Government Relations Updates
December 1, 2023
November 13, 2023
The NYS Board of Regents met today with the primary focus of this first day being the . Read in full.
November 9, 2023
- Resources for Ukrainian Parents and Students
- Mid-State Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network
Special Education Youth Advisory Panel Openings
November 3, 2023
Follow-up to Questions Raised at the SAANYS Annual Conference
The SAANYS Annual Conference provided many opportunities to listen to excellent presenters and connect with colleagues from across the state. During the government relations presentation, several questions were raised and we thought that clarifying those questions would benefit all members.
The question raised was “Do all mandated reporters need to complete the updated training?” Yes, according to the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), all mandated reporters must complete the updated training that was effective 11/1/22. The training must be completed by 4/1/25.
The question raised was whether the waiver was extended and if it is likely to be suspended again through 2025? The cap of $35,000 for retiree earnings was extended until June 30, 2024. As this cap has only been waived on a year-by-year basis, it is likely that staffing shortages in schools will play a large part in decisions to continue its use or not. We will have a better understanding of this issue as state budget negotiations unfold. SAANYS will continue to advocate for its continued extension.
Senator Gillibrand is hosting a statewide briefing on federal and state mental health and school safety grant funding. Representatives from the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Justice, and NYS Departments of Education and Health will speak on resources and support to schools for student mental health initiatives. CSA President Henry Rubio will be introducing the senator.
This program is to support community-based organizations to create safe spaces for youth in areas with high rates of gun violence. The spaces are intended for youth ages 12-24 years of age so that they may engage in a wide range of supports, including therapeutic assistance. $2,500,000 has been allocated for these two-year programs.
A request for proposals has been issued by NYSED for public schools, BOCES, and eligible higher education institutions to create partnerships to increase high school graduation rates and college completion.
Laws Signed By the Governor
The governor signed a bill banning the use of corporal punishment in schools. The law prohibits “teachers, administrators, officers, employees, or agents of a school from using the practices.” The commissioner is required to promulgate rules and regulations to implement this law.
$10 million has been allocated to support school projects to improve meal preparation and distribution for K-12 students. Resources will be provided to allow schools to improve the process and preparation of farm products to make it possible to cook fresh, scratch-made meals for students. Due on 1/24/24.
September 27, 2023
Today the Commissioner released a determination on the use of facial recognition technology and biometric identifying technology in schools. Read in full.
- – The deadline for the electronic application submission is extended to September 1, 2023 at 5:00 pm. If a district has already submitted their application, they may revised and resubmit. Contact for further assistance.
- In 2021, the legislature placed a moratorium on the purchase or use of biometric identification technology (BITS) until the commissioner of education authorized such purchase and further, the commissioner was directed to issue a report on the use of BITS in educational settings.
- – “Today, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa and Department staff met with leaders from Governor Kathy Hochul’s Office and the New York City Department of Education to discuss supports for schools and school districts statewide related to the arrival of large numbers of asylum seeker and migrant students.
- Governor Hochul announced a historic amount of funding for youth mental health services.
- Federal Appropriations for FY24 – The House and Senate have both proposed funding bills for education.
Senate Hearing: S.1040 – the Solutions, Not Suspensions proposed bill
On May 3, 2023, the Senate held its first of two hearings on S.1040 – the Solutions, Not Suspensions proposed bill. The proposed bill would have a significant impact on building administrators’ use of suspensions. SAANYS has been working with many stakeholders on this bill for several years.
The areas of the legislation most problematic for SAANYS members are:
- prohibition of the use of suspensions in grades Pre-K-3,
- the use of a suspension cap of no more than 20 days,
- prohibition of suspensions for acts of willful disobedience,
- requirement of districts to use a wide range of interventions or programs available prior to suspending a student, without requiring the participation of the student, or consent from the parent/legal guardian,
- lack of funding to meet the requirements of the proposed bill.
Our opposition to these components of the legislation is based on valuable information from our members and our government relations committee. If you recall, SAANYS sent a survey out to all members in December 2022 on this topic. Over 66 percent of the respondents opposed prohibition of suspensions in Pre-K-grade 3, 70 percent opposed a 20-day cap on the days for suspension, and 70 percent opposed prohibition suspension for willful disobedience.
