CCSD Board of Education – Meeting – April 9, 2018


– Good evening, I’d like to
call the meeting to order. Please stand for the pledge. – [Group] I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. – Our exits are in the
four corners of the room. And at this point, I’d like
to recognition the visitors. See if we have recognition of visitors for any items on the agenda,
or for any other concerns. Do we have anybody? No, okay, thank you. Neal. – Well, we have a very
special presentation and it’s good to see so
many younger students with us today, because
you can see some examples, some role models, of
people at the high school, students at the high school,
who have achieved something that very few people
ever do in their lives. So this will be something
to keep in your mind, to say, I can really do
great things when I get up to the high school, and even now. I am so proud to be
recognizing our New York State 800-meter relay team, they
are the state champions, and, yes.
(audience applauds) Earlier this year, we had
a state swimming champion, and I said, that’s only the
second time in my career that I’ve ever been associated, and now a third, twice in
one year, this is phenomenal. And we have to give a
little pat on the back to our athletic director, Mr. Kroemer. (audience applauds) And I’m sure he taught all
of you everything you know. Mr. Kroemer, would you like to come up and introduce this group of
outstanding student-athletes. – It is absolutely my
pleasure to be up here. I want to apologize for the
coaches who were gonna be here, as well, but they are busy getting ready for the big relays that
we have on Saturday, so they were all (inaudible)
than anything else. So they asked me to do
the honors this time, I’m very happy to do. This group of young men did something that was absolutely crazy. In one of the fastest events
in the indoor circuit, to pull off what they’ve done, in winning the state
championship is phenomenal. Now, unfortunately, I couldn’t
be there for that one, but we did get it on
video, and if you follow us on Twitter, you can go
back into the history and actually watch it unfold. So what I’m going to do is call them down, and we started a new
tradition here where whenever we win a state championship,
I have a presentation of their official state
championship banner which will go up in the
gymnasium over the summer. So in order of the event,
make sure I get it right, we have Max Olavarria, Matt Krafft, Dalton Weis, and Seth Goitia. (audience applauds) – [Female] Say cheese. (audience applauds) (audience mutters) – [Female] But I think
he’s on his way, Mike, I don’t think he’s here yet. (audience mutters) – [Male] Congratulations. (audience applauds) – Alright. That is really tremendous, I’m
so, so happy for that team. Now we’re gonna talk
about some academic things that our teachers have done
this year, and they’ve been working with the Hudson
Valley Writing Project, and we’re gonna get a
view of some of the things that they worked on this year. And so, Dr. Duffy, if you may, you may have the floor and
introduce this next piece. – [Duffy] Okay, so the
Hudson Valley Writing Project you’ve heard me speak a little bit about the past two years. How Cornwall heard about it is really through two of our high school teachers, Colleen Schebesta, or
Ashley Schebesta, sorry, and Colleen Santoli, both
are certified as trainers for the Hudson Valley Writing Project. And so years ago they
asked me about bringing it here to Cornwall, and having
the opportunity to teach our sixth through 12
teachers, which they started two years ago. But I was so excited about
this type of staff development because it’s teachers teaching teachers, and a lot of times we spend
a good amount of money, and time, and energy
in identifying how best to support teachers,
and I think we found it with this project, so
it’s my honor to introduce Miss Bonnie Kaplan, she is
really one of the main leads for this project, and we have
a video that she put together that really highlights. We had teachers from all
five buildingS work this year with Bonnie and other teachers. They met for five full
days together of coaching, and then Bonnie went
into their classrooms, and watched them teach, had the teachers reflect with each other on instructional practice,
and make recommendations for other activities. So this has truly been a gift. Bonnie and I had our last
session with the teachers this week, and one of
our high school teachers said, you know, I’ve known
these teachers for years, and this is the first time I had a chance to talk to someone outside what I teach and learn from them. So we know we’ve hit some
gold with this project. So I’ll turn things over to Bonnie. Did you want to say anything? – [Bonnie] It’s just been great
working with these teachers, and I think we’re gonna
continue on next year, so it’s a pleasure to be here, and now I’m freaking out ’cause my video hasn’t been shown yet. I hope you like it. (video plays in background) With the students, you can
understand the struggles that they go through, is
those students are hesitant. (peaceful music) I think for myself personally,
and I think it helps me process things and create it in that way, but I think when as part
of a writing community, when we all work together
to a common theme or a common activity, it
gives you an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with what the students are going through. It gives you that compassion,
it puts you on the same level as them, so you can
understand the struggles that they go through. ‘Cause so many students
are hesitant to write, and to be free, and to express themselves, to have these opportunities
to work through it with their colleagues, I
think enhances and enriches our ability to work with our students. (peaceful music) – [Female] Gonna choose from chapter one, and then you’ll write it
at the top of your page. Then you get to free write
whatever it is you think of, however it inspires you. (muttering on video) – [Young Female] I learned from this booK because it will inspire an
individual to try again. Even if he things there is no possible way to keep on trying, there always is. – [Female] I love it, even if you think there’s no possible way,
there always is, great job. I’d really like to take
a line from two people. Sometimes when a teacher would
tell me just to free write, I’m like, uh, I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write, but this kind of anchored me a little bit, and helps me add some detail to my writing based on the quote, so I liked that. (peaceful music) – [Female] Brainstorm
again, and let this simmer in the back of your mind, but now I’m asking you
to put pen to paper, and think about what you may need. I believe in wood-burning fireplaces. I believe that the smell and the sound of crackling wood is
soothing, here, to brainstorm. There are no wrong answers,
write down everything that comes to mind, write
anything interesting. – [Male] They have some
great employee discounts. – [Female] Great employee discounts, okay. You know what, I believe that. I believe they did that, good vibes. – [Male] I believe it’s
trying to be creative. – [Female] Being creative, perfect, because you’re going
to have the opportunity to continue to be creative here. So let’s move on to the next
question, perfect segue. (muttering on video) Yeah, a lot of introspection. – [Female] And when you
said the word community, that’s exactly what it feels like, because if we’re building our community and our relationships, Matt
Cook is across the hall from me, and joke around
every once in a while, but my relationship with him
has changed dramatically. He has popped in to ask me questions. He wrote an ode to a meatball
because he was talking about his love for Swedish meatballs, and now because of this, I was like, I’m gonna use that for an example, my students are writing odes. So I said that to him, he
wrote an ode to meatball, he brought it back to my
room, left it on my desk, my students loved it. Guess what, half of their
ode poems were odes to food. He inspired them. I was so afraid to say,
Mr. Cook across the hall, who they know is this
phenomenal teacher, is a writer. It has created a stronger
community within us, I think. So what we’re gonna ask
you to do is to write a paragraph that explains
why you selected the image that you selected. Would you mind using our
new technology and showing your image to everybody? There you go. (inaudible talking on video) – [Female] So thirty-odd
years ago, my father came over to the United States on a temporary visa sponsored by the Chinese
government to study at an American college. The first time he walked into
an American grocery store, he found that he could buy
a bag of Sunkist oranges for 99 cents. Juicy, sumptuous oranges
like he’d never seen before. It was from that point
forward that my father knew he wanted to stay in America permanently. After the Tiananmen
Square massacre in 1989, the American government
allowed Chinese students to change their visas to permanent ones. In light of the generosity and love, my dad immediately found legal work. He began to work unbelievably hard to become an engineer. Today, my father is an American citizen living the American dream. In the picture, you see my
father sitting next to my mother, decked out in Nike gear in the late years of the quintessential modern-day American childhood. Democracy is about an
equal chance for everybody. Democracy is about human equality, allowing for the voice
of every individual. My father came from nothing, and today he’s everything because of democracy. Democracy is truly (inaudible) (applause on video) (peaceful music) – [Female] These were fun to do. I talked to the (inaudible) a little bit before you guys got here, we talked about when you’re writing today,
how we have to make it a little bit funny so that people want to read your interview, but we also have to balance it with the facts. So if it’s too silly,
are people gonna learn about your animal? No, but if there’s not enough silliness, will people want to read your interview? No, so Ralph Fletcher,
who wrote the interview with a salmon that we read
the very first day we met, does a really good job of
balancing that writer’s voice along with the facts. So here’s a checklist,
and when you’re writing, now you have your graphic organizer that you’re gonna receive, as well. (class mutters on video) It’s interesting to see
from the way of acting when you first presented the salmon intro, you were trying to think
about how (inaudible), and I thought it was perfect. Yeah, to the way that you went through and you talked about the
content versus just humor, compare it and talking about
that, I thought that was (inaudible crosstalk on video) – [Male] Excuse me, are you a rattlesnake? – [Second Male] Yeah, of course. – [Male] What is your habitat? – [Second Male] My habitat is a grassland. Are you some kind of reporter? – [Male] Yes, I am a reporter,
and how heavy are you? – [Second Male] I am five pounds. – [Male] Hey, what do you
eat, where do you live? – [Second Male] First,
I eat mice and shrews. (inaudible) – [Male] What is your family group called? (inaudible response) Why do you have a rattle on your back? – [Second Male] ‘Cause that’s
how I warn people about– – [Male] This project is
about us interview animals. I’m the reporter, he’s– (inaudible crosstalk on video) And we wrote a script right here with my lines and his lines. I was happy that me and Tre were together. I was like, we get to
teach the second graders how to write better and
stuff, and teach them how to use expressions
when they’re writing. – [Second Male] I think
our writing got better, because even Freddy taught me new stuff. – [Instructor] So are you
hoping that you’re gonna work together again, do you
think that’s gonna happen? – [Male] Yes, because
he’s a really good friend, and it’s really fun to work with him. – [Instructor] That’s wonderful. – [Second Male] And also
our teachers helped us learn how to put humor into it, also. (peaceful music) – [Duffy] Okay, if you
were a teacher involved in the Hudson Valley Writing Project, and you’re here in the
room, could you just raise your hand for me,
I know we have a couple. So I just want to take a moment on behalf of all of the administrators
here, thanking you both and all of the teachers involved. This was a very time-intensive,
high-energy project, and you came to every meeting ready to go, and ready to learn, and Bonnie and I are just very happy for that. So we’re excited, next
year there’s going to be a second year of this. We’re looking to keep some of teachers who were involved this past year, but also then offer it to other teachers in each of the buildings
to continue to just bring the love of creative
writing and just adults as writers into Cornwall. So thank you to the Board for your support with this project, and thank you to Bonnie for all the wonderful work you did, and all the teachers who
were involved as well. (audience applauds) – Thank you so much, Bonnie. That was a tremendous, wonderful video, and to the teachers who participated, I saw you down there all day working hard, and I know you did, and thank you all so much for that. It’s gonna really benefit our
students in their writing, as well as your own. So thank you, and thanks, Bonnie. And now, we’re going to have a presentation from Cornwall Elementary School, and Mrs. Argenio, if you
can introduce this to us. – [Argenio] Well good evening everyone. So how did you feel
tonight when you came in and saw our children
engaged in conversation? What did that feel like to you, anyone? The kids were engaged, yes,
inviting, that’s right. And when was the last
time that you had a child come up to you directly, as an adult, look you in the eye, shake
your hand with affirmation, and begin a conversation? So, we had, along with Nicole
Noonan and Alison Harter, and Dr. Duffy, we were given
the amazing opportunity to go to the Ron Clark
Academy this past November, and we brought it back to our school. And we’re bringing it to all the schools, because it’s not just about
a different way to get both our teachers and our
children excited for learning, it’s also a way to
implement in our children the importance of engagement. And we’re guilty of it all the time. We have conversations with people, and you may be looking
towards them, around them, but maybe you’re not really engaged and actually giving eye contact and time. We’re always looking at something, we always feel like
there’s something more than what is in front of
you, and we’re teaching our children that, unfortunately. So what we are working
on is not only making the learning exciting in a different way. All our teachers are
always trying new tricks, and stealing from one
another, but we’re learning in a different way that
we’re doing fraction review for a test and kids can’t
wait to get started. We’re teaching our children
how to be respectful young ladies and gentlemen. And it’s because of the
work of these ladies and kind of the contagious
attitude that it’s taken on in our building, that now
not only are they doing it, but other teachers are doing it. And there’s staff development happening within our own schools to
turnkey it for other teachers. So thank you for allowing
us this opportunity. This is just the beginning
of Ron Clark in our schools. We’re very excited to start sharing it with the other buildings, but I will turn it over to these ladies, who are Ron Clark
groupies, and you will see, I wilL mention the shirts really quick, and when we do present more in the future, we will share about the different houses and the importance of the
community within the school, and that’s why they’re wearing
the two different shirts, ’cause that’s their two different houses that we learned about at
the Ron Clark Academy. And I will also send to you an interview, a CBS interview with Ron
Clark just to kind of learn a little bit more about
it, but I will introduce to you, Alison Harter and Nicole Noonan. (audience applauds) – [Alison] Good evening
everyone, I’m Alison Harter, and we just wanted to thank you, we just wanted to thank
you so much for sending us to the Ron Clark Academy, it
really was a dream come true, and we were so inspired
by what we learned there that we actually went over spring break to a separate conference
in DC hosted by a lot of the teachers to learn even more ways to engage the students and
get them even more involved. – [Nicole] So to start us off
we have a quick video clip, and it’s just a snapshot of the two days that we spent at the Ron Clark Academy. They do teacher trainings once a month, and they are jam packed all the time. So this is just a quick little snapshot of what our days were like there. (video plays in background) (inspirational music) So that was our crazy two
days we spent in Atlanta. And every day in that school is just as captivating and invigorating. The man you saw bouncing around everywhere was Ron Clark himself. And the big twisty slide,
kind of is like a symbol of change for them, so they
say at the end of the training, everybody has to take
a turn down the slide, promising that you’re gonna
leave a different person. So all four of us went
down that crazy slide. But it’s just an amazing environment. You could see the paint on the walls, and all the fun things. – [Alison] Okay, so we just
wanted to let you know, so this is located in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s founded by two national
teachers of the year, Ron Clark was one of the
ones discovered by Oprah, so of course that’s how
he got a lot of his start, we love her. And it’s just a model school with a vision to transform classrooms everywhere, and they’re trying to form a revolution, and change the way that we’re teaching. And I just want you to
