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TOWN OF TUXEDO
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Recent Town News
Town Council (Town Board)

Tuxedo Union Free School District
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Special Board of Education Meeting November 22, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting November 22, 2021

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Board of Education Meeting November 17, 2021

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting November 17, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting November 4, 2021

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Tuxedo School Board Weighs Misconduct Complaint Against Member

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Board of Education Meeting October 20, 2021

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting October 20, 2021

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Special Board of Education Meeting October 15, 2021

The Board of Education held a special meeting on Friday, September 15 at 9am in the Community Room at the high school.  The three item agenda was as follows:


1. Motion to Appoint Counsel to defend Commissioner’s Appeal
2. To conduct a hearing pursuant to Education Law §1709(18) regarding School District Officer No. 092421
3. Proposed executive session for the purposes of discussion regarding the hearing with respect to School District Office 09242

The meeting began 30 minutes late for no apparent reason. 


Discussion of the agenda items, both amongst board members and with the public was quite heated and often times contentious.

Click here to listen a full recording of the 30 minute meeting.


The Board adjourned into a 5 and 1/2 hour executive session after which the hearing was adjourned until Thursday, November 4 at 9am.

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting October 15, 2021

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TUFSD Back to School Carnival October 15, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting October 7, 2021

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Special Board of Education Meeting September 24, 2021

The Board of Education held a Special Meeting on Friday, September 24 at 7pm via Google Meet.  All members were present.

OT/Speech Approval: The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving occupational therapy/Speech services for one student. 

Executive Session – The Board then entered into a lengthy executive session for the purpose of considering potential proceeding regarding a school district officer.  When they returned, BOE President Dan Castricone read the following motion:

“Be it resolved that the Board hereby appoints Carol M Hoffman Esq. to conduct a hearing pursuant to District policy #1315 and education law 1709, section 18 regarding two charges of official misconduct against a School District Officer #092421 as presented to the Board at this meeting and be it further resolved that the hearing officer shall arrange for a transcript of said proceedings and be paid the hourly rate of $250 for her hours of service as a hearing officer.”

The Motion was passed 5-2, with Board members Joe Rickard and Dorothy Ziegelbauer voting against. 

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Board of Education Meeting September 15, 2021

The Board of Education met on Wednesday, September 15 at 7pm.  All members were present.

The consent agenda was unanimously approved by the Board.

Public Comment:
Christina Clarke noted that the District had recently hired two new administrators, one in the high school and one in the elementary school.  Further noting that these had both been interim hires, she inquired as to what their objectives would be and whether these would be long-term or short-term objectives.
Board president Dan Castricone responded that the hiring season for teachers usually begins in at the end of the school year and runs through the summer.  With the new Superintendent coming on board in July, the District has not had the time necessary to hire permanent people.  “Maybe the best people that we could find wouldn’t be looking right now.  They would be looking more in the regular hiring season,” he concluded.  With that said he further commented that they had been lucky to find two very experienced individuals who had been willing to come in and help the District out.
Board member Joe Rickard prodded President Castricone to answer the question Mrs. Clarke had actually asked, which pertained specifically to objectives for the new hires.  He suggested that Superintendent White might be able to provide the answer.
Superintendent White responded that the District was actively working to build “an outstanding team.”  Currently High School Principal Roy Reese’s contract runs through November 30 and this would be reviewed again prior to expiration.  “They are acting as though they are going to be here lengthy periods of time.  They are going to be reviewing our curriculum.  They are meeting with all of our teachers.  We are trying to move the District forward.  The Board of Ed and the community said to me when I was hired that they want to be a top 100 school District,” he stated further commenting that this was the goal they were working towards with everyone they hired.  “We are going to be developing a strategic road map.  We are working very closely with the teachers.  We are building relationships and their goal right now is to help us move the curriculum along, open the schools and get off to a great new year.”
Mrs. Clarke replied that while she appreciated the comments, she still did not feel her question had been answered satisfactorily.  “I’m looking for specific objectives,” she stated. “There must be some kind of short-range goals or objectives that are being discussed as opposed to long-term goals.”
Superintendent White suggested that the short-range goals had been to open the schools smoothly and that moving forward they would be developing committees and relationships with the teachers so that they could in turn develop the curriculum.  “Improving student scores and success is the long-term goal.”
Mrs. Clarke noted that she would be attending meetings and following up.  She then inquired about Student/Teacher connections and time, wondering whether the District was meeting the State Mandated student/teacher time requirements. 
Superintendent White responded that they were. 
Mrs. Clarke noted that she lived in the Woodlands and had contact with parents there.  One of the things she had heard from a parent was that in the year prior, a student had 24 study halls inside of one week. 
“We are going to move on,” stated President Castricone.  Before doing so however, he commented that one thing that was “exciting” about Tuxedo was that many of the District 8th graders were taking 9th grade classes because of the integration between the middle and high schools and that often times this lead to a pattern of advanced learning which resulted in seniors who had finished all of their requirements.  “When we are accelerating the kids in the beginning, sometimes at the end of the trail the kids have taken everything that they want to have taken.  They have fulfilled their requirements and they don’t need to take anything else.” He further explained that in the past, the District had offered these students the opportunity to take classes through RCC.  His daughter was able to take advantage of this and leave high school with 20 college credits.  This opportunity no longer exists however they are excited to announce that they plan to begin offering college courses again and this should help to alleviate the study hall situation. 

Administrators’ Reports:
Superintendent Report – Superintendent White reported that the school year had gotten off to a smooth start and that both the Superintendent conference days and opening days for students had gone well.  He added that the atmosphere in the buildings seemed to be very positive and that students had provided them with some good feedback for improvements which they are looking into.  They plan to do a survey related to the food service in the near future. 
Each fall the Advanced Placement program recognized students who demonstrated outstanding college level achievement for their performance on multiple AP exams.  Superintendent congratulated Seniors Marisa Leo and Theodore Heavner on their outstanding achievement. 
The District has recently hired a new, interim elementary school principal, Dolores Terlecky.  Mrs. Terlecky is a highly experienced, highly successful administrator from the Monroe Woodbury school District.  She retired from that District as the principal of Central Valley Elementary.  Prior to that she was the assistant principal at North Main Elementary as well as an adjunct professor at both Marist and Empire State Colleges and a teacher with multiple New York State certifications.  “I am quite sure that the students, staff and community will be very excited when they meet and have a chance to work with Mrs. Terlecky,” stated the Superintendent.  Mrs. Terlecky originally comes from the west coast Spain and is bilingual.  She is succeeding Paul Brown and Superintendent White thanked Mr. Brown for his service to Tuxedo, wishing him well in his decision to accept a new position in another District.
Next Mr. White reported that later in the agenda the Board would be voting on an MOA for the teachers’ contract.  The teachers have overwhelmingly approved the MOA and he is excited to put it before the Board.
Another item on agenda is MOAs for both St. Thomas Aquinas (STAC) and Lincoln Tech.  Superintendent White asked Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Instruction, Roy Reese, to provide more information about these items.  Mr. Reese noted that he had only been in district for 2 weeks and that therefore he had not had complete participation in putting together either MOA.  He went on to say that STAC and Lincoln Tech represented two very different kinds of college studies with one being more technical in nature than the other (Lincoln Tech). He is also working on SUPER, which is a program through Syracuse University that offers courses for students.  He is also working with SUNY Orange.  “I’ve heard since I have been here about study halls.  I have heard about too much time for seniors and things like that,” he commented noting that they were working hard to broaden the scope and that he believed that they would have more than 4 and as many as 6 college courses that they could offer by the start of the spring semester.  “This will help fill some of the students time.  It will also enable them to earn college credit and get a leg up.  We have the staff that can teach these courses.  We should use them and that will benefit our kids.” He further noted that he had extensive experience with musical theater as a scenic lighting designer.  He has worked stages from Broadway all through the Hudson Valley and into the Adirondacks.  He is looking to try and bring a theater program into the District that would not only benefit the kids but carry  accreditation for college.
Superintendent White has been working with Orange/Ulster Boces to schedule a Board of Ed retreat.  Several dates were provided and the BOE was asked to respond ASAP with their availability.
Lastly, the Superintendent thanked Christine Olivia and Marco Margotta for updating the Program of Studies to reflect the current course offerings for the 2021/22 school year.  

Consent Agenda:
Board member Joe Rickard requested that several items be removed from the consent agenda for discussion including Personnel Non-Instructional Appointments, the MOA Teachers Contract.  The rest of consent agenda was unanimously approved. 
Personnel Non-Instructional Appointments – Board member Dorothy Ziegelbauer noted that prior to hiring Superintendent White, the District had employed a Superintendent, HS Principal and Elementary School Principal.  After the previous Superintendent resigned, the HS Principal took over as Interim Superintendent.  Now, Mrs. Terlecky has been hired to replace Mr. Brown as elementary school principal, Mr. Reese has been hired as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Instruction/Secondary Principal, Ms. Scariano is Director of Student Services/Assistant Secondary Principal. Now there are two administrators in the high school although the Board has never discussed the need for both a Principal and an assistant principal in that building.    She wondered why this was so.  Superintendent White responded that he would look into it and they could discuss in executive session.
MOA Teachers’ Contract – Mr. Rickard noted that the Board had not had the opportunity to discuss this in executive session and he felt it was important that they do a separate vote.  President Castricone stated that he was very happy that the teachers had agreed to what they feel is a fair contract and he believes that what has been proposed is fair to the District and the taxpayers and he recommended that it be adopted.  The Board then voted 5-2 in favor of adopting the contract with Board members Joe Rickard and Dorothy Ziegelbauer voting against.
Business Report – Mr. Rickard inquired as to why the business manager was not present at the Board meetings.  Superintendent White replied that the Business manager had signed up for classes, scheduling them so she could attend BOE meetings on Thursday nights, which is the way they have been scheduled for years.  Unfortunately, moving the meetings to Wednesday created a conflict for her with the classes and she is unable to attend the BOE meetings as a result.
Mr. Rickard noted that in the past the District had experienced problems with getting grants and complying with State requirements.  There is more money available in the form of Covid relief and many schools are making applications for these Covid recovery funds. He wondered whether the District was up to date on all the available moneys and the federal government.
Superintendent White responded that they had put in submissions on time and that it was his intent to do a deeper dive into the federal covid relief monies. 
Next Mr. Rickard had a question pertaining to a particular payment, which Superintendent White assured him he would follow up on with the Business Administrator.
Lastly, Mr. Rickard commented that the District had created a budget only a couple of months prior but already they were showing some big adjustments on some of the line items.  For example operations/plant is showing an adjustment of $80,000.  He wondered why there were such big movements in dollars so soon after the budget had been finalized. 
Superintendent White responded that there were two types of things shown in the adjustment columns.  Some are budget transfers while others are carry over encumbrances from the prior year.  The Superintendent will get clarity and share the information with the BOE as soon as possible.
There followed a conversation about budget transfers and the idea of switching over to a zero-based budgeting process, which is much more precise than the incremental budgeting that the District has been using. It will likely take a few years to transfer the entire budget over to this method.  Superintendent White also announced that he would be bringing forward an energy performance contract as there was a lot of outdated equipment that need repair and/or replacement. 
CSE/CPSE Recommendations and Updated Sub-Committee Members for 2021/22 – Dorothy Ziegelbauer stated that the Board had named the committee members back at their reorg meeting in July and that she was unclear as to why this was being done again so soon.  The Superintendent responded that this report had come to them from student services and that there were several issues with it.  They will take a closer look at it and clean things up. 

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the remaining three items.  

Before moving on. President Castricone acknowledged that as part of the consent agenda the District had accepted donations of STEM and Art  equipment from a couple of families and he thanked them directly for these kind gifts.

Items for Discussion:
Committees – President Castricone indicated that he and Superintendent White had put together the committees and their members.  Mrs. Ziegelbauer noted that in the past Board members had not been assigned to committees, but rather had volunteered for them.  Alyssa Horneff stated that she would love to see a Marketing and Growth committee and wondered whether this had been “bucketed” under strategic planning.  The answer was yes.  Superintendent White explained that there were two types of committees: standing and Ad-Hoc.  Standing committees are those that are required by law and as such the Superintendent has charters for them which he will be sharing with the Board.  The Ad-Hoc committees that have been proposed are: Advocacy and Community Outreach, Policy, and Strategic Planning.  These committees will have charges rather than charters.  President Castricone added that in the past when Board members had been asked to volunteer for committees, nobody had spoken up (himself included) which is why he felt it better to present Board assignments instead of asking for volunteers. 
Proposed Health Insurance Buy Back – President Castricone stated that he wanted to propose that the Superintendent have the authority to match buy backs that he is presented with from other employee health plans.  Currently married, employed couples with one spouse working for the District typically have the choice as to which spouse’s insurance plan they want to accept.   The school spends roughly $30,000 for each family plan “so anytime we can convince a family to use the other spouse’s health insurance, the school district would save the difference,” he commented.  Currently the District offers a $1,500 buy out.  Other employers throughout the County, such as President Castricone’s employer for example, offer a $4,000 buy out.  “So it behooves my family to take the buy out from my job and use my wife’s health insurance.  If that were reversed, the school district would be saving $25,000.  We would be in the same position.  We both have good health insurance.”  He continued that he had asked the attorney to opine on whether or not it was possible to give the Superintendent the authority to match other insurance buy outs, but he had not yet heard back, so he does not know if it would be possible or not.  He thinks that there might have to be a Memorandum of Understanding with the Union.  In theory, for every employee they could convince to take their spouses’ insurance, the District could save $25,000.   
Mr. Rickard suggested that there needed to be staff work done on what was being proposed.  There were potential positives and negatives in terms of both HR and contractual concerns. “The other problem that I have Dan,” he commented ‘is that you would be benefited if we did this.”
“Are you being deliberately obtuse?” demanded President Castricone.  “ I would not be benefitted at all!  I would be in exactly the same position if my wife and I elected to take this.”
“If your wife decided to take your health plan she would get $4,000 which she doesn’t get now,” replied Mr. Rickard.
“And I would get $4,000 less, which I do get now…so the Castricone family is in exactly the same position as it was before,” retorted President Castricone.
“We don’t know what the payout would be,” replied Mr. Rickard.
“You are being deliberate on this,” accused President Castricone.
“I am being deliberate,” confessed Mr. Rickard, “but I just want to make a point. People who have done this who are in leadership positions….there are HR and there contractual issues.  There’s potential insurance-related issues on both sides as well.  If you want to pursue this then I would say that we go to the Superintendent.  You are the only one who could potentially benefit from this, so you would be excluded.”
“I am the only person married to somebody who works in the school,” replied President Castricone.  “but every person who is married In the school could potentially benefit from this.”
“I’m talking about the Board,” asserted Mr. Rickard.  “The only person who would stand to gain”
“and again,” interrupted President Castricone “you are using the word gain.  The only person who gains is the School District who saves $25,000.  That’s who gains.”
‘Dan, I don’t even know if you have health insurance where you work,” stated Mr. Rickard.  “I don’t know the details.”
“So then you accuse me of doing this for gain and you don’t even know what I have.  You are just being deliberately abstruse and obstructive.  That is what you are.  You are grandstanding,” accused President Castricone. 
“We have a million problems in this school.  We have real enrollment issues.  You are bringing  up something which in the scheme of things is very minor.  So what we should do, if the Board thinks this is something we should pursue, we exclude you (because you are directly affected) and then Jeff and his team should take a look at it.  There may be some other opportunities to get some cost savings, and we should look at those as well. I am not accusing you of doing something for your own self benefit so that you would get,”
“Yes you did,” President Castricone interrupted again. 
“Well I guess I did.  I’m sorry.  You could get a better insurance plan.  Maybe we decide it’s not $4,000…maybe it’s $5,000.” 
“I accept your apology,” quipped President Castricone.
Mr. Rickard further asserted that they did not need to involve the lawyer in this.  Rather, if it was something they wanted to consider,  they should ask Superintendent White to look into it and make a presentation to the Board.
“Well, I decided to go the other way and ask the lawyer if it was possible,” responded President Castricone. 
“Of course it’s possible,” responded Mr. Rickard.  “We could do this if we wanted to do it.” 
Dorothy Ziegelbauer interjected and suggested that they were going nowhere fast.
Mr. Rickard agreed, but added “I think that this is silly and really it’s an issue that the Superintendent should be focused on.”
“I think that the vast majority of our employees are married and many of their spouses have health insurance other places and any one of them that we could incentivize  to take health insurance someplace else, especially ones with family plans, is a significant savings to the District.  I am trying to think out of the box here!  We’re doing exciting stuff!  We’ve opened with the college in the high school tonight….we’ve got the Union Contracts…”
“You are grandstanding.  Stick to the topic at hand,” responded Mr. Rickard.
Mrs. Ziegelbauer commented that on principal she didn’t think it was a bad idea but to Mr. Rickard’s point, they would need the administrators to do some work to determine what the impact might be on the budget.  “Technically speaking, I don’t think we can grant Superintendent White the right to match something for an unknown amount by resolution,” she noted, further suggesting they would have to do research to determine how many employees would be eligible, what the total payout might be and what the total budget impact might be before they could approve it.
There followed some squabbling as to whether the attorneys’ involvement was necessary.
Lucy Scully suggested that they should begin by taking a poll to determine how many individuals might be affected. 
Superintendent White indicated that he would put this on the “to-do” list, commenting that it likely would not be looked at prior to the next meeting but that it would be examined sometime in the future.  He confirmed that an MOA with the Unions would be necessary if they decided to move ahead with it. 
Bill Givens commented that if they were to revisit it, he felt it would be helpful to get stats on the uptake of the $1,500 offer.  “My only concern is that we have a bunch of people taking $1,500…and now we are offering them $4,000.  Other than that, health benefits are expensive and if we can save money here we should pursue it.”
“We are talking about potential savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars potentially,” stated Gary Heavner.  “I am for that.” 
Speed Zone – President Castricone brought up the idea of instituting a speed zone in front of the school.  This is not something that the Town can do.  It’s a request that must be made by the District.  President Castricone had the opportunity a couple of weeks back to discuss this possibility with State Senator Mike Martucci, who said that if the District was interested in pursuing it that he would bring it to the DOT and then to the legislature and felt certain that he could get it passed.  Safety wise, President Castricone feels that it would be a great thing for the school and further would also benefit the Town and the entire community.  He reminded the room that there had been a child hit crossing the road there in the early 2000s.  Mrs. Ziegelbauer  added that there had also been a number car accidents associated with people running the stop light on Route 17 as well. 
Mrs. Horneff inquired as to the process and the timeline.  Would a survey need to be completed?  Are there any associated costs involved?
President Castricone responded that there would be no cost to the District.  Rather it would come through as a request by the Senator, who would bring it to the DOT.  He did not know the timeline.
Mrs. Horneff suggested that they could petition it, but the bigger question was how the Town would choose to support it. Signage is one thing but would the police traffic it and ensure that drivers were in fact slowing down?  They should make sure that the Town is on board. 
Mrs. Ziegelbauer commented that she did not think anyone would be opposed, however she cautioned that it would be nice if President Castricone would discuss things like this with the Board before unilaterally reaching out to third parties. 

Possible Items for New Business:
Referencing a conversation the Board had at their previous meeting pertaining to the technology plan, Mrs. Ziegelbauer noted that they had been presented with recommendations from the IT department and wondered whether or not Superintendent White had had an opportunity to look at them yet.
The Superintendent responded that he had not.  The first thing the District is addressing is the equipment replacements that have been recommended.  A presentation is being assembled currently.  The Technology plan is another thing.  Superintendent White needs to spend more time with the Business Administrator in order to re-engineer the budget and so that he can better understand where all the dollars and cents are.
Mr. Rickard noted that the Board would also need an update/presentation on the condition of the buildings.
The Superintendent responded that moving the money out of the reserves so that it can be spent on the buildings is something that must be approved by the voters.  This will be a part of the 2022/23 budget vote.  He is also looking to put together an energy performance contract. 
Mr. Rickard noted that the Board had put $600,000 into a maintenance fund and work was supposed to be done over the summer. Identifying the work that had been done and as well as that which remains should be part of any future presentation to the Board. 
Superintendent White agreed, further commenting that following the audit he would be making a recommendation to the Board regarding a reserve plan. 

President Castricone suggested that they should consider taking a close look at cyber security in the coming month, specifically cyber security insurance and what steps if any the District has taken to protect itself.  It was agreed that a Technology Committee should be assembled. 
Public Comment:
Kelly Spranger inquired about the timing of the announcement surrounding Mr. Brown’s departure.  It upset her that she had to read the news on Facebook. She is hopeful that moving forward that If there are going to be any major administrative changes parents do not have to learn about them on social media.  In her view there should be a formal announcement from the school when somebody of Mr. Brown’s stature leaves.  It really upset her that there were a ton of questions out there and as the PTO president she did not know how to respond to them.  She didn’t even know if the information was accurate.  She implored both the Administration and the Board to find a way to announce these types of things publicly, officially and gracefully so that there were not questions and rumors floating around the community. 
Superintendent White responded that Mr. Brown had submitted his resignation and at that time, he had been asked to hold off on making a formal announcement until the Board could be informed.  Mr. Brown also expressed an interest in downplaying the departure.  The Superintendent also felt that had they made the announcement earlier, before his replacement had been hired, there would have been a sense of anxiety and uncertainty throughout the community. He felt it better to have a plan in place.   Moving forward, if folks would things like this announced in a more fastidious manor they could certainly do that but he fears the anxiety associated with not having a plan in place would be a detriment.
Mrs. Ziegelbauer pointed out that the manor in which the news had come out had created anxiety anyway,
“Which anxiety is going to be worse?” responded the Superintendent. 
Mrs.Ziegelbauer then read aloud a comment of concern submitted by Susan Mitchell, who suggested that when changes of this nature occur within the District,  parents should be notified immediately and in her view, a District-wide letter to parents should have been sent out the week prior.  She hopes that the District will be more timely moving forward.  She further noted that many parents would have liked the opportunity to say goodbye to Mr. Brown and thank him for his service but now they will not have that opportunity.
Mr. White responded that they had elected not to bring in public relations people to date, as this was slated to be committee work, however he was planning to recommend to the committee the hiring of a PR person to the committee.  “Things like this we need to discuss at the committee level” he stated.  “Do we announce someone leaving without having a replacement or a plan for moving forward?  Obviously we are going to replace the person, we have to….so that’s something I think we need to talk about going forward.”

Moving on,  Mrs. Ziegelbauer noted that historically the District had awarded golden apples to departing BOE members  as well as  individuals  who had provided long, tenured service.  Typically they were presented at Board meeting.  Noting that Covid had put the practice on pause, she wondered  if the recently retired Board members had received their apples via mail.
Superintendent White thanked Mrs. Ziegelbauer, commenting that he had been unaware of this practice but would ensure that it was taken care of.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session for the purpose of discussing a personnel matter.

 

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TUFSD Welcomes New Principal in George Grant Mason Elementary School

Dear Tuxedo Parents, Students and Community,

It gives me great pleasure to announce the hiring of our new Interim Elementary Principal, Mrs. Dolores Terlecky. Mrs. Terlecky is a highly experienced, highly successful administrator from the Monroe-Woodbury School District. Dolores retired from M-W as the principal of Central Valley Elementary School. Prior to that she was the assistant principal at North Main Elementary School, an adjunct professor at both Marist and Empire State College as well as a teacher with multiple New York State certifications.  I am quite sure that the students, staff and community will be very excited when they meet and have a chance to work with Mrs. Terlecky. Please join me in welcoming this gracious and distinguished lady who is fully committed to children and education, Mrs. Dolores Terlecky. Mrs. Terlecky will be succeeding Mr. Paul Brown. We thank Mr. Brown for his service to Tuxedo and wish him well in his decision to accept a new position at another school district. 

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting September 15, 2021

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TUFSD Hires New Assistant Superintendent/High School Prinlcipal

Dear Tuxedo Parents, Students and Community,
It gives me great pleasure to announce the hiring of our new interim Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction/Secondary School Principal Mr. Roy Reese. Mr. Reese has had a long and successful career in K-12 Education having served as a teacher for eighteen years, department chair, head varsity football coach, baseball coach, athletic director, high school principal for eighteen years, and school superintendent at Goshen and Washingtonville for a total of ten years. Roy, a thirty eight year resident of Orange County, has also been an adjunct professor of education at Mounty Saint Mary’s for twenty-one years and has been a theatrical lighting designer for thirty seven years. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to this highly distinguished, yet humble, affable and true gentleman, Mr. Roy Reese.

Sincerely, 
Jeffrey T. White
Superintendent of Schools


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Board of Education Meeting August 18, 2021

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Special Board of Education Meeting August 12, 2021

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*This video begins with an hour-long executive session. Meeting content starts at the 58 minute mark

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting August 18, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting August 12, 2021

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Board of Education Meeting July 28, 2021

The  Board of Education met on Wednesday, July 28 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Executive Session: The Board entered into an executive session for the purpose of discussing collective negotiations under the Taylor Law (TTA unit), potential litigation, to seek advice of counsel and to discuss the employment history of particular individuals.  The session lasted two hours and the Board did not take any action when they re-entered the public session.  Board president Dan Castricone apologized to the public for the lengthy session, noting that it had not been their intent to be out for so long.  “It’s a Board meeting that we try to conduct in public but sometimes there’s just stuff that we need to do in executive session, especially when we were talking about contract negotiations,” he stated.

Public Comment: There were two unidentified women from the public who were present at the beginning of the meeting.  While the Board was in executive session they indicated to the District Clerk that they wished to speak and that they had some questions for the Board, however when the executive session went longer that 90 minutes, they further indicated that they needed to leave, asking the clerk to please inform the Board that they had been present and further suggesting that the public be alerted when lengthy executive sessions such as this might occur so that they could plan accordingly. 
There were no other public comments.

Administrators’ Reports:
Superintendent’s Report – Superintendent White reported that the search for the 7 vacant teaching positions was underway. There have been a number of candidates and the Superintendent has been working together with the District HR coordinator as well as a committee of teachers and fellow Administrators Paul Brown and Nicole Scariano. 
The RFP for audit services is due on July 29 and Superintendent White expects to have auditors selected in time for approval at the next Board meeting.
The Superintendent has been looking at potential dates to schedule a Board retreat.  He asked the Board members to provide him with dates that they might be available between September 21 and 24.  This was briefly discussed and it was agreed that week days would not work for the Board.  Vice President Lucy Cerezo-Scully further indicated that she was only available on Sundays and the Superintendent subsequently agreed to explore the possibility of a Sunday retreat.
Superintendent White has submitted his 60-day entry plan to the Board for their review and asked that they please let him know if they had any changes they wanted to see made.
With regard to the live streaming of BOE meetings, Superintendent White stated that he did not feel that the technology the District was currently using was working well and so he has asked BOCES to explore cost effective solutions and once he has received these, he will share them with the Board.
The Superintendent will be issuing an RFP for Medicaid as he doesn’t believe the District has been billing for this.) Nicole Scariano indicated that they had not and that she would be happy to talk further with the Superintendent as to why this was so.  It was agreed the two would speak the following day.
Superintendent White will be attending a business conference in Saratoga Springs on August 3.
Lastly, the Superintendent reported that the summer program was going very well so far. 
In closing, he stated that as the District progresses through the hiring process, there may be need for a special meeting in the coming weeks in order to approve new staff.
President Castricone suggested that perhaps moving forward the auditorium could be used for broadcasting meetings and recommended that the Superintendent reach out to Clayton Chan to discuss what equipment was there and what capability they might have.
Superintendent White responded that he loved the auditorium but wondered if it might be possible to paint it a different color that the current shade of pink.  
President Castricone suggested that Superintendent White reach out to the Historical Society to determine what was originally there when it was built in 1932.  “I know the reputation of the people who built this school.  They were actually people running shows on Broadway.”
Superintendent White further noted that he did not believe there was air conditioning  in the auditorium and therefore, they might want to wait until the summer months had passed.

Consent Agenda:
Board member Joe Rickard asked that 4 items be removed from the consent agenda for discussion.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of removing the item “New Course Approval” altogether before voting to approve the remaining items.  The following five items were discussed as per Mr. Rickards’ request.
Appointment Correction - Mr. Rickard required as to whether or not the appointment of the art teacher as listed had already been approved and now they were agreeing to the salary amount.  HR Coordinator Krissy Difrancesco explained that the teacher in question was advancing a salary step as of September 1 and so he needed to be reappointed with the new salary approved.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the appointment.
Team Coach/Club Advisor – Mr. Rickard inquired as to whether or not the listed advisors would get paid should any of the listed Sports or clubs not run as planned or come to an end mid-season.   Superintendent White responded that he would look at the contract and review with counsel to see whether it was prorated and that if it was not, this would need to be discussed.
Donation – Mr. Rickard asked the Superintendent to say something about the donation, noting that it was a good thing and that the District should take a moment to say thank you.
Superintendent White responded that he would send a thank you note to the donor once the donation had been formally accepted.
President Castricone then informed the public that the donation consisted of a metal arch garden arbor that had been donated by Kelly Spranger and Bob Ahart.  The arbor will be installed at Circle Field.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the donation.
Business Officer Report – Mr. Rickard noted that there were some things in the report that had come as a surprise to him.  “These reports are the single most important reports that we get.  It’s the only way we can do oversight on what goes on financially so that we don’t get surprised when it comes to budgets or whatever.”  He wondered whether the Business Administrator would typically be present at meetings.
Superintendent White responded that the Business Administrator had signed up for a work-related class that takes place on Wednesday evenings.  She enrolled in the course before the Board changed their monthly meetings from Thursdays to Wednesdays and now has an apparent conflict. .He suggested that although she could not be present at the meetings, Board members could submit any questions they might have with her report prior to the meetings and he would work to ensure that these questions were answered in a timely matter.  Mr. Rickard noted that there appeared to be a very large number of budget transfers, which was unusual for this time of year.  On the status report there are notable changes since the month May and he wondered why they had decided to do these things during the month of June.
The Superintendent noted that at the end of the year the District would be booking all kinds of journal entries and making all kinds of transfers.  “What happens is, we have a whole slew of accounts that are charge accounts, so you budget the best way that you can.  I don’t know about this budget…”
Mr. Rickard noted that the reason he was bringing it up was because he had asked the Business official back in June whether or not they could expect to see the usual kind of activity on the reports and she had indicated that they indeed they could.  Further stating that he would submit specific questions via email he stated “it’s not provocative.  It could be very good logic but it’s not good to see all these changes in the month of June.”  Next he inquired as to when the board could expect to receive a final report (either audited or unaudited) for the past fiscal year.
Superintendent White responded that they were doing an RFP in order to be in compliance with Ed Law and, as he had reported earlier, they expected to present a candidate at the next meeting.  They need to make sure that they meet the October 15 deadline and that that the Board can expect to see an audited report at their meeting in October.

Items for Discussion:
Board Member Education Classes – There was a discussion with regard to both the required trainings as well as those classes that might be available to Board members who simply wished to broaden their knowledge on certain topics.   One of the Board members recently indicated that they were interested in an accounting class, but the class is geared more towards business officials than School Board members and so it was suggested to him that while he was welcome to take the class, it might not be what he had in mind when he initially expressed interest.  Dorothy Zeigelbauer wanted to know whether or not there was money in the budget to cover elective classes and if so how much.  This question was not directly answered however Superintendent White indicated that if there were any classes that the Board members were interested in that they should let him know and he could set things up.  There was some discussion regarding an email the Board Members received about the potential for funding through the American Rescue Fund and whether or not the District might be able to obtain some of these monies and further apply them towards the redesign of building entryways, which is a project for which they already have architectural plans on file.
With regard to the required Trainings, of which there are 2 (New School Board Member and Fiscal)  there was a brief discussion about whether the new Board members should enroll for these classes in person or online.  President Castricone indicated that he had taken the New School Board member training in person up in Goshen, where he was able to meet and interact with new school board members from other Orange County districts, but  the food was terrible.  For that reason, he intimated that the online option might be a better choice. 

New Business:
Possible Items for New Business – There were none.

Public Comment:
There were none

The Board then entered into a second executive session to discuss a contractual matter.  No action was taken when they returned to the public session.

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Tuxedo Summer Bridge & EdCamp Program Celebrates a Successful First Week Complete with Trip to The New York Botanical Gardens (Posted 7/28/21)

Tuxedo Summer Bridge & EdCamp is a multi-sensory educational program that offers enriching experiences both in and outside the classroom," Nicole Scariano, founder of the program and former interim Superintendent of Schools for Tuxedo, explains.  

This innovative program has gained tremendous popularity with families residing in and outside the boundaries of the Tuxedo school district.  Families who wish to register their child are now waitlisted due to popularity.

The program, funded by federal and state grants, is to address learning loss from COVID-19 pandemic and has exceeded all expectations.  "It's NOT summer school, it's a summer educational program." Scariano explains.  

Each week students go on a field trip and then create an artifact to add to their growing Summer Bridge Museum".  The museum will be open to visitors on August 27th, the last day of the program, as a showcase of all that students have learned and created.  

The program runs July 21 - August 27 and has its own Instagram page: @tuxedosummerbridge .

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting July 28, 2021

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Special Board of Education Meeting July 14, 2021

The Board of Education held a special meeting on Wednesday, July 14 at 8pm.  Vice president Lucy Cerezo-Scully joined the meeting remotely.

Executive Session:
The Board entered into an executive session to discuss the employment history of a particular individual and to receive advice from council.  The session lasted 90 minutes.