SAANYS is indebted to the presentation of testimony by two of our members: Dr. Gloria Jackson, elementary principal, Brentwood School District and W. Charles Brandy, director of social studies, Buffalo City School District. Their presentations were outstanding and provided the Senate with an excellent perspective on how and when suspensions are used. They pointed out that the first goal is always to keep students in school, they discussed the types of strategies used prior to a suspension being issued, and what specific incidences required the use of suspensions. Dr. Jackson and Mr. Brandy were asked many questions from the senators and again provided compelling information on this topic. Many thanks to Dr. Jackson and Mr. Brandy for their dedicated work on this testimony and their professionalism on this complex issue.
April Board of Regents Meeting
- – NYSED is recommending that changes be made to both provisional and professional certification due to the inability of building administrators and other classification areas to complete requirements in the expected time frames.
- – The Board of Regents determined that is was necessary to reexamine existing regulations that protected student safety regarding corporal punishment and isolation interventions.
- Prohibition of the Use of Indigenous Mascots – The Board unanimously voted to prohibit the use of indigenous names, mascots, and imagery in all public schools. School districts will be required to adhere to this decision by the end of the 2024-25 school year.
- – As the Blue-Ribbon Commission continues its work, recent focus has been to develop a portrait of a graduate of the 21st century.
- – The Board of Regents undertook an endeavor to examine the values and purposes of New York’s assessment strategy and has been doing that work for over a year.
- – This group of students entered grade 9 in 2018 and are the cohort that experienced three years of the COVID pandemic and had Regents exams suspended in years 2020-22.
- Since last week, over 50 more swatting calls have been made. School districts in Central New York, Long Island, the Southern Tier, Northern Region, and Capital District school districts have been impacted. School districts in other states are reporting similar incidents and the FBI is investigating the sources of the prank calls. Some of the perpetrators are thought to be foreign actors. Please see this
- The governor is issuing a budget extender until April 10, which will keep state government operating. It is anticipated that the legislature will approve the extender.
- This webinar is conducted by Edunomics Lab which studies education finance out of Georgetown University. This is a 30-minute webinar at 1:00 pm ET on Wednesday April 5 and will focus on key issues facing district budget decisions this spring.
- – the Mental Health Association of New York State released a report looking at wellness spaces across schools in NYS. The report provides information from school districts that have implemented safe spaces for students. Various models and implementation strategies are discussed.
- School Safety Memo from Commissioner and NYS Police – This past week has seen increased incidents of violence and threats of violence targeted at schools both nationally and in our state.
- SAANYS DC Advocacy Day – On March 26-29, 2023, a team of 10 SAANYS members will be headed to Washington, DC to advocate for both federal and state level support and funding important to building leaders across the nation.
- This week in Albany was filled with Education Committee meetings and joint meetings on the one-house bills.
March Board of Regents Meeting
- – The Technical Advisory Committee provided a comprehensive presentation on testing and test development.
- – This report was an update on program and services offered through apprenticeship opportunities in adult education programs.
- – This was a comprehensive review of the work of the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages.
- – The Board discussed previously introduced regulations pertaining to course work that needs to be included in higher education programs leading to an initial and professional school counselor certificate.
February Board of Regents Meeting
- – The proposed regulations align the USDE approval of the NYSED waiver to adjust the accountability system to a regulatory framework.
- – Proposed revisions to Section 200.5 were discussed for final adoption in June.
- – In 2019, seven pilots were established between IHEs, school districts (Buffalo CSD, Mount Vernon City School District, New York City Public Schools, Rochester CSD, Schenectady CSD, Syracuse City School District, and Yonkers CSD) and a leadership development partner.
- – Proposed revisions for student teaching experiences.
- This was a very comprehensive discussion item that included research presented by Dr. Edward Fergus and respondents from six school districts (Vernon Verona Sherrill SD, Oceanside UFSD, Perry CSD, NYC DOE, Ossining UFSD, and Geneva City Schools).
- (All Grades) – The Board of Regents proposes to establish a certificate dedicated to teaching indigenous cultures and languages.
