Posts tagged ‘Taylor Law’

January 9, 2013

Quick Links – Top-paying jobs for community college graduates; no mandate relief in New York; high salary for high school principal; plus more

by Grace

◊◊◊ Top ten jobs for two-year graduates (Community College Spotlight)

The top job is an air traffic controller,with a median 2010 salary of $108,040.

ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Mandate Relief Council voted down 51 of 65 requests for help from local governments and school districts Tuesday, approving 14 suggestions for review of state mandates for special education and two other school issues….

The Council also recommended further study of a request to drop the state mandate for school districts with fewer than 1,000 pupils to have internal auditors on staff; and a state Education Department rule that mandates students get a “minimum number of minutes per week (seat time), by grade level and subject area.”

Requests to reduce the crippling pension costs were among those that were rejected.

They rejected requests to reduce the mandate to transport private school students; to reform teacher tenure and “last in, first out” work rules; to change the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law that keeps automatic teacher pay raises in place after a contract has expired; and to reduce the cost of public employee and teacher pensions. The requests included letting school districts create pension reserve funds, but that was rejected because it was an expansion of district authority, not a state mandate.

Also rejected were local government requests regarding the Wicks public works contracting law, health insurance contributions, restrictions on new unfunded mandates, tax cap exemptions, legal services for the poor and the MTA commuter tax.

Staff of the panel said that the rejected requests were beyond the scope and the authority of the council to decide because they were matters of state law, covered by local union contracts, or otherwise not a qualified candidate for elimination or reform.

I believe a constitutional amendment is needed to reduce pension costs, one of the most costly state mandates.  If that’s the case, the Council could have made that recommendation.  You can see a copy of the full report at the Mandate Relief Council site.

New York’s highest-salaried school principal, James Ruck, who has led Harrison High since 2006, will earn $245,728 this year, setting a new standard for a building administrator in the nation’s hottest market for education leaders.

Ruck, 68, the former schools superintendent at Suffolk County’s Sachem Central schools, augments his Harrison pay with an estimated $131,352 a year in pension payments, pushing his annual income to more than $377,000. Ruck, of Northport, intends to step down from Harrison in June

About 1,000 students attend Harrison High School.

  ‘Motivation, Not IQ, Matters Most for Learning New Math Skills’ (Time)

But IQ does matter in overall math achievement levels.

… While some element of math achievement may be linked to natural inborn intelligence, when it comes to developing skills during high school, motivation and math study habits are much more important than IQ, according to a new study…

To their surprise, the researches found that IQ does not predict new learning — in other words, intelligence as measured by the IQ test does not indicate how likely students are to pick up new concepts or accumulate new skills. While children with higher IQs did have higher test scores from the beginning of the study, how much newmaterial the kids learned over the years was not related to how smart they were, at least not once demographic factors were taken into account.

“Students with high IQ have high math achievement and students with low IQ have low math achievement,” Murayama says. “But IQ does not predict any growth in math achievement. It determines the starting point.”

April 12, 2012

New York public school mandate relief petition launched by BEST4NY

by Grace

Westchester County taxpayers are letting legislators know that escalating state-mandated costs are eroding educational opportunities for our children.

A coalition of tax watchdog groups from 16 Westchester school districts is setting its sights on an elusive target: the complex web of state rules and regulations that force districts to spend tax money.

The new coalition, calling itself BEST4NY, is launching an online petition for local relief from state “mandates.” It is holding a public rally at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Greenburgh Town Hall.

“We felt like people who are concerned about the neighborhoods and villages and towns should be involved in this,” said Roger Scheiber of Hastings-on-Hudson, one of five executive committee members running the new group. “We realized that these school budgets are so complex and that once the tax cap got passed, the big issue, the really big issue, became mandates.”

BEST4NY, with the tagline ” Better Education and Smarter Taxation for New York”is modeled after NYSUT, the New York teachers union and political lobbying organization that is a statewide organization with local chapters in different school districts.  In this way, BEST4NY could be viewed as a union for taxpayers and parents.

Widespread agreement that we need mandate relief

Growing numbers of school, municipal and business officials — not to mention Gov. Andrew Cuomo — are calling for the state Legislature to remove some of the hundreds of state rules that force communities to spend money. But the Legislature has been slow to reach agreements because there are so many mandates, great and small, and most are supported by special interests.

School districts say that mandates account for 15 to 20 percent of their overall budgets, dictating spending on everything from data collection and curriculum changes to pension contributions and construction.

Pensions are out of control

I’m glad to see that pension contributions are included in this petition since skyrocketing public pension costs are “the single biggest threat” to local schools’ ability to deliver educational  services for New York children.  In our local district, pension costs have risen more than 50% over the last two years and now account for 7.2% of the total budget, up from 5.1% in 2010-11.  This has meant ongoing cuts in student services as taxes are diverted to pay for pensions.  The trend is up, and by 2015 pension costs are expected to eat up 35 percent of property tax collections.

The Wicks Law and the Triborough Amendment are two other burdensome mandates

… the Wicks Law, which requires districts and local governments to use multiple contractors for construction projects; and the Triborough Amendment, which requires that public-employee union contracts stay in effect until a new contract is reached, perhaps reducing the incentive to negotiate.

“There is no traction in either house to repeal the Triborough because the unions oppose it,” said Castelli, who has sponsored bills to reform and repeal it. …

The  BEST4NY online petition calling for mandate relief:

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