Videos are up for the April 23 BOE Workshop and the April 30 Newburgh School District BOE meeting. There is also an excerpt of comments by NTA President Plichta at the April 30 meeting.
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.
Video of the December 18 Newburgh School District Board of Education meeting is available at YouTube.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Video of the September regular BOE meeting is available on YouTube.
Will post bullet points later.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
There was a special meeting and a workshop meeting of the Newburgh School District BOE on July 10, 2012 starting at 6:30PM. Lawson was the only Board Member absent.
The Board immediately adjourned to executive session "to review employment history of particular individuals and the employment history of particular corporations or firms".
At 7PM a workshop meeting began. During the summary of summer construction projects, Terry Damon said "our major project this summer is at Gidney Ave, which we'll be talking about again a little bit later and we'll give a full report about everything that's going on over at Gidney Ave this coming month."
There were some questions and discussion around the Special Education recommendations. Board Member Lewis asked about students who were "pending placements" and others who were suspended. There was also some discussion about declassification. It seems 43 students were declassified and the total "classified" as SWD is 1412. Attorney May suggested that the 44 "parentally placed" students should be reviewed.
There was also some discussion about medical services to be provided to the district by a doctor, and a facility use request for a worship service.
Superintendent of Schools Pizzo presented the Curriculum and Instruction agenda. Board Member McAfee expressed embarrassment about a teacher attending a worthwhile conference was covering all the expenses by themself without district assistance.
Assistant Superintendent of Finance Pacella presented the finance items. They included an initial contract with Ulster BOCES for educational services in the amount of $924k. Pacella mentioned that the Orange-Ulster contract would be around 7 or 8 million. There was a property tax refund in the amount of $18K. Pacella pointed out that this would be a direct charge against the Tax Certiorari Reserve. Nothing was allocated in the Operating Budget for these tax refunds. Pacella mentioned that there is a large future refund anticipated for the Newburgh Mall. Pacella also mentioned that the district will know how the year closed out (and whether there will be surplus funds to replenish reserves) in about a month.
The board adjourned again to executive session "to review employment history of particular individuals and the employment history of particular corporations or firms".
A little more than 90 minutes later, the board voted and approved three resolutions:
A. "Resolution to award contract for the district's capital construction project at Gidney Avenue Memorial School K-8 Conversion Renovation."
B. Dr. Noriega to serve as "authorized resolution session representative for Special Education hearings".
C. Facility use approved for Newburgh Free Library (in connection with James Patterson appearance.)
The GAMS contract may be the single bid $2.5 million+ contract that was mentioned at the June 19 Workshop meeting. No discussion or presentation about the Gidney Avenue work occurred in public session.
Here's a link to the video of the July 10 Special and Workshop Meeting.
Despite being very brief, several important resolutions were approved at the Special Meeting of the Newburgh School District Board of Education on Tuesday July 3.
The meeting started a litttle after 6PM instead of the scheduled 5:30PM because the organizational meeting ran late.
The bullet points...
- All board members present.
- Meeting began with an hour executive session.
- Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) to help prepare Comprehensive Education Plans for South Middle and Temple Hill.
- HR D. Dennis Camt appointed Assistant Principal at Meadow Hill.
- HR E. Elizabeth Ten Dyke appointed Director of Secondary Interdisciplinary Curriculum and Assessment.
- HR G. Director of ELA and Reading to retire June 30.
- HR H. Agreement with a numbered employee and the Newburgh Supervisors and Administrators Association.
- HR K. Supplemental MOA with NSAA (Supervisors and Administrators) concerning APPR (Performance Reviews).
- Revision to 2012-2013 District Calendar
- HR N. Approve a professional leave of absence
- HR O. A professional retirement.
- HR P. Rachel Schuyler appointed Assistant Principal at South Middle.
Tuesday July 3, at 5 PM the NECSD BOE met for its annual organizational meeting. This meeting usually consists of a long list of individual and company appointments. Half an hour had been scheduled for the meeting.
The meeting began typically enough with the taking of the required oath of office by one returning (Resch), and two new (Lawson, Howard) board members. Things went smoothly until item "Designation of Official Newspaper(s)". Four papers were listed The Mid-Hudson Times, The Sentinel, The Times Herald Record, and The Hudson Valley Press. There was a lengthy debate about the Record...
Points in favor of designating The Record an "official" paper
- widely distributed in the City of Newburgh
- it is the only daily paper among the four
- unrealistic to expect paper to only publish good things
- important way of communicating to the minority community
Points against designating
- they only report the negative, not the positive
- not fair and balanced
- they need to be held accountable
There was general agreement on a need to meet with The THR to air differences, "get some kind of agreement", etc. Superintendent Pizzo said that despite differences with the THR he would recommend approving the paper and arranging to meet.
When a vote was called, it went 5 to 4 against designating The Times Herald-Record.
Here is video of the meeting.
The June regular BOE meeting was on Wednesday June 27 at the Newburgh Free Library auditorium. It was preceded at 6:30 PM by the annual hearing on the Code of Conduct. There was an audience of around 24 for the hearing. Assistant Superintendent for Student Intervention and Support Services Noriega read through the changes to the Code of Conduct. The changes were mostly additions of words, phrases, and occasionally an added bullet item on a list.
The audience grew to 60 or so for the BOE meeting. The bullet point version:
- Crew team reinstated.
- Resolutions were added for leasing arrangements with Apple and Dell.
- Art Plichta commented on a need for greater respect for and increased consultation with teachers.
- Grace Bowles thanked retiring District Clerk Botsford for her service.
- Coach Kennedy thanked the BOE and commented on long history of rowing in Newburgh.
- MOA "one year successor agreement" with Newburgh Administrators and Supervisors was approved.
- Supplemental MOA with NTA concerning new annual reviews was approved.
Click through for June BOE meeting notes.
Video is at http://youtu.be/VPSPYa5SoKg