News Articles

Easy to Read School Aid Run - Plus Details

April 13, 2021

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org

We have created an Excel spreadsheet which allows users to create an easier to read School Aid run for any district passed on the state budget passed by the Legislature last week.

In addition to presenting the same information as the state-produced runs in an easier to analyze format, we provide more detail on federal aid and where districts stand in relation to full funding of the Foundation Aid formula.

Here is the link to access and use the spreadsheet .

It may take a while to load. Once it does, enter a district’s six digit BEDS Code to create a report. To look up a code for any district, click on the tab named “CODE LIST” at the bottom of the screen.  

There are tabs for REPORT 1 and REPORT 2 on the bottom of the screen.
  
The upper section of REPORT 1 replicates what appears on the state-produced aid runs but with the two years of aid for each category presented side-by-side, along with the change and percentage change by category. This makes it easier to identify which aid categories are most influencing the change in total aid.
  
The lower section provides more detail.
  
First, in the state-produced runs, the Pandemic Adjustment is included in 2020-21 aids, but not the offsetting allocations from the federal CARES Act. While this is an accurate representation of state funding, it arguably has the effect of making the change in total funding appear greater than it “feels” for each district. We include a row showing the change in total funding excluding the 2020-21 Pandemic Adjustment.
  
Second, for some districts, 2021-22 Universal Prekindergarten Aid includes a new full-day prekindergarten expansion grant. We include a row with this sum for affected districts.
  
Third, at the bottom of the state-produced runs, estimates appear for district allocations from the December Coronavirus Relief and Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and March American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)—“CRRSA 90% ESSER + BASE ALLOC” and “AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN,” respectively. We include rows for these sums. 

For some districts, the American Rescue Plan allocations are comprised of two parts—an allocation based on shares of Title 1 funding as required by federal law, plus a “Learning Loss Grant.” We show the total ARPA allocation and separate lines for these two components.
  
Under ARPA, states are allowed or required to reserve parts of their federal education funding for specified purposes, including at least 5% to address learning loss, at least 1% for summer enrichment programs, and at least 1% for after-school programs. The enacted budget aims to satisfy these federally required set-asides through the Learning Loss Grants program.
  
All districts are required to use at least 20% of their allocations based on Title 1 shares to address learning loss. The Learning Loss Grants are in addition to those local set-asides. We provide more information about the learning loss funding here.
  
Finally, we include a row showing required community schools set-asides for affected districts—although not included on state-produced runs, that requirement has been continued.
  
REPORT 2 presents changes in aid estimates over time: from March 2020 to November 2020 to April 2021 for 2020-21 aid and from November 2020 to April 2021-22 aid. The March 2020 estimates reflect what districts were projected to receive at the time the 2020-21 state budget was enacted. The November 2020 database was used for the Governor’s budget proposal. The April 2021 figures reflect what is projected for the 2021-22 enacted state budget.

Please call or write to advocacy@nyscoss.org with any questions or suggestions.
  
Here are some other resources: 

- State Education Department Memorandum on American Rescue Plan Funding

- Compilation of Education-Related Funding Provisions of the American Rescue Plan 

- U.S. Department of Education FACT SHEET American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER) 

 
Access an excel spreadsheet allowing users to create an easier way to read School Aid run for any district passed on the state budget passed by the Legislature this week.

Statement of NYS Council of School Superintendents Chuck Dedrick on the 2021-22 Budget for Education

April 8, 2021

Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
C:  518.435.5996
E:  boblowry@nyscoss.org

Albany, NY - The new state budget delivers great news for New York’s school districts, putting our public schools in a vastly better position than we would have dared to hope for last summer or fall. 
 
It provides a $1.4 billion increase in Foundation Aid, full-funding of expense-based aids, no new cuts, and an expansion of full-day prekindergarten throughout the state. 
 
The budget also assures that federal stimulus funding for education will supplement and not supplant state resources, enabling districts to apply that funding to safely reopening schools, maximizing in-person instruction, and helping students overcome the effects of the pandemic’s disruptions upon their learning and personal well-being.
 
The plan to fully phase-in the Foundation Aid formula over three years will at last fulfill a promise to the state’s schoolchildren, especially in our neediest communities.
 
We thank the Senate, Assembly, and Governor for their work. We also need to express our gratitude to Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, our delegation in the House of Representatives, and President Biden for their efforts in Washington. 

Our elected leaders in Washington and Albany came together and now have given our public schools a bright light of promise at the end of the pandemic’s very dark tunnel.

Read NYS Council of School Superintendents Executive Director Chuck Dedrick's statement on the 2021-22 State Budget for Education.

Nominations Open for the 2022 New York State Superintendent of the Year Award

April 1, 2021

Questions?

Contact:
Theresa Wutzer Moore
Associate Director
NYSCOSS
theresa@nyscoss.org
518.694.4884

AASA, The School Superintendents Associations' National Superintendent of the Year Award is acclaimed as the most prestigious honor a school system leader can attain. 

The New York State Council of School Superintendents (The Council) uses the AASA awards application process to select the New York State Superintendent of the Year. Our Distinguished Services Committee, composed of current officers (with the word president in their title) and past presidents who are active superintendents, review all applications and make their final selection for our New York representative. 

This year the Distinguished Service Committee reviewed the application and selection process for the New York State Superintendent of the Year to:
 
  • Ensure there are no application process impediments to building an ample nomination pool that is representative of New York State;
  • Provide candidates professional and due consideration and support through the nomination and applicant process; and
  • Sufficiently celebrate the process and award itself as open to all members; and

Engaged and Streamlined Application Process

To ensure that as many qualified candidates who truly reflect the New York State landscape are included for consideration, the Distinguished Service Committee members will invite various stakeholder groups to nominate a candidate who they believe has significantly advanced their work. Those invitations will be sent in April and will include BOCES Joint Management Teams and members of the Educational Conference Board.

