2014 BOE Candidates

There are 14 candidates for the Board of Education in the May 20, 2014 election. There are four open positions. (This is public information available from the Clerk of the District.)

Name of Candidate Ballot Position
Darren Stridiron 1
Sheila Murphy 2
Nathan F. Vesely 3
Runston T. Lewis 4
Thomas C. Woodhull 5
David J. Rein 6
Kenneth Copertino 7
Robert J. Pagliaro 8
Dawn Fucheck 9
Mark Levinstein 10
Andres Arestin 11
William Swart 12
Carole Mineo 13
George L. Bowles Jr. 14

June BOE meeting post-exec

After an executive session that ran past midnight the Newburgh School District BOE passed three resolutions:

  • HR Resolution B, Professional change of location. (This moves Costanzo from Balmville to "district"; Crosson from Gardnertown to Balmville; and Torres from Vails Gate to Gardnertown.)
  • HR Resolution Q, a settlement agreement.
  • HR Resolution U, to grant Ebony Greene a leave of absence and appoint her as the acting principal of Vails Gate School.

June 2013 Workshop and Retiree videos up

Videos of the June 18 Retiree Recognition and BOE Workshop Meeting are up on YouTube.

Note that there is a regular Newburgh School District Board of Education meeting on Monday, June 24 at 7PM at Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus.

BOE Regular meeting May 2013

There was a regular monthly Newburgh School District BOE meeting on Tuesday May 28, 2013. The meeting was at Newburgh Free Library auditorium. There was an audience of around 90 at the beginning. Video of the meeting is available on YouTube.

The bullet points...

  • There was recognition of spelling bee winners.
  • Director of Secondary Interdisciplinary Curriculum and Assessment Ten Dyke introduced assemblyman Skartados, who announced the winners of a Dr. Martin Luther King essay contest.
  • Director of Athletics Jack Major announced scholar athletes.
  • There were some questions around extending a contract with Armlin Damon: would another firm be doing close-out reports for some projects and who would be the owner representative for work after December 2014.
  • At the request of Board member Prokosch a couple of conference requests were tabled for discussion in executive session.
  • H.R. Resolution M was updated. Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Leimer said "the revision is in item #4. We had another retirement come in over the weekend, therefore saving a teacher from being laid off". Resolutions M and N eliminating positions both passed.
  • H.R. Resolution O, creating several positions, was updated. According to Leimer, counsel advised that "...we can't use the title Coordinator, but to use the title Supervisor instead, because the title Coordinator is not listed under the Civil Service exempt titles as it applies to pedagogical and educational administrative titles." So the positions called Coordinator were changed to Supervisor. Job descriptions were available to the Board, but were not made available to the public before the meeting. When invited to explain these changes Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement Forgit explained that these positions would provide entry level administrative positions for teachers that are seeking administrative roles but do not have the required experience for other roles; Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Shanahan and Assistant Superintendent of Student Intervention and Support Services Rumley added points about leverage and compliance.
  • H.R. Resolutions Q, R, S, and T were added. Q appointed individuals to extended school year program positions. R appointed Marilyn Scott as a Substitute Assistant Principal on a per diem basis. S was an additional retirement. T was additional Civil Service changes of status.
  • During public comments, a teacher suggested that offering a retirement incentive might further reduce the need for layoffs.
  • The subject of the budget would not have received any mention at all if it were not for a brave parent who followed up on questions she had asked at a previous meeting about full day kindergarten. She asked "what the deficit is now that the budget's passed; when you plan on meeting with the teachers union again; and when the decision will be made as to what schools will be closed and what will happen with the kindergarten program." Board President Fucheck answered that the budget deficit is approximately $1.9 million and that the district hopes to be back at the negotiating table.
  • After nearly three hours of executive session the BOE approved the tabled conference requests. Fucheck also mentioned that the June regular BOE meeting is being changed to Monday June 24, due to the change in graduation date.

BOE Regular meeting January 2013

There was a regular monthly Newburgh School District BOE meeting on Tuesday January 29, 2013. Here's the bullet point version...

