NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs... May 23, 2012

NYS PTA Advocacy Newsbriefs

Regents Review 2.0 - NY's Most Popular Regents Test Preparation Site

The 2012 Regents Review 2.0 programs are currently airing on NYS Public TV stations (contact your local station for a schedule of dates and times). The one-hour review shows in this Regents test preparation series also stream on the web at www.regentsreviewlive.net, where you'll also find exam dates and tips, links to TV stations, and more. The Regents exams covered are English, Integrated Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Earth Science, Living Environment, Chemistry, Physics, Global History & Geography, and US History & Government.

Webinar on PVC Plastic: Unhealthy for Kids and Schools

Healthy schools are critical to children's health. But PVC, or vinyl, is a toxic plastic that is common in school supplies and building materials. This plastic is often filled with phthalates – chemicals that have been banned in toys because they are harmful to children's health.
Learn more via a free webinar “What You Can Do To Reduce PVC Exposure” on May 23, 4:30 – 5:45 PM. Click here to register.

Safe Teen Driving

PTA partners with the New York Teen Safe Driving Coalition to educate and empower teens and parents to stay safe behind the wheel. The need for such knowledge is clear:

• Traffic crashes are the #1 killer of teens in New York and in the United States.
• Teens have the highest crash rate of any age group in New York.
• Over the past five years, crashes involving teen drivers have claimed over 1,000 lives in New York, and since 2000, more than 85,000 lives in the US.

May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month. No New York community has been untouched by the tragedy of teen driving accidents, but there are many good online resources you can use to combat the problem within your local high school and community:


Health Updates from National PTA

Competitive Foods:
The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act directs the USDA to set nutritional standards on “competitive foods” sold during school hours, including products from vending machine and school stores, à la carte breakfast or lunch items, and certain fundraisers. The USDA is expected to release its proposed rule before June 7, 2012 and will allow 90 days for public comment on the proposal. National PTA will submit comments, but state PTAs and individual members are also encouraged to do so. For model comments to customize and adapt, contact Mollie at mvanlieu@pta.org. Updated talking points will be made available when USDA releases its proposed rule.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!
National PTA provided comments to the USDA on its Food and Nutritional Service’s Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program (FFVP) proposed rule; the next step is for the USDA to review public comments and release an interim final rule. The FFVP is an important tool in US efforts to combat childhood obesity by helping schoolchildren learn healthful eating habits. The main goal of this very successful pilot program is to provide fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks during the school day. Eligibility is limited to elementary schools participating in the National School Lunch and/or Breakfast program, with at least 50% of students receiving free or reduced price lunch. Once a school joins the program, any student of any economic status is able to participate.
See www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/ffvp for details.

President Fletcher Testifies Before Congress

Maria Fletcher testifies before the US House SubcommitteePresident Maria Fletcher testifies before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education hearing, "Exploring State Success in Expanding Parent and Student Options". Check the NYS PTA homepage for more information.
May 23, 2012


Budget Vote

New Yorkers went to the polls May 15 to vote on school budgets that were drawn up for the first time under the restrictions of the new statewide 2% tax levy cap. In the end, 96% of budgets passed, a very slight increase over the average 94% approval rate for proposed budgets over the past few years.

Out of a total of 675 school districts, 93% put up budgets with increases that stayed within or below the tax levy limit, and all but five of these budgets passed. Forty-eight districts decided to present budgets with a tax cap override, which then had to receive the support of a 60% supermajority of voters to pass. Twenty-nine of them did, while 19 were voted down. In fact, some rejected budgets garnered a clear majority of votes, but fell short of the supermajority—in one district, by eight votes. This outcome prompted objections that the tax cap law “allows the minority to control the majority.”

Defeated budgets can come before voters once more, on June 19. If a budget proposal is rejected a second time, the district must resort to a contingency budget with no increase in spending over the level of the previous year, an outcome all school districts are anxious to avoid.

June Health Dates for Advocacy/Education

"Advocacy is at the heart of PTA's mission and vision. Taking action provides both parents and PTA leaders with the resources to become more involved with their community at home and their community across the nation."  

Special Education Notes

The NYSED website has some new policy memos about special education which reflect important changes that you need to be aware of.

Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, there will no longer be an IEP diploma. It has been replaced by the “Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential.” Additional information is available by clicking here.

Another area of discussion is the need for a student to have a one-to-one aide. The memo that provides guidance for both CSE and CPSE in determining a student’s need for a one-to-one aide can be found here.

Each state must report to the US Department of Education any regulations, policies, etc. that are different than what the Federal government allows. This area will continue to generate discussion as NYS seeks to provide mandate relief and intends to get more in line with the Federal standards (generally lower than NYSED standards). Read the document by clicking here.

Sign up for more NYSED updates by clicking here.

Did You Know...
The NYS Board of Regents meets monthly, except for August. To access the 2012 meeting schedule, agendas, materials and webcast opportunities, go to: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings

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