Sunday, November 2, 2008

Look-Up Your School's FY 09 Budget

See the link( FY09 School Budgets Look-up) to find your school's budget allocations for this year (FY09). You will need to put your school's borough letter followed by the school number to access the information. It will have information comparing last years budget (FY 08) with this year's (FY 09). It will also have the Contract for Excellence Funds your school received from the State.

Ask your principal to see the school budget spending breakdown, that will show how the school is allocating the funds. Most of the funds will be for salaries (public information),OTPS (Other than Personnel), per session activities and other mandated(Federal,State) and discretionary categories.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Revised CEP 2008-2009 Template

The Principal's Weekly of 10/15 has information on the 2008-2009 CEP. A revised template for October has been issued which can be accessed. The template outlines the CEP development process. The draft CEP must be submitted by mid November to be reviewed. The final copy is to be submitted to the Office of School Imptovement in Dcember. There is also a CEP timeline available. Ask your principal for these documents.

The appendices of the CEP are important. The appendices for Title 1 schools must show the 1% of funds set aside for parent involvement as well as 5% to insure that all teachers in core subjects are highly qualified.

There is also a CEP page showing the allocation of the Contract for Excellence Funds every school received.

All SLT's should make sure they are given copies of the CEP and that at least the documents are reviewed. Remember, the SLT is suppose to develop the CEP and at the very least should have meaningful input.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Conducting a SLT PASS Review

A good way to administer a performance assessment of your school is to conduct a PASS (Performance Assessment in Schools Systemwide) Review through the School Leadership Team. The NYCDOE has available a PASS Performance Review Guide and a PASS Handbook and Toolkit which you can access through the SLT PASS Review link listed on this site.

PASS Reviews have been around for many years and are great as part of a needs assessment in developing the Comprehensive Educational Plan. The SLT puts together a PASS Review Team that visits classrooms for snapshots as to how well the school is achieving "standards of practice"that have been previously developed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Contract for Excellence Funds and SLT's

Last June, schools received their Contracts for Excellence Funds (C4E). According to the "Department of Education 2008-2009 Contracts For Excellence Public Hearings" guide (p.11), "C4E planning is included in the 2008-09 Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP) process, which requires input from the School Leadership Team (SLT). SLT's are also being provided with C4E training."

In conjunction with the SLT, decisions were to be made concerning how the money would be spent among the mandated categories, which included smaller class size.

In July, the principal completed a survey on how the money would be spent. You can look up your school and make a copy of the four page survey by accessing the Contracts For Excellence Link on this web page.

If your SLT was shut out of the process, put the topic on the agenda for your next meeting.Hold the principal accountable and assert your rights as members of the SLT.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Getting Your School Leadership Team Off to a Good Start

The responsibility for assuring that the school has a functioning SLT rests with the PA/PTA and the UFT Chapter Leader. If left to the Principal, it will not happen.

There should be a meeting in September in which the following is addressed:

1) The Team should have elected representatives that include teachers, with 50% comprised of parents. The Team should have two student representatives at the High School level. The Principal, PA/PTA President, and UFT Chapter Leader are Core members. There should ideally be 12-14 SLT members.

2) Officers should be selected by consensus that include a Chair Person, which should not be the Principal. The Chair Person should be knowledgeable of the SLT process and have good planning and leadership skills.

3) The meeting schedule should be planned for the rest of the school year. There should be monthly meetings of at least two to three hour duration during after school hours. A stipend ($10 per hour) is provided up to 30 hours, which is the minimum time required.

4) All SLT members should be given copies of the 2008-2009 preliminary CEP or template along with the school budget. The NYCDOE has extended the time to submit the 2008-2009 CEP until early November. Developing the CEP includes a needs assessment, creating goals and writing objectives (Action Plans). The budget should be aligned with the CEP and be reflected in each Action Plan. After the 2008-2009 CEP is submitted, work should begin on the 2009-2010 CEP to assure it is completed by June.

5) A preliminary agenda should be completed for the next meeting that focuses on the CEP and budget. Any SLT member cam submit an item for the agenda before the next meeting.

6) Training sessions should be scheduled for the entire Team concerning completing a CEP and aligning the school budget.

Contact Sharon Rencher ( if your school needs the 2008-2009 Template. Also, ask for the 2008-2009 CEP Guide.

Commission on School Governance Recommends Strengthening School Leadership Teams

The final report of the Commission on School Governance to the Public Advocate recommends strengthening School Leadership Teams as one of the checks on Mayoral control to ensure parent, staff and community participation in school decisions. The findings and recommendations will be presented to Cathy Nolan, the Chair of the Education Committee of the State Assembly.The report can be accessed under "links" on this page.

Concerning School Leadership Teams, it states:

1) "Existing law needs to be revised to guarantee that there is more opportunities for meaningful input by parents and communities in the decision making process and the education of their children" (p.25).

2) "School Leadership Teams must be invigorated at the school level to serve as a voice for parents and a resource for principals, teachers and administration in the development of a Comprehensive Educational Plan tied to a school budget" (p.9).

