THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

EMSC-VESID Committee

FROM:

Jean C. Stevens

 

SUBJECT:

Proposed Amendment to the Regulations of the Commissioner Relating to Pupil Attendance Recordkeeping for Nonpublic Schools

DATE:

March 6, 2007

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1 and 2

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Discussion

 

Should the Board of Regents approve the proposed amendment to the Regulations of the Commissioner relating to pupil attendance recordkeeping for nonpublic schools?

 

Reason(s) for Consideration

 

Review of Policy.
         

Proposed Handling

 

This question will come before the Regents EMSC-VESID Committee on March 19, 2007.

 

Procedural History

 

Not applicable.

 

Background Information

 

The purpose of the proposed amendment to section 104.1 of the Regulations of the Commissioner is to release nonpublic schools from the mandate to take and record the attendance of each pupil in grades 9 through 12, or in departmentalized schools at any grade level, in each period of scheduled instruction, and the mandate to adopt a comprehensive attendance policy.  The Board of Regents adopted these mandates for public and nonpublic schools in 2001.  While the mandates will continue to be in place for public schools, nonpublic schools will be required to take attendance and record each pupilís presence or absence once per school day. 

 

In the Fall of 2006, State Education Department staff surveyed 42 nonpublic schools to determine nonpublic schools' compliance with the 2001 amendment to section 104.1.  Based upon the survey results, the Department has determined that, since nonpublic schools generally had sufficient systems in place to ensure very high attendance rates prior to the 2001 amendment, the additional attendance requirements imposed on nonpublic schools by the 2001 amendment are unnecessary and excessively costly. 

 

The proposed amendment is being presented for adoption as an emergency action.  A Statement of Facts and Circumstances Which Necessitate Emergency Action is attached.  Notice of Proposed Rule Making will be published in the State Register on April 11, 2007. 

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Board of Regents take the following action:

 

VOTED:  That section 104.1 of the Regulations of the Commissioner be amended as submitted, effective April 2, 2007, as an emergency action upon a finding by the Board of Regents that such action is necessary for the preservation of the general welfare in order to immediately establish revised criteria for pupil attendance recordkeeping by nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in order to ensure that such schools do not incur additional costs for attendance recordkeeping in the 2006-07 school year.

 

Timetable for Implementation

 

It is anticipated that the proposed amendment will be submitted to the Board of Regents for adoption as a permanent rule at the June 2007 meeting.

 


AMENDMENT OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION

          Pursuant to sections 101, 207, 305, 3024, 3205, 3210 and 3211 of the Education Law

Section 104.1 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is amended, effective April 2, 2007, as follows:

ß104.1  Pupil attendance recordkeeping.

(a)  Purpose.  The purpose of this section is to:

          (1)  .   .   .

          (2)  establish a practical mechanism for every public [and nonpublic] elementary, middle and secondary school in the State of New York to account to the parents of all children enrolled in such schools for the whereabouts of such children throughout each school day; [and]

          (3)  ensure sufficient pupil attendance at all scheduled periods of actual instruction or supervised study activities to permit such pupils to succeed at meeting the State learning standards[.]; and

          (4)  establish a practical mechanism for every nonpublic elementary, middle and secondary school in the State of New York to account to the parents of all children enrolled in such schools that the children are attending school.

          (b)  Definitions.  Whenever used in this section, the following terms shall have the respective meanings hereinafter set forth or indicated: 

(1)  .   .   .

(2)  .   .   .

(3)  Scheduled instruction.  Every period that a pupil at a public school is scheduled to attend actual instructional or supervised study activities during the course of a school day during the school year from July 1 through June 30.

(4)  .   .   .

(5)  .   .   .

(c)  .   .   .

(d) The register of attendance shall set forth at least the following for each pupil:

(1)  .   .   .

(2)  .   .   .

(3)  .   .   .

(4)  .   .   .

(5)  .   .   .

(6)  .   .   .

(7)  a record of the pupilís attendance on each day of scheduled instruction.  [Commencing July 1, 2003, attendance] 

(i)  Public schools.  Attendance at public schools shall be taken and recorded in accordance with the following:

[(i)]  (a)  for pupils in non-departmentalized kindergarten through grade eight such pupilís presence or absence shall be recorded after the taking of attendance once per school day, provided that if pupils in such schools are dismissed from school grounds during a lunch period, each such pupilís presence or absence shall also be recorded after the taking of attendance a second time upon the pupilís return from the lunch period each school day;

[(ii)] (b)  for pupils in grades nine through twelve or in departmentalized schools at any grade level, each such pupilís presence or absence shall be recorded after the taking of attendance in each period of scheduled instruction except that where such pupils do not change classrooms for each period of scheduled instruction attendance shall be taken in accordance with subparagraph (i) of this paragraph;

[(iii)]  (c)  any absence for a school day or portion thereof shall be recorded as excused or unexcused in accordance with the standards articulated in the comprehensive attendance policy adopted in accordance with subdivision (i) of this section;

[(iv)]  (d)  in the event that a pupil at any instructional level from kindergarten through grade twelve arrives late for or departs early from scheduled instruction, such tardiness or early departure shall be recorded as excused or unexcused in accordance with the standards articulated in the comprehensive attendance policy;

(ii)  Nonpublic schools.  For pupils in nonpublic schools, such pupilís presence or absence shall be recorded after the taking of attendance once per school day;

(8)  .   .   .

          (9)  .   .   .

(e)  .   .   .

(f)  .   .   .

(g)  .   .   .