  • There was a large audience present for recognition of scholar athlete team awards.
  • Microscope purchase was tabled in order to get further information.
  • Consultant contract with CASDA tabled for discussion in executive session.
  • A contract with the Carol & Frank Biondi Education Center in connection with an IEP was tabled until after executive session so that the amount of the contract could be made available to the board.
  • An item J was added to the finance items: Board accepts the donation of $30,000 from Friends of Newburgh Crew to be used for funding the boys and girls varsity crew teams for the 2012-2013 school year...
  • Item C of the HR agenda was separated from the rest. This resolution was for three home teaching appointments. There were four no and five yes votes: item carried.
  • HR resolution M, appointing eight temporary regular subs and one temporary title 1 provider - reading received three no and six yes votes: item carried.
  • HR resolution P increasing the amount of a contract with Cheryl Bivona received a couple of no votes. [The agenda item documentation for the January meeting did not state what the rate of this contract was. If this is an extension of the contract approved in November 2012 the per diem rate is likely $600 per day.]
  • HR item T, a supplemental MOA with the CSEA was "the agreement establishing summer school rates".
  • HR item U, a supplemental MOA with the NTA was "the agreement that establishes Girls to Ladies as a program as opposed to a club".
  • There was brief discussion about the Fencing Club situation after the HR resolutions were voted.
  • Several meeting minutes from December and January were approved. They can be found in the posted agenda items doc.
  • NTA President Plichta spoke during public comment time. He spoke positively about a conference he attended at the Center for School Improvement and proposed working together with administrators and the Board toward a common vision.
  • Grace Bowles made comments about a Diversity Committee Meeting, some aspects of the APPR, and personnel matters.
  • After a three hour executive session the CASDA consultant contract was approved; the Carol & Frank Biondi Center contract was approved; and an item AA was added to amend the school calendar for this year to set the NFA graduation date to June 26, 2013.

Video of the meeting is available on youtube.

December 18, 2012 BOE meeting video available

Video of the December 18 Newburgh School District Board of Education meeting is available at YouTube.

December 18 BOE meeting bullet points

At the Newburgh School District BOE meeting last night...

  • A representative of the district's crisis intervention team spoke about responding to the events last Friday in Newtown. He said there is a comprehensive group of trained professionals available for the emotional support of students. This includes social workers, psychologists, and guidance counselors. Anyone seeking support should contact the schools to speak with these people.
  • Pre-K through grade 8 students were recognized for achievement in the District Day of Writing.
  • Samyr Laine was recognized by the district. He is an Olympic athlete and NFA graduate.
  • Christine McCartney was recognized. She is a teacher at NFA and has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship for study abroad.
  • NFA teacher Chris Eachus was recognized. Students voted him Teacher of the Month at WHUD.
  • Several parents spoke passionately about the need for security guards at elementary schools and gaps in security around doors, visiting, etc.
  • A public speaker asked about a "drill" at NFA that involved police being present, students being locked in classrooms, and dogs walking the school. Assistant Superintendant of Finance Pacella referred to this as "drug tests".
  • The board reviewed a "risk assessment" of elementary school security that they had requested at the workshop meeting on Tuesday December 11. The board discussed options to provide additional security to elementary buildings with input from Pacella and Joyce Howard.
  • The board passed a resolution which included: "the Superintendent of Schools is hearby authorized to take immediate steps to recall up to seven per diem security monitors each day to be deployed at the district's elementary schools to insure a significant daily security presence at these schools for the period beginning 12/19/12 and ending 1/22/13".
  • HR Resolution P passed, appointing Executive Director of Bilingual and ESL Services and Community Relations (Noriega).
  • HR Resolution Q passed, appointing acting Assistant Principals at NFA (Mucci and Tummarello).
  • HR Resolution T was added and passed: "makes an appointment of Melissa Siegel and Matt Doddo to the position of Acting Co-Principal at Newburgh Free Academy effective December 12, 2012 and terminating on or before June 30, 2013."
  • NTA President Art Plichta recommended that the focus of improvement efforts be smaller classes, individual help for students, and a focus on the early grades, instead of coaching and professional development. He mentioned kindergarten classes of 28 to 30 students.

BOE Workshop meeting December 11, 2012

At the December 11 Newburgh School District BOE Workshop meeting there was as an agenda item for the board to discuss responding to three different petitions: for security guards at elementary, reviving the fencing club, and reinstituting an intercampus shuttle bus.

There was a presentation by Sue Sullivan of the Greater Newburgh Partnership, and there was some discussion around students with disabilities statistics.

Here are meeting notes.

Newburgh BOE Meeting November 27, 2012

Video of the November regular BOE meeting is here on YouTube.
At the meeting:

  • Board President Fucheck said NFA Executive Principal Nodel wasn't fired.
  • There was an Energy Savings presentation by Roger Ramjug.
  • Students from the Fencing Club requested that the club be restored.
  • Students requested that the High School intercampus shuttle buses be restored.
  • NTA President Plichta complained about classroom visits by Administrators and others.
  • There was an executive session that lasted until 1AM.
  • After the exec session contracts were approved for Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement Forgit, Assistant Superintendent of Finance Pacella, and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Leimer.

