School Board Meets Aug. 17; A Special Note from the Superintendent and Public Comment Information

The Board of Education’s next meeting is this coming Tuesday, Aug. 17, at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place in the District Office Board Room, with in-person public attendance as well as a livestream. In order to provide for social distancing for those attending in-person, the Van Antwerp Middle School Library Media Center will be used as an overflow area if needed. The meeting agenda is available on Niskayuna BoardDocs.

Note: Board President Kimberly Tully will be participating in the Aug. 17 meeting via videoconference at 8 Southfork Road, Cody, WY 82414; Board member Howard Schlossberg will be participating via videoconference from 501 Richardsville Road, Carmel, NY 10512; Board member Jennifer Zhao will be participating via videoconference at 770 Stratford Avenue, Stratford, CT 06615. Pursuant to New York State Open Meetings Law, any member of the public may attend any site that is connected to the meeting via videoconferencing.

A Special Note from the Superintendent about Board Meetings

Around the state and nation, recent instances of incivility and chaos at school board meetings over topics such as mask wearing have been reported in the news media. Please let’s work together as a community to make sure that this is never the case here. We have to remember both that we are in a school and that students are always watching. We value the perspectives of all members of our community and will listen to all opinions. We believe it is important both for the strength of our community and the example we set for students to show that people can exchange different perspectives in a civil and thoughtful manner.

In terms of masks, based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, everyone should expect to wear masks in school when it opens for September. We understand that there are varying opinions on this. We will not be asking everyone to agree with this requirement in our schools, but we will need everyone to respect it and recognize that our actions are based on what we believe is best to keep our students and staff safe and healthy. As with anything, we will continue to monitor conditions and make adjustments as we can.

Thank you very much for your cooperation with this.

Cosimo Tangorra, Jr.

Public Comment at Board Meetings

A public comment period is held toward the beginning of each regular Board of Education meeting. We welcome thoughts, questions and suggestions from residents of the district during this portion of the meeting and at other times. However, please note the following about public comment, especially considering that in-person attendance at Board meetings is limited due to social distancing.

  • Anyone who wishes to speak during the public comment portion of the Board meeting will address the Board in-person. (Comments may no longer be submitted to an email address to be read at the meeting.)
  • Per district policy, comments should be limited to three minutes and the overall public comment period may be limited to 30 minutes in order to allow the Board to conduct its regular business in a timely fashion.
  • Public comment is a time for members of the public to address the Board.
  • Board members listen but generally do not engage in a dialogue at this time.
  • In order to be sure that we can accommodate speakers and plan for the appropriate location and livestream setup, those who plan to make a public comment are asked to notify District Clerk Cynthia Gagnon that they wish to address the Board by noon on the day of the meeting by email,, or by phone, (518) 377-4666, ext. 4.
  • It is not necessary to submit your comments ahead of time. Simply provide your name and address to the District Clerk.
  • Due to limited capacity, those who sign up for public comment may be asked to wait in an overflow/livestream area until it is their turn to address the Board.