2014-15 New York State Budget Summary
Touting the passage of four on-time budgets in a row, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Coalition Co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced the passage of the 2014-15 state budget on March 31. What follows are budget highlights related to k-12 education. The budget includes a $1.1 billion – or 5.3 percent – increase in education aid for the 2014-15 school year. High-needs school districts will receive nearly 70 percent of the 2014-15 allocated increase.
Utilization of Test Data
Individual student scores on the state 3-8 ELA and math assessments may not be placed on a students’ official transcript or maintained in a students’ permanent record, but may be used in required state and federal reporting.
Notice must be provided to parents that the 3-8 ELA and math results will not be included on official transcripts or maintained in the students’ permanent record. The above provisions expire on December 31, 2018.
Student promotion and placement decisions may not be based upon results of the state 3-8 ELA and math assessments. Such results may be a factor in such decisions, along with other measures. The promotion and placement policy shall be provided to parents annually.
Pre-K – 2 Test Ban
The commissioner is to promulgate regulations prohibiting standardized tests, but not those required by federal law or those designed to demonstrate application of knowledge and skills.
The commissioner is to promulgate regulations creating the following testing restrictions:
– State assessments may not exceed one percent of the minimum required annual instructional hours for each grade. Assessments not required by state or federal law also may not exceed one percent of the minimum required annual instructional hours for each grade.
– Test preparation for standardized tests may not exceed two percent of the minimum required annual instructional hours per grade. Teacher administered quizzes and exams are exempted from these limitations. We expect the creation of regulations that provide clarity to these provisions to be challenging.
SED is also to issue guidance on the reduction and elimination of standardized tests not required by law, and report all standardized tests that are administered, by district. Each district shall be required to post this report on its website.
Students With Disabilities/ELL
The commissioner is to issue regulations to allow students with disabilities who are not eligible for the alternate assessment to be assessed on instructional level rather than chronological age. ELL may be assessed with a state exam that measures English language development rather than the ELA exam for their first two years of enrollment.
The commissioner is required to reduce field tests, make more test questions from the 3-8 ELA and math exams available for review and to expedite review of proposed changes to APPR plans designed to reduce testing.
$340 million to fund Pre-K, $300 million of which is dedicated to New York City. Pre-K will be funded by grants awarded by SED pursuant to an application scoring system that SED is to develop. Pre-K programs must provide at least five hours of instruction per school day by certifed teachers and the programs are subject to annual inspections. Grant awards may only be used to supplement and not supplant current expenditures on Pre-K programs.
Teacher Excellence Fund
A teacher excellence fund was funded with $10 million. Districts must submit their locally negotiated plan on supplementing “highly effective” teachers with up to $20,000 to SED and DOB for approval.
The state budget contains many more educationally related items. This summary is designed to provide a quick overview of some of the more high profile items. Any questions or comments should be directed to Jim Viola, director of government relations at email@example.com.