230 School Leaders Attend WNY Education Law Conference
More than 230 school leaders from throughout the region attended this year's WNY Education Law Conference, held at Byblos Niagara Resort. The annual program is presented by the Erie County Association of Schools Boards and the WNY Educational Service Council, in cooperation with the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association, the NYS Association of School Attorneys, and the SUNY Buffalo Law School. Attendees heard a keynote speech on "Challenge and Opportunity" from Erie 2 Chautauqua Catteraugus District Superintendent Dr. David O'Rourke, and could choose from three sets of concurrent sessions throughout the day. The program wrapped up with a review of education law's "Hot Topics" from Jay Worona, General Counsel for the New York State School Boards Association.
Posted on Monday, 11 August 2014 15:12
Education's Big Issues & How to Respond
Attorneys John J. Christopher and Jeffrey F. Swiatek, from Hodgson Russ, tackled the topic of "Big Issues Faced by Board Members and Administrators - and How to Effectively Respond To Them," at this year's WNY Education Law Conference. In their session, they reviewed some of the big issues faced by school districts today, including the tax cap and the new tax freeze law, conflicts of interest and ethical standards, confidentiality requirements and effective public communications, and discussed ways to communicate and respond to these issues.
Posted on Monday, 11 August 2014 15:23
Law Conference Follow Up Sharing
A Team Approach to Planning and Structuring Capital Projects and Building Sales/Leases- How the Parts Fit Together ... Elizabeth A. Holden, William A. Lundquist, Paul D. Meosky, Jeffrey W. Stone, and Jeffrey Swiatek, Hodgson Russ.
A roundtable discussion of proper coordination and handling of questions and issues that arise at the front end of a planned capital project or building disposition, including authorization requirements, financing approaches, SEQRA compliance, valuation questions, state building aid and federal tax implications, and construction/architectural contracting matters.
Personnel and Labor Relations: Hot Topics ...
Experienced labor relations specialists discuss “hot topics” currently being addressed at the bargaining table and in human resource offices, as school districts struggle to maintain high-quality staff and secure fiscally responsible contracts in the face of unprecedented economic challenges. Learn about the latest cases before the Commissioner of Education, courts and PERB, as well as recent trends in bargaining in response to changes in requirements under the Affordable Care Act, APPR, etc.
The Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know and Should Be Doing Now ... Mike J. Flanagan and Karl W. Kristoff, Hodgson Russ.
Review the most immediate issues presented by health care reform, including the latest play-or-pay rules and the bargaining strategies and approaches you should be considering.
What a Year in Special Education - A Review of Pertinent Developments That Educators Need to Know! ...
Andrew J. Freedman and Ryan L. Everhart, Hodgson Russ.
Here are major developments in special education law over the last year, including proposed changes to the Special Education Appeal Process, re-analyzing Least Restrictive Environment in the aftermath of two recent court decisions, and the continued legislative efforts to expand tuition reimbursement opportunities for parents.
Big Issues Faced by Board Members and Administrators - and How to Effectively Respond To Them
Accommodations in the Classroom and Beyond ... Jeff Weiss, Harris Beach.
School districts are required to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities during all school-sponsored events. This includes activities in the traditional classroom setting, as well as field trips and extracurricular programs. Learn about your school district’s new and expanding obligations in this cutting-edge area of the law.
Managing Complex Leave
Issues: FMLA, Workers’ Comp., Sick Leave Use and Abuse ... Brendan Kelleher, Harris Beach, and Tony Olivo, Investigative Services Corporate Screening and Consulting Group.
Employees on various leaves cost school districts an inordinate amount annually. Managed properly, however, employee leaves can be reserved for those who legitimately need them. Mr. Kelleher and Mr. Olivo discussed legal obligations and rights regarding employeed leave requests, as well as best practices to reduce fraud and abuse.
Health Issues: Immunizations and Concussions...Marnie Smith, Harris Beach, with Robert Zayas, NYS Public High School Athletic Association
This session examined legal and practical implications regarding two common student health-related issues: immunizations and concussions. Law and recent cases regarding immunizations and exemptions were reviewed, and "best practices" for concussion managemenat were discussed.
This Year's Legal "Hot Topics" ... Jay Worona, NYS School Boards Association
Posted on Thursday, 07 August 2014 14:24
Online Petition for Gap Elimination Adjustment
Two teachers at Lake Shore have set up this online petition drive to let the NYS Legislature know the funding of education, specifically the Gap Elimination Adjustment, needs to be addressed now.
