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Meeting of the Board of Regents | November 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009 - 8:30am

sed seal










Theresa E. Savo  


2010-2011 Budget Request


November 9, 2009


Goals 1-6




Executive Summary


Issue for Decision

        Approval of the proposed 2010-2011 Regents Budget Priorities, other than State Aid to School Districts (which is handled separately through the Regents Subcommittee on State Aid).


Reason(s) for Consideration


Board input and direction are sought in the development and approval of the Department’s annual budget proposal.

Proposed Handling

              Discussion and decision.

Procedural History

          This is the annual preparation of the Regents Budget Priorities for Department programs.


Background Information


Each year the Commissioner and Deputies review the existing initiatives, make necessary adjustments, additions or deletions and recommend budget priority areas, themes and initiatives for the upcoming year.  Thebudget priorities are reviewed with the Full Board which then acts on the final Regents budget proposals.



I recommend that the Board of Regents approve the 2010-2011 Regents Budget Priorities.


Timetable for Implementation





SUMMARY OF 2010-2011


($ Millions)


State Aid                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TBD




Curriculum Framework and Assessment

  • Curriculum Framework and Aligned Professional Development        $10.0
  • NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test                      $5.0

GED                                                                                                                   $2.0

Summer School for the Arts Program                                                              $  .5

Postsecondary Education Aid to Native Americans                                        $  .6

       Total EMSC                                                                                         $18.1


Higher Education


Smart Scholars Early College High School Program                                      $6.0

Tenured Teacher Hearings                                                                               $2.0

       Total Higher Education                                                                                 $8.0


Cultural Education

Stabilizing the Cultural Education Account

  • Fee increase would generate $12 million with no General

                  Fund impact                                                                                       ---

E-Textbook Initiative                                                                                   $ .8

       Total Cultural Education                                                                        $ .8



Maintain VESID Program Funding for:

  • Case Services ($54.0 million)                                                                 $0
  • Supported Employment ($15.2 million)                                                 $0
  • Independent Living Centers ($12.4 million)                                           $0
  • Reader’s Aid ($294,000)                                                                        $0  


Total without State Aid to School Districts                                             $26.9

EMSC 2010-2011 Budget Priorities

Curriculum Framework and Aligned Professional Development:

Budget Request - $10,000,000

Background – To strengthen the quality of instruction throughout the state, at the November Board Meeting, the Regents will consider approving a recommendation to: (1) launch the development/revision of sequenced, content-rich curriculum frameworks aligned with new or existing NYS Learning Standards in: Science, Social Studies, Economics, Technology, the Arts, Math, and English Language Arts; and (2) align professional development provided through the Department and/or networks with the newly developed curriculum frameworks.

Since 1996 the NYS Learning Standards have had an extensive impact on all aspects of our complex educational system. The expectations for what students should know and be able to do form the fundamental basis for the State’s PreK-12 education system.  The Learning Standards are also the foundation for what teachers must know and be able to do to help all students reach state standards. 

In October 2007, the Board of Regents approved a plan for review and revision of the NYS Learning Standards as mandated by Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007.  This plan included a timetable and sequence for review and revision of the NYS Learning Standards and the development of curriculum guidance and professional development.  This greater level of specificity in the student learning standards will, in turn, facilitate the development of sequenced, spiraled, content-rich curriculum frameworks, which would enable the development of aligned, high-quality professional development, as well as aligned formative and summative assessments. 

In a recent article, Russ Whitehurst, a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, emphasizes the importance of world-class curriculum frameworks and assessments on student achievement along with the necessary professional development.

Program Purpose – It is the Department’s mission to provide every student with a world–class curriculum that synthesizes rigorous content and skills to prepare students for college, the global economy, 21st century citizenship and lifelong learning.  As part of that mission, it is incumbent upon the Department to develop the capacity to provide effective professional development to certified teachers that is aligned with the NYS Learning Standards and new curriculum frameworks.

We will redesign the NYS curriculum frameworks in all subject areas (English Language Arts Math, Social Studies, Arts, Economics at the secondary level, and Science, Technology and Engineering) to ensure that they provide teachers and students with sequenced spiraled, content-rich materials that will form the foundation for world class learning and enable the development of aligned, high quality professional development, formative assessments, and summative assessments. In addition, we need to continue to refine the NYS Learning Standards and play a leadership role in the development of national standards.




New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT):

Budget Request - $5,000,000

This request is to acquire state funds to support the continued development, printing and shipping of the NYSESLAT exam.  Under Part 154 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, New York defines pupils with limited English proficiency as those pupils who by reason of foreign birth or ancestry, speak a language other than English and either understand and speak little or no English or score below a state designed level of proficiency on the NYSESLAT.   As required by Part 154, an annual English language assessment is used to determine if the student continues to be limited English proficient, based upon the pupils scoring below a state designated level of proficiency on the NYSESLAT.


