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MST FAQ

Who is eligible to apply for reimbursement?

Religious, independent, and not-for-profit schools are eligible to apply to the Department for reimbursement of the salaries of eligible teachers. Education Law §3037 defines eligible teachers as individuals who are:
A. Employed by a religious or independent school;
B. Teaching mathematics, science, or technology in any grades from three (3) through twelve (12) using curricula that support the New York State Learning Standards; and
C. Either,
(a) certified to teach in New York State pursuant to Education Law §3004 (https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/EDN/3004); or
(b) hold a master’s degree or Ph.D. in mathematics, science, technology, or education; or
(c) hold a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, science, technology, or education and is currently enrolled in a master’s or Ph.D. program in mathematics, science, technology, or education within five (5) years from the date of April 10, 2019 or the employment start date with the religious or independent school.
D. Provided, however, that the religious or independent schoolteacher must not provide non-secular (religious) instruction in any capacity within the religious or independent school.

What grade levels are eligible?

Religious and independent schools may seek reimbursement for the salaries of eligible teachers who teach courses in mathematics, science, or technology in any grades from three (3) through twelve (12) using curricula that support the New York State Learning Standards.

Are 853 and Special Act Schools eligible for reimbursement through the MST grant?

No; 853 and Special Act schools are funded through a rate-setting process which supports their operational costs.

Are for-profit schools eligible for reimbursement through the MST grant?

No, only religious, independent, not-for-profit schools are eligible to apply to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for reimbursement.

(a) Is a teacher with an initial certificate who is not currently enrolled in a master’s program an eligible teacher? (b) When does the certification have to be valid? (c) Can we seek reimbursement for a teacher who will be certified as of September 2024?

(a) Yes, if the teacher meets the criteria for an initial certificate in accordance with Part 80 of the Regulations of the Commissioner and meets the other eligibility requirements, the teacher is eligible as an individual certified to teach in NYS pursuant to Section 3004 of the Education Law.

(b) When choosing the eligibility category for certified teacher, the teacher must hold a current valid certification with an expiration date that is no earlier than June 30, 2024, to be considered eligible.

(c) No, the teacher must be certified at the time they are providing instruction during the 2023-2024 school year and fit the other eligibility criteria. If a school is seeking reimbursement for a teacher who is not currently certified, they must meet the other education options for eligibility.

Are there any subcategories of mathematics, science, technology or education in which a master’s or Ph.D. would qualify an individual as an eligible teacher? (i.e. library science, biology, engineering, special education)

Yes, as long as the individual meets all the other eligibility criteria and such degree is within the broader categories of mathematics, science, technology or education (e.g., a degree in physics, engineering or special education).

If a teacher has a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, but has a master’s in education is this sufficient to be considered as a math, science, or technology teacher?

Yes. An eligible teacher is categorized as one of the following:
a. certified to teach in New York State pursuant to Section 3004 of Education Law (http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/lawssrch.cgi?NVLWO); or
b. holds a master’s degree or Ph.D. in mathematics, science, technology, or education; or
c. holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, science, technology, or education and is currently enrolled in a master’s or Ph.D. program in mathematics, science, technology, or education within five (5) years from the later of April 10, 2019 or the employment start date with the religious or independent school; AND teaches mathematics, science, or technology in any grades from three (3) through twelve (12) using curricula that support the New York State learning standards; and is employed by a religious or independent school.

Please define technology.

Commissioner’s Regulations Part 100.4 (a)(1) defines technology education as a program of instruction designed to assist all students in meeting state intermediate standards for technology. Technology education uses concepts of science, mathematics, social science, and language arts in a hands-on, systems-based approach to problem solving that guides students in the understanding, design, and development of systems, devices, and products to serve human needs and wants. For more information about the NYS Learning Standards for Technology, see: 

https://www.nysed.gov/career-technical-education/technology-education 

If a teacher holds a master’s degree in mathematics, science, technology, or education from an international higher education institution and does not meet any of the other eligibility options, is the teacher an eligible teacher?

Education Law §3037 provides that a teacher who holds a master’s degree or Ph.D. in mathematics, science, technology, or education may be an eligible teacher. However, the statute does not address whether such degree must be from an accredited institution within the United States. Therefore, ORISS will review the foreign credentials the same way as the New York State Education Department Office of Teaching Initiatives reviews such credentials to seek certification.

