November 1, 2017

Parahus, Koelbel Testify Before Assembly Education Committee
On Thursday, October 19, SFA Second Vice President Kim Parahus and Legislative Committee Chair Fred Koelbel testified before the Assembly Education Committee regarding school infrastructure and facilities. We were grateful for the opportunity to speak regarding our members’ work in public school districts and BOCES around New York. During our testimony, we spoke of potential legislation to make the building condition survey (BCS) process more effective and efficient. To view the testimony, please click here.
SFA Officers Speak to NYSSBA, NYSASBO

Four SFA officers were honored to attend the NYS School Boards Association Conference & Expo in Lake Placid from October 12-14. President Mike Coghlan, CDF, First Vice President Paul Rooney, Third Vice President Elliot Garcia and Immediate Past President Keith Langlotz did a one-hour presentation entitled School Facilities: Maximizing Student Learning in Ways You Never Imagined. The room was packed, and they answered dozens of questions afterward. They exhibited at the Expo as well, and the booth traffic increased significantly, which led to many productive conversations.

Last week, Immediate Past President Keith Langlotz did a webinar for the NYS Association of School Business Officials entitled How Well-Run School Facilities Support and Enhance Education. The webinar was attended by approximately 65 people.

We are proud of our partnerships with these affiliated organizations and grateful for their allowing us to share our story.

Engineer Pay at Issue in Buffalo IRS Audit

The taxman has caught up with the Buffalo Public Schools.

The school district had to pay $7.5 million to the Internal Revenue Service this month for unpaid payroll taxes from the past three years.

The settlement was less than the roughly $21 million in employment taxes that the IRS assessed for 2014, 2015 and 2016. That figure was the result of a recent audit that zeroed in on four issues, two of which have long been at the center of controversy: The cosmetic surgery rider for district employees and the antiquated way the school district pays its building engineers.

In the case of the 52 operating engineers, the audit focused on the unusual way the district pays them to maintain boilers and heating and ventilation systems at individual schools. They are salaried employees of the district earning about $45,000, but in effect also act as independent contractors who get lump sum allowances totaling $15.5 million to buy their own equipment and hire custodians to help them. They get to keep what they don’t spend of the lump sum allowances.

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Court Reinstates Suit Challenging Small-City District Funding

A state appellate court has reinstated a lawsuit challenging as inadequate and illegal state funding to eight small-city school districts.

The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department, issued a decisionThursday that reversed a trial judge’s ruling that had dismissed the case.

The school districts pressing the case, which was initiated in 2008, are Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Port Jervis, Mount Vernon, Utica, Jamestown and Niagara Falls.

The lawsuit accuses the state of reneging on funding promises made after a Court of Appeals ruling in 2007 required the state to increase funding for New York City schools. After the ruling in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, the state reformed its statewide funding formula, but it hasn’t fully funded the new system while facing budget shortfalls.

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Warwick Valley Upgrade Package Goes to Voters

Voters in the Warwick Valley School District will head to the polls Dec. 7 to vote on a proposed $10.8 million package of upgrades at the district’s four schools, including a new media center at the middle school and air conditioning at 88-year-old Park Avenue Elementary School.

If voters approve, district leaders hope to start construction after school lets out for the summer. The entire project is expected to be done by fall 2019. The school board approved it Oct. 16.

District Superintendent David Leach said the district would not raise taxes to pay for the renovations, but plans to pay for it with $6.9 million in state aid and $3.9 million drawn from the district’s capital reserve fund balance.

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Rochester Gets $7.1 Million for After-School Programs

The Rochester City School District has been awarded $7.1 million over five years for after-school programming expected to reach 1,000 children, it announced Friday.

The award under the new Empire State After-School Program is the largest outside New York City, tied with several other large urban districts. It was requested along with the Greater Rochester After-School Alliance (GRASA), which has pushed for more out-of-school opportunities for Rochester children since its founding in 2001.

It will support students at schools 12, 28, 35, 42 and 50, Edison Tech and Vanguard high schools and Rochester International Academy, as well as other secondary students seeking to recover academic credits online.

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What’s for Lunch? Healthy, Tasty and Local

Flatbreads with turkey and tomatoes. Sriracha honey chicken. Barbecued pork. And lots of fruits and vegetables.

All made with whole grains and low in saturated fats and salt. They also all meet strict calorie limits.

Welcome to the future of school lunches as displayed at an exhibit Friday in the Turning Stone Resort Casino Events Center as part of the New York School Nutrition Association’s annual conference. Dozens of vendors showed up to highlight their foods and other products to help schools deliver healthy, tasty meals and snacks that meet federal nutrition standards.

Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture put new nutritional standards in place for school lunches, breakfasts and snacks several years ago — to less than rave reviews from many students — a few things have happened. First, kids have started to get used to, or even prefer, new tastes, such as brown rice. 

But healthier also has started to taste better. “The manufacturers have had more time to create better products,” said Scott Ziobrowski, president-elect of the nutrition association.

There’s one trend in school lunches that the state association is really pushing — the farm-to-school movement that brings local foods to local school cafeterias. 

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Upcoming Events

SFMI Board & Conference Planning Meeting
November 13 | Albany 

SFMI Academy
December 5-6 | Latham

NYSSFA Advocacy Day
March 6, 2018 | Albany

SFMI Critical Issues Summit 
March 7, 2018 | Albany

NJSBGA/NSPMA Dual Conference
March 12-14, 2018 | Atlantic City, NJ

Leadership Weekend
May 3-5, 2018 | Watkins Glen  

NYSASBO Conference
June 3-6, 2018 | Saratoga Springs

School Facilities Managers Conference and Expo
September 30-October 3, 2018 | Saratoga Springs

NYSSBA Conference
October 25-27, 2018 | New York City

NYS School Facilities Association
136 Everett Road | Albany, NY 12205
518.465.0563 l F 518.465.0579
www.nyssfa.com l info@nyssfa.com

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800.359.7242 toll free

Upcoming Events

September 30-October 3: NYS School Facilities Managers' Annual Conference & Expo, Saratoga Springs, NY

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