General Educational Development (GED) Program:

Budget Request - $2,000,000

To continue, expand and improve the operation of our testing centers across the state, the GED program will need an additional $2.0 million in funding for the 2010-11 year (and beyond). 

The current testing centers are allotted a specific number of seats and we estimate these seats will be used (exams given) by October 2010 and we would not be able to start retesting until April 2011. Of this request, $1.0 million will be used to support the existing program and the escalating costs of operating the program.  The additional $1.0 million will be used to expand test sites, test administrations and improve the program by making available GED preparation courses throughout the state. Additional preparation courses will help to increase the pass rates of applicants (currently NYS has the lowest pass rate in the nation).

A new GED Test will come into effect on January 2, 2012.  Under the provisions of GEDTS guidelines regarding said test, GED test candidates who do not achieve satisfactory scores to earn a high school equivalency diploma by December 31, 2011, their scores will be invalidated and they will have to start over.  SED is expecting to have a large increase in the number of people who want to test in 2010 and 2011.  Our data indicates that prior to the new GED Test in 2002, NYS tested approximately 50,000 people in 2000 and 72,000 in 2001.

There has been an increase in the unemployment rate resulting in thousands of individuals needing a high school credential.  Some individuals who have jobs are losing them because they do not have a high school credential and they are placed on a long waiting list, particularly in New York City (6 months or more in some sites).

There are approximately 2.8 million individuals in New York State who are in need of a high school credential.  If these current conditions remain unchanged, SED will be forced to do the following:


  • Reduce the number of testing seats from 60,000 to 40,000.


  • Allow only candidates from approved GED preparation programs to take the GED Test (over 60% of all annual testers do NOT come from prep programs). 


New York State Summer School for the Arts Program:

Budget Request - $500,000

Recognized as one of the finest programs of its kind in the nation, over 15,000 high school age students have become part of this unique summer experience.

The eight Summer Schools for the Arts are directed and staffed by internationally acclaimed artists and companies such as the New York City Ballet and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Students work in small groups and in one-on-one sessions with professionals and with other students with similar abilities.  NYSSSA’s goal is clear: to provide intensive, pre-professional training programs for New York State’s most gifted and motivated young artists, those who are considering careers in the arts or entertainment industries.  The schools provide intensive training in an environment where students experience the rigorous disciplines of the daily life of a professional artist. 


Postsecondary Education Aid to Native Americans:

Budget Request - $600,000

Education Law, §4118, provides funding for Native American students for attendance at approved, accredited higher education institutions within New York State.  Student aid is granted annually for up to four years to each Native American student who qualifies.  Students enrolled in programs requiring five years to complete, for example, architecture, can be funded for five years.  Student aid is granted for less than four years if the duration of the postsecondary program is less than four years.  Eligible students must complete an application form and submit proof of tribal enrollment showing they are a tribal member or a child of an enrolled member, be a State resident, a high school graduate or GED recipient, and be accepted to an accredited New York State institution.  As of May 2006, full-time students (12 or more credit hours) are eligible to receive $1,000 per semester.  Part-time students (less than 12 credit hours) are eligible to receive aid pro-rated at $85.00 per credit hour.  Students must maintain at least a 2.0 semester grade point average in order to continue receiving aid.  Aid provided is a grant available for students to use for any educational related expense.  Approximately 400-500 students each semester are awarded this grant.  All eligible students meeting application requirements and filing deadlines are funded.  An additional $600,000 is necessary to fully fund all students.

OHE 2010-2011 Budget Priorities

Smart Scholars Early College High School Program:

Budget Request - $6,000,000

During summer 2009, of The University of the State of New York (USNY) received $6.0 million from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a network of approximately 10 Smart Scholars Early College High Schools in New York State. 

One of the qualifying features of receiving these funds was for Governor David Paterson to provide a letter to the Foundation indicating his willingness to request a $6.0 million appropriation in the 2010-11 New York State budget that will compliment the Gates’ award by supporting a second round of approximately 12 more Smart Scholars Early College High Schools throughout the State.


Tenured Teacher Hearings:

Budget Request - $2,000,000

Section 3020-a of the State Education Law specifies the procedures school districts must follow to discipline or discharge school employees who have completed a probationary period of professional employment and have been granted tenure by the employing school board.  Grounds for discipline may include conduct unbecoming a teacher, failure to maintain certification, immoral character, incompetence, inefficiency, insubordination, neglect of duty and physical or mental disability.  The Department’s role in the tenured teacher disciplinary process is primarily ministerial.