Items for Discussion:
Overview and Information on the Summer Bridge Program – Nicole Scariano provided the Board with a brief update on the upcoming Summer Bridge program.  When the Board was last updated the program had 68 students enrolled.  Since that time the enrollment has grown to 105, 8 of whom do not currently attend either GGM or GFB.  This equates to roughly 45% of the projected District enrollment for the fall.   The first two summer trips have been planned to the New York Botanical Gardens and the Hudson River Museum.  Teachers will be in District Monday and Tuesday July 19 and 20 for staff development.  On Tuesday, the entire group will travel to the Botanical Gardens for onsite curriculum planning and instruction.  Each week of camp will culminate in a day trip for the students and the reading, writing, talking, listening and math is taught through content leading up to that experience. To this end, the second week of camp will focus on the  Hudson River.
Personnel Summer Bridge Program – The Board voted unanimously  in favor of approving the personnel as presented with the exception of the school nurse.  A second vote was taking approving that appointment, with President Castricone abstaining.
Appointment of School Physician – The Board voted in favor of appointing  Dr. Goldstein of Monroe Pediatrics at a cost of $500 to the District and $15 per visit.    
Motion Regarding Settlement & Release– President Castricone read the following motion into the record: “Be it resolved that the Board of Education does hereby approve the settlement and release agreement regarding student 355228 and be it further resolved that the Superintendent of Schools is hereby authorized to execute such settlement and release agreement on behalf of the District.”  The motion was unanimously approved. 
Consultant Agreement – a motion to approve a consultant agreement with Dr. Ron Valenti was made by Board member Gary Heavner.  Board member Joe Rickard asked the superintendent to further explain why the agreement was necessary.  Superintendent White explained that there are a number of outstanding items that Dr. Valenti had been working on, including some negotiations and strategic efforts, that still need to be completed and therefore he is looking to have the Dr. work with him to “hand off the baton” for a few days during the months of July and August so that things can progress smoothly.  “And the difference this time around,” stated Mr. Rickard, “is that he will be reporting to you directly and you’re going to be held accountable for his deliverables.”  Superintendent White confirmed this.  “And he is completely under your direction and not at will to go and speak with any Board member he may desire on any topic he may desire,” stated Board member Dorothy Ziegelbauer.  “His scope is very limited to what is in this agreement.”  “That’s right,” affirmed the Superintendent.  “I would just note for the record,” continued Mrs. Ziegelbauer, “that we have an attorney who has been involved in the negotiations and we have also had Nicole (Scariano – Former Interim Superintendent) involved in the negotiations and I personally don’t think this is prudent use of District funds, so I am going to vote against it.” The Board then voted 6-1 in favor of approving the contract with Mrs. Ziegelbauer voting against.
Motion to Rescind Charges of Official Misconduct – Mr. Heavner read the following motion into the record: “I make a motion to rescind allegations of official misconduct brought against a School Didtrict officer by resolution dated June 18, 2021 and authorizes it’s vice president to sign a general release related thereto.”   Noting she intended to vote against the motion, Mrs. Ziegelbauer stated “I think that it is going to just empower this person to continue essentially bad behavior and to act in bad faith.”  The Board then voted 6-1 in favor of approving the motion with Mrs. Ziegelbauer voting against.

Public Comments:
There were none.

The meeting was adjourned.

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting July 14, 2021

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Board of Education Reorganization Meeting July 8, 2021

The Board of Education held their annual Reorganization meeting in person on July 8, 2021 at 7pm.  Board member Bill Givens attended via Zoom.

Appointments:
Nomination and Election of Board of Education President:
Board member Lucy Cerezo-Scully nominated Dan Castricone.  Gary Heavner seconded the motion.
Board member Dorothy Ziegelbauer nominated Joe Rickard.  The motion was not seconded
Board member Joe Rickard nominated Dorothy Zeigelbauer.  Alyssa Horneff seconded the motion.
The Board then voted 5-2 in favor of appointing Dan Castricone President with Board members Dorothy Ziegelbauer and Joe Rickard voting against.
Mr. Castricone was subsequently sworn in.
Nomination and Election of Board of Education Vice President -  Dorothy Ziegelbauer nominated Joe Rickard.  The motion was not seconded.
Gary Heavner nominated Lucy Cerezo-Scully.  Dan Castricone seconded the nomination.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of appointing Lucy as Vice President and she was subsequently sworn in.
Approval of the Agenda - Mr. Castricone called for a motion to approve the agenda.  Asking for discussion. Joe Rickard expressed concern over the agenda item entitled “Consultant Agreement,” noting that he had only  just received a copy of the proposed contract an hour before the meeting. “I have some pretty big concerns about what’s in the contract.  I don’t know if everybody has had a chance to read it.  We can go into executive session with it or we can talk about it publicly,”  he stated.  He further indicated that he would like to hear from Superintended Jeff White on the subject, noting that he had previously shared his concerns with him. 
Dorothy Ziegelbauer commented that she felt the discussion should take place in public. 
The agenda was then unanimously approved.
Designation of Legislative Liaison to NYSSBA – Nobody volunteered to fill this role so no designation was made. 
Designation of Legislative Liaison to OCSBA – Noting that the monthly meetings took place in Goshen at 7pm at BOCES, Dan Castricone volunteered for the position, further suggesting that since he works in Goshen, it would be fairly convenient for him to attend.  He was unanimously appointed. 
Approval of Officers and Personnel for the 2020-2021 School Year – There was discussion with regard to the appointment of the District’s attorney and specifically the proposed length of time proposed.  The District put out and RFP for legal services with responses due on July 25.  Dorothy Ziegelbauer suggested that they appoint the attorney as proposed through August 31 in order to allow the administration time to review the responses and make a recommendation to the Board.  It was agreed this would be done. 
Inquiring about the appointment of the District Physicians, Mrs. Ziegelbauer noted that she understood that they had agreed to give preference to a pediatrician (last year’s appointment was a local Dr. who serves children but does not specialize in pediatrics.) and wondered what the process of selection was for the new appointment.  President Castricone stated that  he would like to  authorize the Superintendent to enter into negotiations with Dr. Jeff, who had been the District pediatrician for many years, to see if he was still interested in the position.  His office is in Warwick.  
Mrs. Ziegelbauer suggested that they should also reach out to Dr. Gen Krebs who is also a well-known pediatrician from Suffern for a comparison as Suffern is closer to Tuxedo than Warwick.
Superintendent White noted that this was a professional service and that the comptroller typically recommended an RFP for filling these types of positions.  It was agreed however that as time would not allow for an RFP, Mr. White would contact both of the pediatricians in question. 
The Board then voted in favor of approving the appointment of Officers and Personnel as presented, with the exception of the pediatrician and conditional upon the changes to the agreement with the Attorney. 
Approval of Designations- Following a brief discussion about the choice of Bank, the Board voted in favor of approving the designations. 
Approval of Authorization -  Authorizations were listed and unanimously approved.
Authorization of Continuation of Existing Board of Education Policies and Bi-Laws – Gary Heavner noted that he had read through all of the policies earlier that day and that they needed to be updated as they were outdated and riddled with typos and grammatical errors.
Dorothy Ziegelbauer responded that she was not certain what Mr. Heavner had reviewed but that the District had paid Erie 1 BOCES to provide an entirely new set of updated policies and this service had been rendered in 2020.  A Policy Committee was formed and that group began what Erie 1 had suggested would likely be a 3-year process of review, tweeking and adoption, however Covid related issues became prevalent and the work was ultimately set aside.  Mr. Rickard suggested that perhaps Mr. Heavner would like to serve on the committee moving forward.
The continuation was then unanimously approved.
Invest Monies at Prevailing Rate – The Board unanimously approved a motion authorizing the District Treasurer to Invest monies at the best prevailing rate.
Bonding for the 2021-2022 School Year – A motion approving bonding for the District Clerk, Treasurer,  Tax Collector, Internal Claims Auditor and Treasurer of the Activities Fund was unanimously approved.
District Special Education Plan  - Dorothy Ziegellbauer noted that the Board had not seen the plan, further commenting  that while she was sure that it had been put together properly, in the future it would be good for the Board to have a look at the plans they were approving.  Director of Student Services  Nicole Scariano responded that here had been only three minor updates to the plan.  These include the listing of the Central Cabinet, the listing of programs attended by out-of-District students and the budget breakdown as it pertains to the way that line items are rolled up to the budget.   She further noted that historically Mr. Rickard had asked to see a comparison of how these figures add up year-over-year and she had prepared that comparison.  It is not a part of the report but is certainly available upon request.  The Board then voted in favor of approving District’s Special Education for the 2021-2022 school year.
BOE Calendar – Dorothy Ziegelbauer suggested that the Board of Education meetings be moved from the third Thursday of each month to another day of the week.  This was deliberated at some length after which it was agreed that beginning in August the meetings will take place on the third Wednesday of each month.  For the month of July, the regular meeting will take place on Wednesday the 28.  A Special Meeting will be convened on Wednesday the 14th so that the Board can approve the finalized list of staff for the Summer Program.
Workshop meetings will be called only as needed.
It was further determined that the District would work to virtually broadcast all of their meetings moving forward.  Gary Heavner noted that although the District would do their best, should the systems go down or issues with the technology arise, the in-person meetings would still take place. 
Consultant Agreement – The BOE discussed a proposed agreement with former District Consultant Ron Valenti for up to 12 days of consulting for a total cost not to exceed $12,000.  The expense was budgeted for.    Joe Rickard commented that he had a real problem with what had been proposed on  multiple levels. He “expressed concern with the fact that the document had not been added to the agenda until 6pm that evening and that he had not even been aware it was there until one of the other Board members alerted him.   Suggesting that this was not an appropriate way to run things, he wondered whose decision it had been add it to the agenda at the 11th hour.  He further expressed concern that the contract did not specify any scope of work for Mr. Valenti.  In the interest of clarifying and bringing everyone up to speed Mr. Rickard suggested that he did not have a problem with Dr. Valenti.  The District had utilized him over the past year and in Mr. Rickard’s view he did a beautiful job addressing many of the District’s issues.  The Board ended Dr. Valenti’s contract in the month of June.  He was instructed not to report to work in the District and, as an accommodation, for 9 days he was afforded $9,000 which Mr. Rickard noted is more than many people in Tuxedo make in a month.  “Let me just tell you what the problem with the contract is.  We’re paying him $1,000 per day and there is no recognition of the $9,000.  He is at will.  He’s not an  employee.  But somebody is deciding to pay him $1,000 when we know the going rate is $800.  Last year when we hired him, we had no Superintendent, no HR person…the thing was a mess!  We had a bus contract….we had so many things. We don’t have that anymore.  We have a Superintendent.  We have two principals.  We have two negotiators, one for each Union.  We have an HR person now and hopefully we will have a District Clerk at some point.  So, unless there is a scope of work in here outlining specifically what this gentleman is going to do, then we should not be supporting this or voting for it.  The other thing I would like to see,” he continued “is that I would like this contract cleaned up.  In the contract it says that if he gets confidential information that he is not supposed to have, he should be telling the Board.  He admitted getting information last year…and didn’t tell the Board…and he wouldn’t tell us where he got it from…..so he is in breach of his own contract! This has got to be cleaned up.  This is not a way to run a board.  It’s not a way to run a District. We are a $13.7 million dollar enterprise.  We have children. We have employees.  This is wrong and I am really resenting that this gets done at 6:00, no scope of work, slammed in, sloppy agreement and he was in breach of some of the things before.  By his contract he was supposed to give us a written report of everything he had done in June and our claims auditor was supposed to review it and ok it.  This didn’t happen.  Now you are going to go around and say we’re going to give him 12 more days at $12,000!!  I suggest that we tighten this thing up….fix the agreement…and if he breaches it, I want him gone.  There shouldn’t be any executive sessions.  Secondly, we want to know that whatever he was supposed to do, he did.  That’s all I’m asking. I don’t know who put this contract on the agenda.  I am not even going to ask you because it is going to embarrass whoever did it, but it should not have been put on the agenda without the Board President agreeing to it.  Our Board President did not agree to it.  The new Board President maybe, but  not the old one.  I say we reject this and go back and do whatever you have to do to fix it.  I would be very happy to help you, I am very familiar with consulting contracts.  Any other consultant that we bring in to this District, we need a rigorous process to make sure that we are getting our dollars’ worth and we are not going to have issues with it.  That is my two cents.”  
Alyssa Horneff briefly added that she had also just seen the contract for the first time and that Clause 6 was missing and there was nothing in the contract about IP/ intellectual property.  Further, as Mr. Rickard noted, there was no scope of work.  
“I have additional comments,” stated Dorothy Ziegelbauer.  “During the course of Dr. Valenti’s work he did a lot of fabulous things for us.  He really did.  He ran an outstanding search for Superintendent Jeff White.  It was by far superior to any search that we have conducted in the five years I have been on this Board.  He advised us when we had no Superintendent.  The wheels were coming off the bus.  We needed some help and we needed it fast.  He came in and he helped us with the budget.  He gave us a level of detail in the budget that I have never seen while on this Board.  He instituted it while helping to bring our business office up to speed.  Fantastic job!  Can’t say enough about that.  And then at some point, I couldn’t even fathom what his motivations might be, but he seemed to run off the rails.  We were negotiating Mr. White’s contract with our attorney’s and Ron was primarily interfacing with the attorneys/. There was a situation that occurred where Dr. Valenti called me  at a specific time in the afternoon, like 2:48,  and told me that Mr. White’s attorney would not accept the contract as presented to him.  I was subsequently contacted and then confirmed that  Dr. Valenti had lied
because our attorneys had never even provided the contract in its entirety to Mr. White’s attorney until 3:35 in the afternoon.  It was a blatant lie.  Because of that I suspended his access to the District and I asked that we have an executive session to discuss the situation with the Board.  It was unbelievable!  I still don’t understand what his motivation for that might have been.  He also asked a prior employee if they would be willing to come back to the District without any authorization from the Board.  Furthermore, he went to Greenwood Lake and asked them if they would be willing to consider coming back to Tuxedo…again, without any authorization of the Board.  I don’t know who he was acting on behalf of because none of the things that he was doing at that point in time were authorized by the Board.  If this Board chooses to bring him back…..I personally don’t trust him.  I don’t think that we should bring him back under any circumstance.  We suspended his contract in June.  We chose not to terminate it but rather to let it run out, not to say anything bad about him.  We paid the remaining $9,000 on his contract to physically have him do nothing…and not to show up at the building.  I’m sorry folks…that is just wrong!  The idea to bring him back for any purpose is untenable.  It truly is a miscarriage of justice and everything that is decent and everything that is right.  The most disturbing part of this whole thing is that I fully informed the Superintendent of all of these concerns and he still chose to recommend that we bring him back!  I understand that there is institutional knowledge that he has, but if we can’t trust the man to do the things that he has been tasked to do, and we literally barred him from coming back into the building because his actions were so egregious, I can’t imagine for the life of me why anyone would recommend that we reappoint this same person.  I said this to Mr. White in person.  I have said it multiple times.  If he needs help then he should determine what help he needs and then he could recommend any contractor that he has a relationship with that could help him get the job done and I would support it 100%.  I have supported this District for five years and I want it to succeed…but bringing him back is absolutely the wrong thing to do and if this Board chooses to do it, then so be it….but God help you.  I hope that you enjoy the bed that you have to sleep in when this man comes back in and goes rogue on you….and I will wish you all good luck.”
This was met by a round of applause from some audience members.
“I was at the meeting where you ran through the various times that the emails went back and forth,” replied President Castricone.  “I listened to Dr. Valenti’s explanations and to be quite honest, his explanations made a lot more sense to me than your accusations did. I know that right now the new Superintendent is in the process of moving from Long Island.  We don’t have a lot of time here to get the things rolling that need to be done.  We have two union contracts that are hanging.  We need those done.  We’ve got an infrastructure of leadership that I think needs to be built here and I know that Ron is an excellent recruiter and interviewer.  When we spoke at our meeting on July 1, Jeff did express some of the stuff to us that he wanted help with.  I don’t see that anything has changed here.  Your experience with Dr. Valenti is different than mine certainly was, although you had more access I suppose to confidential information than I did.  I was thrilled with the search that he did and the way that it was handled.  I understand more about the school budget than I ever did before.  The level of monitorship that he gave to the people that were working here was exceptional.  The career assistance that he gave to the people who were working here was exceptional.  I don’t know anything about any of the other things that you did.  I do know that the Superintendent has asked us for help for a few weeks till the end of the month from somebody with institutional knowledge who knows what’s going on.  I am certainly inclined to give our new Superintendent the support that he needs and the help that he needs to get off and running.  We have big goals for this District, but we have to give the help and the resources to the people that we bring in in order to execute.  I am prepared to vote to give the new Superintendent the help that he needs in order to get off and running.  I will be supporting this.  If there are issues with the contract, I will ask you to clean them up.”
“So, what do we need him for?” Mrs. Ziegelbauer inquired of Superintendent White, further noting that her understanding had been that the TEU contract was only on hold until the bus contract had been signed…which it was…and that at this point all that was needed was ratification from the TEU which was being handled by the District attorneys.  The TTA agreement was help up on finalizing the schedule for the new 9 period day.  Guidance Counselor Christine Oliva had indicated that she could put this together within three days or less by hand and work had already begun, although there had been some snags at the High School level and she was unsure as to whether or not they had been resolved.  “What specifically do you need a consultant to do?”
Superintendent White referenced a section of the Contract where he suggested a scope of work had been provided.  “It says ‘the Consultant agreed to provide services in the following nature: 1. Assist in negotiations for collective bargaining agreement with the Tuxedo Teachers Association, 2. Assist in development of scheduling options for a 9-period day or modified 9-period day, 3. Assist in the recruitment process for the position of High School Principal and/or Curriculum Instruction Administrator.’  So, there is a scope in there.”  He apologized for the last minute circulation of the contract adding that he had asked the attorneys to prepare it, which they had by updating  Dr. Valenti’s previous contract. “Dr. Valenti is well into these major initiatives,” he stated.  “What I really am concerned about is that after we have had this terrible debacle with the Covid which has upended everyone’s lives including the kids….I will do anything to have a smooth opening to school.  I think that the kids deserve that.  It would be impossible for me right now to seek out a consultant, bring them in, bring them up to speed and get the issues resolved…September is going to be here before you turn around.  These are the things that are on my mind.  If you disagree with it, I respect that.”
“Here’s the thing,” responded Mr. Rickard,  “We’re paying you X amount of dollars.  Now we’re adding $12,000 and we lost $9,000.  We have taxpayers here.  You have people on staff doing the first two items on your list now.   This is to me not a scope of work.  This needs to be really tightened up.  What exactly is he doing that justifies this and how can we get the $9,000 back that we already paid him when he didn’t work?    He wasn’t supposed to do anything…he was finished with the District.  If he says he was doing things, that’s another breech of contract.  Let’s get some of the $9,000 back.  Let’s get a very tight scope, particularly where people are already doing the work.  We don’t need him there.  I don’t know why you need him for recruiting…I don’t have the details, I don’t have a scope…I don’t even know what you are recruiting for!  Dan, this is a sloppy way of running a professional organization.  You don’t come in with a sloppy contract and we don’t have a real detailed scope of work for things that we already know we are getting.  That’s all.  I am not going to support this.”
Mr. Castricone responded that that Mr. Rickard’s concerns underlined  the reason why the District needed Dr. Valenti.  He suggested that Mr. White was trying to pull everything together while also getting the summer program off the ground and also move from Long Island at the same time.  “You’re criticizing the work.  The reason why we want him to get this consultant is to do this work.”
Mr. Rickard responded that Mr. Castricone had misunderstood and that the contract never should have been put forward that evening.  “We have two principals in the building who have been working on all of this stuff!  I am not criticizing the work.”  He further suggested that a detailed scope should have been outlined in the contract and that the fully vetted contract should have been presented to the Board at least 48 hours before the meeting to review. 
Superintendent White countered that while they had an elementary and middle school Principal, they did not have a High School principal.  He further stated “In speaking with folks here, the only one who really knows how to do a detailed 9-period schedule is the Guidance counselor and my understanding is that with the contract open…..we have to figure this out…”
“Jeff,” replied Mr. Rickard “You do understand that Dr. Valenti couldn’t use the computer…he couldn’t do it himself.  You do know that don’t you?”
“He can hand schedule,” suggested Superintendent White.
“You are bringing a guy in a $1,000 a day to put a hand schedule together?” asked Mr. Rickard.
“Whatever schedule we can have as long as the kids are in class and we have a smooth opening.”
Mr. Heavner noted that his main concern was the issue of time.  In terms of continuity and institutional knowledge he is in favor of bringing Dr. Valenti back for this limited purpose.
Mrs. Horneff commented that she would like to take a look at the agreement and make sure it was tightened up, but provided this was done she would have no issue with bringing Dr. Valenti in to help with the transition and the work, so long as there was a very clear scope of work that shows what the deliverable should be from him.
Mr. Rickard noted that former Interim Superintendent Nicole Scariano had been very involved with all of this stuff and had been reporting to the Board at meetings for months.  “Does she not have institutional knowledge on these issues?” he inquired.
“She does, but again I don’t believe she has the ability to schedule a 9-period day,” responded Superintendent White.
“Well, I can tell you 100% that he doesn’t either.  He doesn’t have the ability to use the computer.  Without being able to create an excel spreadsheet, I don’t know how he could do it,” replied Mr. Rickard. “What are you expecting him to deliver to you?”
“Under the last contract there was issue with oversight and Ron,” stated President Castricone.  “Now there is a full-time, contracted Superintendent who will be here and will have full oversight of Ron.  The contract that you put together says that you can use him for up to 12 days or terminate him at will if it is not working out…so, my concerns are greatly alleviated by the terms of the contract and I am wholeheartedly ready to support giving you what you need and if that’s Ron Valetni, so be it!”
“How do we recoup the $9,000 that we flushed?” wondered Mr. Rickard.
“Well, Joe,” replied President Castricone “I wasn’t in favor of terminating Ron and letting the $9,000 slide so I can’t help you with that.”
“But Dan,” countered Mr. Rickard “you were on the Board and the Board made a decision to pay him the $9,000 to go home.  Now how do we get the $9,000 back?”
“I think the members who voted for that should have contemplated that when they did it,”  retorted President Castricone.”
Bickering over recouping the $9,000 continued for a few minutes, with Mr. Rickard suggesting that if hired, Dr. Valenti should provide the Distrirct with 9 days of work that have already been paid for. 
Lucy Cerezo-Scully suggested that the original contract did not have “an out” for the District and that the $9,000 was part of the contract.  She pointed out that the proposed contract was merely an updated version of a contract they had already agreed to.
 “It was a  contract we didn’t enforce,” replied Mr. Rickard.  “He took confidential information.  He didn’t do the reporting.  He didn’t live up to the contract we had.”
Mrs. Cerezo-Scully suggested that moving forward they could adjust the contract to prevent this from happening again.  “I keep hearing that we should let the Superintendent run the school,” she stated, “and here we are arguing whether we should let him run the school the way he thinks that he needs to…so I am not sure which part we are supposed to be supporting.  He is the Superintendent.  He has asked what he has asked.”
“He does not have the ability to spend $12,000,” replied Mr. Rickard.
Mrs. Cerezo-Scully acknowledged this, further commenting “that is why we are talking about the money.”
“The other issue,” noted Mrs. Ziegelbauer,” is that our attorneys  did recommended him to us.  These are the same attorneys who have now basically punted for a month on removal of a Board member for potential misconduct.  It makes you wonder what is up with the attorneys as well.”
The Board then voted 3-3 on contract, with Bill Givens recusing himself because he was unable to hear most of. the conversation remotely.  The motion did not carry. 
Superintendent White wondered whether amending the language to say “pending legal review and inclusion of a scope” would change things.
Mrs. Horneff commented that she felt everyone would agree that the previous contract had  not served the District well and so she felt they should look at the new contract very closely, and revise it to make sure it was done right and included clauses about Intellectual Property, Scope and deliverables.
“If we put this off until we can review a contract, when do we come back and vote on this?” asked President Castricone.
Mrs. Horneff suggested it could be done at the Special meeting the following week.
“My apologies for bringing something controversial to the table,” commented Superintendent White, “but again my motivation is to have a smooth opening for the kids.”
To listen to a recording of this discussion click HERE

Public Comment:
Jennifer Jones, both a teacher and a Tuxedo resident, commented that the people attending virtually would have an easier time hearing if all of the BOE members were logged into the meeting on their chromebooks.
Mike Santoianni commented that he wanted to welcome Jeff White as Superintendent.  He went on to suggest that although it was admirable that the BOE wanted to do Zoom meetings and be as open as possible, but if the community were to see the level of discourse that had just occurred, it would be another nail in the District’s coffin.  He recently served on the committee for the Superintendent Search and at the end of that process he was compelled to write Dr. Valenti a letter in which he indicated that unless the Board was able to get on the same page and represent themselves that way to the community, there would be no chance of success for the new leader.  While he felt that Mr. Rickard made many valid points, he also felt that there had been too much information provided on the Valenti personnel issue.  He feels that should have been discussed in executive session.  “We need to be positive about this,” he stated, further indicating that over the past several years the Boards have all had the same vision., but different ideas as to how to achieve it and this has created conflict.  “That has to end…at least publicly.  You need to get on the same page as a Board.  You want to point fingers, do your dirty laundry in executive session.  I served 12 years on the Board.  I have always been invested in this district like my family has and most of the people here have.  This is not what we need.  This is what divided us before.  It is driving us into the ground and those who want to destroy us will use this kind of discourse to drive us into the ground.”  Mr. Santoianni went on to report that he had heard that Toll Brothers had made a deal with the financiers of the Tuxedo Farms project to move forward.  He strongly advised the Board to have a liaison with the Town Board…bring the builders in and show them what Tuxedo has and what it can be.  “This is the cheapest District in the area by half!  That’s a huge selling point,” he stated further suggested they needed to resell and repackage the program.  He then reiterated that the negative discourse combined with the negativity online was driving the District “further down the rabbit hole.” He encouraged the BOE to verify the information about Tuxedo Farms.
Lastly, he expressed his gratitude to recently retired teacher Stu Wirth, further commenting that the District needed to work to repair the relationship with the teachers, who had always been so invested in the school. 
PTO President Kelly Spranger introduced herself and welcomed Mr. White to the community.  She noted that she believed she was the first Middle School parent to ever be president of the PTO.    The PTO is a positive organization focused on students and teachers.  She pledged that the PTO Board would be making a strong effort to bridge the gap and be an organization that truly benefited the entire school…meaning students in both buildings.  “I would also like in my small way to try and bridge that gap, if I can, between all of you wonderful people, our PTO Board as well as our Town Board because I am all about projecting to the public what we want to project.  We have the opportunity to have a whole bunch of new kids in our school and we’re ready.  We have the ability!  We have the teachers we have a new Superintendent….we just need a principal.”
Kimberly Brieland requested that the BOE adopt a code of ethics and operate according to its tenets.  The general municipal law requires all school boards to adopt a code of ethics for the guidance of the officers and employees that sets forth the standards of conduct reasonably expected of them.  She further requested that the Superintendent of Schools, a Chief Executive Officer of the District, distribute a copy of the Code of Ethics to every District officer and employee and ensure that the District posts a copy of provisions of the general municipal law regarding conflicts of interest in each public building in a place conspicuous to its officers and employees.
Nancy Bourke welcomed Superintendent Jeff White.  She encouraged the Board to choose one of their ranks to become the liaison or the delegate to NYSSBA.  She was a delegate for three years and she assured the Board that it wasn’t a lot of work at all.  NYSSVA sends bi-monthly emails that contain a lot of good information that can in turn be shared with the entire Board.  There is an annual convention but attendance is not required. 

Prior to entering into executive session President Castricone thanked the staff for all of the hard work they put into the end of the year events including the graduation ceremonies, senior trips  and parking lot prom.

The Board then entered into an executive session for the purpose of receiving advice from legal counsel.  The session lasted roughly 90 minutes after which the meeting was adjourned.   

To listen to a full recording of this meeting, click HERE

To watch a video recording of this meeting , click HERE

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Agenda for Board of Education Reorganization Meeting July 8, 2021

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Special Board of Education Meeting July 1, 2021

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Agenda for Special Board of Education Meeting July 1, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting June 29, 2021

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Tuxedo Board of Education Names New Superintendent of Schools

The Tuxedo Board of Education has announced the appointment of Jeffrey Thomas White as the new superintendent of schools effective July 1.  
 
 “I am thrilled to work with the Tuxedo School community. I was immediately inspired by the passion of the parents, teachers, residents and board members that I met during the process”, said Jeff White. “Tuxedo is an extraordinary Town rich in history and culture. I look forward to collaboratively working on a team that will ensure we deliver the best possible education and academic experience to our students.” 
 
White was appointed after he emerged as a finalist among 56 applications for the position. The current Board as well as School Board Members Elect were unanimous in the final decision. The hiring and vetting process was exhaustive including multiple interviews conducted by Teachers, District Staff, Parents, residents, and the Board. The decision was announced at a Board Meeting on June 18th.  
 
After the announcement was made, board president, Dorothy Ziegelbauer said, "We were looking for an experienced School District executive with strong leadership capabilities and a solid record of accomplishments who would be able to hit the ground running in Tuxedo and bring a high level of professional management and educational experience to take Tuxedo's programs to the next level. We are all excited to welcome Mr. White to the Tuxedo family, and firmly believe that Mr. White will be an excellent district leader, and an asset to our team.”
 
White will leave his position as an Assistant Superintendent at the Copiague Union Free School District. He has spent the last 19 years with a long record of significant accomplishments in senior executive positions at large and small Districts in the Hudson Valley and Long Island as well as with the New York State Education Department. Prior to his career in education Mr. White also supervised audits of corporations, cities, counties, towns and school districts at KPMG one of the global “Big Four” accounting firms. He is a graduate of St. John’s University (B.S. & MBA), Long Island University (MS Ed), and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. 
 
White will be on board as the district will be commencing a new outsourced school bus contract, initiating capital improvements on both the George Grant Mason Elementary School and the George F. Baker High School, and hiring multiple staff and teacher positions. Nicole Scariano, who was the interim superintendent, will be assisting White with the transition.  
 
Tuxedo Union Free School District
Board of Education

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Former New Rochelle Business Official Hired as Superintedent of Tuxedo Schools

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Special Board of Education Meeting June 18, 2021

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Board of Education Meeting June 17, 2021

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Special Board of Education Meeting June 16, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting June 18, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting June 16, 2021

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Special Board of Education Meeting June 8, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting June 8, 2021

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Board of Education Workshop Meeting June 2, 2021

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Board of Education Meeting May 20, 2021

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Budget Vote and Board of Education Election Results

Budget - Yes - 275 No - 36
Capital Bond Proposition - Yes - 264 No -39

 

ELECTION RESULTS:

Alyssa Horneff - 222
William Givens - 200
Gary Heavner - 185
Kimberly Breiland - 173
Congratulations to the Board Member Elects!

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting May 20, 2021

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Board of Education Workshop Meeting May 4, 2021

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Meet The Candidates Who are Running for Board of Education (Posted 5/3/2021)

The 2021 School Board election and budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 18.  This year, four candidates are vying for three open spots on the Board of Education: incumbent Kimberly Breiland and newcomers Gary Heavner,  William Givens and Alyssa Horneff.   Current Board members Mike Arone and Meg Vaught will be retiring, each having served two terms.
The make-up of the school board is extremely important as it has a direct impact on the future of the School District as well as every one’s taxes. In addition to the annual budget, the Board of education is responisble for developing and adopting the policies and curriculum that drive the District as well as oversight of any facility-based issues.  Therefore, understanding these candidates, their areas of expertise and their levels of experience is crucial in making an informed decision. 

In an effort to inform the community, TPFYI presented each candidate with a basic questionnaire, designed to focus on their biographical information as well as their levels of experience and reasons for running.  What follows are the resposes received, unedited, in the order we received them.

Kimberly Tee Breiland

Education/Degrees:
BFA from Pratt Insitute
Vocation/Employer:
22 Graphics, Inc. (Marketing/Advertising)
Years of residency in Tuxedo:
Going on 5 years now
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
I have helped with many of the “art” needs for the community. I have created a billboard, logo and flyers for the school. I have created a new map of all the trails in Tuxedo Park; I have created flyers for St. Mary’s and the Parks Department; and I created a map for the Chamber of Commerce.
Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education:
Initially, 3 years ago, my sole objective was to keep the high school open.
Today I run because I actually believe we have a diamond in the rough that can and will be the heartbeat of our town. Our school can resemble, if not supercede other New York public schools such as Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical, and LaGuardia High School of Music & Performing Arts. I want to be a part of making that happen.
The District is turning the corner with the introduction of a COVID Response Summer Program, Facility Improvements, Curriculum + Library + Textbook + Software Upgrades, a Transportation Program that reduces costs, and most importantly a more Transparent Accounting System. I have been a part of all this. And I would like to continue to work hard to ensure our District remains on a forward path.
What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
I think our top two priorities should be working to build and enhance our program and strengthening our communications district-wide. It is imperative we are all working well together and that all our messages are direct, clear, and concise. Communication is the key; not just between Board members, but also Parents, Students, Teachers, the Union, and the Administration. We all need to work together to capture our goal of a brighter future. 
    
Then we need to focus on the level of education we offer our students. What new programs can we introduce? How can we be more supportive? What can we supplement or enhance? Academics are paramount.
   
I would like to see strong academics, incredible arts, and specialized sports.
When we tackle these two items, we must focus on student retention as well as increasing the student body.

Alyssa Horneff

Education/Degrees:
New York University (NYU)

  • Business - Stern School of Business
  • Dance - Tisch School of the Arts

Pascack Hills High School - Montvale, NJ

Vocation/Employer:
Current:

  • Clearing, Head of Operations 

Previous:

  • Columbus Preschool NYC - Teacher of Early Education & the Arts
  • Joffrey Ballet School, Associate Executive Director & Instructor
  • Flatiron School, VP of Operations & Data/Analytics
  • ClassPass, Director, Marketing & Growth + Director, Sales & Operations
  • Break the Floor Productions, Director, Operations & Business Dev
  • NBC Universal Pictures & Red Bull International, Marketing Associate
  • Metropolitan Opera, Ballet Dancer among many other companies, jobs, etc!

