Guilderland Central School District

Minutes for Regular Meeting of the Board of Education

January 31, 2017

High School - LGI Room

7:00 PM

 

 

Call to Order

Attendee Name

Title

Status

Arrived

Teresa Gitto

Board Member

Present

 

Catherine Barber

Board Member

Absent

 

Barbara Fraterrigo

Board Member

Present

 

Christine Hayes

President

Absent

 

Christopher McManus

Vice President

Present

 

Seema Rivera

Board Member

Present

 

Allan Simpson

Board Member

Present

 

Judy Slack

Board Member

Present

 

Gloria Towle-Hilt

Board Member

Absent

 

Linda Livingston

Board Clerk

Present

 

 

Public Comment #1

Persons wishing to speak under the “Public Comment” section of the meeting should either contact the District Clerk (456-6200 X 3125) before the meeting OR fill out one of the Public Comment Forms, available on tables at both entrances to the meeting room, and return to the District Clerk.

Alan Fiero asked the Board to limit the class size in the 7th grade science classes.  He stated concerns for the students safety.        

Showcase of Students :GHS Model United Nations Club

High School Social Studies Teacher Derick Kopff and a few students from the Model UN Club gave an overview of their recent trip to Yale University and Brown University.  The students described how they conduct research and then negotiate their positions with other students from around the world.  The students learn how to solve problems, face diversity, and learn how the political world works.

2017-18 Budget Development

I.              State Aid and Tax Cap

Assistant Superintendent for Business Neil Sanders reviewed state aid for the 2016-17 school year and the potential state aid for the 2017-18.  He also discussed the tax cap for the 2017-18 budget.

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

Minutes

A.              Board of Education - Regular Meeting - Jan 10, 2017 7:00 PM

RESULT:              ACCEPTED [5 TO 0]

MOVER:              Seema Rivera, Board Member

SECONDER:              Allan Simpson, Board Member

AYES:              Gitto, Fraterrigo, McManus, Rivera, Simpson

ABSTAIN:              Slack

ABSENT:              Barber, Hayes, Towle-Hilt

B.              Board of Education - Regular Meeting - Jan 25, 2017 7:00 PM

RESULT:              ACCEPTED [5 TO 0]

MOVER:              Allan Simpson, Board Member

SECONDER:              Barbara Fraterrigo, Board Member

AYES:              Fraterrigo, McManus, Rivera, Simpson, Slack

ABSTAIN:              Gitto

ABSENT:              Barber, Hayes, Towle-Hilt

Consent Items

RESULT:              ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Allan Simpson, Board Member

SECONDER:              Seema Rivera, Board Member

AYES:              Gitto, Fraterrigo, McManus, Rivera, Simpson, Slack

ABSENT:              Barber, Hayes, Towle-Hilt

I.              CPSE & CSE Recommendations

II.              Personnel Action

A.              Personnel Action January 31, 2017

A.              Resignations - Instructional

1.              Amy Arena, a school counselor at Guilderland High School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement effective June 30, 2017.  Ms. Arena has been employed by the District since September 1, 1993.

2.              Marilyn Davis, a science teacher at Guilderland High School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement, effective June 30, 2017.  Ms. Davis has been employed by the District since September 1, 1997.

3.              Dana Doak, an elementary education teacher at Altamont Elementary School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement, effective June 24, 2017.  Mr. Doak has been employed by the District since September 1, 1987.

4.              Marie Eoff, a school nurse at Westmere Elementary School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement effective June 30, 2017.  Ms. Eoff has been employed by the District since September 1, 2002.

5.              Alan Fiero, a science teacher at Farnsworth Middle School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement effective June 30, 2017.  Dr. Fiero has been employed by the District since September 1, 1985.

6.              Kathleen Goldberg, a teaching assistant at Guilderland High School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement, effective June 24, 2017.  Ms. Goldberg has been employed by the District since September 1, 1992.

