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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2007

Thursday, June 7, 2007 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Background for Development of the Regents 2008-09 Proposal on State Aid to School Districts



June 7, 2007



2 and 5







Issues for Discussion


Does the Goal Statement reflect the Subcommittee’s priorities for the development of the Regents 2008-09 State Aid proposal?  What is the policy direction of the Subcommittee concerning fiscal issues relating to early childhood and increased time on task?


Reason(s) for Consideration

              Review of policy.


Proposed Handling


These questions will come before the Regents Subcommittee on State Aid at its June meeting.


Procedural History


The development of the Regents 2008-09 State Aid proposal began in February 2007.  The Subcommittee will continue discussion on the proposal over the next several months.  The proposal will be before the Full Board for approval at its October 2007 meeting.


Background Information


The following materials are provided to continue the discussion of State Aid needs for development of the Regents 2008-09 State Aid proposal:


Attachment A – Identifies the proposed goals for the Regents 2008-09 State Aid proposal. 


Attachment B – Addresses fiscal issues relating to the expansion of prekindergarten to a full-day program.


Attachment C – Addresses efforts to provide additional time on task to improve achievement.


Attachment D – Provides specific options and essential elements for increased time on task programs approvable under 2007-08 Contracts for Excellence.


Attachment E – Identifies the planned reports to the Regents to develop this year’s State Aid proposal.




Staff recommend that the Regents Subcommittee discuss the material presented in the attachments to inform the development of the Regents 2008-09 State Aid proposal. 


Timetable for Implementation


The Subcommittee will continue to develop its 2008-09 State Aid proposal in June and refine it prior to discussion with the Full Board in July and submission for approval in October.









Goal Statement


This proposal pursues three Regents goals:

  • close the gap between actual and desired student achievement;
  • continue the phase-in of a needs-based foundation formula; and
  • ensure that public education resources are used by school districts cost-effectively.


Does this goal statement represent the Regents goals for State Aid for 2008-09?




Fiscal Issues for Consideration in Early Childhood Education

With Policy Questions



The expansion of the Universal Prekindergarten Program (UPK), i.e., statewide prekindergarten, is a key component of the Regents early childhood policy approved in January 2006.  State funding for 2007-2008 supported UPK with an additional $145 million, over the current year, bringing the total statewide allocation to $437.9 million.    The initial application of the 2007-2008 UPK funding formula resulted in a significant number of newly eligible districts slated to receive a $250 per child allocation for the development and implementation of a half-day program.


The funding allocation is targeted to support the (minimum) UPK mandate of 2 ½ hours each day but many districts, especially the large urban districts and high need rural districts, have found that it is essential to provide a full-day program.   Research supports children benefiting from full-day programming, especially those in high need circumstances, to ensure their preparedness for kindergarten.  Additionally, working parents or guardians are not available to transport children in the middle of the day. In districts that offer a combination of half-day and full-day programming, half-day slots may be empty while the waiting list for full-day lengthens.


The critical fiscal issues to be considered over the next several years include:

  • accelerating the availability of funding for UPK, central to the P-16 system, to ensure full implementation by 2010-2011;
  • establishing a funding calculation that allows for a full-day option and ensures the continued provision for contracting with community-based organizations; and
  • advocating for the inclusion of UPK, inclusive of the items noted above, as part of the State Aid approach to funding.


An additional fiscal challenge is the lack of supplemental aid for UPK transporta-tion costs. Currently, transportation is not mandated; it is provided with limited grant funds, or is treated as a local expense.  Only about 50 percent of districts provide transportation services.  Some districts provide transportation only to school sites, even though approximately 60 percent of UPK classrooms are located in community-based organizations.  Other supplemental aids, such as textbook aid, would further support student learning.  


Mandated full-day kindergarten was also a component of the Regents early childhood policy, with kindergarten planning grants recommended to support districts with half-day programs during a three-year phase-in period.  Legislative support for the planning grants incorporated the Regents recommendations for 2007-2008 at the slightly lower level of $2 million.  However, new legislation would only require high need districts to implement full-day kindergarten within the next several years. It is recommended that the Regents continue their support for mandated full-day kindergarten statewide, over a three-year transition period, with planning grants available to support the conversion process.


Policy Questions:


  • How can the funding formula be structured as an entitlement aid formula?
  • Should transportation, with guaranteed cost reimbursement from a supplemental source of funding, be a requirement for all districts?
  • When should phase-in of three-year-olds be considered?
  • How should programming of preschool students with disabilities be articulated with universal prekindergarten programs?