Years of residency in Tuxedo:
I have been a proud resident of Tuxedo for a little over 4 years now.

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:

  • NYC Cares volunteer for 5+ years
  • Serve monthly at my church in Ringwood, NJ

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?

As a mother of two young boys -- my top priority is ensuring the long term well being of my family. In an increasingly competitive world that means providing them with access to the best educational opportunities while also ensuring they can safely experience all the joys of childhood.

My work experience as a pre-school & arts teacher and more recently as the VP for Operations at one of the foremost online education programs in the country affords me with a unique perspective that understands how students can succeed in today’s competitive educational landscape and career market without sacrificing self-identity or worth.

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?

Not to discount the trials our district has gone through in the last couple years, (and I may be a contrarian) but I believe that the pandemic has presented the district with a truly once in a decade opportunity to attract new families to our town. One of our impediments in the past is that our approach to attracting these new families is still rooted in 20th century approaches which to date have yielded little results despite significant investment. I would hope to bring modern digital marketing expertise alongside a more strategically targeted outreach to bring in new families who are seeking a community that allows for commutability to the city as well as proximity to natural beauty.

The district continues to have a fleeting opportunity to market itself as an intimate, safe, and high-quality school district. To date, however, we have  missed the mark and find ourselves making the same old mistakes -- dealing with limited  enrollment while attempting to put out or inadvertently flaming PR fires. The reality is that to attract new families you need to understand new families.

Gary Lee Heavner

Education/Degrees:
Vassar College B.A.
Pace Law School J.D.

Vocation/Employer: Career Prosecutor

Years of residency in Tuxedo: 2

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Tuxedo Trail Angels
Tuxedo Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative
NY-NJ Trail Conference Trail Maintainer – Sterling Forest

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?

As a dad, a career prosecutor, a former teacher for a brief time, and a lifelong advocate for kids, I know that education is the greatest tool we can give our children. I fundamentally believe that all students deserve to have access to a high-quality education. COVID-19 has added challenges this past year, and students are falling behind academically and socially.  I am running for school board because I believe in the potential of all kids and I believe we can do better at helping them realize it.
What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
After the selection of a new Superintendent, I think we have got to focus foremost on the massive loss of learning that has happened as a result of this pandemic. We need to start by providing increased tailored supports to catch kids up to where they need to be. We should start by targeting students who are at the highest risk for long-term learning loss. Additionally, we should balance the dual needs of meeting students where they are while continuing to expose them to grade-level content through scaffolded supports that keep high expectations for and a high belief in all kids.

My Name is Gary Lee Heavner and I am a candidate for the Tuxedo School Board.
My wife and I moved to Tuxedo just before COVID hit in 2020, when we moved from Pomona, from the house in which I was born.  We selected Tuxedo as the school district we wanted to send our youngest child (now a junior) five years ago when we researched several private and parochial schools and luckily stumbled upon the district’s STEM program.  We like the school so much, we paid the ‘out of district’ cost to attend GFB for three- and one-half years before finally purchasing our house in the Maple Brook neighborhood.  My oldest children are beginning their own careers having graduated recently from Penn State and Harvard.  My wife Ann is a Registered Nurse at West Point.  We all love our new community. 
Immediately after college I taught secondary school social studies for two years in Sussex County.  After attending law school, I was a career prosecutor for over twenty-five years in various offices.
My experience with boards of education began back in the early 80s when, as class president, I represented my school to the East Ramapo Board of Education for four years.  I really never stopped attending board meetings and following the board’s activity.  Unfortunately, as a prosecutor, I have also investigated Rockland school boards and district officials for misconduct. 
I also have experience on several not-for-profit boards that have similar budgets and staffing as the Tuxedo board, including the Hudson Valley Council Boy Scouts of America, The NY State Soccer Association and USA Rugby.
Some local groups I volunteer with include, The Tuxedo Trail Angels, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Trail Maintainer – Sterling Forest and the Tuxedo Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.
I have previously volunteered and ben involved in many civic and youth organizations including: PTO presidents in multiple schools; CCD teacher; youth rec and travel soccer coach; youth, college, semi-professional rugby coach; World Rugby Judicial Officer; Boy Scout Assistant Scoutmaster, Order of the Arrow Lodge Advisor and Girl Scout Troop Leader.
           
Why am I qualified to serve as a School Board member?
My interest in school boards began years ago when I was multiple times selected by my high school to represent the student body to our local school board.  I have regularly continued to attend school board meetings the rest of my life.  Professionally, I have experience investigating school districts and officials.  As a dad, I have always been active in my children’s schools and activities, including being president of several PTOs, a Girl Scout troop leader, soccer coach, rugby coach and CCD teacher.  I also have board experience on several local, state and national not-for-profit boards that have similar budgets and staffing as Tuxedo.  Therefore, as a dad and candidate who has had direct classroom and board experience, I bring a relevant perspective and understanding of the challenges that teachers, parents and board members face because I’ve literally walked in their shoes.
What’s my vision for education in Tuxedo?
My vision is to ensure all Tuxedo students have access to a high-quality education. This includes fairly distributing resources to get students back on track.  It also involves growing and retaining a teacher workforce, as research shows teacher quality and representation are important elements of student outcomes. I want to foster nurturing learning environments through expanded social emotional and mental health supports and more fresh air time for kids.
How would I rate the school district’s performance during the pandemic?
I think the district’s response to the pandemic was slow. There was too much time spent deliberating about how to get students back to school as it once existed, versus jumping quickly into action to restructure the approach to education so it served the needs of all kids in a new reality. I would have acted with more urgency to ensure Tuxedo virtual and remote learning options were equitable, accessible, and offered high-quality instructional opportunities for kids no matter which option parents chose. I also would have focused on ensuring teachers and families were trained properly and thoroughly on how to navigate these new systems and ensured that support was ongoing. I would have ensured that our students and teachers felt safe and heard, and started updating in-person learning spaces early on so that they were ready to accommodate students in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols once in-person learning began again.
If I could change one thing in the Tuxedo School District, it would be …
In addition to focusing on my key priorities and all the topics covered here, I’d love to see more physical improvements in the buildings and facilities.
Do I have concern about student achievement in the Tuxedo School District?
I am deeply concerned. COVID-19 disruptions have caused students to fall further behind than they already were.  We cannot approach the issue of student achievement in a vacuum. If we focus solely on boosting assessment scores through an age-old approach of teaching kids how to test, we will continue to fail them. We need a comprehensive approach to education that includes social-emotional resilience and project-based learning to increase students’ problem solving and relationship skills, culturally relevant instruction so students can see themselves in the content they’re learning, and that affords our wonderful teachers the capacity, flexibility and resources they need.
What are my thoughts on the current proposed Tuxedo School District budget?
I admire the proposed budget that Tuxedo was able to create amid so many financial challenges during COVID-19.  The Board needs to continue to be financially conservative to keep all future tax increases as infrequent and as small as possible.
Are there specific curriculum changes I would advocate?
I’d advocate for more curriculum that expands relevant and 21st century skills. We are living in a digital age where technological proficiency is critical for students to succeed in today’s economy. I’d push for more increased focus on digital literacy as it is not only essential for remote education, but has long been essential to all learning (e.g., to complete homework, access information, learn basic research skills, etc.) I’d also push for financial literacy to become a core component of our students’ education, as we have a responsibility to equip them with the tools to build the futures they want for themselves. Finally, I’d push for more project-based learning in all subjects, as research proves its effectiveness on students’ confidence, engagement, and achievement.
What is another important issue?
The school board makes short- and long-term policy decisions that directly impact families with kids in school now, families that will attend Tuxedo schools in the future and the overall prosperity of our community There are a lot of candidates on the ballot, and that can make the process of sifting through all of them feel daunting. However, given the stakes, I strongly encourage Tuxedo voters to research a little about each candidate, learn more about their priorities and make informed decisions that will serve the best interests of our students.

 

William (Bill) Givens

Education/Degrees:
Bachelor’s of Science

  • Major: Economics
  • Minor: Political Science
  • Minor: Computer Science

Vocation/Employer:
Managing Director at Morgan Stanley

Years of residency in Tuxedo:
13 Years

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:

  • Coached many years of T-Ball in the Tuxedo Little League
  • Annual volunteer at the Tuxedo Park Library’s Memorial Day Community Picnic
  • Chaperoned multiple TUFSD School field trips
  • Worked volunteer events for the Tuxedo PTO

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?

See Candidate Statement - Below

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?

See Candidate Statement - Below

Candidate Statement:

My name is William (Bill) Givens, and I am running for the Tuxedo Union Free School District School Board, because I want to serve the community that my family and I have been a part of for the past 13 years.  I have a degree in Economics, have 25 years’ experience in finance, and have spent the last 12 years at Morgan Stanley, where I am a Managing Director.  All 3 of my children are currently, and have always attended TUFSD.  My youngest attends GGM, while my older two have moved on to GFB.  Between them, they have collectively attended 24 years of school in this district. 

I strongly believe that all children are entitled to a quality public school education.  As a taxpayer with children who attend TUFSD, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing the district.  In particular, the delicate balance that needs to be struck between ensuring adequate funding for the school, and running it in a fiscally responsible way.

Our school has one job, which is to ensure that our children are getting a first-class educational foundation that will prepare them for whatever the next chapter in their lives may be.  However, between the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the mid-year change in the district’s leadership, the past year has been extremely challenging for our children and our teachers.  As we turn the corner on the challenges of the past year, I will push for safe open schools, our district to be more competitive, and for TUFSD to become the district of choice for parents, students, and teachers. 

If elected, I will advocate for our children, hold the school’s administrators accountable for academic excellence, and demand that our tax dollars are spent wisely.  I have strong analytical and communication skills and am not afraid to ask the tough questions that should be asked, which I think are essential tools for effective board service

 

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Board of Education Meeting April 22, 2021

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting April 22, 2021

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Tuxedo: Advisory Committee to Interview Seven Candidates for Tuxedo School Superintendent

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting March 30, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting March 25, 2021

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Board of Education Meeting March 18, 2021

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting March 18, 2021

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Board of Education Workshop Meeting March 2, 2021

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Make Your Voice Heard: The TUFSD Actively Seeks Stakeholder Input (posted 3/2/21)

Dear Members of the Tuxedo Community,

An initial part of our search process requires broad feedback from all segments of the Tuxedo community as to what qualities they believe are most critical in Tuxedo's next Superintendent.To that end we have posted a forced choice survey, listing 25 desirable qualities every community would want in their next Chief School Officer. However, you are allowed a maximum of only 10 qualities that you believe are most important for the unique needs of our Tuxedo students, staff and residents.Be sure you check the appropriate box identifying your role in Tuxedo. Read the entire survey before checking the ten most essential qualities, in your view, for our next superintendent. We have left space for any additional information you would like to share.Please be sure to complete the survey as soon as practicable since the results will be posted on our website as well as be shared with our Citizens' Advisory Committee and Board of Education to assist their questioning of semi-finalists in April and finalists in May.

Thank you for participating.

Click HERE to access survey

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Agenda for Board of Education Workshop Meeting March 2, 2021

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TUFSD Board Plans for Full Scale Superintendent Search (Posted 2/17/2021)

The TUFSD Board of Education has begun laying out plans to conduct a full service Superintendent search following the January resignation of previous Superintendent, Timothy Bohlke. 
As outlined during their February Workshop meeting, the search will be led by the District’s HR Consultant, Dr. Ronald Valenti and will adhere to a well-established timeline, resulting in the presentation of a slate of strong, qualified candidates to the Board of Education and the Community at large.
“The whole purpose of this search is to draw as wide a net as possible and to motivate as many potential candidates as we can find to be part of the process, particularly well qualified and certified individuals.” said Valenti as he laid out his proposed timeline, which calls for the majority of work to be done over 90 days during the months of March, April and May. 

The search will be formally announced between March 1 – March 15, utilizing the District Website as well as carefully developed recruitment application materials.  Dr. Valenti has also recommended that the District utilize the BOCES Network, OLAS, in addition to several State and National Organizations such as the New York Council of School Superintendents, the New York School Boards Association, the New York State Personnel and Business Associations, the American Association of School Administrators and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development to announce the search.  He is also recommending that the District utilize the media with postings on Linked-In and INDEED as well print advertisements in the New York Times and Education Week in addition to other local news venues.  Finally, he recommends a mailing be sent to all Hudson Valley Superintendents as well as to Regional Master’s and Doctoral Degree granting institutions. 

Between March 15 and April 30 the District will engage in community outreach via a online survey entitled “Qualities of New Superintendent” as well as the formation of a Citizens Advisory Committee of 10-12, led by Dr. Valenti and consisting of 3 board members along with representatives of the professional associations (TTA & TEU unions) PTO, various community groups and local officials.  This committee will ultimately be responsible for narrowing down the list of semi-finalists in order to present the Board with a slate of finalists.  Along with the committee, Dr. Valenti has recommended a series of school community meetings for staff, parents and taxpayers/residents.

March 31 will be the final day for applications and nominations.  Between April 1 and April 15, Dr. Valenti will conduct preliminary interviews with qualified candidates assembling a semi-finalist slate.  These individuals will then be subject to background and reference checks.   Between April 15 and April 30, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee will interview the semi-finalists with the hopes of putting together a slate of 4-6 finalists for the Board of Education.  From May 3 to May 26 the Board of Education will conduct detailed interviews with the finalists with the intention of selecting a candidate.  If all goes according to the proposed timeline, the District hopes to announce the appointment of a new Superintendent, effective July 1, 2021.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about how to get involved with either the Citizen’s Advisory Committee or one of the community meetings, we recommend contacting the Board of Education at boe@tuxedoufsd.org

 

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Board of Education Meeting February 11, 2021

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and

Click here watch a video of of this meeting

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting February 11, 2021

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Pre-k and Kindergarten Registration is Open in the TUFSD

Each year the George Grant Mason Elementary School eagerly awaits the arrival of our new Pre-Kindergarteners and Kindergarteners. We are happy to announce that Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten registration is now open. If you have a child that will be joining the Tuxedo Union Free School District in September 2021, please read below.
To slow the spread of COVID-19, we are making some changes to our typical registration process. 
Below are the steps for registering your child:
  • STEP 1: Download and complete the registration document. To access the registration documents:
  • Go to our district website; www.Tuxedoufsd.org
  • Click the section titled For Parents
  • Click on the Registration link to download the packet
  • STEP 2: Please email the completed packet to Mrs. Dixon at mdixon@tuxedoufsd.org. Alternatively you may, fax the completed packet to (845)-351-3402, or drop it off at GGM
  • If documents need to be dropped off, please schedule an appointment with Mrs. Dixon by calling (845)-351-4797 ext. 3110.  
  • Families are required to provide signed proof of the following: 
  • Birth Certificate 
  • Proof of Residency
  • Current Immunization Record prepared and signed/stamped by a physician specifying vaccines given and the dates of administration 
  • Most recent physical (within one year)
  • A parent’s photo ID
  • Please remember children entering Kindergarten must be five years of age and Pre-Kindergarten students must be four years of age on or before December 1, 2021
CURRENT GGM PRE-KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS: Families who have a child registered in our Pre-K program that plan to have their children registered for Kindergarten only need to contact the GGM main office and submit their child’s updated physical and immunization records.
ORIENTATION: GGM will host an orientation to acquaint parents with teachers, school nurse, and what the school day looks like. Please contact the main office at (845)-351-4797 ext. 3110 to register to attend. Registration is necessary to attend.
·      Kindergarten Orientation: March 8th, with a makeup day of March 15th. 
·      Pre-Kindergarten Orientation: April 19th with a makeup day of April 26th
If you are not a District resident, but are interested in our non-resident tuition policy, please check our website at www.tuxedoufsd.org or call us at 845-351-4786 ext. 3110 for details. 

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Board of Education Workshop Meeting February 2, 2021

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Tuxedo Students Welcomed Back To 'Positive Minds, Vibes, Life'

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6 Mid-Hudson Schools Opt For Remote Learning Monday

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Special Board of Education Meeting January 26, 2021

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Agenda for Board of Education Workshop Meeting February 2, 2021

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Board of Education Meeting January 21, 2021

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting January 26, 2021

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting January 21, 2021

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Board of Education Accepts Resignation of Superintendent (Posted January 7, 2021)

This evening, the Tuxedo Union Free School District Board of Education finalized a separation agreement with, and accepted the resignation of, Timothy Bohlke. This resignation is effective immediately and Nicole Scariano has been named Interim-Superintendent of Schools and High School Principal. The Board will shortly be launching a search for a new Superintendent of Schools.
While this search is being conducted, Ms. Scariano will be assisted by a human resources consultant, Dr. Ronald Valenti. Nicole Clark has also been appointed to help fulfill Ms. Scariano’s duties as CSE/CPSE Chairperson and Section 504 coordinator.

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Special Board of Education Meeting January 7, 2021

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Notice of and Agenda for Special Board of Education Meeting January 7, 2021

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Special Board of Education Meeting January 4 & 5, 2021

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Videos of the two meetings can be viewed here and here

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting January 4, 2021

The Board of Education will hold a special meeting on january 4 at 7pm via Google Meet.

Click here for the meeting link

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Statement From the Board of Education January 3, 2021

To all members of the Tuxedo Community,
The Board of Education has been advised of an unfortunate situation involving one of the school districts social media accounts. We are taking the incident very seriously, and are conducting a full investigation in cooperation with the schools attorney, HR consultant and an IT firm. The board asks for the community's patience while we conduct a complete and full investigation.
Sincerely,
The Tuxedo BOE

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Board of Education Meeting December 17, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting December 17, 2020

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Board of Education Workshop Meeting December 1, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Workshop Meeting December 1, 2020

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Holiday Pause

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Board of Education Meeting November 19, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting November 19, 2020

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Tuxedo Senior 'Spot' Day

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Holiday Wreath Sale - November 2-13

 

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Special Board of Education Meeting November 5, 2020

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Notice of and Agenda for Special Board of Education Meeting November 5, 2020

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Special Board of Education Meeting November 2, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting November 2, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting October 29, 2020

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Return To Learn - Update - Posted 10/21/2020

Dear Tuxedo Families,

I hope this letter finds everyone safe, healthy and enjoying the beautiful fall colors. Since remote instruction started, we have experienced a few glitches here and there, but overall we have seen great success with remote teaching and learning. A huge thank you to our teachers, our children, and to you! Parents, we know that COVID-19 and all of the unknowns and changes associated with it have weighed heavy on you. So thank you for doing everything you can to support and facilitate learning from home. Job well done!

The success of the past few months has prepared our children to be ready to pivot from at-home instruction to in-person instruction as we plan for the return to school. As you know, we are obligated to follow the guidance that comes down from Albany (this is my usual disclaimer), and we are finally starting to see guidance that makes sense to school districts. The NYS Education Department and the Department of Health have also gone through the same learning curve as we have, so the change in guidance is much appreciated.

The biggest changes have to do with understanding what our responsibilities are as they relate to handling potential COVID-19 cases as well as further clarification of social distancing guidelines. This clarification has allowed us to fit a few more desks in each room and thus makes it easier to bring the students back in two cohorts as opposed to three. In some cases, depending on the enrollment, we can bring back a few grades without any cohort at all.

If you’ve attended the Return to Learn meetings, you are aware that the Teachers Union came up with a proposal and the administration worked with the Teachers Union to marry the existing plan with the proposal. Some aspects are able to be implemented and some are not. For example, one proposal was to have 1⁄2 day Pre-K and Kindergarten. While this seems logical to get the children in everyday for a few hours, it just isn’t feasible to create two additional bus runs in the middle of the day and create a shortage of staff in the kitchen. Please remember, at the end of the day, our ultimate goal to bring everyone back into a safe and healthy environment.

SCHEDULE

When one cohort is in-person, the opposite cohort will continue as we do today with remote instruction. This means the students at home will be learning (synchronously) simultaneously with the students in the classroom.
Here are grade-level specifics (Remember all Mondays are Asynchronous):

  • Pre-K

  •  Kindergarten

  •  Grade 1

  •  Grade 2

  •  Grade 3

  •  Grade 4

  •  Grade 5

  • Grade 6

  • Grades 7-12

Full-day, 1 Cohort Instruction (In-person Tues-Friday every week) Full-day, 2 Cohort Instruction - Cohort A (gray), Cohort B (crimson) Full-day, 1 Cohort Instruction (In-person Tues-Friday every week) Full-day, 2 Cohort Instruction - Cohort A (gray), Cohort B (crimson) Full-day, 1 Cohort Instruction (In-person Tues-Friday every week) Full-day, 2 Cohort Instruction - Cohort A (gray), Cohort B (crimson) Full-day, 2 Cohort Instruction - Cohort A (gray), Cohort B (crimson) Full-day, 1 Cohort Instruction (In-person Tues-Friday every week) Full-day, 2 Cohort Instruction - Cohort A (gray), Cohort B (crimson)

Timeline for students to begin In-Person instruction:

  • Friday,

  • Tuesday,

  •  Tuesday,

October 23rd – Pre-K Welcome Back October 27th – Kindergarten Welcome Back October 27th – Pre-K Starts

1 Cohort Instruction (In-person Tues-Friday every week) Wednesday, October 28th – Kindergarten Starts

2 Cohort Instruction - Cohort A (gray), Cohort B (crimson)

  • Tuesday,

  • Tuesday,

  • Wednesday,

  •  Thursday,
  • Tuesday,

    CALENDAR

November 3rd – Grades 1-6, Cohort A (gray) begins in-person November 10th – Last day of 100% remote instruction for Gr. 7-12 November 11th – Veterans Day – No school or remote instruction November 12th – Grades 7-12, Cohort A (gray) begins in-person November 17th – Grades 7-12, Cohort B (crimson) begins in-person

Please see the attached calendar outlining Cohort A (gray) and Cohort B (crimson) for the remainder of the year. Asynchronous days have been shaded blue. Holidays and vacation days are shaded in dark purple.

Please NOTE: On November 3rd, grades 1-5 at GGM and grade 6 at GFB will start in- person instruction. Grades 7 and 8 will start on November 12th along with grades 9-12. This change has to do with the difference of how students are scheduled at the elementary (K-6) and secondary (7-12) levels.

Please NOTE: The week of January 26-29 is Regents/Mid-Terms week. This week will be divided into two days for each cohort as indicated on the calendar.

UPCOMING COMMUNICATION
OPT-IN to 100% REMOTE INSTRUCTION

  • Below is a link to a Google form that will allow you to “Opt-In” to 100% Remote Instruction through January 29th (can be extended at this time). If this is something you would like, please complete the form as soon as possible. The deadline for completion is Monday, October 26th at 1:00PM.

  • If you do not wish to take part, no further action is necessary. GOOGLE FORM

OPT-OUT of DISTRICT TRANSPORTATION

  •  Included in the above mentioned Google form, you will also have the option to “Opt OUT of District Transportation” through January 29th (can be extended at this time). If this is something you would like, please complete the form as soon as possible. The deadline for completion is Monday, October 26th at 1:00PM.
  • If you do not wish to take part, no further action is necessary.

    COHORT DESIGNATION

  •  By the end of this week, you will receive information letting you know which cohort (A or B) your children will be assigned to.
  •  Please know that even if you Opt-IN to 100% Remote Instruction, your children will still be assigned a cohort. Should you decide to not continue with 100% Remote Instruction, the cohort will have already been identified.

    SNOW DAY, ONLINE LEARNING DAY, and ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING DAY

  • Snow days! It’s that time of year, but we have a twist this year. Instead of a “snow day” it may become an “online-learning day”.

  • For example, the roads may prevent school from opening, but students can easily log-on and attend school just as they are doing today. So this would be deemed an “Online Learning Day” and count as a regular school day. However, a big storm might bring down power lines and that could cause school to completely close and we would call for a “snow day” with NO online expectation. This would then become one of our snow days. NYS Education Department is allowing this to be a pilot year for snow days, so more to come on this as well.

  •  This should not be confused with an “Asynchronous Learning Day”. Every Monday is an Asynchronous Learning Day, where students have been assigned work to complete at their own pace while at home. Wednesday, November 25th (Day before Thanksgiving) and Friday May 20th (Day before Memorial Day Weekend) have already been designated Asynchronous Days.

    Class of 2021 SENIOR SPOTS

The Class of 2021 will be the first senior class to be able to personalize and paint their parking spots. Even if they don’t have a car, they get to paint a spot that belongs to them. So watch for the “Senior Spots” to show up in the lower lot this week.

MUSIC LEAVE REPLACEMENT

As you may be aware, Ms. Kurian has been out on maternity leave and will not return until September 2021. We have interviewed many applicants and for various reasons they have either resigned after appointment (before starting) or declined the position after being interviewed. We have now posted the position again and hope to find a suitable candidate soon. In the meantime, once students return, we will have to put a substitute teacher into the class until a leave-replacement teacher is identified and hired. Our music program is extremely important and we want only the best for our students. We will keep you posted.

The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff continues to be our number one priority. Our efforts to return to in-person instruction represent our commitment to ensuring a healthy and safe teaching and learning environment.

Thank you and be safe!

Timothy Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

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Board of Education Meeting October 15, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting October 15, 2020

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Board of Education Workshop October 6, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Workshop October 6, 2020

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Special Board of Education Meeting September 29, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting September 29, 2020

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TUFSD Bus Proposition Vote - Results

The proposition was defeated

YES: 103
NO: 146

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TUFSD Bus Proposition Vote - Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The TUFSD bus proposition vote will take place on Tuesday, September 22. Pertinent information can be found below. If anyone is in need of an absentee ballot the District Clerk will be at GFB from 8-4 on Monday, September 21. Applications for absentee ballots can be found here: https://5il.co/c5x3
If you are uncomfortable entering the building, they are more than happy to meet you outside with your ballot, call 845-351-4799 when you arrive at the front entrance of GFB...or if you have any questions.

There is a ballot dropbox on the left side of the building next to the entrance to the Business Office if you already have your ballot.

The vote will take place from 2-9PM at GGM in the multi-purpose room. Sanitizing procedures are in place, election inspectors will be wearing gloves and masks and social distancing protocols will be in effect.
Please call the number above for additional information or visit http://bit.ly/tuxedobus.

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Board of Education Meeting September 17, 2020

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Board of Education Workshop Meeting September 15, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting September 17, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting September 15, 2020

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Board of Education Worshop Meeting September 1, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Worshop Meeting September 1, 2020

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TUFSD To Open With All Remote Learning

Dear Tuxedo Community,

I hope this letter finds everyone enjoying these last few days of summer and spending quality time with family and friends. Over the past month, we have been preparing for school to open and determining what that would look like.  After considerable thought, our plan has changed and the decision has been made that the 2020-21 school year will begin on the Distance Learning model.  This means that all students will begin the 2020-21 school year on Distance Learning from home, until further notice.   The first official day of the 2020-21 school year will be September 8, 2020.  

We will continue to monitor what is happening with COVID-19 and re-evaluate in October.  In October, we may decide to initiate the hybrid plan, or we may decide to remain on Distance Learning.   Should we remain on Distance Learning, the COVID-19 status will continue to be evaluated and we will act accordingly.

On July 31st, our plan was for school to begin in September with In-Person instruction for all students every day.  As that continues to be our ultimate goal, in order to accomplish this goal, we need to ensure the health and safety of all. The health and safety of our students and staff remain paramount and this decision to change was not an easy one. 

Last week, we sent out a survey to see how our parents feel about students returning to school in September.  Are parents feeling good about students physically returning to school, or would parents be more comfortable with starting the year with Distance Learning?  Similarly, the same questions were asked of the teachers.  Reviewing these surveys, looking at the data, speaking with faculty and staff, and hearing the recommendations of the Board of Education,  have all helped us to determine the best course of action for our Tuxedo family.  Together, we must act in the best interest of all.

Our Return to Learn Advisory Council has given us valuable input and shared their insights and recommendations regarding opening in September.  When considering what we’ve learned over the past month and taking all data points into consideration, we have had to make some difficult decisions.

September 8th will be the start to our new year.  Student schedules will be available as of Tuesday, September 1st, they will be mailed out as well as available on the parent portal. If you do not have access to the parent portal, please contact Ms. Dixon or Mr. Takeuchi to set you up.  An orientation and device pick-up schedule is being created for the first week of school and will be sent home in advance of September 8th. 

2020-21 School Day & Schedules

The school day for all students will be from 8:00AM - 2:48PM with a variety of differences based on the grade level.  At the elementary level, each teacher will determine the specific times students will need to log-in for various lessons each day. For example, the day may start with a morning meeting, an AM block, special subject class (PE, Music, Art, Library, etc), PM block, and end of the day meeting.   

At the secondary level, students in grades 6-12 will follow their regular schedule and each period will start at the regular time.  Individual teachers will determine the online portion of each class as that will vary from subject to subject. We want to be mindful of the expectation and amount of time each student is spending behind the screen.  Once schedules have been received, questions about student schedules for students in grades 6-12 should be directed to Ms. Oliva. 

Overview of Weekly Student Schedule 

Regardless of which model we are in, Mondays will be a Distance Learning day where students learn from home with asynchronous instruction assigned by their teachers to be completed and submitted by the end of their day.  Students will not have a set schedule on this day.

Mondays:  Asynchronous learning from home

Tuesday – Friday:  Students will remain at home and follow their A-D Schedule remotely with synchronous learning.  This means that there will be live instruction at the time listed for each class on that letter day.  Students will be responsible for “showing up” to their virtual class at the time corresponding with their schedule. Please know that if a student logs in late or does not log in at all, it will be recorded as a late or unexcused absence (the same as if we were physically in school).

Below is what a student’s week will now look like:

  • Monday:      Students learn asynchronously from home

  • Tuesday:      Students follow their A-Day schedule with synchronous instruction

  • Wednesday:      Students follow their B-Day schedule with synchronous instruction

  • Thursday:      Students follow their C-Day schedule with synchronous instruction

  • Friday:      Students follow their D-Day schedule with synchronous instruction

At-Home Routines

As we begin Distance Learning and ultimately prepare for students to return, we must ensure that all students and families adjust to the expectations and routines of at-home instruction and settle into their new daily schedules.  All students are expected to log-in to each class at the scheduled time.  Therefore, please begin thinking about your at-home daily routines.   More than ever, now is a good time to determine what works best for your family.  This should include a dedicated homework time (after school) that does not extend late into the evening.

Since the beginning of COVID-19 last March, when given the opportunity, we have always made decisions that are in the best interest of our students.  As we enter the 2020-2021 school year, we will continue to do the same and work collaboratively to support teaching and learning in Tuxedo.  Together, as a symbol of our unified commitment to our Tuxedo UFSD students and families, we sign this letter in support of our plan to ensure the health and safety of all.

Thank you, have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and we will see you (virtually) in September!


Timothy H. Bohlke, 
Middle/High School Principal and Superintendent of Schools

Stuart Wirth, 
President - Tuxedo Teachers Association and Tuxedo Employees Union

Dorothy Ziegelbauer, 
President - Tuxedo UFSD Board of Education 

Paul Brown, 
Elementary School Principal

Nicole Scariano, 
Assistant Principal of Student Services

 

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Board of Education Meeting August 20, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting August 20, 2020

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Board of Education Worshop Meeting August 13, 2020

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*There is a 10 minute gap in this recording due to a technology issue. the gap occrs around the 1 hour and 24 minute mark. A complete recording will be posted to the district website as soon as it is available.

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Agenda for Board of Education Worshop Meeting August 13, 2020

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Return To Learn - Update - Posted 8/10/2020

Good Afternoon Tuxedo,

This morning Governor Cuomo gave schools permission to open in September.  Therefore, the 1st day for students will be on Tuesday, September 8th (pending Board of Education approval).

Now that we have an answer, it’s time to review the Return to Learn Plan and prepare for September.  We realize there are many questions that need to be answered.  In order to best answer those questions, the District will be hosting 3 virtual Q&A sessions.  The schedule for the sessions are as follows:

·         Friday, August 14th         from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM

·         Wednesday, August 19th     from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM

·         Thursday, August 20th     from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM

Links for the above mentioned meetings will be posted on the District website. We will also publish an FAQ page on the website and post answers to questions as they arise.  When you receive the Q&A notice, you will have an opportunity to submit questions to be answered.  These questions and answers will be added to the FAQ page as well.  You will also be able to ask questions during the virtual meeting. 

School opening information and student schedules will be mailed out towards the end of August.

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS (Action Required)

With each of the options below, we are asking parents to commit to an entire semester for 100% Distance Learning.  Similarly, we are asking parents to commit to an entire semester if you opt to drive your children to and from school.  The 2nd semester (January to June) will be discussed in November. 

100% DISTANCE LEARNING OPTION

As part of our Return to Learn Plan, parents may opt to fully participate via Distance Learning for the 1st semester (September to January).  

BUSSING

Parents have the option to drive your children to and from school every day and not utilize District transportation.  To help reduce the number of students riding the bus, we are asking parents to confirm whether or not your children will be riding on the bus.   

Please complete the following survey questions and respond no later than Friday, August 21st.  This information will assist us with our planning and providing the best possible Return to Learn in September. 

Here is a link to the (short) questionnaire:

Parent Plans Survey

Thank you and have a great weekend!

Mr. Bohlke, Ms. Scariano, and Mr. Brown

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Return To Learn - Update - Posted 7/31/2020

Dear Tuxedo Community,

I hope this letter finds everyone enjoying the summer and staying cool.  Yesterday, we held our 3rd Return to Learn Advisory Task Force meeting. I would first like to thank Mr. Brown and Ms. Scariano for their work in facilitating these meetings.  I would also like to thank the participants for their dedication to this process.

As of this moment, our plan is for school to begin in September with In-Person Instruction for all students every day.  We already know this will require student training on new protocols/procedures as well as professional development to prepare staff.  This will happen the first week of school and a more detailed schedule will follow (once we have official guidance from the Governor).  However, we are beginning the pre-planning in anticipation. 