They also recommend that individuals continue to nominate a superintendent leader in their region who they think meet the criteria. The committee also created a new timeline for the application process and will continue to use the AASA SOY portal for the modified application.

  • Nominations of an individual on the AASA portal https://soy.aasa.org/ are due by May 21, 2021.
  • Nominees will be individually notified of their nomination. They will create their own login on https://soy.aasa.org/ portal to complete a shorter version of the application process. Nominees will provide their CV and answer two of the four questions presented in the portal by June 15, 2021. 
  • The Distinguished Service Committee will review the basic submitted materials for each nominated candidate between June 15 – July 15 and then select the 2022 New York State Superintendent of the Year. 

Final Application Process

The selected New York candidate will be notified after July 15th and be invited to complete the more extensive AASA application process with support from the Distinguished Service Committee to ensure its competitiveness for national consideration. The final two questions, along with additional support material and artifacts, including recommendations and videos will be required. This new process allows The Council to:

  • Support a candidate’s efforts to build a competitive, national candidate package.
  • Harness the experience of former New York State Superintendent of the Year winners to lend perspective from the experience.
  • Engage the Distinguished Service Committee’s institutional knowledge to provide statewide perspective.
  • Collaborate with Council staff to construct a marketable, competitive, and complete deliverable for AASA and use within New York State.

The deadline to complete the entire application is October 15, 2021. The Council is required to submit the final application to AASA by November 1st for inclusion in the National Superintendent of the Year process.  

After Application Submission

Once the application has been submitted to AASA via the portal, The Council will coordinate an announcement in November with the selected candidate's school district. We will recognize our New York State winner at our 2022 Winter Institute & Lobby Day next March. The application submission via the portal will then allow AASA's national blue-ribbon panel to review the application so they can narrow the field to four candidates from across the country. 

  • Each January, AASA announces their four finalists who will participate in interviews and a moderated press conference. The National Superintendent of the Year is announced at AASA’s National Conference on Education typically held in February each year. All state superintendents of the year are also recognized.
  • A $10,000 scholarship is awarded to a student from the high school from which the National Superintendent of the Year graduated from AASA.

Selection Criteria

Each candidate will be judged on the following attributes and skills:

  • Leadership for Learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in his or her school system.
  • Communication – strength in both personal and organizational communication.
  • Professionalism – constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the education team. 
  • Community Involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national, and international issues. 
AASA's program is open to all public school superintendents in the United States and overseas and is co-sponsored by First Student, AIG Retirement Services, and AASA. New York's program is only open to active New York State Superintendents.

Nominate a deserving superintendent by May 21, 2021. Modified applications are due by June 15th. Read this article for additional deadlines.

New York Superintendent to Serve as President-Elect of AASA, The National School Superintendents Association

March 26, 2021 

Congratulations to Shari L. Camhi, superintendent of the Baldwin Union Free School District who was elected as the 2021-22 president-elect of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. 

Taken from AASA’s March 16 press release Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech said “AASA is very proud of Shari Camhi and the work she has done to maintain the safety and welfare of the staff and students during this pandemic. It is with pleasure that I congratulate her as our next president-elect.” 

Kristi Wilson, 2020-21 president of AASA and superintendent of the Buckeye Elementary School District in Buckeye, Ariz. “Superintendent Camhi defines what it means to be a futuristic leader—someone who is working diligently to prepare her students for the years that lie ahead of them while maximizing the potential of their learning capabilities.”

Selected as a prestigious “Leader to Learn From” by Education Week, Camhi is a recipient of the ISTE Sylvia Charp Award for district innovation in technology. She has also been recognized as a “New Superintendent to Watch” by the National School Public Relations Association, selected among only 25 nationwide for her efforts in technology and communication.

As member of The Council since 2014, Camhi has also presented at major conferences including her presentation “Education Reimagined” at the 2021 Virtual Winter Institute this past March. Read her article "An Imaginative Thinker for Creative Schools" from AASA’s School Administrator here.

Camhi earned her doctorate from Teacher’s College at Columbia University and two master’s degrees—one from Long Island University and another from Adelphi University. 

She is currently a member of AASA Governing Board and will be sworn in as president-elect on July 1 at a summer meeting of the board. Listen to Camhi’s remarks delivered virtually at the AASA Governing Board Meeting in February 2021.  
 

 
Congratulations to Shari Camhi, Superintendent, Baldwin UFSD who was announced by AASA as President-Elect on March 16, 2021.

Using Cooperative Purchasing for Capital Projects

March 2, 2021

Contact:

Robert Warholic, Partner, The Smith Group
T:  607.760.2350
E:  rwarholic@thesmithgroup.com

School construction is always part of the job that is exciting but is also very stressful.  Communities and district stakeholders are trusting that their capital expectations will be met as they support capital referendums.  However, ensuring a successful capital project is so much more than just designing, bidding, and building.

District leaders are not typically construction experts.  Educators, develop programming, fiscally support it, and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure students are placed first and foremost every single day.  So, they do our best to surround themselves with the best possible team (architects, bond advisors, and construction managers), to give themselves the absolute best opportunity to complete a successful project.

A phase of school construction that is overlooked is procurement.  As leaders they know their options to procure most items and most assume the only way to do capital projects is to bid them.  However, that is not the case.  In the past few years, the national movement for construction procurement and has become more prevalent in New York State is utilizing cooperative purchasing agreements and/or piggybacking agreements to procure school capital projects.  Its an idea that many professionals claim to understand, but very few seem to realize the benefits. 

