FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr., the Board of Regents and State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa Statement on End of Session Legislative Actions
The successful collaboration among the Board of Regents, the Department and the Legislature have resulted in several of our priorities passing in both houses this session which address important issues of equity as well as challenges further highlighted by the pandemic. On behalf of New York’s students and families, we thank Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, Senate Education Committee Chair Mayer and Assembly Education Committee Chair Benedetto for their efforts to pass these important bills.
To address the financial stability for approved providers of special education programs and services, both houses acted to provide annual funding increases to school-age and preschool programs serving students with disabilities in parity with that of our public schools. Thank you to Senator Mannion and Chair Benedetto for advancing this legislation.
Both Houses passed legislation to improve educational outcomes for youth who are placed in, or under the supervision of, juvenile justice and Department of Corrections and Community Supervision facilities. This legislation removes barriers for these students, who are under the age of 21, in obtaining the high school diplomas they earned through the educational programs provided by such facilities, upon determination of the school district where the facility is located. We thank Senator Brisport and Assemblymember Jean-Pierre for advancing this legislation.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated there is an urgent need for basic health workforce data to better outline the workforce supply and demand gaps that limit access to needed health services. With the support of Senator Stavisky and Assemblymember Fahy, the Department will collect certain census information regarding the professional services and activities of licensed health care professionals and will utilize such information to evaluate and address supply and demand gaps.
In addition, legislation was passed to streamline and modernize the distribution of state funding for New York State’s public libraries and library systems. Our public libraries have evolved over the years, and we thank Senator Ryan and Assemblymember Jean-Pierre for working to update this statute to reflect these changes in the way library and information services are delivered to New Yorkers.
We were also pleased to see additional initiatives pass, such as waiving the annual teacher and principal evaluations for the 2020-21 school year in light of the pandemic; thank you to Chairs Mayer and Benedetto for advancing this legislation. Additionally, we thank Chair Liu and Chair Benedetto for working to pass legislation to accelerate the process by which parents, especially those in New York City who continue to experience serious hearing backlogs, can obtain a hearing before an impartial hearing officer regarding the provision of special education programs and services for their child.
Finally, the legislation to expand the powers and responsibilities of the monitors in the East Ramapo Central School District provides a needed and thoughtful step in the right direction for East Ramapo’s schools and, most importantly, for students. Despite years of effort by State monitors, the district continues to have significant governance and long-term fiscal issues. Increasing powers for those monitors will help to bring equity in education for all students. We are grateful for the efforts of Senator Reichlin-Melnick and Assemblyman Zebrowski to pass this important legislation.
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