know, ’cause a lot of people see that video, and they
think that it’s nirvana, and that it’s perfect, and
that it’s only the best children that go there,
but their class makeup, each class size, has one-third students are average learning ability,
one-third have learning disabilities, and one-third
have behavioral problems in their previous school. So they make it very clear
to us that it’s not nirvana, that they work really
hard to get the students where they’re at, but the
energy that you saw in there was consistent throughout
the entire process. And on average, two to
three students in each class are gifted, as well. – [Nicole] This is also a
skill that they showed us on their philosophies. So in the middle you see is rigor, and their school focuses
on a rigorous curriculum, and being your best self in all areas. On one side of the balance is structure, discipline, and respect. So even though it looks
like they’re having fun, and playing games, and
dancing on the tables, they have really high expectations for student engagement,
presenting themselves in a poised manner, and being
respectful to everybody. And on the other side,
you have the creativity, passion, enthusiasm, if you have too much of the other side, they’re not having fun at the same time. So it’s all about balancing
the fun with the expectations. – [Alison] So here’s what it
looks like when you walk up to the building, and it’s just gorgeous, and it’s very Harry
Potter-inspired if anyone has read or seen the Harry
Potter movies or books. And then that’s the
outside of their building. That’s Ron Clark and Kim Bearden, they’re the two founders of the school. And that’s their gymnasium,
and they talk about how this didn’t happen overnight. This has taken years upon
years to come together. That’s their middle area, the
hallway where you walk up. Ron Clark really wanted a drive-in, so they made sure to get one. That’s their cafeteria,
they sit in long tables, so that they’re all embraced, and they’re all chatting with each other. And they sat and ate lunch with us, and they could carry on a
conversation no problem. This is the entrance to
one of the classrooms. She’s very inspired by
Alice in Wonderland, so that’s her theme. And the whole room is decorated that way. Mr. Ron Clark talks a lot
about standing on the desk, and getting the children involved. So he stands up there a lot,
but we’ve been implementing that in our classrooms
with the kids standing on the desks a lot,
which they really enjoy. In a safe manner, I promise. And he’s just so inspiring,
you hear him speak, and you just want to run
back to your classroom and just make the change,
because it’s just wonderful. And we all got slide certified, and that was a very exciting time. Mrs. Noonan was dizzy for
quite a while afterwards. And they do these room transformations, which I don’t know if you
saw when you were coming in, where they change the way the room looks to make it more exciting. So we’ve done a few of
those with the students, one of them being a
pizzeria, which some of you got to come in and see, and we have some that we’re gonna show in the gym. So we wanted to invite
you guys into the gym to get a quick glimpse on
some of the Ron Clark-inspired activities that we’ve done. The students are very excited,
and also very nervous, so if their nerves do shine
through, please be patient with them, as they’re
trying to learn, as well. So please join us. – At this time, we’ll adjourn to the gym. (crowd murmurs) (calming music) (crowd murmurs) (calming music) (crowd murmurs) (crowd murmurs) I had the privilege of
seeing that Ron Clark done in their classroom as a pizza parlor. And they were reviewing math, which could be a boring subject. And everyone was engaged,
it was so much fun to watch. It was really kind of a neat process. – Well thank you, Mrs.
Argenio and teachers, it was tremendous. I don’t know if you’re here, but what a great experience,
love the energy level, love the enthusiasm, and you could tell they were having fun,
and that’s such a key. And speaking of fun, we’re gonna have a STEAM presentation now. I’m serious, STEAM is fun, and Dr. Duffy, I’ll let you introduce this again. – [Duffy] Okay, so STEAM is
not something new to Cornwall, but what we’ve done this past school year is really try to identify
what it means to each building and each level. And so STEAM, just as a
reminder, I’m Vanna White, we found a new slide that
kind of talks about much of the same, but in a different way. So STEAM we know is
science and technology, but it’s interpreted through
engineering and arts, and it’s based in mathematics. So something that we’re
doing as a district is really identifying what does that mean at the elementary level,
what does that mean at the middle school level,
and what does that mean at the high school level? So STEAM, just for your
background, it should not be taught as a separate subject. And what you’re going to see
tonight is just the beginning of something wonderful. We have a lot of nice supports in place to kind of bring Cornwall
to the point where we have the vision, but tonight we
wanted to just kind of whet your appetite and share with you what we’ve done since September. (Tina speaks away from microphone) – [Tina] So this (inaudible),
starting in November, (inaudible) benchmark, but we also highlighted some of the STEAM initiatives
that were already happening and highlighting some
of the great examples (inaudible) and teachers and principals. One milestone in our
journey happened in January, when the STEAM captain
position came about. Teachers were encouraged to apply, and the STEAM captains help bring ideas (inaudible) We share new research, best practices, and are currently creating our vision. The STEAM captains then bring
back to their buildings, and share that information with the rest of their building. So we were fortunate enough to have a lot of site visits this year. During the site visits, we learned a lot, what’s been working for some districts, what hasn’t been working
for some districts, and what was interesting is each district did STEAM a little different. The foundation was the same, but how they incorporate
it is a tad different. It was nice for us to see that. So our site visits started
in Monroe-Woodbury, we then went to Wappingers, we visited the Tuxedo STEAM Academy. And some of us went to Port Chester, and went through that
STEAM class, as well. Last year, some of us visited Warwick, and Pine Bush to get
more information on that. And finally, like I mentioned before, we worked on our vision. So I would love to introduce
to you our STEAM captains for the current school year. (Tina introduces members) (audience applauds)
Thank you. – [Keith] So to start
everything out at the beginning of our meetings, we start
focusing on our vision statement. We talk about how we can’t
start without that foundation of having that vision. We don’t want to build off of something that’s not solid to begin with. So we wanted our vision to be something that could be easily
recognized by our staff and our teachers as something
that paints a picture of what we want to do moving forward, something that inspires people to move forward, to push forward. And it should be
something that the parents and the students can
also get on board with and understand, and want to
jump on that bandwagon, too. So with a weak vision, we’d have a weak chance of succeeding with this initiative. So we’ve been doing activities
to try to brainstorm and build out this vision. This is an example of
one of the things we did. It was a matrix that we created. We used an adopted model
from the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center. And basically it was a way
to break down our vision of the STEAM initiative to four quadrants of skills, tools, concepts, and practices. What we did first with our
group of STEAM captains was we took something that
they felt comfortable, something they knew a lot about. I think we had cleaning,
barbecuing, party planning, stuff like that, stuff that you just know. And then we realized that
the tools part of this is easy to understand, even for STEAM, the tools are what we need. We need staff, we need
money, we need materials. It’s pretty obvious. But then we use those
tools to kind of figure out what we want to do with this. What skills do we want the
students to come out with? What are the concepts that
they should be working around? And what are the practices
that we want them to come out with? This is really symbolic of
what we want our students to come out of our schools with possessing these type of skills and concepts. Collaboration, team building, thinking outside the box, innovation. A lot of times we focus on an acronym of science, technology,
engineering, math, and art, but really it’s more than that, and I try to explain to
people that we’re doing this stuff in our classrooms. I mean, we just saw in
that room over there, they’re not doing so
much science in there, but they’re doing
something collaboratively that they’re going to take
with them to the next level. It’s supposed to be stuff
that they’re basically thinking outside the box,
and reflecting on stuff, and using that engineering
design process to build their knowledge, rather than
us just throw it out to them. So things like this,
our meetings, we talked about building that vision by the end of, hopefully the next meeting,
maybe the one after, we’ll have that solid vision that we can present to you and hopefully get everyone on board with. – [Duffy] And so it was
important with the STEAM captains that the administrators or the principals did not dictate to the teachers
what STEAM should look like. And so, I know we have a
couple of STEAM captains here, but we want to thank all of
you for your dedicated work, and then the other ones
who aren’t here, as well. They really have taken
this on to identify, I teach math, what does STEAM mean to me. I teach art, I teach social studies, how am I going to incorporate this? So I’m really proud of the STEAM captains, it’s really a nice group
of teacher leaders, and I think when you see the vision, hopefully by May, or definitely by June, it’ll be really created by the teachers for teachers and for kids. And it should be something,
again, as Keith said, that is easily recognizable,
and it’ll just guide all of your work moving forward, whether it’s purchasing
materials, hiring staff, identifying classes,
it should be something that everyone owns, and I think we’re on a nice start with that. So next steps, materials and resources, we were able to purchase
this school year 3D printers for all of the art
teachers in the district. And so 3D printing is something
that definitely promotes STEAM, it’s an area that’s new for most of our art teachers,
so we will be providing some professional courses,
and things like that, but every art room will
have a 3D printer to start, which is a wonderful way
to just get us started to incorporate the art
connection into STEAM. We also have identified or
asked the STEAM captains to identify resources for
each of their buildings, just again to get started. So what the middle school might select might be different than the high school, and that’s all okay, as long as it ties in to that shared vision. And then, we’re also looking
at instructional spaces. So one of the site
visits was to Wappingers, and what they did is
collapse their computer labs to make maker spaces. And so a maker space is
an example of something that’s promoting STEAM,
it’s an instructional space that is set up with all of the materials, there’s an adult that’s
helping provide support, but kids get to come in and just create, and design, and make. So that is something
that the STEAM captains will look at, and if it
makes sense to collapse the computer labs, since
we are looking to go one to one in the future
anyway, that might be a space to create maker labs. So more on that, maker
spaces, as it kind of unfolds. This summer we’re going to
have lots of curriculum hours to continue to update
the technology benchmarks and matrix that have been created. I know Lynn at the high school is looking at some of the high school courses to look at computer science and
robotics, and then also each STEAM captain will
have 10 hours to create something that’s tied into the vision, and it could be activities
in the classroom, it could be a professional
development class for teachers, the sky’s
really the limit with this. We wanted to give some
dedicated hours over the summer to the STEAM captains to
really continue their learning and identify something to
bring back to the schools. And our summer camps, I’m
happy to say two years ago when I started in this
position we had two camps. Last summer and this coming summer, we have four, and they’re strong. They’re going strong, we have lots of parents that want
students to be involved, and a lot of students
that want to be involved. So we have engineering,
the students are going to be designing submarines. We’re going to have an
elementary and middle school coding camp, and at the high
school we’re going to have a camp for students to design solar cars. And so it’s a really nice connection, nice fun way over the summer
to continue what STEAM can look like for Cornwall. So we thought this slide
was fitting tonight, because we are in the
middle of budget season, and so a definite need when
you hear any new initiative, whether it’s STEAM, writing,
it could be a math course that’s being created,
we always need things, but I’m always very
mindful when we’re asking for what we need that
it’s done in a thoughtful, kind of planned out process. So what we’re about to talk
about is another Keith, this technology integration teacher. So shift happens, when we
hired Keith three years ago his primary focus was on getting teachers to feel really comfortable
using technology. And in the district we had
teachers that used technology a little bit, we had
some that never turned on a smartboard, and we had
others that were craving for high-quality professional development. And Keith and Tina have
guided our teachers in the use of technology in
ways that I’m just amazed in a matter of three
years how far we’ve come. But now we’re at the point
that our needs are changing. And so what you’ll notice
here is we’re talking about innovative learning. So Chromebook initiative,
as you know, we have a pilot this year in four classrooms,
next year it’s going to go to all third grade, so
that’s 10 classes of teachers and students who are going to
have Chromebooks all day long. Keith spent the first couple
of months of this year working in those pilot classrooms, but next year we have
10 classrooms who need that type of support, so that’s one area. Again, teachers have grown
professionally regarding technology integration, so
we’ve offered Google classrooms at different levels, but
the teachers are ready for more higher-level type activities. We need more staff to be able to provide that type of training. Computer-based testing is
coming down from the state. So at some point the
students will be taking the three through eight
assessments on a computer, and we do need some support
in terms of training teachers and getting students comfortable in taking the assessments online. And then really the STEAM mindset. So when we were really
planning this presentation, we went back and forth
what to call this position. Really it is a teacher
who’s going to provide support with technology
certainly, but hearing Keith talk about the vision, the
STEAM mindset has to be everyone’s mindset, we
are all teachers of STEAM. It is not a separate subject, we need the support to make
sure that we can guide teachers in understanding how technology ties in, how math, science,
engineering might tie in. And so this second
Keith’s position will help promote technology and
also our STEAM mindset. (female speaks off mic) – [Keith] Yeah, and just
to piggyback off all this. We have very passionate
teachers, and it’s frustrating to not be able to support all the time, although they can do this on their own, and it’s nice to have
someone to throw ideas out and plan things, and it
becomes a more authentic experience for the
students, because it’s more of a planned-out process,
where we’re talking about it, and you’re using both of our ideas, and then combining into
projects and experiences for our kids to use them. So it’s kind of building off the momentum that we created over the last few years, and seeing where we can go from there. Perhaps it’s kind of
hitting a wall, (inaudible). – [Duffy] Any questions
at all from the board? – Is this your highest priority this year – [Duffy] So instructionally,
I would say yes, because this is a district-wide position, and if we are looking to promote STEAM, we need resources behind it. So for me, as the
assistant superintendent, it is the highest
priority instructionally. – Is one gonna be enough,
or do we need more than one? – [Duffy] So that’s a great question. I would say at some point it would be very beneficial
to have more than one, but to start, one would
continue the momentum of the work that we started. – And have you started the
coding process for Keith? – [Duffy] We have not. – That’s a STEAM project. (crowd mutters and crosstalks) – [Duffy] So I just want
to thank Keith and Tina for their guidance with all this, and all of our STEAM captains
and the administration, we’re on a really good start with this. (crowd applauds) – Thank you, that was, I think that helps us
understand it a little better. I appreciate it. At this point, we’re gonna
move on to the consent agenda. It’s recommended that
the Board of Education approve the following consent agendas submitted by the
superintendent of schools, items two through nine,
do we have a motion? – It’s moved. – Do I have a second? – Second.
