFORM 1. Legislation to reform the current state retirement system should be based on the following Principles of 21st Century Retirement Benefits: a. Portability. Given the current mobility of the workforce, employees must have owner- ship of their retirement plans and the abili- ty to elect a retirement option that allows benefits to accrue across multiple employ- ment opportunities both within and out- side of the state retirement system. b. Predictability. Employees and employers should have the ability to predict the cost of retirement benefits, resulting in a greater abil- ity to make appropriate planning decisions. c. Affordability. As stewards of public funds and public education, school districts must balance the need to sustain viable retire- ment benefits with the ability of a commu- nity to provide continued support of the educational program. d. Flexibility. The needs of the current gener- ation of employees demand greater employee choice in the selection of an appropriate retirement plan. e. Acceptable Risk. Both the current (defined benefit) retirement system and defined con- tribution retirement plans carry risks. The current system provides an insufficient death benefit and an inability to transfer accumulated assets at death. The success of defined contribution plans rests more heav- ily on market success, offering the possibili- ty of greater or lesser return for employees. Retirement benefits should present an acceptable level of risk to both employees and the employer. (2006) 6 V. PENSION REFORM (CONT.) 2. Boards of education and boards of cooperative educational services should be allowed to estab- lish pension contribution reserve funds for all employees and be able to deposit surplus monies into such funds. (2006) 3. A new pension plan should be created for all future school district and BOCES employees that would require employee contributions for the entire period of such participating employees’ service. (2006) 4. School district employees should be able to select enrollment in either an existing defined benefit retirement system or a defined contribution retirement plan currently offered to employees of the State University of New York and the City University of New York. Employees currently vested in a defined benefit retirement system who elect transfer to a defined contribution plan would retain credit and enrollment rights up to the date of making the election. Contributions after the date of transfer would be made to the defined contribution plan. Non-vested employ- ees would be allowed to transfer employer and employee contributions made up to the date of election to the defined contribution plan. (2006) VI. SCHOOL SAFETY 1. NYSSBA supports the maintenance of rigorous and consistently enforceable immunization stan- dards, with exceptions for medical contra-indica- tion or sincere religious objections only, and opposes the expansion of exemptions to include general philosophical objections. (2006) 2. There should be a predator-free zone around schools, and Level 3 (high-risk) sex offenders should be required by law to keep at least 1,000 feet from school property. (2005) 7 VII. CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION AND ASSESSMENT 1. The commissioner of education should be required to provide school districts with test score reports at least two weeks prior to lifting the press embargo on the release of the reports in the media. (2008) 2. The Board of Regents should restructure the timing and eligibility requirements for component retests to better serve students in pursuit of the state’s more rigorous graduation requirements. (2007) 3. The State Education Department should restore its past practice of waiving ELA (English as a sec- ond language) testing for students with limited proficiency in English who have received less than three years of ELA instruction until such time as the federal No Child Left Behind law is reautho- rized with modified testing requirements for stu- dents with limited English proficiency. (2007) 4. The State Education Department should return to its past practice of providing testing modifica- tions for such students with disabilities whose IEPs (individualized education programs) are not congruent with the materials being tested until such time as the federal No Child Left Behind law is reauthorized with modified testing require- ments for students with disabilities. (2007) 5. The Board of Regents should adopt a pre-equat- ing test development model to ensure that stu- dents get the results of their Regents examination in a timely manner. (2007) 6. Pilot alternative assessment programs should be created for districts whose performance has exceeded state standards for at least two consecu- tive years. These programs should include coop- erative, meaningful, disaggregated assessment procedures devised in concert with the State Education Department. (2006) 7. Alternative assessments for the state learning stan- dards should be established, subject to reasonable state review, with an appeals process. (2005) 8 VIII. SPECIAL EDUCATION 1. Certified special educators who teach core aca- demic subjects to students with disabilities should not be required to demonstrate that they are “highly qualified” in every core subject they teach (federal No Child Left Behind Act). (2004) 2. School districts and BOCES should be reim- bursed within the next school year for the