- – This presentation provided an update on My Brother’s Keeper and the far-reaching impact of that initiative.
- – On February 8, 2023, SAANYS presented testimony on the governor’s proposed budget. SAANYS presented the testimony with a panel that included NYSUT, UFT, CSA, and SAANYS.
- – The FCC, NASSP, NAESP, and Department of Education are hosting a webinar on 2/15/23 on how households can sign up for ACP and find providers.
- On February 1, 2023, the governor presented her statutorily required proposed budget.This sets in motion a process in which the two houses of the legislature review the proposed budget, propose changes, and then negotiate a final budget. For SAANYS, this also begins the process of analyzing each budget proposal, presenting testimony on how the proposal will impact building administrators, and meeting with legislators to articulate our concerns and/or support. Click here for a summary of the key components of the governor’s proposed budget as it pertains to education.
- and – SAANYS was informed today by SED that the 2018 Cohort data was posted to their website and they also sent along a PPT that provides an overview of the information.
- Results from SAANYS’ Membership Survey on School Discipline.
The Board of Regents held its first meeting of 2023 on January 9-10, 2023.
- – The proposal allows a candidate from another US state or territory to receive NYS certification by demonstrating “comparable,” instead of equivalent, experiences and education.
- SAANYS has participated in the NYS School Safety Task Force since its inception. SAANYS sought the advice of the membership throughout the development this report and SAANYS has in turn expressed the strong concerns of members to the Task Force. SED acknowledged that the report did not have the unanimous support of all Task Force members.
- Via this short survey (), SAANYS is seeking member input on these recommendations and strongly urges you to take a few minutes to share your opinions. The recommendations made in this report will have longterm impacts on building-level administrators and program directors.
- Governor Hochul gave her today, highlighting achievements of the past year and identifying high-priority initiatives.
- The Board of Regents and SED are seeking the input from administrators on the above question through the ThoughtExchange platform by clicking on the above link. This will allow members to share their responses, see the responses from others and begin to see emerging priorities.
- Mr. Tony Cardamone, president of SAANYS and director of Elementary Curriculum & Instruction (Pre-K-6) for the Baldwinsville Central School District, presented testimony to the Assembly Education Committee on the issue of learning loss..
- – The court upheld the commissioner’s decision banning the use of Indigenous mascots and logos. The regulations introduced at this meeting concretize the decisions and stipulate district obligations.
- – This proposed amendment allows students who successfully complete the Individual Arts Assessment Pathway (IAAP) to apply that towards a +1 pathway for a diploma.
- – SED proposes to collapse the Coordinator of Work-Based Learning Programs for Career Awareness and Coordinator of Work-Based Learning Program for Career Development.
- – The presentation provided an overview of how districts were addressing connectivity issues, access to on-on-one devices, and integrating the new computer science and digital fluency standards.
- – The Board proposed their state aid request for an additional $3.4 billion to address the critical needs of districts.
- – Due to the convergence of increasing cases of the flu, and the continued threat of COVID, both NYSDOH and NYSED are urging communities and schools to use common sense precautions during this time.
- – This letter from Commissioners Rosa and Bassett reiterate school district responsibilities relating to student immunizations.
- Assemblyman Benedetto has announced a hearing on December 14, 2022 on the topic of learning loss. This is an important issue for SAANYS members and Dr. Tony Cardamone will provide oral testimony on behalf of building administrators across the state.
- On December 14, 2022 at 4:00 pm, SED will hold a webinar on its PLAN Pilot. The Performance Based Learning and Assessment Network was established by SED to explore the role and efficacy of performance-based assessments in New York.
- The New York State report cards for school districts are an important tool for parents and families for understanding how students perform on state assessments. The 2021-22 NY State Report Card Group 1 release is publicly available on the .
- NYSED has revised the to ensure equitable access to athletics for students of all genders.
- – As many of you have read in the news, the commissioner of education ruled that all Native American mascots, team names, logs, etc., must come into immediate compliance. NYSED will be promulgating regulations that provide additional information.
- – SAANYS met with the Health Education Constituents group to discuss the Health Care Worker Bonus Program. The most updated information is highlighted in yellow.