– Second. – All those in favor? – [Group] Aye. – Any opposed? Thank you. Okay, this brings us to
new business for items not on the consent agenda. Last March 19th, at our last
board meeting on board docs, I had included a draft copy
of the board member handbook, and I sent it out again on April fifth, and it’s on board docs,
also, again for this meeting. And I’m just wondering if, I know there were a couple of typos in it, and I would like if anybody has some input as to what we can fix, ’cause if we can fix it
tonight, I wouldn’t mind having the first reading if it’s possible. – I didn’t write the typos
down, but there were some typos. The community outreach on page 64, that was missing, I believe. On page 73, HR– – Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
– Hold on, hold on, not so fast.
– Whoa, whoa, whoa. – I thought you would pass these out. – Well, I have some here if you wish to. – Well, I specifically asked for one. – Yes, right here. We made up, if anybody
else would like to take a look at one. Do you want any, I have two more. Has everybody got this? Community outreach on page 64. – I think that something was not there. – It was located underneath,
within the communications committee, and I see what
she’s saying to pull it out and make it a separate. – ‘Cause it’s a separate committee. – That was easy. – On page 73, we list human
resources, Zigmund Nowicki. That position no longer exists. – Human resources, okay. – Thank you. – And then, just another
question that I had if you looked at our policy manual, part of the policy
manual, this is excellent, this is an excellent document,
but part of our policy manual states that all new school board members will get a copy of the school law book. I find that beneficial, I
think, to say that we have one at the district office
for someone to look at is, and this is just my opinion,
because I’ve always found the school law book very helpful. It might be beneficial to
have school board members, as they come on board, get
the latest edition of that. Again, that’s just my opinion. Instead of saying there’s one available at the district office. – Yeah, I would check into that, and I think it’s a very
important document. I know some school districts do automatically give a
new school board member the school law book. – And I know we probably don’t
know the dates yet on this, and I know this is
after you come on board, so maybe this doesn’t even belong in here, but I think we need to move
to where, perhaps when, and Larry, I think I’ve
spoken to you about this, that when people turn
the petitions in to run, or if they’ve already done that, then through some contact,
even through email, they’re given the training dates in June for the Orange County school boards, I think there’s two nights of training, which are wonderful, and then
also financial disclosure form as everyone is
required to submit back as far as what they’ve spent. ‘Cause that’s required by ed law. – Right, I’m just wondering– – But I don’t, I know it
doesn’t necessarily belong in this handbook. – Yeah, but that’s a good point. – ‘Cause this is after the fact. But those two things–
– We can certainly, when the policy committee
meets to add that as a policy that when
petitions are handed in, if we know the dates, to give those dates so you’re running for the school board. – Does it really have to be a policy? Can’t it just be something we do? I mean, does it really
have to be a policy, isn’t it just that is our protocol, when you hand in your petition,
you’re given the dates? – And the financial disclosure form, ’cause I just think that’s
helpful because I know when I ran, I got that after the fact, and it just would’ve
been helpful just to know ahead of time that you need to do that. – Yeah, I mean everybody
has to hand it in, so there’s an opportunity,
you give me this, I’ll give you these two pieces of paper. – And make a policy out of it. – If the dates aren’t set
yet, we can certainly, – Get contact information
– Show ’em where to – About approximate dates
– find it. – Because I know when I came
on board that first year, I had a conflict and couldn’t go, and I actually didn’t
go until this last June, but it was fabulous going there
and being with other board members and doing that training
in person, and it’s local. – I do know the dates are set, I don’t remember ’em offhand,
but I know the dates are set. – It’s Tuesday June 12th
and Thursday June 14th. – I just think so people could plan ahead if they needed to do that, thank you. – And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting that, saying,
you know, ’cause you get this when you get elected, you get handed this, say, don’t forget to ask for. Or if you haven’t received
it yet, double check, because that was
something when you’re new, like newbie me, you have no idea, you get bombarded with so much stuff that it’s a good thing to do. – Yeah, there’s two
– I could certainly – different workshops.
– put them in. – There’s the new school
board member workshop, and there’s this, so you wanna
be a school board member. – Can I make some comments? – Absolutely.
– Sure. – Bring it on, Peter. – Well, first of all, I
think that this should tie in directly with our school policy manual, so that, this seems to
be taken from the NYSBA, I understand that, but
we have specific policies that relate to things
that are said in here. So, for example, the agenda. Our policy manual says the
agenda is to be distributed to each member on a Friday. The handbook here says
the board will decide when the agenda will be distributed. Well, I mean they should be consonant. They should be consistent together. So we should check
wherever we have a policy already extant and going on,
we shouldn’t just be nebulous here, we should specifically
refer to the policy here. Also, it’s unclear
about how we’re supposed to communicate with the superintendent. In other words, sometimes
it says, we should talk directly to the superintendent. Now, I’ve been under the
impression that every time I say something in
general, unless it’s really super specific, I copy
all the board members, I copy everybody in. That does not say this
here in the handbook. I think we ought to be specific about how we communicate with everybody. In other words, similarly to you, Larry, I mean I’ve always been in
the position that if I say something to one board member, I say it to all board members. That’s not being said here. I think communication is very important, the way we do this.
– That’s a good point. – Also, the way we present
things for the agenda. Now that’s also not clear in here. I think we should have, there
used to be an informal cutoff, like a Thursday or something like that, but if somebody puts
something in on a Thursday, there’s no guarantee it was in. I’ve had suggestions for the agenda, and that was just dismissed. I think we should, if a
board member wants to have an agenda item, it should
be put there unless there’s a really firm reason,
and put it in writing by the board president. So I think that we really have to clarify the way we set up our board meetings, the way the agenda is set,
the timing of the agenda, the type of agenda we have. This is a NYSBA format
here that is very unclear in many cases, so I don’t
think it really ties in to the way we should, we should really reflect
upon how we do these things. I have a whole sheet here,
but I’m not gonna take up everybody’s time going over
these things, but I was– – Well, could you give it to Margaret? – Well, I’ll type it
out and give it to her. I think we really have to be very careful, we have to go through this more carefully, because it doesn’t make any sense to us. Also, I’m a little
offended by the whole issue about what we should be
wearing to board meetings. I mean, for you, for
example, it should be having a tie on, I suppose, but I don’t know. I mean I don’t think we need to put that– – Excuse me. – I was kidding. – Good. ‘Cause I got rid of my
ties when I retired. – What I’m saying is I think it’s sort of, what should I say, Mickey Mouse to tell us what we should be
wearing to board meetings. I think that’s in here,
I don’t think we need to put things like that in here. People–
– Yeah, but you know, I had a new board member
that one of the first things she asked me is is there a certain way we should dress for the board meetings. – That’s fine, but does that mean it should be in the handbook? – I don’t know, I’m just
saying that was a question I got from a new board
member, and I hadn’t thought of it before, but I was
able to give her an answer. So when I saw it in here, I thought, oh okay, maybe it does– – I don’t think it’s bad
to put in there, because– – I think it’s just Mickey Mouse. – It’s a question that’s come up. – It’s a question that came up, so. – And this is a guiding
document for new board members, so why not? – Also, I mean I could go, the visiting schools,
should we tell the principal in advance, the schools that are hosting. Also, it’s unclear on page
23 about visiting schools. If the school is hosting
something, does a board member have to tell the principal of the school that he or she is coming. I thought we, for a play, does that count? I mean, I don’t know, it’s unclear here. Email, should we copy everybody? What rules of order should we use? Now, are we using Robert’s rules of order, or are we using some other rules of order? – Robert’s.
– Robert’s rules. – It doesn’t say that in the handbook. Setting the agenda, I
just talked about that. Questions with no surprises. This goes to the email, in other words, it talks about here, and I think we should have
a protocol established that clearly how we
communicate with each other. And of course we don’t
want to ask somebody a question that he hasn’t,
or he or she hasn’t had the question posed before. But it talks about that. That goes along with the communication with the superintendent,
always CC the board, it does not say that in
here, but I think that should be clear how we
communicate with each other. And also, I’m unclear
about the audit committee. Is that committee the whole,
I thought that we had– – Yes. – I thought we were made members of that. Somebody told me I was a member. – We said that we had– – Somebody told me I was member. – I will put this in
writing, but I think we– – Thank you. – But my real concern is, much more professional, much more specific as to how you directly, we have a policy manual
here that already says some of these things, and
this doesn’t refer to that. – Which is why we’re doing
this, this is good stuff. That’s why this is the
beginning, the beginning stage. – That’s why we’re
bringing it to the board. – I’d like to bring up the dress code. Our students have one, so I think it’s a good
idea if we also define it, because we’re requiring our
students to dress a certain way. – Well, I go to work every day, nobody gave me a dress code. When you go to work every day, do you have a dress code at your work? – I have to dress appropriately,
I can’t go in my bikini. – Appropriate, okay fine. I think appropriate is fine. – And just saying that is a good idea. – To have a page and a half
devoted to how we should dress to come here, I think is
Mickey Mouse and is not needed. I mean, that’s my opinion. – Can I just make a comment? Larry, can we defer the manual, and I think that
this has been a great start. I personally was traveling
over the weekend, didn’t return until Sunday, so I didn’t have an opportunity to review. I took a quick look at the
document, and I think it was very well organized, but I
haven’t had the opportunity to review the content fully as Peter has. And I think this is
something that’s good for us, but it has to be consistent
with our existing policy, so it shouldn’t supersede our policy. I think we should make
an effort to put this out before new board members come on board. But I know that tonight,
the important conversation that I personally would
like to have is the budget, since it’s the last meeting before we have to adopt the budget. – I suggest we have one more meeting. – Fine, and with this
many changes and whatnot, and with this, so we will not
have the first reading tonight and we’ll modify this, and poor Margaret will get
out her little word processor. – My electric typewriter. No, anybody, really,
seriously, if you have, whatever you’ve got, send
it my way, because, again, this was the first draft based on someone who hasn’t
been here for a couple years. – So perhaps if you could,
as you go through the manual, shoot Margaret page number and the change, or a concern you might have. – I think a lot of this stuff really needs to be double-checked, but I’m just saying a general statement– – I understand what you’re saying on that, but there’s obviously some other things that are more specific, so there’s, I found one or two things
that I’ll give Margaret that need to be changed. We’ll do that, that’s fine. – I mean, Margaret, when you
were putting the document together, were you guided
by the NYSBA legal manual? – I had a few pieces from NYSBA. – It wasn’t just Margaret,
it was a committee of Margaret, and myself, and Jim. And we spent a number of
meetings pulling things together from various
places, and using ideas. – I really like the links
that you were able to, in the digital file, it was excellent. I think this is a great start,
and it’s a needed document. – Right, and the idea
is to have a hard copy to give people, but then
also you could get it online, and you could just click
right through those, so yeah, that was one
of the underlying ideas to bring it up to the 21st century, throw a little STEAM in there. – Okay, well thank you, and if you all could,
just if you find anything, we’ll send ’em to Margaret as one place. – Is the committee going to sit with this and the policy book and
kind of go through and do, as Peter suggested, and
see where it matches with our policy.
– Absolutely, I think that’s a good idea.
