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September 19, 2018
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General News: September BOE Meeting

October 06, 2017

September Board of Education Meeting
By Hannah Comitz

This weeks meeting was full of emotion. The board had a few disputes, but the interest of the public was their top priority. A member was even Skyped in to discuss these important decisions.

Repairs of District Facilities:
The estimated cost of the asphalt repair at Cornwall Elementary School remains the same. The roof of Cornwall Central High School also has the same cost as previously mentioned. Throughout other parts of the district, costs of repairs have been reduced.
Design contingency has been able to be brought down which reduces the cost. Reduction in construction management costs reduce overall costs as well. Now in house research and the town architect will be used. All these reductions bring the cost to around 44.4 million.

The Budget Argument:
The timeline for construction will be till December 4th. This time will be the public information period. Brochures, pamphlets and meetings will be held to inform the public.
One board member mentioned possibly holding an information meeting for each school. This will show improvements in each specific building. This idea was supported by the board.

The Budget and Libraries:
Another member discussed the concerns of spending money on turf over improving the libraries. Another responded that the library is "going to change over the next couple of years." He mentioned the limiting of book stacks in the library, which angered some board members. This was the start of the bickering that carried on throughout the meeting. The first board member would prefer to have library funding in the budget and put PE funding as a discretionary not priority. Members responded that the locker rooms are a necessity due to the condition they are in. The member had a large worry with library and he wants it to be a critical part of the budget. He considered other renovations as useless at the moment. The member wants money to be focused on libraries so children can be involved in the "STEAM" program. This program stands for Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics.
After a long discussion a member responded that the libraries are not forgotten, they are just included in a different area.
Another member mentioned later about breaking the budget into categories so voters can see where their money is going. The board agreed that this is unnecessary at this time.
STEAM can be done using the current space in the elementary schools. But the High School needs a larger space for the bigger programs such as robotics.
This was said to be a very good start to an important and meaningful conversation with the public.
There are a few possibilities for presenting the budget. One proposal divides the budget into different components and makes the budget defined in plain language. It also adds a narrative next to each line to explain the need for that part of the budget. Because this is a 20 year plan the board wants to engage the public.
Tensions were clearly high amongst the members regarding the budget decision. One member even accused another of breaking the law. A member said the board had come to census over the past couple of weeks and the board would like to move on. The change presented by the persistent member to the agenda was opposed. The board decide not to amend the agenda.

SEQRA means State Environmental Quality Review Act. These are regulations put to review the environmental impact of certain decisions (adding a turf field).

The Capital Bond voting will be in the Middle School gymnasium between 6am-9pm. This will be done using voting machines. This vote will determined how money is used to repair and reconstruct the various School District facilities.


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