- State commissioners were told this week to not exceed FY 2023 funding levels. The state’s budget plan anticipates a $148 million deficit next fiscal year with a possible increase to $3.5 billion for the 2025-26 fiscal year.
- – SAANYS has been working with NYSED over the past few months to provide relief in areas related to initial or professional certification.
- – This item proposes to allow students to meet lab requirements through the use of hands-on and simulated experience.
- – This item proposes that all staff in agencies collaborating with school districts for UPK programs have a bachelor’s degree in early education or a teaching license or certificate for services in childhood grades.
- – School districts must consider the use of panic alarm systems as part of their review of school safety plans.
- – As part of its continuing work on graduation requirements in NYS, the Board heard a report from the CCNETWORK Region 2. The link above provides an overview of the presentation, while the report itself can be found here:
- – NYSED has completed a process for revising the SEL Benchmarks to strengthen adult practice, refocus self-awareness skills, and build a sense of agency.
- – In 2020, the New York Election Law was revised to ensure that employees had sufficient time for voting.
- – NYSDOH has clarified whether guidance counselors are eligible for a bonus under the Health Care Worker Bonus Program.
- – NYSDOH just released this webinar to further explain COVID-19 reporting requirements.
- On November 2, 2022, the GRC met with representatives form the offices of Governor Hochul and Commissioner Rosa. The items discussed at each meeting included mental health, staffing shortages, and school safety.
- – NYSDOH has added information to the FAQ released several weeks ago pertaining to the interchangeability of the words patient and student and calculating employee hours for the summer months.
October 23, 2022
Government Relations Update, presented by Dr. Cynthia Gallagher, SAANYS Director of Government Relations
- . This link provides FAQs on components of the HWBP. The education component is the fourth section and is titled, “Education Sector Employees.”
Overview of the Board of Regents monthly meeting
- Last week, NYSED received word from the USDE that the waiver to restart the accountability system using a one year approach that relies on 2021-22 data, was approved.
- To provide some relief or students who were adversely impacted by the pandemic, the appeals process to graduate with a lower score on a Regents Exam was expanded during this past school year.
- Proposed regulations to clarify/modify procedures to provide homebound instruction to students were presented.
- – The regulations are revised to clarify that any prospective school employee includes individuals who will be expected to provide services which involve any form of direct communication or interaction with students (interaction via digital or audio-based technology).
- – Program changes would apply to candidates who enroll in a program in the Fall 2024 semester and later.
Overview of the Board of Regents monthly meeting
- – SED has been working to develop regulations on this topic in 2019 to ensure that students who attend non-public schools receive instruction that is substantially equivalent to that provided in public schools, as per Section 3204 of Education Law.
- – Due to changes is state law, SED needed to revise regulations accordingly.
- – SED has revised lab requirements to allow the 1,200 minutes of laboratory experience to be provided through blended or virtual learning.
- – Approved programs providing instruction to students with disabilities may remain in session by providing remote instruction on a day that is deemed an emergency situation.
- – Districts that would previously close school during an emergency condition may provide instruction remotely.
- – Due to the pandemic, SED took actions to respond to the needs of students, educators, and families that in turn impacted the accountability system (cancelling state exams, attendance challenges, and abbreviated instruction).
- – This presentation provided information on the process leading up to the establishment of the Graduation Measures Blue Ribbon Commission. SAANYS is pleased to announce that Dr. Joyce Carr, Supervisor of Special Education and Support Services from the Elmira City School District was selected to be a member of this Commission.
- – NYSDOH released an updated Frequently Asked Questions document based on the CDC’s most recent Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools.
- – In advance of the September 12-13, 2022 Board of Regents meeting, NYSED released the proposed regulations on equivalency of instruction in non-public schools.
- – The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles has developed the above resource and hopes that it will be helpful to school districts.
- – The New York State Education Department and Governor’s Office are undertaking a joint campaign to welcome back students and the school communities.
- – SED disseminated information on health care worker bonuses.
- The bonuses were authorized as part of the state budget and allowed for a bonus up to $3,000 for eligible workers. The titles for eligible workers may be found at:
- The Commissioner of Education, Betty Rosa and Commissioner of Health, Mary Bassett have sent this letter to the field indicating a change in guidance regarding COVID-19.