One of the many advantages comes from understanding what a construction bid is really composed of.  Contractors are competing with one another to “win” the bid, not to necessarily do your job.  The problem with this is the “bid” is really about winning.  The challenge that brings to the district is the price you receive is a direct response to the drawings and the competition not your project.  It seems crazy that leaders are forced to place trust in a contractor that just looked at a drawing, priced it and never was part of the team.  The cooperative process allows you to take a pre-existing procured contract (similar to a state contract) and price your specific job.  You bring the contractor on to the team as part of the process, not as a result of a bid.

In educational terms, there is not district that would hire a teacher because they were the cheapest or low bidder.  Rather, they go through a specific hiring process that ensures the candidates know the expectations, are a good fit, and most importantly share the desire to ensure all students will be successful.  So if given the same option to procure construction why do districts risk a low bidder “winning” and “hope” they get a good number and “hope” for a good outcome?  “Hope” is never a strategy, but rather something that is often a result of no choice. 

It is certainly fuel for thought, but also understand it is not always understood in NY.  If you are currently frustrated or maybe haven’t really thought much about construction process, I would encourage you to call The Smith Group.  In the past two years this process has become the go to process for many districts in NY.  We would love to sit down and talk about the process and let you decide if it works.

  

https://thesmithgroupus.com/

https://twitter.com/TheSmithGroupU1

https://www.instagram.com/the_smith_group_us/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-smith-group-us/?viewAsMember=true

https://www.facebook.com/thesmithgroupus/


Using Cooperative Purchasing for Capital Projects

Statement of Chuck Dedrick, Executive Director of NYSCOSS, on the Appointment of Dr. Betty A. Rosa as Commissioner of Education

Februrary 8, 2021

Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
C:  518.435.5996
E:  boblowry@nyscoss.org

Albany, NY - The New York State Council of School Superintendents commends the Board of Regents for their action making Dr. Betty Rosa the permanent commissioner of New York’s State Education Department. We congratulate her upon her selection.

As Interim Commissioner and Chancellor during an exceptionally challenging time, Dr. Rosa has been a steady leader for the department and a steadfast partner for school superintendents. We appreciate her frequent acknowledgment of the heroic work being done by our members and their colleagues in schools across our state during this time.

As a one-time fellow superintendent, principal, teacher, and bilingual paraprofessional, Dr. Rosa knows from on-the-ground experience how state actions affect the work that schools are called upon to do every day and how those actions the chances for them to be successful on behalf of the children they serve.

Throughout her career, Dr. Rosa has been a champion for giving all children, whatever their circumstances, the opportunities and resources they need to thrive in school and in life beyond school. We have enjoyed a productive relationship with Dr. Rosa and we are committed to doing all that we can to help her succeed on behalf of all children in her new permanent role as leader of our state’s education system.

 


Read Council Executive Director Chuck Dedrick's statement on Dr. Rosa's appointment as new Commissioner.

Today's teenagers are experiencing anxiety, uncertainty and depression at truly alarming rates. What can we do to help them?

February 2, 2021

Contact:

Bill Reynolds, Regional Vice President of Sales, Navigate360
T:330.302.3842
E:breyonolds@navigate360.com

Many of this nation’s teens are experiencing overwhelming depression and anxiety in light of the ongoing pandemic and related stressors involving remote learning, increased isolation and family instability, according to a poll Navigate360 recently conducted with John Zogby Strategies.

According to the Navigate360 / Zogby Strategies Public Safety and Security Survey, 56% of teens say they know someone who has considered self-harm or suicide, but less than one-third (32%) believe their schools are prepared to handle this issue. This data indicates that too many American teens lack confidence in schools’ ability to keep them safe when they return to the classroom – in fact, even less confidence compared to a previous survey conducted last year.

“Students are telling us they don’t feel safe in school, and we as a nation need to put in the work to reverse this trend,” said Navigate360 CEO JP Guilbault. “Through staff trainings and established processes and protocols, schools can ensure students are supported and comfortable asking for help.

“Leaders in both the public and private sectors need to come together and take action to address our nation’s school safety crisis,” added Guilbault. “Americans should have confidence that students are learning in environments that are physically, socially and emotionally safe and allow young adults to thrive so they can reach their full potential.”

What We Can Do

Despite teens’ uncertainty about schools’ ability to ensure their safety and emotional wellbeing, there are steps we can take to build their confidence and sense of security – whether they’re returning to their classrooms or continuing learning in virtual environments.

Students can benefit from access to social-emotional learning curricula that can help them manage their emotions as they build a sense of accountability, empathy and justice for everyday life. Additionally, schools can connect troubled students to counseling and other critical mental health resources when concerning behavior is identified through comprehensive behavioral threat assessment programs. Providing ongoing support is key to making students feel that their schools are taking their physical and emotional safety seriously. This is especially crucial given the current national climate.

“While adults are slowly becoming more confident, today’s Gen Z teens are known for not trusting familiar institutions and leaders,” said John Zogby, who conducted the poll. “The current crisis only seems to have exacerbated that rejection, especially towards school leadership and their ability to keep students safe. Unaddressed, this could have broader outcomes on Gen-Z’s future.”




About the Poll
The Navigate360 / Zogby Strategies Public Safety and Security Survey consisted of a sampling of 1,000 of this nation’s adults and was conducted online on December 14, 2020. The margin of sampling error is within +/-3.2 percentage points. The poll of 304 16- and 17-year-olds was conducted online on December 14, 2020, with parental permission. It has a sampling error of +/-5.7 percentage points.

 

 

 


Today's teenagers are experiencing anxiety, uncertainty and depression at truly alarming rates. What can we do to help them?

