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December 16, 2017
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Latest Newsletter

General News: Update from BOE November Meeting

November 29, 2017

November 20th, 2017 Business Meeting
By Hannah Comitz

On Monday night the meeting was held at the middle school. There was a larger crowd then usual. The board said that on December 10th there will be a meeting to discuss changes to the school district with the public.

School Visits:
A member presented her school visit reports.
Middle School:
A member noted that the children clearly have a solid foundation of knowledge, which the teachers said is due to Common Core.
COH Elementary:
The COH school classroom was entertaining for the board. They could see the children were highly engaged. Teachers requested to continue to keep the class size down, so they can provide the best experience for the children.
High School:
Board members visited during Engineering Day. The members got to sit in on math classes where cadets from West Point and full time engineers spoke about engineering. The board said it was Interesting to listen to the presentations. The group also went to lunch periods and to French classes. This experience reaffirmed the need for the capital project to make beneficial changes to the school. The board plans on visiting the high school again in February.
Willow Avenue Elementary:
The board plans to go to Willow Avenue sometime during next month.
The board thanked all the schools for welcoming them in.

Large Donation:
A member wanted to point out the large donation from the PTO for playground equipment at Cornwall Elementary School at Lee Road.

School Reports:
Rafael Ortiz was persistent in suggesting that the board be part of deciding what the schools need. He said this is because the law says the board must review the results. Ortiz wants to have a large discussion together so both the board and the schools can identify and discuss issues. He suggested doing this together in a “round table” environment. Larry Berger and many of the other board members seemed to express sentiments against the idea. They feel the process that is in progress right now works well. Berger somewhat sarcastically mentioned that the teachers are a very good at telling what they need to the board, so the board shouldn’t have to choose their priorities. The board concluded this discussion by saying that the process suggested by Ortiz is very similar to what happens now.
Peter Erwin said the review of the different schools might have to be split amongst multiple days. The board strongly agreed to one additional day, so each school can be discussed in depth. The board agreed on the 8th of January as an overflow date for whatever doesn’t get covered in the December 18th meeting. This additional date was added to the budget calendar. All members accepted the amended budget calendar.

Tax Resolutions:
The board approved and added number one through 39 of the tax reforms to the tax resolution.

Playground Grants:
Grants from Senator Larkin and Assemblyman Skoufis move separately through the state. This means that each grant has to be processed differently. The construction process to fix the playground should start within three weeks. Depending on the holiday season and the weather, the construction should be done during spring break. The price increases if the purchase order is not done by the end of the year. It will increase by about $10,000. A board member mentioned that this is enough for an entire new playground equipment piece, so avoiding the increase in cost is important. The construction can’t start if the letter is not signed and returned by the state in time. Ortiz thanked the playground committee and is excited to see the children enjoy the equipment in late spring.

Proposed Facilities Project Update:
The “Proposed Facilities Project Update”
newsletter has been sent to all residencies. The video has also been posted on the website. Margaret Quinn mentioned about adding to the “Turf Field” section of the budget. She said that it currently only says $4,000,000 for a turf field. Mrs. Quinn suggested adding a part that shows that the $4,000,000 encompasses many additions to the field area.

Public Comment:
Matt Kilgore who has experience in the middle school with his children who are in need of special education. He is frustrated with how the school district addresses the education of special needs children. Kilgore feels that there is a culture at the district level aimed towards special needs children. Kilgore feels that the committee and the board only work at legal level and sometimes less then that. Their actions make the board appear indifferent to some policies. Some example are denying medical specified treatments to children, even if the parents provide professional notes. He asked the board if they would like him to continue to provided the board with evidence of his specific case. Th board responded strongly and thanked Kilgore for bringing these importan issues to light. The assured him that changed will be made.

Closing Comments:
Sam Delacruz said the video they watched earlier would bring back a lot of nostalgia to him and his classmates as middle schoolers. He said that he is happy that Common Core is working out for younger students because his year of students was the trial year so there was a negative sentiment towards it.

Ana Martinez loved the video and mentioned that there should be more emphasis on personal love and self esteem building to alleviate the pressure of bullying. The board joked that she should make her own video about the high school.

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