Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2010
Report of the
REGENTS EMSC COMMITTEE
The Board of Regents
June 22, 2010
Your EMSC Committee held its scheduled meeting on June 21, 2010. All Committee members were present except for Regent Rosa, who was excused.
Charter School Actions
Your Committee recommends that the Board of Regents approves the revision to the first renewal charter of the Bronx Charter School for Children, and the provisional charter is amended accordingly. [EMSC (A) 1]
Your Committee recommends that the Board of Regents approves the revision to the initial charter of the Bushwick Ascend Charter School as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York, and the provisional charter is amended accordingly. [EMSC (A) 2]
Your Committee recommends that the Board of Regents approves the revision to the initial charter of the Flatbush Collegiate Charter School as proposed by the Trustees of the State University of New York, and the provisional charter is amended accordingly. [EMSC (A) 3]
Your Committee recommends that the Board of Regents approves and issues the second renewal charter of The Renaissance Charter School, as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York, and that its provisional charter be extended for a term up through and including May 17, 2015. [EMSC (A) 4]
Assessment Cost Reduction Strategies
Your Committee recommends that the Board of Regents approve the proposed strategies to reduce the cost of the State’s assessment program. Two sets of strategies were presented to the Committee to address the projected deficit for P-12 programs of $11.5 million for 2010-11. The Regents have requested $7 million in the 2010-11 State budget to maintain the assessment program and avoid significant reductions in testing. If the final State budget includes the $7 million, the Committee recommends that the following strategies be made to offset the remainder of the deficit:
- Reduce reliance on Education Specialists - $1.25 million estimated savings
- Post scoring materials and answer keys on Web rather than printing and sending to districts - $.6 million estimated savings
- Eliminate Component Retesting in Math and ELA - $1.6 estimated savings
- Eliminate Grades 5 and 8 Social Studies Exams – $.8 million estimated savings
Total Estimated Savings - $4.25 million
If the budget does not include the $7 million as requested by the Regents or a final budget is not in place by August 1, 2010, the Committee recommends that in addition to the strategies listed above, the following strategies also be made to eliminate the deficit.
- Eliminate Grade 8 Second Language Proficiency exams - $2 million in savings
- Eliminate August administration of Algebra 2/Trigonometry and Chemistry exams - $.8 million in savings
- Eliminate HS Foreign Language Regents exams except for Spanish and French - $1.2 million in savings
- Discontinue translating exams into certain languages except Spanish and use Department staff to perform that work - $.75 million in savings
- Eliminate January administration of Regents exams - $1.4 million in savings
Total Estimated Savings – $6.15 million
Additional cost savings will be identified by the Department to offset the remainder of the $11.5 million projected deficit.
If partial funding is provided in the 2010-11 State budget, then the Department will implement the second list of strategies in the order they are presented above based on the funding provided, with the elimination of the January administration of the Regents exams as the last item to be implemented.
The Committee discussed the fact that with the end of ARRA administrative funds in 2011-12, the Department’s deficit for P-12 programs will likely increase to approximately $21 million and additional decisions about the assessment program will have to be made. Committee members agreed that while these decisions for 2010-11 need to be made now in order to provide notice to the field before the beginning of the next school year, that future decisions about the assessment program will need to be made as part of a broader discussion that includes future directions for standards, curriculum and assessments. [EMSC (A) 5]
Merger of the SURR and Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools Processes
Your Committee recommends that the Board of Regents amend section 100.2(p)(9), (10) and (11) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to the merger of the Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) and Persistently Lowest-Achieving (PLA) Schools Processes. The amendment consolidates the process of identifying SURR schools under Commissioner’s regulations with USED’s framework for identifying PLA schools in order for states to access State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (Phase II), School Improvement Grants and other federal funding opportunities. The regulations also require all newly identified SURR schools to implement intervention strategies based upon School Improvement Grant guidelines issued by USED in January of this year. [EMSC (A) 6]
Public School and District Accountability
Your Committee recommends that section 100.2(p)(1)(i) of the Regulations of the Commissioner be amended as submitted, effective June 29, 2010, as an emergency action upon a finding by the Board of Regents that such action is necessary for the preservation of the general welfare to immediately conform the Commissioner's Regulations with New York State's approved amended accountability plan by including in the students with disabilities subgroup, students no longer identified as students with disabilities but who had been so identified during the preceding one or two school years, for purposes of calculating Adequate Yearly Progress, and thereby provide a more accurate account of the academic progress that schools and districts are making with students with disabilities commencing with the 2009-2010 school year. [EMSC (A) 7]
MOTION FOR ACTION BY FULL BOARD
Madam Chancellor and Colleagues: Your EMSC Committee recommends, and we move, that the Board of Regents act affirmatively upon each recommendation in the written report of the Committee's deliberations at its meeting on June 22, 2010, copies of which have been distributed to each Regent.
MATTERS NOT REQUIRING BOARD ACTION
A New Approach to Charter School Authorizing – The Committee discussed current public charter school authorizing and oversight responsibilities of the Board of Regents. Staff is recommending changes and improvements to the way in which the Board of Regents approaches its authorizing work to allow for greater accountability and transparency, including focusing more time on decision-making related to the issuance of new charters and renewals, and appropriately monitoring charter school academic performance, fiscal health and school governance health. The Committee discussed a timeline for implementation of the recommended improvements and how staff can reorganize to better support the work of the Regents as a charter authorizing Board. The proposed improvements would include:
- development of a new application review process;
- development of a new approach to school evaluation and review;
- adoption of a set of Board policies to guide the work of the Regents;
- establishment of academic and operational performance standards;
- development of a new charter contracting arrangement;
- development of a new system of performance contracting or accountability plan arrangement; and
- development of formalized school closure procedures.
[EMSC (D) 1]
Middle Level Arts Requirements – Senior Deputy Commissioner John King provided on update on the proposed changes to the Middle Level Arts Requirements. The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is preparing to submit a request for a variance to Commissioner’s Regulations to allow students in Grades 7 and 8 to fulfill the visual arts and music study requirements in any two of the four Arts disciplines (dance, music, theater, and visual arts). Staff will review the variance request and if granted by the Commissioner, the variance would allow a three-year pilot program of study in New York City schools that choose to participate. The Committee requested additional information on variances, including a clear definition on the differences between a variance and a waiver. Staff will come back in July and present this information for discussion at the Full Board meeting. [EMSC (D) 2]
Delegation of Authority to the Commissioner to approve Charter School Revisions – As part of the discussion on charter school authorization, the Committee discussed proposed amendments to regulations delegating authority to the Commissioner of Education to approve revisions to charters of public charter schools on behalf of the Board of Regents, with certain specified exceptions. This would provide for the most efficient and expeditious means to approve and issue charter revisions, since many revisions do not fundamentally affect the school’s mission, organizational structure or educational program. The proposed amendment will be submitted to the Board of Regents for adoption at its September 2010 meeting. [EMSC (D) 3]
Update on School Climate Issues/Bullying – Due to time constraints, this item was not discussed and was moved to the Full Board agenda for Tuesday, June 22, 2010.
That concludes our report.
Anthony Bottar and Merryl Tisch