Impacts of COVID-19 on Building Energy Usage and Energy Performance Contracts

February 1, 2021

Contact:

Scott Janssen, PE, CEM, LEED AP Energy Engineering Manager, John W. Danforth Company
T:  518.400.1600
E:   sjanssen@jwdanforth.com

School Districts have been pressed to make many adjustments to the ways they use and operate their facilities over the past year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidance provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for reducing airborne infectious aerosol exposure have included improved air filtration (MERV 13 or better), increased ventilation rates, running HVAC systems longer to “flush” spaces between occupied periods and incorporating disinfection technology such as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI).

All of the above strategies can have an impact on building energy usage. Better filtration can cause fans to work harder to move the same airflow. Extending HVAC schedules to complete air purges will also increase energy use. Higher ventilation rates may present the largest potential energy impact, particularly during cold winter months, as systems are challenged to heat the additional cold air to room temperature.

Recent studies have suggested that the degree of those impacts may vary widely from building to building. Key considerations include building type, condition and capabilities of existing equipment as well as the heating fuel source. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is currently funding studies in a variety of facilities across the State to evaluate the effectiveness and energy impacts of indoor air quality (IAQ) improvement strategies and other optimization measures.

In guidance released in January, ASHRAE proposed that building owners “select control options that provide desired exposure reduction while minimizing associated energy penalties”. A combination of ventilation air, filtration and air cleaning or disinfection devices can be used to achieve the equivalent desired air change rates. Adding air cleaning devices or improving filtration can help mitigate the amount of fresh air required, thus reducing the energy impact compared to increasing air changes using ventilation alone. This impact can be further offset by implementing energy conservation measures, such as LED lighting, high efficiency equipment, building weatherization and HVAC controls upgrades.

The dynamic conditions of our new environment require robust, reliable HVAC controls that respond quickly and accurately to provide proper IAQ while maintaining comfort. Older systems that have not been re-commissioned in recent years may have “hidden” issues, such as non-functional dampers or other components. This may cause issues providing proper ventilation, and also increases the potential for energy waste under larger loads and longer run hours.

Appropriately sized high efficiency heating equipment can help alleviate the energy impacts of increased heating loads and LED lighting can provide better illumination while reducing energy use by 60% or more.

Although the pandemic has forced Districts to re-think how they use and operate their buildings, they rely on their HVAC systems more than ever to provide safe, comfortable conditions for students and staff. With a comprehensive approach to building energy efficiency and improving IAQ, an EPC provides a viable financial avenue for using energy and operational savings to fund critical infrastructure improvements.An Energy Performance Contract (EPC) is a viable, budget-neutral solution for addressing these infrastructure needs.  Energy professionals can help Districts determine the effectiveness of their existing systems, evaluate the difference in upfront and on-going costs for various strategies and design a project around the desired solutions.

For more information from ASHRAE and NYSERDA:

ASHRAE

https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/resources

NYSERDA

https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/FlexTech-Program/Indoor-Air-Quality

 

 


Impacts of COVID-19 on Building Energy Usage and Energy Performance Contracts

Council Provides Testimony to the Legislature on Governor Cuomo's Proposed Budget for Schools

January 28, 2021

Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
C:  518.435.5996
E:  boblowry@nyscoss.org

Albany, NY - Today, the State Legislature’s fiscal committees are holding their annual hearing on the Governor’s proposed budget for education. Robert Lowry, the Council’s Deputy Director for Advocacy, Research, and Communications will be testifying.

Here is the written testimony that we submitted in advance of the hearing.

The testimony emphasizes these points:

  • The 7.1% statewide increase in combined state and federal funding shown on aid runs is not representative of what most districts would experience. Half the state’s districts would receive increases of 2.1% or less, including nearly one-quarter that would suffer reductions in funding, notwithstanding the $3.8 billion in federal stimulus aid allocated on the runs. Over 70% of districts would have the federal allocations entirely offset by cuts in state support.

  • The budget indicates that the $1.3 billion cut imposed against STAR property tax relief reimbursements to school districts is intended to be recurring. This raises the question, what is expected to happen to STAR once federal aid is gone.

  • The proposal to consolidate 11 aid categories into “Services Aid” is alarming for multiple reasons. It would cut funding by nearly $700 million from what districts would receive under current law. The cuts are generally regressive, taking more per pupil from poorer districts. The proposal would obliterate one remaining strand of predictability in school revenues—there would be no way for districts forecast their Services Aid for the future.

  • We support the Regents legislative proposal to assure school districts are reimbursed through Transportation Aid for exceptional costs they incurred last year and this year while school buildings have been closed.  We also point out that this issue can overstate projected increases in total aid for 2021-22—if their estimated 2020-21 Transportation Aid is depressed.

  • We need to learn from the past, recognizing that the hardest budget choices have come when federal aid ends. So we recognize the need to raise state revenues and to secure federal fiscal relief for our state government.
 


Read our written testimony submitted in advance of today's hearing.

An Easier Way to Read Governor's School Aid Run

January 25, 2021

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org

We have created an Excel spreadsheet which allows users to create an easier way to read School Aid run for any district. Reports will show estimates for Governor Cuomo’s 2021-22 proposed state budget.

Here is the link to access and to use the spreadsheet

It may take a while to load. Once it does, enter a district’s six digit BEDS Code to create a report. To look up a code for any district, click on the tab named “CODE LIST” at the bottom of the screen.

The upper section replicates what is shown on the state-produced runs, but with aid figures for 2020-21 and 2021-22 presented side-by-side, along with the year-to-year dollar change and percent change for each category. This makes it easier to identify which formulas are driving the overall increase or decrease in aid.

