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Meeting of the Board of Regents | November 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 8:40am

sed seal                                                                                                 








Diana M. Hinchcliff


Proposed Regents 2009 State and Federal Legislative Priorities



November 10, 2008



Action to Implement Regents 2009-10 State Budget Proposal and State and Federal Legislative Proposals





Executive Summary


Issue for Decision


              Final Regents state and federal legislative priorities for 2009.


Reason(s) for Consideration


              Implementation of Regents 2009-10 state budget proposal and state and federal legislative proposals.


Proposed Handling


              The Board of Regents is asked to approve its legislative priorities for 2009.


Procedural History


[item code]

������������� Each year the Regents identify policy issues that will require legislation for implementation. Some are carried over from the previous year and some are new. Those requiring a state appropriation are included in the Regents budget proposal. The others are proposed for introduction during the legislative session. The process for developing legislative priorities is synchronized with the process for developing budget proposals. 






The Regents priority federal and state legislative recommendations for 2009 propose new, reauthorized or extended statutory authority that would enable SED to carry out legislative mandates and Regents policy. The priorities include proposals for legislation needed to execute actions that would be required by the Regents 2009-10 budget priorities and funding requests related to federal statutes. Not all budget priorities would require legislation and not all the legislative priorities are related to the budget request.


At the October Regents meeting each committee discussed its respective legislative proposals.


Background Information


Governor Paterson addressed the state’s weakened economy by requiring all state agencies to implement a 3.35 percent reduction in their 2008-2009 operating expenses. He imposed an additional 7 percent reduction in State Operations spending due to the continuing economic downturn.  The legislature returned for a special session in August and reduced Aid to Localities spending by 6 percent, excluding school aid.  On October 3, following a meeting with legislative leaders, Governor Paterson projected an additional $1.2 billion deficit in the 2008-09 budget and called for a special “economic” session of the legislature for November 18.  He asked the leaders to propose $2 billion in additional cuts.  The state budget deficit for 2009-10 is currently projected to be at least six times greater than this year’s, as the state’s and nation’s fiscal conditions continue to deteriorate.


Recognizing that new program funding is impossible, the Department’s 2009-10 budget and legislative requests will focus on three themes:


  • Ensure program stability by sustaining our critical programs that have been proven to work and the policies that support them.
  • Establish or increase fees to ensure stable and adequate funding for critical programs and operations.
  • Continue the State Aid Foundation Formula as the state’s fiscal situation allows.


A complete description of the final Regents priority federal and state legislative proposals for 2009 is attached.




              This is before the Board of Regents for approval.


Timetable for Implementation


              October Meeting: Board committees evaluate and recommend adjustments to the 2009-2010 draft budget and legislative priority areas, themes and initiatives.


November Meeting:  Board acts on the 2009-2010 budget proposal, the Regents priority federal and state legislative proposals and the 2009-2010 State Aid proposal.




















































1. Reduce the Number of Required School District Reports and Plans


A substantial portion of the reporting and planning requirements imposed on school districts by state statute should be eliminated if they are duplicative, unnecessary or outdated. Both the Commission on Property Tax Relief and the Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness recommended an end to unfunded mandates. Legislation is needed to eliminate statutory requirements and allow SED to rescind regulations that are duplicative or unnecessary. Plans and reports would be limited to those necessary to carry out critical state interests such as maintaining school district accountability, closing the student achievement gap and protecting health and safety of students, teachers and administrators in schools. Regulations based on federal statutory requirements would be streamlined where possible and state and federal requirements would be aligned. The net effect would be to require data reporting to only one source and to continuously improve data collection.



2.Allow Retired Teachers to Teach in Hard-to-Staff Schools and Subjects Without Affecting Their Pension


There is a severe shortage of qualified, certified teachers in the arts, math, science, bilingual education, career and technical education, English as a second language, school media and bilingual special education in urban and rural school districts throughout the state. Schools under registration review and other low-performing schools with challenging teaching environments historically have had difficulty attracting qualified teachers. There is a significant turnover rate among new teachers and those in high-need schools. The number of baby-boomer teachers retiring will increase each year and there are not enough new and experienced teachers to replace them. The Retirement and Social Security Law should be amended to permit retired public employees who hold a valid teaching certificate to teach subjects and in areas for which there is a shortage of teachers and in high-need schools without a cap on the salary they earn while also receiving a state pension. The state Commissioner of Education and the New York City Department of Education chancellor would have to certify the need for teachers, and the term of their employment would be limited. This would help relieve the statewide shortage of qualified teachers for these subjects, areas and schools.



