Relates to authorizing school districts in the town of Canaan in the county of Columbia to use real property located outside of its territorial limits.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend chapter 486 of the laws of 1964, establishing and constituting as a separate union free school district certain territory in the town of Canaan in the county of Columbia, and providing for its government, in relation to authorizing such school district to use real property located outside of its territorial limits
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To establish and allow the Berkshire Union Free School District, located in the town of Canaan, to operate educational programs on the site of any real property owned or leased by the Questar III Boces in the counties of Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer and to enter into any agreements necessary to carry out such authority, for the purpose of providing instruction to students enrolled in the Berkshire Union Free School District.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: To amend chapter 486 of the laws of 1964, establishing and constituting as a separate union free school district certain territory in the town of Canaan in the county of Columbia, and providing for its government, in relation to authorizing such school district to use real property located outside of its territorial limits.
JUSTIFICATION: In 1964, by Special Act of the New York State Legislature, Berkshire Union Free School District was organized to provide public education services to the youth in residence at Berkshire Farm Center in the town of Canaan, county of Columbia. This bill is to amend that original act to provide expansion of the Berkshire Union Free School District to include the catchment area of Questar III BOCES serving the counties of Columbia, Rensselaer, and Greene.
The graduation rate for CSE students in NYS is 45% and of those, less than 5% are considered college and career ready. The statistics for poverty and minority students are equally staggering, with percentages hovering just over 50. Currently the Hudson CSD has a graduation rate of 62% and is identified as having a disproportionately high suspension rate for CSE students. The Catskill CSD has a graduation rate just over 70%, and no longer can afford to offer their existing Alternative Learning Program. The 38% and 30% respectively of Hudson and Catskill students will be the typical target population for The Bridge. The Bridge will be offered to all schools in Columbia and Greene Counties.
In addition to serving residents of Berkshire Farm Center, the school district provides special education services to local students bussed to the Canaan campus by their home school. They are Day Program students at Berkshire as an out-of-district placement. Each community school receives high cost aid through the STAC system.
Hudson and Catskill currently have 10 students placed in Berkshire's Day Program based on their IEP out-of-district placement. These students are already in each district's respective special education budgets and each district is reimbursed for those expenses. By utilizing the existing staff that educate those special needs students - Berkshire can create a staffing model that can include an additional
45 non-disabled at-risk youth for this creative alternative learning program (they will be in smaller classes, receiving more focused attention). As example - the total cost of educating all of these students is $870,000. Because the rate is set by SED for those special education students at approximately $43,000 a year, the balance needed to provide this high end academic program for our most underserved student population is $440,000 for 45 students. The building costs will be minimal, as The Galvan Foundation of Hudson is rehabbing the old Register Star building to house The Bridge and charging rent at $1 per square foot. To complete the collaboration, Questar III BOCES will hold the lease on the property and has engaged the participating districts in a Co-Service, known as a BOCES COSER, making each district eligible for their BOCES aid for the following school year.
In addition, each district currently buses the special education Day Program students from Hudson and Catskill respectively all the way to Canaan. The savings from a transportation perspective will be immense, but more importantly - currently emotionally disturbed students, who have experienced nothing but failure in our current system is on a bus for 50-70 minutes each way depending on their home address. By moving these programs to a centrally located site, and by flipping the model, bringing the education to the students, this partnership has the potential to be a replicable model. Berkshire has already had preliminary discussions with the Troy CSD regarding their high need, at-risk population,
By partnering with Questar III, a centrally located building in Rensselaer County could build a new bridge.
Berkshire has achieved results, most districts have never realized. Since 2009, Berkshire has a 100% graduation rate of its CSE students. Berkshire has attributed its results to having a highly effective staffing model and application of specific adult actions that are implemented and monitored in real time through the highly touted Professional Learning Community model. Berkshire employs dual-certified teachers, meaning all teachers have special education certification and certification in a core content area such as math. By employing highly skilled teachers with dual certifications, Berkshire can pay for skills. The district and their NYSUT local have revolutionized the compensation model for public education and eliminated the traditional step salary schedule the "guaranteed raise." By focusing resources where they are most impactfill. Berkshire has created a holistic embedded professional development model where their teachers work in collaborative teams, creating a laser like focus on the most critical instructional strategies.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5454--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 16, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. MARCHIONE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend chapter 486 of the laws of 1964, establishing and constituting as a separate union free school district certain territo- ry in the town of Canaan in the county of Columbia, and providing for its government, in relation to authorizing such school district to use real property located outside of its territorial limits THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Chapter 486 of the laws of 1964 establishing and constitut- ing as a separate union free school district certain territory in the town of Canaan in the county of Columbia, and providing for its govern- ment, is amended by adding a new section 2-a to read as follows: S 2-A. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, RULE OR REGULATION TO THE CONTRARY, SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AND THE BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES RENSSELAER, COLUMBIA, GREEN COUNTIES, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION SHALL BE AUTHORIZED TO OPERATE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS ON THE SITE OF ANY REAL PROPERTY OWNED OR LEASED BY THE BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES RENSSELAER, COLUMBIA, GREEN COUNTIES IN THE COUNTIES OF COLUMBIA, GREENE AND RENSSE- LAER AND TO ENTER INTO ANY AGREEMENTS NECESSARY FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING INSTRUCTION TO STUDENTS ENROLLED IN THE BERKSHIRE FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT OR STUDENTS ATTENDING THROUGH A CONTRACT WITH A SCHOOL DISTRICT OR COOPERATIVE SERVICES AGREEMENT OF THE BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCA- TIONAL SERVICES RENSSELAER, COLUMBIA, GREEN COUNTIES. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10867-03-3