The residents’ representatives modified their regular “meeting in public” on February 9th, as only two of them were present. The management showed again their prezi they have shown at the LICEE meeting in January. Three district delegates will travel to “A Deferred Dream” conference organized by the College Board in Charlotte, North Carolina. (The College Board is home to David Coleman, the author of the Common Core Standards. He now moved on to “reform” the higher education. This Saturday, March 5th, students will take the SAT tests that were modified for the first time since 2005. A third of US colleges don’t require the SAT and colleges abroad have their particular admission requirements.)
Dr Spiro Colaitis, Assistant Superintendent for District Operations, thanked the crew for clearing snow all day on Saturday after the snowstorm Jonas. He also described a water leak of unknown origin at Davison Ave. school, probably through chimney. The leak didn’t cause any damage.
Senator Flanagan was mentioned in connection with his promise to secure more financial aid to LI schools. Trustee Bottitta mentioned a check from the State she received thanks to the fact the school district budgeted under the tax cap in previous year. This State “reward” is part of the 2-year “Government Efficiency Plan” instituted by governor Cuomo. Within the plan, MUFSD entered in contract with about 50 other districts.
(Last summer after requesting to review the plan, the district management replied I would have to “FOIL” it. My argument that the district owners actually prepare the plans and the management executes them on the owners’ behalf didn’t move the management.)
As the theme for creating the SY 2016-17 budget, the management used a book “Our Iceberg Is Melting.” In introduction to the budget, Dr Colaitis enumerated past and recent successes the management team achieved. It goes hand-in-hand with the branding initiative.
It’s worth to point out that the largest increases are, as expected, line items for BOCES technology—Common Core-aligned data-mining, testing, and online courses. On the other hand, the largest line item decreases are tentative elimination of 5 FTEs, arts, and science classes. “A little bit of each department,” will be affected Mrs Ricca, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Educational Services, stated. “We are hoping that this is the worst case scenario,” she added.
Mrs. Bottitta, announced she joined the PTA committee for the STEM program at the magnet school (LIHSA). Together with Jeanne D’Esposito, on the same PTA committee, they will “insure its [STEM program] further success of our students. They were really able to move a lot of parents.”
Mrs. Bottitta also expressed her own opinions on issues the education is facing. She admitted a possibility that the current fiscal system is designed to deprive schools from proper funding so they can be taken over by the state one after another. She encouraged all (4) attendees to write letters to representatives in Albany.
She also stated she took part in a consolidation meeting, where the participants expressed their displeasure with consolidating our “quiet secret” with another district. Mr. Tulley, school board presidents, added that MUFSD entered in contracts with many districts in order to combine the purchasing power.
Mrs. Ricca, announced the pre-K class that didn’t take place on Saturday morning, Feb. 6th, would be made up; parents would receive a notice.
March 11th will be a full day of school as a makeup for the snow day.
Budget “reviews” will take place on 2/23, 3/1, 3/8, and 3/15.
A resident asked, if the district pays for the pre-K Saturday program. A discussion ensued about the cancelation of the first class. Some parents were notified, others were standing outside before they left unsure what has happened.
I suggested the 63% of the budget marked for instruction be visually split into “instruction” and “technology,” as the technology doesn’t necessarily serve the instruction only. Mr. Tulley said they would look into how it could be visually marked in the pie chart. It can’t be taken out of the instruction line item codes.
A resident asked about an open house at M.W. Downing school; she was interested in programs the school offers. The resident was recommended to contact the building principal and Project Enroll Now. (The question validates my opinion that a self-running, narrated presentation should be available on each school website).
Mr. Tulley urged all to register students of parochial schools for busing by April 1st. No exceptions.
A resident thanked Dr. Romano, HS principal, for holding the ACT-SO competition at Malverne HS for the second year and was looking forward for the competition to be held here again on April 9th. Last year, Phyllis Wright, the Malverne Educational and Fitness Foundation director, was in charge of the competition for the region.