3.RequireCriminal History Checks and Fingerprinting


Office of Cultural Education Employees & Volunteers    


Legislation is needed to require OCE employees and volunteers to be fingerprinted as a condition of employment or acceptance as a volunteer. This would protect children and students who tour the State Museum, State Archives and State Library and reduce the possibility of theft of valuable and irreplaceable items and artifacts.



Employees in Special Education Placements


              Legislation is needed to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities who attend various special education schools in settings outside of a public school district or BOCES by requiring fingerprinting and criminal history record checks of prospective employees. This is already required of prospective employees of school districts, charter schools and BOCES.  The City of New York fingerprints employees of special education schools with which it contracts but there is no such requirement for schools that do not contract with the city. Leaving special education students unprotected creates a serious risk that individuals convicted of crimes such as sex offenses involving children that would disqualify them from serving in public schools will be employed in schools that serve these students.  The legislation also should clarify that existing law relating to reporting, investigation or identification of child abuse by persons in an educational setting would apply to non-residential special education schools and programs, but not to residential schools and programs already subject to child abuse and neglect reporting under the Social Services Law.   



4. Update the Public Accountancy Statute


The practice of public accountancy has evolved to include professional services and practices that were not offered when the current statute was enacted in 1947. The definition of practice should be expanded through legislation to include all types of professional services that reflect contemporary business practices, including tax return preparation, financial planning, management consulting, investment management and the like, to strengthen public protection.



5. Strengthen Early Childhood Education


The compulsory school age is 6.  Current law makes kindergarten optional and allows school districts to offer only half-day kindergarten programs. Of 678 school districts, 34 are providing half-day programs while 603 offer full-day and 41 offer a combination of full-day and half-day. Legislation is needed to give SED authority to require children to enter school at age 5 to give them a good start on their education.

Over 80 percent of 4-year-olds are in day care outside of the home before they start kindergarten. Children who start their education behind often stay behind because there is no “catch up” curriculum. How a child reads at the end of first grade predicts with 80 percent reliability how he or she will read at the end of third grade. Research overwhelmingly shows that acquiring academic skills and knowledge by age 6 correlates with later academic success in school and in life.  Children in full-day kindergarten would increase their educational skills. Early education has strong economic benefits, according to major research studies: it reduces drop-out rates and the need for intervention services. Children with disabilities would have the continuum of services they need so they can be integrated in regular classrooms. Kindergarten, which is not a mandate now, would be less vulnerable to funding cuts.  School districts often propose to eliminate kindergarten in tight budgets, causing great concern for parents and disadvantaging young students. Parents would be able to request a waiver from this requirement.  Lowering the compulsory school age from 6 to 5, together with requiring school districts to provide full-day kindergarten, would help ensure that all students get a good start. 



6. BOCES Reform Initiative


Pursuant to the recommendations of the Commission on Property Tax Relief and the Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, the district superintendents are developing a proposal to expand and enhance BOCES’ role in providing intermunicipal and component school district services. It will include a recommendation that the cap on the district superintendent salary be repealed. *



7.  Remove the Cap on District Superintendent Salary


In many areas of the state BOCES district superintendent compensation has fallen well below that of the local school district superintendents whom the BOCES superintendents are expected to lead.  This is due to a law enacted 15 years ago that capped the salary a district superintendent can receive.  This relative drop in compensation has made the recruitment and retention of district superintendents increasingly difficult. 


Over the past decade several new laws and State Education Department policies have created additional accountability for district superintendents. Repealing the salary cap would allow BOCES boards to use local funds to create the compensation agreements they need to hire leaders of the quality essential to fulfill the role the Regents education agenda demands. It also would re-establish an appropriate level of local control and focus more accountability at the local level, where it is most effective. This legislation would require no additional state funds.


   *The removal of the district superintendent salary cap appears in items 6 and 7 as a legislative request.

8.  IDEA Reauthorization Conforming Legislation


Chapter 378 of the Laws of 2007 conformed Education Law to the federal 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and final federal implementing regulations.  Chapter 378 extended the provisions of Chapter 352 of the Laws of 2005 and Chapter 430 of the Laws of 2006 and included amendments relating to: students with disabilities attending charter schools; students with disabilities being enrolled in nonpublic schools by their parents; the definitions of “related services” and “transition”; the agreement between a parent and a school district regarding the members of a committee on special education or a committee on preschool special education attending meetings to develop a student's individualized education program; changes to an IEP after the annual review meeting and three-year re-evaluation; who may make a referral for an initial evaluation for special education services; and due process procedures.  Chapter 378 of the Laws of 2008 will sunset on June 30, 2009.  Legislation to extend it is necessary to ensure continuing compliance with IDEA.





