These were the topics of the Malverne UFSD BOE at their meeting in public on February 10th. Mrs. Shannon Kelley, HS teacher, and a group of staff were recognized for their grant request efforts to fund various programs. Kudos to them. Last year, they secured approximately $1 million and, this year, the grants could reach a similar amount.
The administrative team presented a preliminary budget. It’s available on the district website. The district uses last year state aid calculation until the new the state aid (aid runs) will be released. The budget estimates can be off by several millions. The number of governor’s edu-related proposals is unprecedented. The list is intentionally long. Many groups are in opposition, including NY Assembly and Senate. Objections keep also coming from within the educational community. Few Superintendents want to meet with Cuomo face-to-face.
Earlier in February, the NY Teachers of The Year (one of them from Malverne school district) sent a letter addressed to Cuomo. Copies were distributed to attendees, as were copies of an interesting argument written by the NYS Educational Conference Board (February 9, 2015 edition). Also, copies of a NYT article were distributed. The article mentioned the Malverne UFSD “K-12 Success” program and Mr. Gilhuley, HT Herber principal who is in charge of the program.
The following items on the agenda deserve to be mentioned. The BOE:
- Adopted the Malverne UFSD Investment Plan. I explained the process and the plan here. The plan was not made public.
- Will purchase GoMath Series textbooks for grades K–5.
- Entered in wellness & health services contracts with several school districts.
- $70K were transferred from contractual insurance account to contractual build. and grounds account for DAV school.
- $30K were transferred from contractual BOCES tuition account to contractual build. and grounds account for HTH school.
Before concluding the board’s meeting in public the BOE added to their agenda adoption of 3 resolutions. Two resolutions were regarding monetary donations to the district. The 3rd resolution was in opposition to NYSED’s request to make the field tests mandatory. I described field tests here and here. This is how the Fairport SD Superintendent summed up the field test mandate issue. (You may need to refresh the page). None resolution was read or made public at the meeting.
Despite the fact the period the public could have commented on field tests closed on January 20, 2015, the BOE’s symbolic resolution can be viewed as a positive step. The board members acknowledge that our district is part of a bigger system. There will be more opportunities to voice our opinion in months to come, i.e. ESEA or Student Success Act and Protect Our Schools Campaign. The BOE president, Mrs. Bottitta, mentioned the board will be engaging the community in support of a letter asking the Legislature to eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment. The GEA can be revied here.
During the public comments period, I suggested a list of all mandates (fully-, partially-, un-funded) to be presented to the community, superimposed over the budget line-items. The mandates were discussed at Senator Flanagan’s Legislative breakfast. There are more than hundred mandates imposed on school districts. Our district website now displays an introduction to mandates published by the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents.