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Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 11:40pm

sed seal










Theresa E. Savo  


Amended 2010-2011 Budget Request


March 9, 2010


Goals 1-6




Executive Summary


Issue for Approval

        Approval of the amended 2010-2011 Regents Budget Priorities.

Reason(s) for Consideration

Board approval is sought of the amended 2010-2011 Regents Budget Priorities to include a $7.0 million request for State Assessment/Accountability.

Proposed Handling


Procedural History

          This is the annual Regents Budget Priorities for Department programs.


Background Information


              The 2010-2011 Regents Budget Priorities were reviewed and approved at the December Board of Regents meeting.


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


SUMMARY OF 2010-2011


Other Than State Aid to School Districts

($ Millions)




       Curriculum Framework and Aligned Professional Development                  $4.0

       State Assessment/Accountability                                                                     $7.0

NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test                               $3.5

GED                                                                                                                   $2.0

Summer School for the Arts Program                                                              $  .5

Postsecondary Education Aid to Native Americans                                        $  .6

       Total EMSC                                                                                         $17.6


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


Total                                                                                                                            $26.4

EMSC 2010-2011 Budget Priorities

Curriculum Framework and Aligned Professional Development:

Budget Request - $4,000,000

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. 

The State Education Department will develop Prekindergarten-grade 12 curriculum frameworks and instructional materials for the Board of Regents approved ELA and mathematics learning standards.

The State Education Department will prepare an RFP for a statewide curriculum resource center responsible for producing sequenced, spiraled, content-rich curriculum frameworks based on Regents approved NYS learning standards for ELA and mathematics. These curriculum frameworks, which will include strategies for teaching students in special populations, will help to ensure all students have access to a world-class curriculum.   Through these curriculum frameworks and sample instructional strategies, educators will have access to resources that will provide increased specificity for local school districts’ curriculum development and will provide the foundation for a system of statewide formative and summative assessments. Beginning with English Language Arts and Mathematics, these curriculum frameworks will include but not be limited to:


  • Grade-by-grade student expectations (standards and performance indicators), including the knowledge, skills, and understandings that students are expected to achieve at each grade;
  • Grade level learning examples, which include developmentally appropriate instructional strategies and sample tasks to show how the standards can inform teaching and learning in the classroom;
  • A glossary of terms for teachers which defines the terminology throughout the document;
  • An appendix of recommended authors and reading at each grade level, to help inform curriculum development at the local level; and
  • Assessment tools at each grade level, to give teachers the tools to measure student achievement of the grade-level expectations on an ongoing (formative assessment) basis.
  • Alignment tools for analyzing existing programs and resources against new learning expectations
  • Guidance on scientifically based and evidenced based resources S

State Assessment/Accountability:

Budget Request - $7,000,000

New York State has long been a leader in the movement to higher standards for all students. In 1996, the Board of Regents approved new higher learning standards for all students.  In 2005, the Board adopted a new learning standard for mathematics and has done extensive work in establishing revised standards for English Language Arts.

The assessment and reporting requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) have increased the amount and frequency with which all students must be tested. In response to the requirements of NCLB, State Assessment now develops tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics for Grades 3-8. In order to meet the accountability and reporting requirements of NCLB, State Assessment has also worked to develop a comprehensive Statewide data repository. This system assigns unique student identifiers to each student in the State, which ensures that students can be tracked over time, even as they transfer between districts and thereby enhances student data reporting and data quality.

While the demands on the NYS Assessment program have increased dramatically in recent years, there has been no parallel increase in resources to ensure our ability to meet these challenges. The annual cost of assessment is now approximately $45.0 million.  An increase in resources is necessary to maintain the State Assessment program at its current levels.


  • The Regents Examination Program, now consists of 17 examinations in five different subject areas, many of which are administered three times per year;
  • Three new mathematics Regents Examinations in Integrated Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2/Trigonometry, each of which are planned to be administered three times per year, initial administration was in June 2008; and
  • Annual large-scale field tests are also included for each examination.


An increase of $7.0 million over the current 2009-10 budget for State Assessment is requested to help maintain current programs and services and avoid significant reductions in the Regents testing program. Along with modest cost saving program adjustments, this investment in the quality of the State’s assessment program will ensure that:


  • All State assessments are valid, reliable, and aligned to the NYS Learning Standards; and
  • The graduates who have successfully completed the New York State Regents Examination Program will possess the skills to pursue career and college ready study to compete in a global job market, and to be responsible and productive citizens.

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

Budget Request - $3,500,000

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 and NCLB Titles I and III, 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.  Approximately 225,000 pupils take this exam annually.

The current contract for this exam expires on October 31, 2010, and this cost estimate is based on the results of an RFP that was released earlier this year.


General Educational Development (GED) Program:

Budget Request - $2,000,000

Section 317 of the Education Law prohibits a fee for admission to the GED exam. 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 State 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).

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 significantly reduce the number of test administrations throughout the State, or 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 (Ballet, Choral Studies, Dance, Jazz Studies, Media Arts, Orchestral Studies, Theatre and Visual 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.

This request will allow all eight Summer School for the Arts programs to continue.  Current resources will only support four of the eight programs. In addition to State funding, this program is supported by student tuition.  


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.