Proposed Amendments to Part 154 of the Commissioner’s Regulations

Services for Pupils with Limited English Proficiency

New regulations are being proposed that will enhance services provided for English Language Learners in ESL programs and bilingual classes that may have a significant impact on the programs offered in your school district. Presently, these proposed changes are unfunded and may create further stress on districts with growing ESL student populations while struggling with the restrictions of the 2% tax cap.

On June 23rd the NYS Board of Regents reviewed the Proposed Amendments to Part 154 of the Commissioner’s Regulations (Services for Pupils with Limited English Proficiency)  that had been discussed previously at their May meeting and directed the Commissioner to finalize the proposal and publish it in the State Register on July 9, 2014 for public comment. The memo from then Deputy Commissioner Slentz to the P-12 Education Committee contains the proposed regulations and a detailed 5 page summary that may be found at:  http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2014/June2014/614p12d2.pdf

The proposal to amend CR Part 154 was published in the July 9th NYS Register for Rule Making Activities and may be viewed at: http://docs.dos.ny.gov/info/register/2014/july9/pdf/rulemaking.pdf  The pages of the NYS Register that pertain to the proposed amendments to CR Part 154 are contained on pages 27 through 36. There is a 45 day period for public comment and no public hearings will be held.

The proposed amendments may cost districts a great deal of money planning and implementing the changes during the 2014-2015 school year and most assuredly will require significant expenditures to fully implement the new requirements expanding programs for bilingual students and English Language Learners when they go into effect for the school year 2015-2016.

The new Part 154 CR will focus on the following program areas that may have an impact on the administration and staff in your building / district:

  • New ELL Identification Process and Use of Qualified Personnel
  • Parent Notification, Information and Meetings
  • Retention of Identification Documents and Review of Records
  • Student Placement and Due Process
  • New Bilingual and ELL Program Requirements and Provision of Programs
  • Development of a Language Proficiency Team (LPT)
  • Grade Span and Program Continuity
  • Initial Entry, Reentry and Exit Criteria
  • Identification and Exit Procedures for ELL Students with Disabilities
  • Support and Transitional Services
  • Professional Development
  • District Planning and Reporting

Of special note, the new regulations will require school districts to provide full-day bilingual programs if 20 or more students at the same grade level across the district speak the same language. Obviously, districts newly required to provide bilingual instruction or expand their bilingual programs may incur additional costs for staff, curriculum and instructional materials for new classes.

If, after reviewing the proposed changes in regulation, you would like to make a comment please submit it to:

Dr. Cosimo Tangorra, Deputy Commissioner

State Education Department

Office of P-12 Education

State Education Building 2M West

89 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12234,

(518) 474-5520

email: NYSEDP12@mail.nysed.gov

Comments must be submitted by August 23, 2014. Also, please send a copy of your comments to casinfo@caslongisland.com so that we may share them with our legislators.

Timeline for implementation: Districts would be allowed planning and optional implementation during school year 2014-2015 and districts would be required to implement fully in school year 2015-2016. New Amended Commissioner’s Regulation Part 154, if approved by the Board of Regents at the September meeting, will go into effect October 1, 2014

These new regulations, if adopted as they are now without adequate funding, will have differing impacts on districts depending on the population of students served. Know that we will advocate for additional state aid, monitor these developments on behalf of our members and be prepared to intervene should they impact the terms and conditions of employment.