Thursday, August 20, 2009

How new State Legislation Affects School Leadership Teams

The new legislation passed by the Assembly and State Senate in many ways strengthens the role of School Leadership Teams. You can view a summary of the legislation or read the bill by going to the legislative sites and searching for Assembly Bill A08550 or Senate Bill A8903A.

The law still gives SLT's the authority to collaboratively develop the Comprehensive Educational Plan by means of shared decision making. It also mandates that CEP's be posted on the school's internet website, where it can be scrutinized by the public. The law also strengthens the District Superintendent's supervision of principals and gives them oversight of the CEP and budget process.This means that SLT's will have a place to go when a principal is uncooperative in collaboratively developing the CEP or providing transparency and consultation concerning the development of the school based budget.

The law now has more specific language concerning the budget responsibilities of the SLT and as stated, provides for Superintendent oversight and principal accountability. It states that principals must consult with their SLT's concerning the development of the school based budget and it must be aligned with the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP). This means that SLT's must be actively involved in how the budget is prepared and funds allocated, providing for school budget transparancy. The Superintendent must approve the school based budget after certifying it is "sufficiently aligned" with the school's CEP. The principal must submit written justification that the budget is aligned with the CEP and the SLT can respond to the principal's certification.

The law also allows any SLT member to dispute any decision made by the principal, to the Superintendent, where Team members reach a consensus that the decision is inconsistent with the goals and policies set forth in the existing CEP. The Superintendent must then communicate his decision in writing to the SLT and principal. In addition, the law provides for Superintendents to evaluate principals on how effective they were in developing shared decision making relationships with their SLT's (referred to as School Based Management Teams). The Superintendent will also consider comments contained in an annual assessment of the principal made by the SLT.

An amendment to the law proposed by the State Senate ,will provide money for the creation of a Parent Training Center, to be operated under CUNY. It is an understanding that the Parent Center will provide training concerning SLT's CEP and budget duties, as well as Parent Association (PA) and Community Education Council ( CEC) responsibilities. The law continues to mandate that SLT members be trained in their CEP and budget responsibilities.

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