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September, 2011 

Vol. 1, Issue 1


Across the Board

A Publication of WPSBA

 Brave New World

     Welcome back!  The 2011-12 school year will be a year of firsts, and I can't help thinking about the blessing/curse, "May you live in interesting times."  As board members, we will no doubt have an interesting experience in our school districts maintaining quality educational programs, navigating the negotiation process with the APPR and building a budget with our new property tax cap.

     At WPSBA, we believe the best wakendally to approach all of the "newness" to our job as board members is to learn as much as we can and to collaborate with our peers across Westchester and Putnam counties. We look forward to offering the Mandatory NYS School Board Member Governance Seminar to our region to bring the newly elected up to speed.   Even for experienced board members, it's a brave new world, and we have worked hard over the summer to line up informative programs to help  districts thrive in our "interesting times."

     I would like to extend a big thank you to Board Members and Superintendents who responded to our summer survey.  As you can see, we've lined up our Fall calendar to respond to your desires to learn more about the APPR, the property tax cap, and budgeting in our "new normal."  I look forward to meeting many of you at the upcoming programs.  


                                                   Kendall Egan

                                                                     WPSBA President 


Note: WPSBA welcomes Kendall Egan as our new board president. A member of the Rye City School BOE and an active member of WPSBA, Kendall brings a great deal of knowlege, energy, and insight to the position. We also welcome new WPSBA Executive Board Members Jeffrey Hastie (New Rochelle), Stephen Jambor (Brewster), Wendy Naidich (Hastings), Richard Rugani (Bronxville), and Brett Summers (Byram Hills).  For a full list of our Executive Board Members, CLICK HERE.

In This Issue
From the President
Upcoming Events
Legislative Advocacy
B.O.E. Award

Quick Links



You Asked For It,

You Got It

Hold the "tweeting" and  "facebooking" and give us a good old-fashioned news letter, email style.  That was the resounding response from you, our members, in our recent "Member Services Survey." So here it is: our first issue of "Across the Board," a publication designed to keep you up-to-date on board news, legislative issues, and WPSBA programs and happenings.

Happy Reading!  

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Mark Your Calendars Now!

Fasten your seatbelts.... It's going to be a bumpy ride. Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association is working to provide shock absorbers for your district with fall programming on the critical issues. Check the 2011-12 WPSBA calendar for programs that address the key issues that are on your mind.


APPR: Navigating the Board's Role

Thursday, September 22nd from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Pleasantville High School, Pleasantville, NY 


While each of your districts have already dedicated innumerable hours to plan for the initial implementation phase of the APPR regulations and the training of your evaluation team, it is but the tip of the iceberg. How can a board of education exercise local control over the APPR evaluation process and ensure that the district's core values around teaching and learning remain strong? This WPSBA program will hone in on the key issues for board members as they incorporate the APPR evaluation process into their district culture, and how best to prepare for Phase 2, which takes effect in the summer of 2012.


Mandatory New School Board Member Governance Seminar (6 hour training)

Saturday, September 24th from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

2 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY
Register through your district clerk
Fee of $165 includes breakfast, lunch, materials, and reference books.

School district governance becomes more complicated every year, and WPSBA wants to ensure that our newest board members are well prepared for board service. To that end, WPSBA has become an SED approved provider of this newly mandated training. Districts are encouraged to send a veteran board member to learn alongside those newly elected.


Negotiations Roundtable 

Thursday, October 13th from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
2 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY

Now, more than ever, it is critical that board members truly understand the negotiations landscape and share information with colleagues in other districts. This semi-annual program delves into recently negotiated contracts, current issues at the negotiations table, state union positions, and recent trends. Speakers will include representatives from districts with recently negotiated contracts providing highlights of the negotiations process and outcome, and school district attorneys.  Also, be sure to check the District Data tab on the WPSBA website regularly for posted MOAs from area districts.  If your district has not sent us your recent MOA(s), we encourage you to utilize the WPSBA website to share your negotiated contracts with your school board colleagues.