1. Stabilize the Professions Revenue Accounts


There has been no increase in licensing fees for the professions since the 1980s even though statutes have been enacted mandating that SED establish and regulate numerous new professional licenses and programs.  Legislation is needed for authority to implement an across-the-board fee increase, which would enable SED to fully discharge its responsibility to protect the public.  The fee increase would allow the Office of the Professions to investigate and prosecute illegal practice, upgrade outdated technology (needed are a new computer system, document scanner and interactive telephone system), investigate and prosecute more discipline cases and secure expert witnesses, cover the increase in expense for providing peer assistance to nurses in the Professional Assistance Program (for those who have substance abuse problems), fully fund meetings of the state boards that provide professional advice to the Board of Regents, cover the increased cost to manage the licensee photo ID program and pay credit card company fees for licensees who use online registration.



2. Stabilize the Cultural Education Revenue Account


        The Cultural Education account was created by an act of the legislature in 2002, which also transferred to it all Office of Cultural Education functions previously supported by state General Fund operations appropriations.  It provides a major share of the operational funding for the State Museum, State Archives, State Library, and Office of Public Broadcasting and Educational Television. The fund also provides annual support of $1,200,000 to the General Fund, $1,000,000 to the Summer School for the Arts; up to $650,000 for the Empire State Performing Arts Center program; and up to $3,272,300 for the New York State Theater Institute program.


        The CE account is modeled after the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF), which funds local government grants and related operations.  The LGRMIF is funded by a county-collected surcharge of $5.00 for recording, entering, indexing, or endorsing a certificate on any instrument or for assigning an index number to actions pending in county court or Supreme Court.  The 2002 statute kept the LGRMIF charge in place and applied an additional $15.00 surcharge to support the new CE account.  Counties retain $.75 of each CE account surcharge to defray their collection expense.


The balance in the CE account has experienced increases and decreases over the life of the fund. This is due to national and state economic conditions at any given time that have suppressed the housing market and affected the number of transactions subject to the surcharge.  Annual revenue from fees has declined more than 32 percent from the historically high levels of the first several years and revenue from interest has declined 84 percent from two years ago and will disappear by next year. Annual revenue (before transfers out of the fund) is now below the cost of operating the Office of Cultural Education’s programs. The current economic downturn has reduced revenue severely, causing the account balance to decline sharply.  Reserve funds will be exhausted within the next year.


        Legislation is needed to amend the current CE Account fee structure to provide an additional $7.50 surcharge, which would include an additional $.25 to be retained by

a county to defray its collection expense.







NCLB governs elementary and secondary education, mandates educational standards, and holds states, school districts, and schools accountable for the performance of all students.


Much has changed since the Regents first approved recommendations for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. The Regents have intensified their work on school improvement, educator development, growth models, graduation rates and other critical education reform issues. The U.S. Education Department (USED) has expanded its growth model and differentiated accountability pilot programs and is to release final Title I regulations shortly. National advocacy organizations are recasting their NCLB recommendations in the broader context of education reform. Members of Congress are revising their proposals and are interested in middle and high school reform and early childhood education. In January the country will have a new Congress and a new president who will not be so closely identified with NCLB or proposals that were discussed during the past two years of the current Congress.  These changes will provide an opportunity for the Regents to review and, if needed, revise their NCLB recommendations. This will take place by the end of the year.


Current NCLB Priorities. Tier 1 is top priorities; Tier 2 is secondary priorities.


Tier 1

  • Single Accountability Designation: Permit states to use Title I criteria alone, including the assessments of student subgroups, to determine when a school or district is “in need of improvement.” Additional measurements, under Title III and IDEA, should be used only to determine additional needs of special populations, not for school or district designations.


Tier 2 accountability recommendations: Permit states to allow certain categories of students more time to graduate; continue flexible policy on Adequate Yearly Progress methodologies (“n” size, confidence intervals, & indexing); adjust goal of 100% proficiency by 2014; impose sanctions only for failure to cooperate in making improvements.


  • Growth Models: Give states the option of using a growth model, a status model, or a combination of both to determine Adequate Yearly Progress.


  • Targeted Interventions and Differentiated Consequences: Permit schools to target remediation or interventions to the subgroups of students who are falling short of achieving Adequate Yearly Progress rather than imposing them on the entire student population of a school or district


Tier 2 recommendations: Permit greater flexibility in how and when districts provide school choice and supplemental education services (SES); adequately fund school choice and SES; expand access to and adequately fund Response to Intervention and Early Intervening Services for all students; replace the “persistently dangerous” school designation with a school safety index designed to create safe learning environments.