Aside from the basics, we have outlined three possible scenarios and the details of each. The Return to Learn Plan is a “living” document and will be updated regularly throughout the month of August.  This is what the scenarios look like at this time:

1.    In-Person Instruction - A regular day at school (in person) with adherence to social distancing and following expectations for PPE

a.    School will be in session every day following a regular 6-day cycle

b.    School will begin at 8:00am and end at 3:00pm

2.    Distance Learning - ALL students remain at home and follow their regular school day

.      School will be in session every day following a regular 6-day cycle

a.    School will begin (at home) at 8:00am and end at 3:00pm

3.    Learning from Home (Parent Choice) - A parent may opt to not send their child to school for the 1st semester

.      The student will remain at home and follow their regular school day

a.    School will be in session every day following a regular 6-day cycle

b.    School will begin (at home) at 8:00am and end at 3:00pm

c.     Parent/Student will commit to one full semester and this can be reviewed for the 2nd semester (details still being finalized)

Details are still being worked out and will not become final until we hear from the Governor.  At that time, we will make adjustments as necessary.  We realize many parents and students are stressing about the return to school and we hear you!  More to come next week!  

Have a safe and healthy weekend!

Mr. Bohlke

 

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Board of Education Meeting July 23, 2020

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Tuxedo. All the George F. Baker Class of 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting July 23, 2020

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The meeting can be accessed via this link:

meet.google.com/xqr-dpmt-ojq

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Graduation Will Live Stream on July 16

We are looking forward to celebrating the Class of 2020 on July 16!

Click here for the LIVE link to the graduation ceremony beginning at 11AM.

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Return To Learn - TUFSD Engages School Community on Re-Opening

Dear Tuxedo Community,

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable summer and getting to spend some much needed time in the sun and visiting with family and friends.  During the months of July and August, at both GGM and GFB, we are going through extensive summer cleaning and preparation for the upcoming school year.

In addition to our ultimate goal of preparing for students, faculty and staff to return in September, we are in the process of adding new health and safety protocols to assure and ensure everyone who visits our schools is safe and remains healthy.

Return to Learn Taskforce & Planning

Our top priority is having students, teachers and staff return to school this fall.  We understand the academic and social-emotional importance of this.  We also understand our obligation to the health and safety of our students, staff and families.  

The Tuxedo Union Free School District, along with all Orange County Schools, is exploring the many different variables related to opening school in September.  The District has been working diligently on protocols and systems for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.  Our administrative team has completed walkthroughs of the buildings, noting areas of concern and need for students, teachers and staff while continuing to stay abreast of the latest guidance and information.  Behind the scenes, we have already ordered Tuxedo masks to be distributed to all students, faculty, and staff, we have been stocking up on sanitizer, we have ordered multiple fogging machines (kind of like a portable power washer for disinfecting) that will be used multiple times during the school day in each building and on the busses, and we are looking at other forms of realistic protections for students, faculty, and staff. 

We need to be prepared as a district for different scenarios in September and it is of utmost importance that this be a shared decision making process.  To that end, a “Return to Learn” Taskforce has been created, representing the diverse stakeholders in our community, inclusive of administrators, parents, teachers, staff and community members.  This team will work together on specific guidance and expectations on: instruction, academic and social-emotional wellbeing, health and safety, facilities, food service, transportation and athletics.  If you are interested in joining our Taskforce please let us know. 

Throughout the 2nd half of July and most of August, this team will meet weekly (in person and/or virtually) to review input from the community, official guidance, and provide their professional expertise to make recommendations and set implementation benchmarks and communications.  All of this work, taken together, will result in clear, specific guidance and expectations for students, teachers and families.  

Return to Learn Surveys:  Parents, Staff and Students - Complete by July 20th 

Your voice is essential as we continue to move forward as a community.  In addition to our Return to Learn Taskforce, three surveys have been created to obtain specific feedback from you to further tailor our plans for opening in September.  

It is important that we continue to consider and plan different scenarios.  We cannot afford to wait for specific guidance from the state to move forward.  We will adjust our plans as needed, per any directives and changes in the current situation.  

Below you will find links to the Parent and Student surveys.  Please be sure to take careful time in completing the survey so that we have the most accurate results and as complete a picture as possible.  If you have more than one child, it makes sense to complete one parent survey per child.  Your answers may be different depending on the grade-level and we want to capture as much data as we can.  These data will help us to make informed decisions that best support your family and teaching and learning.  The surveys will close July 20th, so please work to complete them before this time. 

Click here to take the PARENT SURVEY (Parents, please complete a survey for each child in your household)

Click here to take the STUDENT SURVEY (for students who will be in grades 6-12 this September)

Upcoming & What’s Next

Over the next week, we will also create a new tab on the website called “Return to Learn”.  This is where you will find all future correspondence, articles, and important information relative to school opening in September. 

 Towards the end of July, we expect the NYS Education Department and Board of Regents to provide guidance and recommendation.  During the first week of August, we expect the Governor to make a decision about opening.  Therefore, we will be sending the following updates:

  • “Return to Learn” Update #2 will be sent to parents on Friday, July 24th 
  • “Return to Learn” Update #3 will be sent to parents on Friday, July 31st 
  • “Return to Learn” Update #4 will be sent to parents on Friday, August 6th
    • We expect to have solid guidance at this time.

While many of our neighboring districts are much larger, it stands to reason that they have different decisions to make.  Due to our size, we will not experience some of the larger issues they are grappling with.  While there is much to continue to learn from each other, we have the opportunity to focus on what teaching and learning will look like whether we are in school and practicing social distancing or learning from home.  We will do what is best for our District and our students based on our needs.

We are Tuxedo!  And we will make decisions that are right for Tuxedo!

Have a great weekend,

Tim Bohlke

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Board of Education Reorganization Meeting July 7, 2020

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Tuxedo. Emma Maynard and Jared Spivak Earn OCCIA Scholar Athlete Awards

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Agenda For Board of Education Reorganization Meeting July 7, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting July 6, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting June 24, 2020

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Board of Education Meeting June 18, 2020

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Budget Vote and Board of Education Election Results ( posted 6/16/2020)

School Budget Vote and Election Results:

Budget: Passed

Yes - 475 / No - 392

Buss Proposition: Failed

No - 442 / Yes - 413

Election:

1. Joe Rickard - 391

2. Nancy Bourke - 232

3. Johanna Telander - 229

Congratulations BOE Elect Joe Rickard!

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Agenda For Board of Education Meeting June 18, 2020

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Tuxedo. Tuxedo Proud

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Special Board of Education Meeting June 8, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting June 8, 2020

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TUFSD Budget Hearing and Special Board of Education Meeting May 28, 2020

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Notice of TUFSD Budget Hearing and Special Board of Education Meeting May 28, 2020

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Three Candidates Vie for One Spot on the Board of Education - Posted 5/26/2020

The 2020 School Board election and budget vote will take place on June 9.  Due to the pandemic, voting will take place entirly via absentee ballot pursuant to an Executive Order put in place by Governor Cuomo late last month.   Every qualified voter will receive a ballot in the mail along with a postage paid return envelope.  The ballots must be returned to the District by 5pm on Tuesday June 9.  This year, three candidates are vying for one open spot on the Board of Education.  Encumbent Nancy Bourke faces newcomers Joe Rickard and Johanna Telander.  
The make-up of the school board is extremely important as it has a direct and impact on the future of the School District as well as every one’s taxes. Therefore, understanding these candidates, their areas of expertise and their levels of experience is crucial in making an informed decision. 
In an effort to inform the community, TPFYI presented each candidate with a basic questionnaire, designed to focus on their biographical information as well as their levels of experience and reasons for running.  What follows are thier unedited resposes in the order we received them.

NANCY BOURKE

Education/Degrees:
I earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.  I majored in Psychology and took courses to be certified to teach elementary education. 
I continued my studies towards a graduate degree in Liberal Studies at Stony Brook University.  

Vocation/Employer:
Children have always been my vocation.  I have spent over 40 years working for quality education.  I was an elementary teacher for 4 years, photojournalist for 6 years, K-12 substitute teacher for 20 years, and School District Clerk for 30 years - all while raising my own three children.  As District Clerk I attended all Board of Education meetings and ran the School Budget Vote and School Board Member elections each year.

Years of Residency in Tuxedo:
My husband and I moved to Tuxedo Park in 1977.  We raised our three sons here and now live in our “empty nest” with our Golden Retriever, Ransom.

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
I met and worked with many community members over the years through my volunteer work with the Tuxedo Library, Tuxedo Park Garden Club, Tuxedo Recreation Commission, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church.  I served as President of the Tuxedo PTA for four years.  My service on the school board for the past three years has been a challenging and rewarding experience as I worked to enrich and enhance the educational experiences of all our students.  Currently I am co-chairperson of the district-wide Safety Committee, member of the District Curriculum Committee and the District Policy Committee.  I serve as the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) delegate for our district and the alternate delegate to the Orange County School Boards Association (OCSBA).  I was a member of the District Goals Committee and helped visualize Tuxedo 2025, our goals for the future.

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I am running for re-election to the Board of Education because I have more to offer the children and families of the district.  My experiences as teacher, District Clerk, and parent whose children received their K-12 education in our schools provides me with valuable insight and personal experience on the issues surrounding our school district.  I want to share my first-hand knowledge of our school district and use it to help with plans to move forward.  I will work to monitor and evaluate the progress being made to achieve District Goals and I will work to ensure board policies and resources effectively support the District’s mission, goals, and vision.  I will promote strong fiscal responsibility and accountability.  As taxpayers we deserve have our money allocated fairly, responsibly, and transparently without undue burdens. 

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
I am excited about the future of our school district Pre-K through Grade 12.  I have never wavered in my commitment to keep our high school students at George F. Baker High School

  • We need, as a district, to continually update and enhance all our educational arenas in order to provide the highest of education opportunities and experiences for our students, regardless of inside a building or remotely.  Teachers need to have the most current technology, training resources, and guidance for effective long-distance learning experiences if that becomes necessary again.
  • Our buildings are in need of repair.  We need to put in place a systematic plan of action for maintaining, repairing, and replacing.  I have a keen focus on safety-related issues. 

Why should you vote for me?  I am uniquely qualified to be a member of the Tuxedo Board of Education. Currently I am the only member of the Board who does not have a child in the school.  This gives me a different perspective than all other members.  It is important to have diverse representation.  I work to ensure the education, safety, and well-being, of each and every child is at the forefront of my decisions.  I strive to give opportunities for our students to receive a well-rounded education and be prepared to take on the challenges in the next phases in their lives.  I support a school environment where students benefit from individualized attention made possible by the small class sizes and the security and connectedness of a small school.  With equal importance, I promote strong fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency.  If we all work together with open dialogue great things can be accomplished, and I want to be a part of it. 
I ask for your vote.  Please remember all ballots must be received by the district no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

JOE RICKARD

Education/Degrees:
BA, History, Queens College
MA, Education, St John’s University
MBA, Marketing, Hofstra University

Vocation/Employer:
I started my career as a NY State certified teacher, and have taught at the HS level. 
My current company, Intellective Solutions, provides vocational school curriculum and teacher resources to educational institutions across the country.  I have extensive educational and management experience.
Before starting Intellective Solutions, I have had senior management experience in both large and small companies. Throughout my career I have volunteered in leadership positions for multiple educational organizations.

Years of Residency in Tuxedo:
My wife Maureen and I have lived in Tuxedo for 18 years. We have two grown daughters and five grandchildren.

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Member of the Town of Tuxedo Recreation Board
COVID 19 Community Liaison for Food Supplies

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I am running for the Board because I strongly support the Tuxedo District and our Town. As a long-time resident and former teacher, I have the background and knowledge to add value to the Board and District.  
As a grandparent, I have a front-row seat as my daughters navigate the pressures of managing e-learning demands. I understand the unique challenges and tough road ahead for teachers, parents, and students in a post-COVID 19 world. I want to be part of the solution. I sincerely believe the District could be well-positioned for the future. I will provide the hard work and expertise to make that possible. 

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?

The top issues facing the District include:

  • Turnover of Superintendents and Administrators

We have a crisis of leadership. Over the past 4 years, we have had three new Superintendents. Two of which were replaced with severance packages. We have also lost multiple Principals, Vice Principals, and supporting administration personnel. This is disruptive to the Students and limits our ability to have a cohesive strategy.

With my significant management experience, I will reinforce professional and foundational processes for sourcing, retaining, leading, compensating and supporting our employees. We cannot be successful without strong District leadership.

  • Broken Budget Process

The district received a poor State audit four years ago. We still are experiencing the same problems. We continually roll large amounts of unspent tax dollars into new fiscal years. This will happen this year again. The problem with this approach is that it discourages fiscal discipline and hinders long-term planning.

I will propose that the Board receives detailed information on all major line items. By correctly allocating and reporting expenses, the Board and Administration will make better decisions. I will also insist, that the Administration be more transparent with the Board and interested residents. It is difficult to justify high per-student expenses without a credible financial reporting process

  • Loss of Students

Over the last five years, we have lost students as they reach the higher grades. This is particularly a problem in the 6, 7, and 8th grades. Our classes in the 9 – 12 grades are now averaging 15 students. The retention of students must be a priority for our administration.

We need a documented and Board-approved plan to address this issue. We have great teachers and a small school. Retaining our current students will send a strong signal to potential residents that our Town is a long-term opportunity.

Thanks in advance for your support. I sincerely believe the District could be well-positioned for the future. To hear my priorities, background, and experience in more detail listen to my interview with the Tuxedo PTO and TTA, found on the Tuxedo PTO Facebook site. Q&ARickardandTelander Interview Tuxedo PTO. You may also find additional info on my Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/RickardforTuxedo.

JOHANNA TELANDER

Education/Degrees:
Baccalaureate from Sibelius Post-Secondary school with a Concentration in Music, Helsinki, Finland; B.A. in Music from Capital University Conservatory of Music, Columbus, OH; Professional Performance Certificate (two-year concentration, Integrated Arts) from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, NY. 

Vocation/Employer:
Self-employed performer, musician, voice-over artist and composer. 

Years of Residency in Tuxedo:
My husband and I purchased our home in Tuxedo in 2018. 

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
I have been an active member of the PTO, serving on the PTO board as Class Parent Liaison as well as organizing many of the PTO's events and fundraisers, such as the Princesses and Villains show, Back to School Carnival, Market Night, Board & Brush Fundraiser, Spring Soireé, Costa Rica Fashion Show and more. I plan to continue facilitating these exciting collaborations by reaching out to my own network in the professional artist community for events, and by volunteering my time in support of the school’s Performing Arts programs in any way that I can. I will aspire to contribute to the overall cultural enrichment of our town by forging new, impactful relationships with its multi-talented residents.

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I am running for the board because I’m passionate about education and because I am a parent of two children in the district. My son is in his second year at George Grant Mason Elementary School, and my daughter will be starting Kindergarten in September. I have had an opportunity to view the school through several lenses in these last two years: through my son, through my role as a Class Parent, as well as through my volunteer work for the PTO. I have come to love and respect the school, and admire the unwavering dedication of our exemplary teachers. Growing up with four grandparents who were teachers, I have witnessed first-hand how a child’s primary years of education become the most important pillars on which the rest of their values will stand. I believe it is of the utmost importance to do what we can in our community to help our school system thrive. Before we moved here, my family lived in a town where the school district left a lot to be desired. We moved here for the opportunity to provide our children with a better education.  I have lived in four different countries, and have traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States and, because of this, I bring a fresh perspective, a global point of view, outside-of-the-box creativity and innovation, as well as transparency to the board. My work as a freelancer for the past twenty years gives me the stealth needed to weather unprecedented challenges in our current world, the confidence needed to think on my feet when making important decisions, and the willingness to learn how to best serve my community. In my years as a freelancer I have worked with people coming from all walks of life and I am certain I can act as a mediator when challenging discussions need to take place. I want to do my best to ensure our district inclusively continues seeking the support of our strong community.  As a tax-payer in this town I will closely consider the school budget. There are many small decisions which could make all the difference moving forward, and I believe these changes could be achieved at no further cost to taxpayers. 

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
The strife caused by recent high turnover in the administration and the resonating uncertainty brought about by the changes our school district has weathered this year need to be smoothed over. It is imperative we, as a small school, recognize the strength of working together.  We need to remain open to healthy conversation and transparent dialogue with one another. We need to end the divisiveness among administration, teachers and the Board of Ed, and not lose sight of the common goal of providing the best possible education for our children. We should all want to take pride in what our district has to offer. I would address these issues by approaching staff, teachers, parents and students alike with the sincere desire to listen to their points of view, learn from their strengths and expertise, and then connect people together, so we can influence a movement of positivity and action. Let’s stand up and stand out as a district. 

Click here to view Mrs. Telander’s Bio

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Board of Education Meeting May 21, 2020

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting May 21, 2020

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Board of Education Opts No Tax increase in 2020/2021 Budget - Posted 5/15/2020

During a meeting held remotely via GoogleMeets on May 7, The TUFSD Board of Education unanimously adopted a $13,699.533 general fund budget for the 2020-2021 school year with no tax increase.  

The projected $220,430 increase in spending is attributed to contractual increases in salaries and benefits.

The proposed budget will not only allow the District to retain its current programs but to expand  with the addition of a Pre-Kindergarten and child development program.  Plans to relocate the 6th grade and establish a Middle School learning environment in the high school building were also announced.  

All five Budget Development presentations can be found on the Districts website by clicking here.


An updated budget calendar can be found here


This year’s budget vote and Board of Education Election will be conducted by mail.  All qualified voters will be sent an absentee ballot with return postage paid.  Ballots must be received no later than 5pm on Tuesday June 9.

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Updated School Budget Calendar - posted 5/10/2020

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Covid-19 Update - Posted 5/09/2020

Dear Tuxedo Families,

As we enter into this weekend, I would like to recognize all of the moms in Tuxedo.  This Sunday is your day and it is certainly well-deserved!  Happy Mother’s Day!!

As indicated in my newsfeed last week, the Governor has made the decision that students will continue with learning at home until the end of the academic year.   We are well aware of the impact this decision has on our entire Tuxedo school community and the many emotions that go along with it.  This is especially true for our graduating seniors. 

Senior year is a rite of passage that should be filled with awesome experiences to be remembered for a lifetime.  This year, our seniors have endured the unthinkable and deserve every bit of pomp and circumstance they are entitled to.  In speaking with the graduates, it’s evident that graduation needs to happen at George F. Baker High School and they have my commitment that I will do everything within my reach to ensure this happens. At this moment, the plan is for a virtual portion of the graduation to be accompanied by the actual graduation.  Of course, if permitted, we will have to abide by the social distancing rules and make adjustments as necessary.  There are still details to be worked out, but the blueprint has been created.  Similarly, next week we will be reviewing our options for Kindergarten and both 5th and 6th grades, as both grades will be moving-up to Middle School at GFB.  

Decisions, decisions, decisions… Some decisions are made quickly, some take a bit of time, some are on the fly, and not making a decision is also a decision.  As parents, you make decisions every day and don’t think twice.  Especially fitting for this weekend, my mother taught me a long time ago, that Mom is the ultimate decision maker!  Teachers make decisions about what strategies and learning opportunities are best for our scholars, principals make decisions about what is best for the school, and the superintendent makes decisions that best serve the entire learning community and adhere to policy set forth by the Board of Education.  COVID-19 has and will continue to require many decisions to be made.  Some will be easy, some will be difficult, some will be liked, and some will not be liked.  Over the next few weeks, the leadership team along with the faculty will be making important decisions at all levels.  Moving forward, all decisions will be based on what is best for the health and safety of all.   

Yesterday, for teacher appreciation week, the PTO organized a parade around Circle Field to show support for our teachers.  If you missed it, it was spectacular!  It was truly great to see everyone in person.  Nothing can replace the impact of a great teacher, even if it’s face-to-face via a computer screen.  Thank you to our amazing faculty!

Last night, the Board of Education adopted the budget for the 2020-2021 school year. I would like to thank the Board of Education for their commitment to the students, faculty, staff, and to the entire community.  The budget that will be presented virtually on May 28th at 6:00pm is an academically and fiscally responsible budget.  COVID-19 has put a strain on all of us, and from the onset, the Board of Education has insisted on and adopted a budget with a $0.00 increase to the taxpayer

On May 28th you will also be introduced to Tuxedo 2025.  The 2020-2021 school year will be the foundation year of a 5-year academic plan to move our District forward.  We will prepare our scholars for technologies and jobs that have not yet been created.  We will prepare them to think and collaborate globally, and to find solutions to issues facing the community as well as the planet. 

Over the past two months we have faced unprecedented challenges and addressed uncertainty head-on.  Our children have shown tremendous resilience and successfully adapted to learning from home.  When students are allowed to return to our hallways, health and safety, academic rigor, and emotional well-being will be paramount.  We can’t wait!!

As always, next week will bring new information and I might even stray from the traditional email and opt to do a video.  Principal Brown is providing me with plenty of peer pressure, so I guess the Tuxedo iNews will start sooner rather than later. 

Thank you again for your continued support.  Have a wonderful weekend and most importantly, stay safe and healthy! 

Mr. Bohlke

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Special Board of Education Meeting/Budget Workshop - May 7, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting/Budget Workshop - May 7, 2020

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Special Board of Education Meeting/Budget Workshop - April 30, 2020

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting/Budget Workshop - April 30, 2020

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Covid-19 Update - Posted 4/24/20

Dear Tuxedo Families,

Happy Friday!  We have just completed week 6 of COVID-19 learning from home.  I cannot believe we are already 6 weeks into this.  Let me start by saying how appreciative I am of our dedicated staff.  I know I might sound like a broken record, but every week I continue to see staff going above and beyond to support our children and learning from home. 
As parents and caregivers, I also have to thank you!  In addition to the stresses that come with regular daily life, you are handling a multitude of stresses that have been thrust upon you as a result of COVID-19.  I know this hasn’t been easy and we are working hard to support you as best we can.  

To that end, shortly after this email, you will receive another email with a survey of how things are going with learning from home.  Please take the time and give us your honest feedback in that survey.  I have spoken to parents over the past few weeks that have identified some areas of concern/stress, and those conversations have helped to inform the creation of the survey. 
It has been a week since my last email, and I was hoping by waiting until the end of the week, I would have more information (from NYSED) to share.  Unfortunately, we have not heard much from the Governor or NYSED.  As I’m typing this letter, I just received the following notification in an email from the New York State School Boards Association. 

School reopening will be decided next week, Cuomo says

In response to a reporter’s question about the timeline for a decision on whether schools will reopen after May 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that he will make a decision "next week."

Asked about a general state reopening plan including businesses, he said, "Some regions could reopen before others." However, pent-up demand could lead many people to travel and inundate restaurants and businesses in open areas, which would be undesirable from a health perspective, he said.

"You need two weeks of flat or declining numbers," to comply with federal guidelines, he noted. "Declining obviously is better."

- Eric D. Randall, Editor-in-Chief


On May 4th and 5th, there will be another meeting of the Board of Regents.  We hear this will result in a “sweeping regulatory package”.  We are hoping the Board of Regents meeting will provide further guidance on grading and GPA calculation, graduation requirements, transcripts, and NCAA sports related concerns.  

As I’m sure you are aware, SchoolTool has not been updated to reflect current grades.  This is mainly in part due to waiting for guidance.  In the absence of that guidance, we have surveyed the teachers as well as surrounding districts to determine the best course of action and how we can best support our students while learning from home.  
Today, I shared those results with the staff and they will begin entering grades to bring SchoolTool up to date for the 3rd quarter.  The 3rd quarter will end as regularly scheduled with a regular grade as has always been done.   The 4th quarter will be determined by a rubric.  The purpose of the rubric is to broaden our focus of student performance to include quality of the work, class attendance, effort and participation.   The change from a numerical grade to a rubric-based  grade for the 4th quarter may require some programmatic updates in SchoolTool.  We thank you for your patience as we transition.  

Lastly, we are always looking to add new features and links to our website.  Please share some photos, fun facts, learning at home bloopers, shout outs, ideas, community information, etc. and we will post it on the website.  It would be great to recognize the hard work and effort of our students.  Email news@tuxedoufsd.org and we will post it. 


Have a great weekend and stay healthy!

Timothy Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

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Board of Education Meeting - April 16, 2020

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Covid-19 Update - Posted 4/16/20

Dear Tuxedo Families and Faculty,

Governor Cuomo announced today that “NYS on PAUSE” is extended and all schools are to remain closed through May 15, 2020. The NYS on PAUSE initiative is intended to help protect the public against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  A special thank you to the Tuxedo faculty, staff and administrators for working tirelessly to support our students and families with at-home learning needs.  We WILL get through this because WE ARE TUXEDO!

REMINDERS

  • CANCELED New York State Exams:
    • All Grade 3-8 state assessments in ELA, Math, Science, and NYSESLAT (NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test)
    • All June 2020 Regents Examinations
      • Students who were scheduled to take Regents exams this June will be EXEMPT from having to take those exams for graduation this year and in the future.
  • Tuxedo Union Free School District has adopted the Google platform for K-12 distance learning
    • As per NYS Education Law 2D – Zoom and Class Dojo do not provide the necessary encryption to ensure security and student privacy protections, and therefore will no longer be used.

Take care and be well!

Sincerely,

Timothy H. Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting - April 16, 2020

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Covid-19 Update - Posted 4/07/20

Good Afternoon Tuxedo Families and Faculty,

A few moments ago, I received an email with official guidance from the New York State Education Department regarding Regents Exams and wanted to get this information out to you right away.  As suspected, the Board of Regents has cancelled the June 2020 administration of the Regents Exams and they’ve provided additional guidance with respect to graduation requirements and course credit.  Additionally, Governor Cuomo announced yesterday that schools would be closed through April 29th.

Now that Regents Exams have been canceled, I’m sure many of you have additional questions.  As mentioned above, the Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department anticipated this and created a document to answer many of these questions.  Thankfully, this document is easy to read and resembles that of an FAQ.  We still have questions that need answers and I will share updates as they occur. 

Here is the link to the Regents FAQ. This information will also be posted on our website.

Be well and stay safe!

Timothy Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

 

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Board of Education Meeting - April 2, 2020

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Covid-19 Update - Posted 4/03/20

Good Afternoon Tuxedo Families and Faculty,

Congratulations on completing your first week of distance learning. Job well done! 

Throughout the week, I have enjoyed hearing the different experiences told by parents, students, and teachers.  The common thread has been a new or renewed appreciation for the various technologies we use to support teaching and learning.  Here are some updates for this week:

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE

As we all strive to protect our families and loved ones during this time of uncertainty, the District has the additional responsibility to ensure our staff and students continue to be protected and safe while online.  At our Board of Education meeting last night, we opted-in to the Google Privacy Agreement which is in compliance with New York State Education Law 2D.  This law provides important new protections for student data, and new remedies for breaches of the responsibility to maintain the security and confidentiality of such data.

As a District, we have been and will continue to utilize the Google platform and this holds true for distance learning as well.  There have been some requests to use Zoom for conferencing/connecting with students.  At this time, we cannot support the use of Zoom (with students) due to security concerns.  Unfortunately, there are also security concerns regarding Class Dojo, which is currently used within the District.  While there is no need to stop using Class Dojo today, we will begin to move in the direction of Google Classroom for all K-12.  We are currently in the process of researching the specific concerns associated with Class Dojo and will keep you posted.  

NEXT WEEK (APRIL 6-10)

As you know, next week was supposed to be our Spring Break.  The Governor's Executive Order required that we utilize our vacation days for the school closure that has already occurred.  Therefore, next week is a regular distance learning week, Monday – Friday.  

Over the next few weeks we have some important days of religious observance coming up.  Teachers will take this into consideration when giving assignments to provide families with additional flexibility to accommodate their plans.  Absence due to religious observation will be excused. Please let Ms. Dixon and Mr. Takeuchi know of such absences so teachers may be notified and students excused.

CALENDAR UPDATE (as of today)

The District Calendar has been updated to reflect the changes due to COVID-19 and will be up on the website soon. 

-- May 22nd has been converted to a regular instructional day

-- May 25th (Memorial Day) remains a Holiday and school will be closed

        -- Every other day between now and June is a regular instructional day (in-person or distance learning)

GRADING

The Board of Regents is meeting on Monday and Tuesday, April 6-7, and we hope to be given additional guidance regarding grading, Regents exams, instructional expectations, and the potential of a continued closure. As soon as we are given guidance from Albany, we will share accordingly.

We understand that students and families may have questions about how our school closure will impact their grades.  Our school closure will not negatively impact your child’s marking period grade and our teachers will continue to use their professional judgement to support our students during this unprecedented time. 

Please be advised that given direction from NYSED we may need to revise our timeline for report card grading and marking periods and will update you when that is available.

At this time, teachers have been advised not to assign numerical grades to student work and to provide feedback based on other measures of success.  Our current focus is on supporting students with establishing routines and setting expectations for distance learning.   

Now that the weekend is here, change it up!  Do something different!  Perhaps, take a hike with the family, have a baking contest to see who can make the best ____, play Chess, create a fun family video about something silly or a new reality.

 Most importantly, enjoy your time with loved ones! Stay safe and be well!

Sincerely,

Timothy H. Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools


 

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Agenda For Board of Education Meeting - April 2, 2020

Click here to view the agenda

The meeting will be
held at 7:00 PM via a Zoom Conference. The public is welcome

to attend the Zoom meeting, but there will not be an opportunity for public comment. The meeting will be recorded and later transcribed.

Please use this link to access our Regular Board Meeting on Thursday, April 2nd at 7pm.

https://zoom.us/j/683706226

Meeting ID: 683 706 226

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Back to School - Monday March 30

 

 

 

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Covid-19 Update - Posted 3/27/20

March 27, 2020

Good Afternoon Tuxedo Families,

First and foremost, I hope your families and friends are staying safe and healthy as we settle into our new norms and our new way of life.  Secondly, a few hours ago, the Governor announced schools will be closed through April 14th and students return on April 15th.  However, it seems the Governor is making his decisions in two-week intervals, so we are prepared for the potential of this being extended again.  We will keep you updated as we find out more.

The past few days have been great to connect with teachers and witness the great work that has been accomplished this week.  

Monday is our “go live” and here is what you need to know about the day:  

Student “Arrival” & Attendance

There is a window for when students “arrive” to school.  That window is between 8:30AM and 12:30PM. It is during this window that attendance is recorded.  We are striving to create an environment as if children were in school. We also understand the need for flexibility during this time.  Please let your teacher know of any extenuating circumstances or concerns. We are here to support you and your children.

For students attending GGM:

  • Parents for students in Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade will receive instructions from your child’s classroom teacher on how to log in to ClassDojo.

  • Parents for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade will receive instructions from your child’s classroom teacher on how to visit their Google Classroom and enter attendance. 

  • Please check Class Dojo or Google Classroom for educational opportunities for Specials (i.e  Art, Music). There is no need to report attendance for your child’s Specials classes.

  • Please reach out with any questions to your child’s classroom teacher

For students attending GFB:

  • Monday is an A Day.  Students are to visit the Google Classrooms of each course they would have on an A Day.  In each Google Classroom they will complete a post that marks their attendance. This includes Specials classes as well.

  • Students should already have information on how to access each of their teacher’s Google Classrooms.  Please reach out to your child’s teacher for any questions about access.

At check-in, students will see the work that is required of them.  Failure to check-in by 12:30PM will be considered an absence. After 2 absences in a row, your child’s teacher will reach out to you.  Upon the third absence, your child will receive an attendance referral.

For any questions or issues with attendance on Monday, please email Mary Dixon - GGM (mdixon@tuxedoufsd.org) or Matt Takeuchi - GFB (mtakeuchi@tuxedoufsd.org).  We will be launching our Virtual Main Offices for each GGM and GFB next week.  That launch will be announced on our website along with information on how and when to use it. 

What distance learning will look like

Each teacher has his/her own Google Classroom.  Class/course content and instructional activities are determined by the teacher, just as they would be in a traditional classroom setting.  Online, teachers has additional options:

Some teachers may require synchronous learning (this might look like: where the students are online via Google Hangouts or Zoom with the teacher at a specific time)

Some teachers may require a-synchronous learning (this might look like: where the students’ check-in, get the assignment, and then communicate with the teacher during office hours if need be)

Virtual Main Office – Stay tuned!

We are in the process of creating virtual main office Google sites.  They will be up and running early next week. Essentially, other than being online, this is no different than calling or walking into the main office in the past. 

Please enjoy your weekend!  Looking forward to Monday!

Sincerely,

Timothy H. Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

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Covid-19 Update - Posted 3/24/20

Good Afternoon Tuxedo Families;

Please know that Governor Cuomo has changed his position regarding the need to exhaust all vacation and holidays.  Therefore, I have made the decision to bring staff back early and utilize the next few days to establish connectivity, work out potential concerns associated with online learning and basically set up a virtual school.  While much of this work was done prior to the abrupt closure on March 13th, these next few days will allow us to best prepare for our go-live on Monday. 

Tomorrow, I will be discussing our new protocols (via Google Hangouts) with the staff.  This will include how attendance will be taken, how work will be distributed and when teachers will be available (online) for student support.  Teachers will establish their class rules and this information will be shared with students/parents. Essentially, (depending on the grade level) students will need to check in to each class for the particular letter day via Google Classroom.  Checking in to each Google Class should happen between 9am and 11am each day of the week. Additional and more specific information will be provided by each teacher.

If you have immediate questions, please do not hesitate to email teachers and/or building administrators.   

We are excited to get going! More to come!

Timothy Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

845-351-4799

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Covid-19 Update - Posted 3/19/20

Dear Tuxedo Families and Staff:

I wanted to write to provide you with an update with respect to the District’s plans as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times.  We are working vigilantly to put in place supports and structures to provide continuity of learning for students during the school closing that was ordered on March 16, 2020 by Governor Cuomo until April 1, 2020 by way of Executive Order 202.4.

