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May 2, 2012

Vol. 1, Issue 5

Anita's award SIC
 State Issues Conference (Albany) March 2012

Across the Board

A Publication of WPSBA

Education Reform Initiatives and Protests

     Recent posts, by Diane Ravitch, Gail Collins (NY Times), Valerie Strauss (The Washington Post) and others, provide a glimpse into the flow of motives and money that support foundations, think tanks, not-for-profits, etc.  It is often a circuitous, and thus hard to follow, path that includes for-profits that have a financial stake in the education market as well as those who represent specific reform or interest groups.  The testing and technology arena seems to be prime turf, and it is refreshing to see daylight shine on these complex inter-relationships.  It will take a grass roots revolution to change the national direction. (Check out United Opt Out National: The Movement to end Corporate Education Reform.)  It looks like it may be starting!

     With that as a backdrop, it was interesting to read the April 30th press release for the Governor's Education Reform Commission which plastered a black mark on public education, ignoring the pockets, let alone swaths, of success in public school districts. There is not a parent, superintendent, administrator, teacher, regent, or school board member on the Commission. Rather it is NYC-centric, and is comprised of Albany regulars and gurus from think tanks, foundations, and private organizations.  

In This Issue
- Response to OpEd
- How About a Tweet?
- Where's Your Resolution?
- Negotiations & Celebrations
- News & Noteworthy

Quick Links



Weekly Budget Survey

Thank you to all districts who took part in our weekly budget survey.  We hope you've all found it helpful. 


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 WPSBA Speaks Out

 Journal News Community View: Local school boards

 stay obligated to community

On Saturday, April 21st The Journal News printed a letter to the editor (excerpt below) from WPSBA Executive Director Lisa Davis.  Lisa was responding to an editorial entitled "School districts learn their lesson" which was published on April 17th.   


     The Journal News editorial of April 17th gave the impression that board of education members prior to 2008 were not good fiduciary stewards, and only became so when fiscal conservatives were elected to school boards. We take issue with that premise. School budgets are the only local (or state) budgets which are directly voted on by the taxpayers, and this annual public referendum is a barometer of community sentiment...   To read the rest of Lisa's letter to the editor, CLICK HERE 


     Lisa was also invited to take part in  the May 2nd LoHud Editorial Spotlight on school budgets.  She was joined by superintendents Thomas Manko (Mahopac) and Edward Kliszus (Port Chester), and assistant superintendent for business, Timothy Costello (Mt. Vernon).

In Search of Golden Tweets for Our Golden Anniversary

Dear Members:

Q: What is a "Golden Tweet?"

A: It's a 21st century journal message of congratulations to celebrate WPSBA's 50th Anniversary!


And best of all, there's no real "tweeting" involved.  All you need to do is CLICK HERE and enter your message honoring WPSBA or school board service.  Tweets will be placed in our 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner  journal.  The cost is just $10 and can be paid by credit card through PayPal.  OR, you can submit your "tweet" the old fashioned way, by sending it via mail (WPSBA, 2 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY 10523) with a $10 check. Deadline for journal tweets is May 9th.


All proceeds from your Golden Tweets will help us underwrite the gala, keeping the cost reasonable for our districts.  We look forward to seeing you on May 31st!

Kendall Egan

WPSBA President

Mandate Relief Resolutions & Voting Machines

 Mandate Relief Resolutions 

      We're pleased that so many boards have rallied to the call to pass mandate resolutions for submission to the NYS Mandate Relief Council.  We thank those districts that have shared their resolutions with us.  For a listing of those districts and their resolutions, CLICK HERE.  If you would like more information on mandate relief or on the submission process, please visit the Mandate Relief Advocacy page of our website.     


Lever Voting Machines Need Your Vote of Support

     After much advocacy by WPSBA and our district clerks, we are delighted to announce that the NYS Senate passed S6296 allowing the continued use of lever voting machines in local elections.  A similar bill stands before the Assembly (A09178).  Please contact your legislators and let them know that school districts should not be forced to incur the additional costs of using the new electronic voting machines.