The lower section illustrates how the proposal to consolidate 11 aid categories into “Services Aid” would operate. Briefly, aid for each of the now separate categories would be calculated for 2021-22 as under formulas now in law. The sum produced would then be cut by a Services Aid Reduction factor. Although some districts show an increase in Services Aid from 2020-21 to 2021-22, every district would receive less under the proposal than it would from the existing separate formulas.

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

 


Access excel spreadsheet allowing users to create an easier way to read Governor's School Aid run for any district.

Statement of the New York State Council of School Superintendents on the Election of Dr. Lester Young as Chancellor of the Board of Regents

January 11, 2021

Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
C:  518.435.5996
E:  boblowry@nyscoss.org

ALBANY, NY – The New York State Council of School Superintendents congratulates Dr. Lester Young on his election as Chancellor of the Board of Regents. 

Chancellor Young has already had a profound impact on New York’s educational landscape and has kept a steadfast focus on equity for all children, everywhere in our state. He brings a strong set of diverse experiences to his new position. He was once a superintendent within the New York City school system and was once a Deputy Commissioner within the Department that he will now help to lead.

Chancellor Young has directly contributed to the work of the Council through our Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity. We admire the work he has done in leading the state’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aimed at improving opportunities and outcomes for boys and young men of color.

We are confident Chancellor Young will be an advocate for all students and a strong leader for our state’s top education policymaking body.

The New York State Council of School Superintendents is a professional and advocacy organization with over a century of service to school superintendents and assistant superintendents in New York State. The Council provides more than 800 members with professional development opportunities, publications and personal support while advocating for public education and the superintendency.

News Release on election of Dr. Lester Young as Chancellor of the Board of Regents.

Our Message About Events in our Nation's Capitol

January 7, 2021 - A Message to our members from President Robert Ike and Executive Director Charles Dedrick

Not since September 11, 2001, have many of us felt the same emotions as we felt during the horrific siege of our nation's capital yesterday. Thankfully at the end of the day our democracy prevailed.
  
Yesterday’s events provide us with teachable moments for our children in the way our electoral college performs. The fact that an African-American minister and a Jewish journalist were elected to the United States Senate from Georgia reinforces democracy in action. 
  
Under normal circumstances, it would have been quite the historic day. The day was history-making, but for other more negative reasons as well. As schools reopened today, whether in person, remote or hybrid, we know that you as educational leaders are doing all you can to guide the school districts of New York to a better and more positive place than the one that was on display yesterday in Washington, D.C. by rioters. 
  
Our democracy not only survived, but we believe came through stronger and more united, as witnessed by the actions of the joint session of Congress at 3:30 this morning. As school district leaders we have the opportunity and obligation to help the children in our care to feel safe and to learn how to engage with others of differing viewpoints in respectful and peaceful ways. 
  
As superintendents, you are stewards of what are among the most democratic of all institutions. Our public schools are truly institutions of, by, and for the people. Our leaders are elected by and from the people they serve. Our employees have chosen careers committed to helping all children learn and thrive -- most have made it their life’s work. We serve all children - whatever their circumstances, wherever they come from, whenever they arrive. Our public schools are exemplars of everything that democracy makes possible. The opportunity to lead in this time should be a source of pride.
  
Our students are our future. Your care for them is ever critical at this time. Your care for each other is important. Your care for yourself is necessary. 
  
According to John Meacham, “In our finest hours...the soul of the country manifests itself in an inclination to open our arms rather than clench our fists.” Let today and the days to come include some of our finest hours. 
 
Robert Ike
Superintendent, Palmyra-Macedon CSD
NYSCOSS President

Charles Dedrick
NYSCOSS Executive Director
 
Read The Council's message to our members regarding events that took place on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

New Guidance on COVID-19 Testing in Schools

December 7, 2020

Access COVID Testing Webinar Recording

View the Let's Talk About COVID Testing in Schools webinar presented on Monday, December 7, 2021.

On Friday (December 4), the New York State Health Department issued guidance on revised COVID-19 testing requirements for schools located in orange or red zones as part of the state’s “micro-cluster” strategy for combatting the virus. The guidance had been expected since Governor Andrew Cuomo first announced the change in a press conference at the beginning of the week.

Previously, schools located in orange or red zones were required to close and switch to remote-only instruction for at least four days, to conduct cleaning and testing. Schools could then reopen for in-person instruction if 100% of all returning on-site students and employees received a negative result from a COVID-19 test.

We and superintendents of affected districts strongly advocated for a change in these requirements. The near universal conclusion was the that 100% participation in testing was unattainable. We also emphasized the very low positivity rates in schools where testing has been done.

“They should be an example to us all. Too many adults have not heeded their education, ignoring the experts and acting without regard for the consequences of their actions by hosting large gatherings or failing to use the most effective tool at our disposal right now: a face covering.”

The new guidance allows schools in orange or red zones to remain open. To do so, schools in orange zones must test 20% of students and employees over a month, with testing spread evenly across the weeks. Schools in red zones must test 30% of students and employees over a month, spread evenly across bi-weekly periods.

  
The new guidance also allows schools to use pool testing but it must be conducted by a laboratory that is approved to conduct diagnostic pooled testing.
  
The guidance does not make changes in testing requirements for schools in yellow zones.

We conducted a webinar on COVID-19 testing today with superintendents who have implemented testing procedures to comply with state requirements. You can review the resources they cited here.
  
The change in guidance reflects growing recognition of the low rate of infections found in schools. Governor Cuomo had a column in Newsday on Sunday. It was titled, “Schools offer smart lessons about COVID-19 spread.” In his briefings, the Governor has used "astonishing" and "amazing" in reference to how low test positivity rates in schools have been. In the column he said,

 “As parents know, schools are usually places where illnesses spread easily. But in the case of COVID-19, the safest place in the community is truly the school. That’s because schools follow basic rules. The students and teachers wear masks. They practice social distancing. They frequently wash their hands. Many of the students are serious about doing their part to keep their friends and families safe.

