The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


Richard P. Mills


Full Board


Summaries of Regents Priority Legislative Proposals 2005


October 14, 2004




Approval of 2005 Priority Legislative Program


Goals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5






These are our recommended proposals for Regents priority legislation for 2005. All link directly to the Strategic Plan. There are two new ones: providing additional clarity and flexibility for charter school authorizers and allowing charter schools to access services available to other public schools; and amending State law to conform with No Child Left Behind federal requirements. Eight are carried over from 2004 and have been modified and updated as necessary. Two are placeholders pending action by Congress.  A summary of the proposals is attached.


These recommendations respond to substantive departmental issues and needs or were adopted or supported by:


·        The Regents Commission on Library Services

·        The Regents Subcommittee on State Aid

·        The Task Force on Teaching

·        The Task Force on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Disabilities

·        The Regents Task Force on Closing the Gap and the Regents Mental Health Agenda

·        The Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future of Nursing.


Consistent with the Regents discussion at the October meeting, each proposal will be reviewed and approved by the appropriate Regents Committee.


With the approval of each Committee, I recommend that the Board of Regents take the following action:


VOTED:  That the Board of Regents approve the Regents Priority Legislative Proposals for 2005.










Regents Priority Legislative Proposals














The University of the State of New York

The State Education Department

Albany, New York


November 2004












The Regents Priority Legislative Program consists of major initiatives and issues important to furthering and implementing the Department’s responsibilities.  They are linked to the Strategic Plan and the Regents budget proposal.




Program Development


The Regents Priority Legislative Program is developed by a process spanning several months and is guided by the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioners and the Legislative Coordinating Team.  The process that leads to the Board of Regents’ final adoption of the program is:



















Charter School Changes: Extension of Term and Access to Service Providers


The proposed changes would result in additional clarity and flexibility for charter authorizers and allow charter schools to access many of the services available to other public schools.   Charter authorizers would have a more concrete basis for determining the potential fiscal and programmatic impacts on a district and more flexibility in determining the length of a charter renewal.  The Commissioner would be given the authority to impose a penalty or other sanction on a district for persistent failure to pay monies owed to charter schools.


Charter schools would be able to arrange financing through the Dormitory Authority, which would allow access to bonding and loan guarantees.  BOCES would be given the authority to provide the same services to charter schools as they do for other public schools.



No Child Left Behind Act State Implementation: Eliminate Sunset


This proposal would eliminate the June 30, 2005 sunset on the provisions of Chapter 425 of the Laws of 2002 and Chapter 101 of the Laws of 2003, which amended State law to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act. Chapter 101 contains amendments to State law needed to preserve New York's Federal funding under NCLB and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This proposal would make permanent the provisions of Chapters 425 and 101 relating to approval of supplemental educational services providers, unsafe school choice, compliance with the Gun Free Schools Act, the definition of a homeless child and appointment of a local educational agency liaison for homeless children and transfer of disciplinary records.





State Aid for 2005-06


The Regents State Aid proposal for 2005-06 will ask for adequate resources through State-local partnerships so all students have the opportunity to achieve State learning standards.  This is the second year of a multi-year initiative recommending transition to a foundation program based on the cost of educating students in successful school districts.


The 2005-06 proposal will focus on:


èAdopting a foundation formula by consolidating 29 existing aid programs and adjusting for regional cost differences, pupil needs and an expected local contribution for each school district based on ability to pay.


èImproving student achievement and education of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.


èStrengthening accountability for the use of funds.


èContinued examination of the adequacy of local effort.


èProviding the Big Five access to regional BOCES services for professional development for teachers, instructional technology and career and technical education.


èSimplifying cost allowances used to determine building aid and improving equitable and adequate distribution of aid, including options for “catch up” aid.



New Century Libraries


Based on the policy recommendations of the Regents Commission on Library Services, this $107 million comprehensive legislative proposal will provide services that strengthen services of public, research and school libraries in every part of the State. The funds will:


èSupport NOVEL, the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library, using technology to provide massive online information resources to every resident of the State.


èProvide need-based support to public libraries in high need areas and additional per capita funds for the special service demands of urban populations.


èProvide funds to stimulate capital projects for upgrading outdated facilities of the majority of public libraries statewide, particularly to ensure access for those with disabilities, install adequate wiring and electronic capacity and, in most communities, provide space for the increased use of libraries.


èProvide support for improving and enhancing school libraries to support higher learning standards, as well as for partnering with public libraries to increase family literacy and provide summer reading programs.


èStrengthen the electronic and other research resources of colleges and universities statewide.