7.              Timothy Horan, a teacher at Pine Bush Elementary School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement, effective June 30, 2017.  Mr. Horan has been employed by the District since September 1, 1987.

8.              Michael Lynagh, as a teaching assistant at Altamont Elementary School, effective January 20, 2017.  Mr. Lynagh has been employed by the District since November 14, 2016.

9.              Katherine Marino, a teaching assistant at Lynnwood Elementary School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement, effective June 23, 2017.  Ms. Marino has been employed by the District since September 5, 1991.

10.              Colleen Mickle, a physical education teacher at Guilderland Elementary School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement, effective June 30, 2017.  Ms. Mickle has been employed by the District since September 1, 1985.

11.              Katherine Newbegin, as a business education teacher at Guilderland High School, effective January 26, 2017.  Ms. Newbegin has been employed by the District since February 1, 2010.

12.              Dorothea Osborn, an art teacher at Guilderland Elementary School, is resigning for the purpose of retirement, effective June 30, 2017.  Ms. Osborn has been employed by the District since September 1, 1989.

 

*B.              Appointments -  Instructional - Not Probationary

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Education of the Guilderland Central School District hereby accepts the recommendation of the Superintendent to appoint the following instructional employees:

1.              Michelle Kiernozek, as a probationary occupational therapist, effective February 27, 2017.  The probationary period for this appointment is fifty-two (52) weeks. Ms. Kiernozek has licensure as an occupational therapist.

2.              Maria Witazek, as a temporary teacher for ESL effective January 9, 2017 through June 30, 2017.  Ms. Witazek holds N, K &Gr. 1-6, permanent certification.

 

C.              Resignations - Non-Instructional

1.              Raquel Sylvester, as a food service worker in the food service department, effective January 27, 2017.

 

D.              Appointments - Non-Instructional

1.              Michael Coluccio, as a custodial worker in the Maintenance Department, effective January 23, 2017.  The probationary period for this appointment is from eight (8) to twenty-six (26) weeks unless extended.

2.              Kevin O’Hanlon, as a school bus driver in the Transportation Department, effective January 3, 2017.  The probationary period for this appointment is from eight (8) to twenty-six  (26) weeks unless extended.

3.              April Porter, as a custodial worker in the Maintenance Department, effective February 6, 2017.  The probationary period for this appointment is from eight (8) to twenty-six (26) weeks unless extended.

4.              Tania Spadaro, as a sr. account clerk at the District Office, effective January 30, 2017.  The probationary period for this appointment is from eight (8) to twenty-six (26) weeks unless extended.

5.              Raquel Sylvester, as a school monitor at Guilderland High School, effective January 30, 2017.  The probationary period for this appointment is from eight (8) to twenty-six (26) weeks unless extended.

 

E.              Requests for Leave of Absence

1.              Ashley Girard, a mathematics teacher at Farnsworth Middle School, is requesting a parental leave of absence following her period of disability up to but not exceeding inclusively, her 12 weeks of FMLA leave.

 

F.              Emergency Fingerprint Clearance

Michael Coluccio                            custodial worker

April Porter                            custodial worker

Tania Spadaro                            sr. account clerk

III.              Financials

A.              Treasurer's Report for the Period Ending December 31, 2016

B.              Revenue Report for the Period Ending December 31, 2016

C.              Expense Report for the Period Ending December 31, 2016

D.              School Lunch Financial Reports for the Period Ending December 31, 2016

E.              Capital Project Financial Status Report for the Period Ending December 31, 2016

F.              Extraclassroom Activity Funds Quarterly Report for the Period Ending December 31, 2016

Information Items

I.              Curriculum & Instruction Information

A.              Textbook

The following textbook was submitted for information:

 

Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Garadarajan for use in upper elementary and middle school.