“They should be an example to us all. Too many adults have not heeded their education, ignoring the experts and acting without regard for the consequences of their actions by hosting large gatherings or failing to use the most effective tool at our disposal right now: a face covering.”

 

The State Health Department issued guidance on revised COVID-19 testing requirements located in orange and red zones.

Up-to-date School Aid Estimates for Any District

December 7, 2020

View School Aid Estimates

Access downloadable Excel spreadsheet here.

Questions?
Contact:
Bob Lowry
Deputy Director
T: 518.694.4879
E: boblowry@nyscoss.org

Here is a link to a downloadable Excel spreadsheet which allows users to view changing estimates of School Aid for any district.

It may take a while for the file to load. Once it does, enter a district’s six digit BEDS Code to create a report. To look up a code for any district, click on the tab named “CODE LIST” at the bottom of the screen.
  
Hit “Ctrl P” to print a report.
  
Scanning the screen, from left to right . . .

. . .the first block of figures (columns A through D) simply shows the estimates of aid by category at the time the current year’s state budget was enacted last April.
  
. . .the second block (columns E through H) compares estimates of current year (2020-21) aid by category for the database used when the current state budget was enacted and in the updated November 15 database released by the State Education Department last week.
 
. . .the third block (columns I through L) shows estimates of aid for 2021-22 assuming continuation of current law formulas, comparing those figures by category to the latest estimates of 2020-21 aid. 
  
The November 15 database is used in preparing the Governor's Executive Budget School Aid proposal. The figures in the Governor's proposal for both the base year and year ahead nearly always match those in the November 15 database, except for formulas which the Governor proposes to amend. A database updated through February 15 is used for the budget that is passed by the Legislature, assuming passage by or close to April 1.
  
Please be sure to read the “KEY POINTS” below the rows of aid amounts for some important context.

 

Review an excel spreadsheet allowing users to view changing estimates of school aid for any district. Instructions how to use included.

Which Legislators Represent Your School District?

December 7, 2020

The final races to determine the 2021 membership of the State Senate and Assembly have been resolved. Here is our updated crosswalk of school districts and the legislators who represent them.
  
It is an Excel spreadsheet with two tabs, one for the Assembly, one for the Senate. School districts are listed in alphabetical order. The information is derived from a state legislative source. 
  
The tables show the percentage of the school district’s 2010 Census population contained within the legislative district. 
  
The State Constitution generally provides that towns may not be divided between Assembly or Senate districts unless the town has a population greater than that required for a single Senate or Assembly district. Following the last reapportionment, the average Assemblymember represented 129,187 people and the average Senator represented 312,550 people. 
  
Consequently, if your school district serves any part of a town with population below those figures--even vacant land--a legislator representing that town will show up as representing part of your school district. But the percentages can be very small—some are below 0.1%. 
  
When we prepare tables for legislators using this data, we usually omit any school district which for which the legislator is shown to represent less than 10% of the school district population.
  
Each page also includes a link to certified 2020 election results for that chamber and a link to find contact information for each legislator.
  
 
An excel spreadsheet listing the 2021 membership of the State Senate and Assembly. Look for your representative.

Dr. Roberto Padilla Named 2021 New York State School Superintendent of the Year

November 10, 2020

Albany, NY – The New York State Council of School Superintendents (The Council) has named Newburgh Enlarged City School District Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla the 2021 New York State Superintendent of the Year. 

“This is a phenomenal achievement for Newburgh,” said Dr. Roberto Padilla. He added “Over the last seven years, we have had the NYS Teacher of the Year and the National CTE Teacher of the Year. From the moment I stepped foot in the district, it was abundantly clear, we have exceptional talent here! We are honored and humbled by this prestigious award. This recognition is the result of a very dedicated and committed district. It truly takes a team to achieve success and I am excited that this is just the beginning.” 

Council President and Palmyra-Macedon Superintendent Dr. Robert Ike said, “Selection as the New York State Superintendent of the Year is a testament to Dr. Padilla's unwavering commitment to students. As a champion for equity and access, Dr. Padilla's leadership is a model for leaders across the New York State.” 

Board President for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, Ms. Carole Mineo said, "Especially during such a scary and unpredictable time in our lives, this award brings joy and hope to the people of our city and towns. Our district is often overlooked for notable achievements. I am thrilled that Dr. Padilla has been recognized, joining some of our exceptional educators earning a statewide recognition and being nominated on a national level." 

Dr. Roberto Padilla is the proud Superintendent for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, located 60 north miles of New York City. Dr. Padilla is a teacher who just happens to be a superintendent. He is nationally recognized as a champion for all children. In 2019, Dr. Padilla was selected as one of Education Week’s National Leaders to Learn From for his visionary leadership on equity and inclusive excellence. 


There are several key initiatives that continue to propel Newburgh to new heights. They include, but are not limited to, hiring a Chief Equity Officer, ensuring all 12,000 scholars receive breakfast and lunch at no cost regardless of their zip code and socioeconomic status, starting two additional high school campuses: NFA West and NFA Noche (evening high school), where scholars receive more personalized learning and opportunities to take more advanced courses and catch up if they fall behind. 

“We are honored and humbled by this prestigious award. This recognition is the result of a very dedicated and committed district.” 

Additionally, Dr. Padilla is committed to ensuring all scholars enter Pre-K prepared to learn at the same level as their peers by bringing the Boston Basics to Newburgh, which is implemented in the local hospital neonatal department for new mothers, at our local library, and through community partnerships.