– I would volunteer to help with that, ’cause
that’s an awful lot for the three of you to do. – Yeah, and you’ve seen,
been through the policy. – Yeah, for years. So yes, I will help you with that, ’cause I can see where
that’s gonna be a lot of work to do that, but it’s a good idea to do it. – Great, thank you, Melanie. – Okay, thank you all. Two, the Kiryas Joel tax letter. Harvey, could you
explain it to us, please. – So we had received a
letter from the attorneys representing the village of Kiryas Joel asking for exemption, tax exemption, on some of their properties
within our district that supply their water supply. We looked into it to
get some understanding of what this really entailed,
and the amount of taxes that these properties
provide to the district is approximately $51,000. I don’t know why the
board would agree to this, but the reality is that the
$51,000 should the exemption be given to them, the 51 would fall on the remainder of the taxpayers. – And we currently don’t exempt the Village of Cornwall, do we? – We do. – We do.
– Well, they exempt themselves.
– They exempt themselves, right.
– We don’t have a say in that. But this is outside of that. So there’s no formal resolution needed, it’s just a discussion, and I would just convey
back to their attorneys. – How does the village, how
can they exempt themselves? – Our village?
– Yeah. – Well, there’s a process. – So, Kiryas Joel can do
the same thing, can’t they? – Well, the village is
exempting themselves from their own taxes,
that’s really what it is. – Oh okay, got it. – I would just comment on this. I would suggest that we
do not provide exemption. I find it particularly
offensive the one letter, the one sentence in here
that it would eliminate or reduce cost of litigation. I find that quite
offensive to the district. And my opinion is is that
they need to pay taxes like everyone else, like the rest of us all sitting here, so I
don’t think that this is any justification for exemption. – I agree. – Well, let me ask you, what’s the legal basis of this request? Is there a legal basis? Is there, for example,
churches get exempt, is this like a tax-exempt entity? – No.
– No, it’s not, so what’s the–
– They’re looking to save $51,000. – But there’s no legal basis
– They’re trying something. – for the request?
– Nope. – No, they’re probably figuring, you know, if they don’t try, why not. – So it’s the same as
if I were to request– – If you were to. – Why don’t you exempt me? – So you’ll be getting nine
of those from us tomorrow. – There’ll be nine denials. – Alright, so I think I
have consensus from seeing that no, okay. Okay, that brings us to
the budget presentation. – Mr. Sutland, we have a very interesting presentation tonight. Tonight’s presentation is
a rather important one. It really is going to speak
toward resolution and receipt of a lot of the open items
that we’ve been talking about over the last couple months. So if you look at the open items update, the first bullet point,
we’ve received two additional staff retirements, that
generated a savings of about $115,000, which
was a nice turn of events. We’ve also received the costs or the rates on all the BOCES services
that we would be contracting with them for, and that
was a small savings of about $6,000. The biggest item that
we’re gonna be talking about tonight here is
the state aid figures. The amount of state aid that the district will be receiving, if you’ve
heard about what transpired up in Albany, and as a result we received about 331,000 more in revenue, which is tremendous, as I’ll be getting into in a minute. Additionally, there was a
small savings with respect to the annual reviews
for the special needs students, about $37,000. And so all cases, there
were positive signs, which is good. The only remaining item
that is still open, although we do have a fairly good idea that it wouldn’t be anything
significant changing between now and when the board adopts, is that there are ongoing annual reviews for the special needs students. Should anything come
up, obviously we would be mentioning that at
the next board meeting. A new development that
arose is with regards to a PILOT agreement. If you’re not familiar with
what a PILOT agreement is, it’s an acronym for
payment in lieu of taxes. And what this really
represents is when an entity, an organization, a
for-profit organization, wants to open up business,
construct something, do something economically
for the community, they will go to the county IDA, the Industrial Development Authority, and they will kind of say,
what can you do for us, can you help us? And what they would often
do is they would give them a PILOt, which basically
means that there’s some reprieve with respect to their taxes. Okay, which means we wouldn’t
get the school taxes. However, as it indicates, payment in lieu of those taxes is what we would receive. So essentially it’s something
negotiated and discussed between the economic
provider, as well as the IDA. In our case, unlike a
lot of the neighboring school districts, we only had
one small PILOT agreement. And over the last two years,
I have been struggling with the IDA and our
attorneys to get them to pay, two years ago they stopped paying. It’s about $15,000 a year. And finally, the IDA agreed
that enough’s enough, and they revoked their PILOT agreement, which means they go back on the tax rolls, which is good for us. However, we would have a loss, we will a loss, I should
say, in terms of what we originally budgeted
for of about $15,000. So going back to when I originally talked about the revenue stream
that we were gonna be current and having for next year, that is gonna be coming down 15,184. Now the other side of
the coin, if you looked at the tax cap calculation
that the state requires us to follow, included in that calculation, it takes into account the PILOTs. As a result of not having
that PILOT agreement, our maximum allowable tax
levy, and that’s maximum, it doesn’t mean that’s what we’re using, but the maximum amount
that we can go up to goes from 3.18 to 3.21. I updated the sheet as
I’ve done each meeting just to give you a snapshot of
what each of the expenditures are looking like at this point in time. It’s just a snapshot for
your review at any point. So where does this all put this, all those changes, all those resolutions that we’ve brought to our open items? If you look at the line, the last line at April 9, 2018, it now brings our preliminary expenditures
to 70 million 825. Our revenue 69,098,995. Our projected assigned fund balance as well as use of reserves
remains at 2.4 million, again, that’s the surplus
that we anticipate having, giving back to the community. And what it does, it has
quite a bump in what I call our current funds available. This is really the amount
of money that the board can utilize for addressing all those needs that we talked about at the beginning of this budget process. Remember, everything we’ve
been talking about to date is really a rollover budget, we’re not adding anything yet, we’re not taking anything away. However, we’re now in a
position where we have $670,000. So at this point, what
I’d like to talk about are the administration’s recommendations of the priorities that we
see within that 1.5 million needs assessment that we did at the beginning of this process. I don’t remember the exact
date, it might have been the 2-26, but we talked
about a million and a half dollars of needs that the district has programmatically as well as other support. So what we’re looking
at here, this reflects the entire administration’s
recommendations of the highest priorities
of that needs assessment. The first item there is to
implement school resource officers district-wide at
a cost of almost $225,000. What this represents is
an armed law enforcement individual in each school
building during the school day. So five buildings, it’d be five officers on duty all the time
during the school day. This position does not in any way affect our current relationship
or our current services that we have with DDT Security, this would be complementing them. The next is the district-wide
technology integration teacher, this is exactly
what Gail, Keith, and Tina were talking about. This would be 103,000. Keep in mind, anything
that’s salary-related, this is all inclusive of salary, benefits. Secondly, we have the
technology department clerical. Now what I’m going to do at this point, instead of me talking
about this and advocating as I often do, I’m gonna
have each of the respective director’s principals, specific
to this, or these, needs speak to the board, give
you a little more insight. I’m gonna turn it over to Tina right now to talk about the clerical. – One thing quick, Harvey. Now you said our cap
went from 3.18 to 3.21. – Yes.
– Did you increase our revenue because of that? How does that affect our revenue? – I’m gonna show you.
– Okay. – [Harvey] I promise to show you. – [Tina] So the clerical
position for the technology department, we have a shared
clerical position right now. We do, but we don’t. Philomena is absolutely
great, she does central registration for the entire district. Almost every single day,
families are coming in to register, from the
beginning of March ’til June, kindergarten registration,
and June on to pretty much the end of September,
the line’s out the door of A23 in the high school of parents coming to register. So she’s wonderful, and
she helps us when she can, but we need that extra support. We have one-to-one coming for third grade, we have the STEAM initiative, we have computer-based testing. We’re kind of at a point
now where we really need that extra help. The Mid-Hudson Regional
Information Center gives the data coordinators
each month a to-do list, required by New York state,
you need to make sure all of these items are done. For the month of March, it was light, it was only seven pages,
and I’m not kidding. Each line is something else
that we need to make sure is accomplished for New York state. So where the data piece
has grown tremendously in the past 10 years, it’s
exponential of what it was. So besides new reporting
to New York state, we’re also trying to help
students use the data, teachers use the data,
to help them excel, too. We’re not even touching that
part of the data right now. So those seven pages, it
would be nice to have somebody to help with that,
because also it would help the department run a little
bit more efficiently, where I could help do other things, Jeremy, Tony, Frank, Keith
too, having that extra person there to help us out. – [Harvey] And it’s important
to note that that data list, it is continually growing,
we’re always getting new requests from the federal government and the state government. – Harvey.
– Yes. – I have a question for Tina. Tina, who currently
fills out those requests, that list that the RIC sent you? (Tina answers inaudibly) – Okay, and if you had a clerical person, they would be doing it? – [Tina] They wouldn’t be doing all of it. It would be helping pull reports. Coming to some of the
meetings, filling in where, where if I’m doing
observations, or working with teachers, they could fill in, too. Not replacing me. – Tina, do you think
it’d be possible to have a three-day-a-week person? I know, obviously full-time is best, but could that possibly work? – [Tina] Harvey’s been
very generous in trying to help figure out something to help me, and we’ve tried to do a couple of things, and it didn’t really work out. Three days may work out, the problem is there’s certain days that
they’d have to be reported to New York state, and at this point, anything would help. – I have a question
regarding the technology, and my company went, we had an in-house IT department, and I really supported
and I support your role, but we had a new chief
financial officer that came in made something totally out of the box, which is to outsource our IT support. Keeping the Tina, and
the core group in house, but many of the duties that
they perform, to outsource it. Is there such a thing in
the education environment as far as outsourcing
some of these services? – [Male] Sure, there is, the BOCES, whether it’s Orange or it’s RIC. They will pretty much provide the service for many of the services
that we do in-house. Food service, as an example,
you can have a shared food service manager. But the reality is that
the cost is probably three times that. – It is.
– Yes, because they’re doing nothing other
than what we would do. They’d have to hire someone, so you’re passing on the cost. – For us, the change was dramatic, it was a fraction of what we were paying. And I did not support the idea, it was great to have the
IT department one floor below me, and whenever I needed someone, they were there in my office. But it’s the same service now. You know, I have the Tina
that makes the phone call, and they’re there. But it’s something to
consider and explore. If it were equal in terms of services and if it were less money. – [Harvey] And you know,
we do that with many, many different expenditures. It just, not to say
that we’re never looking for those things, but
right now, utilizing BOCES is just not a cost-effective method. – [Tina] If I could just answer
to do with that, as well, not being cost-effective,
but also our people know our network, they know our students, they know our teachers. Bring in a BOCES person,
they’re not exclusive to this. We know our people in our district. Where if we had a BOCES person
come in a couple of days a week, they’re not gonna
have that relationship that we have with everybody. – Tina, Harvey, clerical positions are always, always hard to get. Coming from my world in the medical world, to ask for clerical staff
is like pulling teeth. And they’d always ask the question, well, what if we give
you a half-time person? It’d be five days a week,
but it’s three hours a day, three and a half hours a day, whatever the part-time thing
would be to start off with, see the workload, and then
something that we could build upon in the following year as a possible thought. – [Tina] Like I said before, any help. If it was half-time, or in the mornings, something to help would be beneficial. – Do you track your
service requests in terms of amount of hours that are requested, so maybe the volume, that
we could see the volume of your requests, and
then we could measure how many hours you
physically have available? Although you’re here 168 hours, anyway. – [Tina] So with the work
orders, we have a system that we could track, (inaudible). But when it comes to data
and working with teachers, we don’t track that, we
just get the work done. – Okay, it’s helpful, I can tell you, making this argument and also
coming back to the community. And this is something that
we didn’t do in-house, which was tracking it, now we do. Now there’s a service
request, it goes to the, and it’s tracked in
terms of how many hours, how many requests, and we
can measure the efficiency. But that would be very
helpful, because then we can measure how many hours we have available, and how many more hours we really need. – [Harvey] Let me, I
hear what you’re saying. Tina was kind. The load that her department
has is an avalanche. I will not kid you. If you saw this seven-page list alone, you’d wonder how anything else
gets done in this district. We have a very thin technology department. You might recall that there
was some other technology positions that we were looking for, a technician alone, we
only have two technicians for the entire district, and we’re bringing on this one-on-one. This is really, as I mentioned,
the highest priority. We don’t even have the
time to undertake a study such as what you’re recommending. I don’t dismiss it, yeah,
that would be wonderful. How do you step off that wheel? It’s to not do anything else, ’cause everybody is
working nonstop, full-out. It’s just very difficult. There are certain things to
us that are quite obvious, and I’m not saying that you
don’t want the information, so to speak, but the avalanche is there. It’s every single day. Tina’s unable to do a lot of
the things that she can do, because she’s muddled
in with the data stuff, for instance, that someone at
a clerical level can handle and take off her load. That’s huge, it’s huge. So I just want to mention that. – Sometimes we have management
consultants come in, and look at these things. They see things that we don’t see. I mean, have we ever
considered something like that? Have we done that, would that make sense? – [Harvey] We certainly could do that, there are consultants that districts use. Again, I would just say it would cost probably somewhere in the
neighborhood of $10,000. If that’s the board’s wish, by all means, I’m telling you that I
can tell you right now what they’re gonna find. I respect if that’s what you want, by all means, we can undertake that. – Just so everybody’s clear, Tina is the director
of data and technology. In a lot of other school districts, those are two separate positions. So having worked in that
department when I first started in IT, I mean you could
see on a daily basis everybody’s out trying to do their, the techs are trying to
fix the computer problems, everybody’s supposed
to use the school tools entry system, but if somebody would see me in the hallway, go just a quick whatever, so a lot of that data wasn’t necessarily, we would then come back and
then try and put it in ourselves if we weren’t being
pulled out to another job. But the fact that if we
could get maybe a half-day for five days a week, somebody
to help to start to see how that works, how that impacts her, because so many times she’s
supposed to be planning for the future, and if she’s
mired in all of these things on a day-to-day basis,
she’s getting less time to actually take our district
where it needs to go. – [Harvey] And that’s district-wide, and I hate to say this,
but everybody is getting so bogged down with the
demands from the state and the federal government
on a lot of things, we are being reactive. We are losing the ability to be proactive, and really have that
vision and carry it out. And it’s very frustrating,
because we know how to do it, but we can’t, we just don’t have the time. – Just to put things into perspective, I just did some quick numbers. We have 3,700 end users,
that’s between the children and the staff. We have two techs, one
network administrator, Keith and Tina.
