Board of Education Meeting Summary for Oct. 10, 2017

Student Representative Report

Student representatives reported that a coin drive to help those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Nate is underway and other relief efforts are planned.

Friday’s pep rally was a great event and the football team won the homecoming game.

In light of the recent attention surrounding the National Anthem, student representatives noted that students have been very supportive of each other and the online commentary has been more disruptive to student life. Even though students have different opinions on the issues, they have been respectful.

The next Student Forum meeting is Oct. 17. Promoting Student Forum at the recent Activities Fair helped generate interest in participating.

Statement from Board of Education President Rosemarie Perez Jaquith

Board President Rosemarie Perez Jaquith read a statement on behalf of the Board in response to a few student-athletes kneeling for the National Anthem and a media inquiry about the Anthem not being played at the pep rally. She referred to district statements that emphasized the importance of supporting students and their right to express themselves in a peaceful manner and respect for the views of all. The longstanding tradition of playing the National Anthem prior to games has continued. However, playing it at school pep rallies is not a longstanding tradition and a decision was made to focus on providing a fun, unifying event to build school spirit.

Ms. Perez Jaquith said the different perspectives and views represented in the national debate are also present on the Board and in the community it serves. In the context of our public schools, the Board comes together on the principle of supporting our students and their education, which is grounded in the free exchange of ideas, just like our nation. “Our interest is in moving forward as a school community that is unified in its support of students and a calm and respectful learning environment,” she said

Independent Audit for 2016-17

The Board received the independent audit report for the 2016-17 school year. There were no material findings for the general and federal funds. Josh Mabee of the firm Marvin & Co. said the unmodified opinion is the highest that it can give, indicating a clean audit. The district is a low-risk auditee because of the results of recent years, and its fund equity indicates a strong fiscal position. Mr. Mabee said that the few findings in the area of Extraclassroom Activity Funds were commonly found in schools. It was noted that the district is tightening controls and providing increased support and training in this area.

Inter-municipal Agreement with Scotia-Glenville

The Board approved an agreement that enables district mechanics to fill a short-term need that Scotia-Glenville has for mechanical services. Since the two districts’ Transportation Departments are co-located at Niskayuna’s Hillside Avenue bus garage, this allows Niskayuna to assist with this in an efficient manner without disrupting the servicing of its own fleet. Niskayuna will be reimbursed for services provided to Scotia-Glenville.

Official Enrollment for 2017-18

Dr. Tangorra shared the official enrollment for 2017-18, which shows a total of 4,258 students, K-12. Enrollment has continued to increase incrementally over the past few years. The enrollment study that is currently being conducted will look at enrollment trends and planned and potential development in the four towns, as well as ways that the buildings might possibly be better utilized with different configurations. A subcommittee of the Instructional Program Advisory Council will guide this planning. It will take into account enrollment, capital needs established by the architect’s review of facilities, and potential program changes that are identified through initiatives like the department program reviews.

Board Procedures

The Board is developing a comprehensive set of procedures to help guide its operations and be a resource for members. The first set of procedures, focused on communication and Board meetings, was adopted.

Board Policy Review

As part of its ongoing transition to a new policy manual, The Board repealed three policies that are either already covered by another policy or not a necessary part of the manual.

Additionally, first reads were conducted of the following draft policies under consideration: Policy 5692 HIV Related Illnesses; Policy 8211 Prevention Instruction First Read; Policy 4240 Evaluation of the Superintendent and Other Administrative Staff; Policy 6130 Evaluation of Personnel; and Policy 8110 Curriculum Development, Resources and Evaluation.

Superintendents’ Report

Dr. Tangorra reported that Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Larry Gillooley had recently received a letter from the athletic trainer in the City School District of Albany commending Niskayuna student-athletes for their sportsmanship and attention to an injured opponent at a recent contest.

Schenectady County Community College President Steady Moono recently provided the Superintendent’s Office with a report on Niskayuna High School student participation in College in the Classroom programs. The credit that Niskayuna High School students have earned through this program has saved district families approximately $400,000.

The district architect’s renderings of the high school athletic complex and renovations to the Nisk-Art Gallery are nearly complete and will be shared at an upcoming meeting. The drawings will show the possibility of a reconfigured athletic complex that improves traffic flow around the pool entrance, adds parking spaces, and makes all areas of the athletic facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda was approved.