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

B.              Farnsworth Middle School Spelling Bee Competition

On Thursday December 8th, 2016, 40 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students competed in Farnsworth Middles School’s annual School Spelling Bee.  Students got to participate in the school bee by winning classroom bees held in November.  Students participated in many rounds, spelling and defining difficult words.   Four finalists emerged.  Congratulations to the following FMS students who will be going on to the Regional Spelling Bee on February 7, 2017 at Proctors Theatre: Amol Kumar (eighth grade), Joanna Chen (seventh grade), Maia Regan (seventh grade), and Aidan Doyle (eighth grade)!

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

C.              Farnsworth Middle School Geography Bee Competition

On Thursday December 15, 2016, 30 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students competed in Farnsworth Middle School’s annual Geography Bee.  Students who competed first had to qualify by taking a geography test in their Social Studies classes.  After seven rounds of competition with all thirty competitors, students were eliminated until 10 finalists remained.  Each finalist competed in several more rounds before a champion emerged.  Congratulations to Ahamed Magzoub, a sixth grader at FMS, on his first place finish.  Ahamed will take another written test in the hopes of qualifying for the State Geography Bee.  Congratulations also to the second place contestant, Nicolas Castello (eighth grade), and third place contestant, Ben Abell (eighth grade).   Honorable mention also goes to Alex Jambunathan, Arun Benkit, Kimberly Riek, Jillian Magenis, Sam Sosnovsky, Sanari Ismail and Suhani Iyer, who were the other seven finalists.

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

D.              Regional High School Art Exhibition For Girls

Congratulations to the following Guilderland High School students for having their works selected for this exhibition: 

Sammy Varner, Gr. 11

Emma Mattoon, Gr. 9

Anna Giannetti Gr. 9

Emily Borden, Gr. 9

Muram Magzoub, Gr. 9

 

Represented is a regional art exhibition that features a selection of two dimensional works from young women in grades 8-12.  Attached is a PDF presentation of their work.  The exhibition will run from February 1-28, 2017 at Charlton School for Girls in Burnt Hills, New York.  A reception and ceremony will take place on February 8th, from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

E.              Guilderland High School Student Wins Infographic Contest

Congratulations to  Michelle Prunier, grade 11 who’s submission entitled Petrichor - The Smell of Rain won an infographic contest through the American Chemical Society.   This infographic appeared in the February/March 2017 ChemMatters magazine.  Please go to the following link for more information.

 

<https://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/education/students/highschool/chemistryclubs/infographics/petrichor-the-smell-of-rain.pdf>
 

Michelle spoke to the Board about her   one of three in the United States recognized.

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

II.              School Business Information

A.              Transportation and Maintenance Equipment Purchase Proposal for the 2017-2018 School Year.

Transportation Supervisor Danielle Poirier, Assistant Transportation Supervisor Michael Gannon and Director of Physical Plant Management Clifford Nooney presented their proposal for the bus and equipment proposition for the 2017-18 budget.

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

Live GPS System with Parent Notification

Danielle Poirier, Transportation Supervisor, provided an update on the implementation of the Live GPS system.  This system incorporates real-time GPS tracking of the district’s school buses.   The location of each bus in the fleet can be precisely identified at any time.  In addition, bus and driver performance data is captured and alerts are automatically sent if the system detects any mechanical issues. 

 

System implementation was intended for this summer but in order to fully optimize the capability of the GPS system it was necessary to upgrade the district’s routing software to the newest release and perform technology infrastructure upgrades as well.  It was decided that the goal was to do this well rather than quickly. The district opted to hold off on the installation of the GPS devices in the buses until the software and hardware upgrades were complete.  Different options were discussed with the respect to how the servers could be configured and the how the application software and data was segregated across the servers for optimal performance.  The district’s technology department contacted other school districts to discern the best option for configuring the routing and GPS applications.  With the start of school being a priority for both the transportation staff and our technology department, the software and infrastructure upgrades were postponed until the school year was underway and the schools and transportation were settled. 