  • Assessments for Special Populations (English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities): Permit states to develop valid and reliable assessments for different sub-populations of ELLs and students with disabilities that will lead to more effective interventions; provide adequate support for those interventions; and provide fiscal and programmatic incentives to implement best practices in raising achievement.


  • Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT): Continue to support state efforts to meet reasonable HQT goals and provide incentives for states to pilot approaches to improve effectiveness of teachers and other school leaders


Tier 2 recommendation: Permit professional development funds to be used for PBS TeacherLine and Ready to Teach products.


Additional Tier 2 Recommendations


  • Add the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act – Would require states to set goals to guarantee that all students will be served by highly qualified, state-certified school library media specialists and have the library resources they need to succeed.


  • Funding – Fully fund all mandated activities; increase flexibility in directing funds to where they are most needed


  • School readiness – Support, align, and strengthen Reading First, Early Reading First, Even Start, and Ready to Learn Television; expand outreach; permit public libraries to participate as partners


  • Due process – Provide more lead time to fulfill USED information and data requests; expand public disclosure of information provided to USED and decisions made; provide opportunities for review of USED findings and appeals of determinations.


Proposed Priority for 2009


One of our recommendations will be to add provisions of the No Child Left Inside Act to fund states’ and schools’ expansion of environmental education, including increasing teacher capacity and strengthening and developing environmental literacy plans.



WIA focuses on the education and training needs of out-of-school youth and adults and economic and workforce development. It connects postsecondary career and technical education and training, adult education and family literacy, and vocational rehabilitation.


  • Title I- Workforce Investment Act: Authorize separate funding for the one-stop delivery center infrastructure; maintain the representative balance on youth councils; simplify the determination process for youth participation; ensure representation of key partners on State and Local Workforce Investment Boards.


  • Title II- Adult Education and Family Literacy Act: Reward good state performance; expand funding for state leadership activities; retain state maintenance of effort requirements; create a separately funded health literacy program; create a separately-funded literacy zone pilot program.


  • Title IV- Vocational Rehabilitation Act: Enhance the current funding formula; create a separately-funded transition program; create a separately-funded program for veterans’ services; provide incentives to increase the supply of qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors; maintain the current limit on intensive supported employment services; increase opportunities for entrepreneurship and self-employment; expand the Social Security Administration’s demonstration authority to test work incentive provisions to increase earnings; modify the funding formula for Centers for Independent Living; improve the effectiveness of Statewide Independent Living Councils.




The E-Rate Program provides schools and libraries with access to affordable telecommunication services, Internet services, and cabling and network infrastructure.


  • Secure permanent exemption from the Anti-deficiency Act (restricts the flow of funds to schools and libraries)
  • Simplify the application process
  • Prevent additional federal requirements for blocking and filtering access to Internet content that schools and libraries need.




Participation in a high-quality early education program builds the foundation for a child’s success in school and in life.


  • Support passage of the Providing Resources Early for Kids (PRE-K) Act or a similar proposal that would create a formula grant program for states to help local pre-school providers improve the quality of their programs
  • Support passage of the Prepare All Kids Act, Ready to Learn Act, or a similar proposal that would authorize funding to help states make voluntary high-quality full-day pre-kindergarten available and affordable for all children. 




The MLSA is the main source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. It is due for reauthorization in 2009.


  • Library Services and Technology Act: Align priorities of the state grant program with the act’s overall goals and purposes; authorize the Librarian Education for the 21st Century program to ensure a supply of qualified library professionals; improve data collection by authorizing the Institute of Museum and Library Services to collect data and require data collection to be coordinated by statewide advisory committees


  • Museum Services Act: Create a state formula grant program for museums similar to the one for libraries.




The PAHR Act would provide federal support to state and local governments, historical societies, libraries, and related organizations to preserve state and local archival records. The recommendation is to support its passage.



(For Fiscal Year 2010)


Note: The federal fiscal year will be October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010. This will be referred to as the 2010 fiscal year.




Title I, Part A – Grants to Local Educational Agencies

FY 2010 Funding Request: $16 billion

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $13.9 billion – New York State share: $1.2 billion  


For local educational agencies and schools with high numbers or high percentages of poor children to help ensure that they meet challenging state academic standards.