At this point in time, the District is diligently working to ensure that its alternative instructional resources and activities for students are consistent with State expectations and guidance.

In accordance with the Executive Order 202.2, issued by Governor Cuomo on Saturday, March 14, 2020, the State Education Department was tasked with “promulgating guidance for districts to ensure access to meals for students in need, critical educational supports for students and distance learning options”.  That Executive Order pertains to closures required based upon the declaration of a local state of emergency, and requires that school districts exhaust any snow days and vacation when closed due to a local state of emergency to preserve state aid. Thereafter, on the evening of March 16, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.4, requiring closings of all school districts in New York State for a two-week period, commencing yesterday, March 18, 2020 and ending on April 1, 2020, unless otherwise extended.  While the district is closed pursuant to Executive Order 202.4 there was still a local state of emergency declared by the Orange County Executive, and to date, Executive Order 202.2 has not been repealed by way of Executive Order 202.4.  In an excess of caution and to preserve the District’s state aid, we are cautiously assessing the rapidly evolving situation and ensuring that we are complying with the edicts announced by the Governor to preserve maximum state aid pursuant to Education Law Section 3604.

The night before last, the Interim Commissioner of Education issued guidance to the field on the contours of response plans that our school district is responsible for submitting to the State by 5:00 pm today.  While the Governor indicated that the 180-day instructional requirement shall be suspended during this forced statewide closure and any subsequent extension that may be directed by the Governor, Executive Order 202.4 also requires schools to develop a plan for “alternative instructional options, distribution and availability of meals, and child care, with an emphasis on serving children of parents in the health care profession or first responders who are critical to the response effort”.  The Interim Commissioner’s guidance, will help inform the contents of the required plan for submission to the state through its Application Business Portal.  While the school district is keeping abreast of this rapidly evolving landscape, we are working diligently to put structures in place to meet the needs of our community at-large while also satisfying the requirements of the Executive Orders issued by Governor Cuomo.

The guidance issued the night before last by the Interim Commissioner of Education is the first document issued by the New York State Education Department that helps to inform the measures that are envisioned as acceptable for the purposes of continuity of instruction.  While this preliminary guidance is instructive, we are still awaiting more robust guidance from the State Education Department in this area.

The District is taking the upcoming days and weeks to thoughtfully and cogently prepare instructional materials for its students during this unprecedented school closing and is awaiting the additional materials from the State Education Department prior to finalizing the roll-out of its distance learning plan.  While this week and next week (now through Friday, March 27, 2020) are designated as non-school days for our students and non-work days for our teachers and support services providers, we continue to post materials and activities on our website that may be used over the coming days/weeks to engage your children while we adjust to this new framework precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is critical that the district thoughtfully plan for the implementation of continuity of learning and engage all relevant stakeholders in rolling out instruction to support student learning during this school closing. It is critical to note that under state and federal laws, the district has a requirement to provide equal access for all students and to provide materials and programs that not only educate all of our students, but also allow for equal access to students with disabilities, in accordance with the terms of the students’ IEPs or 504 plans, as applicable.  In order to equitably educate all of our students, we must be thoughtful and intentional in taking the next steps that are necessary to support student learning for all different kinds of learners.  We are also working diligently to ensure that all students have access to these instructional resources, such that all children are able to access the instructional offerings provided by the district (from an educational perspective as well as a technological perspective).  The district started planning several weeks ago for these possible contingencies, but with the understanding that plans would be refined and possibly reshaped as a result of guidance that was just issued last night by the State Education Department with more guidance to be forthcoming.  We value all of our staff members and continue to work with our educators and instructional leaders to support the best interests of our students, in a way that will preserve the school district’s state aid.

I am proud to lead the Tuxedo Union Free School District through these challenging times and together we will persevere.  I will continue to keep the community apprised of additional resources and information as this situation continues to evolve. 

Your continued support and understanding during these challenging times is greatly appreciated. 

Sincerely,

Timothy H. Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

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Covid-19 School Closure Update - Posted 3/17/2020

Dear Tuxedo Families:

We hope this update finds you and your loved ones in good health.  As shared Sunday evening, further information regarding our school closure will continue to be shared with you on an ongoing basis.   

As you know, the COVID-19 extended school closure is unprecedented.  We continue to provide guidance per direction from the Department of Health, the New York State Education Department and the Governor.  Superintendents across Orange County continue to work closely together on a daily basis to support our communities.

 

PLEASE NOTE:  At this time, Parent-Teacher conferences are canceled.

 What if my child did not bring home their Chromebook/iPad?

GGM - On Thursday (3/19) and Friday (3/20), parents/guardians will be able to come in to GGM to sign-out your child's Chromebook or iPad (K-6) between the hours

of 10:00am – 2:00pm.

 GFB – Beginning at 9:00am on Thursday, any student needing to pick up a Chromebook should call and make an appointment with Mr. Takeuchi to come in between the hours

of 10:00am – 2:00pm

What we’ve learned and what this means for our students

What we’ve learned is that while our staff has worked hard to prepare for this, we realize that we still have some work to do.  That said, no new assignments or instruction will be provided to students this week.  Please continue to refer to our website for activities, learning experiences and additional resources for you and your child(ren).  Packets sent home from GGM last Friday should be completed over the course of two weeks (based on teacher directions).  More information will be shared as we define expectations for student engagement and learning during this time of uncertainty.

How long can we expect the school closure?

As previously stated on March 13, 2020, we are currently closed for a minimum of two weeks.  Updates to that timeline will be shared with you as they become available.  We could potentially be closed for a longer period of time.  The administrative team are engaged in those conversations with our colleagues across Orange County and New York State.

We thank you for your continued support.  More information to come.  For organizational purposes, every memo will now be numbered as an update.  

 

Sincerely,

Timothy H. Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

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CoronaVirus Update - Posted 3/15/2020

Dear Tuxedo Families:

As you are aware, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus in collaboration with the Orange County Department of Health issued an executive order closing school for two weeks. Over the weekend, there has been on-going conversations at the County and State levels regarding how COVID-19 will continue to be addressed.

Tomorrow I will be participating in conference calls that will bring additional guidance and updates from the Department of Health, the New York State Education Department and the Governor.  On Tuesday, I will put out an update detailing what this means for the Tuxedo Union Free School District and how we will operate for the upcoming weeks.

Luckily, we anticipated the potential of a closing and our faculty, staff, and administrators worked diligently to prepare for the possibility of online or distance learning.  On Friday, most students brought home packets of work or direction on the use of Google Classroom/Hangouts and other online resources from their teachers.  At this time, tomorrow and Tuesday should be treated as a long weekend and there will be more information to come with regards to academics.

During these unprecedented times, our primary goal is the health, safety and well-being of everyone while trying to maintain our responsibility of educating our students. Thank you again for your continued support and patience during this time.

Sincerely,

Timothy H. Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

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TUFSD To Close For a Minimum of Two Weeks - posted 3/13/2020

Dear Tuxedo Families:

Together we are facing an unprecedented health crisis in our communities. For weeks we have been following the explicit guidance of the Orange County Department of Health and the New York State Department of Education, by implementing preventative and responsive strategies to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The departments of health have been in daily contact with us, providing important guidance on decisions to help ensure the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community. As information is provided to us we will continue to pass that on to you. 

Latest Update: School Closure

  • Today Orange County Executive, Steven Neuhaus, has recommended that schools within Orange County close for the next two weeks. This is an action which serves as a precautionary measure against the transmission of COVID-19. 
  • As a result of this recommendation, the Tuxedo Union Free School District will be closed for a minimum of the next two weeks effective immediately. This includes all after school and extra-curricular activities. This also means there is no half day on Monday, schools will be closed. 

 

Please note we will continue to have daily, sometimes hourly, communications with health officials from Orange County and are following their directions carefully. Should they issue further guidance on extending the duration of the closure, families will be notified immediately. Information will be shared by email and on our website TuxedoSchools.org . This will include information on closure as well as instructional materials and activities.

Families and staff, thank you for your support, patience and adaptability during this time. Again, please stay tuned for any further updates as they develop.

 

Sincerely,

Timothy H. Bohlke

Superintendent of Schools

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Tuxedo. Mary Poppins Brings Her Magic and Music to George F. Baker High School

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George F. Baker Presents Mary poppins February 28-March 1, 2020

Click here to view larger

 

Click here to order your tickets online today!!!!

 

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Tuxedo Voters Reject $4.2M School Referendum

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Tuxedo George Grant Mason Students Celebrate Dental Health Month

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Board of Education Meeting, February 20, 2020

Click here to listen to this meeting

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Tuxedo School District Voters To Decide on Proposed $4.2 Capital Bond Project on February 25

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting, February 20, 2020

Click here to view the agenda

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Capital Bond Presentations Febuary 6 and February 22, 2020

The TUFSD is eager to introduce the community to the details of the proposed Capital Bond Project! We have scheduled two informational sessions: Thursday, February 6 at 6pm and Saturday, February 22 at 10 am, both in the Community Room in George F. Baker Upper School. Representatives from Clark Patterson Lee, the District’s Architect/Engineer, will be present to provide the community with a thorough presentation of the proposed project, that will enable necessary infrastructure repairs and improvements to our school buildings while also addressing important safety issues. The presentations will be immediately followed by question and answer sessions. This project represents an important investment in our children, schools and community and we hope you will join us to learn more about it!

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting, Febuary 6, 2020

Click here to view the notice

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TUFSD to Open Full Day Pre-k Program in September 2020

On Friday, January 17 , the TUFSD officially anounced that they will be opening a full-day Pre-K program in the fall of 2020. The program will be free for Tuxedo residents. Registration will be on a first come/first serve basis with a cap of 20 students in the first year. Click below to view a larger version of the flyer, complete with registration details.

Click here to view larger

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Board of Education Meeting, January 16, 2020

Click here to listen to this meeting

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Kindergarten Orientation February 20 - 9am

 

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting, January 16, 2020

**** The Board of Education is now publishing their agendas using BoardDocs. Follow the link below and click the "regular meeting agenda" icon on the left side of the screen to view. ****

Click here to view the agenda

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Tuxedo Residents to Vote on 3M School Bond

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TUFSD Launches Mobile APP

BIG NEWS!! Tuxedo Union Free School District is thrilled to announce their new website and all new mobile app! It’s everything GFB and GGM, in your pocket. 

Watch this video to learn more about it! 

 

Download the app on Android or iPhone or, by searching TUXEDO SCHOOL DISTRICT in the Apple AppStore or Google Playstore. Click here to visit the new website. 

 

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Tuxedo Students Paint The Town for The Holidays

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Board of Education Meeting, December 12 2019

Click here to listen to this meeting

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Tuxedo's Runway to Costa Rica is December 14

 

Tuxedo Honor Societies Collecting Hats and Gloves for The Needy

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting, December 12 2019

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Tuxedo's Runway to Costa Rica is December 14

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Ten Locals on List of Nation's Top STEM High Schools

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Tuxedo Welcomes a New Principal to the George Grant Mason Lower School

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Board of Education Meeting, November 19 2019

Click here to listen to this meeting

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting, November 19 2019

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Notice of Regular Board of Education Meeting Date Change, November 19 2019

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Tuxedo Regains Division IV Volleyball Championship

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting November 13, 2019

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GGM Drama Club Presents THE ARISTOCATS November 8&9 at 6pm

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Haunted Hallways at George F. Baker October 25&26

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Notice of Board of Education Workshop October 22, 2019

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Board of Education Meeting October 17, 2019

Click here to listen

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Agenda For Board of Education Meeting October 16, 2019

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lineAgenda For Special Board of Education Meeting October 9, 2019

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting October 3, 2019

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George Grant Mason Students Give Peace A Chance Once Again

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Board of Education Meeting September 19, 2019

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Agenda For Board of Education Meeting September 19, 2019

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting September 11, 2019

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Back to School Fesitval September 13 - Open to the Entire Community!

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Board of Education Meeting August 22, 2019

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting August 22, 2019

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Special Board of Education Meeting July 25, 2019

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting July 25, 2019

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Board of Education Reorganization Meeting July 9, 2019

Click here to listen to this meeting

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Agenda for Board of Education Reorganization Meeting July 9, 2019

Click here to view the agenda.

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting July 1, 2019

Click here to read the notice.

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Board of Education Appoints New Superintendent of Schools/High School Princial

6/21/19
Dear TUFSD Community,
It is with great pleasure that the Tuxedo Union Free School Board of Education announces that Mr. Timothy Bohlke has been named as the next Superintendent of Schools in the TUFSD.  Mr. Bohlke was appointed at the June 20 Board of Education meeting and will begin work in the District on July 1st.

The appointment comes at the end of a somewhat short, yet fruitful search process during which several qualified candidates were interviewed.
In Mr. Bohlke, the Board is overwhelmingly confident that we have found an innovative and progressive leader who will enthusiastically guide our District into the future.

Mr. Bohlke comes to Tuxedo with 20 years of experience in K-12 education in which he has served as a building administrator for 16 years, both at the elementary and high school levels, as well as a classroom teacher.  Mr. Bohlke is a graduate of Widener University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree, and Mercy College, where he earned his Masters in Instructional Technology as well as an advanced certificate in School Administration.  As part of his continuing education he has attended Harvard Graduate School of Education, where his focus was school leadership.  Most recently, he has served as Interim Assistant Superintendent in the Liberty Central School District.

We continue to await a decision from the Commissioner of Education with regard to the consolidation of our Superintendent and Principal positions.  As soon as we receive word, it is our hope to appoint Mr. Bohlke as principal in George F. Baker High School as well.  We will keep the community informed via the District website in the coming weeks.

Please join us in extending a heartfelt, warm welcome to Mr. Bohlke! 

Sincerely,

The Board of Education 

Click here to view the official announcement

*On Friday, June 21, the TUFSD received approval from the NYS Commissioner of Education to consolidate the Superintendent and Principal positions effectove July 1, 2019.

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Board of Education Meeting June 20, 2019

Click here to listen to this meeting

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Board of Education Appoints New Superintendent of Schools

6/21/19
Dear TUFSD Community,
It is with great pleasure that the Tuxedo Union Free School Board of Education announces that Mr. Timothy Bohlke has been named as the next Superintendent of Schools in the TUFSD.  Mr. Bohlke was appointed at the June 20 Board of Education meeting and will begin work in the District on July 1st.

The appointment comes at the end of a somewhat short, yet fruitful search process during which several qualified candidates were interviewed.
In Mr. Bohlke, the Board is overwhelmingly confident that we have found an innovative and progressive leader who will enthusiastically guide our District into the future.

Mr. Bohlke comes to Tuxedo with 20 years of experience in K-12 education in which he has served as a building administrator for 16 years, both at the elementary and high school levels, as well as a classroom teacher.  Mr. Bohlke is a graduate of Widener University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree, and Mercy College, where he earned his Masters in Instructional Technology as well as an advanced certificate in School Administration.  As part of his continuing education he has attended Harvard Graduate School of Education, where his focus was school leadership.  Most recently, he has served as Interim Assistant Superintendent in the Liberty Central School District.

We continue to await a decision from the Commissioner of Education with regard to the consolidation of our Superintendent and Principal positions.  As soon as we receive word, it is our hope to appoint Mr. Bohlke as principal in George F. Baker High School as well.  We will keep the community informed via the District website in the coming weeks.

 

Please join us in extending a heartfelt, warm welcome to Mr. Bohlke! 

 

Sincerely,

The Board of Education 

Click here to view the official announcement

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting June 20, 2019

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Announcement From The Board of Education June 10, 2019

Click here to view the announcemnt

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meetings June 5&6

Click here to read the notice

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting

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School Budget and Board of Education Election Results

Budget:
Yes - 299
No - 247

Proposition #2 - Walk-in Voter Registration:
Yes-288
No-204
Election Results:
Dan Castricone: 289
Lucy Scully - 277
Dorothy Ziegelbauer - 273
Mike Arone - 264
Joe Rickard 255
Alyssa Horneff - 235
Sue Heywood - 202

 

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Important Statement from the Board of Education

Click here to read the statement

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Heroes & Villians

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Board of Education Meeting May 16, 2019

Click here to listen to a recording of this meeting

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Important School Budget Information

View a line-by-line copy of the proposed 2019/2020 budget here

View a copy of the May 14 Budget Hearing presentation, which clearly outlines the proposed levy, here

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Seven Candidates Vie for Four seats on the Board of Education

On May 21, 2019 School Board elections will take place in the Town of Tuxedo.  This year, seven candidates are vying for 4 spots. 
Running for re-election are current BOE members Michael Arone and Dorothy Ziegelbauer.  Running for first time seats are Daniel Castricone, Joe Rickard, Alyssa Horneff, Lucy Cerezo Scully and Anne Susan Heywood.
The make-up of the school board is extremely important as it has a direct and immediate impact on the future of the School District as well as every one’s taxes. Therefore, understanding these candidates, their areas of expertise and their levels of experience is crucial in making an informed decision. 

TPFYI presented each candidate with a basic questionnaire, designed to focus on their biographical information as well as their levels of experience and reasons for running.  What follows are the resposes we received, unedited, in the order we received them.

Joe Rickard

Education/Degrees:
BA History, Queens College
MS Secondary Education, St. John’s University
MBA Marketing, Hofstra University
Vocation/Employer:
I am a former HS History teacher and Basketball Coach. After leaving teaching, I have had a career that led to executive level positions in marketing and general management at two Global Fortune 500 companies.
I have published over 60 articles. In the past three years, I have co-authored the Graphic Communications Skills Competency (GCSC) standards for Six STEM/Vocational School Subjects. These Standards are used by States, School Districts and Vocational Schools throughout North America.  I have also co-authorized SkillsUSA assessments that are currently being used to certify student achievement. 
Currently, I run a training and consulting company, Intellective Solutions (intellectives.com) and over the past two years I have worked with School Districts across the country to implement new curriculum and vocational programs. I have worked with School Superintendents and Administrators who have developed innovative and outstanding programs in the face of declining enrollment and tight budgets.
Years of residency in Tuxedo:
17 Years
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Member of Tuxedo Recreation Committee
Social Member of Tuxedo Ambulance Corps
Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
This past year, our District experienced a difficult, and at times a contentious decision on whether to maintain our high school. Now it is time to move forward. This year, there are some big challenges and opportunities for us to address.
 After this year’s Budget and Board vote, there will be a referendum on a significant capital bond for the school buildings, evaluation of transportation options and decisions about new personnel and academic initiatives.
In a collaborative and respectful manner, I will insist that the District while providing a great education for our students is controlling costs and tax levies. I will not just be a “rubber stamp” for our School Administration but will actively research and evaluate all major matters that come before the Board. I will represent all the residents of the District.
 I am convinced our already great District can be the most outstanding in the Hudson Region. If selected, I intend to bring new and creative ideas to the District based on my extensive education and business background.

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
Based on my observations and conversations with parents, our K-6 program is very strong. Also, the history, the tradition of the District and the beauty of the High School Building is terrific. During the times that I have visited the school, I was impressed with the quality of the teachers, administration, volunteers and support staff and their commitment to the students.
The small school size allows teachers to provide more individualized instruction and enables them to know the needs of each student. 
To improve our enrollment in the District, we need to retain and attract students from within our District. I would focus less on trying to attract “out of District” students.  Since our school is small, there are many things we can do to differentiate ourselves from traditionally large school districts. 
Here are few examples. We are still structured and organized as a large school and have not been creative enough utilizing our resources. I would encourage more personalization of programs for each of our 7 to 12 grade students.  Each student should have a mentor and Individual Success Plan (ISP) that is updated bi-annually.  We should be benchmarking outstanding small public schools within and outside the State. We need to ensure we have a technology pathway that aligns with current university, business and nonprofit requirements and standards.  We should look to re-organize the school structure to allow flexibility in scheduling and to facilitate better partnering. We can be more innovative and creative.
As far keeping the HS open, after much debate, the Board this year voted 6 to 1 to keep it open. At this point, I would gain a consensus of the Board on what is the minimum number of students to sustain a good high school while working toward making our entire District the best in the Hudson Region. I would make sure we are holding our current administration accountable. I would insist there is a well-documented implementation plan that would be provided to the public before any final decision was made.  

Alyssa Horneff

Platform Website:
www.VISIONFORTUXEDO.com
Education/Degrees:
Pascack Hills High School, Montvale, NJ
New York University, BFA

  • Business, Stern School of Business
  • Dance, Tisch School of the Arts

Vocation/Employer:

  • Flatiron School x WeWork
    • Director, Sales Operations
      • I currently work as a Director of the Flatiron School, a programming academy that provides education and career placement for the future of the workforce focused in areas of technology such as software engineering, data science and design.

Years of residency in Tuxedo:

  • My husband and I moved to Tuxedo to start our family a little over two years ago. 

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education? / What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
My name is Alyssa Horneff. After living in New York City for the past decade, my husband and I moved to Tuxedo to start our family a little over two years ago.  As a new mother to my 20-month old son -- my top priority in life is ensuring his long-term well-being. In an increasingly competitive world that means providing him with access to the best educational opportunities while allowing him to safely experience all the joys of childhood.
With the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley surrounding us, the historical significance of the Park, and the new development both here and in Sloatsburg I believe that with the right leadership Tuxedo can serve as a beacon for new families. To help make this a reality I would adhere to three principles:

  • Focus on the Student: Our children deserve the best academic, athletic and social opportunities and as a community, it's our responsibility to provide them.
  • Lower Property Taxes: New families are the heart of our town and attracting them means we need to make it economically feasible to join and grow roots in our community.
  • Specialize and Partner: The school should focus on specialized academic and extracurricular programs while partnering with neighboring communities to expand its unique footprint.

After graduating from NYU I worked as a teacher, performed in the Metropolitan Opera, and eventually was an early employee for the fitness technology company ClassPass. In my current role as a Director of the Flatiron School I help drive new students to our schools where we provide education in areas of technology such as software engineering, data science and design as well as guaranteed career placement to build the future of our workforce.
Learn more about me and my platform at www.visionfortuxedo.com.

Daniel Castricone
Family:
I am a 24-year town resident, married to Marie and father of three. Daniel age 22 (GFB class of 15)
Samantha age 19 (GFB class of 18) and John age 16 (GFB class of 21)
 Civic-Volunteer Activities:
Member, TUFSD Strategic Planning Committee
President, Order of the Sons of Italy in America, HH Rogers Cabrini Lodge
Former:
Orange County Legislator, 8th District (Chairman Personnel and Compensation Committee
Town of Tuxedo Councilman
Town of Tuxedo Deputy Supervisor
Town of Tuxedo Zoning Board of Appeals member
Town of Tuxedo Zoning Law revision committee member
Town of Tuxedo Master Plan committee chair
Founding Member of the Board of Directors of the Tuxedo Little League 
8 year Manager of Tuxedo Little League Teams
Eagle Scout Coordinator Boy Scouts
Education:
Pace University School of Law White Plains, NY Juris Doctor 
Graduate of the State University of NY at Buffalo BA Economics
 Employment:
Tuxedo Based Attorney and Small Business Owner

I am committed to providing the greatest possible educational opportunities to our children within Tuxedo. As part of the Strategic Planning Committee I explored opportunities to make our High School a top choice for out of district students to tuition in to us and to increase retention of Tuxedo children within our district. I focused on “College in the High School” whereby our children could take advantage of our small, safe environment and graduate High School with significant numbers of transferrable college credits. I am hoping to work on implementing that program if elected.
 As the former Chairman of the County’s Personnel and Compensation Committee I have extensive experience negotiating Government Employee Union Contracts and in searching for and hiring administrators and managers. As a Ways and Means Committee Member I have worked on $700+million government budgets and authored $90+million dollar budgets.
 While our cost per student has increased as we divide our fixed costs over fewer students, our taxes have remained reasonable. They are in fact lower than any of our surrounding districts. My commitment is to make sure that is always the case while providing the best possible education for our children.   
Finally, I want to make sure our schools remain the amazing educational facilities they have been. Having sent three children through our schools, I know the quality of education and positive impact our incredible teachers and staff provide from Kindergarten right through 12th grade.
I feel that I am well qualified for this important position. I know our community and many of the families that live here. I ask for your support.
 Thank you,
Dan Castricone
191 Maplebrook Rd
Tuxedo, NY 10987
E-mail dan@castriconelaw.com

Anne Susan Heywood [ Sue]

I am standing for the Board of Education because I am a resident of Tuxedo who cares deeply about the future of the town, the residents, and most particularly its children. The next Board will be making some important financial and educational decisions and I will commit my time to carefully considering all the facts and supporting, in a totally unbiased way, whatever is in the best interests of the students and the Tuxedo tax payers.
Born and brought up in England, I graduated from the University of London before embarking on a teaching career in international schools and high schools in six different countries. We made our home in the US in 1988; in Tuxedo in 2000.
Throughout my teaching career I have always been committed to developing extracurricular activities for the students, particularly Dramatic Arts. I have also coached team sports, swimming, and track.
After retiring, I linked up with Literacy Volunteers of America teaching Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language to adults. I also prepared students for GED. This led to my classes becoming a part of the programs offered by Tuxedo Park Library and currently Sloatsburg Library.
I was the founder of Tuxedo Performing Arts Group and served as its president for 11 years. I serve on the Vestry of St Mary’s Church and am Outreach Chair. We are passionately committed to helping local families, which has led me to interact with the faculty and students of Baker High School and George Grant Mason School.
The most important issues currently facing the School District have been identified by the Board of Education, and a Strategic Plan to address these has been set in place. I have studied their plans to increase enrollment, to promote the schools’ image to the wider community, and further enhance the quality of educational experience for all students.
If elected, I look forward to working to implement these plans in a fiscally responsible way. I believe my lifelong background in education has given me the ideas and experience necessary to contribute wisely and energetically to this work.

Michael Arone

Education/Degrees:
Suffern High School graduate
5 years of Steamfitter apprenticeship school
Vocation/Employer:
Employed by Local 638 Steamfitters (NYC)
Years of residency in Tuxedo:
I have lived in Tuxedo for 19 years (my wife Sheri is a life long resident of Tuxedo)
Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
I served 7 years on the Tuxedo Little League Board of Directors as well as managing/coaching teams. I served 3 years as den leader in Cub Scout Pack 2146.
Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I am running for a 2nd term on the TUFSD Board of Education because if given the opportunity I would like to continue to work on important issues such as the school budget, the execution of the 5 year strategic plan and to maintain transparency within the board and the community.
What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
One of the most important issues currently facing our school district is enrollment. Included in our strategic plan is marketing to people looking to tuition their kids to our schools. I understand that we are all concerned over student numbers in the classrooms but at the same time our children are receiving a quality education.
I believe we need to continue to improve student achievement as well as striving to increase enrollment. We have faced so many issues over the past 3 years, the decision has been made to keep the high school open, so now with the help of the community is the time to move forward to make our district the best it can be.
In closing, I encourage residents to attend any school board meetings that they can to witness the challenges that the board/district faces.

Lucy Cerezo Scully

My family and I moved to Tuxedo two years ago, although we had a home here for over nine years. In those nine years both my children attended summer camp and my youngest couldn’t wait until we were able to move permanently to Tuxedo.  Our biggest draw was the school and the surrounding community. 
I am educator teaching for over 25 years and have taught College courses as well as Pre-k. For the past three years I have worked closely with the NYS Education Department in the Standards Writing Committee and most recently I am serving on the Content Advisory Committee.  I am a teacher trainer for the NYS Education Department in my content specialty and hold an administrative license for School Building Leader. I believe this experience gives me a unique perspective to work with all stakeholders in collaborating to improve our school and student achievement.
Serving on the Tuxedo Education Board would afford me the opportunity to collaborate with our community in developing a high performing district.  I have been working with the Strategic Planning Community Sub-committee bringing forth many viable plans to support our school. The students are the future of this town. This is why I believe it is important to look into all possibilities to make our school strong and have a shared vision for the community.

Dorothy Ziegelbauer

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

My name is Dorothy Ziegelbauer, and I am running for a second term on the Tuxedo Board of Education.  In the three years I have served on the BOE I feel that we have made some significant strides to move the district forward. The board has worked diligently to ensure that our budgets are fiscally responsible, while also meeting the needs of the students in the district and enriching our educational programs.  

We have increased transparency into BOE business, which has vastly improved community relations. With board support the district has also modified its approach to assess student learning in conjunction with teacher performance. This enables administration to quantifiably identify and reward teachers for developing successful teaching strategies, as well as identify any deficits in student learning that can be proactively addressed in the classroom.

However, I believe there is still work to be done. We need to continually assess the effectiveness of our programs and ensure that we are providing the best education possible for the children in the district.
I support the STEM curriculum in our schools, but think that there are opportunities to improve this aspect of our programs, and am hopeful we can add additional enrichment opportunities for our students in this area.  We added additional STEM related field trip opportunities for all grade levels this year (K-12), and I think we should continue to look for ways to add unique STEM related opportunities to our programs.

I have a seventh grader in the district and love our small class sizes, and the individualized attention our children receive.  I like the fact that we have a private school feel in a public school setting. I feel that this aspect of our district is unique, and is something that should be celebrated.

Please support me and the, district by voting YES on Tuesday May 21st for the 2019/2020 School Budget.
Best regards
Dorothy Ziegelbauer

Listen to the May 15 Candidate Meet & Greet here

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Tuxapalooza May 21

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Agenda for BOE Meeting May 16, 2019

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George F. Baker High School Makes U.S. News & World Report List of Best High Schools

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Notice of BOE Special Meeting May 6, 2019

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TUFSD Music Department Presents Princesses & Villains" May 3 at 6:30pm

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Board of Education Meeting April 25, 2019

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Click here to view the Strategic Planning Committee's presentation to the Board

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting April 25, 2019

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Notice of Special BOE MeetingApril 24, 2019 - Executive Session Only

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TUFSD Presents "Cyber Security Concerns for Consumers and parents" April 10

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TUFSD Strategic Planning Committee Meeting April 3, 2019

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Notice of Budget Workshop & Special BOE Meeting April 4, 2019

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Notice of Special BOE Meeting March 28, 2019 - Executive Session Only

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Tuxedo PTO Launches Kindness Fundraiser

Posted 3/25/19

The Tuxedo PTO's main goal for this year is to finance some much needed improvements to the school's playground. After meeting with teachers, administrators and students alike, the issue that kept cropping up was the playground's lack of a shaded area. We did some research and came up with the idea of building an outdoor classroom—a gazebo-like structure that will have benches and chalkboards—where the kids can play, eat lunch, or enjoy a classroom lesson outside. 

Once we identified a project to focus on, we needed to come up with a way to pay for it. Enter Raise Craze, a fundraiser that encourages kids to be kind. So instead of asking family and friends to buy a product that they probably don't need, Raise Craze allows you to make a donation to our students based on their pledge to complete acts of kindness throughout the month. Each classroom teacher chose two acts of kindness—everything from baking cookies for the custodial staff to writing positive messages with chalk on school pathways, to sewing stuffed animals for the community—that they promised to complete with their class. The faculty will also be handing out "Kindness Coins" to students who they catch in the act of being exceptionally kind. In May, the PTO will host a Kindness Walk to celebrate the end of our fundraiser and to recognize the students who earned the most coins. 

Our goal for this fundraiser is $5,000. In less than a week we've already raised more than $1,300! Our Raise Craze endeavor is off to a fantastic start, but we still need the support of the entire Tuxedo community. Below is a link to the school's fundraiser page. (Each class also has its own fundraising page.) Our Raise Craze fundraiser ends on April 30th. Please donate before then if you can. Your money will be used to build an outdoor classroom that will serve the students of Tuxedo for years to come.

Thank you for your support!
The Tuxedo PTO

Link for donations and to read more about our fundraiser!
https://my.raisecraze.com/donate/a3479cn91q/

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Budget Review Process gets underway in the TUFSD

Posted 3/25/19

The budget process gets underway in the TUFSD this week, with multiple public meetings over the course of the next severl weeks

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Board of Education Meeting March 21, 2019

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting March 21, 2019

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TUFSD Strategic Planning Committee Meeting March 19, 2019

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TUFSD Strategic Planning Committee Launches Community-Wide Survey

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Dine to Donate for the Tuxedo PTO at Dottie Audrey's March 20

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TUFSD Strategic Planning Committee Meeting March 6, 2019

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Special Board ofEducation Meeting March 6, 2019

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting March 6, 2019

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Board of Education Meeting February 21, 2019

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting February 21, 2019

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TUFSD News Letter

Learning is "happening" all around the District. Check out the Tuxedo Happenings

Newsletter Here

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George. F Baker High School Presents CATCH ME IF YOU CAN The Musical

By Madison Spivak

Tickets are now on sale for George F. Baker High School’s production of Catch Me If You Can, a show featuring the true story of one of the most famous con artists in history: Frank William Abagnale Jr. (played by John Castricone). The plot follows teenage Frank Jr. as he runs away from home, cheats over one million dollars from the federal government, and finds the girl of his dreams. To evade witty FBI agent Carla Hanratty (played by Catherine Heavner), Frank Jr. poses as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and more under assumed names.

The cast and crew have been hard at work, and they’ve enjoyed watching the show come together. At this point in the production process, students are gathering props and costumes, building sets, and mastering their songs and choreography.

This is sophomore Castricone’s first experience as a lead, and he has learned a lot about perseverance this winter. “I’ve always had a ‘the show must go on’ attitude, and this year I had to put my money where my mouth is and get to work.” Heavner, a freshman, commented on the distinctiveness of George F. Baker’s theater program: “Everyone involved contributes to the production and is excited for rehearsal. The director isn’t a dictator, and the students have a say in the performance.”

You won’t want to miss Tuxedo students light up the stage in this fast-paced musical full of big band jazz, dance, and comedy, so catch a show - if you can!

