Few reflections on two Malverne school board “meetings in public” that took place on 11/24/15 and 12/8/2015, respectively.
Two days before Thanksgiving and in anticipation of being served something better than “cookies and common core,” I attended a special BOE meeting on 11/24/15. It was supposed to start at 7 p.m. At 7:25, an absent board member was contacted by phone. While waiting, we shared our family Thanksgiving habits. The socializing came to the end with the arrival of the board members at 7:40.
The reason for calling the special meeting was that a heat pipe connecting HTH and HS cracked on November 19, causing a leak and loss of pressure. A temporary arrangement was made in the form of a mobile boiler that was placed in front of the Malverne HS. A repair had to be approved and adopted at the special meeting. The pipes will be relined with an epoxy coat that will last about 10 years. The board approved spending not to exceed $500M. About half will be paid from the emergency repair fund and the other half from the general fund. The repairs have to be paid first. The reimbursement from the insurance will come later. An alternative, considered also by the board, would be to install a new boiler at the cost of $800K to $1M.
I asked about the current balance in the emergency repair fund ($2.04M) and the capital fund (under $2M). I asked what’s the point fixing the pipe for such a high amount when it will, eventually, get cut off. Originally, I thought the goal was to separate the heating systems of the two buildings in order to save money lost by transferring the heat. I was explained it will always remain functional; it’s separated to the point that the heating system in the HS is auxiliary only.
At the “meeting in public” on 12/8/15, many awards in various athletic disciplines were given. Group after group of students was called into the library for the ceremony and picture taking with the board members and staff. In my opinion, if a ceremony involves so many people, meeting in the auditorium would be a more honorable choice.
SEPTA parent academy with D. Ripple and the #gomules theme parent academy were reminded. GoMath parent academy will be determined. Mr. Tulley, board president, reported an update on the heating system repair.
A resident complained about flooded baseball fields at the HS after each rain, causing many game cancellations. Mr. Tulley explained that only a drainage system and an artificial turf would solve the problem. The resident insisted on getting more help from the ground maintenance crew. Mr. Tulley replied that coaches need help more.
I asked if Malverne district includes the Regents Algebra test results in the final GPA. It does, and it counts 10%. Since last spring, there has been confusion, as to what Algebra test to take. Students who perform worse at the new, CC-aligned, Regents Algebra are disadvantaged at the college application process over the students who take the old test. Some districts leave the results standalone, as they don’t want to bring the student’s GPA down.
The CC Algebra 2 curriculum caused even bigger confusion. It reduced trigonometry to about 15 hours of coursework. Some districts refused to transition and continue with their regular Algebra/Trigonometry curriculum. One must feel sorry for the kids who go through the corporate reform right now. But feeling sorry doesn’t help them.
I also asked when the school board members are going to engage the residents in developing the Smart School Bond Plan. My earlier post described the process and illustrated how other districts value their community’s engagement.
“It was already submitted for a preliminary approval to BOCES and state,” Mrs. Ricca replied.
So, that’s it for the Malverne school board engaging the public.
A delegate representing Lakeview Council complained about activities related to the Homecoming parade, cleanliness alongside the parade’s path, and disorderly conduct of some individuals which required police assistance. The delegate also questioned the necessity of using loudspeakers on Saturday mornings for band rehearsals. As the last point, the delegate mentioned the amount of trash that is being blown by the wind on the fields and trapped on the fences.