NYS PTA Lobby Day February 13

The mailing for NYS PTA Lobby Day and Key Advocacy Partner (KAP) training will be coming soon.

This year, we are changing the process to be a Region KAP. We are requesting that your region’s KAP be the region legislation chair or advocacy chair only.

In addition to participating on NYS PTA Lobby Day, Region KAPs will also be responsible to lead and assist with their region’s local legislative efforts during Virtual Lobby Week.

Regions without a legislation chair or an advocacy chair may designate a KAP to accept the same responsibilities.

Region KAP expenses will be covered by NYS PTA.

Regions and local units/councils will also be able to send additional representatives at their own expense.

Current Legislative Issues

Mid-Year Update to New York’s Financial Plan

In the coming months there will be many discussions about the 2017-18 state budget. With a $3.5 billion deficit, education advocates will be looking closely at tax caps and rising costs of budget items they have no control over like insurance, interest rates, foundation aid and retirement contributions. Review the FY 2017 Financial Plan Mid-Year Update here.

21st Century Cures Act Signed by President Obama

The Cures Act includes funding for substance use disorders, criminal justice reform, mental health, and research for cancer and brain diseases including Alzheimer’s. Read more here.

Region Advocacy

Central Hudson Region Advocacy Report

Central Hudson Region PTA helped organize two meetings between Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, NYSED staff and PTA leadership in the East Ramapo Central School District.

At the August meeting, the Commissioner shared the news of allocating $3 million in State Aid to the district, before it was publicly announced, and introduced the newly appointed State Monitor, Mr. Charles Szuberla.

Following a number of public hearings, NYSED granted the District’s request to utilize most of the funds to support a full day kindergarten program in East Ramapo, which kicked off on October 6.

Click here to read more.

Westchester-East Putnam Region (WEPR) Advocacy Report

The Yonkers Council of PTAs has set up a number of meetings with legislators in Albany on December 8, 2016 as part of their “Advocacy in Action Campaign.” They are traveling to meet with Senators, Assembly members, someone from the Democratic Assembly Ways and Means staff, the Independent Democratic Conference, a representative from the Senate Democrats Finance staff and the Division of the Budget. They are advocating for more education funding and for funding for the capital improvement plan, “Rebuild Yonkers Schools.”

The Journal News invited WEPR to an Editorial Board event on December 6, 2016 on recent issues in education in White Plains. Stephanie Fehr represented WEPR, along with Mary Fox-Alter from the Superintendents Council, Steve Jambor from the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association and Chancellor Rosa.


NYS Assembly Education Committee Testimony and Hearings

Executive Director Kyle McCauley Belokopitsky shared testimony at an Assembly Education Committee hearing on the education of ELL/ENL students. Research on ELLs’ capacity to graduate on time and research on the benefits of bilingualism support the need for greater and predictable funding for ELL education. Video of testimony by the Commissioner of Education, Regent Reyes and all stakeholder groups was informative and persuasive.

The Assembly Education Committee also held hearings on New York’s need to support schools with direct funding for mandated and effective ELL/ENL strategies. Read more here.

School Funding

NYS PTA, with other education partners, helped conversations that Columbia Teachers College and the Campaign for Educational Equity used when they produced five research studies on:

  1. Roadmap to safeguard student’s right
  2. Funding regulatory gaps
  3. Using a Constitutional Cost Methodology
  4. Ensuring Resource Accountability
  5. Constitutional Cost Methodology

NYSSBA Report: Community Schools Level The Playing Field

The NYSSBA report on Community Schools  provides simple to understand information about how schools can help students overcome adversity.

Special Education

Closed Caption Movie Theater Ruling

The US Attorney General signed a final rule that requires movie theaters to have and maintain equipment necessary to provide closed captioning for individuals who require and request it. The new rule will take effect January 17, 2017 and movie theaters must be in compliance by June 2, 2018. Click here for more info.

ELA Testing Accommodations

The NYS Education Department (SED) released a document that describes the changes in allowable testing accommodations on the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts Assessments. Beginning in 2017, students who require that tests be read aloud (by way of human reader or technology) must be provided this testing accommodation in accordance with the specifications in the IEP/504 Plan. Read more here.

Justice Involved Youth

The US Department of Education released resources to help justice-involved youth transition back to traditional school settings. Additional information can be found here.

Surviving Holidays for Special Needs Kids

Holidays can be very stressful for kids with special needs. Events that most family members enjoy can be overwhelming. Additional information can be found here.

Behavioral Supports Under IDEA

The US Department of Education has issued a document reminding school districts of the importance of providing positive behavioral supports under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for students with disabilities. Additional information can be found here.

Other Information

The Centers for Disease Control website has a lot of important and useful information for parents.

The College Board announced easier accommodation access for SAT testing.

The NYS Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR), with the State Rehabilitation Council, seek input on proposed policy changes to assist work placement policies for students with disabilities. Find out more here.


New PSAs for #CombatAddiction Campaign

These new PSAs will inform New Yorkers about substance use disorder treatment and support services. Click here for more.

Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit

The US Food and Nutrition Services Team Nutrition Initiative developed a free Local Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit for school districts. Share it with your Wellness Team to insure that all policies are up to date. Find out more here.

US Surgeon General Released Two New Reports That Impact Youth and Families

The first Surgeon General report explores the science of substance use, misuse and disorders. Read more here.

The second Surgeon General report raises public health concerns about e-cigarette use among youth and young adults. Read more here.

Prescription Pain Killers

According to a recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), prescription painkillers are more widely used than tobacco. In 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid painkillers killed nearly 19,000 Americans, more than the number of Americans (15,809) who were murdered that year. Click here for more.

Safe Drinking Water

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has outlined actions to improve the safety and reliability of our nation’s drinking water. They have released a plan that serves as a national call to action, urging all levels of government, utilities, community organizations and other stakeholders to work together to increase the safety and reliability of drinking water. Read the entire article here.

Funding for College Based Coalitions

Governor Cuomo announced that there is now $2.5 million available to prevent underage drinking and substance abuse at 20 SUNY and CUNY college campuses. With these funds, each SUNY and CUNY grant recipient will develop a campus community coalition and foster community partnerships to help strengthen local prevention efforts. Find out morehere.

Getting to Zero

Governor Cuomo announced a series of groundbreaking new initiatives to end the AIDS epidemic in New York. He signed comprehensive legislation that will eliminate testing barriers for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, increase access to prevention and treatment, and expand research capabilities. Read more here.

Juvenile Protection

National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is holding a poster contest for fifth graders. Deadline is February 1, 2017. Find out more here.

December-January Awareness Events


National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Safe Toys and Gifts Month


National Birth Defects Prevention Month
Third Monday of Month: King Day of Service
January 16-20: No Name Calling Week
January 26: 10th Annual Drug and Alcohol Chat Day
January 23-29: National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

To view the entire Wellness Calendar, click here. An updated calendar will be posted soon.