The Department has little or no ability to control costs associated with the Tenured Teacher Hearing (TTH) process. As a result, costs have continued to rise significantly and the annual appropriation now falls well short of the funds necessary to cover required expenditures. As such, the Department is seeking a $2.0 million increase to the appropriation to address the growing imbalance between TTH costs and funding.

 OCE 2010-2011 Budget Priorities

Stabilizing the Cultural Education (CE) Account:

Budget Request - $12,000,000

The Cultural Education (CE) Account provides a major share of the operational funding for the State Museum, State Archives, State Library, and Office of Public Broadcasting and Educational Television. Among other purposes, it pays the salary of more than 300 employees, funds the purchase of State Library collections and the research facilities of the State Library and State Archives, and supports public galleries, public programming and education, and scientific and historical research in the State Museum.  The Cultural Education Account has a negative cash balance as a result of a 41% decline in revenue over a five year period and $62 million in special and annual transfers of funds to support other State purposes through the State budget process.  Present annual revenue falls short of staff costs alone, without considering non-personal service costs or the cost of transfers.

A proposed increase in the CE Account fee which is administered by counties would add $7.50 to the current $15.00 recording fee.  This would provide approximately $12.0 million in additional annual revenue to the CE Account at present transaction levels. 

The additional revenue will permit Office of Cultural Education to continue operations of its programs without impact on the General Fund.


E-Textbook Initiative:

Budget Request - $750,000

To plan for the implementation, through the State Library, of an efficient and effective access plan for a wide range of licensed commercial and open source textbook material for use by schools throughout the state. The E-textbook initiative will identify potential cost savings in the shift from traditional, printed texts to on-line materials and will consider the expenses of ordering, storing, inventory and loss control which are now a costly part of the current system of textbook use by every school. E-textbooks, offered from a state-wide platform, will permit textbook choice for all schools and at the same time will significantly reduce the costs of acquisition and maintenance of this important textbook resource for students, teachers and parents. E-textbooks licensed for statewide use will mean more equitable distribution everywhere in the state and the added bonus of direct connection to the thousands of other on-line resources available as part of NOVELny to every resident.  Open source, public broadcasting, museum, archives, and student and teacher-created curricular material can also be considered as a critical part of this implementation planning for a robust system of E-textbook delivery.

VESID 2010-2011 Budget Priorities

VR Case Services:

Budget Request - Level Funding $54,000,000

With level funding, individuals with disabilities will continue to receive services, enabling them to become and remain gainfully employed, thereby limiting their reliance on public assistance.

Without level funding for VR Case Services:


  • New York State will be unable to make Maintenance of Effort (MOE).  As per the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a dollar for dollar penalty will be imposed for failure to maintain state effort across all state vocational rehabilitation programs.
  • A further decline in the already low employment rate for individuals with disabilities (33.5%*) and an increase in the already high poverty rate (28.6%) of individuals with disabilities in New York State.
  • The fiscal stability and staffing of the community rehabilitation programs which provide direct services to VESID consumers will be impacted.


VR Supported Employment:

Budget Request - Level Funding $15,160,000

With level funding, consumers with the most severe disabilities will remain employed in a supported employment environment, limiting their dependence on public assistance.

Without level funding for supported employment:


  • New York State will not be able to meet its Maintenance of Effort (MoE) requirements.  A dollar for dollar penalty will be imposed for failure to maintain total State effort across all vocational rehabilitation programs.
  • Consumers with disabilities may not become employed without needed supports.
  • Increased dependence on public assistance.
  • Decreasing tax revenues generated by workers with disabilities.
  • A further decline in the already low employment rate for individuals with disabilities (33.5%*) and an increase in the already high poverty rate (28.6%) of individuals with disabilities in New York State.
  • The fiscal stability and staffing of the community rehabilitation programs which provide direct services to VESID consumers will be impacted.


Independent Living Centers:

Budget Request - Level Funding $12,361,000

With level funding, the Independent Living Centers network will maintain its capacity to provide mandated VESID core services to an ever growing population.  Level funding will also maintain the network’s capacity to generate cost savings to the State as growing numbers of New Yorkers with disabilities transition from state-sponsored institutional programming.


Reader’s Aid:

Budget Request - Level Funding $294,000


VESID fully anticipates that the demand for Readers Aid assistance will continue to grow beyond current levels, and, as a result, VESID is prepared to reduce the per-student support available under the program.  The level funding request will allow VESID to maintain support for the same number of students served in SFY 2008-09 at reduced per student benefit levels.



Don’t Forget Curriculum, Grover J.”Russ” Whitehurst, The Brookings Institution, October 2009.