Programs You Won't Want to Miss!

WPSBA Negotiations Roundtable with Arbitrator Martin Scheinman

Friday, May 18 from 8:00 am to 9:45 am

2 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY 10523

To register, click here.


Martin Scheinman
Martin Scheinman

     What are the latest trends in bargaining and negotiations? The May 18th WPSBA Negotiations Roundtable promises to be a rare treat - one you won't want to miss.

     Mr. Martin F. Scheinman, a well-known and highly regarded arbitrator and mediator, will share his unique perspective on "Collective Bargaining and Current Trends in Negotiating." Mr. Scheinman  has been a full time ad hoc and contract arbitrator and mediator in the private and public sectors for over 30 years. He has arbitrated over 10,000 disputes including discipline and discharge, seniority, job classifications, incentive rates, promotions, pension funds, overtime, subcontracting, insurance and disability plans. The program is free for WPSBA members. Continental breakfast will be served.


50th Anniversary Gala Dinner

Thursday, May 31 from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Crabtree's Kittle House Restaurant

2 Kittle House Road, Chappaqua, NY

Cost: $50 per person (WPSBA member price)

Please register through your district clerk


     WPSBA is turning 50!  Join us as we celebrate our "50 Years Stron50thg for Education" wtih a Gala Anniversary Dinner on May 31st at the elegant Crabtree's Kittle House in Chappaqua.  The festivities will begin with a reception from 6-7 pm  followed by our dinner program.  MSNBC reporter and host Alex Witt will emcee as we celebrate WPSBA and honor US Congresswoman Nita Lowey and NYS Senator Suzi Oppenheimer for their contributions to public education.  Throughout the evening students will perform -- a vocalist from Byram Hills, a string quartet from Croton-Harmon, a cappella groups from Bedford and a Mamaroneck/Yorktown jazz combo.  So circle the date on your calendar and contact your district clerk to register. 


WPSBA Annual Meeting/Executive Board Meeting

Thursday, June 14 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Bedford CSD Administration Building

Route 172, Bedford (Fox Lane High School campus)

To RSVP, click here


     This year, given our 50th Anniversary celebration, WPSBA has moved the Annual Meeting to June.  The Annual Meeting and vote will take place at our scheduled WPSBA Executive Board Meeting on June 14th.  Ballots for the WPSBA Executive Board slate and for the WPSBA budget will be sent to our member school districts by May 14.  Each school board is asked to vote at a public meeting and then submit their ballots electronically, by fax or by mail.  While the submitted ballots will be tallied in advance of the meeting, disricts may send a representative to vote at the June 14th meeting. Anyone wishing to attend the WPSBA Annual Meeting/Executive Board meeting should click on the link above to RSVP.

News & Noteworthy

State Issues Conference

  Anita lifetime achievement award 2012     Anita SIC

Congratulations to Anita Feldman (pictured above left), who was recently honored by NYSSBA with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Anita, who serves as board of education president for Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES and as a member of the WPSBA board, was presented with this prestigious award at the State Issues Conference in March for her many years of advocacy and service to school boards.


 Legislative Forum   


forum 2012

Forum 5 2012


Forum 3 Castelli

forum 2 2012 Galef/Summers


Board of education members had the opportunity to share thoughts and concerns with our New York State Legislators at the March 8th WPSBA Legislative Forum held at Purchase Elementary School (Harrison UFSD).  Harrison superintendent Louis Wool, moderated the event.  A special thank you to Byram Hills superintendent Jackie Taylor who worked with table facilitators before the program to ensure a smooth flow of dialogue and exchange of ideas.  Pictured above clockwise: WPSBA board members and superintendents; Assemblyman George Latimer; Brett Summers (Byram Hills) and Assemblywoman Sandra Galef; Assemblyman Robert Castelli.