– That’s it. – For 3,700 end users. – What’s the equivalent
in another school setting with that same type of load? You know, what would be the
equivalent in terms of support? – In another school district? – Yeah.
– Or in industry? – 3,700 users. What kind of support,
do you have any examples that you can share with us? – [Tina] As Margaret had mentioned before, this position is (inaudible). So you could look at it
as director of technology, and see what numbers,
and also their users, and also how much technology. We have over 800 computers,
over 1,200 Chromebooks and iPads, so on top of the users, we also have all that equipment. – If I could suggest,
maybe what we could do for the next board
meeting, is we could survey the other districts in the county, and we could come back and
tell you some statistics with respect to what they have. – Good idea. – That would help, be helpful for me, and I think it would be
helpful for the community that we’ve done that, that homework. – [Harvey] Anything else on that one? – Is it possible to have the informa, this is something that, Peter, go ahead. – Well no, don’t we have
to vote on the budget next meeting, or is it– – No, I was gonna suggest,
as long as you brought it up again, Peter, I’m gonna suggest that there are some bits and
pieces of the budget that we will be discussing
tonight, and that we need more in-depth discussion
on before our next meeting. And I had sent out an email
to the board suggesting that next Monday at seven o’clock we have an executive session to discuss the safety pieces and
dollars that need to go into the budget, and the
funding resources from that. So that may help. – That would be great. – Yeah, so it’ll be at the high school, seven o’clock in the conference room. So that will help. – [Harvey] The next item
deals with the high school. What we’re looking for there is the .4 full-time equivalent math teacher. I’m going to turn to
turn this over to Lynn. – [Lynn] So we’ve been
talking a lot about different initiatives, and how
to move things forward, and in one place, and I’m
going to say we are behind, we don’t offer any
computer science classes. We really need to up our game some. So what we really would love to have is a principles of computer
science as a first class. Mr. Flannery and I have had
some numerous discussions about this, as well as
the department as a whole. At some point, we’d love
for it to be an AP course, as well, but in the first year one of the hard things with
budget at the high school is by the time you give us an answer if there’s a new class, it’s really hard to make it happen by
September, because of master scheduling already being
started and all of that. So computer science is
something that we really feel is a need that we don’t currently have. The .4 is, I had mentioned
earlier to some of you, that we need some support on
the AI science side, as well. So in our, we have a business teacher right now who is math certified,
but we’ve had to pull him from doing a business
class in order to pick up a section of math AIS. Last year, we had a special
ed teacher who we had to pull out of a section, we needed her, so she, you know, we
needed her for special ed, she could no longer do the math classes. So we’re constantly
struggling to make sure that we can give our
kids additional support in math, as well as some
opportunities to explore some new fields. So for us, that’s what this .4 would do. And any more that you’d like to give me, oh, he won’t let me say that. So I don’t know if you
have any questions on that, but that’s what we’re
really looking for in that. – Lynn, would the AIS math
teacher that you would like to have new come aboard,
will the business teacher go back and teach another
section of some sort of business.
– Yes, that’s what we, that’s what we hope.
– And there’s a call for that? – Yes.
– Okay, thank you. – [Harvey] Okay, the next item in terms of highest-priority needs
speaks toward a director of human resources. It’s important to note that two years ago we utilized BOCES for this
purpose on a kosher level, where we basically shared
it with another district. We only had a gentleman
in here, I believe it was one day a week. They worked wonders, they
did tremendous stuff for us, but obviously, they can only do so much. So at this point, I’ll
turn it over to Neal, to speak about this position. – Thank you, this is a
position we’ve talked about for the past few years as a
real need in the district. We’ve never really had an
opportunity to get this position. This is a year, next year, that we could. And the reason it’s important is we have a very lean administrative team. We’re all picking up, including
our building administrators, our principals, our directors,
and then the three of us at district office, we all pick up the human resources aspect. You can see this makes for
probably some inconsistency, because we’re all kind
of doing it our way. But when we did have the
one-day-a-week HR person, he was able to kind of
bring consistency to us, setting up procedures and
things that have really helped. Still though, we are looking
at an area, human resources, that is one of the most
vast in any school district, any corporation, and
there are so many laws and regulations changing
constantly, and we have to keep up with all that, and it’s
not necessarily easy to keep up with that, but we do. We really feel there’s a
lot of legal exposure here to our district, because
we make a mistake, and it’s gonna be costly. Up ’til now, we’ve done
great, and all the people in this room tonight, who
have been working with HR and hiring people, fantastic job, but as Harvey said earlier,
we’re getting more and more put on us all the time. This would be just one area that we could really have one person
focus on with his secretary, and we can handle the secretary
within what we have now, and then if you look at all
the things that have to do with human resources,
including negotiations, all the laws and regulations
and civil service, and the Department of
Education certified staff, it’s really an enormous undertaking. But besides the legal
exposure, this is a support to our administrators
that would be invaluable. This person, when we did have Zig here, Zig was our one-day HR person, he would lead trainings,
he would give us the latest in laws and regulations, and he was always helping us and supporting us. We were first able to get job descriptions that we’ve never had
before in our district, or at least not recently,
he was able to do a number of things on just one day a week. If we could have a full-time HR director, it would be an enormous benefit. Now you’re asking about
what do other districts do, well I looked into that,
and we have three types of districts in Orange County. We have those very heavily
populated districts, such as Newburgh, Middletown, Pine Bush, Monroe-Woodbury, they’re
all very heavily populated, and as they should, they all have HR departments, HR directors. Then we have this group
of schools that are in the 3,000-student range, okay, and that would be
Minisink, Washingtonville, Warwick, and they all have HR directors, and that also includes Cornwall. We’re the only district of a medium size that does not have an HR department. Marlboro with 1,900 students,
and Goshen with 2,900, they both have HR departments. The third type of district
are the smaller districts, and that would include
Chester at 1,000 students, Florida at 800, Greenwood Lake, 500, Highland Falls, 900, so
we have these small ones, they don’t have HR departments. But we’re right there
with that middle group, and we’re the only one
in that middle group that does not have an HR department. So if you’re comparing,
it would make sense that we join the group that did. So I just see that as this is the one year we have the opportunity for this, and I think it would be
money very well spent. – Well, what happened to Zig? – Zig was working for
BOCES, he worked with us one day a work, he worked
with BOCES one day a week, and then he worked with
Middletown three days a week. And Middletown decided to go
with a full-time HR director, and Zig applied, and got the job. – So you have savings for that position? – [Harvey] That was two years ago. – That was two years ago. – What happened to the savings? – That was part of this budget, that was part of this current budget. – So you didn’t have
anybody this year, right? – No. – Would this person also deal
with all of the recruiting, and the resumes, and, of
course it’s online now, but would they handle all of that, too? – Well, I think it’s still
important that our principals have a large say in who they hire as– – No, I just meant the actual process. – But as far as the process, yes, in fact, when Zig was
here, he found things in Envision that were errors, mistakes. He did so many things
that we wouldn’t probably have picked up on, but yes, this person, – He would organize the process. – This person would be involved, yes. – And not do the hiring. – I have a question.
– Right, as far as the organization of it, yes. – Barbara has a question. – So if we can have a
director of human resources, that means that there’s several people in the district office
that will be able to spend more time on their real job? – Yeah, we probably spent, I can’t estimate the
percentage because it varies depending on what happens. There’s always personnel things
that we have to deal with, not just the hiring, and
it takes up an enormous amount of our time. – So we’ll be more productive. – More productive, and you
know, we do a lot of calling of our school attorney,
because we have to always know. This HR director would have that expertise that we wouldn’t have to,
and every time we call the attorney, you know,
the clock’s running. So, could be some savings there. – Could this also be a four-day-a-week? I know this is best, but
understand there are alternatives. – I’m not sure we could hire someone. – Who would be willing to do that. – Yeah, I will say,
though, I see this also as a person who could also be in charge of our public relations, and
it’s kind of a dual duty, because we certainly are
lacking that in our district, too, and it’s really important
to have good media relations and all, and again, we all do our share, and we all do the best we can, but we could have this
person as the point person for the media. So I see it as kind of a dual. – Is there a human resources in an education setting
certification that’s required? – [Harvey] In the community, it could be a certified position or it
could be a civil service. – I mean, this is a
position that I have to give credit to Harvey, because
Harvey has demonstrated throughout these years, that
he’s been able to do this all. I see this as a position that’s needed, but a position that
would come under Harvey, not perhaps a $169,000
position, but a support position for Harvey in various duties, human resources being one of them. And perhaps this may be
two positions under Harvey. – [Harvey] Well let me
just speak toward that. It’s important to keep in
mind that in a school setting, you really have certified
personnel and uncertified, uncertified being civil service. Civil service is almost like
an expertise unto itself. Certified is almost an
expertise unto itself. Currently, at the district office level Neal and Gail pretty much handle the, they do handle the certified,
and I work with Neal on the civil service. It’s a huge undertaking,
but for the one person to do them both, I don’t think, it’s not possible, I
can tell you right now, it’s just too much. At the board meetings, we
have our personnel actions, and you see hires,
terminations, resignations, you can’t believe the depth
of hours that go into a lot of that just to get to
that one little line item that the board approves. – Would you see that more
as a functional position, or as a leadership position? Because I see that more
in terms of just workload that needs to be done.
– It’s both. – You wouldn’t prefer two
people working under you versus? – [Harvey] No, I think you
need someone at a higher level. I think you need a directorship. There’s a huge amount of
knowledge that you need. – So you’re looking for
the certified individual? – [Harvey] Or partnered
through civil service. Whether its certified or civil service, it doesn’t matter as long
as they have the expertise, that’s what we’re looking for. – Again, I’m just trying
to understand the workload. We don’t have that much
turnover in our district, so this would be just
support in terms of medical, insurance–
– No, that’s a clerical position
that’s handled under benefits. – Okay, so what would be the
human resources position? What would that person’s
responsibility entail? – Well, we have seven
collective bargaining units in our district, so an HR person usually is in charge of negotiations. Right now, we all take turns
with that with our attorney. It would be staff discipline,
and there’s fortunately not a lot in our district,
but it does happen. It would be our APPR program. It would be– – Say it again, what is that? – Oh, I’m sorry, that’s
our teacher and staff evaluation process, okay. And there’s also a lot
of reporting requirements that an HR person would
do that we currently do, such as BEDS, which is
an enormous undertaking. APPR, we have to report
on that every year. Course approvals, the
coursework that our staff takes has to be approved. And also training, because our
HR person would be involved in training of our staff
in various aspects. Harvey, can you think
of any more, or Gail? – [Harvey] There’s a tremendous
amount with regards to, Tina does a lot of
reporting, assessment stuff. But there’s also a lot of
personnel reporting to the state. It just came out with
this very big initiative with respect to tenure. We have to update our system,
someone has to monitor it, someone has to keep it
going every single day now. So this is just another
example of the state giving another HR responsibility. Discipline, even though
it doesn’t happen often, when it does happen, it’s consuming. There’s hearings, you have
to deal with the attorneys. You have to get witnesses,
you have to stop everything you’re doing or designate it. Those kind of things take, they
could easily eat up a week, and you get nothing else
done, it’s unbelievable. – Well how come, if we have
zero now, and we had one two years ago, you have to
go from one day a week now to five days a week? Wouldn’t it make sense
to try to get somebody one or two days a week? – Well, he was only able to kind of get the tip of the iceberg. I mean, it helped what
he did, but I don’t know of too many HR departments
that are just open one or two days a week. – [Harvey] Peter, if I could also, we only could afford that
one day when he hired him. That was in the budget,
we could only afford the one day a week. And what we decided was we
realized the limitations of one day a week, so
we decided to have him work strictly on processes to help us during the other four days, and that’s what he did a lot of, and that was extremely helpful. But it didn’t cover, it
just scratched the surface. – Harvey, just to give
my perspective on this. We have been talking about this for years, just weren’t able to do it financially. And it looks now that
we’re able to do this. With all the numbers here of employees, including substitutes, it’s
about almost 750 employees. That’s a lot of employees
with seven bargaining units. The hospital I was with
was a state hospital Department of Health, we had
a human resources director and eight people in the
department to handle all those things they talked about, processing, legal issues,
discipline, bargaining units, they handled benefits, health insurances, mandatory in services
that the state requires that I’m sure that the state
requires teachers have to do on an annual basis, public relations, continuing education,
you know, there’s a list that goes on and on and on and on. I mean, I get it, and it to
me, as somebody else said, it lightens up our superintendent’s load, our business superintendent,
our curriculum superintendent, our tech, principals are doing stuff that they shouldn’t be
doing in an HR venue. So I see the need for it for one person, and I think at this point in time that I’d be in favor of it. – [Harvey] Okay, I will move on. The last item here deals with a supervisor of the grounds crew. Just to put some perspective on this, think of, we all know Walter’s department, it’s really divided up
between, think of people in the building, people
out of the building. In the building, we have different hierarchy of supervision. You have the head custodian, you have custodian, and then
you have custodial worker. So they’re being supervised,
and they’re being directed, and there’s a game plan that
someone is attending to. With respect to the grounds
crew, we do not have any kind of hierarchy,
everybody is a groundsman. So I’m gonna turn this over to Walter to speak toward the need. – Thank you for your consideration. It’s pretty straightforward, we’re looking for a team captain for our grounds crew, someone who has the ability to direct the other workers while
they’re out in the field. So right now, they would have to stop what they’re doing, they
would give me a call, I would stop what I’m doing,
either go out to the field or say, work together, tell this one to tell
that one to do something. So it’s really about pay grade, and they’re all similar,
and what this does is it takes an existing position, it just elevates that person. It’s not a new position, it’s just taking one of the individuals and
giving them the ability to direct and make decisions, and make things happen out in the field. – A few years ago, didn’t we do this with another part of your department? – We did, we modified
some of the budget lines, we reduced some of our contractual, we put that money into salary. We created a foreman, a
supervisor maintenance mechanic. – Oh, it was maintenance.