Performance Times:

Friday, February 22 @ 7pm Saturday, February 23 @ 7pm Sunday, February 24 @ 2pm To Purchase Tickets Visit: https://tuxedo.booktix.com/

Cast Members

Frank Abagnale, Jr. …… ………………….............................…. John Castricone
Carla Hanratty ……………………..……………………………… Catherine Heavner
Brenda Strong & Stewardess ……………………………………... Madison Spivak
Paula Abagnale ………………………………………………………. Cristal Pichardo
Frank Abagnale, Sr. ………………………………….………………. Thomas Iazzetti
Agent Branton …………………………………………………………… Chima Operaji
Agent Cod ………………………………………………………………. Reginald Juance
Agent Dollar, Nurse & Patient ……………………………………... Grace Donnelly
Carol Strong ………………………………………………………...……. Grace Rinaldo
Roger Strong ………………………………………………………. Joseph Castellanos
Jack Barnes …………………………………………………..…….. Arturo Dominguez
Diane ………………………………………………………………………….. Eliza Vaught
Motel Manager ………………….…………………………………. Madison Villalobos
Cheryl Anne ………………………………………………..…………………. Leah Dolan
Stewardess, Nurse, FBI Agent & Dancer ……………………….... Gabriella Hekl
Stewardess, Nurse, FBI Agent, Dancer & Bully 1 …………….. Natalyn Peralta
Stewardess, Nurse, FBI Agent, Dancer & Bully 2 ..……….…. Rachel Levinsky
Principal Owings, Stewardess, Nurse, FBI Agent & Dancer..…… Ava Rattazzi
Tailor & Doctor ……………………………………………………………… Emilia Stillo
Train Conductor & India Ink ………………………………….……… Marley Vaught
Betty & Bartender …………………………………………………………… Zoe Vaught

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Special Board of Education February 7, 2019

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TUFSD Strategic Planning Commitee Meeting

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Special Board of Education Notice for February 7, 2019

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TUFSD Strategic Planning Commitee Meeting Notice for February 6, 2019

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TUFSD Strategic Planning Commitee Meeting Notice for January 30, 2019

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Board of Education Meeting January 17, 2019

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting January 17, 2019

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TUFSD Strategic Planning Committee Meeting January 10, 2019

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TUFSD Welcomes 6 New Students as Strategic Planning Gets Underway

As the kids headed back to school last week, the Tuxedo Union Free School District was pleased to welcome 6 new students: three in the elementary school and three in the high school.  Of these, 5 students are new Tuxedo residents and 1 is a tuition paying non-resident student.  All of this as strategic planning for the District’s future gets underway on Thursday evening with the first Strategic Planning Committee meeting, taking place in the multi-purpose room at 7pm.  Committee members include representatives from the Board Of Education, Administration, faculty and student body as well both resident and non-resident high school parents and members of both the Town Board and Village Board of Trustees.  The meeting will be open to the public.  The committee was formed following the BOE’s 6-1 decision to keep the high school open this past November.   Creating a strong strategic plan will be crucial for the District which has faced a fair amount of criticism since the departure of Greenwood Lake back in 2015.  Most of the opposition has been due to the low enrollment numbers, which have in turn led to a much higher cost-per-student rate.  Tuxedo’s budget remains the smallest in the area though at just over $13 million, and a majority of residents continue to support the high school, despite the high cost-per-student.
TPFYI will report on Strategic Planning efforts throughout the process and encourages all residents to keep informed.

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Strategic Planning Committee Meeting January 10, 2019

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Board of Education Meeting December 13, 2018

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting December 13, 2018

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Coffee Talk with the TUFSD Administration December 13

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting December 6, 2018

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Board of Education Meeting November 16, 2018

Click here to listen to the vote on the future of the high school

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Tuxedo Board Votes to Keep Baker HIgh School Open

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting November 15, 2018

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Tuxedo Students Coordinate Veterans's Day Card Campaign

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Special Board of Education Meeting November 1, 2018

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Agenda For Special Board of Education Meeting November 1, 2018

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Haunted Hallways at GFB Friday and Saturday Nights!

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Close, Consolidate or Wait: Schools GRapPle WIth Shrinking Enrollment

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Parents, Taxpayers Debate Fate of Tuxedo High School

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Tuxedo School Faces Closure Due To High Costs and Low Enrollment

 

Board of Education Meeting October 18, 2018

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Coffee Talk with the TUFSD Administration

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Special Board of Education Workshop October 10, 2018

The Board of Education conducted a workshop meeting on Wednesday October 10, 2018 for the purpose of discussing the Four Point Educational Consultant Study/George F. Baker High school and also to hear comments from the public on this matter.

****Due to circumstances beyond our control, both of the TPFYI recorders placed on the stage during the meeting were inadvertently switched off and a recording was not obtained.  The District does not record their meetings, and therefore we cannot share the meeting in its entirety with the public.  What follows is a synopsis based on notes:

Board President Allyson Arber opened the workshop by expressing her thoughts on the study and inviting each of the Board members to do the same.  While there were aspects of the report that the Board found to be helpful, such as the program comparison between GFB and nearby high schools as well as the cost saving estimates, by and large they expressed a sentiment of disappointment, suggesting that they would have liked to have seen more information with regard the effects of the various options on property values and also felt that the report was lacking in creative suggestions as to how the District might expand their program and increase enrollment. 
Board member Nancy Bourke read a prepared statement in support of GFB, referencing portions of the report which she feels supports maintaining the high school.  
The Board also expressed concern with the idea that should the high school close now, it could be re-opened at a later date as suggested in the report.  Although Four
Point did provide an example of a New York State school where this had occurred in their addendum, the information provided was limited and pertained to a middle school and not a high school.  The Board was unable to find/review important key data with regard to this example, such as reason for closure and enrollment.  Several Board members agreed that although the New York State Department of Education might technically allow for a school to close and reopen at a later date, they felt that in the case of Tuxedo, this would be highly unlikely and that should they decide to close the High School it would likely be a permanent decision. 

The public was then invited to comment.

****Without a recording to rely on, TPFYI is uncomfortable providing too much detailed information with regard to each comment and therefore will provide only an overview of what each person had to say based on notes.  This is by no means a detailed report of each comment. 

Bonnie LaBar expressed her frustration with the continued levels of uncertainty surrounding the future of the high school.  She believes the children in the District are thriving and that the high school should remain open.  She expressed concern that new families would not want to purchase homes in Tuxedo if there were no high school.

Board President Allyson Arber interjected, stating that a great deal of the uncertainty that existed within the community was the result of community members talking amongst themselves combined with unfortunate press from local news outlets.  She asserted that until the Board began discussing hiring a consultant earlier that year, the topic of closure had never been discussed or even raised.  She suggested that several headlines in the Tines Herald Record, specifically one labeling the district as “beleaguered” had helped to fuel the fires of uncertainty although she had done her best to refute this article by writing a quick response countering much of the information within.

Ernest Nuzzo feels that the high school should close and that the students should be tuitioned into Ramsey.  He believes that the cost per student is too high and that it is the fiduciary responsibility of the Board to right for the entire community.  He suggested that if the school were a business, it would be bankrupt.

Shari Brooks expressed concern with the constant comparison of the Tuxedo District to private schools, commenting that the only thing GFB has in common with a private school is small class size.  She feels that the enrollment is too low and wondered how low the District would allow it to go before they saw the need to close.  She believes that the high school should be closed.

Andy Berish suggested that the District should publicize some of the wonderful things that graduates of GFB have accomplished.  He himself is an alumni, having graduated in a class of fewer than 30 students.  He believes the school should remain open.

Ann Marie Voss spoke in support of the District.  She feels the high school should remain open.

Kelly Spranger identified herself as the parent of  both a GFB graduate as well aa a current 5th grader.  She expressed empathy for the Board, noting that they were faced with an enormous task.  She did passed along some information with regard to the Rye Union Free School District in Rye Brook, NY, which she described as the poster child for small schools, although admittedly it is much bigger than GFB.  The town of Rye Brook created their own District, which has been very successful and is now a major draw for the community. She also mentioned Sodus High School as well as Avenues School in New York City, which is a small, unique, specialized private international school.  She suggested that moving forward the District could benefit from some creative thinking when it came to the direction of their high school, further commenting that she had a friend in education who had directed her to these other small school districts and perhaps the Board would like to speak with her.

Mark Briggs stated that he was a GFB alumni and that all three of his children had attended the school.  Further, he sat on the BOE for 7 years.  He recalled that when he was on the BOE there was a great deal of frustration expressed by Greenwood Lake parents who felt that they were not well accommodated for and had no say in how things were governed as they were unable to have representation on the Board.  He cautioned that should Tuxedo tuition their students into another District, the same thing would happen and they would have no direct say over how things were run.

Joe Rickard commented that he had been attending BOE meetings for almost a decade and keeping well informed on the school.  Ideally, he is looking to see a great, transparent well managed school and he feels there has been some progress in this regard.  This being said, he believes that the enrollment is a serious problem.  63 children is not a small school in his view.  Small schools typically contain 350-900 students.  Referencing the consultants’ report he suggested that the data they had used on small schools was extremely outdated.  He believes that what Tuxedo has is a micro-school and he has done some research that suggests that micro -schools are not good for a number of reasons, such as learning gaps where schools are unable to address varied learning needs with limited resources.  Like Mrs. Brooks, he wondered how low the enrollment would have to go before the District deemed it too low.   He reminded the Board that the enrollment projections in the report suggested that enrollment would likely not grow and may in fact shrink over the next 5 years.  He believes that the enrollment is too low and his personal view is that the High School should close.

Jerry Motolla feels that the high school should remain open.  He is an alumni and many members of his family also attended the school and have gone on to great colleges and successful professions. He specifically referenced his nephews, who went to Ithaca and Cornell, and are now a Doctor and a Lawyer respectively.  He works as a college admissions counselor all over the surrounding area and sees great things coming out of GFB.

Angela Piatek is a retired teacher living in Tuxedo.  Noting that she had a good friend who taught in the District and that because of this she felt conflicted, she expressed concern with the low enrollment, wondering how low was too low.  She suggested that the Board should consider Suffern as an alternative further commenting that she was for the kids but she was also for her pocketbook.

Greg Tucker lives in Monroe and tuitions his son into the Tuxedo District.  The environment at Monroe Woodbury was not a fit for his son and he was very unhappy there.  Since coming to Tuxedo he is having a positive experience and his grades have gone up considerably.  He is happy in the small school environment.  Mr. Tucker believes there are other people in Monroe who might be interested in what Tuxedo has to offer but they are generally uneducated about George F. Baker and the opportunities that exist there.  The bad press coverage has not helped the situation.  Specifically the recent Times Herald Record article detailing the September 25 meeting had an incredibly misleading headline and while he felt that the article itself was alright, the headline was certainly a detriment.  Likening the District to a large business, he suggested that when things started going bad with a business there were two paths that could be explored.  The first was to begin cutting back and slimming down on things.  Most often however, this is not a successful way to save the business as it tends to have a domino effect on things.  Cutbacks only lead to more cutbacks later and a further downward spiral.  The second path is to make a new plan and to forge ahead towards new milestones with new objectives, which tends to promote success and growth.   He believes that the Tuxedo should follow this second path and remain open.  

Christopher Clark identified himself as the lawyer nephew of Jerry Matolla.  He is an alumni.  He noted that GFB had never been a big school, but that it had always been a good one, offering all the pertinent programs that lead to success.  He suggested that so long as the school was doing it’s job and educating kids well, it should remain open and that the BOE should only consider closing it when and if it was not doing the job it was supposed to do.

Rachel Artrip stated that she had once had four kids in the District but after Greenwood Lake left, they had decided to leave the Tuxedo District and attend Suffern.  She advised that although Suffern was a big school, her children never got lost there and she felt that there was never any danger of them slipping through the cracks.  She believes they all received plenty of individualized attention while having access to a wide range of sports and extra curricular activities.  She expressed concern with the fact that after five years the Board still did not know whether or not they would be able to reopen the school should they decide to close it.  She believes that many parents in Tuxedo are afraid of the larger Districts because they prefer to “helicopter” and micro-manage their children.  She suggested that it was not about class size, or the happiness of the students.  She further suggested that the Board should visit the other schools and take a look at the programs being offered there.  She feels that they are not doing their job by operating a high school for 63 kids.  63 kids.  This is the bottom line. 

Colleen Colletti commented that she had 3 children enrolled in GGM, which she feels has been amazing.  Two of the three are special education students and the attention and care they have received in the District has been fantastic.  She is however concerned about the low enrollment in the high school.  Education is more than academics and she expressed concern that GFB might not be properly preparing kids for life after high school.  She works in education in New Jersey, having attended Northern Highlands herself, where she had a good experience.  She also believes that it would be possible to reopen the school at a later date were it to close now.

Jill Brown identified herself as a former parent, who had at one time been extremely supportive of the District.  She expressed gratitude to a number of teachers individually who had helped to educate her children over the years.  Since removing her daughter from the High School several years ago she feels that the quality of the program has declined.  Citing recent AP scores in math and science she compared the number of kids at GFB who took the AP classes to the number that received a score of 3 or higher on the test, suggesting that the number of high achieving students in Tuxedo was extremely low compared to other Districts and that this was particularly alarming in a STEM environment.  She feels that the Board should be looking closely at the data and considering the facts as well as the finances.  It is her view that George F. Baker should be closed and the students tuitioned into a high performance district. 

Donna Mertz stated that her children had attended GGM early on, but that ultimately they had left the District to attend the Academy of St. Paul.  She commented that she had recently been following several conversations about the school on Facebook, where it had been suggested on more than one occasion that GFB was “not for everyone.”  She agreed that this was true, but commented that she believed it should be for everyone.  She went on to say that she had done some research and put together a list of 59 students who currently live in the District but attend other schools.  There are just as many kids attending other schools as there are attending GFB!  She submitted the list to the Board for their review. 

Maureen Coen commented that she had gotten involved with the process roughly a year ago and was grateful to the Board for their responsiveness and the time and effort they had put into finding and hiring a consultant.  This being said, she feels that there are shortcomings in the consultant’s report.  Specifically, the report does not really address the school’s impact on property taxes now or in the future given the various options.  She referenced the Pocantico Hills School district in Westchester, where students have been given a choice between several good high schools and this in turn has increased property values and made the community much more desirable.  She believes GFB is a good school, but cautioned that maybe good is not enough.

Sally Sonne introduced herself as long standing member of the Tuxedo community, further commenting that while she had not educated her children in the District, she had always been a supporter and continued to be supportive.  She feels that the school is at the heart of the community and if it is closed, the community will suffer greatly for it.  She pointed out that many people believed the Town was already dying and that closing the school could be the final nail in the coffin.  She also cautioned that closing the high school would likely have a domino effect on GGM.  She suggested that should the District begin tuitioning their students in elsewhere, as the community begins to grow each new student would become a tax-negative.  She urged the Board not to give up and to keep GFB open.

Bonnie Takeuchi agreed with Mrs. Sonne.  She believes that the High School is all the Town has left and that closing it would have a devastating effect on the community.  She is a big proponent of small schools.  The kids are safe in Tuxedo.  They care about their teachers and their teachers care about them.  Teachers are happy and enjoy coming to work.  The program is strong and the kids are thriving.  She believes that the high school must remain open.

John Horn commented that he had not intended to speak but after listening to many of the comments felt that he might have something important to offer to the dialogue.  He further explained that he had grown up in Saddle River and attended a small elementary school there, where he had done quite well.   When he was in 6th grade, Saddle river closed their school and he was the first class sent over to Ramsey Middle school, which was a much larger and more diverse environment.  Although it was not the easiest of transitions at first, over time, he found his place and fit right in.  He continued on to a large high school, where he also did well.  He believes that he is better for having been put into the larger, more diverse environment…and that being exposed to the diversity provided for a stronger experience.  He feels that kids need to be challenged in order to grow.  He suggested that if he had thrived in that environment that others could as well.
 
Michele Hines identified herself as a GFB alumni who grew up in the Tuxedo community and was now a teacher in the District.  After college she taught in both the Suffern and Washiingtonville Districts but ultimately chose to return “home” because the environment in Tuxedo is unique and special.  Teaching in the larger environments did not provide her with the opportunity to get to know any of her students.  The only students she ever got to know were the ones she would coach in athletics.   She suggested that in the larger schools, students were basically just numbers, but in Tuxedo they are like family.  Every day students choose to come into her classroom and share their lunch period with her and she loves that!  The kids have the opportunity to get involved in a lot of different things.  Students play on sports teams and participate in dramatic productions simultaneously.  There are a multitude of clubs for them to get involved with.  Activities are all inclusive.  There are no cuts and nobody is turned away.  The sports program although limited is very successful.  For the past 5 years her varsity Volleyball team has made it to sectionals and for the past 2 they have won those and progressed to the State Final Four.  Last year’s Varsity baseball team were Section 9 Champions! Referencing Mrs. Brown’s comments about the AP scores, she stated that at GFB any student who wanted to try taking an AP course was permitted a shot at it .  She further pointed out that the District had recently been named one of the top 3 Schools in the Hudson Valley and that recent Math and ELA scores placed them in the top two for Orange County. 

Shane Kearney is a sophomore currently attending GFB.  He loves it.  He values his life-long friendships and the close bonds he has formed with his teachers, who he believes go out of their way to help him succeed.
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Michele Spano has four children in the District.  Prior to enrolling them 3 years ago, they were home schooled.  When they first started in the District she was very happy with the program and the small size of the school but as time has gone on, she has become more and more dissatisfied.  She believes there are issues at the administrative level and that the environment is insular and dysfunctional.  She suggested that some of the kids felt that situations were dealt with unfairly and that the management needed to be fixed and fresh people brought in to run things.  There is little to no diversity in the school and this is problematic and, in her view, a little creepy.  She has begun to consider removing her kids from the District.

Beth Murray stated that she felt the administration was caring and attentive and that they had been good to her children and her family.

Zoe Vaught is a freshman and she loves the school.  She likes the small class size and the relationships she has with her teachers and her friends.  She does not want to go to a larger school and would like the school to remain open. 

Eliza Vaught is also a freshman who loves GFB.  She likes knowing everybody in all of her classes and feeling comfortable and close with all of her teachers.  She would like to remain  in Tuxedo with her friends at the high school.

John MacNamara thanked the Board for all of their time and effort, further stating that he had attended almost every Board meeting for the past several years and he understood what an incredible amount of time they put in as volunteers.  He stated that whatever the decision ended up being, he hoped that the community could find a way to come together and get behind it.

Rich Ratazzi commented that he and his family had always been supporters of the district. .  He has a daughter who is currently in the 7th grade and doing very well.  His older two daughters did not attend the high school, mainly because of all the uncertainty surrounding its future. He hopes that the Board will come to a decision and that whatever it is, the uncertainty will finally be put to rest. 

Peter Bush expressed concern with the level of control that the Developers of Tuxedo Farms seem to have had over the District and the Town.  He suggested that ever since he had arrived in Tuxedo several years ago, the developer had making demands while suggesting that the project was shovel ready…but all these years later nothing was happening.  He believes that they are lying to the community and they are in no position to demand that Tuxedo close its school.  He felt that the Town Board should be supportive of the School and that the two Boards should consider making a united stand against the developer, who is not delivering.

Commenting that she was likely the oldest person in the room, Madeline Dowling stated that she had been born and raised in Tuxedo. She would like to see the school remain open.

Adriane LaBar Dowling is a sophomore currently attending GFB and she loves it.  She values the sense of community and understanding that comes with being in the small environment.  She implored the Board to keep the school open. 

Jake Matthews stated that he was an alumni of GFB who had enjoyed a strong, positive experience at the school, before continuing on to a good University.   He cautioned that he did not believe it likely that they would ever be able to reopen the school should they decide to close it now and that the Board should keep this in mind when making their decision.

Town Board member Ken English commented that he had come to the meeting the listen and observe.  He lives in Northern Tuxedo, which is a part of the Monroe Woodbury school district.  Recently there was a referendum to redraw the District lines there and he found it exceedingly frustrating that even though he pays over $8,000 annually in school taxes, as a resident of Tuxedo he had no say in that vote.  He suggested that this was something to keep in mind when considering tuitioning in to another District. 

 

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Tuxedo School Faces Closure Due To High Costs and Low Enrollment

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School District Releases Addendum To Educational Consultants' Report

On  Saturday, October 6 the School District posted an addendum to the recently released Educational Consultants’ report to their website. The addendum directly addresses questions that were raised by both the Board and the Public during the Consultant’s presentation on September 25.  Items addressed in the addendum include athletic and extra-curricular comparisons between Tuxedo and the four exploratory districts (Monroe Woodbury, Suffern, Ramsey and Northern Highlands) as well as crucial information about the effects of Special Education costs on the overall projected savings associated with closing the high school, which were not included in the original report.  Also included is a link to information about Holland Middle School, which is a public middle school in New York state which was reportedly allowed to close and then re-open at a later date.
Click here to read the addendum

Additional information as requested of the district by members of the public following the September 25 meeting has been posted the District website.

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Special Board of Education Workshop October 10, 2018

Click here to view the notice of agenda

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Tuxedo School Board to Vote on Future of High School November 15

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Tuxedo School Board sets vote on Baker High's Fate

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Board of Education Meeting September 25, 2018

Click Here to read a copy of the full Educational Consultant's Report

Click here to listen to a recording of this meeting

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting September 25, 2018

Click Here to view the agenda for this meeting

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Special Board of Education Meeting September 12, 2018

Click Here to hear a recording of this meeting

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Notice of Special Board of Education Meeting September 12, 6pm

Click Here to vIew the notice

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Board of Education Meeting August 23, 2018

Click Here to listen to a recording of this meeting

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting August 23, 2018

Click Here to view the agenda for this meeting

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Tuxedo union Free School Circulates Town-Wide Survey

The Tuxedo Union Free School District is working on a new long-term plan for the education of its students.  One of the key issues that the new plan will address is how best to serve the District’s high school students.  To support their planning work, they have engaged FourPoint Education Partners to gather and analyze a variety of data, including input for community residents.  In order to ensure that they are gathering data from as many residents as possible, FourPoint has created a short, on-line survey that is available to all community members.  The survey is anonymous - they will not be able to tell who submitted the information.  Survey results will be collected and analyzed by FourPoint.  Aggregate results from the survey will be included in the final report from the consultants and available to the public.  Adults and students are invited to complete the survey.  Only one survey per person will be accepted.  All results submitted by August 10 will be included in the analysis.  Every household was sent a postcard containing the survey link.  The link can also be found on the District website: http://www.tuxedoufsd.org.

 

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Tuxedo Lowers Tuition to Non-District Students

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Board of Education Reorganization/Regular Monthly Meeting, 2018

The Board of Education met on Tuesday July 10 at 8pm. All members were present.

Click Here to listen to a recording of the meeting, commencing after the baseball recognitions.

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting July 10, 2018

Click Here to view the agenda for this meeting

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Board of Education Meeting June 14, 2018

The Board of Education met on ThUrsday, june 14 at 7pm. board member Diane Petrosky was absent.

The meeting began with a recognition of the Varisty baseball team, who recently won the Section 9 Championships.

Each player was called forward by name.

Click Here to listen to a recording of the meeting, commencing after the baseball recognitions.

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting June 14, 2018

Click Here to view the agenda for this meeting

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School District Seeks Community Input With Educational Consultant

The Tuxedo Union Free School District recently engaged a National educational consulting firm for the purpose of developing a long-term plan for the education of its students, with particular focus on the High School.  As part of this process, the firm will be conducting community focus groups on the evenings of June 4 and June 5 at 7pm.  All community members are invited and encouraged to attend and vice their opinions as collecting feedback from all stake holders is a critical part of the process. 

R.S.V.P. is necessary

Click here to view the open invitation from the School District.

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Board of Education Meeting May 17, 2018

Click here to listen to an audio recording of this meeting

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School Budget Vote/Board of Education Election Results

Voters came out in record numbers for the budget vote/Board of Education elections on Tuesday, May 15.  Here are the results:

 

Budget:

Yes – 357

No – 84

 

School Board:

Allyson Arber – 372

Mary Elizabeth Vaught – 316

Kimberly Breiland – 303

Paul DiPaolo – 143

Donna Posta – 140

 

Set up $250,000 Capital Reserve:

Yes – 314

No – 117

 

Fund Repair Reserve for $150,000

Yes – 314                           

No – 113

 

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting May 17, 2018

Click Here to view the agenda for this meeting

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Meet The Candidates For Board of Education

Elections for the Board of Education will take place on May 15, 2018 from 2pm-9pm in the multi-purpose room at George Grant Elementary School.  This year, there are 5 candidates vying for 3 open spots.  In an effort to help residents get a better idea of who the candidates are, why they have chosen to run and what their priorities will be if elected, TPFYI presented each Candidate with the following questionnaire.   Below are their unedited responses in the order they are received.

KIMBERLY BRELLAND

Name

Kimberly Breiland

Education/Degrees:  Pratt / BFA

Vocation/Employer:  I own a boutique design/marketing firm, 22 Graphics, incorporated 27 years ago; founded theNYnetwork, an all women’s networking group, 11 years ago; president of Lodge Brooklyn, Sons of Norway for the last 3 years.

Years of residency in Tuxedo: We moved to Tuxedo two years ago and are enthralled.

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo: I have participated in a few town and St. Mary events and look forward to future opportunities.

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?

Being a newcomer can be an advantage. It might be the right time to have an outsider with-out specific views in one direction or another to be seated at the table. I can provide this vision, voice, and sounding board. This concerns all of Tuxedo, but now this issue impacts my family as well, as we are tax payers, have a daughter in the school, and are concerned with the communities growth, strength, and well being.

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?

A clear vision of our future is vital. Putting in place short and long term goals for our school districts' future which addresses financial and academic concerns is essential.

Regarding finances, the choice of remaining open or tuition-out must be carefully analyzed. This is needed for a transparent view of the consequences of the outcome, with a 10-20 year outlook.

To remain open we need a robust and dynamic curriculum which will make our district a highly desirable choice. Building off our history of high test scores and promoting STEM, with the possible addition of the arts, creates a unique, and therefore attractive environment for a public school. Statistically this increases student enrollment and real estate value with a decrease in school tax. Our community is only as strong as our public school. I am aware of the interdependence between a successful public school and business development, property values, and standards of living in our community.

To tuition-out it is essential to know the impact it will have on our students and families, future real estate values, and school tax. As a community we need to secure contracts insuring costs will not escalate and we continue to have a voice in the education of our students.

I will take initiative to identify all challenges from each angle, dive into research, and seek viable solutions that work. I am committed to an outcome that is in the best interest of our residents, entitled to prudent use of tax dollars, our remaining a desirable place to live, a healthy community life style, and quality education for our children.

DONNA POSTA

Name: 
Donna Posta

Education/Degrees:
I attended both Ithaca College and Rockland Community College.  I chose leave school to start a career as a Purchasing Agent and after 10 years, I took some time to stay at home and raise my 3 children. I am now a Logistics Coordinator where I am negotiating pricing and contracts with carriers to transport goods from all over the United States and Europe.

Vocation/Employer:
I worked as a part-time aide and greeter at George Grant Elementary School for 4 years. I am currently employed as a Logistics Coordinator at Opici Family Distributing

 Years of residency in Tuxedo: I’ve lived in Tuxedo’s East Village for the past 25 years.

 Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
I served as both secretary and vice-president of the Tuxedo PTO for 6 consecutive years

 Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I am running for the Board of Education, hoping to be a part of the process identifying a solution for our current issues.  With two children in the district, I feel the need to act on my ideas for the district’s future as opposed to voicing them at Board meetings. I want to work together as a team exploring new avenues and ultimately, make the best decision for the community, but mostly, for the students. I believe all the conclusions made by the consultants should be easily available to all members of the community and presented with all the facts given to us. This should include the actual number of school age children in our town, not just the children in the district’s data base.  What, factually, will happen to our taxes and our property values, should tuitioning our students out to other schools be the best option? Our community needs the answers to these questions based on fact.

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?  The biggest issue our district and community are currently facing is determining how we can improve all aspects of the high school experience. Are we providing our children with the best academic, extracurricular and social environment with the resources we have available?  
I fully support the current School Board’s decision to hire an expert to aide us in answering that question.  I look forward to hearing their conclusions and am open to making the best decision for our students and our community.

ALLYSON ARBER

Name:

Allyson Arber

Education/Degrees: BBA in Accounting

Vocation/Employer:  I am currently employed as the Tax Director for a residential real estate developer.  Prior to my current employment, I spent twenty years as a tax professional for two national public accounting firms. 

Years of residency in Tuxedo:  My family has lived in Tuxedo since 2005.

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:  I have served on the Board of Education since 2015.  I served as an officer of the Tuxedo PTO for two years, and have also volunteered for the Tuxedo Little League.

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?

I am running for re-election because I believe that while the Board has made progress over the past few years, there is still work to be done, and I would like the opportunity to finish the work that we have started.  Aside from my business acumen, I am a rational and open-minded voice, and have worked diligently to serve the Board well during my term. 

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?

The biggest issue currently facing our school district is our high school enrollment.  We have an extraordinarily difficult decision ahead of us with respect to how best to educate our students in grades 9 through 12.  Before making this decision, I think it is imperative that we thoroughly examine the current and future implications of all available options.  To that end, the Board has engaged an educational consulting firm to assist in the process of information gathering and data analysis.  While it is unlikely that there will be an outcome that will please everyone within the community, it is critical that we have the right information on which to base this decision.  I encourage everyone to stay informed and let their voices be heard throughout this process, as this decision will impact all residents for many years to come. 

As a result of our current enrollment numbers, our spending on a per pupil basis is higher than that of surrounding districts.  While computing the incremental cost of educating a student within our District is much more complicated than taking our total budget and dividing it by the number of students, I do believe it is crucial that the Board continue to look for creative solutions for operating our small district as cost-efficiently as possible, without compromising the quality of the education we are offering.   I also believe that this year’s budget process, whereby all residents were afforded the opportunity to participate in a review of our budget on a line-by-line basis, was certainly a step in the right direction, and I am hopeful this process will continue in the future. 

Thank you for your time, and please come out to vote on May15th!


MARY VAUGHT

Name:
Mary E. Vaught     

Education/Degrees:
Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California

Vocation/Employer:
Executive Assistant, Chartwell Worldwide Speakers Bureau

Years of residency in Tuxedo:
I have lived in Tuxedo Park for 42 years

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Tuxedo Board of Education 2015 – Present
Episcopal Youth Fellowship - Youth Leader - 2015-Present
Officer of the Tuxedo PTO – 2009-2014
St. Mary’s Pre-School – Board Member/Teacher – 2007-2009
Tuxedo Park Library – Memorial Day Picnic Committee – 2008-Present

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?
I am running for re-election to the Board Of Education because I care passionately about the education of the children in the Town of Tuxedo as well as the long-term viability and success of our community.   While I believe the Board has made some progress in the last 3 years, there is still work that needs to be done and I would like the opportunity to finish what has been started.

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?
Low enrollment in our high school is one of the largest issues the Tuxedo District currently faces.  The smaller number of students causes some residents to question the viability of the school, despite the strong academic program that is offered there, and also increases per student expenses.  Addressing this issue is extremely challenging.  Despite the small class sizes and the unique familial atmosphere, tuitioning in non-resident students at a rate that is competitive with many parochial schools has proven difficult while marketing efforts can be quite costly and have shown limited results.  So what do we do?  The District has recently employed an educational consultant to take a close look at the program in order to ensure that the what is being offered is both academically strong and fiscally responsible.  Ahead of those results, in my view, the best solution is to use this time to focus our energy on finding creative ways to augment and strengthen our program.  We are in an incredibly unique situation and our small size opens the door to opportunities that simply do not exist with larger schools.  What Tuxedo needs is some real “out of the box” thinking and planning in order to examine  ways in which we can create and provide learning opportunities that mix grade levels, disciplines and learning styles while encouraging more hands on project based learning, without significantly increasing our budget.  How can we make better use of technology to offer a wider range of courses to our students?  How can we expand our arts program?  How can we take better advantage of our proximity to New York City? These are the types of things the District should be looking at.  If we can create a program that offers opportunities that students can’t get elsewhere, it will be easier to attract non-resident students to the District while we wait for the development to replenish the local population.  Some change is necessary.  This is no longer the same District it once was when Greenwood Lake students attended and it is imperative that this be both acknowledged and embraced.  We need to ensure that we are offering our children the best possible education while maintaining control over what we are going to pay for it.

Another serious issue currently plaguing the District is the lack of sound, strategic planning.  It is crucial in my view that the District put together a solid, clear 5-year strategic plan, which outlines bold objectives and details how they will be achieved.  While the plan should be aligned with the District’s annual goals of improving test scores and increasing professional development, it must differ significantly, specifically laying out the framework for how they intend to strengthen their program.  Built into this plan must be a cycle of constant public review and evaluation in order to provide strong accountability.  Without a strategic plan to guide improvement, it is all too easy for the District to become bogged down by day-to-day/month-to-month operations.

Finally, I feel that the District needs to work on both improving and enhancing communications with the Tuxedo community.  Currently, the main source of communication is the District’s website, their social media presence and their bi-annual mailings.  This is problematic because residents who do not have children enrolled in the school, and even some of those who do, do not visit the District website with any regularity nor do they follow it on social media.  The unfortunate result is that a lot of residents have no idea what is happening in the schools!  The District must find ways to directly and physically engage the community that do not involve the computer or the mailbox!  How do we accomplish this?  Some of my suggestions include: getting involved with the Tuxedo Farmer’s Market (a weekly booth in the fall would allow the District the opportunity to showcase whatever it may choose….student projects and/or art work, National Honor Society efforts, STEM endeavors etc.), actively exploring opportunities for students with both the Sterling Forest State Park and Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board in an effort to have the students working directly with community members to enhance this beautiful spot in which we all live, working in conjunction with the St. Mary’s Youth group (EYF) to promote community service in a social environment, more widely promoting our fabulous music groups by exploring increased opportunities to have them perform in and around Town and various events (Farmer’s Market, Chamber events, Family Fun Day, etc), working directly with organizations such as the Tuxedo Park Library and the Chamber of Commerce to more frequently utilize the districts beautiful and historic auditorium by bringing in speakers and performers who will benefit the entire community, establishing a closer relationship with Tuxedo Park School by creating an annual calendar of 3-5  joint events be they athletic, educational or social and finally maintaining a regular, monthly presence at municipal meetings.