3) "School Leadership Teams have not functioned adequately since the implementation of mayoral control" (p.26)

4) "The legislature must reaffirm the role of SLT's to serve as a voice for parents and a resource for principals,teachers and staff in developing a Comprehensive Educational Plan aligned with the school budget" (p.34)

5) "To enable parents and other SLT members to perform their duties ably, relevant training must be provided regularly".

State Education Law on SLT's as well as Mayoral control sunsets in June 2009.

Jacob Morris and I, representing the School Leadership Team Empowerment Alliance, testified before the Commission on April 3, 2008.

We recommend that certain parts of State Education Law (2590-h(15) and 2590-r) be re-written to strengthen the law, clearing up any ambiguities concerning the role of School Leadership Teams. Please read the post on that subject to view our suggestions for re-writing the law.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Renewing School Leadership Team Legislation for 2009

School Leadership Team legislation is up for renewal by the State Legislature in June 2009. We have an opportunity to strengthen the wording of the legislation to remove any ambiguity and to fulfill the intention of the law for true shared decision making in the creation of the school's Comprehensive Educational Plan and in deciding how school monies are spent.

We need to begin to contact our State Assembly Persons and State Senators, particularly Cathy Nolan (Assembly Education Committee Chair - and Steve Saland ( State Senate Education Committee Chair concerning this issue.

I am available to assist you in meeting with your representatives.

The Chancellor's Plan for School Leadership Teams (Green Book) which was mandated by 2590-h(15) of State Education Law, stated that the core responsibilities of SLT's were, "the creation of the school's Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP), including annual goals and objectives, and the development of a school-based budget and staffing plan aligned with the CEP" (pgs. 14, 15).

Chancellor's Regulation B-801 (still in effect) which is mandated by State Education law 2590-r (School Based Budgeting) states, the SLT "shall develop and prepare the school budget request, including new budget priorities relating to student achievement, in accordance and consistent with procedures set forth in the Chancellor's Plan on School Leadership Teams".

The NYCDOE has tried to take away the responsibility of the SLT to develop the school budget and align it with the CEP.

Therefore, I propose the following language be added to certain clauses of State Law to remove any ambiguity concerning the role of SLT's to develop the CEP and budget.

2590-h (15)(b1-i) currently states under "powers and duties" of SLT's: to "develop an annual school comprehensive educational plan that is aligned with the school based budget".

Proposed Change: to "develop an annual school comprehensive educational plan (CEP),including annual goals and objectives, and to develop a school based budget and staffing plan aligned with the CEP".

2590-r(n) (School Based Budgeting) currently states there will be, "a collaborative school based planning process involving parents, teachers, and other school personnel and, where appropriate, students to effectuate the purposes of this section".

Proposed Change: " a collaborative shared decision making process involving parents, teachers, principals, other school personnel and, where appropriate, students to develop the school based budget and to align it with the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP)".

2590-r(k) states: "the provision of appropriate technical support and training to school personnel, parents and other participants in school based budgeting".

Proposed Change: "the provision of appropriate technical support and training to school personnel,parents and other School Leadership Team participants for developing the school based budget, including access to and training in the use of the school's Galaxy Budgeting System"(NYC).

We have an opportunity to influence legislation that will strengthen SLT's in June 2009.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Contact Me for 2005-2006 CEP Template and Guide

Apparently, the NYCDOE took off its web site the link for the 2005-2006 CEP Template and Guide. In addition, they have not been making available on the web, links for any of the subsequent CEP Templates and Guides.

If you would like copies of the 2005-2006 CEP Template and Guide, please contact me ( It has very useful information on how to write a CEP by taking a needs assessment, creating goals and objectives, writing action plans, and aligning the budget with the CEP..

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Conflict in Chancellor's Regulations Concerning SLT's and the Budget

There is a conflict in the Chancellor's Regulations concerning the role of school leadership teams in school based budgeting.

The revised A-655 (School Leadership Teams- 12/07) took away the role of SLTs to develop the school budget and gave it to the principal, who now only consults with the SLT in this area. There is a Commissioner's appeal (Pollicino V. NYCDOE) pending which is challenging the legality of this change.

However, there is another Chancellor's Regulation, B-801 (School Based Budgeting) which states, the (SLT) "shall develop and prepare the school budget request". This Regulation has been in effect since 1999 and is required by State Educational Law 2590-r (School Based Budgeting). The cover letter of B-801 states that the Regulation addresses "the requirement for school leadership teams to be engaged in the formulation of school budgets" and that "teachers and parents, play a critical role in the budget process".

The NYCDOE site states that there are only hard copies available of B-801. I have a hard copy and will send you relevant pages on request.