full cost of providing approved preschool programs for students with disabilities. (2005) 3. Federal law should be changed to preclude an administrative or court order of reimbursement to a parent for their child’s tuition for a non- approved private school from becoming the stu- dent’s current placement which automatically obligates the district to pay the student’s tuition in such facilities as long as the litigation contin- ues. (2007) 4. Payment of tuition and fees for students attend- ing the state schools for the blind and deaf should be the responsibility of the school district in which the family of the student resides. (2006) 9 IX. LOCAL MANAGEMENT AND BUDGETS 1. NYSSBA shall support efforts to ensure fiscal oversight of charter schools by the state. (2008) 2. NYSSBA seeks legislation permitting school dis- tricts to establish, fund and use an energy reserve fund subject to the passage of a resolution by a board of education. (2008) 3. NYSSBA supports the continued, increased appropriation of the state share of the district superintendent’s salary. (2006) 4. School districts should be able to create a new reserve fund to finance other post-employment benefits (OPEB) as envisioned under GASB 45 (Government Accounting Standards Board). (2006) 5. The BOCES district superintendent’s salary cap should be repealed (Educ Law § 1950 (4)(a)). (2006) 6. A school district under a contingency budget should be allowed to purchase capital equipment in those instances when the district can demon- strate that replacing it is more cost-effective than repairing the current equipment. (2004) 7. NYSSBA supports rule changes by the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (part of the Federal Communications Commission) to clarify that services, otherwise eligible for E-rate dis- counts that are obtained under “state master con- tracts,” will be treated as obtained under binding applicant contracts between the school district and the provider. (2004) 10 X. EMPLOYEE RELATIONS 1. School districts should not be required to pay increments on salary schedules after the expira- tion of those agreements, as currently stipulated under the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law. (2007) 2. The governor and state Legislature should reform the system of teacher discipline in a manner that: a. Establishes a state hearing panel to hear and decide 3020-a cases; b. Authorizes school districts to terminate a tenured teacher without a 3020-a hearing if: i. they have been convicted of child abuse in an educational setting, or ii. their teaching certificate has been revoked by the State Education Department, or iii. they have failed to obtain permanent certification in the requisite time period; c. Clarifies that teachers must cooperate in the school district investigation of 3020-a charges; d. Either eliminates paid suspension for teach- ers awaiting 3020-a proceedings, or caps the length of time they are paid; and e. Requires teachers facing 3020-a hearings to disclose the nature of their defense prior to the hearing. (2007) 3. The probationary period for teachers should be extended from the current three years to five years (Educ. Law § 3012). (2004) 4. Any certified or non-certified school district and BOCES staff convicted of any felony or crime of a sexual nature involving minors or students, including trafficking in pornography on or off school property, should be suspended without pay (Educ. Law § 3020-a(2)(b); Civ. Serv. § 75(3)). (2004) 11 XI. NYSSBA LEADERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES 1. NYSSBA strives to uphold a code of conduct consistent with its dedication to children, learn- ing, community, members of NYSSBA, and rep- resentatives of school districts and BOCES in order to promote public confidence in schools and advance the attainment of district goals. This code of conduct is on the NYSSBA website at www.nyssba.org. (2008) 2. To ensure a viable State Education Department that is able to provide services and promote the effective use of technology and other strategies, NYSSBA will advocate for the improved effec- tiveness of the department’s operations, includ- ing increasing funding and maintaining appro- priate staffing levels. (2006) 3. NYSSBA shall take a leadership role in encourag- ing school boards to develop successful strategies for integrating respect for cultural differences into the educational experience. In carrying out this mission, NYSSBA shall: • Encourage school boards to ensure that the importance of respecting others who are unique and different because of racial, eth- nic, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religiously related reasons is part of the curriculum • Encourage school boards to invite discussion among students, parents, staff and the com- munity regarding how hatred and bigotry based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual ori- entation, disability and religion endanger the pluralistic and diversity principles for which this nation stands • Encourage school boards to involve stu- dents, parents, staff and the community in developing and supporting education which invites understanding and acceptance of others’ differences and which aims to eradi- cate hatred and bigotry (2004) 12 New York State School Boards Association NON PROFIT 24 Century Hill Drive • Suite 200 ORGANIZATION US POSTAGE Latham, NY 12110-2125 PAID ALBANY NY PERMIT NO 890