– We did a reduction on some of the staff, and
then we took those monies, and we created additional
maintenance mechanics. That model’s working very well. – Right, I remember that. – When I do the presentation
for you on May seventh, you’ll be able to see through data what the results were. – Do you have somebody in mind
on staff for this position? – I do.
– You don’t have to go out and find somebody?
– I’ve been grooming someone, mentoring someone,
and someone who has the ability to actually go into a leadership position. – Okay, thanks. – Thank you. – [Harvey] Thank you, Walter. So all told, these high-priority needs come to about $600,000. Now Peter asked a question before, where do we stand with
respect to the tax cap in regards to these needs. This sheet, this screen
overviews everything that we just talked about, it
is not just a rollover, it’s not just what we’re
talking about adding. It’s the rollover with
these needs identified. So, the preliminary budget
would be a 71.4 million, and as you can see there,
the rollover budget is a 2.2% increase, the
identified items are .87%. That gives you the 3.07%
increase on budget to budget. How do we pay for that? The first item there is the tax levy. The tax levy would be 48.2 million, which comes to 3.06%. Now, you might recall the previous screens I talked about the maximum
allowable tax levy was 3.21. We’re not going up to the maximum. I’m not saying that 3.06 isn’t high, but I’m saying we’re not
going to the maximum. What we’re leaving on
the table, so to speak, is about $70,000. Okay, and I say that because
every year when you do the tax cap calculation, you always start with the previous year’s. So we’re gonna be starting
with $70,000 less of a base moving forward forever. But the tax levy is 3.06%. The state aid that we talked about before, the increase, brings
it up to 20.1 million, which is an increase of 3.31%. Our miscellaneous revenue is 609,000, it’s up about 32%, and just because that’s a large number, I’ll explain it. Essentially because of The Fed action, the interest rates have been going up, we’ve been able to determine,
get higher interest rates from our bank, that
represents a majority of that, so it’s a nice help. And then lastly, we have
the assigned fund balance. Again, think of that as
the amount of surplus that we’re anticipating. 2.3, that’s down a little
bit, it was 2.4 for this year. In the ERS reserve, this is
a reserve that we’re gonna be utilizing, this is the
employee retirement system, we’re gonna be pulling in
from our reserve $100,000. When all’s said and done, all that revenue represents how we pay for that budget. Questions? – I’ve been looking at
the line-by-line budget for the last four years,
and have you started looking at the
budget-to-budget, year-to-year, but also comparing the budget-to-actual. What you’ll find also is
that there are savings that you generated because
of your efficiencies, but that perhaps we
should start looking at our existing budget to see
also how we might be able to fund some of these needs. For example, last year the
budget for teacher salaries were, and I just took this from online, was 10,297,818, the actual
was actually 9,632,328, there’s a saving of $665,000. Actually, that’s under
handicap, I’m sorry, under regular salaries, its 19,991,775, where the actual is 19,627,000,
so there’s a savings of 363,000, but combine those two, you find an extra million dollars. – [Harvey] What you have
to understand is that that budget is based
on what we know today. It’s a dynamic situation,
things will change over the course of the next year. I can’t budget, I can’t
have someone hired, and say they’re getting
paid $60,000, and say, I think someone’s gonna
leave, I’ll make that 30, I can’t do that. – Okay I under–
– There’s not, it’s important to note, when we talk about surplus of 2.3 million, hopefully it’s even a little more, but I will tell you that
that is conservative relative to most school districts. The important thing is,
as I always mention, we have to budget based on what we know, and we have to budget conservatively. If we have surplus, we don’t keep it, we’re giving it back. So it’s a cycle, even if
we have it, it’s okay, we’re giving it back to the taxpayers. Imagine if you would, if we
didn’t have that 2.3 right now. We’d have a big problem. And that’s why we need to wean off of that 2.3 very slowly, okay,
but we need to do it. – I understand, and that’s
the reason why I’m advocating that we really need to start
looking at where we can find savings now without increasing our budget, because then otherwise
it’s gonna be difficult to wean off that 2.3 million. Now let me show you,
for example, this year, 2017-2018 budget
year-to-year, the difference in year-to-year budget
is 1,528,472, or 2.26%. That’s from 2016 to 2017-18. But, if I compared that to a
year-to-year budget to actual, I actually found $4,099,149, or 6.05%. But then I started looking at going back to the four years that you presented, and the previous year was very similar. I found the year-to-year
increase budget-to-budget was one million 38, or
1.56%, but if I compared the budget to actual, in other words, what we actually spent,
it’s 4.24% or $2.8 million. And that’s also carrying
over the $2,300,000, so in other words, you’ve
developed efficiencies that we should take
advantage to try to meet some of these needs that we have without having to create
an additional burden on our taxpayers. In other words, can we start looking at these in-house inefficiencies? Let me just look at another year. This is one of the, the
year before last, 2015-16. The year-to-year budget
was 1,695,984, or 2.61%, but if I compare that from
budget from 2015, 2016 to 2014 actual, it’s actually $3,470,000, so almost $3.5 million, or 5.35% increase. So I think that you’ve done a great job finding efficiencies, now we have to do, if we want to start weaning
off that $2.3 million, is to start utilizing
some of those savings in order to meet these needs. And we still haven’t had the
conversation about security. I don’t think, thank you for the five
SROs that was great, but I still think that we
need to have that conversation on Monday, and thanks, Larry,
before our next meeting, because one of the
sheriff’s recommendations, and I haven’t, and Altaris’s also, how do you protect, your
security’s only as good as the backdoor that you have open. So for example, if we protect
our schools during the day, but we don’t have the
infrastructure, or the protocol, and the protection during the evening, then someone can easily
come in during the evening, leave a weapon, plant
it, and then come back during the morning. And this is the hard discussion
that we have to have. In other words, do we
need additional officers in the evening, do we need
additional protection? So, I would like to have that conversation where perhaps we, in addition
to the five officers, we have additional officers. But what I’m suggesting is, let’s look at these numbers, the line-by-line was very, very helpful, because it gives you a better picture. I would like to see, also, the revenue on the actuals, because I think the revenue,
also, is another source that’s not on the board. If you could provide
that, then we could have the full picture of
comparing the revenue stream that comes in versus the line-by-line, and where we might be
able to find efficiencies. – [Harvey] Okay, so if
I could just comment on some of those things. You mentioned, you threw out
about a four million dollar surplus one year, 3.5, we’ve
never had those numbers. – Okay, so I’m looking–
– Let me just finish, if I may. Every single year, the
best years that we’ve had, we’ve had a surplus
anywhere from 2.4 to close to three million dollars a year, and that’s between
revenue and expenditures. Okay, we had a good year last year, you might recall, and that’s
why we were able to fund not only reserves that
we’ve never had before, but we were able to get our
unappropriated fund balance up to the full 4% that the state allows. It’s also important to note
that without these reserves, we wouldn’t have that 100,000 there. We wouldn’t have that 2.3. You need to hope for
them, we don’t build them into the budget. But as I always said,
unless there’s a dark cloud over the school district every single day, we will have some surplus,
because we budget conservatively. We don’t budget irresponsibly. I have to, when I take
into account utilities, I’m gonna take the high end of the cost, say per a liter of gas or
whatever the case may be. There is a range, we have
to take the high end, ’cause you don’t know. – I understand that,
but let me just go back, I just want to make sure that my numbers are consistent with yours. – [Harvey] I don’t have mine,
I don’t have mine with me. – No, I know, but I’m just looking at what you provided on the board. But I’m looking for this year, our budget is $69,299,259, that’s
our budget this year. Last year, our actual, that’s 69,299,000, our actual was, our budget was 67,770,000,
but our actual expenditures were 65,200,000, which gives
me a four million dollar variance year to year. Four million dollars, almost $100,000, 4.1 million, I mean that’s 6.05%. If we’re looking, if we’re really talking rollover budget, then what we’re saying is that we have some
significant efficiencies that we’ve developed over the years, and that perhaps we could
start utilizing them. So that’s where I get the four million dollars, 4.1 million. – [Harvey] So let me give you an example. You gotta change your
thinking a little bit from the perspective
that we’re not talking about widgets, we’re
talking about children. For instance, when I have the budget, I have three children with special needs coming to the district, and it may cost us $150,000 for each child,
that’s gonna drive it up. We’re starting with a clean
slate every budget year. The fact that it went
from the 65 to the 69 is somewhat irrelevant
from the perspective. I don’t look at the 65, I
look at the clean slate. What do our teacher salaries cost, what are our benefits,
what’s our contractual, what is our obligation? – I’m looking at the clean slate, too, but I’m looking at your actuals
over the last four years. I haven’t even looked at the actuals over the last five years. Now, you were talking about
special needs children, I assume that that’s under the programs and conditions category,
that was $665,000 difference. That was 10,297,000 that was budgeted, and 9,632,000 that was the actual. So that’s actually
$600,000 that we could use, and I understand about–
– You can’t use it, it’s accounted for.
– I understand, but what I’m saying is that now as we plan for this year, we have the opportunity to reallocate those monies
to some of our present needs. – [Harvey] I don’t understand
what there is to reallocate. Everything is spoken for,
everything is identified. The fact that we’re gonna end this year with a surplus speaks
toward variables that change during the course of the year. I can’t guarantee that’s
gonna happen every year. – Well, I’ve looked at
the last four years, I’m looking at over 5%, on
average, year-to-actual variance. So what I’m saying is
that you’ve developed efficiencies over time that we
could start benefiting from, and that’s to your credit. So what I’m suggesting now is, is it possible before even
adopting the next session is to look at our year-to-date actuals, so that where at least
we know how far we are, and where we are in this school year. Because we have some hard decisions, we have some needs that we need to meet, and I think that you’ve
developed some savings that perhaps lend themselves
to meeting those needs. – [Harvey] Okay, so we
have looked at that, and that’s where we
come up with the ability to assign 2.3 million. The other thing is that
if we have anything over and above that, you
might recall that we set up that capital reserve. The community is looking for that. It’s all about balancing how
much is on the taxpayers’ shoulders with creating a stable
environment moving forward. I don’t want peaks and valleys any more than anybody else does. We don’t want to miss out
and have these reserves and these fund balances that we can get, because if we have to lay
off 20 teachers one year, and then the next year we have to hire 10, we’re gonna whipsaw everything, the entire program is gonna be affected. You need stability. – Aren’t those differences
between the actual and the budget what
becomes our fund balance, what becomes our return to the taxpayers? It’s kind of like our
insurance, ’cause I know there have been years where
in August you had to go out and hire two teachers that
you hadn’t counted on. That’s two big salaries, because we got too many first graders, we got too many special education children, so I mean, if we don’t have to do that, then we have that extra pot of money that
goes into the fund balance and then becomes returned
to the taxpayers, but it was our insurance for the year for who knows what might happen. Is that correct?