PAUL DiPAOLO

Name:

Paul DiPaolo

Education/Degrees:
1991 Rutgers College, BA Communications

Vocation/Employer:
NBC Universal - 15 + years with NBC Sports

Years of residency in Tuxedo:
17

Volunteer Work in the Town of Tuxedo:
Volunteer on town board of Recreation. 
Leader of the committee that formed the Tuxedo Little League. Former President of the Tuxedo Little League.

Briefly, why are you running for The Board of Education?

There is so much confusion in our town regarding the High School and the students who attend/ do not attend and the multitude of reasons why. Since Greenwood Lake left the district, there has been a lot of “talk” in Tuxedo regarding the pros and cons of our high school. I feel it is time to take action and try to determine solutions to the challenges we face, not just talk about them! I want to help our Board work with the recently hired consultant to determine the best solution to offer ALL high-school age students in Tuxedo the best possible opportunity for a quality education and overall high-school experience that includes a variety of extra-curricular, social activities and sports.

What are the most important issues currently facing the School District and if elected how would you propose to address them?

  1. The small size of our high school and the large number of children who leave the district in particular for high school but at all grade levels
  2. The perception of the poor quality of the High School
  3. The limited extra-curricular activities, electives and sports offered by the high school
  4. The impact the divided community is having on Tuxedo – wouldn’t it be great to have a high school that the majority of children in the town look forward to going to/attend together?
  5. The impact the high school is having on real estate values, taxes and the town as a whole.

We need to work with the recently hired consultant to take decisive actions that are in the best interest of the majority of the children in Tuxedo.  If tuitioning-out our high school students is the recommendation of the consultant we need to have the courage to implement it. We need the consultant to provide solid guidance, factual comparisons to other schools and tax and property value assessments so the School Board can make an objective decision to determine the best future for the children in our town now, and for many years to come.  

Our small elementary /middle school needs to receive the attention and investment it deserves to become a better, more reputable school.  My son is currently an 8th grader out-of-district – he started at GGM.  There are 8 children in his current out-of-district class who started GGM and left (and others who left for different schools).  Why? Children are leaving in every grade – the board needs to address the issues to make sure students want to attend GGM and are receiving the education and opportunities they deserve.

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Tuxedo's Proposed School Budget To Have a 5.46% Tax Levy Reduction

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TUFSD College Acceptances 2018

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Board of Education Meeting April 19, 2018

Click here to listen to an audio recording of this meeting

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Tuxedo School Board Adopts $13.18M Budget

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Board of Education President Responds to Recent Times Herald Record Article

Board of Education President, Allyson Arber, has issued a response letter to the Times Herald Record's 4/15/18 article entittled "Tuxedo considers hiring consultant to help decide high school’s fate"

Click here to read the letter

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Tuxedo Awarded O&R STEM Grant

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Tuxedo Is Awarded $6000 HAAS Foundation Grant

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Tuxedo STEM Program Awarded $6,000 Grant

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting April 19, 2018

Click Here to view the agenda for this meeting

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Board of Education Special Meeting/ Budget Workshop April 12 5 & 7pm

The Board of Education will hold Special Meeting at 5pm on Thursday, April 12 for the purpose of receiving presentations from Educational Consulting Companies in response to their recent RFP.  This meeting will take place in the high school library.  Following the presentations, at 7pm, the Board will conduct a budget work shop in the multi-purpose room.

Click Here to view the agenda for these meetings

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Board of Education Meeting March 15, 2018

Click here to listen to an audio recording of this meeting

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George F. Baker High School Presents The Little Mermaid March 16-18

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting March 15, 2018

Click here to view the agenda for this meeting.

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Important Information Regarding The Tuxedo School District

The Tuxedo Union Free School District has recently put out a Request For Services (RFP) as they move forward with their intent to hire an educational consultant who will explore in depth the options for the education of students in grades 9 through 12. The TUFSD is seeking to maximize the academic and extracurricular opportunities available to our students in a fiscally responsible manner.

You can read a statement from the Board President Allyson Arber here.
You can review the RFP in its entirety here.  

Additionally, School Budget season is almost here.  

The Budget Development Calendar can be found here

This year, for the first time, a separate Board of Education committee has been put together for the purpose of conducting a public line-by-line review of the budget.  This committee will meet a total of 4 times.  The schedule for these meetings can be found here.

TPFYI encourages all residents to take the time to educate themselves first hand with regard to the school as it is an important entity, which has a direct effect on all taxpayers, families and school children in the District.

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George F. Baker High School Presents The Little Mermaid March 16-18

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Children's Dental Month marked at George Grant Mason School

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Tuxedo Always On Alert

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Board of Education Meeting February 15, 2018

The Board of Education met on February 15, 2018 at 7pm. Board member Mike Arone was absent.

To listen to a complete recording of this meeting, click here.

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Statement from The Town Of Tuxedo Police Department

In considering recent and tragic events in the State of Florida, their community and citizens having our heartfelt support, the Town of Tuxedo Police Department has had dialogue with the Tuxedo School District and Superintendant Nancy Teed. The Town of Tuxedo Police and the Tuxedo School District, having a close relationship, have mutually agreed upon the use of frequent patrols of the schools and grounds. Please understand the presence of police at schools as the Town of Tuxedo Police Department will be present, conducting patrols and walk-throughs. The purpose is to help ensure the safety of our students, faculty and community. Any safety or other concerns should be addressed to the Town of Tuxedo Police Department at 845-351-5111 or the Tuxedo School District at 845-351-4786. As always, dial 911 for any emergency and please be safe.

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George F. Baker High School Presents The Little Mermaid March 16-18

Order your tickets online now by clicking here

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting February 15, 2018

Click here to view the agenda for this meeting.

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Tuxedo Union Free School District & Tuxedo Park Ambulance Corps Present 'Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program - Friday, February 23

Click here for more information.

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Statement From The Board of Education January 23, 2018

January 23, 2018 



Dear Members of the Tuxedo Community: 

The Tuxedo Board of Education continually strives to provide an outstanding educational experience for every student in our district. In pursuit of this goal, the Board has decided to issue a request for proposal, seeking the services of an educational consultant. The consultant will be asked to explore various options for the education of our students in grades 9 through 12, to maximize the academic and extracurricular opportunities available in a fiscally responsible manner. The primary goal of this endeavor is to provide the Board with the information necessary to determine the best path forward for our current and future high school students. 

We will continue to provide you with updates as this process moves forward. In the interim, the Administration and Faculty are looking forward to and have been actively preparing for the 2018-2019 school year for grades K through 12. 


If you have any questions or would like any additional information, please feel free contact me at 

boe@tuxedoufsd.org


Sincerely, 

Allyson Arber 

President, TUFSD Board of Education 

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Board of Education Meeting January 18, 2018

The Board of Education met on January 18, 2018 at 7pm. Board member Diane Petrosky was absent.

To listen to a complete audio recording of this meeting, click here.

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Revised Agenda for Board of Education Meeting, January 18, 2018

Click here to view this agenda

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Special Board of Education Meeting January 11, 2018

The Board of Education held a special meeting on January 11, 2018 at 7pm for the purpose of discussion regarding having an independent consultant complete a study of the Tuxedo Union Free School District.

Board members Adam Eirand, Nancy Burke and Dorothy Zeigelbauer were absent.


To listen to a complete audio recording of this meeting, click here.

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Agenda For Special Board of Education Meeting January 11, 2018

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that, a special meeting of the Board of Education of the Tuxedo Union Free School District will be held on 01/11/18 at 7:00 PM in the Multipurpose Room of the George Grant Mason School.

The purpose of this meeting is for board discussion regarding having an independent consultant complete a study of the Tuxedo Union Free School District.

There will be an opportunity for public comment. (3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total for the meeting)

 

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School Taxes Information

 A lot of people have been asking whether or not they can pay their school taxes early...the same way they are able to pay Real Property Taxes in Town this week. Unfortunately, the answer is no. This is because the school cannot obtain a tax warrant until at least 30 days after the budget vote, which occurs in mid-May. You can read all about it on their website.

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Board of Education Meeting December 21, 2017

The Board of Education met on on Thursday, December 21 at 7:00pm. all members were present.

To listen to a complete audio recording of this meeting, click here.

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Agenda For Board of Education Meeting December 21, 2017

Click here to view the agenda for this meeting.

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Tuxedo Students Join Forces To Jump Start Annual Toy Drive

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Board of Education Meeting November 16, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, November 16 at 7pm.  Board members Mike Arone and Diane Petrosky were absent.

 

Public Comment:
There were no public comments.

Administrator’s Reports:
Business Administrator – Business Administrator Marc Matatia reported that the District had been contacted the previous week by the State Education Department with regard to an administrative review of the Food Service Program.  The S.E.D. will be coming into the District on December 14 and there will also be an offsite review prior to this.  This is mainly a review of the program’s operation as well as the District’s procurement process.

Board member Meg Vaught inquired as to whether or not the review was done in conjunction with the Board of Health. 

The answer was no.  It is done in conjunction with the Child Nutrition program, which is overseen by State Education.  Each Region has an individual responsible for overseeing their program and this is the person who will be visiting the District on the 14th.  They will be analyzing things such as Offer vs. Serve and the Free and Reduced program.
K-12 Principal – Principal Schrammel’s report was included in the Board’s monthly packet. There were no questions.

Superintendent’s Report – Superintendent Teed began by noting that the 7th and 8th grade students had spent the day on a Field Trip at the National Museum of Mathematics in New York City.  The trip gave students the opportunity to “understand the roll of mathematics in eliminating the patterns and structures all around us,” and everyone had a great time.

The Varsity Women’s Volleyball Team will be competing in the State Final Four Tournament on Saturday, November 18 in Glens Falls at 3pm and Superintendent Teed wished them good luck on behalf of the entire District.

The First Elementary School Musical entitled Magic Tree House/The Knight At Dawn will take place on November 17 and 18 at 7pm.  Tickets can be purchased through the school’s website.

The National Honor society has a food drive underway to assist families in need.  There are collection baskets located in the lobby of the High School.  Mrs. Martin will transport the food to the Greenwood Lake and Sloatsburg food pantries within the next week. 
Mrs. Teed next extended her thanks to both St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and the Sloatsburg food pantry for providing families in the community with turkey and fixings for Thanksgiving dinner, noting that a lot of hard work goes into this annual event.
The annual Toy Drive, run by Dr. David Kaufer in conjunction with the Suffern Police Department will kick off the week of November 20.  Boxes for toy collection will be located at the Town Hall and in Dottie Audrey’s as well as The Orange Top, The Barber Shop, The Tuxedo Park Library and in the lobbies of both school buildings.  They are asking for new, unwrapped toys to benefit those who may be in need this holiday season.

K-6 parent teacher conferences will take place on Wednesday November 22 from 1-2:48 and Wednesday, November 29 from 5-8pm. 

Winter concerts will be taking place on Thursday, December 7, with K-6 taking place at 1:45pm and 7-12 at 7pm in the High School auditorium.

GGM Saturday basketball begins on Saturday, December 2 and times will be listed on the school calendar on the District website.

OCSBA Update – Board member Meg Vaught reported that the Orange County School Boards Association meeting of November 1 had featured a presentation from Tammy Rhein, Director of Mental Health Service for the Orange County Department of Health, who spoke about the opioid epidemic and it’s impact on schools.  She reviewed some of the grim statistics relating to overdose rates in this area as well as addiction patterns and stressed that recommendation is that all districts work hard to educate everyone; students, teachers, parents and administrators alike.  She further suggested that the department of health was willing to conduct educational seminars and that it might be good idea for Tuxedo to host such an event and invite members of the surrounding communities to attend as well.  She believes this would be to everyone’s benefit. “You never think it is going to happen to you, until it does,” she cautioned.  Additionally, she reported that many districts, including BOCES, are making sure to have Narcan on hand at all of their facilities and are actively training various individuals in how to administer it.
Also discussed at the OCSBA meeting was the recent NYSSBA convention, which went very well as well as OCSBA’s legislative platform for the coming year.  Next month’s meeting will feature a presentation from Julie Marlette, the Director of Governmental Relations for NYYSBA, who will provide the group with a primer on State Aid and legislative issues.

Items for Action and/or Discussion:

Warrants, Transfers & Bids – there were none.

CPSE/CSE – Board member Dorothy Ziegelbauer inquired about the report, expressing some confusion with the way the information was presented and Superintendent Teed clarified the information in question.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the recommendations of the Committee of Special Education.

Senior Trip – Information with regard to the Senior Class’s annual trip to Disney World was included in the monthly Board packets.  The trip has been scheduled for later in the year than previous trips and will take place after exams are completed for the Senior class.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the trip.

Board Member Meg Vaught inquired as to whether or not the 8th Grade class would be taking their annual overnight trip to Boston in the spring.
Superintendent Teed responded that this was still under discussion and a determination has not yet been made.

Personnel – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the personnel recommendations as presented. 

Old Business:
Superintendent Teed updated the Board on the subject of e-mail monitoring in the District as discussed at their previous meeting.  Working in conjunction with the IT department, the Superintendent has found a company that can provide e-mail monitoring services and software for a relatively inexpensive cost ($1,155)  The software picks up on certain flagged words, which when detected are reported back to the monitoring company who in turn contacts the school to report incidents.  In the event they are unable to reach the school, reports go directly to the local police. 
Ultimately it was agreed that they would need to discuss liability issues with the district”s attorneys before moving ahead with a contract.  


In regard to the Building Condition Survey, Board member Dorothy Ziegelbauer commented that she was aware that the Board had requested a list of outstanding items that might possibly be addressed with reserve funds, but in reviewing the actual survey she noted that there were certain items in the document that appeared to be relatively easy fixes.  As the document is outdated by a couple of years, she wondered if the administration might be able to provide the Board with an updated list of issues that still need to be addressed. It was agreed that this would be done.

Public Comment:
John McNamara thanked the Superintendent for her update on email monitoring.  He inquired as to whether or not there was a policy in place, which requires all school related communications must take place on the school server and that no school related communications by the administration can take place using personal email.
The answer was no.

Mr. McNamara stated that he believed there should be such a policy in place to prevent anyone who might wish to avoid such monitoring from discussing school related business, be it student related or otherwise, via personal email.

Secondly, he commented that he felt the OCSBA update with regard to opioid abuse had been a good one and he wondered whether there was narcan on site in the district so that they would have the ability to treat an overdose immediately should the need arise.

The answer was no.  While there is no narcan on site, a member of the administration has been trained and the Town Police are also accessible.  

Mr. McNamara responded that there were kits available for little to no cost that the school could obtain and he wondered whether they might consider obtaining one. 

There was a brief discussion about this and the Board seemed to be in agreement that having multiple staff members trained would be a good idea.

Mrs. Vaught commented that one of the suggestions made at OCSBA was that districts implement a training program as part of an overall prevention policy.  Again, she suggested that the District host an information program for the purpose of educating folks on the real dangers associated with this issue.

 

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The Magic Tree House - November 17th

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting November 16, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
V. Routine Business
1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes – 10/24/2017
2. Administrators’ Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
3. Superintendent’s Report
4. OCSBA Update
VI. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Senior Trip
4. Personnel
5. Old Business
VII. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
VIII. Proposed Executive Session – Potential Contract Negotiations
IX. Correspondence
X. Adjournment

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Tuxedo celebrates berth to state volleyball semis - 11/6/17

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Board of Education Meeting October 24, 2017

The Board of Education met on Tuesday, October 24 at 7pm.  All members were present.

School Board Recognition Week – In honor of School Board Recognition Week (October 23-27) Superintendent Teed acknowledged the Tuxedo School Board and thanked them on behalf of the administration for all of the time and effort they put in for the students, community, parents and staff.  

Public Comment:
There were no public comments

Routine Business:
Independent Auditor’s Presentation - Scott Preusser of Raymond G. Preusser presented the Board with a report regarding their recent external audit.

A summary of the 70-page audit was circulated and reviewed.   To review a copy of the summary, click here.

Administrators Reports – Business Administrator Marc Matatia thanked both this staff and the members of the Audit Committee for all of their hard work in assisting with the auditing process. 

Board member Nancy Bourke inquired as to whether or not the auditors would award the District any sort of rating based on the audit.

Superintendent Teed responded that if it was a Moody’s Rating that Mrs. Burke was referring to, that this would be independent from the audit.

The K-12 Principal Report was included in the Board’s information packet.  There were no questions for Mr. Schrammel from the Board.

Superintendent Teed began her Superintendent’s report by welcoming the newly hired K-12 Assistant Principal Mrs. Tracie Ferreira, who was present, to the District.  The District is thrilled to have Mrs. Ferreira and the Superintendent is confident that she will bring nothing but good things to Tuxedo.  Next, Superintendent Teed expressed her gratitude to the PTO for the recent walk-a-thon for hurricane relief, which they sponsored.  The event raised over $4000.  This is the most money ever raised by the District for an outside cause. 

Mr. Matatia and Superintendent Teed recently participated in a phone conference with architect Chris Colby, who has assessed items on the District’s Buildings Condition Survey and reviewed with them certain details pertaining to that report.  Mr. Colby will be further analyzing details pertaining to those items that the District has prioritized (namely the roofs and boilers) Some tests are being done on the roofs in order to determine whether or not they need to be replaced entirely or if perhaps only certain sections need to be worked on and/or repaired.  Mr. Colby will provide a detailed report in early November and has offered to present his results directly to the Board in person.  He is unfortunately not available for the regularly scheduled November meeting but is willing to come in for a special meeting if the Board so desires.

The Superintendent is currently reviewing the 2017/2018 District Calendar as there were some questions recently posed with regard to the last week of school.  Currently the last two days of the school year are listed on the calendar as full days, but she is continuing to work with her colleagues across the County as there has been a lot of controversy regarding the State regulations as they pertain to ½ days.  She will provide follow-up information as it becomes available  and noted that the Board might want to consider revising the calendar in January.

Board member Diane Petrosky wondered if the controversy had to do with the ½ days not counting towards the total 180 days that the school is required to be in session in order to receive full State Aid.

The answer was yes.

Board member Meg Vaught inquired as to how many hours connote a ½ day.

The answer was 5, unless there is adverse weather event.

Board President Allyson Arbor then noted that the District’s ½ days at the end of the year must not count as legitimate ½ days then since they are typically 3 hours or less in duration.

The Superintendent explained that if these days were in combination with Professional Development Days then they were counted towards the 180 total. 

Finally, Superintendent Teed highlighted some upcoming District events as follows:
Haunted Hallways will be taking place this coming Friday, October 27, from 7-10:30.
Parent/Teacher Conferences for grades 7-12 will take place on Monday, November 6 from 5-8pm.  Parents who are unable to make this session can also schedule a conference on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 7 or Wednesday November 22.  between 1-2:45pm.   K-6 Conferences will take place on Wednesday, November  29 from 5-8pm.

The Kindergarten Veterans Day Celebration will take place on Thursday, November 9 at 1:45pm in the multi-purpose room. 

The GGM Musical “The Night at Dawn” will be presented on Friday and Saturday November 17 and 18 at 7pm.  This is the first time GGM has put on its’ own musical!  There are 35 students involved in the production.

OCSBA Update – Board member Meg Vaught reported that the October OCSBA meeting had featured a presentation on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which is the State mandate the authorizes federal education for homeless children.  The presentation was given by a woman named Elizabeth Russell and in addition to providing general information, focused on issues such as staff development for traumatized classrooms as well as a bibliotherapy program being run by Ms. Russell herself.  

Also discussed at the meeting was the annual NYSSBA Convention.  Proposed resolutions such as tax cap levy reform were reviewed. 

Next month OCSBA will receive a presentation from the Orange County Department of Social Services on the opioid epidemic and its effect on schools. 

Items for Action and/or Discussion:

Warrants, Transfers & Bids – There were none

CPSE/CSE – The Board unanimously approved the Special Education recommendations as presented.

Donation- The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the donation of a mechanoid personal robot from Kelly Spranger on behalf of her son Chris Ahart. 

Adoption of 2017/2018 Budget Calendar – Business Administrator Marc Matatia informed the Board that an additional session has been added to the schedule this year to allow for further review if needed following the first three sessions. 

Noting that she understood that it was New York State who set much of the calendar, Board President Allyson Arbor pointed out that the public was not allotted time to comment on the budget until after the date by the which it had to be approved.  She wondered whether there were a mechanism in connection with the budget workshops that would allow them to collect public input.  Receiving public input after the budget has already been approved is almost futile.  This was discussed at some length. Mrs. Vaught wondered if they could schedule a public hearing prior to passage of the budget.  Mr. Matatia informed her that they could not.  The State mandates when the hearing must take place.  Mrs. Vaught wondered if they might not have two public hearings.   The answer was no.

President Arbor suggested that if they could not technically hold a hearing, perhaps they could conduct a public workshop.  She inquired as to whether or not public participation had historically been allowed at the budget workshops.  The answer was no, however Mr. Matatia informed the Board that they could easily allow for it.  Following further discussion, it was agreed that public comment would be added to the workshops at both the beginning and end of each session, which would allow for more public participation throughout the budget process.

Mrs. Vaught further inquired about the timing of the Board’s budget approval, noting that last year they had waited until the day before the budget was due to approve it and that this proved to be problematic when several of the Board members had questions or concerns about what being proposed.  Mrs. Vaught had felt backed into a corner with this and somewhat uncomfortable approving the budget without having the opportunity to further explore the issues that had been raised.  In an effort to avoid a similar situation this year, she wondered whether or not they might consider scheduling their approval meeting a few days prior to the due date. 

Mr. Matatia explained that the approval was always scheduled for the day before the due date because the District often times does not have all of the information they need until that time. 

Mrs. Vaught then wondered if she could have some assurance that she would be able to view all of the presentation materials prior to each meeting, noting that this had been part of the problem the previous year as she had not been able to look at some of the material until she arrived at the meeting and did not feel she had enough time to properly formulate questions.

Mr. Matatia responded that while he might not be able to provide the Board members with copies of the presentation days before each meeting, he could certainly provide them with the budget information that would be contained within.  He further suggested that with the addition of the extra workshop meeting, there should not be any issues with timing as the Board will have had ample time to review what is being proposed and address any questions they might have about it prior to the approval meeting.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the  2017-2018 budget calendar as proposed.  The calendar will be made available to the public on the District website as soon as possible.

Acceptance of 2016/2017 Financial Audit Report – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the 2016/2017 financial audit report.

Board of Registration – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the suggested appointments for the Board of Registration for 2017/2018.

Personnel – Various personnel matters (appointments, redesignations and resignations) were reviewed by the Superintendent after which the Board voted unanimously of approving them.

Old Business - There was none

Public Comment:
Tuxedo resident Greg Beard addressed the Board thanking them for their service and commenting that he liked the discussion that had taken place around the idea of having a more open budget process.  He thinks there is a lot of  ill will that has been generated over the last 10-15 years in the community because the process has not been an open one.  That being said, he continued that he knew that the community supported the school and the idea of educating kids from Tuxedo and providing them when the best education they could as this was their obligation to the community.  “But we don’t owe it to other school districts to educate their children,” he stated. “And you don’t owe it to 100 staff members to employ people.”  He noted that over the past several years there had been many emotional pleas to approve the budget on behalf of the kids, but the budget has not been openly vetted or even discussed with the public prior to approval.  This has been damaging in his view.  What’s worse however is to find out years later that the budgets were not accurate and that the people have been over taxed and over billed by hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is a red flag and he believes it is a flag to the Board that they need to better manage their administrators.  “Hearing the Business Administrator push back on when you can do timing and what numbers come from where…that’s pushback!  He works for you.  He works for us.  You could ask him to prepare a budget for 14 million dollars and then you could say ‘show me what it would look like for 10 million dollars or 11.’  He works for us!  He is going to do what you want on the timeline that you set.  There are red flags here that indicate that the school is being run less for the benefit of our children here in Tuxedo and more for the benefit of the administrators.  That’s dangerous.  You are the line of defense.  You are the ones who defend the community from that.  It’s you and you alone.  People support the school but there is repair that needs to done and you are the only ones who can do it.  You are empowered to do it.  Use that power that you have.  Doing things like having the extra workshops and letting people’s voices be heard can really help.  You need to look at it and really study it because I think you are about at the limit where you are going to get a backlash from the community.  That is why I am here. It’s better not to have a backlash…..it’s is better to manage it smoothly…but we are on the verge of one” He went on to suggest that Tuxedo was one of the most expensive school districts in the State, which could be worth it if they were offering the best education in the State, but the numbers do not suggest that they do.  He feels that the school is so expensive that they cannot attract families to move here, so we have import kids from other Districts.  He feels that the District might have to shrink in order to grow.  They might have to lower the budget and the taxes so that they can attract the families that will allow them to grow. “But, when you have administrators who do not even think it is in the realm of being possible….I just heard an administrator say that nothing was going to be much different this year than it was last year that he could tell.  Why not?  We are being choked to death!  We ought to be thinking out of the box how to solve the problem because we are losing our kids and it’s not affordable for the community.  It’s not good for any of us.   I am talking to the Board.  It’s your Board…they serve you.  Make them serve you and don’t take no for an answer.  Make them think outside the box.  Things will get better and our kids will benefit for it.”  With this, he again thanked the Board members for volunteering their time to serve.

President Arbor thanked Mr. Beard for his comments, assuring him that the Board had heard his concerns and that they would consider them. Further noting that she was not sure what time he had arrived, she reiterated that they are looking to add public workshops and increase community involvement in the budget process moving forward.
Responding to the earlier discussion on the District’s Moody’s rating, John MacNamara commented that Moodys was a measurement of credit rating.  It is not a measurement of how the school district is doing but rather one of debt plus the ability of the municipality to levy taxes so that they can judge the ability of the municipality to pay back the principal and interest on bonds.  So, more than just the school, it is also a measurement of the community and its demographics in terms of income.

Next, he commented that there was a meeting he had missed at which the Board was discussing goal planning and had indicated that they believed they were on the right path and moving on the right direction.  He acknowledged that they might have been referring to the curriculum and the staff, but suggested that he was distressed to hear them speak this way without addressing the fact that the District maintains the highest cost per student in one of the smallest districts.  He believes this is where a great deal of the frustration in the community comes from in terms of getting that cost per student to a reasonable number.  He believes that to some point, Tuxedo is almost double the cost of the surrounding districts and that this is where the focus needs to be. 

He then inquired about previous conversations that had occurred with regard to email retention and monitoring and asked for an update as to where that stood.  Specifically he wanted to know how long emails would be retained, whether they would be monitored and if so, who would be monitoring them.  What are the parameters around escalation?
He was informed that the District had adopted an email retention policy.

This was briefly discussed.  The Superintendent informed him that a plan was “definitely in the works,” In the meantime, an email retention policy has already been put in place, with e-mails to be retained by the district for a period of 7 years.

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting October 24, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. School Board Recognition Week- (10/23/17 to 10/27/17)
V. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
VI. Approval ofMinutes: 09/28/2017
VII. Routine Business
1. Independent Auditor's Presentation - Scott Preusser of Raymond G. Preusser
CPA, PC
2. Administrators' Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• Superintendent's Report
3. OCSBA Update
VIII. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Donation
4. Adoption of2017-2018 Budget Calendar
5. Acceptance of 2016/2017 Financial Audit Report
6. Board of Registration (District Voter Registration)
7. Personnel
8. Old Business
IX. Public Comment
X. Correspondence
XI. Proposed Executive Session- Contract negotiations

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Tuxedo Coach Michelle Hines wins 100th volleyball game - 10/17/17

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Tuxedo students celebrate Peace Day - 10/5/17

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Board of Education Meeting September 28, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, September 28 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Public Comments:
Commenting that he wanted to talk about the Reserve funds, which he identified as $350,000 in excess\unassigned funds that “sitting in nothing for the last year and a half,” Joe Rickard noted that he had read the report about the strategic planning session that the Board held back in July and was not encouraged.  He further stated that he believed that the District’s efforts to recruit students had not been very successful and that ultimately the financials were not aligned with the size of the school.  “We have a 14 million dollar budget for less than 320 kids.  There is nothing in the strategy discussion about how you align the number of kids to the money that you’re spending and that’s very disappointing.  You’ve got a big building out here.  You’ve got 16 busses.  You’ve got a full time school psychologist.  You have huge expenses that would apply better to the school that we used to have when we had over 500 students…but now we have less than 320.”  He then wondered whether or not there was going to be a discussion and some leadership from the Board in asking the administration to “get this thing right sized.”  He further suggested that the District did not own the building although they were entertaining placing $350,000 into a reserve fund to finance repairs.  H implored the Board to give this money back to the taxpayers and then “really get down to work” in terms of figuring out how to get the school sized correctly. 

Introduction of new staff members to the Board of Education:
Superintendent Nancy Teed officially introduced the following new faculty members to the Board:
Elba Matthies – 2nd Grade – GGM
Stephanie Stasaik – STEM Integration Specialist - GGM
Sharon Fox – Library Media Specialist – GGM
Natalie Van Curen – Part time Guidance Councelor – GGM

Administrator’s Reports:
Business Administrator’s Report – Business administrator Marc Matatia commented that he did not have anything new to report, however he noted that there was a scheduling conflict with the district’s external auditors in that they had already been booked for October 19, so they would not be available to present to the Board at that time as planned.  Options were discussed and it was ultimately agreed that the Board would move their October meeting from Thursday, October 19 to Tuesday, October 24 at 7pm in order to accommodate the auditors. 

K-12 Principal – The Superintendent noted that Mr. Schrammel’s monthly report had been included in the Board’s packet and invited them to ask any questions of the Principal.  There were none.  Mr. Schrammel then noted that benchmark quarterly exams had been administered in the High School however they had not yet been given in GGM due to an issue with the NWEA server.  Other Districts in the region encountered issues when administering the tests online whereby the testing service was crashing half way through the exam, which necessitates retakes.  Mr. Schrammel reached out to NWEA earlier that day and was informed that the issues had been resolved and the servers are back up and running, so the benchmark exams will now be administered in GGM.

Superintendent’s Report – Superintended Teed informed the Board that Tennis and Golf programs were now being offered in GGM through the Rockland TGA.  Tuxedo is one of the few Districts in Orange County that offer programs of this nature for students in grades K-6 and there are a good number of kids signed up for both programs.  Last month the Board approved a request for an elementary drama program and the dates for the Elementary School musical have been set!  The show will be called The Knight at Dawn and is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18 at 8pm.  Next month the Board will also see a request for a new after school dance club in GGM for grades 4-6.  The PTO will be sponsoring a walk-a-thon for hurricane relief on Friday, October 20.  The time has yet to be determined.  The District is in receipt of a flyer from the Town Clerk outlining a hurricane relief program for Puerto Rico being run by the Orange County Government Offices.  The District will be putting out donation boxes in both schools to aid in this effort.  The “historically exciting” Haunted Hallways will be held on the two Fridays prior Halloween this year, October 20 &27 from 7-10:30pm.  Finally, all Board members are invited to attend the National Jr. Honor Society and National Honor Society induction ceremony on October 26 at 7pm.

Next. Superintendent Teed provided the Board with a brief over-view of the District’s resent State Test Scores.  In grades 3-8 (GGM) the District tied for #1 out of 34 Mid-Hudson school districts with a 60% proficiency rate in ELA and was the top ranking school in Math at 64% proficient. 

Click here to view the proficiency rates in GGM as compared to State rates.  Also provided is an analysis comparing results with goals in the District’s Professional Development Plan.

Board member Diane Petrosky inquired as to whether the percentage of students who had opted out of the testing was higher or lower than it had been last year.

The answer was that in math, the percentage had been a bit higher (19%), while it was a bit lower in ELA (14%). 

“So, based on that, they did even better than these numbers reflect,” commented Mrs. Petrosky. 

Board member Nancy Bourke wondered whether the parents of those students opting out had been interviewed as to the reasons why they had made their decision.

The Superintendent responded that the District could not ask them and that the decision was theirs to make.

Noting that this was more of an opinion based question and not specific to the Tuxedo District, Board member Meg Vaught wondered where the disconnect was that allowed for 39.8% and 40% proficiency rates in ELA and Math State-wide.  She furthered wondered where the standards set forth in the tests were unrealistic and perhaps too high if more that 50% of students could not achieve them.

The Superintendent responded that in her opinion it was the Commissioner’s goal to raise the rates across the Board, but there are those Districts that do not score well, based on their demographics and this factors into it. 

Mrs. Vaught the inquired whether or not they were seeing drastic changes in the Common Core curriculum from year to year that reflected these lower proficiency rates.

The answer was no.

Mr. Schrammel suggested that the manner in which Common Core was rolled out could play a role in the lower proficiency numbers.  

Mrs. Vaught expressed pleasure that the Tuxedo District was showing some of the highest numbers, offering congratulations to the administration and staff, but simultaneously expressed dismay that less than 50% of New York State students were able to achieve proficiency. 

Superintendent Teed commented that the Common Core was always changing and would be changing again.  Many people including parents, teachers, administrators and various educational professionals, have been involved in the development of the new standards.  

With regard to the students in Tuxedo who are testing, Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer inquired as to whether the District has seen improvement in the numbers of level 1 and 2 achieved and more specifically, whether they were seeing an increase in the number of students who were achieving the higher proficiency levels overall. 

The Superintendent responded that they could analyze the data and provide an answer.   She further cautioned that the test changes from year to year so it is not possible to make an “apples to apples” comparison. 

