Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2008
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Proposed Amendment to the Regulations of the Commissioner Relating to Reasonable and Necessary Expenses of Members of School Quality Review Teams and Joint Intervention Teams, and Distinguished Educators
June 4, 2008
Goals 1 and 2
Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)
Should the Board of Regents add the proposed new section 100.15 of the Commissioner's Regulations, which establishes criteria for determining the reasonable and necessary expenses of members of school quality review teams and joint intervention teams, and distinguished educators?
Reason(s) for Consideration
Required by State statute.
The proposed rule is being presented to the EMSC Committee for approval at the June 2008 Regents meeting.
The proposed rule was discussed by the Regents EMSC Committee at the March 2008 Regents meeting.
The proposed regulation is necessary to implement Education Law sections 211-b and 211-c, as added by Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007, by establishing criteria for the determination of reasonable and necessary expenses of members of school quality review teams and joint intervention teams, and distinguished educators, who are appointed by the Commissioner to assist low performing districts in improving their academic performance.
Consistent with the policy direction that the Regents established in the P-16 Plan of Action, Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007 requires the development of an enhanced accountability system for New York State’s schools and districts. Beginning with the current 2007-08 school year, the Board of Regents must develop a new system of support and intervention in low performing schools, including:
- School Quality Review Teams to assist any school in improvement, corrective action, restructuring or SURR status. These teams begin operation during the 2007-08 school year. The teams may conduct resource, program and planning audits, and examine organization, operations, curriculum, instructional plans, and learning opportunities available to students. The teams make diagnostic recommendations, which are advisory.
- Joint Intervention Teams appointed by the Commissioner and the school district to assist any school in restructuring or SURR status that has failed to demonstrate progress as specified in a corrective action plan or comprehensive educational plan. These teams will begin operation during the 2008-09 school year. The teams, which must include district representatives, assist school districts in developing, reviewing and recommending plans for reorganizing or reconfiguring schools in restructuring status or a SURR school. As in the case of the School Quality Review Teams, the recommendations of the Joint School Intervention Teams are advisory.
- Distinguished Educators, appointed by the Commissioner, as appropriate, to assist districts and schools that have failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for four or more years with the development and review of school improvement plans, reorganization and/or reconfiguration efforts. Distinguished Educators can be assigned by the Commissioner as early as the 2008-09 school year. The Distinguished Educators may be current or former superintendents, principals, teachers or educators. Once identified, Distinguished Educators serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of the school board. Distinguished Educators must either endorse improvement plans for the school(s) or district to which they have been assigned or send them back to the school district for modification. A school district must modify the plan as required by the Distinguished Educator unless the district provides compelling reasons to the Commissioner for why the plan should not be modified. All school districts and charter schools are required to enter into contracts with their superintendent or school head that stipulate that they will fully cooperate with any assigned Distinguished Educator.
Chapter 57 requires that the reasonable and necessary expenses for the SQR teams, as well as for Joint Intervention Teams and distinguished educators, are a charge to the school district or charter school. For the 2007-08 school year, the Department, working in collaboration with district superintendents and regional network partners, has been able to craft a plan that does not require that districts incur any costs for the activities of the School Quality Review teams. Beginning in 2008-09, if the law is not amended, the Department anticipates that districts will incur costs for the operation of the School Quality Review teams, Joint Intervention teams and Distinguished Educators. The Regents in their 2008-09 State Aid proposal recommended that the costs to districts instead be substantially mitigated by the Department receiving a $10 million appropriation to pay for the operation of those teams that are assigned to schools and districts as required by the statue. This proposal was not picked up in the Executive’s Budget proposal, however we continue to advocate for it.
Additional regulations will be necessary concerning the appointment of distinguished educators and those regulations will be presented to the Regents at a future date. However, as school districts plan for their 2008-09 budgets, we need to define what constitutes “reasonable and necessary” expenses for all of the support and intervention teams.
A Notice of Proposed Rule Making was published in the State Register on April 2, 2008.
Staff recommend that the Regents take the following action:
VOTED: That section 100.15 of the Regulations of the Commissioner be added as submitted, effective July 17, 2008.
Timetable for Implementation
The proposed rule will become effective on July 17, 2008.