Click here or on the logo above to sign the petition!
Posted on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:12
Behind the Numbers of New York State's
Gap Elimination Adjustment
What It Means in the Depew School District
What It Means in the Ken-Ton School District
What It Means in the Lake Shore SD (Superintendent James Przepasniak)
What It Means in the Lake Shore SD (Assistant Supt. Admin/Finance Dan Pacos)
Posted on Thursday, 13 March 2014 12:40
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ECASB Legislative Team sends post cards to legislators about school funding. Read some of them here.
Sen. Grisanti responds to concerns about Senate Budget proposal. Read the letter here.
ECASB Superintendent says Albany must provide leadership to implement Common Core Standards.
Read about it here.
ECASB District Resolutions re NYS Assessments:
Kenton School District
Springville GI School District
Sequestration and Your Schools: Click here for Q&A from the National School Boards Association
Issues & School Fiscal Updates...ECASB 2013 Legislative Breakfast Report.
This is the contact information for State Senate and Assembly members representing ECASB member schools districts
School Boards Speak on Sequestration
Buffalo Board of Education resolution on sequestration
Projected Impact of Sequestration on Sweet Home Schools
This information will be presented to Congressman Brian Higgins office during the National School Boards Association Federal Relations Network in Washington, D.C.
Click here for ECASB letters to Federal Representatives regarding Sequestration
See below for Federal Representatives Responses to ECASB (Effective Dec. 5, 2012)
Congressman Brian Higgins
Also, see the Springville Griffith Institute's Nov. 14, 2012 Sequestration Resolution urging "Congress and the Administration to amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities, and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness."
ECASB Testimony to Education Reform Commission in Buffalo
ECASB members at the Governor's Education Reform Commission Public Hearing in Buffalo were Linda Hoffman (Erie 2 BOCES), Kathyann Lorka (East Aurora), Scott Johnson (Sweet Home) and Jane Burzynski (Exec. Director). All submitted written testimony, Jane spoke before the panel. Topics and excerpts:
"Our request to you, as a Commission, is to be aware of how hard people are working for continual improvement to our educational system, and to be aware that continual improvement is unlikely without sufficient funding. To the end, we hope your work and recommendations can be aligned with those of the Mandate Relief Council. Our good intentions will come to naught without funding to support the technology, research, staffing and data needed for their implemantation."- Jane Burzynski (Executive Director)
"This is not a request to discontinue everything. Management should not be allowed to remove contract items just to get an agreement. All we ask is to level the playing field so that labor is not making money for just standing still. Relief from this one mandate would have such a significant effect on all school budgets. It will help us keep teachers and support staff instead of laying them off, it will allow us to maintain programs, instead of cutting them." - Scott Johnson (Sweet Home)
"The Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) requirements have been described as “the greatest unfunded mandate schools have ever seen.” The time, staffing, and processes required are an enormous lift for schools already working with reduced funding ... The massive amount of student testing as schools compile data and documentation also comes at a cost which must be absorbed by school districts. The State wants it, but the State does not have the money to pay for it ... We understand that the intention is to assess and improve learning, but the good intentions must be supported by funding ... the “side effects” of many of today’s mandates are threatening the existence of public education as we know it." - Kathyann Lorka (East Aurora)
Property Tax Cap Without Mandate Relief: "This is gonna kill us ..."
A property tax cap, without accompanying mandate relief, will be lethal to area school districts, Erie County School Board members were told at the 2011 ECASB School Finance Academy. "You've got a gun pointed right at you," warned Mike Ford, "This is gonna kill us." Sharing data from the Statewide School Finance Consortium, Mr. Ford, who is Superintendent of central New York's Phelps-Clifton Springs School District, spoke to more then 60 area school board members at the program entitled, "The Storm is Here."
He noted that Erie County school districts are not high wealth. "At tops, you are average," he said, referring to Amherst and Williamsville. When state aid to schools was reduced, he said, wealthy districts (Long Island area) lost less than 5% aid, but less wealthy districts lost as much as 28%. "The poorest districts got clobbered last year by gap elimination," he said. "Look where your region was, you got hit very hard by that gap elimination." Less wealthy districts suffer most because state aid funds a much greater percentage of their budgets. Because more money is lost, local taxes go even higher in poorer districts asthey try to make up the gap.