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Superintendent Survey Finds Mission of Schools Expanding in Wake of COVID-19; State and Federal Aid is Enabling Wide Improvements in Key Students Services

November 30, 2022

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org
ALBANY, NY — Schools have taken on a wider mission, helping students and families with concerns beyond academics. Infusions of federal and state aid are enabling schools to improve many services and opportunities for students. These are key themes in a report on survey findings released today by the New York State Council of School Superintendents.
 
Council Executive Director Charles Dedrick said, “In their open-ended comments for our survey, the one theme emphasized most often by superintendents is that, while schools have often been a hub for many community services, that role has expanded dramatically in recent years.”
  
Dedrick added, “As one of our members observed, ‘Public education is the first, most efficiently provided, most accessible, and best of all the safety nets we provide for children.’”
  
Asked about experiences since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 90% of superintendents responded that it is completely true (57%) or mostly true (33%) that, “our schools “have taken on a larger role in providing supports for families in our community (e.g., health, mental health, food, recreation, etc.).” Eighty-one percent (81%) agreed that it is completely or mostly true that “our schools are the first and most readily accessible source of mental health services in our community.”
  
Council Deputy Director Robert Lowry said, “It comes through loudly and clearly from our survey that state Foundation Aid increases and federal COVID-relief assistance are enabling schools all across our state to make improvements in key student services—especially in student mental health services and extra academic help, but also basic instruction at every school level.”
  
In nine prior annual surveys between 2011 and 2019, only twice did a majority of superintendents statewide anticipate that their district budgets would result in improvements any service area. But in this year’s survey, majorities expect improvements 11 service areas, including core instruction in elementary school (74%), middle school (66%), and high school (63), and in student mental health services (82%), extra academic help (79%), summer enrichment programs (72%), school security (71%), and prekindergarten (58%).
  
Lowry added, “It’s especially encouraging that our survey found superintendents leading higher poverty districts are generally more likely to foresee improvements in what their schools will be able to offer students.”
  
Increases in state and federal assistance have also produced greater optimism among superintendents about longer-term financial prospects for their schools. 
  
Fifty-five percent (55%) of superintendents responded that they were somewhat or very optimistic that, looking ahead three years or so, their schools will be able to fund services adequate to the needs of their students, up from just 25% in 2019. There has been a corresponding drop in pessimistic responses, from 75% to 45% over the same period.
  
But concerns about sustainability are common. Fifty-four percent (54%) of superintendents identified “end of federal COVID-relief aid” was one of the factors causing them concern in thinking about the financial outlook for their schools. The possibility of “Inadequate state aid, including possible changes in Foundation Aid” was most widely cited as the one factor causing greatest concern, named by 32% of superintendents.
  
Hiring shortages are seen as imperiling the capacity of schools to meet the needs of students. Majorities of superintendents responded that it is completely true that, since the onset of the pandemic, it has become more difficult to fill both teaching positions (62%) and non-certified positions (e.g. custodial, clerical, food service, and student transportation positions; 58%). Superintendents leading higher poverty, lower wealth, and rural school districts were especially likely to report hiring challenges.
  
The Council survey also identified concerns among superintendents about challenges arising from political polarization and social media. But in a question on job satisfaction, 74% of superintendents agreed that they like their work enough to recommend the role to a child showing aptitude—the highest figure in the 20 years that Council surveys have included that question.
  
The survey was conducted online, between October 5 and 25, 2022. Four hundred sixty-seven superintendents submitted complete responses to the survey, a response rate of 64.6%.
  
Please write to advocacy@nyscoss.org with any questions or suggestions.

State and Federal Aid is enabling wide improvements in key student services.

Statement of New York State Council of School Superintendents on Uvalde, Texas School Shooting Horror

May 25, 2022

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org
ALBANY, NY New York State Council of School Superintendents President Phyllis Harrington and Executive Director Charles Dedrick issued the following statement today:

Never Again

When will we as a nation say never again to children going off to school, not to come home again? Now has to be the time. We urge our nation’s leaders to come together and enact common sense measures supported by the majority of Americans that will help put an end to the horrific murders we are witnessing. 
  