Property Tax Cap... Now What? 

Friday, October 21st from 8:00 am to 9:45 am

(breakfast prepared by SWBOCES culinary students) 

SWBOCES Career Services Campus, Building I, Valhalla


June ended in a flurry with the NYS legislature ratifying a last minute tax cap proposal. With the details of the tax cap calculations still being unraveled,  what can districts do now to prepare for the 2012-13 budget process? Gather information to help your district determine a plan of action, as school business officials share their insights on tax cap parameters, exemptions, and strategies for sharing budget updates with the community.


Annual Joint Superintendent-Board Member Dinner 

Budgeting in the New Normal:

"A Tale of 2 States - Tax Cap Lessons from Massachusetts and New Jersey"

Monday, November 14th from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm

DoubleTree Tarrytown, Tarrytown
Invitations to be sent in October

What can we learn from the experiences in Massachusetts and New Jersey about how a tax cap affects school district operations and short and long term planning? You won't want to miss this panel discussion with representatives from Massachusetts and New Jersey who will share best practices, strategies, and the negotiations realities of life under a tax cap. Join your colleagues from Westchester, Putnam, Rockland for what promises to be a provocative, yet informative evening.

Latest From Albany - Legislative Advocacy and Mandate Relief

Capitol BldgWe have the tax cap, but where is the mandate relief that was supposed to come next? That will be the top question we pose to legislators, as we meet with them throughout the school year. 


Mandate Review Council

     NYS Statute S5856 enacts the tax cap and also provides for a new Mandate Review Council. Within the statute, S666 addresses the Mandate Review Council, and states that each local government/school district "may ask the Council to review a specific statute, regulation, rule or order of state government to determine whether such statute, regulation, rule or order of state government is an unfunded mandate or is otherwise unsound, unduly burdensome or costly as to require that it be eliminated or reformed. No local government may make more than three such requests in each calendar year."     

     WPSBA is also pleased to be represented on Senator Greg Ball's Mandate Relief Advisory Council, which includes public schools and local government. The Council held two meetings over the summer, and Lisa Davis subsequently met with the Senator's Director of Legislative Affairs to provide background information on the education mandates. The key issues that have been discussed are: Medicare Part B reimbursement provisions, new Pension Tier (hybrid option), definition of "ability to pay" as it relates to the NYS tax cap, Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Laws (exclude steps and lane increments during an expired contract); NYS special education regulations that supercede the federal guidelines; State minimum employee health insurance contribution; LIFO (last in, first out) requirement.  

     WPSBA believes there is power in numbers, and we will be working to help districts coordinate their efforts and ensure that the mandates that most impact our districts' budgets and/or operations are repeatedly brought before the Mandate Review Council.


Community Advocacy

     Community engagement is a critical element in all of our advocacy efforts. WPSBA has been actively promoting the importance of community engagement around the critical legislative mandates and issues that highjack the expenditure sitidbit updatedde of the school district budget, and lead to higher local property taxes. The WPSBA Legislative Advocacy Committee (LAC) meets several times a year to develop legislative priorities and regional talking points. Fall meetings will be held on November 10th and December 8th (details on the WPSBA calendar). Join us as we discuss the issues that affect public school districts and gather critical data in order to advocate for our regional issues.

     Lisa Davis has also taken the show on the road, and met with PTA leaders and community groups in several districts.  Some have been arranged through the board of education and some through the PTA. Our presentation includes NYS Government 101, NYS Regents and SED, federal role in public education, state and federal funding of education, legislation and mandates that impact school operations or budgets, and how to be an advocate. If you are interested in setting up a meeting in your district, please contact WPSBA for further information.

And the "B.O.E." Goes To....

david saul

2010-11 WPSBA President David Lacher, presented the organization's "B.O.E. Award" to retiring Regent Saul Cohen at this year's Annual Dinner in June. Regent Cohen was honored for his  service and outstanding contributions to public education. That same evening, David received the "Distinguished Service Award" for his  leadership at WPSBA. A round of applause to both of our award winners.