Education Law §3037(a) states that a candidate for reimbursement may be an individual who “holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Science, Technology or Education and is currently enrolled in a master's or Ph.D. program in Mathematics, Science, Technology or Education within five years from the date of April 10, 2019, or the employment start date with the religious or independent school”. What has to occur within five years?

Education Law §3037(a) requires that for a teacher who only holds a bachelor's degree to be eligible under this provision, he or she must be enrolled in an eligible masters or Ph.D. program by April 10, 2019 or within five years of commencing employment with the religious or independent school, whichever date is later. Please note that for a school to seek reimbursement for a teacher under this criterion, such teacher must be enrolled in the masters or Ph.D. program at the time reimbursement is sought.

If the name on the teacher’s certificate or other documentation is not the same as the name on the school’s documentation due to marriage or other reasons, does the school need to submit proof of the teacher’s name change?

In such circumstances, the school should submit official documentation of the teacher’s legal name change from the teacher or a notarized statement regarding the name change from the teacher along with the application.

What is meant by secular and non-secular instruction?

For purposes of this program, the term “secular” means instruction that is not related to or does not involve religious or spiritual matters; and non-secular means instruction relating to or involving religious or spiritual matters.

Are teachers who provide non-secular instruction eligible for reimbursement?

No. Education Law §3037 prohibits reimbursement for the salary of an otherwise eligible teacher who provides instruction in mathematics, science, or technology if such teacher also provides non-secular instruction in any capacity.

May a religious or independent school seek reimbursement for an eligible teacher who teaches religious studies outside of his/her employment with the religious or independent school?

Education Law §3037 prohibits reimbursement to the religious or independent school for otherwise eligible teachers who provide instruction in mathematics, science, or technology if such teachers also provide non-secular instruction in any capacity. However, if a religious or independent schoolteacher engages in non-secular activities outside of their employment with the religious or independent school, such employee is still eligible if they do not provide any non-secular instruction in any capacity in relation to their employment with the religious or independent school seeking reimbursement.

If a teacher teaches math, science and/or technology as well as one class of religious studies, is he or she disqualified from reimbursement?

Yes. Education Law §3037 prohibits reimbursement to the religious or independent school for otherwise eligible teachers who provide instruction in mathematics, science or technology if such teachers also provide non-secular instruction in any capacity in relation to their employment with the religious or independent school seeking reimbursement.

If a teacher works in the public school system and then after they complete their teaching day in their public school, they transition to the religious or independent school to teach MST eligible courses, are they eligible for reimbursement for their religious or independent school teaching salary?

Yes, if the teacher meets all other eligibility criteria.

Will the time spent at home for preparations for the lesson, or checking the tests be considered in reimbursement?

No. Reimbursement is calculated based on the percentage of time the teacher teaches mathematics, science and/or technology courses during the school day.

Is there a minimum number of students that must be in a class?

No, provided the course meets the required standards.

Are schools automatically eligible if we follow the criteria?

Each submission will be reviewed by the ORISS staff for eligibility. Please note that, if the total eligible reimbursements requested exceed the $73 million appropriation, then each applicant will only be reimbursed in an amount equal to the percentage each such applicant represents to the total of all applications submitted.

Would a submission of curriculum and course descriptions a school plans to teach for another school year, be accepted for eligibility?

No, the curriculum needs to correspond with the courses taught in the 2023-2024 school year.

How many teachers can be reimbursed from each school?

Education Law §3037(2)(c) does not limit the number of teachers that can be reimbursed. However, Education Law §3037(2)(c) provides that, in the event that the total eligible reimbursements requested exceed the $73 million appropriation, each applicant will only be reimbursed in an amount equal to the percentage each such applicant represents to the total of all applications submitted. Schools whose eligible teacher salaries exceed their reimbursement amount must support those expenses on their own and will not receive additional reimbursement.

If a teacher teaches in more than one religious or independent school, does each school submit an application if requesting reimbursement for the same teacher?

Yes. Reimbursement requests pertain solely to the school that is submitting the application for reimbursement of its own eligible teachers.

Do math, science and technology teachers who teach such subjects remotely "qualify" for reimbursement if the instructor otherwise meets the eligibility criteria?

