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June 2014

Vol. 3, Issue 6

Across the Board

           A WPSBA Publication

Wishing You a Peaceful Summer            
Greetings, Colleagues.

There is no better reinforcement of why we serve as Board of Education members than attending high school graduation.  It is a privilege standing alongside our graduating seniors as they receive their diplomas -- it's a remarkable capstone to each year of our collective work as trustees of our respective school districts.null

 As we near the close of the 2013-2014 school year, I would like to acknowledge all of our WPSBA member districts for their ongoing efforts towards ensuring that public education endures and provides access to all.
With great contributions from our valued WPSBA office team and in tandem with our many coalition partners, I'd like to thank everyone for all that has been accomplished this school year on behalf of the nearly 180,000 students we represent in Westchester and Putnam counties.

We've done a lot, and will continue to do a lot, on behalf of students and our school districts.

Here's to wishing you all a peaceful summer.
The NY Legislative Session Ends with Little Fanfare
The NYS legislative session has officially ended, and unlike past years, there were no last minute issues that required us to quickly rally the troops. The one year extension on school district use of lever voting machines (which our region lobbied for), APPR test moratorium for teacher evaluations, and Abbott School closure bill will go before the Governor for approval. Using the David Little (NYSSBA) "Do No Harm" barometer, the legislature ended the session without inflicting any scars on public school districts!         
Calling All Public Policy Mavens!


 "EPFP is a truly unique professional experience.  It features outstanding guest speakers and

stimulating discussions about the policies that shape education.  The information and insights gained

are extraordinary and are directly related to the challenges educators experience every day." 

~ Robert Feirsen, Superintendent, Garden City UFSD


Registration for the 2014-15 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) is now open!


Part of a national program, the New York Metro EPFP is a unique, part-time, ten-month professional development experience designed to focus on education policy issues and strategic leadership development for local school board members and superintendents.  This year, the sessions will focus on national and state school reform and how they are influencing change and accountability at the local school district level. EPFP Fellows will meet at Teachers College in NYC on six Fridays to discuss these issues with guest speakers working in the education policy arena.  Fellows also attend an optional Regional Leadership Forum on October 9-10 at the Gettysburg Battlefield and the U.S. Army War College, and the Washington Policy Seminar in DC in April 19-22, 2015.

The NY Metro program is run by the Dept. of Education Policy & Social Analysis at Teachers College, Columbia University, Westchester Putnam School Boards Association (WPSBA), and the Center for Educational Leadership at P/NW BOCES.

Click here to read the invitation letter, draft calendar, and the application form. Please contact us for further information.


  WPSBA  Annual  Meeting & Dinner in Pictures           

WPSBA continues to work to pro-actively address key public education issues, offer timely, relevant programs and provide regional data analysis while being responsive to member district needs. We are proud of the work we have done on your behalf, and would like to share some highlights that support our 2013-14 goals:

  1. Promote public education and support the professional development of school board members through programs, community education, and online efforts.

    1. WPSBA strives to keep board members current on education, governance and policy issues. Our current issues programs and workshops this past year included:

      • Breakfast & Network program with small table discussions on timely school board issues (October) and Dine & Network program on Budgeting Under the Tax Levy Limit (March)

      • BOE/Superintendent Joint Dinner with Dr. Chris Tienken speaking about the Common Core, Data and Accountability (November)

      • Panel discussion on Student Data Privacy which included Mary Fox-Alter, Superintendent, Pleasantville UFSD; Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters; David Shaw, Partner, Shaw, Perelson, May, & Lambert, LLP; Ken Wagner, NYSED Deputy Commissioner- Curriculum, Assessment, Educational Technology; and Jay Worona, General Counsel, NYSSBA (December)

      • Lecture by Dr. Diane Ravitch, open to the entire school community (January)

      • Spring Negotiations Roundtable which focused on the nuances of the negotiation process, key participants, and the elements in the negotiated contract itself.

      • Annual Dinner Meeting and Program with Jack Zaccara speaking on Creating 21c Leaders.