In May 2019, voters in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District passed a $257M bond referendum, the largest in New York State, which focuses on improvements to each school building as well as building a state of the art facility for the 23 Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs currently offered in the district. The new facility will give scholars an opportunity to explore career paths as well as earn required hours and experience to be ready for college and career upon graduation. 

Newburgh also has the largest Energy Performance Contract for school districts in New York State. This $29 million project was at no cost to the taxpayers, will provide an annual savings of $1.3M in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gases by 60%.  

Dr. Padilla leads a district of approximately 2,000 employees, 1100 teachers, 12,000 scholars, 14 school buildings spread throughout four municipalities and manages an operating budget of $287 million. Dr. Padilla holds a doctorate in Education with a focus on Urban School Leadership. He was previously a teacher and principal for the NYC Department of Education, a member of Harvard University’s Principal’s Advisory Board, an Education Policy Fellow at Columbia University, a fellow for the Broad Center at the Yale School of Management, and a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow. He is a published author and an adjunct professor at SUNY New Paltz and Fordham University. 

Dr. Padilla is a member of the Board of Trustees for Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital as well as the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. He is the founding President of the New York Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (NYSALAS), and a member of the Greater Newburgh Rotary Club. 

Dr. Padilla is New York’s nominee for consideration as the National Superintendent of the Year to be awarded at the National Conference on Education of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) held February 18-19, 2021. Dr. Padilla will also be recognized at The Council's 2021 Winter Institute and Lobby Day, March 7-9, 2021 in Albany, NY as New York State’s Superintendent of the Year. The Council has not yet determined if the Winter Institute will be in-person, hybrid or virtual and will depend on decisions made at the state level as related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council Executive Director Dr. Charles Dedrick said, “Roberto Padilla is respected statewide as an educational leader and always exemplifies the best of our profession. Dr. Padilla is a thoughtful and informed leader providing keen insight on key issues affecting our state. He understands how important superintendent leadership is to a school district’s success to provide students with a comprehensive educational experience.”

Under Dr. Padilla’s leadership, together with educators and community members, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District has established programs and served scholars through a variety of initiatives that you can read more about here:

2017-2018 Accomplishments Report
2018-2019 Accomplishments Report
2019-2020 Accomplishments Report

PHOTO CREDIT: Photos provided courtesy of Mike Bradley, Education Week

Newburgh Enlarged City School Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla named 2021 New York State School Superintendent of the Year.

Thank You for Attending First Virtual Fall Summit

October 6, 2020

Thank you for gathering online October 5-6, 2020 at The Council’s first Virtual Fall Leadership Summit to connect with colleagues, listen to leading voices in education, and share experiences and solutions.

We provided access to recordings of sessions to attendees via listserv and we appreciated your patience as we worked through initial technical difficulties on opening day. If you have questions regarding the recordings, please contact our Associate Director of Membership Melanie Seiden at  melanie@nyscoss.org.

Virtual Swag Bag

All registered participants received and have enjoyed the 2020 Snapshot of the Superintendency: The Building Blocks of the Superintendency. A unique view of the insight into the nature of the superintendency. It was included in your first Summit Daily sent on Sunday, October 4th. Contact melanie@nyscoss.org if you could not access your copy in that listserv.

Special thanks to our Fall Title Sponsor and Signature Partner Forecast5 Analytics for providing a customized data packet to each attendee that registers for the event. For those educators who were attendees, you will automatically receive your data packet directly from Forecast5 now that the event has concluded. 

Social Media 
Thanks for joining us on social media to foster action! Our hashtag was #NYSuptsFall.

Future Fall Leadership Summit Dates

The Council through our foundation (LEAF, Inc.) supports members by providing exceptional opportunities to expand and enrich their expertise and knowledge in the area of educational administration through statewide annual events. The Fall Leadership Summit offers keynote addresses by national experts in the fields of leadership, education and related areas; opportunities for members to share best practices with colleagues through smaller sessions; an interactive discussion with the Commissioner of Education about New York State issues and initiatives; and networking for support and collegiality among members through social interaction, group discussions, meetings and workshops. If you are planning your calendars, make sure to add these important dates:

2021 Fall Leadership Summit 
September 26 - 28, 2021 
Saratoga Hilton & Saratoga Springs City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY

2022 Fall Leadership Summit
September 18 - 20, 2022
Saratoga Hilton & Saratoga Springs City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY

2023 Fall Leadership Summit

October 1 - 3, 2023 
Saratoga Hilton & Saratoga Springs City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY 

The Council is committed to providing experiences and environments that are welcoming, inviting and user-friendly for all attendees. We recognize that some individuals may required specific accommodations to ensure their full and equal participation in our Fall Leadership Summits. Please call us at (518) 449-1063 should you need assistance. 

Watch for registration details for the 2021 Winter Institute coming soon.

Applications Closed for 2021 New York State Superintendent of Year

October 1, 2020

Nominations and applications for the 2021 New York State Superintendent of Year are now closed for the 2021 application process.

  • August 15, 2020 – Nominations were due using AASA’s online portal. The deadline was extended due to the current demands of educational leaders under the pandemic.

  • October 1, 2020 – Final applications were due using AASA’s online portal.

  • October 2020 – Distinguished Service Committee met and selected New York State’s candidate.

  • November 1, 2020 – Final New York State representative submitted to AASA’s National Superintendent of the Year process.

  • November 10, 2020 – New York State Superintendent of the Year announced.

  • January 8, 2021 – AASA announces final four candidates and they participate in virtual interviews and a moderated press briefing.

