Support & Opposition Memos

Syracuse 5th grade moving up22018 Memos

A.7966-C / S.6551-C

June 19, 2018


A.7966-C Peoples – Stokes Passed Assembly

S.6551-C Jacobs – Passed Senate

The Conference of Big 5 School Districts strongly supports A.7966-C (Peoples-Stokes)/S.6551-C (Jacobs), which would reimburse school districts outside of New York City for supplemental charter school tuition payments in the current school year.

This measure would eliminate the one-year lag for supplemental charter school tuition payment reimbursement that is currently imposed upon school districts. Under this proposal, school districts would receive reimbursement for supplemental charter school tuition payments in the same year in which the payments are made thereby allowing school districts to utilize their state aid increases next year without offsets. While the timing of the payments would change, there would be no fiscal impact to the State.

Our school districts are facing significant budgetary challenges and they cannot afford to advance funds for the State and wait until the following school year to be paid back. Requiring them to do so places an unnecessary and onerous burden on them, negatively impacts their ability to fully support critical programs and denies enhanced opportunities for their students. Reimbursing school districts in the same school year that these payments are made would free up scarce funds and enable them to put more resources into classrooms and toward efforts to improve student achievement without impacting the State.

This legislation passed the Assembly overwhelmingly by 137-1 this year and there is no reported opposition. For all of the above stated reasons, the Conference of Big 5 School Districts urges your support and approval of A.7966-C (Peoples-Stokes)/S.6551-C (Jacobs).

Download Support memo here: Support Memo A.7966C_S.6551C

S.6141-D / A.8123-B

June 5, 2018


S.6141-D Golden – Senate Finance Committee

A.8123-B Gottfried – Assembly Education Committee

The Conference of Big 5 School Districts strongly opposes S.6141-D (Golden)/A.8123-B (Gottfried) which would alter the procedure for parents and guardians to exempt their children on religious grounds from immunizations required to attend public school.

Current law authorizes parents and guardians to obtain an exemption from immunizations for religious beliefs through a procedure that enables school districts to thoughtfully consider such requests so that the exemption is not exploited. This bill would oversimplify the process by merely requiring parents and guardians to complete a form in order to receive a religious exemption.

There is significant research demonstrating that serious infection rates increase substantially when vaccination rates decrease. Infectious diseases such as measles, varicella, pertussis and polio occur at higher rates among unvaccinated students. One of the greatest benefits of vaccinating students is the concept of “herd immunity” which protects those students who are immunocompromised where exposure to the stated infectious viruses can cause serious illness or death. Immunocompromised students include but are not limited to those that are being treated for cancers, pulmonary diseases, thyroid disease, lupus, HIV and other conditions. This Legislation will make it easier for parents and guardians to avoid vaccinating their children which in turn increases the risk of preventable disease outbreaks and the potential for unnecessary illness and deaths, especially in immunocompromised students.

The Conference of Big 5 School Districts supports the rights of parents and guardians with religious objections to immunizations and believes the current procedures in place for obtaining exemptions are sufficient. This bill is unnecessary and could present a public health risk to public school children by increasing the number of unvaccinated pupils. For these reasons, we urge you to reject S.6141-D/A.8123-B.

Download Support memo here: Opposition Memo – S.6141D_A.8123B


June 5, 2018


A.10427-A Barron

On 6/6/18 Assembly Education Committee Agenda

The Conference of Big 5 School Districts, on behalf of the New York City Department of Education, strongly supports A.10427-A (Barron), which would establish a new admissions procedure for specialized high schools in New York City.

The New York City Department of Education currently relies on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) in order to select students for enrollment at specialized high schools in New York City, with the exception of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

This bill sets forth a new admissions procedure that would be phased-in over three years. Under the new system, seats at these schools would be reserved for middle school pupils with the highest averages based upon multiple measures with remaining spaces filled through a random selection process from a pool of pupils with a minimum grade point average.

The current admissions policy is overly restrictive with its sole reliance on the SHSAT. Middle school students in New York City should be afforded the opportunity to attend specialized high schools if they demonstrate excellence in their studies. This bill would expand the pool of eligible applicants and foster greater student diversity thereby resulting in enrollments that are far more reflective of District demographics.

For all of the aforementioned reasons, the Conference of Big 5 School Districts, on behalf of the New York City Department of Education, urges your approval of A.10427-A (Barron).

Download Support memo here: Support Memo – A.10427A