Originally, only the instructional part of the budget review was on the BOE agenda for February 23rd, but a regular “meeting in public” was added in order to make up the Feb. 9th meeting.
The evening started by a quick budget review followed by birthday celebration of Mrs. O’Connor, school board trustee. As a perk of low attendance, all attendees were offered a piece of the cake.
The BOE announced that at the Annual School District Awards Dinner there will be recognized 3 outstanding individuals: Brian China, the teacher of the year, Dr Romano for his leadership, and Allen Lewis for decades of dedicated volunteer work.
Mrs. Ricca, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Educational Services, spoke about her prospective trip to Charlotte, NC, to a conference organized by the College Board entitled “A Deferred Dream.” “It’s the best place we can share our practice and collaborate with another colleagues. It’s to make a difference in African American students to achieve excellence and equity in education. It’s based upon our AP results. They have asked us, please come down and present what it is what we are doing here at Malverne and Dr Romano, Brian China, and myself will be representing Malverne school district and presenting at the conference at Charlotte. We are leaving on March 5th,” described the event Mrs. Ricca.
Dr Hunderfund, Superintendent of Schools, mentioned the new district seal that they “have worked on throughout all of last year which the board just have approved.” It seems that for all the branding and community engagement that is going on the management, collaboratively with the owners’ representatives omitted to inform district owners that their seal is going to be worked on.
The superintendent also talked about the list of schools in financial stress. Malverne UFSD doesn’t show signs of stress. The “fiscal management is great,” he added.
Dr Colaitis, Assistant Superintendent for District Operations, put in perspective the time it takes “Albany” to approve projects. Namely, the installation of field lights, submitted last May. The application will be in Albany for another year. The owners should not expect the project to be finished before SY 2017/18. He added that renovations of all bathrooms at the middle schools were finished.
When I asked about the plan B regarding the 20 students projected to attend the magnet school next year, I was told that the BOCES is supposed to announce their plan by March 15th, or April 1st. Plan B being to bring them home to Malverne. This plan would not be a complete replacement of the current program, as the district doesn’t have necessary contracts with 3rd parties. The hope is that the new STEAM (STEM incorporating Arts) funding could bring additional funds.
Mrs. Bottitta, school board trustee, reminded all (4) attendees that it takes only $24K to send a district student to a charter school. (Until April of 2015, NY charters had to offer their “services” 25% cheaper than the public schools. That requirement ended last year with adopting governor Cuomo’s budget proposal. It costs $31K to educate a student within the district public schools, or $45K if the student attends the STEM program at the magnet school.)
I brought up the career day at Malverne HS asking why it was not advertised more beside a single tweet. In my opinion, information about the career day should go out in the packet distributed on the first day of school. Parents should be leading the initiative of organizing the event. “Why parents? Alone?,” argued Mr Tulley, school board president, “the guidance department does a great job and the event is on the school calendar,” he continued. I argued that I didn’t question the work of the department, but the department should only coordinate parents’ initiative, as it’s in parents’ interest to engage as many companies as possible. It’s for their kids in the end. Mr. Tulley, pointed to the room indicating I should look around to see how parents are interested in school matters. During the discussion I learned that the same event was held the same day at the middle school as well.
I also talked about the presentation the management prepared originally for the LICEE. I expressed my satisfaction with their creation, as it inspired me to work on modified versions, designed for prospective district owners and parents. I suggested creating separate presentations specific to each school and also one for the Malverne UFSD. The board members had trouble understanding how these presentations would be presented, since the current one took about an hour. I specified that these presentations would be self-running, narrated, and placed on the website of each school readily available for real estate companies as well as individuals.