    2. Data: Our annual WPSBA "School District Proposed Budget Survey," a compilation and analysis of the proposed budget data you provide to us every week between February and April, is highly anticipated by our members. WPSBA also regularly reviews NYS data runs, extracts our regional data, and then analyzes and distributes the information via email, newsletters and on our website.

    3. Trainings & Professional Development: As an SED-approved provider of the 6 hour mandated Governance Training for newly elected board members, our "local, hands-on" Governance Seminar provides a solid foundation for school board members. Each year we also offer Prospective and Now That You're Elected workshops, and assign every newly elected board member a school board mentor to help ease their transition. WPSBA also runs three District Clerks programs each year to help them keep current and network regarding protocols and best practices.

    4. Online Efforts: We strive to keep our website up to date with useful data, links and public education information, and continue to use Twitter with some regularity (and Facebook with less regularity). We encourage you to visit our website and to follow us: on twitter and like us on Facebook: WPSBA.

  2. Work to create a coordinated Public Education Advocacy campaign:

    1. WPSBA has played a key role in collaborative regional efforts to address Federal and State public education issues such as student data privacy, common core implementation, high stakes assessments, State aid to education (GEA and reduced aid since 2008), and the continued use of lever voting machines by school districts and the five year property tax freeze.Wecontinue to collaborate with superintendents, municipal officials, business leaders, PTA chairs, community coalitions and other education and child oriented groups to further our goals. Our 2013-14 VoterVoice campaigns totaled 2,144 people sending 18,831 letters to their state legislators, Regents Phillips, Chancellor Tisch, Commissioner John King and Governor Cuomo!

    2. WPSBA initiated a highly effective GEA advocacy effort using our GEA Toolkit for school districts. The Toolkit included regional and school district data, a customizable GEA/Restore Our School Funding Resolution for School Districts (34 districts passed a Resolution and sent it to Albany), draft letters to legislators, and an online VoterVoice GEA letter.

    3. WPSBA regularly communicates and facilitates meetings with our legislators. In addition, legislators frequently reach out to us regarding public education issues or requests for background data. We annually partner with our area superintendents for our Legislative Forum with table discussions to promote conversations with legislators on key issues related to public education.

    4. WPSBA is frequently quoted in news articles, participates in panels on public education issue. We have developed a strong reputation as a regional voice for public education.

  3. Implement and assess new bylaws, committee structure and policies, and enhance internal communications among WPSBA Board of Directors (BOD). Promote efforts to foster continuous improvement.

    1. Under our March 2013 bylaws, the role of the Audit and Finance Committee has been expanded. Its charge includes developing the budget, reviewing the audit, addressing any financial policies, preparing a comparative analysis of the Executive Director's compensation package, and ensuring WPSBA operates in a manner consistent with its 501c(3) status. WPSBA submits an annual 990 report (which is a public document) and while not required by law, the Association goes through a full audit each year. Under the new bylaws, the WPSBA budget is approved by the BOD and sent to the Membership for review at least 25 days prior to the Annual Meeting, at which time it is presented by the Treasurer. These internal and external procedures provide a high level of oversight. We are happy to provide additional information upon request.

    2. The Executive Committee now includes the Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee and is charged with maintaining surveillance of the business and affairs of the Association and personnel policies and evaluations. The Executive Committee reviews the Executive Director (with input from the BOD). A report of each Executive Board meeting is shared with the BOD. The Nominating Committee makes recommendations to the Membership regarding the composition of the Board. Its report is sent to members two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting, at which time the Membership votes on the slate. The WPSBA bylaws and policies are posted on our website.

    3. WPSBA works to continually improve our operation and  meet the needs of our member districts. Each year, we survey our Board of Directors regarding internal operations and the committee structure. An ad hoc committee, as needed, will review the implementation of the bylaws. Our annual membership survey is sent to every board of education member and includes questions regarding WPSBA's services and programs, topics of interest to our members, and how we can better serve your needs.


The Westchester Putnam School Boards Association is YOUR regional organization. We look forward to another productive year and welcome your participation, input and suggestions.


Watch for our 2014-15 calendar and have a wonderful summer.  

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