BOE Workshop meeting November 20, 2012

At the November 20 Newburgh School District BOE Workshop meeting there was discussion about uncompleted construction work and disproportionality in the suspension rate of students with disabilities. Click through for meeting notes.

Newburgh BOE Meeting November 1, 2012

Due to Hurricane Sandy, the October BOE meeting was delayed until November 1. Video of the meeting is on the Newburghedinfo YouTube channel. And here are some meeting notes.

BOE Workshop meeting October 23, 2012

There was a BOE workshop meeting on Tuesday October 23, 2012. There was an audience of around eight. A pdf agenda and supporting documents were posted. The resolutions discussed at this meeting were to be put up for vote at the BOE meeting scheduled for Tuesday October 30, 2012.

The annual audit of the district was very briefly presented by Marc Levy. The audit is 70 pages and was made available to Board Members. Board Member Levinstein commented on the "post employment benefits" figure of $400 million, which was a $100 million increase from the previous year. Levy said this was a projection based on conservative assumptions, and it "goes up significantly every year".

There was discussion about the number of special ed suspensions. [Seemed like on the order of 10 suspensions total from population of 1,740, but the numbers being discussed may have been from the prior month?] Apparently the BOE also had some numbers for suspension rates for the full student population--that topic was reserved for discussion in executive session.

There was discussion around SES, Supplemental Education Services. Assistant Superintendent for Student Intervention and Support Services Noriega explained that there will be close to 2,000 eligible students. He said that this year the district has decided to select two providers: Best Resource Center and Newburgh Performing Arts Academy (formerly the Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh?). Approximately 284 students can be funded for SES.

Three special ed positions are to be created at the high school, based on the needs of IEPs.

Newburgh BOE Meeting September 27, 2012

Video of the September regular BOE meeting is here on YouTube. Before the regular meeting there was the public hearing on the Newburgh Prep Charter School.

Here are a few over-due bullet points:

  • There was a presentation about STEM extended school year program. Two programs at Black Rock Forest; one at Boston University. Veronica Dun, Lori Sheets (West Point Network Science Center), and Jack Caldwell (Blackrock Forest) presented.
  • During public comment on agenda items, Teacher and Coach Ed Kennedy commented on deficiencies in the process of posting coaching positions in the district.
  • A resolution "to create a district Facebook account" was approved. BOE member Levinstein voiced concern about posting procedures. There was some discussion. BOE Member Lawson understood that there is a difference between Facebook and a standard web page; and that one-way communication is not how "social media" generally work. Here's a link to video of that discussion.
  • There were public comments by several parents from Horizons about security problems around the process of admission to the building.
  • Toward the end of the meeting, Lawson suggested that the Board discuss the charter school proposal. The school district attorney confirmed that this was not an executive session topic. Lawson expressed concern that the BOE was not accurately informed about the financial impact of the proposal on the district. He also suggested that there was little evidence that the charter proposal would implement an educational process that could address the needs of the target population. If you have any interest in the charter school, or the process by which the NECSD BOE came to support it and then not support it, do see this part of the video.
  • After the main part of the meeting, the BOE went to executive session until 12:30AM.

Newburgh BOE Meeting September 27, 2012

Video of the September regular BOE meeting is available on YouTube.

Will post bullet points later.

BOE Workshop meeting September 2012

There was a BOE workshop meeting on Wednesday September 19, 2012. There was an audience of around ten. Board members Howard and Lawson were not present. A pdf containing supporting materials was available from the district website. The resolutions discussed at this meeting will be put up for vote at the BOE meeting on the evening of Thursday September 27, 2012.

Video of the meeting is up on YouTube. Here are a few notes:

A board member expressed concern about the quality of work on doors at South Middle School and stair tread at Temple Hill. Mr. Damon said those items are being revisited.

There was a presentation about Extended School Year programs by Anthony Grice. He described 4 STEM programs that were conducted with partners over the summer.

There was some discussion about a resolution to create a district Facebook account. Board President Fucheck said "the purpose for this is for facilitating the dissemination of information to the community regarding issues and activities in the schools. So it's not going to be a Facebook page like a public interactive thing... the purpose is simply to disseminate information." Fucheck said that anyone who wanted to share information would send it to Ms Butrick. [This has the potential to be as useful as the district web site.]

Among the Committee on Special Education recommendations: ten initial referrals; 36 students transferred into the district; 10 at preschool level and 23 k-12 were classified; none declassified. There was some discussion about home teaching.

During discussion of the proposed purchase of a teacher observation software system Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement Forgit made a clarifying point about the process, "The assistant principals, directors, and principals have the opportunity to observe teachers. The only one who has an opportunity to evaluate teachers is the principal."