So, when your principal quotes the revised A-655 to show that he develops the school budget, quote B-801, which states that the SLT, in a collaborative manner determines how school money will be spent.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Daily News Article- June 10, 2008

"A Day in Court Suits Me, Ma Sez", "Sues city to regain voice in school leadership teams" (Click title to view article)

This Daily News article (p.14 XQ) by Jess Wisloski is about the Pollicino V. NYCDOE appeal to the Commissioner concerning the weakening of SLT's due to the revised A-655 Chancellor's Regulation (12/07). It states that a decision by Commissioner Mills is expected soon. Either party can appeal the ruling by the Commissioner in state Supreme Court. The article highlights parent leader Marie Pollicino, the petitioner in the case. It also cites the United Federation of Teachers , Community Education Council 26 and Melvyn Meer(parent leader at P.S. 188) as added petitioners to the case.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Title 1 Parent Involvement Requirements

Parents in Title 1 schools have mandated rights under No Child Left Behind (NCLB).However,It is difficult to obtain information as to what these rights are. I tried to locate the 2006-2007 Title 1 Parent Involvement Guidelines, published by the NYCDOE,but it appears it is no longer online.

The link I have provided is a good source of information concerning Parent Involvement rights. Another good source for Title 1 parent information is the addendum of the template of any of the Comprehensive Educational Plans (CEPs).You can use the link provided for the 2005-2006 CEP Template to view this information.

Did you know the following regarding Title 1 schools:

1) Every school must have a written Title 1 School Parent Involvement Policy reflected in the CEP. "The policy establishes the school's expectations for parental involvement and describes how the school will implement a number of specific parent involvement activities". There is suppose to be a sample template provided by NYCDOE at However, it states the page is not available.

2) Every school must have a written Title 1 School-Parent Compact reflected in the CEP. " The compact must outline how parents, the entire school staff, and students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the means by which the school and parents will build and develop a partnership to help children achieve the State's high standards". There is suppose to be a sample template provided by NYCDOE at the same link as above.

3) " A minimum of one percent of the school's total Title 1 allocation must be set aside for activities that support the involvement of parents of Title 1 participants in their children's education". "Title 1 parents must be substantively involved in decision-making regarding the use of these funds". The school leadership team consults with the parent group of the school and then incorporates the plan in to the CEP. Monies can be used "to provide support to parents for transportation,childcare or home visits, in cases where these things prevents a parent from becoming involved in their child's school".

4) Title 1 schools must set aside 5% of funds "to insure that all teachers in core subject areas are highly qualified".

5) For Title 1 SINI (Schools in Need of Improvement) schools , 10% of Title 1 funds must be used for teacher and staff professional development and reflected in the CEP.

6) School Leadership Teams consult with the school parent group to determine how all remaining Title 1 funds are to be spent to support Title 1 academic programs.The school leadership team incorporates these programs and funds in to the CEP.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

2008-2009 CEP Template and Timeline issued

The NYCDOE issued the 2008-2009 CEP template and timeline on May 12th. The timeline extends the date for schools to complete 2008-2009 CEP's until November. Schools are to complete preliminary CEP's by June 20th.

The template is 12 pages and highlights the CEP process of developing a needs assessment, goals and objectives, action plans, and aligning the budget with the CEP.

By extending the date to November, it gives many principals and their non-functioning teams additional time to complete their CEP's. However, it is unrealistic to expect SLT's at this late date to complete preliminary CEP's by June 20th.There was really no excuse for teams to wait for the template before beginning the CEP process.

Ask your principal for a copy of the template and timeline.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Signing of the CEP

If your principal asks you to sign a CEP and there was no collaboration or shared decision making by the team, you should refuse to do so.

Many schools did not create 2007-2008 CEP's.

According to a NY Daily News article on May 6, by Jess Wisloski, entitled "Parents groups playing hooky across the city", many school leadership teams are not functioning or only exist on paper.

Don't be part of a sham. You can refuse to sign the CEP and attach an explanation.

2008-2009 CEP Template

I have learned from the NYCDOE Office of School Improvement (Sharon Rencher) that the 2008-2009 CEP templates will be available on May 12th.

This is an outrage as many principals are refusing to start the process of developing a CEP until the template is issued. This is another example of the NYCDOE undermining the CEP process to ensure its failure.

A SLT should not wait for a template to be issued. The process of developing a CEP begins in September and concludes in June. The process is the same regardless of the template. The team takes a needs assessment of the school, completes goals and objectives, writes action plans, develops the budget and aligns it with the CEP.

Don't let your principal get away with the excuse of waiting for the template.

Pollicino v. NYCDOE concerning revised A-655

Pollicino V. NYCDOE - Appeal to the Commissioner(12/31/07) to revoke the section of Chancellor's Regulation A-655 (SLT's) (12/7/07) that weakens the responsibilities of SLT's.

The revised A-655 states that the principal makes the final determination concerning the CEP and budget. The NYCDOE in its brief stated that this is the case with the CEP only if consensus is not reached. However, the language in A-655 does not state this. In addition, A-655 states that the principal develops the budget and consults with the SLT. This is a departure from the previous A-655 (2004) which states the SLT consults with the principal in developing a school based budget.

On April 25, the NYSED approved the following as intervenors supporting Pollicino V. NYCDOE.

United Federation of Teachers

CEC 26

Melvyn Meer-SLT member at PS 188 Q