Education Law §3037 does not prescribe the manner in which the instruction must be delivered. However, please note that religious and independent schools are only eligible to seek reimbursement for the salaries (or a portion thereof) of such eligible teachers employed by the school.

How will reimbursements be calculated and how will we know the total amount of our reimbursement?

Reimbursement request forms received by NYSED by Thursday, August 1, 2024, will be reviewed by NYSED staff. NYSED will calculate the total approved requests and proportionate shares, the totals will be posted to the ORISS website, and a notification will be sent out via the religious and independent school listserv.

In accordance with Education Law §3037(2)(b), reimbursements will be calculated based on NYSED’s data regarding average comparable teacher salaries and personal services, per subject area, of public-school teachers in the school district in which the religious or independent schools are located, multiplied by the percentage of full-time equivalent secular instructional hours completed in the religious or independent school day per subject area (mathematics, science, and technology).
If the total reimbursements requested exceed the $73 million appropriation, then each applicant will only be reimbursed in an amount equal to the percentage each such applicant represents to the total of all applications submitted.

Will each school who applies receive the full amount requested?

In the event that the total reimbursements requested exceed the $73 million appropriation, Education Law §3037(2)(c) provides that each applicant will only be reimbursed in an amount equal to the percentage each such applicant represents to the total of all applications submitted. Schools whose eligible teacher salaries exceed their reimbursement amount must support those expenses on their own and will not receive additional reimbursement.

Is the grant reimbursement based on the current year or for the coming school year?

Reimbursement is for eligible teacher’s salaries who were employed during the 2023-2024 school year and taught mathematics, science, and technology courses.

When will the schools be notified of the total reimbursement?

Reimbursement request forms received by NYSED by Thursday, August 1, 2024, will be reviewed by NYSED staff. Approved requests will be compared against NYSED data regarding teacher salaries, and after NYSED calculates the total approved requests and proportionate shares, the totals will be posted to the ORISS website, and a notification will be sent out via the religious and independent school listserv.

How will the comparable salaries be computed for a religious or independent high school located in a school district without a high school?

Reimbursements will be calculated based on NYSED’s data regarding average comparable teacher salaries and personal services, per subject area, of public-school teachers in the school district in which the religious or independent schools are located, however that district is configured.

If the reimbursements have to be prorated due to the requests exceeding the $73 million allocation, will the prorated payment be per teacher or per school?

In the event that the applications for reimbursement under this section exceed the appropriation available for this program, then each applicant shall only be reimbursed an amount equal to the percentage that each such applicant represents to the total of all applications submitted (per teacher).

If the average comparable public-school teacher salary in the public school district is higher than the religious or independent schoolteacher salary, will the school be reimbursed the public-school average or the actual salary we paid?

Reimbursement for eligible teachers shall be the average comparable teacher salary and personal service, per subject area, of public-school teachers in the school district in which such religious or independent schools are located, multiplied by the percentage of full time equivalent secular instructional hours completed in the school day per subject area.

What is the deadline for submission?

Pursuant to Education Law §3037(2)(a), applications for reimbursement must be received by August 1st of each year for reimbursement of eligible teacher salaries for the prior year. The deadline for receiving reimbursement request forms for the 2023-2024 school year is Thursday, August 1, 2024. Please plan accordingly.

Will incomplete or inaccurate applications be reviewed?

Applications must be submitted with all required signatures and documentation, including one copy of the school’s master schedule. When selecting an eligibility choice for each teacher, there is a checklist for the required documentary evidence. Please also refer to page five (5) of the guidance document for additional details regarding the required documents. ORISS staff will work with the religious and independent schools regarding an incomplete or inaccurate submission.

When will you start accepting the applications?

Application submissions have already started. The deadline for the receipt of the reimbursement form and documentation is August 1, 2024.

Will we receive notification that our reimbursement submission form has been received?

No. We will not notify schools of receipt. 

Can we apply for this for every teacher in our building who meets the criteria or only one teacher?

Yes. The law does not state a limit of the number of eligible teachers from each school. 

 

Do we submit one application form per school or one application form per teacher? Can we apply for this for every teacher in our building who meets the criteria or only one teacher?