 

Provisions were made to perform the server and software upgrades on November 8, a Superintendent’s Conference Day when school was not in session.  The company was able to schedule installation of the GPS devices in the buses during the week of December 5th.   The district did not want to pay for the installation of the devices prior to the software and hardware upgrades as they were not usable.  Training on the GPS system was scheduled for December 11, December 18, and January 31.  Unfortunately, due to a two-hour inclement weather delay on December 18, the district had to cancel the training session for that day.  Tyler Technologies requested that the January 31 training date be canceled due to a conflict.  The rescheduled training dates are February 16 and February 23.   To date, efforts have focused on the use and application of the GPS software.  The MyStop app, which allows parents to track their child’s bus, will follow.   The rollout of that app will take place next fall.    

C.              Lead Remediation Plan

Based on an analysis of the district's lead testing results, Kevin Schaefer, an engineer with CSArch, provides several recommendations for mitigation.  The various mitigation actions include replacement of sink faucets and sink bubblers including riser tubes, flexible connections, and stop valves; and water fountain and steam kettle supply piping testing to determine whether the piping or the equipment is the source of the elevated lead levels.  If the supply piping testing passes, the recommendation is to replace the equipment.  If the supply piping testing fails, flush testing and a detailed inspection of the piping is recommended.  In his letter, Kevin Schaefer states that filter installations at sinks and drinking fountains are appropriate remediation actions.  

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

D.              Solar Farm

In July 2015, the district entered into a 20-year solar energy power purchase agreement with SunEdison.  The partnership will result in the construction of a 2 megawatt solar energy farm located in Altamont.  By entering into this agreement, the district is able to receive credits applied to their electric bill for generating energy that is delivered to National Grid under a program known as Remote Net Metering.  The program was designed to provide incentives to energy services companies and large electrical customers to invest in solar farms as a renewable energy source and to reduce carbon emissions.  Our project has been stalled while National Grid dealt with an influx of projects to review and approve.  The district finally received word that our project had been approved to move forward.  This month, the solar energy division of SunEdison was acquired by Forefront Power who will provide the funding to construct the solar farm and the interconnection to National Grid.  That work is slated to begin soon and will require permits to be issued by the Town of Guilderland. Assuming all goes well, the solar farm will be fully constructed and ready to connect to the National Grid system by the end of November.  The solar farm will not generate savings for the district until National Grid completes the interconnection to their system, which hopefully will take place soon after Forefront Power completes their portion of the project. 

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

E.              Fiscal Stress Monitoring System Status

Last week, the New York State Office of the State Comptroller released its annual report measuring the amount of fiscal stress schools are operating under based on data from the 2015-16 school year. The Comptroller’s Office created a tool that looks at various financial and environmental factors and using a weighted scoring system, converts those weighted scores into one of four designations:

              Significant Fiscal Stress

              Moderate Fiscal Stress

              Susceptible to Fiscal Stress

              No Designation

 

I am pleased to report that Guilderland received “no designation” indicating that the financial indicators reviewed were not indicative of potential fiscal stress.  The district received the same designation last year as well.  However, for the two years prior to that, our district received a designation of “susceptible to fiscal stress” by just falling into the bottom of the score range for that designation.  The difference between the most recent two years, compared to previous years, was the district’s ability to allocate sufficient resources to reduce our reliance on fund balance as a revenue source. In prior years, the district was forced to use its fund balance to avoid further cuts in staffing, programs, and services that otherwise would have been required as state funding for education was significantly reduced.    

