Archive for April, 2012

Friday Wrap-Up — April 20, 2012

April 20th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

News items we highlighted on our Twitter page and website this week:

  • How the new property tax cap is affecting school district budgeting  is getting more focused attention in the media.
  • A report on the recently enacted state budget projects a small overall deficit and a 3.5 percent School Aid increase for next year.
  • The state’s English Language Arts assessment was given to 3rd through 8th graders this week.  The Wall Street Journal reports that the Board of Regents will consider giving high school students alternatives to the Global History and Geography Exam as a requirement for graduation.
  • Plus pieces on teacher evaluations and mandate relief.

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State budget outlook for 2013-14 and beyond…

April 20th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

By law, the Governor’s Budget Division is required to publish quarterly reports on the state’s financial plan – the implementation of the current year’s budget and the outlook for the next few years following.

This is one area where the performance of state government has improved over the past decade or so – the volume of information now disclosed in these reports is impressive.

The first report on the recently enacted 2012-13 state budget was released yesterday.  As one would expect (or hope), it concludes that budget is balanced.

Looking to the future, it projects a small structural deficit for 2013-14, and a $712 (3.5 percent) increase in School Aid.

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Democracy works

April 17th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

Sometimes.  At least in schools.

This weekend, the Journal News published a comprehensive article analyzing school spending and taxing trends since 2003-04 in its readership area, the lower Hudson Valley.

The Journal News notes that average annual spending increases dropped by six percentage points between two four-year periods —  7.6. percent a year between 2003-04 and 2007-08 and 1.6 percent annually over the four years since.

Today, the paper has a follow-up editorial, “School districts learn their lesson,” and ascribes the change chiefly to an influx of more fiscally conservative school board members.

The shift in school spending and taxing occurred statewide.  My own sense, looking at the state as a whole, is that the change happened because superintendents and board members – veteran as well as new – recognized it had to:  following the “Great Recession,” taxpayers either could not or would not support a continuation of increases that had been common.

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Category: Finance, State Budget | 2 Comments »

Time for learning

April 16th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

Last month the Council sent the members of the State Board of Regents a white paper on regulatory actions they could take to give schools additional flexibility to support raising student achievement.

The paper was drafted by the Council’s Executive Director, Robert Reidy, with input from Council leaders, former superintendents, and Council staff.

The thrust of the recommendations is to give schools more flexibility in the use of their most finite resource – time with students.

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Category: Standards & Assessments, Teachers | 1 Comment »

Friday Wrap-Up — April 13, 2012

April 13th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

The debate over teacher evaluations continued to be the most discussed issue in state education policy this week.

Also, it was “Kids Speak Week” at the Education Speaks blog – students supplied essays and videos on how budgeting decisions were affecting their schools.

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Category: Finance, Legislation, Politics, State Budget, Teachers | 1 Comment »

Friday wrap-up — and Saturday and Sunday too — April 9, 2012

April 9th, 2012 by Robert Lowry

Items we highlighted via twitter and our homepage this past week included budgeting issues, State Education Department activities, teacher evaluations, teacher hearing procedures and a new education lobbying group.  Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Finance, Legislation, Standards & Assessments, State Budget, Teachers | 1 Comment »