Unfunded Mandates

I was cheerily planning an in-depth look at the new Annual Professional Performance Requirements (APPR) for this blog post.  APPR is yet another component of New York State’s drive to compete for Federal Race to the Top Funding.  And I do plan to examine this shortly.  But after last night’s Board of Education meeting on the upcoming budget, I’m trying to make sense of how we can have a $3 million gap in our budget.  Every year we’re told that the budget is prudent, fiscally disciplined and balancing the needs of our community and our schools.  And every year is another story about tightening our belts, scaling back and making hard decisions.

Why can’t Ossining control its spending?

The fact of the matter is that many, many factors are beyond the District’s control.  I know, they tell us this every year. “Unfunded Mandates” they call them.  So I decided to get a list of these mandates and see for myself.

Our neighboring district of Blind Brook in Rye has put together a clear, concise and exhaustive list of many of the mandates that New York State requires school districts to follow.  Almost all of these require additional funding that the State does not provide, so the cost is borne entirely by the individual Districts.  Here is the Blind Brook list:

Unfunded New York State and Federal Mandates and Mandatory Reporting Requirements:

Local Assistance Plan
Public School Performance Report
Professional Performance Review Plan
Professional Performance Annual Report
Corrective Action Plan
Annual Program Report: Educationally Related Support Services Professional Development Plan
Professional Development Plan Report
Local Special Education Comprehensive System of Personnel Development School District Report Card
BOCES Report Card
Academic Intervention Services Procedure
Uniform Violent Incident Reporting System
Child Abuse Reporting in an Educational Setting
School Based Shared Decision Making Plan
Instructional Computer Technology Plans
School District Property Tax Report Card
Individual Home Instruction Plan
Pupil Attendance and Record Keeping
Comprehensive Plan for Safety Education
Incarcerated Students Plan
Physical Education School District Plan
Occupational Education Plan
Education of Gifted and Talented Students Plan
Early Grade Size District Plan
Attendance Plan
Attendance Report
Set-Aside for Early Grade Intervention
Compensatory Education
Universal Pre-kindergarten Program Plan
Policy of Educating Pupil with Limited English Proficiency Comprehensive Long Range Plan for Educational Facilities 5-Year Capital Facilities Plan
Comprehensive Public School Safety Program
District Wide School Safety Plan
Building Level School Safety Plan
School Facility Report Card
Pesticide Notification Requirements
School Emergency Management Plan
Registry of all Students with Disabilities
School Policy on Procedures and Practices for Disabled Students District Plans
Special Education Space Requirements Plan
Personnel Development Plan for Special Education Individualized Educational Plans
Functional Behavior Assessment
Behavioral Intervention Plan
AIMS
LEAP Reporting
STEP Reporting
Mandated Testing and scoring
Annual Professional Performance Review
LEA for IDEA – Multiple Components
No Child Left Behind – Multiple Components
Statewide Data Collection – Data Warehousing District Data Manager
Grades 3 – 8 Testing, Scoring, Analyzing and Mailings Revised Math Curriculum
Inclusion Training and Staffing
Early Intervention – RTI
English Language Learners Instructional Support Teams
AIDS Education
Middle Level Education
Requirement for Teaching Assistants
Staff Development for Teacher Assistants
SED Core Curriculum and Assessments Revised Internal Auditor
Claims Auditor
Audit Committee
Audit Policy
Wellness Committee
Wellness Policy
Uniform Voting Dates – 1st and 2nd Budget Votes SEQRA Review by School Districts
Building Condition Survey SAVE Legislation Updated

Are you still with me?  I only skimmed this list myself, but present it to you in its entirety just to give you a sense of the breathtaking array of unfunded mandates our district is facing.  (For the entire list, visit the Blind Brook site here.)  And this list just includes mandates that have been implemented over the past several years.   It also answers the question, for me at least, why Ossining has such a seeming excess of administrators.  With all these reports and requirements, it takes a small army to keep up with it all.

I’ll have more to say on the budget process as we go forward, but I needed to put this down on paper to wrap my head around it.

Next entry — APPR, I promise!

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2 Responses to Unfunded Mandates

  1. stacey trap says:

    Thank you for supplying this information. It is a bit mind boggling to say the least. This should be posted by the board on their site and handed out at the meetings to give some perspective to the demands they are under.

  2. Sue M. says:

    Wow…and each one of those mandates began with an attempt to “fix” something someone didn’t like in a school. Many (most?) are worthy activities that parents of course think should be happening….but when added all up, they cost money.

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