(h)  [Commencing with the 2003-2004 school year, pupil] Pupil attendance records shall be reviewed by the principal of every public school building [and the administrator in charge of every nonpublic school] as well as the individual designated in each school building in accordance with subdivision (i)(2)(ix) of this section for the purpose of initiating appropriate action to address unexcused pupil absence, tardiness and early departure consistent with the comprehensive attendance policy described in subdivision (i) of this section.

(i)  Comprehensive Attendance Policy.

(1)  Requirement.  [On or before June 30, 2003, each]  Each public school district, board of cooperative educational services (BOCES), charter school[,] and county vocational education and extension board [and nonpublic elementary, middle and secondary school] shall adopt and maintain a comprehensive attendance policy that contains the elements described in paragraph (2) of this subdivision.  The purpose of the policy shall be to ensure the maintenance of an adequate record verifying the attendance of all children at instruction in accordance with Education Law sections 3205 and 3210 and establish a mechanism by which the patterns of pupil absence can be examined to develop effective intervention strategies to improve school attendance.  A public school district, BOCES, charter school or county vocational education and extension board shall adopt its comprehensive attendance policy only after at least one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested party.

(2)  Content of the policy.  The board of education, board of cooperative educational services, charter school board[,] and county vocational education and extension board[, and administrator of a nonpublic school] shall incorporate the following elements into the comprehensive attendance policy:

(i)  .   .   .

(ii)  .   .   .

(iii)  .   .   .

(iv)  .   .   .

(v)  a description of the school district, BOCES, charter school[,] and county vocational education and extension board [or nonpublic school] policy regarding pupil attendance and a pupilís ability to receive course credit.  Any board of education, board of cooperative educational services, charter school board or county vocational education and extension board that adopts a policy establishing a minimum standard of attendance in order for a pupil to be eligible for course credit shall have the authority to determine that a properly excused pupil absence, for which the pupil has performed any assigned make up work, shall not be counted as an absence for the purpose of determining the pupilís eligibility for course credit under such policy.  In the event a board of education, board of cooperative educational services, charter school board or county vocational education and extension board adopts a minimum attendance standard as a component of its policy, such policy shall include a description of the notice to a pupilís parent(s) or person(s) in parental relation as well as the specific intervention strategies to be employed prior to the denial of course credit to the pupil for insufficient attendance.

(vi)  .   .   .

(vii)  .   .   .

(viii)  .   .   .

(ix)  .   .   .

(3)  The board of education, board of cooperative educational services, charter school board[,] and county vocational education and extension board [and governing body of a nonpublic school] shall annually review the building level pupil attendance records and if such records show a decline in pupil attendance the board or governing body shall revise the comprehensive pupil attendance policy and make any revisions to the plan deemed necessary to improve pupil attendance.

(4)  Each board of education, board of cooperative educational services, charter school board[,] and county vocational education and extension board[, and nonpublic school] shall promote necessary community awareness of its comprehensive attendance policy by:

(i)  .   .   .

(ii)  .   .   .

(iii)  .   .   .

 


PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO SECTION 104.1 OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION PURSUANT TO EDUCATION LAW SECTIONS 101, 207, 305, 3024, 3205, 3210 and 3211, RELATING TO PUPIL ATTENDANCE RECORDKEEPING

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH NECESSITATE EMERGENCY ACTION

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to prescribe requirements for pupil attendance recordkeeping by nonpublic elementary and secondary schools.  Specifically, the proposed amendment releases nonpublic schools from the mandate to take and record the attendance of each pupil in grades nine through twelve, or in departmentalized schools at any grade level, in each period of scheduled instruction, and the mandate to adopt a comprehensive attendance policy.  Nonpublic schools will be required to take attendance and record each pupilís presence or absence once per school day.

          In 2001, section 104.1 of the Commissioner's Regulations was amended to establish extensive pupil attendance recordkeeping requirements, including a requirement that each public and nonpublic school adopt comprehensive attendance policies.  The amendment also provided that, for students in grades nine through twelve or in departmentalized schools at any grade level, each student's presence or absence shall be recorded after the taking of attendance in each period of scheduled instruction.  An exception was provided in instances where students do not change classrooms for each period of scheduled instruction, in which case, attendance is to be taken once per school day, provided that if pupils are dismissed from school grounds during a lunch period, each pupil's presence or absence shall also be recorded after the taking of attendance a second time upon the pupil's return each school day.

In the Fall of 2006, State Education Department staff surveyed 42 nonpublic schools to determine nonpublic schools' compliance with section 104.1 of the Commissioner's Regulations.  After review of the survey results, the Department determined that nonpublic schools generally had sufficient systems in place prior to the 2001 amendment of  section 104.1 to ensure very high attendance rates and that the additional attendance requirements imposed on nonpublic schools by the 2001 amendment are unnecessary and excessively costly.

          The proposed amendment will reduce recordkeeping, paperwork, and costs for nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, by releasing such schools from the mandate to take and record the attendance of each pupil in grades nine through twelve, or in departmentalized schools at any grade level, in each period of scheduled instruction, and the mandate to adopt a comprehensive attendance policy.

          Emergency adoption of the proposed amendment is necessary for the preservation of the general welfare in order to immediately establish revised criteria for pupil attendance recordkeeping by nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in order to ensure that such schools do not incur additional costs for attendance record-keeping in the 2006-2007 school year.

It is anticipated that the proposed amendment will be presented to the Board of Regents for adoption as a permanent rule at the June 2007 meeting of the Board of Regents, which is the first scheduled meeting after expiration of the 45-day public comment period mandated by the State Administrative Procedure Act.