– That is correct. – And that’s to keep it
more even so that we don’t have the peaks and valleys by saying, listen, we had all this left over, so next year let’s not plan on having, let’s budget differently so we
only have 500,000 left over, and then we end up with less to give back to the taxpayers, we end up
with less in our fund balance that gives us our good credit rating, and we end up with less to
work with should we have a huge expense come our
way, which could happen. Am I right?
– Yes. – ‘Cause I’m getting, I
just want to make sure. – [Harvey] You’re exactly
right, and the key is that we are giving back to the
taxpayer every year surplus. Yes, we’re funding some of these reserves, but the majority of the 2.3 million we’re giving back to the taxpayers. – I understand that. – Just Harvey, I’d like
to just mention something. I really commend, Harvey, not just you, but all the administrators that worked on the needs assessment priorities, because we know that that list has been greatly whittled down, and
so to come up with this, but also to include
school resource officers, I really have to commend you. And I think I, personally, fully support all of these items on here. I think the time has come
for us to be able to do this, including the director of human resources, for us to be the size of
the district that we are, although we’re not a huge district, we are a good-sized district not to have a director of human resources. I think it’s great we can
add in another math teacher, the supervisor foe the groundsmen, definitely add the other tech teacher, and the technology department
clerical that would be critical to the increase,
the efficient operation of that department. So I think that this needs
assessment that we’ve seen tonight is really outstanding,
and I thank you for that. – I disagree with my fellow board member, as much as I respect Nancy. I think the needs assessment
provides us a picture, but it needs more information. – One thing, I think we have
there’s an 800-pound gorilla in the room here, that’s the security plan that we’re gonna talk about next week. I mean, we’re talking about
all these things, that’s fine. But we have, and Neal
is gonna make a report to us how much more money
this Alteris program would cost us if we implemented it. My hair’s on fire. I mean did anybody see the
New York Times this week, they had one picture, they
had a 75-yer-old guy saying, in two weeks, there’ll be no more violence in the schools, everybody forget it, and there’s a young girl saying, I’m not going to let anybody forget this. And I don’t want to be in this position that we said we’re like the old man. We want to make sure we have
looked at every single part of this security program, and that’s what we gotta get on Monday. – And my opinion is, we’re
not heeding these decisions tonight, these are just,
tonight is a discussion point. These have been brought up as requests, and their best judgments. We will have a meeting next Monday, or whatever date it is, the 16th, and we may find in there
that we need to change something that has been
presented to us tonight. We have the authority, the
right, and the responsibility to make those changes, and
to make those requests. Put your hair out. And I don’t disagree
with you, and that’s why we’re having the extra meeting, and we can understand the
dollars that are involved. I’d like to hear from other board members, if anybody has something they
would like to comment on. – To me, it seems like the administration put a lot of effort into
picking these items. I wish we could easily afford everything, and add an enrichment teacher
and a bunch of other stuff but it makes sense what was put here, and I think it would do the district good to have all of ’em. But since we’re not deciding
today because we don’t have all of the information,
we need to take this home. – Right, take it home, think about it. – That’s right.
– I also suggest that every board member
familiarize themselves with the line-by-line budget to actual so that when we meet the next time, we’re all speaking intelligently. For example, I’ll just
give you another example, 2015, 2016, we had $3,687,550
that were over budget. On the other hand, there were 1,868,040, and you can see this all line by line that we’re under budget. What we really need to see
is where the efficiencies that Harvey has found, and I
think that we’re gonna be able to find savings that we
can meet all these needs. Because these are some real
needs that our teachers and our administrators have identified, and there’s a tolerance,
there’s a level where, there’s a threshold that’s been permeating in our communities throughout America that people just can’t tolerate continued unnecessary tax increases. – Right, I have a question for you. If we find a way to go through the budget and reduce it by a million dollars, what happens when we
don’t have the 2.4 million to give back to the taxpayer? What happens if we only have 1.4 million? – You have to start looking
at the budget very closely in terms of our school population, in terms of our needs, and this is where I feel that we need a long-term, strategic, better long-term, strategic planning. Right now, the numbers that speak to me, and I can email this
to you, but the numbers that are speaking to me
now are saying that we have enough resources within
our existing budget to meet many of these needs. But, the question is, and still give us some level of discretion
in terms of to be able to absorb unexpected costs. – Will it leave us with a fund balance of 2.4 million dollars? Will it leave us with
the money to give back if we do it that way? I don’t think it’s so much
efficiencies that Harvey’s come up with, although
you’re very efficient, I think it’s more that you have budgeted in such a conservative
way that you’ve ensured that we don’t run short
anywhere and that we have this to give back, or to
put into our fund balance. – I mean right now, it doesn’t bother you that we have four million
dollars year to year from 2016 to 2017, actual to budget, that we have an extra four
million dollars, 4.1 million? – [Harvey] I can tell you that that’s not an accurate number.
– Okay, well again, correct me, I’m just
gonna, I’ll send you this. Our budget is 69,299,000, and last year we spent, actual, not budget, last year we spent 65,200,000. The difference between 65,200,000 and 69,299,000 is four million, 99. That’s 6.05%. – [Harvey] You’re crossing years, right? – Yeah, I’m going from this year– – [Harvey] Each year is a clean slate. – It’s two for two. – [Harvey] There’s a completely different set of circumstances. It’s not like, for instance,
let’s just compare it to you manage real estate in the city. You have the same number of apartments, the rent goes up 5%, it’s predictable. There’s so many things that
change and are unpredictable. When I say I start with a clean slate, everything is new and
different each year, okay. So you really can’t look
at the previous year. You might be able to
do it with some items, for instance, utilities. Utilities you can do that, you can’t do it with anything related to
direct student expenses. – Transportation. – The numbers speak for themselves. (crowd groans) I’m sorry. – Any other board members
want to make a comment? – You know, the SRO
officers are really probably a large part of our security expense. So I mean, I know we’re gonna
come up with other things, but I think that’s the
bulk of it right there. And it just hurts my
heart that, once again, we don’t have an enrichment teacher, that we have been without
that program for a long time, and that we are in a place
where we have to hire SORs over an enrichment teacher. It’s the way it is, I’m
not saying we should do something different,
I’m just stating the fact that it’s sad that we
still can’t find the money for something we used
to have in this district for many, many years that
benefited so many children, and I’m just sad that we
don’t have that money. – Anything else? Harvey, thank you. – Harvey, one last thing on the budget. Is it possible to have
the revenues budgeted in actuals, also for the last five years? – If that’s what the board wishes, I can get that. – Okay, is that something that
the board would consent now? – I didn’t understand you. – In other words, the revenue, what’s online is just the
individual costs line by line, but it doesn’t provide us
with the revenue stream that this district– – Well Harvey had said last time the expenditures showed us,
a quick exercise for you. – Yeah, it doesn’t take much, probably a couple hours, no big deal. – Well it seems reasonable,
I mean if you’re giving us the expenditures, we
should get the revenues. – I’m all for that. – Board. – I just don’t understand. Larry, I just have to comment. It troubles me every time
that we ask for information, that we have to receive
the boilerplate response that the board majority requested, this is a simple request for information that any good resident in this community should be able to ask. – And you asked for it, and
we just said to Harvey, do it. I’m not gonna argue with you. – Okay, thank you.
– You’re welcome. – At this point, we have
recognition of visitors, public comments, any recognition, any items on the agenda,
or any other concerns? – I have a couple of questions, one having to do with the budget, and one having to do with security. So the budget, you’ve
been talking about actuals versus proposed, and I
took a minute to look at these, as well, there’s
one thing that jumped out at me that I wanted to ask Harvey. There is one line item, I think it’s ERS, the employment retirement system, that consistently was really over-budget, so a million the last five years. We underspend by like
40% on a regular basis. So I realize your answer
to Rafael makes sense, right, you don’t want peaks and valleys, or very unpredictable line
items, like special needs kids. But this seemed, because
of the track record, to be predictable, so I guess my question, what is this exactly and
why if we predictably underspend, are we not adjusting, our budget toward the actual spend? – Good question, with respect to ERS, now ERS pertains to the
non-certified individuals, it’s not instructional,
think of it like that. For certain of those individuals, actually a large portion
to join and be part of the ERS service is optional. I have to budget as if
everyone’s gonna say yes. Some of ’em don’t. So that’s why–
– But the ones that don’t wanna, they just– – They’re not part of
the retirement system. They don’t get a pension when they retire. – Right, so you’re
always lining that number with the number of
employees that are eligible for a time, is that what you’re saying? – No, we’re budgeting it
based on the employees that we employ, ’cause
every single one of them can say to us, yes, I want
to be part of the system. – Right, so then you don’t
adust just in the event that they all do, in
fact, said they’d be part of the system, is that what you’re saying? – We’re budgeting as if
they’re all part of the system. – But then they end up about
40% of them don’t join? – Not 40%, but there’s a certain number that do not, correct. – I was just thinking if
that happened pretty quickly at some point, could you use those savings for something else, but if it doesn’t, I agree with what you’re saying and I think that makes sense. And I have to say this, ’cause
this has been bothering me. I wasn’t gonna mention it,
but giving the 2.5 million back to the taxpayer is not
exactly what’s happening. And so I just, because really it’s a way of avoiding going over the cap, right? And if we didn’t have
that rollover, I assume that we wouldn’t be
trying to go over the cap, so you’d have to find
efficiencies elsewhere. So it’s not like it’s
going back to the taxpayer, it’s just a way for us to use the money, which is, I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I would like– – I’m gonna answer that one, that’s absolutely giving it back. If you have a reserve, if
you have money left over at the end of the year, we have two things we could do with it, we could put it into reserves,
or we could put it back into our revenue stream,
which lowers the tax rate. So we’re giving it back to the taxpayer, we didn’t spend it, we’re
giving it back to them. – But you’re spending it
in the projected budget for the following year. – We’re not spending it. If you’re not taking it out of your pocket and buying a widget with
it, you’re not spending it. – Okay, let me get to
my security question, ’cause that’s more
important to deal with that. But the security question,
actually this is coming from the community, I
know we’re all thinking of hiring SROs and the
sheriff’s department reviews, and the sheriff’s department, but somewhat people
have been talking about, what about can you find a more cost-effective way of doing this, of using current security
staff that are trained, former police officers, and so on, and arming them instead
of hiring new personnel? I’m assuming you’ve discussed this, but I just wanted to put it out there, ’cause the community was
looking for a response. Has that been discussed? Is there a position on that? – I want to make sure I understand this. You’re saying that the
existing security force that we have, arm them? – If there’s existing security employees who have training, who are
rehired law enforcement. – Well, the law does not
allow you to be armed unless you are a uniformed
law enforcement, active duty. – The question is, can
they be trained to do that, or do you have to have–
– They’re not active duty. – So you have to hire new people, you can’t train existing? – We don’t have the
authority, it has to be from the sheriffs, town
police, county, anything. – Okay, so that’s just not an option? – No, no. – Can you let him answer? Thank you very much. – Can I follow up on that question. I think it’s, and I know that
we’ll have that discussion, but I don’t think this
compromises any security, but it has been discussed out there that we have a great security force that are mostly retired law enforcement. Can the town or the village
deputize these officers as part-time officers? Is that something that has been discussed? Or they work for a security company? – No, we did discuss this,
I thought as a board, that the option to go with the, there’s a couple options,
you go with the sheriff, Orange County Sheriff has a program, you can also do an SRO
program through the town or the village. The problem with doing that is the cost per officer for being in our schools during the school day for the school year is about $35,000 a year. To do that through the town or the village is over $100,000 each. – ‘Cause that would be full-time, that would be a full-time officer. – No, well, if you think about it, the school day is full-time. It’s full-time with
respect to the school year. Now you have the summer,
typically what happens is when we, when a school
district employs an SRO from the town or a village,
oftentimes you’re responsible for the summer months, as well. Why would we pay that, we don’t have the– – Is that mandated by law, or is that– – No, it’s typically by the arrangement that you have with the law enforcement. So it goes back to the question, someone’s looking for a full-time job, is the town gonna tell
him, I’m only looking to hire you 10 months? – Okay, but this is the question, I guess, and we’re just exploring. I know we’re gonna have
that discussion, but since it’s been raised, I know that the, or I understand that
the town and the village do have part-time officers, ’cause I meet with them at night. How different would this be from hiring another part-time officer
for the village or the town? – But again, it’s not
part-time for 10 months out of the year, it’s a full-time job. – I understand that, but
how different would it be for the town or the village,
if they’re not prevented by law from hiring, let’s
say, having a discussion with our school district,
and saying, okay, you have a need for so many
hours of security force, we will deputize all your
officers that are retired, I’m just thinking out loud now, you can tell me how wrong I am, but we’ll deputize all
the retired officers as part-time officers
within the village and town security force, we’ll send
them for this special training if it’s required, and we’ll
only hire them part-time. I mean they’ll be just as
happy because they may be making more than what they make now. – That’s essentially what we’re doing through the sheriff’s department. And in fact, when the sheriff
looks for the officers to hire, and deputize, and train, they look for those within
your community first. – So we’ll be getting
local officers preferably? – If they apply, if they apply, and if they
make the cut, so to speak. There’s an interview process, you gotta make sure you
have the right people. – Have we had these discussions
with our own security force so that way later they
don’t come back and say, why weren’t we considered? – We did have that discussion with them, they fully understand. There’s really, you’re
talking apples and oranges. They’re retired, they’re
not looking to do this, if they were, they will put in for it. – They still have that option, – Of course.