AMENDMENT OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION
Pursuant to Education Law sections 207, 211-a, 211-b and 211-c, as added
by Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007
Section 100.15 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is added, effective July 17, 2008, as follows:
100.15 Reasonable and necessary expenses of members of school quality review teams and joint intervention teams, and distinguished educators, appointed pursuant to Education Law sections 211-b and 211-c.
(a) Definitions. As used in this section:
(1) “Consulting fees” shall mean reasonable and necessary wage compensation paid to individuals in accordance with paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of this section for the hours worked in the performance of their official duties as members of school quality review teams and joint intervention teams, and as distinguished educators.
(2) “Replacement costs” shall mean those costs including, but not limited to, salary and benefits of an individual employed by a school district or charter school to replace a teacher and/or administrator who takes a leave of absence to serve as a distinguished educator pursuant to Education Law section 211-c(8).
(b) Payment and reimbursement.
(1) A school district or charter school, for which a school quality review team, a joint intervention team and/or a distinguished educator is appointed, shall pay consulting fees to members of such teams and/or to such distinguished educator and reimbursement for their meals, lodging and travel expenses, in accordance with subdivision (c) of this section and no later than 60 days after receipt of each invoice for such expenses and fees.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subdivision, nothing in this section shall be deemed to require a school district or charter school to pay such consulting fees to:
(i) State Education Department staff who are appointed as members of such school quality review teams or joint intervention teams, or as distinguished educators; or
(ii) staff contracted by the State Education Department to provide support and assistance to schools and districts who are appointed as members of such school quality review teams or joint intervention teams, or as distinguished educators, except where such contract provides that the school district or charter school shall be responsible for the payment of such consulting fees to contracted staff.
(c) Criteria for payment and reimbursement.
(1) Consulting fees. Consulting fees shall be paid in accordance with an annual schedule of hourly consulting fees established by the commissioner and based upon the following factors:
(i) the regional costs of labor in related occupations;
(ii) the current market salaries paid New York State teachers and educational administrators, based on available wage data from the New York State and/or federal departments of labor; and
(iii) the expected duration of the intervention or school improvement consulting, as determined by the length of time that the school or school district has been in accountability status and the severity of the accountability status of such school or district.
(2) Meal Expenses.
(i) A team member or distinguished educator shall be reimbursed for receipted expenses for the dinner and breakfast meals which precede and follow, respectively, an evening during which they are lodging in the performance of their official duties.
(ii) Team members or distinguished educators shall be reimbursed for receipted expenses for breakfast and/or dinner meals in cases where their departure from their permanent residence for purposes of performing their official duties or their arrival at their permanent residence after completion of their official duties for that day, shall take place before 7:00 AM or after 7:00 PM, respectively.
(iii) Reimbursement for meals shall be paid at a rate not to exceed the applicable rates paid to State employees.
(3) Lodging Expenses.
(i) Team members or distinguished educators shall be reimbursed for receipted lodging expenses, provided that the travel distance from their permanent residence to the school or school district in which they perform their official duties exceeds 50 miles.
(ii) Reimbursement for lodging shall be paid at a rate not to exceed the applicable rates paid to New York State employees.
(4) Travel Expenses.
(i) Reimbursement to team members or distinguished educators for the use of a personal vehicle in the performance of their official duties shall be paid at a rate not to exceed the applicable rates paid to State employees.
(ii) Reimbursement to team members or distinguished educators for travel by bus, subway, train or rental car, in performance of their official duties, shall be paid if travel by personal vehicle is not economical, possible or feasible.
(iii) The mode of travel selected should be the most economical available; provided that the determination of the appropriate mode of travel shall balance the needs of team members and distinguished educators, including but not limited to flexibility to perform their official duties, with the needs of the schools and school districts, including but not limited to economy, predictability and cost efficiency.
(d) Employment Status. Members of school quality review teams and joint intervention teams, and distinguished educators, in performance of their official duties, shall be deemed to be consultants to the school district or schools, including charter schools, to which they are appointed, and not employees of such school district or charter school.
(e) Replacement Costs. Replacement costs shall not be included in the calculation of reasonable and necessary expenses.