Title I – School Improvement Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $800 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $491 million – New York State share: $41 million


For local school improvement activities for Title I schools that do not make adequate yearly progress for at least two consecutive years, i.e. schools designated as “in need of improvement”.


Title I, Part B - Reading First

FY 2010 Funding Request: $1 billion

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $393 million – New York State share: $24 million


For states and districts to establish scientifically-based reading programs for students in kindergarten through third grade.


Title II, Part A – Improving Teacher Quality State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $3 billion

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $2.9 billion – New York State share: $227.5 million


To increase the number of highly-qualified teachers and principals and improve their effectiveness.


Title II, Part D - Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $476 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $257.5 million – New York State share: $21.7 million


To support the deployment and integration of educational technology into classroom instruction, provide professional development and help all students become technologically literate by the end of the eighth grade.


Title III – English Language Acquisition Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $980 million

(Goal is to double funding over 5 years, from FY 2008-FY 2013)

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $700 million – New York State share: $52 million


To improve the education of limited English proficient students by helping them learn English and meet challenging state academic content and achievement standards.


Title IV, Part A - Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act – State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $346 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $295 million – New York State share: $22.3 million 


For programs to prevent violence in and around schools, prevent illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs, increase involvement by parents and communities, and foster a safe and drug-free learning environment that supports student academic achievement. 


Title IV, Part B – 21st Century Community Learning Center Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $1.65 billion

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $1.1 billion – New York State share: $98.7 million


For community learning centers that provide academic enrichment and youth development activities to students during out-of-school hours.


Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education – Basic Grants to States

FY 2010 Funding Request: $1.7 billion

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $1.16 billion – New York State share: $58.3 million

For secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs to strengthen the integration of academic and career and technical education, ensure access to CTE for special populations, develop and improve curricula, purchase equipment, provide professional development, and develop a strong accountability system.


Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education - Tech Prep Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $105 million  

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending  

FY 2008 Appropriation: $102.9 million – New York State share: $5.2 million

For the development of seamless pathways from high schools to postsecondary experiences that offer articulated postsecondary credit, integrate academic and technical skills, and lead students to industry-recognized credentials, certificates, or degrees in high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand careers.

IDEA, Part B – State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $15 billion

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $10.9 billion – New York State share: $721 million


To help states with the cost to provide special education and related services to children ages 3-21 with disabilities.


Vocational Rehabilitation – State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $3.3 billion

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $2.9 billion – New York State share:  $147 million


To help individuals with disabilities prepare for and engage in gainful employment consistent with their abilities and interests.


Supported Employment – State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $2.97 billion

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $2.84 billion – New York State share: $147 million


To help states develop and implement collaborative programs to provide supported employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities.


Independent Living – State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $26 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $22.2 million – New York State share: $1 million


To support, expand and improve services, fund studies and analyses, provide training and outreach to unserved or underserved populations, and support the work of Statewide Independent Living Councils.


Adult Basic and Literacy Education – State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request:$750 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $554 million – New York State share: $40.6 million


To provide out-of-school youth over 16 and adults with instruction in literacy, English language and GED preparation needed to become effective workers, parents, citizens and community members.


Pell Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $16.7 billion+

(Sufficient to fully fund the maximum grant at the $6,000 level)

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

($2.5 billion added to FY09 continuing resolution to cover expected shortfall)

FY 2008 Appropriation: $14.2 billion


To help needy undergraduate students finance a college education.


Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) – State Grants

FY 2010 Funding Request: $214 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $161 million – New York State share: $9 million


For libraries to expand services for learning and access to information resources for users of diverse geographic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and with limited literacy or skills.


Library of Congress (LOC) Services for Blind and Physically Handicapped—Digital Talking Books

FY 2010 Funding Request: $29.4 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $12.5 million


To convert books provided by the LOC’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped from the current analog technology of 4-track cassette tapes to a digital format.


National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)

FY 2010 Funding Request: $10 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2008 Appropriation: $10 million – New York State share: An average of $700,000 in competitive grants is awarded annually


To support a wide range of activities to preserve, publish, and encourage the use of documentary sources relating to the history of the United States.


Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

FY 2012 Funding Request: To be determined

(Funding is authorized two years in advance; therefore, funding for FY 2012 will be determined in the FY 2010 appropriations bill.)

FY 2011 Appropriation: Congressional action pending

FY 2010 Appropriation: $420 million

FY 2009 Appropriation: $400 million – New York State share: $43 million (approximate)


The CPB in conjunction with non-commercial educational telecommunications licensees across America, including the public television and public radio stations of New York, facilitates the development of and ensures universal access to non-commercial high-quality programming and telecommunications services.