Every superintendent goes to bed at night asking themselves, are we doing enough to protect our students tomorrow? We ask for the same from our elected leaders. Have we all done enough to ensure the safety of the children, teachers and staff as they set foot in our schools? Families deserve to know they are a priority and that each person’s safety is an actual birthright. 
  
According to our Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are the unalienable rights that government has been created to protect. It is time for our elected leaders to take that historical phrase more seriously. 
  
According to AASA, the School Superintendents Association, there have been 27 school shootings in 2022. That is 27 school shootings too many. Obviously yesterday’s murders in Uvalde, Texas are an unimaginable event among the many. We at NYSCOSS stand in support of our colleagues across the state and nation and call on our elected leaders to pursue bipartisan solutions to ensure life and liberty for all. Let’s not have one more child or one more teacher not return home. 
 

Please write to advocacy@nyscoss.org with any questions or suggestions.  

NYSCOSS President Phyllis Harrington and Executive Director Chuck Dedrick issued this statement today.

Statement of New York State Council of School Superintendents on Buffalo Supermarket Shooting

May 16, 2022

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org
ALBANY, NY New York State Council of School Superintendents President Phyllis Harrington and Executive Director Charles Dedrick issued the following statement today:

“We grieve for the people lost in the horrific shootings in Buffalo on Saturday, and for their loved ones, and for the whole community. No one, ever, should have to bear what has been thrust upon them. This tragedy was incited by mindless hate, a spirit that will not be vanquished by any one action or program. But every one of us can work harder to impart lessons of respect, understanding, and empathy for other people. Schools have a role to play in that effort. We will do all that we can to support that work, in part with the hope of sparing more families from heartache and to honor the memory of those so tragically lost this weekend in Buffalo.” 

Please write to advocacy@nyscoss.org with any questions or suggestions.  

NYSCOSS President Phyllis Harrington and Executive Director Chuck Dedrick issued this statement today.

State Legislative Committee

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Committee PositionCommittee Member Contact InfoTerm StartTerm End
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PresidentMrs. Martha K. Group
Superintendent of Schools
Vernon-Verona-Sherrill School District (Sherrill City)
5275 State Route 31 PO Box 128 Verona, NY 13478-2913
7/1/20226/30/2023
President ElectDr. Jason A. Andrews
Superintendent of Schools
Windsor CSD
1191 NY Route 79 Windsor, NY 13865
7/1/20226/30/2023
Co-ChairMr. Michael R. Cornell
Superintendent of Schools
Hamburg CSD
5305 Abbott Rd Hamburg, NY 14075-1699 UNITED STATES
7/1/2021 
Co-ChairDr. Joseph S. Famularo
Superintendent of Schools
Bellmore UFSD
580 Winthrop Ave Bellmore, NY 11710-4200 UNITED STATES
7/1/2018 
Council Past PresidentDr. Phyllis S. Harrington
Superintendent of Schools
Oceanside UFSD
145 Merle Avenue Oceanside, NY 11572
7/1/20226/30/2023
MemberDr. Paul J. Alioto
Superintendent of Schools
Dansville CSD
377 Main Street Dansville, NY 14437
7/1/2021 
MemberMr. Michael J. Baumann
Superintendent of Schools
Newfane CSD
6273 Charlotteville Road Newfane, NY 14108
7/1/2013 
MemberMr. Jeremy Louis Belfield
Superintendent of Schools
LaFayette CSD
5955 Route 20 West La Fayette, NY 13084
7/1/2021 

Your Advocacy Team

 

Robert Lowry, Jr.
Deputy Director, NYSCOSS
BobLowry@nyscoss.org
Greg Berck, Esq.
Assistant Director, NYSCOSS
Greg@nyscoss.org

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