  • February 18-19, 2021 – National Superintendent of the Year is announced at AASA’s Virtual National Conference of Education.

  • March 8, 2021 – New York State Superintendent of the Year honored at the 2021 Winter Institute & Lobby Day, March 7-9, 2021.

Learn about final four national candidates on January 8, 2021!

COVID-19 Coronavirus Resources

April 15, 2020

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New York State Education Department 

Capital Region BOCES

New York State Department of Health

New York State Office of Children and Family Services

New York State Empire Development

United States Centers for Disease Control 

Hunger Solutions New York

Harvard University Graduate School of Education 

  1. Enjoy a free, Open Access book, just published, explaining how to reform education systems so they educate all students as global citizens, with the necessary competencies to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This free resources is presented by Fernando M. Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice in International Education at the Harvard School of Education and a former Council presenter.

  2. Feranando Reimers also shared a recently published report, that he wrote with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), that shows a framework to support the development of an education response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Coronavirus resources for school administrators from national, state, and regional sources.

Superintendents’ survey finds school district finances mostly stable—for now—but concerns about student needs are widespread

November 20, 2019

ALBANY – New York’s school districts appear to be “treading water” financially, with most superintendents reporting little or no change in their district’s financial condition compared to a year ago. But urgent concerns about the ability of schools to meet student needs remain. These are key themes in a survey report released today by the New York State Council of School Superintendents. 

Council Executive Director Charles Dedrick said, “In the aftermath of the Great Recession, we saw steady improvement in the financial condition of many school districts, although not all. But our surveys indicate those gains have faltered since 2016.”  

Dedrick added, “At the same time, the mission of schools has expanded over the past decade or so. More and more school districts are taking exceptional steps that weren’t widespread 10 years ago, both to help students and families with non-school problems, and to make sure nothing is overlooked that could make their schools as safe and secure as possible.” 

Sixty-five percent of superintendents this year said that the financial condition of their district is unchanged from a year ago. But for the third straight year, the share of superintendents seeing improved financial condition dropped—from 31% in 2016 to just 14% this year.  
Improving mental health services was again the most widely cited priority among superintendents for new funding, should their districts receive more revenue than what would be needed to maintain current services and satisfy mandates. It was the most widely cited priority for all groupings of districts, whether grouped as city, suburb, or rural, or by region, or by student poverty level. 

Council Deputy Director Robert Lowry said, “Our survey shows all types of districts, everywhere, are straining to address student mental health needs. Sixty-seven percent of superintendents identified improving student mental health services as a top funding priority, up from 56% last year and from 35% three years ago.”  

He added, “Also, 53% of superintendents said their district budgets for this year will improve student mental health services—only the second time in the nine years of our survey that a majority of superintendents anticipated improvement in any area of student services.” 

The Council’s report found that: 

• 14% of superintendents statewide see the financial condition of their district as improved from a year ago, 65% see it as unchanged, and 20% see it as worse. The share of superintendents seeing improvement peaked at 31% in 2015 and 2016. 
Council News Release – Finance Survey Results November 20, 2019 

• Asked to look ahead three years or so, only 25% of superintendents said that they are somewhat or very optimistic about their district’s ability to funding adequate services. Sixty-seven percent answered that they are somewhat or very pessimistic and 8% said that their districts are unable to offer adequate services now. These numbers show little change from past years.

• City, Mohawk Valley, and North Country superintendents were most likely to say their district’s financial condition is significantly worse than one year ago. City, Southern Tier, North Country, and Western New York superintendents were most pessimistic about the three-year financial outlook for their districts.

• Sixty-five percent of superintendents said that they are concerned by their district’s reliance upon reserves or fund balance to pay recurring costs, a jump from 33% a year ago.  − This increase may be due to concerns about the new $10,000 federal cap on state and local tax deductions:  91% of superintendents who said that the SALT cap had had a significant impact on the budget their district proposed to voters were somewhat or very concerned about their district’s reliance on reserves.

• Asked about how their district budget for 2019-20 would affect various student services, 53% anticipate a positive impact on mental health-related services, 49% anticipate a positive impact on school safety/security. − Over one-third of superintendents said that their schools will improve mental health services this year and that improving those services further would be a top priority for new funding.

• Generally, findings on current year budget impact on specific student services are more positive than for overall financial impact. But these too mostly peaked in 2016.

• The prospect of inadequate state aid was most widely cited as a concern in thinking about their schools’ financial outlook (cited by 48% of superintendents), followed by the property tax cap (11%), and by increases in fixed or hard to control costs such as pensions and health insurance (9%).

• Increasing special education costs were named by 56% of superintendents as a significant problem among programmatic cost items, more than any other concern. Council analysis of State Education Department enrollment data shows an especially steep increase in students in special education in early grades (K-2)—up 16.1% outside New York City since 2011-12, compared to 3.1% in grades three through 12. This increase may be partly a response to growing student mental health needs.

• The report also includes sections on superintendent perspectives on aspects of child well-being, opportunities for students, and financially struggling districts. 

The survey was conducted online, from August 12th through the 25th, 2019. A total of 364 superintendents submitted completed surveys, a response rate of 53.7%. 

The entire survey report is available here. 
 
# # # 
The New York State Council of School Superintendents is a professional and advocacy organization with over a century of service to school superintendents and assistant superintendents in New York State. The Council provides more than 850 members with professional development opportunities, publications and personal support while advocating for public education and the superintendency. 

Concerns about student needs are widespread.

People to Follow

Chuck Dedrick
Executive Director, NYSCOSS
Robert Lowry
Deputy Director, NYSCOSS
Jacinda Conboy, Esq.
General Counsel, NYSCOSS
Greg Berck, Esq.
Assistant Director, NYSCOSS