èExpand services to individuals with disabilities.


èRecruit a new generation of librarians to serve the rapidly expanding and changing educational, business and information needs of New Yorkers.



Improving Services for the Disabled at Postsecondary Institutions


This proposal would establish a funding program to improve services for the disabled at postsecondary institutions. Implementation would require $15 million. The total allocation would be divided into four sector-specific amounts.  The amount for each sector would be derived through a formula based on the total number of enrolled students (full-time and part-time, undergraduate and graduate) from two years prior to the date of the allocation.



Streamlining School District Planning and Reporting



This proposal would streamline planning and reporting requirements for school districts and BOCES by reducing duplicative and burdensome separate reporting systems. Existing requirements would be replaced to the extent practicable with comprehensive, streamlined systems based on comprehensive data collection and planning and consistent with current systems of student accountability. The result would be streamlined systems aligned with the expectations inherent in a results-oriented, standards-based education system.


The Commissioner would have authority to mandate comprehensive plans from all school districts and BOCES and from community school districts in New York City, and to eliminate other, duplicative requirements.  The Commissioner would be able to waive annual reporting requirements if it is determined that reporting every two, three or five years would meet the reporting need. This proposal would eliminate requirements that school districts bid transportation contracts competitively if parents transport their child to school and for other reporting that does not contribute to school districts’ and BOCES’ accountability.


Nursing Faculty Scholarship Program



The purpose of this proposal is to increase the available pool of adequately prepared candidates for faculty positions in New York to address the shortage of registered nurses. The Nursing Faculty Scholarship Program would provide 100 scholarships in the 2005-06 academic year and another 100 scholarships in 2006-2007.  Each award would be $15,000 a year for up to five years, capped at the recipients’ actual expenses. Applicants would have to be registered professional nurses admitted to masters’ programs in nursing or doctoral programs that the Commissioner determines will enhance the recipient’s proficiency as a nursing educator.  Candidates would have to be residents of New York State, demonstrate academic merit, have previous nursing experience and meet admission criteria determined by the Commissioner.  Award recipients must agree to work in an area of nursing education in New York State for a certain period of time after completing the degree program. Awards could be used for tuition, laboratory and other fees, room and board, transportation, supplies, health insurance coverage, books, child care and daily living expenses.  The program would cost a maximum of $15 million, depending on how long awardees attend school.



Revising the Public Accountancy Statute to Reflect Contemporary Practice and Oversight



While the practice of public accountancy has evolved over the years, the public accountancy statute has not been substantially updated since 1947. The statute should be updated and modernized. Revisions would include: clarifying services deemed to be within the scope of professional practice; overseeing the practice of peripheral services by licensees within business corporations; requiring that all licensees and firms that provide professional services to the public be registered; the authority to conduct firm inspections; and an enhanced mandatory quality review program.  These changes would protect the public through enhanced accountability.



Interagency Collaboration: Use of School Space to Increase Children’s

Access to Health, Dental and Mental Health Clinics



This proposal would allow school space to be used for health, dental and mental health clinics operated by entities other than the school district. The board of education in each district would have to approve this arrangement. Education Law Section 414 would be amended to: provide express authorization for all school districts to use school space for this purpose; prohibit the use of school district building aid to construct space specifically for this purpose; and require Department of Health and Office of Mental Health standards for school-based services be applied.



Allowing Retired Public Employees to Qualify for Teaching and Educational Leadership Positions



It is expected that the teacher and administrator shortage will worsen over the next several years.  For both urban and rural hard to staff schools and, in some instances suburban schools, the challenge will be to find ways to attract candidates with certificates for public school service.   Retiring and retired New York State public employees are discouraged from pursuing such a second career because of statutory limitations on the salary they can earn while also receiving a pension.  Since many retired public service employees are qualified or expect to qualify to enter or re-enter the teaching and educational leadership fields, the barriers that hinder their return can be diminished.  This proposal would: eliminate the salary cap in the retirement and Social Security laws to allow retired public employees who hold or will hold an appropriate school certificate to be employed in teaching and educational leadership; limit the length of time a retired public employee can participate; and sunset the law in five years so its impact and effectiveness can be determined.





IDEA Federal Reauthorization Conforming Legislation


It may be necessary to amend relevant State law to conform to anticipated amendments in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act if Congress takes action before the end of this year.


WIA Federal Reauthorization Conforming Legislation


It may be necessary to amend relevant State law to conform to anticipated amendments in the federal Workforce Investment Act if Congress takes action before the end of this year.