NRCSD Met to Discuss the Coming School Year

A short update at board meeting, everything is being handled swiftly according to members

BY SARA GILBERT

The North Rockland Central School District board met Tuesday, August 7 at the high school to review regular business and updates for the coming school year.

The meeting was short as there were no public comments, no correspondences and no old business issues to attend to.

They moved directly to Superintendent Ileana Eckert’s report where she informed the board and small audience of about 10 that things are moving along well in preparation for the upcoming school year, but she admitted there were still some last minute kinks she was working on.

“We did a walk through of all the buildings,” Eckert said. “There are some last minute staffing issues though.

“We may have to create another class for first and third grades,” Eckert said, due to the fact that 22 new enrollees may be joining Thiells Elementary. But Eckert acknowledged that it’s hard to know how many of these students will actually be attending the school because frequently parents change their minds or move and don’t inform the schools.

“We’re also trying to figure out if there’s a better way of getting parents to inform us sooner if they are in fact attending this school,” Eckert said. It’s difficult to plan out how many classes each grade needs if the number of students is not set until the school year begins.

Eckert held a minute of silence to remember all those who lost someone in their life or are struggling with illness. She had just returned from another wake, she said. “It’s been a particularly difficult year with lots of serious illness and death.”

President Deborah P. Gatti led the rest of the meeting, which included approval of minutes, finance reports, budget transfers, tax refunds, bid awards, personnel issues, continuing education courses, curriculum coordinators and other committees. All motions were approved unanimously except for one abstention from Peggy Zugibe on an issue concerning BOCES since she is on their board and it would be a conflict of interest.

Gatti explained that there have been changes to the curriculum, staff and now there are new ways of evaluating the students’ progress called Student Learning Objectives, or SLO. Parents will be hearing more about them during the school year, she said.

The school year of 2012-13 is the first year SLOs will be applied. They were released by the New York State Education Department and include a new method and scale of evaluating students’ achievements and teachers’ successes.

In addition, all North Rockland schools will be celebrating on August 28 by hosting open houses and ribbon cuttings at each of the nine sites. All parents and community are invited.

Board member Robert Masiello read the personnel retirement notices for Iraida Pagan and Joseph Balogh.

Pagan served the North Rockland school district for 22 years teaching elementary school. She retired effective July 21. The board wished her a healthy and happy retirement.

Balogh served for 37 years as a custodian. Masiello said he was “honored to read this. I met Mr. Balogh when we were in the sandbox together. We talked about this day.” The board congratulated him and wished him a healthy and happy retirement.

The board approved the abolishment of a part-time position of clerk typist, which will go into effect on August 22.

The board also approved committee members for special education including Joan Pfister and Laura Woodhead for the Sub-Committee on Special Education and Vivian Rivera and Johanna Sierra for Committee on Preschool Special Education.

Just prior to closing the meeting and entering into executive session, the board addressed one final issue, a call to veto a new bill that would have negative affects on hiring teachers and employees for schools.

Bill A.8291-A/S.5771-A would grant tenure status seniority rights to employees during layoffs and rehiring of employees. Districts would base hiring decisions on seniority rather than on actual need and on the best candidate for the specific position.

The board approved a letter to be sent to support vetoing the bill, which has not been approved yet, but might be prior to the board’s next meeting.