At the December Meeting of the State Board of Regents

At the December Meeting of the State Board of Regents

The New York State Board of Regents met in Albany on December 12 and 13, 2016. The two day meeting focused on several key areas:  the state budgetary process, required state actions in response to federal legislation and emerging or ongoing statewide educational priories. The following is a summary of the discussions and actions taken by the board:

State Related Items

State Aid

A discussion on the board’s State Aid budget request was framed by comments from Regent Tallon, providing background and contextual information on the recommendations. He indicated that the recommendations are aggressive, but are in line with updated databases and post gap elimination aid (GEA) needs. He stated that this proposal “takes a firm position on a three-year phase in “to support a strong commitment to Foundation Aid which provides support for district operating needs and targeted support for priority education areas. The primary components of the BOR proposal include:

Foundation Aid – $1.47 billion increase

• Three-year phase in that is targeted for completion in the 2019-20 school year, with a scheduled phase in of 33 percent of the remaining differences in each year.

• Districts on save harmless would receive a wealth adjusted minimum increase of up to 1 percent.

• Changes to the Pupil in Needs Index by using a three-year average of the direct certification count and updating the 2000 census poverty data to use current SAIPE data.

Expense-based Aid – $335 million

Multi-year Investments – $290 million

• Universal Prekindergarten: $100 million to continue statewide expansion of prekindergarten programs. Also included is a process for consolidating the seven funding streams now used to provide prek programs.

• English Language Learners: $100 million for expanded access and programs.

• College and Career Pathways: $60 million to expand career and technical.

• Professional Development for Teachers and Principals: $30 million to create an Instructional Development Fund  for dissemination of best practices (SAANYS  met with Commissioner Elia to open discussions on the support and professional development needs of school administrators).

VADIR /DASA Reporting

In January of 2013, the Board of Regents reestablish the New York State Safe Schools Task Force which  recommended that the department  develop a new process and criteria for identifying  Persistently Dangerous Schools and a new set of definitions of incident categories for reporting. The regulatory revisions adopted by the BOR at this meeting are in keeping with the recommendations from the task force. The regulations streamline the current 20 categories to 9 categories to be effective on July 1, 2017. Commencing with the 2017-2018 school year the following categories will be reported:

  • Homicide

  • Sexual Offenses

  • Physical Injury

  • Weapons Possession

  • Material Incidents of Discrimination, Harassment, and  

  • Bomb Threat

  • False Alarm

  • Use, Possession, or Sale of Drugs

  • Use, Possession, or Sale of Alcohol

Although the regulations are intended to provide clarity for the categories used, administrators will still need to report each incident within each category. The existing regulation continues to provide for a weighted School Violence Index (SVI) calculation to reflect the most serious violent incidents. For purposes of calculating the SVI, each violent incident will still have a corresponding weight which identifies the severity of the incident. The Board of Regents item may be accessed at:

Adoption of New Science Standards

The Board of Regents unanimously approved the adoption of the P-12 Science Learning Standards to be implemented in all schools beginning July 1, 2017. Key framing principles included the need to ensure that the new standards would be student performance based, connect to real world experiences, integrate science and engineering and focus on preparing students for the next generation workforce. The presentation to the board provided examples of performance based units aligned to the new standards. It is not expected that districts will incur substantial expenditures due to the adoption of the new standards, however, SAANYS will be in close contact with our members to ascertain their input on this issue.  The standards were developed in conjunction with considerable input from the field over a two year period. The new science standards can be found at:

Update on Computer Based Testing

The board was provided an update on the roll out of computer based testing for this year’s NYS 3-8 testing. The primary focus of the department at this point is to support districts’ readiness for CBT.  The number of districts choosing to participate in CBT is not yet available, as not all districts have made final decision whether to move to CBT or remain with paper based testing. During the next few months NYSED will be working with districts to verify CBT readiness,  providing regional trainings and webinars on CBT and providing access to the testing platform in mid-February .

Federally Related Issues


The following provides a summary of the expanded Full Board segment on ESSA:

  • Final rules for USDOE provide states the opportunity to submit state plans in April or September. NYSED will opt for a September submission.
  • Final rules continue to require a 95% participation rate on state assessment programs for accountability purposes. Any students in an accountability group, in excess of the 95% who do not participate in the testing program, must be considered as not proficient for accountability purposes.
  • ESSA also requires states to report the per-pupil expenditures for each LEA and school in the state for the preceding fiscal year.  The reporting must be disaggregated by source of fund expenditures (federal, state, and local). Currently, this data is not collected at the school level. The 2017-18 school year will be the first year of reporting for this new requirement.

Identification of schools under the new accountability system must take place for the 2018-19 school year, based on data available in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. ESSA requires that states use four-year adjusted cohort graduation rates (excludes use of extended year graduation rate) when identifying schools for graduation rates. SAANYS continues to advocate for the use of extended year graduation metrics and strongly feels that schools should be rewarded for increasing rates of graduation, rather than speed of graduation.

In addition to the update on the new ESSA work and timelines, the BOR also heard a presentation by Dr. Scott Marion from the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment. His primary points stress that states have an opportunity to design an accountability system to support State priorities with the new ESSA. In doing so it is important to start with a theory of action prior to jumping to metrics used for reporting purposes.

For more information regarding the actions and discussions that took place at the Board of Regents meeting, contact Cynthia Gallagher, director of government relations by emailing