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

F.              Smart Schools Bond Act

As of the last review date of January 19, the district’s Smart Schools Investment Plan submission is still under expenditure review; the same status as about half the school districts that have submitted plans.  Demian Singleton is requesting board authorization to commit to spending up to $564,000 for the implementation of the Farnsworth Middle Schools 1:1 technology device initiative in advance of the state’s approval of the district’s plan.  Orders would need to be placed around March 1 to be able to implement the plan for student use in September, 2017.  That timeframe will allow for technology infrastructure upgrades necessary to support the 1:1 program to be completed as well as the acquisition and setup of the devices themselves.  Based on other similar district plans that have already received state approval, the district does not have any reason to believe that our project will not be approved.  The recommendation from the committee is to have the board of education adopt a resolution that would authorize the expenditures listed below to proceed on or about March 1, 2017 in the absence of state approval of the district’s plan.  The resolution would also indicate that as the result of a delayed state approval of the district’s plan, the board of education understands that it may be necessary to conduct a short-term borrowing to cover any gap between the payment of expenditures and state reimbursement for these expenses.

 

Projected Maximum Expenses for FMS 1:1 Device Initiative:

              Student Devices                                            $ 270,000

              Server Upgrades/Virtualization              $ 250,000

              Wireless Access Upgrades                            $   44,000

                             Total                                         $ 564,000   

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

III.              Superintendent Information

A.              Guilderland C.S.D. Website Redesign

In the next few weeks, we will begin the lengthy process of redesigning the district website.  Our district website serves as the center of information about the Guilderland Central School District and is the fastest way to update our community about what is happening in our schools.  It has been over 10 years since we redesigned our site.  It is our goal to make sure that this information center evolves with technology and in how the general public consumes information.  Key to the redesign work is a focus on best practices in website usability, accessibility and responsiveness.  One of the first steps in the redesign process is to survey our users to gain important feedback about our current website, the information that our visitors seek and areas for growth.  That survey will be released later in February.  We anticipate that it will take about one year to fully redesign our website. 

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

B.              Public Engagement - 2017-2018 School Budget Development

During the week of January 30th, the district will be releasing a survey to the entire Guilderland School community to seek input on priorities for the spending plan for the 2017-2018 school year.  The survey will be sent out via SNN and will be posted to our website.  In addition, we will also be sending an email to all Guilderland staff with a link to the survey.  Information about the survey will also be shared with parents through backpack mail and to the community at large through a letter to the editor of the Altamont Enterprise.  The survey will be open for participation through February 13, 2017.

 

On February 15, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. just prior to the regular Board of Education meeting, the district will hold a community conversation open to all members of school community to discuss and ask questions about proposed changes for next year.  Participants can come to the event in person.  We are also working on a plan for community members to attend through a Google Hang-out.  More details on the specifics of the community conversation will be released soon.

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

C.              2017 Friend of Education Award

Recently, Mr. Clifford Nooney, the district's director of physical plant management, was nominated for a "Friend of Education" award, which is sponsored by the Capital Area School District Association (CASDA). This award recognizes individuals who play supporting roles in the operation of school districts and whose efforts have a significant impact on the work we do on behalf of students.  

 

The district has been notified that Mr. Nooney will be receiving this award on February 16, 2017.  We congratulate and thank Mr. Nooney for his outstanding service to Guilderland! 

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

IV.              Board President Information

A.              Strategic Planning RFP

On Wednesday, January 25, the board of education had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Robert Hendriks from the Educational Legacy Planning Group, a respondent to the district's Request for Proposals for strategic planning facilitation. The board had a further discussion on the strategic planning initiative:

·         Judy Slack said she supported the proposal

·         Seema Rivera said she has reservations because of the cost, but was impressed with Mr. Hendriks presentation

·         Barbara Fraterrigo said she also has reservations because of the cost.  Mrs. Fraterrigo feels the district has a lot of talented staff that could do the work.  But she will support the strategic planning facilitation if the administration feels they need it

·         Allan Simpson has mixed feelings, he is has a fear of doing another “capacity study”.  He said the entire Board needs to commit to the process or it will not work

·         Chris McManus said the community and the teachers also need to commit to the process.

