ACSINY June Newsletter

Submitted by merle_skinner on Fri, 04/19/2019 - 14:55

     Mandated Services Aid Reimbursement

                  Are you having trouble filing your claim? Are you still waiting on your Mandated Services Aid (MSA) and your Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) reimbursement? Have you heard that there seems to be a hold up in Albany that is slowing the process? Some schools already filed their claims and received their reimbursements. Yet many schools across the state seem to be in limbo as the State Education Department waits on the State Legislature to clarify the recently updated Education Law that impacts the reimbursement formulas. But you really should not wait any longer.

Your school needs your reimbursements so that you can meet your financial obligations. Therefore, we are advising all ACSINY schools to file their claim, if they have not yet, or to amend their previously filed claim according to current SED guidelines. Once schools file according to current guidelines, schools will receive the payments. Then, after the legislature clarifies the law, schools who have filed claims, and who are entitled to increased funding, will have adjustments mailed to them. If you are having difficulties navigating these issues, please reach out to Cary Shaw or to one of your ACSINY School Leaders listed below. If we cannot help you, we will point you to one who can.

2019-2020 NYS Budget

We have an update on the 2019-2020 NYS budget which was passed at the end of March. Data that is pertinent to our Christian schools is included on that update. We want to thank our Friends at the NYS Coalition of Independent and Religious Schools for keeping us all informed of the ways in which our schools can benefit from the various state programs. Your school stands to benefit from the millions of dollars that are available to the private and Christian schools of New York. We encourage you to take advantage of those funds.

Substantial Equilivency Update

This week, the New York State Education Department (SED) and Board of Regents discussed draft regulations regarding substantial equivalency (SE) of private schools and agreed to post the draft regulations in the State Register for public comment. The draft regulations are essentially the same as the "revised guidelines" that were thrown out by the NYS Supreme Court, including the requirement that local public school authorities evaluate most religious and independent schools within their jurisdiction and determine whether such schools are substantially equivalent to the public schools. The court had rejected the "revised guidelines" as having violated the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA). SED is essentially reissuing the provisions as regulations in order to be in compliance with SAPA. The draft regulations are scheduled to be posted in the register on July 3 for public comment through September 2 with potential action by the Board of Regents in October. In addition to our continued engagement of members of the Board of Regents and state legislators, we are assessing our legal options.

We will have more updates as they are available. Plan on making Public Comment!

Title Funds

itle funds? You've heard the phrase but do you understand what it means? I have attended many conferences, workshops, and meetings where the topic is addressed, however, many private schools have either never heard of it or believe they are not qualified to receive the funds. I was once in this position, so I enjoy helping schools understand what it is and how to take advantage. First things first, what are Title Funds? Title I (one) is a part of the Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965 and funds were allocated to schools with a high percentage of low-income families. These funds are used to help support the academic needs of these students. It is based on student performance, achievement, and progress. It is not a special needs program.

What does this have to do with private/parochial schools? In the same document, it states that local education agencies are required to provide eligible private school students, teachers, and families the same Title I services as public school students. Now, don't get too excited because there are some provisions to consider. In my school district there are approximately 21 elementary schools. Out of those schools about 7 are considered Title I schools because of the low-income ratio determined by the county. In order for students to be eligible they must first reside in one of those 7 school zones, must meet academic needs eligibility. Out of the 200 elementary students that we have, about 7 receive academic tutoring. The county provides a certified teacher that has a schedule for our school and she provides services 3 days a week. We have been blessed and all of the tutors that have worked with our school over the past 4 years have been dedicated Christian women, who enjoy our students and work well with our teachers. The teachers of Title I students are eligible to attend county workshops and participate in afterschool parent workshops, that support parent participation in education.

What are Title II funds? I'm so glad you asked because you will enjoy this part! Title II funds are considered professional development funds for teachers and administration. They are intended to improve leader and teacher quality and effectiveness. Schools do not receive actual funds but services and materials to support school-selected professional development. That's right, you choose how you want to use funds based on your school's needs. A needs assessment will be required to demonstrate how your school will use the funds. In the past, our school has purchased PD books for a book study; hired an outside presenter from both secular and Christian organizations; attended workshops in other states, including hotel and food reimbursement; paid for professional licenses and subscriptions; and reimbursed teachers for approved college courses.

Two additional Title funds to consider reading more about are Title III and Title IV funds. Title III is designed to support English Language learners and the attainment of English language proficiency and academic standards. Title IV is fairly new and encompasses both student support and academic enrichments. This particular portion of the Title funds can be used for technology, as well student safety. It is not heavily regulated, so as long as you can show proof of how it supports students, your school can use it for a variety of needs.

This is only a small portion of the information available to you about Title Funds. Your local school board will not provide actual funds, however they make the purchases, provide deposits, secure the tutors, organize the trainings, and help you along the way. What should you do next? Contact your local education agency. If you are not familiar with this, consider your school district and contact the school board. Some boards have a full-time person in charge of working with local private schools, but unfortunately, some districts outsource this position and it can be a little more difficult to get your foot in the door. Eight years ago, I picked up the phone to find out more information. Two weeks later, I received a certified letter informing our school of its allotment for the school year. I would encourage you to start with a phone call.

Please see attachment for the Title II Funding Guide.

ACSINY Leadership Team

Aimee Adams Elementary Assistant Principal Valley Stream Christian Academy

John Nelson Head of School Houghton Academy

Chris P. DeSanctis Head of School Gateway Academy

Cary Shaw, Ed.D.  Head of School Twin Tiers Christian Academy

Barbara Marrine Principal Upton Lake Christian School

D. Merle Skinner, Ed.D.  Executive Director, Champion Christian School

J. Craig Miller  Head of School Cortland Christian Academy

P. George Tryfiates  Director of Gov. Affairs ACSI National

John Richardson Head of School, Our Savior's Lutheran School