Among HR items, five teaching assistant positions and seven teacher aide positions are to be created. These "are the results of special ed children that have entered the district". Assistant Superintended of Human Resources Leimer described the number as "in flux"--"as of this afternoon the seven teacher aides has risen to eight."

A Board Member asked about the ten day posting period being shortened for a recent posting for coaching positions. There was discussion about the coaches doing work before they were appointed by the Board, and also discussion about deficiencies in posting jobs.

Newburgh BOE Committees 2012-2013

The Newburgh School District Board of Education has several committees that meet monthly: Curriculum, Library, Policy, Porsonnel, Finance, and Building & Grounds. The committee meetings offer a preview of the items that will be voted upon at a regular BOE meeting. The committee meetings are less formal and more conversational than Workshop or Regular meetings.

Here is some documentation about committee chairpersons and members for 2012-13 and the meeting schedule for this school year. Meeting times and dates are subject to change.

Today, September 11, the schedule calls for a Personnel Committee meeting at 2:30 PM and a Curriculum Committee meeting at 4:00 PM. Both are at the Superintendent's Conference Room at the Newburgh Free Library.

Newburgh BOE Meeting August 28, 2012

The August Newburgh School District BOE meeting bullet points:

  • Presentation by Executive Principal Nodel.
  • Presentation by Superintendent for School Improvement Forgit.
  • $160K for leveled readers.
  • $402K for student assessment instruments from CTB/McGraw Hill.
  • Final 2011-12 Orange-Ulster BOCES contract was $7 million.
  • $2.45 million from reserves (Tax Cert, Unemployment, Workers Commp) to General Fund.
  • Three and one-half hour executive session. Three tabled HR items approved.
  • A Media Communications teacher position was created.

Video is available on YouTube.

Click here for August 2012 meeting notes.

BOE Special and Workshop meetings August 2012

There was a Newburgh School District Special Meeting and a Workshop Meeting on Tuesday August 14. These meetings followed the Hudson Scholars charter school public hearing.

At the Special meeting just a few items were voted on. First, an overnight travel request was approved. The Board went to executive session for a while and then voted to adopt the findings and recommendation of a hearing officer and terminate the employment of Mark Rohanis [sp?] effective August 14, 2012.

Marcie Heywood was appointed to be an Acting Assistant Principal August 15, 2012 to June 30, 2013.

A Finance resolution to approve the tax warrant was also approved. Total amount (NECSD and Library) is $104,104,146 to be collected between September 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013.

The Special Meeting adjourned and Workshop Meeting began.

There was the usual construction update from Terry Damon. The heaviest work is going on at GAMS.

There was a brief presentation by Maxine Nodel at the Workshop meeting. She is the new Executive Principal at NFA. She noted the absence of a vision or mision statement on stationery at NFA, so worked with her admin team to come up with one. The short version is: "Preparing students for excellence in college, careeer, community." She would like to see this motto displayed on baners at the high schools "to assist setting the new tone of change at NFA".

Newburgh BOE Meeting July 17, 2012

On July 17 there was a regular meeting of the Newburgh School District BOE.

Board President Fucheck was not present; Vice President Resch led the meeting. Board member Lewis was not present. There was an audience of about four.

There was an acknowledgement of the NFA Solar Racing Team's participation in a Shell sponsored event in Houston, Texas. Chris Eachus spoke further about the event. He explained that energy efficiency was the goal, and thanked the Board for their support. Mrs. Eachus told a very nice story about how some of the NFA kids helped a team from Brazil to get their car running so they could participate.

The Board recessed to executive session, "for the following purpose: to review the employment history of particular individuals". The executive session lasted about two hours. After it, there was no one else in the audience besides me.

Two different versions of the "Agenda Items" for this meeting were published on the NECSD website. The first, included some details about construction change orders, conference requests, finance items, HR items A-D only (no details). This document is no longer available on the NECSD website, as far as I can tell. Here is a copy.

The second version, (which replaced the earlier one on the NESCD website some time after July 23) omits several items in the first version, but includes significant details about the full HR agenda, items A-P. Among the HR details: revised job descriptions for Executive Director for Human Resources and Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Stipends were approved for Michael McLymore and Daniel Shanahan "for assuming additional duties and responsibilities in accordance with their revised job descriptions..." Resolution N approved a "job description for Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement" and Ed Forgit's title was changed to "Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement". Beverly Johnson was appointed acting Principal effective August 1, 2012 to June 20, 2013.

Video of the meeting is available on the Newburghedinfo YouTube channel.