If submitting through the Business Portal, please group all teachers on one application per school. If submitting via a paper application, each religious or independent school must submit one application per school, with duplicated teacher information sections for each eligible teacher for whom the school is seeking reimbursement. Schools should submit only one Master Schedule and set of Course Descriptions per school.

The law does not state a limit of the number of eligible teachers from each school.

Is a copy of the teaching certificate, or a diploma sufficient?

Yes, a diploma is sufficient if it states the certification area or degree type.

Where and in what format do we submit the reimbursement form?

It is highly recommended and preferred that schools submit their complete application (form and accompanying documentation) via the SED Monitoring Business Portal.
For complete submission instructions including information on all formats we accept, please see Appendix B of our MST (Year 7) 2023-24 Guidance.

Are all the documents listed in each category of the reimbursement request form required?

Yes. Religious and independent schools must submit the applicable documentary evidence with the Religious and Independent School Reimbursement Request Form for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Teachers in Religious and Independent Schools. Please refer to the guidance document for additional detail.

What evidence do we need to provide to show that the curricula support the NYS Learning Standards? Are course descriptions sufficient? Are there resources available?

Evidence that the curricula support the NYS Learning Standards shall include, but is not limited to, a description of the course and the corresponding curriculum, and curriculum maps. For information on current New York State Learning Standards please refer to the following resources from the New York State Education Department’s website: Office of Standards and Instruction.

If the staffing stayed the same, do the teachers applying need to re-submit their official transcript that should already be on file with NYSED?

The application must include at least a copy of the transcript, it does not have to be original/official.

Our employment agreements are electronic, through DocuSign. Are we able to submit printed DocuSign agreements, or would we have to have the Head of School and teacher manually re-sign the electronically signed versions?

It is not necessary to manually re-sign agreements that already contain electronic signatures. ORISS will accept electronic signatures.

The directions for the grant state that the “school leader” needs to sign the employment agreement. Does that mean the principal or the superintendent, or can our HR person sign the agreement?

Yes. The employment agreement must be signed by a person who is involved in the hiring process at the school level. This could be a superintendent, principal, human resources representative, or someone with a similar title. School leader titles may vary from school to school. 

Please clarify what information is needed for Affiliation and the LEA District name.

 A: Affiliation is how the school identifies (Roman Catholic or Diocese of  , Islamic, Jewish, Baptist, Christian Fundamentalist, Independent, Episcopal, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Quaker, etc). 

 B: LEA District Name is the name of the Public School District in which the religious and independent school resides. This information can be found on SEDREF under the “Inst Sub Type Desc” and the “SDL Description.”  

 

In the past, the application allowed for hours OR periods per week. Now it seems like the number of hours is being requested. Can number of periods be submitted, or only hours?

Only hours per week should be submitted, as certain school periods are longer than others, so it has led to an unbalanced distribution of funds. 

Is there any update on when to expect the Year 6 payments?

We are reviewing applications as expeditiously as possible. Once all MST Y6 applications are finalized, the reimbursement will be calculated and posted to our website. 

My school temporarily closed due to a snow emergency. What schedules would I submit?

If a school closed or went to remote learning temporarily due to some kind of emergency, please send the original master and teacher schedules.

What is the difference between a school’s master schedule and the teacher's schedule?

The master schedule encompasses the entire school’s schedule including all teachers’ names/initials (even those not eligible for MST), and all of the subjects/classes taught by period of each day (even those not eligible for MST).
The teacher’s schedule is specific to the daily schedule of the individual teacher for whom you are seeking reimbursement. No other teachers should appear on the individual teacher’s schedule unless a class is co-taught with another teacher. Please refer to the guidance document for additional detail.

Does every class within the master schedule need to align with the NYS Learning Standards?

No, only the classes within in the master schedule for which the school is requesting reimbursement.

As we are only using secular instruction hours, must the master schedule include the whole school day, including religious studies, or is it to only include the secular study segment of the day?

The master schedule must encompass the entire school schedule, even studies not eligible for MST.

In what format should the master schedule be submitted? These schedules are quite large.

The master schedules can be submitted by using the SED Monitoring Business Portal, using any of the file attachments noted in Appendix B of the MST (Year 7) 2023-24 Guidance, using a flash drive or in paper. If the schools need to submit in an alternative method, please contact the Office of Religious and Independent School Support at MST-ORISS@nysed.gov to discuss further.