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Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 11:40pm

sed seal                                                                                                 





Dr. John B. King Jr.


Need to reduce costs of NYS Assessment program


February 23, 2010


Goals 1, 2, and 5





Issue for Discussion

What actions must be taken for the 2010-11 testing cycle to reduce costs and remain in fiscal balance?


Reason for Consideration


For information.


Proposed Handling

The item will come before the Regents EMSC Committee for discussion at the March 2010 meeting.


Background Information

The recent information regarding the structural imbalance of the Office of P-12 compels us to prepare contingency plans and options for the Board’s consideration to reduce operating costs in the 2010-11 budget cycle. There are many variables that may impact our future choices including:


  1. the final enacted 2010-11 state budget and reductions or restoration to General Fund support
  2. the final 2010-11 federal education budget
  3. the outcome of our RTTT application (phase 1 or 2) and other funding opportunities we are pursuing
  4. staff retirements and attrition


Presented below are cost savings strategies targeted specifically at reducing the costs for the New York State assessment program. We have not included any actions that would compromise our compliance with NCLB requirements.



Estimated Savings

Review all test development processes to reduce reliance on Education Specialists (Special Payroll employees paid on an hourly basis) and limit their involvement to critical work e.g. standard setting

$1.25 million

Discontinue paper-based scoring materials for Regents exams and post all scoring training materials and answer keys to website to let schools download prior to scoring

$.60 million

Eliminate Component Retesting in Math & ELA

$1.6 million

Immediately discontinue translating exams into Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, & Russian- Continue Spanish and perform the work with Department staff.

$.75 million

Eliminate Grade 8 Second Language Proficiency exams

$2.0 million

Eliminate both January and August Administration of Regents Exams

$1.9 million

Eliminate HS Foreign Language Regents exams

$2.4 million

Eliminate Regents exams in Social Studies 5, 8, Global History and Geography, & US History & Government

$1.6 million

Eliminate 3 of the 4 Regents exams in Science (one is needed  for Title I @ HS level)

$1.2 million

Eliminate 2 of the 3 Regents exams in Math (one is needed for Title I @ HS Level)

$.40 million

Total Estimated Savings

$13.7 million


              In addition, we recommend that the Board consider the development of an on-line assessment program as a means to achieve some long term savings through the efficient distribution, administration and scoring of the assessment and be piloted during the 2010-11 testing cycle. Although the cost for developing and piloting a selected assessment is estimated to be $1.5 million, the investment is likely to yield significant long term savings.


For our 2010-11 EMSC base budget planning, we will be asking each senior manager to prepare work plans and justifications for each planned activity. We will be looking to identify additional savings by elimination of activities that do not align with the strategic vision or are not mandated by law, regulation or Board directive. In addition, we will be analyzing staffing and making maximum allowable uses of federal state-level funds to achieve additional savings on administrative funds which could then be re-purposed. Finally, we must continue to advocate for the Regents 2010-11 Budget Priorities and restoration of our base level funding.



              It is recommended that the Regents consider these options and advise the Department on next steps.