- NYSDOH also released a Q&A to support information for K-12 schools and early care and education programs.
- A Q&A similar to the one above is provided for parents and caregivers.
- – On August 13, 2022, Governor Hochul signed a new executive order that extends the state’s disaster emergency status until 9/12/22.
- – In July, Governor Hochul signed a new law that expanded the list of persons who can file extreme risk protection orders.
- – The NYS Education Department issued this memo to encourage school districts to allow students who will age out of school the opportunity to attend instruction during the 2022-23 school year.
- – NYSED announced that the application for the 2022-23 awards are now available.
- – This NASSP Survey was conducted online from June 5 through June 23, 2022.
- – The CDC issued new guidance to support safe in-person learning and to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- – Some of the information harkens back to the use of levels of community spread. When levels are high, schools should consider adding layered prevention strategies to keep schools open.
- – A considerable portion of the new guidance focuses on everyday strategies for the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
- Masking is not required, but suggested, for persons exhibiting symptoms while at school.
- Management of Cases and Exposures – If students or staff develop symptoms while at school, such individuals should be asked to wear a mask.
- – Guidance was issued on August 3, 2022. It should be noted that guidance for the education component of the bonus program will be issued in October.
- This funding was just announced by NYSED and is intended to support the development and delivery of remote/hybrid professional learning courses to educators in NY.
- – daily reporting is not required for the COVID-19 Report Card (districts may continue to report if they so choose).
- Requirements under 10 NYCRR 2.62 regarding COVID-19 testing have expired. Schools are no longer required to conduct weekly testing of unvaccinated teachers or unvaccinated students.
- – NYSDOH continues to stress that testing is a recommended prevention strategy and encourages districts to offer access to screening and diagnostic testing for staff and students.
- – This program is intended to support student exploration of historical records in New York’s repositories
- A new study by Goldhaber, Kane, McEachin, Morton, Patterson, and Staiger (May 2022), examined the disparities between incidence and impact of remote/ hybrid instruction during the pandemic.
- – This memo to the field explains an additional graduation option for students.
- – This document clarifies questions regarding the above field memo.
- – This form needs to be submitted by the school district to SED, for students who have been approved for a special determination.
Board of Regents P12 Subcommittee Items:
- Requirements for Issuing a Special Determination to Graduate with a Local Diploma
- Issuing Diplomas to Students in Confinement
Higher Education Items:
- S.9113-a/A.10502 – The Red Flag Law is expanded to allow multiple categories of mental health practitioners, who have examined an individual within six months, to make a petition to the courts.
- S.9458/A.10503 – Bans the sale of semiautomatic rifles to anyone under the age of 21 by requiring a license.
- S.9407-b/A.10497 – Prohibits the sale of body vests for anyone not working in an eligible profession.
- S.4116-a/A.7926-a – Requires the Division of Criminal Justice Services to examine the technology of micro-stamping for pistols, and if the technology is viable, to require semi-automatic pistols to be micro-stamped-enabled in New York.
- S.9456/A.10504 – Expands the definition of a firearm to include any weapon not defined in the Penal Law that is designed to be converted to expel a projectile through the use of an explosive.
- S.89-b/A.6716-a – Would also create a crime of making a threat of mass harm.
- S.4511-a/A.7865 – Requires social media to provide clear polices on how they respond to incidents of “hateful conduct” on their platforms.
- – Information indicating that 10 NYCRR 2.62 has been extended through 6/30/22.
- – This new guidance replaces the former guidance of March 1, 2022.
- – This revised chart replaces the March 1, 2022 chart.
- Frequently Asked Questions on Cancellation of Regents Examination in United States History and Government (Framework)
- U.S. History and Government Regents exam canceled.
- SAANYS Government Relations Committee Meeting with Commissioner Rosa – topics included end-of-year concerns, student mental health, state assessments, and attendance.
- – Requires all NYS Police to be trained and instructed on how to file an application for an extreme risk protection order in keeping with the Red Flag Law.
- – These plans include high-tech security tools, entry control and video systems, and emergency classroom notification systems.
- Refresher on the Red Flag Law