Items of Note
ECASB Delegates Get Info on Awareness Effort on Painkiller Abuse Among Youth
At its first meeting of the school year, members of ECASB's governing body, Delegate Assembly, received information on the BlueCross BlueShield of WNY/ WNED-WBFO partnership to raise awareness about prescription pain medication abuse among teens and young adults. Among the efforts is a 30-minute documentary "Tragedy and Hope: Stories of Painkiller Addiction," which will air simultaneously on channels 2, 7 and WNED at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 22. Support is being sought from the education community, including airing the documentary in classrooms and assemblies, using educational materials provided by WNED, posting intranet links to painkillerskill.org, and displaying campaign posters and tip cards in high traffic areas around school. Statistics provided indicate that painkiller abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the U.S., and in WNY, the rate of substance dependence or abuse among young adults age 18-25 is 21.3% (one in five). Information materials distributed included a document from painkillerskill.org and a handout detailing the BlueCross BlueShield of WNY/WNED-WBFO media outreach project.
Steps to Better Board Meetings
Twenty School Board members representing 11 area school districts participated in the "Steps to Better Board Meetings" program sponsored by the Erie County Association of School Boards at Erie 1 BOCES. Attorney Karl Kristoff from Hodgson Russ discussed policy and rules for better board meetings, including conduct, confidentiality, public participation and rules of procedure. Attorney Jeff Swiatek, also from Hodgson Russ, discussed Open Meeting Law, Freedom of Information Law, and public input. Districts represented at the program were Hamburg, West Seneca, Lackawanna, Orchard Park, Springville, Cheektowaga Sloan, Cleveland Hill, Clarence, Depew, Sweet Home, East Aurora, and Erie 2 CC BOCES.
Is Consolidation the Answer?
More than 200 participants at the WNY Education Law Conference heard "facts and legends" regarding mergers at the Annual WNY Education Law Conference held at Byblos Niagara Resort (former Grand Island Holiday Inn). They also heard about what to do it a teacher doesn't measure up, or if a school district gets sued, as well as information on changed diploma requirements and expanded athletic opportunities for students with disabilities, and more.
ECC President Jack Quinn, introduced by NYS Association of School Attorneys President John J. Christopher (Hodgson Russ), provided the morning keynote, after which attendees chose from nine legal sessions in the areas of finance and operations, employee issues and student issues, including the annual Special Ed. Update. In the afternoon, NYSSBA's Jay Worona delivered his "Hot Topics!" review.
The WNY Education Law Conference is presented by the Erie County Association of School Boards and the WNY Educational Service Council in cooperation with the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association (E-NSSA), NYS Association of School Attorneys (NYSASA), and SUNY Buffalo Law School.
ECASB Honors Springville Griffith Community Education Foundation (SGCEF) for Hodgson Russ Excellence in Collaboration Award
Springville Griffith Community Education Foundation (SGCEF) is a group of neighbors with a willingness to do good for those around them, and now they have an Excellence in Collaboration Award to show for it.
The Foundation was awarded the Hodgson Russ Excellence in Collaboration Award at the Erie County Association of School Boards Annual Dinner Meeting.
Pictured from left are:Jack Semler, President, Promoting Partnerships in Public Education, Inc.; Dr. Paul Connelly, Springville GI Superintendent; Dr. Patrick Hurley, from the Springville Foundation Board; Andy Loeb, Awards Review Team chair; Karl Kristoff, Hodgson Russ and ECASB Counsel.
'Re-Visioning Ourselves' is Topic for School Board Leaders
Along with the new school year comes ongoing challenge and change in the world of education. With that in mind, 'Re-Visioning Ourselves: Making Schools Work in the Current Fiscal Framework' will be the topic when ECASB school board members and superintendents gather on Oct. 3rd for the Annual Leaders' Dinner, held in collaboration with the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association. Jeff Rabey, President of E-NSSA, will facilitate a panel discussion among Erie 1 and Erie 2 CC BOCES District Superintendents Don Ogilvie and David O'Rourke on what changes may be on the horizon in education's structure and instruction. School labor attorney Michael L. Munley will bring the labor relations perspective to the discussion.
Posted on Tuesday, 04 September 2012 15:01
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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:
P-16 Educational Leadership Consortium:
"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.