– To do that. – Of course, and they welcome this, working with an armed
law enforcement officer. – Are there any other
members of the audience? – Just quickly wanted to add a little bit to Harvey’s presentation. So I know it’s very close to decisions, but I just wanted to
reiterate that those are, can you not hear me, those are district-wide
needs that were brought up. So I just, for consideration,
like when we’re talking about the clerical unit,
or the clerical position for Tina’s office, that
helps district-wide. So just to give you a little sense of that from my department, we talked about number of students in
district, and the computers and everything in
district, but we also have a number of students out of district who also have computer-based needs, or assistive technology needs
that are pretty significant. So say a student out
of district no longer, or their device breaks. Then they no longer have
a voice for communication, ’cause they might only
communicate through that. So then Tina’s department
basically has to stop what they’re doing because
then there’s a student without a voice. My staff will try and
help with the ordering for that device, but my
staff don’t speak IT. So then we go back and
forth and back and forth to try and help each other,
or even just an example of if I’m ordering a case of Chromebooks, my secretary will go to Tina,
or to Jeremy or somebody and ask for a quote. That will then get sent
back to my department. Then we will place the order. Then it will come in, and
it will be tagged by IT, and then it will come into my office and be processed for inventory, and then it will go back to
their office to be set up, and then it will go. So it’s just it goes back and forth. Same thing with human resources
and all of those things. So I think I heard a little bit about, I heard a lot that this is district-wide, and then as we were going
with the discussions, it was very compartmentalized,
and I just want to bring it back to just remind you
that as we do this process with Harvey, we really
have to whittle down what the priorities are,
and it’s very difficult, and extremely difficult for you, but I just want to just
reiterate that it is, these are district-wide priorities
as per the administrators and everybody else involved. Thank you.
– Thank you. Yes, wait, yep. – Kristy Larkin, COH, one is a question, and
it has to do with budget, ’cause I don’t quite understand it. And the second thing has to,
I want to remark on Melanie. I am so on board with
you, if there is any way to find money for enrichment, we’re so desperate, I would volunteer, I would find a group
of people to volunteer. It’s so lacking, and
we would appreciate it. I mean many people would,
and not just at COH, but across the board. Okay, so that’s that. The budget, when you’re
talking about the surplus, whatever the, let’s just say 2.4 million, do you have that, almost
like a savings account, where if something happened,
whether it’s something catastrophic to one of the buildings, or you need a new hire right away, do you pull from that? Is that what that’s for essentially? I know that that sounds so
elementary to you, but– – No, no, let’s just suppose that the, so the budget, say it’s $70 million, and two million of that we’re using of the previous year’s surplus. That’s part of, that money is essentially in the bank account starting
with the beginning of the year. – But wouldn’t you really
want to have something in your bank account at the start? – You need that for working capital. – Like that makes sense to me. – Because you have to remember, too, that the tax levy doesn’t get
done until September first, so we have the months of the summer that we have no revenue stream coming in. That’s why I mentioned, 12
years ago when I came on board, they were borrowing money over the summer in anticipation of the
tax levy being collected. – It’s like borrowing
from Peter to pay Paul. It’s like not having a savings account. – You need it. – That, thank you for that. This might be unpopular with some people, but for me, I like a savings account. I like to not feel like
I have to borrow money if I need something. And I know, we are on a fixed income, I don’t work full-time, my husband does, and I am willing, you don’t
have to give me that back is what I’m saying. I’d rather not have to ask for something, and have it there. I know, Rafael, that doesn’t
jive with a lot of people, but I think that there are a lot of people who don’t have a lot, who would feel safer having $2.4 million, and I’m one of them. – And I support that Ms. Larkin. – We had another question
from the audience, yes. – My name is Karea
Strenyel, I’m not gonna say what school I’m from,
because I don’t think it should matter. I just want to speak
to the technology spot, because I was a database
manager at a high school for five years, so I
helped do the integration of the systems that they had
to do all of the grading, and anything, I sort of did that. It was at a private high school, and we had more staff than you guys have, and it was just a private high school. So I’m all for it. Like, IT’s super important,
I now work at a college, and I see the same thing, and I do fundraising, which leads me to one other thing, computer programming. Look at the TEALS program,
it’s a Microsoft program, my brother out in Seattle
actually is a software engineer at Microsoft, and he
goes into a high school every morning, not every morning, one or two mornings a week
at 7:30 in the morning. 15 girls from the high school show up at his computer science class,
and they are learning it, and Microsoft pays them. The school is not paying him to do it. So that’s just a shout
out, I don’t know if anyone knows of it, but it’s
worked for him there. – Thank you. Anyone else? Well thank you. At this point, I do closing
comments from board members. – Do I get to start? – Yeah, you get to start. – I was wowed by the fourth graders. I thought it was great walking in here, and having two of them approach me, and introduce themselves, and
ask me a bunch of questions. They obviously prepared, but it really, it made me feel good. I especially like the
question, why are you here? And I thought, that’s really good. And then watching them in the auditorium, or the whatever it’s called, the gym, gym-a-nasium, whatever, that classroom, those
classrooms like that, I wish I were in elementary school again. I mean, that really was
exciting, and I’m so glad we could see that, and
I’m glad that we sent the teachers to learn this. I enjoyed the STEAM
presentation, I’m always thrilled to see what we’re doing,
and how we’re expanding, and doing stuff for our kids, making sure that they’ll be productive, because they’re learning
a lot of good stuff. And the budget presentation, of course, thank you, Harvey, for
all that information. And those boys that are
state champs, oh my gosh, I am so rocked with that. So, that’s it. – Thank you. – Okay, thanks Larry and Barbara. First of all, I’d also
like to congratulate the high school boys 800 meter-relay team, that is great, being an old
trackster myself 100 years ago. And also for the presentations
that demonstrated the initiatives for the
Hudson Valley Writing Project and the Ron Clark Construction Turnkeys, hope that continues using those turnkeys, and also for the STEAM initiative. And I saw one important thing
brought out for the STEAM, and that’s it incorporates all the topical instruction areas. Everybody seems to think that, ooh, ELA wasn’t discussed or wasn’t brought up, and the same thing with
history or social studies, but it is, it’s an integral part of, especially the science and
the math, the history is, and the communication,
whether it be electronically, in written form, or
whatever, is your ELA part. So that’s great that
we have that under way. Harvey, thank you very much. And just some information from SPAC, our exit poll is done, I
need to get it approved by Neal and Harvey, we’re
doing more work on the bifold. Thank you administrators
and program people for sending me more pictures, and there will be a meeting
that will be announced shortly. Thank you. – Harvey, thank you for
the budget presentation, it’s good to see we’re in the plus, and the state’s other ways
to give us a little more aid, which is always welcomed. Gail, thanks for the STEAM presentation, that was wonderful to see
that being implemented here, and Tina, for your presentation,
as well, thank you. The Ron Clark demonstration was fantastic. I was lucky enough to
go into the classroom to see the transformation
of the pizza shop in the classroom, and it
was really fantastic to see. The kids, you can see are just so excited about being in that environment. And as Barbara said, having
the two children come up and introduce themselves
and ask you the questions, that’s awesome for them
to learn that skill. And the boys’ state championship team, that is an awesome accomplishment. It’s kind of neat, too,
that two of the boys, Seth and Matt, that I actually
coached in mighty mite football when they were five years old, and they turned out to
be, as I knew at the time, great athletes, and
congratulations to all four of ’em. – Yes, I just echo my thanks to everybody for these terrific
presentations we had tonight, and to Megan for your
children, bringing them out, and giving us such a
nice show this evening. And I hope that what I
saw in the cafeteria, or no, the gymnasium,
excuse me, the gymnasium spreads like a virus to the middle school and to other schools,
because that would be perfect for the double math classes
they have in fifth grade to be doing some of the
things that we saw today to make it a little more
engaging, a little more active. It’s really important for
kids, that is how they learn. So I appreciate all of that, and congratulations to the
boys, and thank goodness this Saturday is going to be warm, ’cause my husband’s officiating all day and his old bones are sick of the cold he’s been officiating in all April. So it will be nice to
have our kids out there having a great time in
the sunshine on Saturday. – I’d like to thank everybody for their great presentations today. One of the things that I
love to see is teachers getting the opportunity
to teach their peers if they have a passion, you
know, that the school district is not saying, shut up,
we don’t want to hear it, but instead Hudson Valley Writing Project, you like that, you want to mentor, you want to teach your peers. The Ron Clark Academy, that
kind of behavior, I think, really increases ownership,
reduces turnover, and really makes the teachers feel appreciated and valued. When you get that kind of thing, then you really start to,
I mean it just explodes from there, I think. With this Hudson Valley Writing Project and the Ron Clark Academy,
other teachers say, hey, I have this interest,
and I’d like to kind of let other people know about it, as well. Ultimately, that benefits our students to such a great degree that I think that’s one of the greatest aspects of the things that we saw today. So thank you very much for
allowing the teachers to do that, to continue to do that, and I’m just blown away
by where we’re going, and throw a little technology in there, and we’re gonna get there. That was my little plug, bye. – Harvey, thank you for all
of the work that you did for tonight’s budget presentation. Congratulations to the relay
team, that is just awesome. I am so excited by what is
going on in this district instructionally, educationally. The Hudson Valley Writing
Project is incredible, I’m so pleased that this
district has embraced this. The STEAM presentation,
obviously we know that that’s, you know, STEAM is near
and dear to my heart from my personal experiences, but it certainly teaches
such collaboration, and creative problem solving,
and so many life skills to our children, and so I’m so glad that this is going forward. The Ron Clark Academy,
holy cow, if that wasn’t so exciting for me. I got familiar with Ron
Clark years ago when I was teaching in Newburgh, learned
about him in his beginning of his excitement, and sharing
his excitement for education. And for that excitement
to be here in Cornwall is just, congratulations
to this whole district, and Megan, please share
that with your teachers, that was just fabulous. And so I just think that’s
an incredible endeavor that we’re undertaking, so let’s
keep up with that, as well. – Well, I guess we have
still more work to do on the budget, and so
Monday’s gonna be crunch time for us all, and I hope we can
give a good decision making, and of the report, because
I think we’ve gotta reassess our priorities
and get those straight. Also, but nobody in
the audience witnessed, but in our executive session tonight, I want to really complement
the care and thoughtfulness that the administration
gives to granting tenure, and how our teachers are reviewed, and that’s part of the
real magic of Cornwall, I think, is that we
continually seek excellence and we insist upon it,
and we follow up on it. And so, congratulations to Neal, and Gail, and your team, I think it’s a
wonderful thing you’re doing. – Thank you. Rafael. – I think I want to
second Peter’s thoughts. I think it’s just so special
what brings us together as a community. From the very beginning
of our meeting tonight, the relay state champions,
what a great way to start our meeting. Our children just, I
mean they make us proud. They really make us proud. On the other hand, I
really saw Margaret doing with the Ron Clark,
that was very uplifting. That was excellent, that was excellent. I want to applaud this effort
and this new initiative. I like the keywords that Ms. Argenio used, let creativity explode. That’s awesome, and I
always say that our role, our collective role is
to spark that creativity. You certainly sparked that creativity in this setting, and that makes me proud to be part of this team. Julie and Ashley, Ms. Nancy
Larkin, Kelly, Nicole, I mean they all deserve our accolades. The STEAM process, I think that we are moving in that direction. I want to applaud also
Dr. Duffy in her effort to move us forward. I also want to thank Harvey
for doing such a great job in his stewardship of our finances. You deserve credit there. The fact that we’re
having this discussion, talking about efficiencies,
and I see you turning colors, but let me tell you, that is
a great conversation to have. The fact that we can sit
here and say, hey listen, perhaps we can find a savings to meet all these additional needs,
that’s a great conversation to have, so I want to applaud you there. We do have some difficult decisions, and I think that’s why I appreciate the extra meeting on Monday
to discuss our security needs, and perhaps to take a
revisit of how we can meet all these needs. The handbook, Margaret, great job. We still have to work on the content, but I think this start,
it was a great effort. Now we need a couple
of our policy together, and I think we’re moving
in the right direction. This was a great, another
good, important meeting. Great discussion, thank you Larry. – You know, we recently we’ve been doing a lot
of work on the budget, the bond, the security issues. What was going on in the
gym makes you remember why we’re here. And I felt good about what
was going on in there, and it is exciting, and
no, I don’t want to go back to elementary school, but I’ll visit once in a while. – Wouldn’t you have wanted that when you were in elementary? – If I could remember
that I did that, yeah. Margaret, I want to thank you. I know you’ve been doing a lot of work, and Jim and I have been helping you, but you’ve been doing the
yeoman’s work on this. And we will get together again, and thank you for volunteering, Melanie. Have a motion for adjournment. (board speaks for adjournment) All in favor. – [Group] Aye. – Aye, any opposed, thank you.

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