Increased Time on Task


Increased student time on task promotes active student engagement to improve performance.  The Regents State Aid proposal, which was largely enacted into the 2007-08 laws, identified the cost of an adequate education.  This cost was based on spending amounts of successful school districts.  While the successful school district study provided overall guidance for the spending needed for success, it was based, for the most part, on school districts with fewer needy pupils.  Analysts then created weights for pupil need based on a review of research and practice. 


This topic raises a number of opportunities:


  • The opportunity to focus students on State learning standards.


  • The opportunity to avoid summer learning loss which is especially prevalent with economically disadvantaged children.


  • The opportunity for summer school enrichment to contribute to attainment of State learning standards.


  • The opportunity to identify what works best: 


--             A longer school day/year for all vs. summer school?  

--             More time vs. greater breadth and depth?

--             Emphasis on elementary years (prevention) vs. secondary years (remediation)?


  • The opportunity to increase attendance or better use the regular school day and year.


The Laws of 2007 require school districts with low performance to use their Foundation Aid increase (if it exceeds 10 percent or $15 million) to implement or expand programs in specific areas that have been shown to improve achievement. One of these areas is increased time on task.  Under the enacted 2007-08 State budget, schools may choose to lengthen the school day and/or year, implement research-based instructional programs, and/or focus on intensive tutoring tailored to individualized student needs. All programs/activities chosen must also provide teachers with time to plan and participate in high quality, sustained professional development focused on content pedagogy. 


Increased Foundation Aid will be phased in over four years to achieve the foundation amount needed for success.  This assumes that the foundation amount, based on the Regents successful school district study, will be enough.  This analysis raises the following questions about providing extra time on task:



(1)    What need/educational issue does this method address?  Is extra time the most appropriate way to address this issue?

  • Will school districts need more time (longer school day or year) to spend the foundation amount that the State plans to provide to support the educational program?
  • Will school districts need more time and more resources to experience success with their students who have the highest educational needs?
  • Will longer school days or years increase attendance problems, in effect, offsetting the positive impact of additional time on task?
  • How do we ensure that we get an educational program, not just a place for children to spend time?




  • Identify what works:  more instructional time incorporated into the school day versus separately provided academic intervention, remediation or after school programs.  Can we substantiate a relationship between time on task and achievement?  What are model programs for classroom management to increase the effective use of class time?
  • Continue linking Foundation Aid increases to increased time on task through Contracts for Excellence (C4E).  Issue guidance to stimulate student engagement and focus on meeting State learning standards.  Consider refinements to the C4E process.
  • Continue to research the relationship between extra time and student success.  How much more time is needed?  How to motivate relevant instruction?
  • Address what it will take to recruit teachers. Will any teachers do, or do we specifically need ESL teachers, or reading teachers, or math teachers (who may be harder to get and therefore cost more)?


Policy Question:


How should the State provide support for students that need additional time on task to meet State learning standards?



Attachment  D

Options and Parameters for Increased Time on Task

For Contracts for Excellence

Allowable Program


Essential Elements

Time on Task

Lengthened School Day

Priority to PreK-12

in schools in need of improvement

Middle and high school emphasis on instruction leading to graduation

Provide student

support services

Appropriately certified or

highly qualified teachers

Lengthened School Year

Priority to PreK-12

in schools in need of improvement

Middle and high school emphasis on instruction leading to graduation

Provide student

support services

Appropriately certified or

highly qualified teachers

Dedicated Instructional Time

Priority to PreK-12

in schools in need of improvement

Middle and high school emphasis on instruction leading to graduation

Dedicated “blocks” of research-based core instructional program

Response to Intervention (RTI) and/or intensive

individual intervention


Allowable Program


Essential Elements

Time on Task


Individualized Tutoring

Targeted to students

not meeting standards

Middle and high school emphasis on instruction leading to graduation

Provided by qualified person, as determined by superintendent

Supplement general

curriculum instruction

Excludes supplemental

 educational services




Schedule of Reports to the

Regents Subcommittee on State Aid

For the Development of the

2008-09 Regents Proposal on State Aid to School Districts




Regents Meeting


February 2007

Executive budget proposal

May 2007

School district needs

Primer on State Aid to school districts (based on the Laws of 2007)

June 2007


Early Childhood Education

Time on Task

July 2007

Accountability and State Aid (Full Board)

September 2007

First full draft

October 2007

Detailed proposal

December 2007

Update detailed proposal with current data from school districts