The school board meeting started with a delay. First, music recognitions were awarded, followed by AP scholars recognitions. One student was recognized for her proficiency in the Italian language.
Mr. Colaitis, Assistant Superintendent for District Operations, retired from the army after 30 years of service. Two school district residents, Mr. Grech and Mr. DaCosta, were recognized for their work on preparations for a construction project that will start next year. After its completion, both, H.T. Herber middle school and Malverne high school will have independent heating systems, and Davison Avenue school will get solar panels installed.
According to the Smart Schools Bond, a $2B bond launched by NYS, each school district has to create its investment plan and submit it for approval by the review board in Albany. The application/plan allocated for the Malverne school district may be up to $982K. I asked, if Malverne school district residents would be liable just for that specific amount, or if NYS residents would be liable equally for the entire $2B. It’s not clear at this moment. The NYSED is expected to issue general guidance. I’ll write about the bond in a subsequent post. It’s too interesting to pass it without a few thoughts.
Prior to this meeting at a special meeting on November 3rd, the school board members made a decision to extend the superintendent’s contract for another 2 years. While school boards conduct special meetings for various reasons, in most instances it is in the effort to connect with the public in addition to regular meetings. The Malverne school board conducts special meetings in order to circumvent the public. They schedule the meetings to the little conference room in the administration building.
At this public meeting, on November 18th, the attendees learned about the decision the school board members made. Dr. Hunderfund expressed his gratitude. He emphasized his satisfaction with the school board’s unanimity that was not always there in the past. This part of his speech reminded me of my country of origin where decisions always were made “unanimously” by few apparatchiks on behalf of the nation. He reflected on a past school board member who could not understand, despite being trained in the anonymous group of “advisors,” that there can be just one director/CEO. (I’ll write about the “advisory” group in detail in a subsequent post). The Malverne school district follows the business ideology of central top-down management. There are no publicly accessible committees in the district. The NYSED resolution 100.11 from 1994 is unknown and the book titled Beyond the Bake Sale has never been mentioned. (Excerpt pictured.)
Instead of learning how to work with the school board member, the school district devised a “misconduct case,” the said member resigned, and a vetted member was propped from the “advisory” group. All Malverne school board members recruit from that group.
After the superintendent’s speech, Mr. Nehlsen updated the attendees on the state of technology in the district. The presentation was very informative and detailed. The district may post it online.
Mrs. Ricca, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Educational Services, expressed her satisfaction with the progress of the technology upgrades which will allow for district-wide computer-based testing.
The meeting concluded with invitation to several parent academies on the topic of the Common Core. The first will take place on January 8th.