Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2010
Report of the
REGENTS EMSC COMMITTEE
The Board of Regents
March 9, 2010
Your EMSC Committee held its scheduled meeting on March 8, 2010. All Committee members were present.
Charter School Action
Your Committee recommends that the Board of Regents approves and issues the charter of the Bedford Preparatory Charter School as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York, and issues a provisional charter to it for a term of five years, up through and including March 8, 2015. [EMSC (A) 1]
MOTION FOR ACTION BY FULL BOARD
Madam Chancellor and Colleagues: Your EMSC Committee recommends, and we move, that the Board of Regents act affirmatively upon each recommendation in the written report of the Committee's deliberations at its meeting on March 9, 2010, copies of which have been distributed to each Regent.
MATTERS NOT REQUIRING BOARD ACTION
Broadband Access - Update – The Committee was given an update on data concerning broadband access in school buildings in New York State - including a map that shows where the schools are that do not currently meet a 100 mbps standard. New York State’s Office of Cyber-Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination (CSCIC) is leading the effort in New York State to develop a map showing broadband capacity in “community anchor institutions” (e.g., schools, libraries, hospitals, etc.) and homes across the State. SED is contributing to this mapping effort by providing broadband data for K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and libraries. Members of the Committee suggested additional information and data that would be helpful as the Committee discusses how it wants to address the broadband access issue. Additional information requested included costs associated with getting all schools to the 100 mbps standard, comparison of types of content that can be delivered at different bandwidths, correlation between broadband capacity and school wealth factors, and how many of the schools that do not currently meet a 100 mbps standard are elementary schools vs. high schools. Staff will provide more complete data that includes schools that are not part of the Regional Information Centers (RICs) and the Big 5 school districts to the Regents in April. [EMSC (D) 1]
NYS Assessment Program Reductions – The Committee discussed possible options and cost savings strategies targeted specifically at reducing the costs for the New York State Assessment Program. Staff provided data on the number of students who took the various 3-8 and Regents exams to illustrate the impact of eliminating various tests. The Regents asked for more detail on this data, specifically about which districts tend to have students who take the Regents exams in August and January. The Regents also discussed the possible development of an online assessment program and participating in national assessment consortiums as possible means to achieve long term savings. The Committee will continue this discussion at future meetings. [EMSC (D) 2]
EMSC Budget Imbalance – The Committee began a discussion about the structural imbalance that currently exists between available EMSC resources and costs of the NYS testing program and student data systems. This imbalance has occurred due to reductions in state General Fund support and reliance on federal carryover funds. For 2010-2011 the projected deficit will be $11.5 million and for 2011- 2012 the projected deficit will be $21.3 million. The Committee discussed State and federal funding sources and whether or not those funds are flexible or if they are targeted for specific purposes. Staff identified some possible options for the Regents to consider to address the deficit which include advocating for additional funding and the Regents budget priorities with the Legislature, downsizing the NYS Assessment program, reducing reliance on external vendor contracts by hiring additional staff to do some work “in-house”, reduce the amount of State-level funds that are going to Technical Assistance Centers by bringing the work “in-house.” The Committee will continue this discussion at future meetings. [EMSC (D) 3]
Alternative Pathways to Earning Credit – The Committee approved a conceptual policy on receiving course credit for independent study. Members of the Committee asked that the draft regulations that will be developed to implement this policy include more specificity on which students would be eligible to earn credit through independent study, i.e., would students need to have certain GPA’s, etc., and also what schools could offer independent study options. Draft regulatory language will be brought back to the Regents for discussion in April. [EMSC (D) 4]
That concludes our report.
Anthony Bottar and Merryl Tisch