RESULT:              DISCUSSED

Action Items

I.              School Business Management Action

A.              Service Agreement

Resolved, that the Board of Education approve the service agreement with Oak Hill School to provide educational services to a student with disabilities, and authorize the Superintendent of Schools to execute the agreement.

RESULT:              ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Judy Slack, Board Member

SECONDER:              Seema Rivera, Board Member

AYES:              Gitto, Fraterrigo, McManus, Rivera, Simpson, Slack

ABSENT:              Barber, Hayes, Towle-Hilt

B.              Donation

Resolved, that the Board of Education accept the donation of a trumpet and a clarinet from Mrs. Maria Blinkhorn.

RESULT:              ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Barbara Fraterrigo, Board Member

SECONDER:              Teresa Gitto, Board Member

AYES:              Gitto, Fraterrigo, McManus, Rivera, Simpson, Slack

ABSENT:              Barber, Hayes, Towle-Hilt

II.              Board President Action

A.              Board of Education Policy Adoption

The following policies adopted: 

                                         

                            1220 Relations with Community and Business Organizations

2330 Executive Sessions

4325 Academic Intervention Services

5151 Homeless Children

5151-R Homeless Children Regulation

RESULT:              ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]

MOVER:              Allan Simpson, Board Member

SECONDER:              Seema Rivera, Board Member

AYES:              Gitto, Fraterrigo, McManus, Rivera, Simpson, Slack

ABSENT:              Barber, Hayes, Towle-Hilt

B.              Resolution - Supplement

Resolved, based on the confirmation hearing, the Guilderland School Board does not believe that Betsy DeVos is qualified or prepared to be the next Secretary of Education.

RESULT:              ADOPTED [5 TO 1]

MOVER:              Judy Slack, Board Member

SECONDER:              Seema Rivera, Board Member

AYES:              Gitto, Fraterrigo, McManus, Rivera, Slack

NAYS:              Simpson

ABSENT:              Barber, Hayes, Towle-Hilt

Board Committee Reports

Audit Committee

At the January 18th meeting, the committee had an annual review and discussion with the claims auditorIt was suggested that she share the extraclassroom auditing process used at Schalmont CSD, where she also performs claims auditing, to see if Guilderland could benefit from that experience.

 

Legislation was passed on December 31, 2016 that mandates school districts, as part of the annual budget process, to provide a schedule of reserve funds by name, the balance in each reserve as of the close of the third quarter of the current school year, and a brief statement explaining any plans for use of such reserve in the ensuing fiscal year.   In addition, the legislation stipulates that any money placed into a reserve fund requires the board of education to approve such action by resolution.   A draft plan was presented to the committee.  The committee reviewed the plan and recommended the plan be presented to the board of education for discussion and approval.

 

 

Business Practices

The committee was updated on the Smart School Bond Act and the timeline of the live GPS system with parent notification.

 

 

Communications Committee

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7 at 5:45 p.m.

 

 

Policy Committee

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 2 at 6:00 p.m.

Board Issues, Ideas, and Sharing

Judy Slack said her neighbor’s granddaughter loves her bus driver.  She praised the driver for the various things he does for the kids.  She said the bus driver is very important in a child’s day at school; they are the first and last person they see.  

 

Chris McManus said he feels there are a few pieces that need to be completed on the Textbooks Review Form for the book All American Boy.   Teachers should be aware there are students that might be offended or hurt by the issues in book.  He asked if there will there be other books that show a different point of view.   He cautioned the teachers saying statics can be easily manipulated.  

 

Allan Simpson asked if the start time of the Board meetings could be adjusted to 6:00 pm or 6:30 pm. 

 

Alan Simpson asked if he could get more information on the square foot per student in the labs at the middle school.  Mr. Fiero had sited statics on what it should be.  He said the last thing he would want is someone to get hurt.

 

Barbara Fraterrigo asked how many kids are in the labs at the middle school and if the larger number of students is due to the inclusion model

 

Seema River asked when the petitions for the 2017-18 school board candidates will be ready.