The Superintendent then moved on to discuss the High School Regents Scores.  These scores are still embargoed by New York State, so the individual scores cannot be revealed.  That being said, in aligning the scores to the Professional Development Plan, they are able to determine some proficiency rates. 

Click here to view the proficiency rates as presented for the High School.

OCSBA Update:
Board member Meg Vaught provided an update on the September Orange County School Board Association Meeting, which featured presentations on the upcoming, annual NYSSBA Convention as well as the Mid-Hudson Study Council.  There was a somewhat lengthy discussion regarding the convention.  The district had been slated to send two representatives but due to a family emergency on the part of one of these individuals, will no longer be able to attend.  Next year’s convention will take place in NYC, and Mrs. Vaught expressed her sincere hope that they would be able to send representation at that time given the close proximity to Tuxedo, which means lodging would not be a concern for the District.  Additionally, she provided some lose details regarding the addition of student run booths to the Education Expo, suggesting that this would be a great opportunity for the District to showcase the High School’s unique Pathways program.  NYSSBA will be accepting proposals for the booths upcoming months.

Items for Action and or Discussion:

Warrants, Transfers & Bids – There were none.

TTA Agreement – Superintendent Teed commented that she appreciated the fact that the Teacher’s Union had met with the Administration on multiple occasions in working on the agreement.  She feels there were strong efforts on both sides of the table and this is sincerely appreciated.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of ratifying the agreement as proposed.

Audit Committee Charter – Following a brief discussion the Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Audit Committee Charter.  There followed another discussion with regard to participation of a member of the public on this committee.  The District had one volunteer this past year however he ultimately decided not to join the committee.  It is too late to bring on a new member this year but moving forward the District intends to start the process much earlier and will look to recruit a new community member in the spring.  Methods of advertising the position were discussed.

Personnel – After a long interview process, the District has chosen a new Assistant Principal.  She then proposed the appointment of Traci Ferreira for K-12 Assistant Principal.  Mrs. Ferreira will be coming to the District from Nyack school District, where she is currently a Social Studies Teacher and an Instructional Technology Liaison, who trains teachers.  Due to regulations in New York State law, Mrs. Ferreira is required to give 30 days of notice when leaving her current job, therefore Tuxedo does not yet have a concrete start date for her, however they are hopeful that she will be able to start prior to November 1.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the appointment as well as the other instructional and non-instructional appointments as proposed.

With regard to the Activities and Clubs, the Superintendent announced that Mr. Landro has offered to start a running club on a volunteer basis.  This club will be available to grades 5-8 on a rotating basis throughout the week, with 7 and 8 graders attending on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule and 5 and 6 graders attending on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of this appointment as well as the other Activity and Clubs appointments as proposed.

Board President Allyson Arber inquired as to whether or not 6 grade students were permitted to participate in modified sports, commenting that she understood that in Monroe, 6-8 grade students were considered Middle School.

Mr. Schrammel responded that he believed that the modified program was traditionally run for 7 and 8 grade students with the occasional involvement of some students in grade 9 with league approval.

CPSE/CSE – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the recommendations from the Committee of Special Education as approved as well as the updated list of Committee members.

trategic Plan/Goals Discussion- The Strategic Goals as outlined by the Strategic Planning Committee were presented and discussed.

With Regard to the first Goal, which pertains to improving student achievement in academic performance toward college and career readiness, Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer noted that as currently proposed the only methods of measuring success were State Assessments and Regents exams.  She wondered if there might not be another, comparable way to measure college and career readiness aside from these State driven exams.

Superintendent Teed responded that she would look into this, noting that she had done a presentation several years ago on college and career readiness and could share this information with the Board.

Noting that somebody had told her that she “should be saying nice things,” Board member Diane Petrosky turned to Goal number 3, which talks about expanding and enhancing STEM methodology in all classes K-12.  She commented that she felt there was nothing better than sitting in a Kindergarten classroom in October in having a student say to her “do you want to see what I have in my cloud?”  In her view, the ability of 5 and 6-year old children to talk about storage clouds and IPADS is a wonderful thing.
Moving on to Goal Number 2, which talks about improving student achievement by providing high quality professional development to all teaching staff, Mrs. Vaught noted that within the process of formulating this goal there had been a discussion about requiring that some of this professional development come directly from outside sources by sending various staff members out for training rather than employing the turnkey method.  She further noted that as written the goal suggests that 100% of the staff will participate in at least 3 hours of training per year outside of the training provided to them on conference days but it does not specify that any of this training will come from an outside source.  While she understands that the costs of sending everyone out might be prohibitive, she believes that it is important that some of the training come from outside sources.  This was discussed at some length.  The Superintendent suggested that sending 100% of the staff out in one year would be financially unrealistic.   Ultimately it was agreed by a majority of the Board that they should strive for a healthy mix of training types to include sending teachers out, brining trainers in as well as turnkey.

Mrs. Vaught then commented that she was in support of the goals as proposed having worked to help author them, but she now wondered specifically how the District was planning to achieve them. She stated that in her view there was a notable difference between Strategic Goals and a Strategic Plan, namely that the later included bullet points, which outlined an action plan for achieving the goals.   Without this, the she feels there is no solid form of accountability in terms of making sure that the goals are fulfilled in specific ways.  This was discussed at some length.  Ultimately it was agreed that the Goals would not be voted or adopted that evening.  Rather the committee will meet again in an effort to create an action plan, which will then be reviewed and discussed by the Board at large in a future meeting.

Old Business:

Fraud Policy (#6215) – The Board briefly discussed and reviewed revisions to policy 6215 before unanimously adopting the changes.

Record Retention  (#6301) - The Board briefly discussed and reviewed revisions to policy 6301 before unanimously adopting the changes.

Paroled Sex Offenders Who Reside Within the Boundaries of the District (#2108/2018R) - The Board briefly discussed and reviewed revisions to policy 2108 and 2108R before unanimously deciding to delete 2108.

Reserves Discussion/Repair Reserve:
Board President Allyson Arber briefly explained that the specific purpose of the discussion was to examine the possibility of holding a special election, as had been suggested by one member of the Board, in order to achieve the voter approval that is required to fund the Repair Reserve.  This would allow the District to initiate the process of putting together RFPs for a number of projects, previously outlined and prioritized in the Buildings Condition Survey, which would in turn enable them to be ready to commence these projects in June of 2018 after school lets out.

Board member Diane Petrosky commented that considering the fact that it would take time for the District to get accurate quotes for some of the projects that have been proposed, she felt they should get a better idea of the specific costs involved before moving forward.  She feels they should save the few thousand dollars that it would cost them to hold the special election and make up their minds with regards to the projects before they go to voters for approval.  She would rather know what the projects were going to cost before she decided whether or not to move forward with them.  She understands that the projects, as outlined in the report, are projects that need to be done.
The Superintendent commented that they had scheduled an appointment with an architect for the following week to come and help them determine a time line for the projects.  She reiterated that the list of proposed projects had come directly from the Buildings Condition Survey and had been prioritized with help from their Director of Facilities.   The steps of the High School are the top priority as they relate directly to health and safety.  This project has an approximate cost of $120,000.  One of the boilers in GGM is next on the list, with an estimated cost of $81,000.  Third on the list is the replacement of windows in the old section of GGM as well as the gymnasium.  This project has an estimated cost of $320,000 for windows in both buildings. 

Vice President Adam Eirand inquired as to whether all the proposed projects needed to be done imminently.

The Superintendent responded that the project list was based on the 2002 Buildings Condition Survey.  Many of them are in fact overdue.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer commented that she felt it would be better if they knew exactly what they were going to be doing and precisely what it would cost before they asked the voters to approve it.  That being said she added that agreed that it was a good idea to go out to the community for a vote prior to the normally scheduled election in May so that they could get the approval needed in order to be ready to commence work as soon as school let out in June. 

Mrs. Vaught suggested that she hesitated to tie the funding of the reserve in with the general election and budget vote, noting the levels of opposition and they annually face at that time of year.  She worries that they will not receive approval if voters directly associate the funding of the repairs reserve with the annual budget.

The Superintendent cautioned that if they were to hold a special election, it would need to be noticed at least 45 days in advance.  The costs would be essentially the same as those associated with the annual election. 

Board member Mike Arone commented that he also felt it would be prudent of them to know more specifically what they were intending to spend on the projects before they brought the vote to the public.

President Arber agreed that it would be important to determine how much money they were going to spend before they asked the voters to approve funding the projects, but noted that the purpose of the discussion was to determine whether or not they should have a separate election/vote after they had determined those costs rather than to lump it in with the annual budget vote in May.  Budget season is often a contentious time in the District.  The question at hand is whether or not to separate the need for repairs from the annual budget.

Vice President Eirand wondered whether the decision had to be made right then.

Mrs. Bourke responded that she did not see why they shouldn’t. 

The typical RFP/bidding timeline was then discussed in terms of when to put the RFPs out in order to receive the best possible price.  The overall process was also reviewed.
Mrs. Vaught again suggested that the two votes should be separate commenting  “if we combine it with the budget vote, and God forbid we have to raise taxes, there is no way we are going to get it.”

Mrs. Petrosky responded by saying “Let me ask you a question as a parent, and there are people in the audience who are not parents.  If you see on the vote that we need a new boiler….you as a parent….even if you hate the budget….you won’t vote against it.  You are not going to vote against something that involves safety.  My fear is that if we go out for RFP too soon, the pricing we would get would be higher than if we wait till closer to the spring and go out then.”

Mrs. Bourke pointed out that all they were looking to do was to move money into the reserve fund.  The taxpayers would not be voting on the steps or the boiler or the windows. 

President Arber agreed with this but commented that in order to justify moving the money, she felt it was only fair to tell the people what they were planning to do with the money.

Mrs. Vaught agreed with all of this but again asserted that she felt that if they were to do the votes at the same time, taxpayers would be asking themselves how the District could be charging them so much money in the form of taxes while at the same time they had a large portion of money that they were moving into a savings account.  Speaking to Mrs. Petrosky she commented that she agreed that as a parent she would vote in favor of anything that involved safety for the students, but she further pointed out that this was the way she chose to act as both an individual and parent.  She believes that there are other people, who have valid voices, within the community who are looking at their taxes and questioning these things.  Using Mr. Rickard’s earlier comments as an example she suggested that there were those taxpayers who felt that the District was already mismanaging money and did not believe that they should even bother to fix the steps as the District did not own the buildings.

Mrs. Petrosky responded that this was misinformation and proceeded to give an overview of the situation as it surrounds the ownership of the buildings.

Mrs. Vaught countered that she understood this well, but that regardless of her understanding, there was historically a lot of misinformation circulating throughout the community during budget season and quite frankly whether she knew the truth or not, there were those residents who did not know it and who would believe the misinformation regardless of whatever efforts the District or the Board members might put forth to counter it.  She further commented that in her view it did not matter whether this vote took place in January or at a later time over the winter, but she felt strongly that it was important that it be separated from the annual budget.

Business Administrator Marc Matatia pointed out that regardless of the RFPS and specific amounts involved, based on the general estimates they already had the Board knew that the $300,000 they are proposing to move would be spent on some of these projects.  This was a number they felt comfortable proposing which would still allow them the ability to give some money back to the taxpayers.  Therefore, if they chose to move forward, they could effectively still have the vote before they generated the RFPS.
Following some further discussion, President Arber polled each of the Board members in an effort to determine how they should proceed.  Ultimately the President and Vice President along with Board members Dorothy Zeigelbaur and Mike Arone suggested that they would like to have more information before deciding how to proceed.
 
Public Comments:
Joe Rickard commented that he had been surprised to hear that the District did not have assessments in place for career readiness.  He recommended a couple, noting that they were very inexpensive and that most schools utilized something like this.

The Superintendent responded that they did in fact have an assessment in place.

Next Mr. Rickard stated that he was very much against using the reserve fund to finance the repairs as suggested.  He is also very much against a $14 million dollar budget for 320 kids.  He does not feel that the Board really understands the magnitude of how the District is spending money.  They put $300,000 in last year’s budget for sports teams, not including coaches salaries, and they don’t have teams!  He feels that they need to look at how they obtained the $350,000 in the first place.  There was a Board in place that did not employ any oversight.  They continually had excess money rolling from year to year.  As a result of this, he stated, “We called the State.  We knew that you had the money.  This Board was not aware of it.  The Administration was not forthcoming.  The State came in and did an audit and sure enough, $350,000 showed up.  This was money that should have been used in the budget or it should have been given back to the taxpayers.  Now you are sitting here and saying ‘hey, we’ve got that $350,000 from our community and now we are going to find things to use it for.’  None of the stuff that you just mentioned was ever mentioned in the budget discussions last year.  The steps, the boiler….nothing!  You never mentioned it!  It was never put into the budget.  All of a sudden now you are coming up with all of these things for the $350,000.  This is wrong.  You have $60,000 per student.  You have full-time teachers and professionals where you should have part-time.  You have money in last year’s budget, which you are not even going to spend and now you are talking about taking $350,000 from spending, that you took in the first place that was misrepresented.  I know you guys weren’t here.  You only have one member on this Board who was.”  With regard to the buildings he suggested that should they ever need to shut down the high school building, they needed to understand that it was not at commercial code.  It has been grandfathered.  It cost up to $3 or $4 million in order to bring the building up to code, and they do not even own it.  He wondered if any members of the Board had even considered this fact.  Generally speaking he feels that the costs are too high and that the existing infrastructure was put in place for a 500-person school.  It appears to him that the District is taking $350,000 that the auditors found and attempting to think up ways to spend it.  “In this community we have not won too many elections, but the awareness is becoming greater and greater.  People are not all voting, but they are becoming aware of the costs associated with running the school.  I am pleading with you, take the $350,000 and give it back to the taxpayers.  I think people would appreciate it.  I think they would understand it.  Then you can go back and do a budget next year that is either flat or declining and community would appreciate it.  You have plenty of money.”  He further suggested that if the District wanted to move forward with the repairs as discussed, they should build them into their budget.

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Tuxedo students seize opportunity to learn the importance of awareness - 9/29/17

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting September 28, 2017

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call and Quorum Check III. Pledge of Allegiance

IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)

V. Introduction of new staff members to the Board of Education

VI. Routine Business

1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes – 8/17/2017

2. Administrators’ Reports

• Business Administrator

• K-12 Principal

• Superintendent’s Report

3. OCSBA Update

VII. Items for Action and/or Discussion

1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids

2. TTA Agreement

3. Audit Committee Charter

4. Personnel

5. CPSE/CSE

6. Strategic Plan/Goals Discussion

7. Old Business

-Fraud Policy (#6215)

-Records Retention (#6301)

-Paroled Sex Offenders Who Reside Within the Boundaries of the District

(#2108/2108R)-Follow Up Discussion

8. Reserves Discussion/Repair Reserve

VIII. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)

IX. Correspondence

X. Proposed Executive Session - Potential Contract Negotiations XI. Adjournment

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Students from Tuxedo and Warwick are among 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists - 9/15/17

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Better State Test Scores For Local Districts - 8/23/17

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Board of Education Meeting August 17, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, August 17 at 6:30pm.

Vice President Adam Eirand and Board member Mike Arone were absent.

Highlights of the meeting included discussion with regard to funding the District’s reserve accounts as well as Policy review.  It was also determined that moving forward the Board will revert to the 7pm time slot for regular monthly meetings.

To listen to this meeting in it’s entirety follow the links below.

Board of Education Meeting August 17, 2017 #1
Board of Education Meeting August 17, 2017 #2

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting August 17, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
V. Routine Business
1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes – 07/05/2017, 07/26/2017
2. Administrators’ Reports
• Business Administrator
• Superintendent’s Report
-Email Retention Policy
VI. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. School Breakfast & Lunch Prices
4. Resolution – Reserve Accounts
5. Tax Levy/Warrants & Tax Rate
6. Acceptance of Non-Resident Tuition Students
7. Resolution – Execution of APPR Implementation Certification Form
8. Resolution – Execution of APPR Independent Evaluator Hardship Waiver Application
9. Resolution – Select Sports Merger with Chester Academy
10. NYSSBA Board of Director Election
11. Clerk Pro Tempore
12. Personnel
13. Proposed Executive Session - Contract Negotiations
14. Personnel
15. Discussion of BOE Policies.
#1406-Duties of the BOE-Legal Counsel
#1502-BOE Meetings
#2108-Administration-Paroled Sex Offenders In The Community
#2108R-Administration-Paroled Sex Offenders Who Reside Within the Boundaries of a School District/Superintendent Regulations
#3102-Personnel-All Employees-Collective Negotiations
#6101-Budget-Calendar
#4409-Athletic Placement Process
16. Old Business
VII. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes tota by end of day Monday l per meeting)
VIII. Correspondence
IX. Adjournment

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Special Board of Education Meeting, July 26, 2017

The Board of Education held a special meeting on Wednesday, July 26 at 7pm for the purpose of discussing Board of Education Goals as well as Strategic Planning for the district.  All members were present.

Terry Reynolds of Orange Ulster Boces led the Board through a presentation in which she outlined the purpose of strategic planning and discussed the idea and importance of formulating “S.M.A.R.T. goals” (Specific & strategic, Measurable, Action oriented, Rigorous-realistic & results focused and Timed & tracked) Examples were provided and reviewed.  Utilizing the districts goals from the 2016-2017 school year as a jumping off point for 2017-2018, she then suggested that they break into smaller groups for the purpose of discussing and identifying measurable objectives, action strategies and data sources.

Board member Meg Vaught suggested that prior to moving forward with discussions specific to the goals as outlined, she felt it was important that each of the Board members have the opportunity to openly express and discuss what their vision was for the school district was, aside from simply remaining open.  Noting that this very basic conversation had never occurred at the Board level since she had joined the Board in 2015, she further commented that she was not sure they would be able to successfully create a shared a vision, if they did not take the opportunity to discuss their individual thoughts first.

Vice President Adam Eirand suggested that they initiate the discussion now.  He went on to say that in his view, the vitality of the District was not directly tied to the construction of the Tuxedo Farms Development.  This District has operated for a long time without the development, and he believes they can continue to operate.  If the development goes through and they are eventually able to secure 300 or 400 students this would be good, however at the end of the day he still feels they should try to attract new people from out of District.  He likes the small school atmosphere and he does not want a huge District.  The academics are currently good, but can always be built upon and he feels they should continue to focus on that while also attempting to expand the athletic program in whatever ways possible.  He suggested that they examine the idea of a full-day Pre-K program, which he believes would attract people and once they were in Tuxedo, they would come to appreciate the atmosphere and some would choose to tuition their children into the District.  “At no point in time do I ever see this district closing unless some sort of catastrophe happens,” he stated, further reiterating that he did not believe success was contingent on the Tuxedo Farms Development.

Meg Vaught stated that she agreed with Vice President Eirand.  She does not believe that the success of the District is dependent on Tuxedo Farms.  She further commented that based on everything that’s going on at the moment with the developer (multitude of proposed changes) she suspected that building might not begin any time soon.  She believes that they should continue to try and attract non-resident students, however she would like to see them develop a more “fine-tuned” strategic marketing plan.

Commenting that she was also a big proponent of small-school education, she stated that she would like to see the District try and take advantage of its small size.  She feels that there are opportunities that currently exist for Tuxedo because of their small size, specifically in terms of field trips and community based STEM opportunities.  She believes that if they can enhance these types of offerings, they will have a more unique product to market.  As an example, she sited a 2016 field trip where the District took a handful of students to the Presidential Debate.  She recognizes that scheduling and transportation can be an issue, but still believes there are opportunities out there to be explored.  “While we are this small, we should try and provide our kids with these kinds of interesting opportunities, which can be tailored to STEM and in turn be used to create a unique district to market.”

Nancy Bourke agreed with both Vice President Eirand and Mrs. Vaught, although she stated that in terms of field trips, she does not believe taking the kids out of school too much is a good thing.  She believes classroom time is very important.  She loves the small school environment and feels it is important to maintain it.

Diana Petrosky commented that one of the reasons she had gotten involved with the school in the first place was because she has come to love the small school environment.  “I think we can enhance our STEM activities….I think we ARE enhancing them.  Some of the relationships that we have developed throughout the business community I have been involved with only because of my involvement with the Chamber of Commerce.  I think that that is something we should grow.  I have said it before and I will say it again, Pre-K is a wonderful idea.  We need to sell ourselves.  We need to brag about ourselves.  We need to show everybody what we do and what we do well because we do a lot of stuff really well; we just don’t show it enough.”

Mike Arone, commented that he agreed with what everyone had said.  He stated that he hoped that Tuxedo Farms would move forward, but if it did not “so be it.”

He does not believe the District will ever have 500 or 600 kids in it. He noted that his children were currently enrolled at GGM, but once they reached High School sports were going to be an issue.  Tuxedo does not have the same offerings as all of the other Districts.   This is an issue with some of the current high school parents and he believes it will turn into an issue for his family as well if nothing changes.  Referencing an earlier conversation with regard to the possibility of attracting foreign exchange students, he commented that between this and the potential upcoming negotiations with Greenwood Lake, he felt the future looked positive.  Obviously, the District needs more students, but they are holding their own right now.  Things might be progressing at a snail’s pace, but they are still moving forward.

Dorothy Zeigelbauer added that she felt that they were all there because it was a small school.  They like the environment and in many cases, it’s why they ran for the Board.  The children are basically provided with a private school education in a public school setting and what can be better than this?   She feels that collectively they had expressed some concerns, specifically with regard to the Regents scores, and that these seem to be moving in the right direction.  She applauded the District and the Administration for their efforts in this regard.   She feels that they need to be vigilant in maintaining this upward trend.  With regard to athletics, she feels that students for whom sports are their “bread & butter” will ultimately go elsewhere.  She thinks that investing in alternative student populations in order to increase the enrollment is very important, including the idea of exchange students. With this being said, she also wondered whether there was a cut off number for high school enrollment at which point the District might determine that it was not worth it economically to continue running the program.  “I don’t know if there is, but I almost feel like we are obligated as a Board to try and figure it out.”

Bill Hecht of Boces interjected that making this kind of assessment would really be a business function.  He suggested that it was important that the Board has a clear idea as to the sustainability and that this would become part of their strategic plan over time.  Ho noted that in listening to the conversation that was unfolding, it seemed clear to him that the Board collectively had a good number of ideas and that it seemed to him as though it was just a matter of getting them all down on paper.

President Arbor commented that she agreed with everything that had been said.  She and her family moved to Tuxedo for the small school, although since that time Greenwood Lake has left, and things are notably very different.  While she does not want to see the District ever become huge, she does feel there is a happy medium to be achieved.  Currently, she feels it is too small and they constantly need to work to find ways to improve the number.  She agrees that looking into international exchange students could be a good thing to explore.  She stressed the importance of community relations, noting that there existed a sizable population within the Tuxedo community that does not attend the school.  She thinks that the Pre-K is a great idea, particularly from the prospective of attracting students to the program when they are young.  She noted that Tuxedo is not the only District that is currently working to attract non-district students and she finds the fact that the GGM enrollment has increased to be incredibly positive.  All grade levels in that building are either flat or improving to the point that they have added another classroom teacher for the first time in a long while. 

With regard to the Pre-K, Bill Hecht cautioned that he had witnessed similar efforts in other districts and that they would need to be very careful politically with regard to pre-school programs, which might already exist within the community.  A District pre-school could have a serious impact on these businesses.  It is important to have these conversations and to establish a plan and share that plan.

This was discussed.

Vice President Eirand commented that in his view, at the end of the day, they needed to what was best for the District and the community, as political as this might be.  He reiterated his belief that the District would have a good shot at retaining some of these young students. 

President Arbor suggested that it would be important to continue to monitor their fiscal stability.  She noted that class size seemed to fluctuate greatly from year to year and while there might be a small freshman class one year, the class behind them could well be much larger.  The District has been able to show over the past two years that it is fiscally sustainable and they must continue to evaluate as they move forward.  She further noted that while fiscal sustainability was extremely important, it was not the only factor and that the intangibles were also very important to a large percentage of the community.

The Administration was then asked for their thoughts.

Jason Schrammel commented that his son had attended a Pre-K program in his local district and the staff he had spoken with there had talked about how Pre-k had been “the big monster that rolled over everybody in the community.”  In a small district located in a somewhat remote area, it can be like cutting one’s nose of to spare their face.  In this case, establishing the program really hurt some of the local community and the new pre-school felt the burden of this early on, as a result of which it took a long time for them to get the ball rolling.   

He stated that the Administration is constantly looking at and analyzing grades.  The District has never had a comprehensive assessment plan before now.  It allowing them to look at cohorts and assess students’ growth over the span of several years and as they are reviewing this data and establishing snapshots, they are sharing this information with the Board.

Eric Sorenson stated that one of thing he really loved about the District was that their small size allowed them to bring opportunities to the students, especially technology.  He suggested that there were many districts out there currently who were only just trying to string their buildings for WiFi.  Tuxedo is leaps and bounds ahead in this area and moving forward.  He reiterated Mr. Schrammel’s comments with regard to assessment, commenting that they looked at data all the time.  It’s their responsibility to bring in the quality professional development as needed.  Following their first year as Principal and Vice Principal, based on the snapshot of test scores they received, they established a Professional Development Plan, which, he noted, was comprised of SMART goals, as discussed earlier.  They set obtainable goals and he believes that once they make them, they are seeing growth and then they can move forward.  He believes the District is moving in the right direction.  He came from a large District where classrooms were full.  In Tuxedo, students receive an individualized education.  He believes it is crucial that they maintain the private school feel in the public school setting, as this is something that is incredibly unique. 

President Arbor commented that she felt they needed to really highlight the things that Tuxedo does well.  For example, the strings program, which begins in Grade 3, is something that many huge districts don’t offer.  Field trips, such as the annual trip to Carnegie Hall, are impressive.  Many larger districts don’t offer middle school sports programs.  These are the things the District needs to be selling because bigger is not always necessarily better.

Nancy Teed commented that they were operating under the premise that they were staying open.  They need to operate this way.  The Administration is charged with motivating their staff members to do the best job they can do for the kids.  This is how they forge ahead every day.  She feels that they don’t look at the things they do well enough or sell themselves.  Speaking for the team, she feels they are all cut from the same mold in that they are constantly looking at things and ways to improve, but they need to stop and appreciate and celebrate their successes. For example, the school district that “can’t field enough teams” has a Volleyball team that advanced to States and placed 3rd.

Business Administrator Marc Matatia stated that he agreed with everything that had been said.  He believes the program is unique and it is important that they retain their identity while striving to build the enrollment to a comfortable level that will allow them to sustain the schools.  He agreed that the marketing has yet to reflect on what has been achieved and that is important to focus on this moving forward.  Tuxedo does have the ability to offer programs that other Districts cannot because of their size. 

Discussion then returned to the idea of establishing a Pre-K and various things that they might investigate in this regard.

Bill Hecht commented that as an outside looking in, it seemed to him as that everyone was on the same page with regard to the direction in which they wanted to see the District move.  He reiterated that the next step would be to get it down on paper in terms of a plan.

Stating that she understood that there was to be no public participation, audience member Mary Graetzer requested permission to make one comment.  She went on to say that she had been attending BOE meetings for over a year now and this meeting was by far the most productive meeting, where everybody was getting along and participating, that she had witnessed to date.  She congratulated the Board on this.

The process of how they would move forward was then briefly discussed and it was agreed that they would hold another workshop style meeting in early September at which they could begin drafting a plan.

Personnel:
After reviewing resumes and conducting a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of hiring two new staff members in GGM; one a second grade teacher and the other a STEM integration specialist. 

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Special Board of Education Meeting Wednesday, July 26, 2017

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that, a special meeting of the Board of Education of the Tuxedo Union Free School District will be held on 7/26/17 at 7:00 PM in the Multipurpose Room of the George Grant Mason School.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss Board of Education Goals/ Strategic Planning for the district. There will not be an opportunity for public comment.

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Board of Education Meeting July 5, 2017

The Board of Education met on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 6:30pm.
Board member Mike Arone was absent.

Organizational Meeting:
Read Oath of Office – New Board Member – New Board member Nancy Bourke read aloud her oath of office.

Nominations & President of Board of Education Resolution – Allyson Arbor was nominated by Board member Meg Vaught for the role of president.  This was seconded by Board member Adam Eirand.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of the appointment and Mrs. Arbor read aloud her oath.

Nominations & Vice President of Board of Education Resolution – Adam Eirand was nominated by Board member Diane Petrosky for the role of Vice President.  This was seconded by President Arbor.  The Board then voted unanimously in favor of the appointment and Mr. Eirand read aloud his oath.

Appointment of NYSSBA Delegates – The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Diane Petrosky as the NYSSBA delegate with Nancy Bourke as an alternate.

Appointment of OCSBA Delegates – The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Meg Vaught as delegate to OCSBA with Dorothy Zeigelbauer as an alternate.

Appointment of Officers and Personnel for the School District:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of the appointments of Officers and Personnel as presented.

Click here to view a list of the appointments.

Approval for Designations –  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the designations as presented.

Approval for Authorizations –  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the authorizations as presented.

Click here to view a list of the approved designations and authorizations.

Approval to Re-adopt Existing Policies & Past Practices –  Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer commented that when she had first come on the Board she had questioned a number of the policies and had not yet received full answers to several of her questions.  In particular, she questioned the policy which states that only the President and Vice President can have access the Board attorney and proposed that the full Board should have such access.

Diane Petrosky suggested that procedure dictated that any Board member could request that a particular policy be put up for review during a regular Board meeting and if the policy was revised at that point in time, the Board would then readopt it.  She cautioned however, that Board Attorney David Shaw had made it clear on more than one occasion that it was his policy to deal directly with only Board leadership and the Superintendent.  She further suggested that this was a policy adopted by all New York State education attorneys.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer then responded by requesting that review of this policy be added to the agenda for the August meeting.

It was agreed that this would be done.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of adopting the existing policies and past practices, with president Arbor reiterating that although they were adopting them in their current form, the Board could revise any of the policies as they saw fit in the future.

Approval for Business Official/Superintendent to Invest Monies at Best Prevailing Rate- The Board voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the Business Official/Superintendent to invest monies at the best prevailing rate.

Approval for Bonding of District Clerk, District Treasurer, Tax Collector and Treasurer of Extra-Classroom Fund – The Board voted unanimously in favor of bonding of the District Clerk, District Treasurer, Tax Collector and Treasurer of Extra-Classroom Fund.

Audit Committee- The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing President Arbor and Board Member Dorothy Zeigelbauer, along with one member of the public (to be named at a later date) to the audit committee.

Routine Business:
Approval of Board Meeting Minutes – 6/12/17 & 6/15/17- Board member Diane Petrosky requested that the name of Terry Reynolds be added to the 6/12 minutes as having been present.

The Board voted in favor of approving the meeting minutes for 6/12/17 and 6/15/17 with Board member Meg Vaught Abstaining.

When questioned, Mrs. Vaught explained that while she understood that Education Law allowed for minimalist minutes, she felt that there had been a number of very important discussions that took place during the workshop meeting on 6/12 and that the minutes did not reflect any of them.  It is her feeling that it would be beneficial for the Board, in their current capacity as well as future Boards, and also the public to include a more thorough depiction of what was discussed within the minutes of the meeting.

This was briefly discussed.

Board member and former District Clerk Nancy Bourke pointed out that as a part of the training, clerks are advised to take factual minutes, and not to get into descriptions of specific, individual statements in order to avoid inserting any sort of subjectivity into the document.

Board member Diane Petrosky suggested that typically Boards decide that they don’t want to take minutes at workshop meetings.   She suggested that moving forward if they wanted to change this, the clerk would have to be present at those meetings and that perhaps this was something they could discuss at some point in the future. 

Mrs. Vaught responded that she understood all of this,although she did not recollect agreeing to dismiss the clerk from the workshop meetings.  She reiterated her belief that it would be more beneficial to everyone involved to have more detailed meeting minutes, further noting that as a part of her job she spent a great deal of time both taking and reviewing minutes for a number of different municipal boards.  She stated that she would review some of the minutes from other school districts in the surrounding areas and that they could continue the discussion in conjunction with their policy review in the month of August.

Administrator’s Reports:
Business Administrator – Marc Matatia reported that the external auditors had been in the district on two occasions over the past two weeks collecting data.  Everything went smoothly and Mr. Matatia feels the time was spent productively.  The auditors are scheduled to return on August 2 and August 9.

There followed a somewhat lengthy discussion with regard to funding the district’s reserves.  Mr. Matatia went through each reserve, highlighting the ones that the administration feel should be funded.  Discussion centered around the Retirement Contribution Reserve, the Repair Reserve, the Unemployment Insurance Reserve and the Workers Compensation Reserve. 

In reviewing the reserve balances, Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer inquired as to how many retirements could be funded from the Retirement Contribution reserve at it’s current balance.

The answer was roughly 20.

The Repair Reserve was then discussed.  The school buildings are facing some fairly expensive repairs down the line (new boilers, new roof, repairs to the front steps of the High School etc) however the funding of this reserve is subject to voter approval.

Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer inquired as to whether or not it might be possible to look at a list of the proposed repairs and their estimated costs.

Mrs. Vaught agreed that this would be a good idea, noting that she felt it would be easier to win voter approval if they were able to let the voters know which projects they were funding.

There was some debate with regard to the Unemployment Insurance Reserve as the administration has recommended that $200,000 be placed there and several of the Board members felt that this was too much.  This is a new reserve fund that was recently established but has not yet been funded.

President Arbor suggested that they leave open the possibility of having funds that were not allocated to any reserves but rather returned to the budget in an effort to offset the 2018 tax levy.  She further commented that they had been reviewed the budget in March and had been provided with an estimate of expenses for the rest of the school year at that time however, the numbers they were now being presented with showed a larger variable.  She wondered if, to whatever extent possible and certainly not right away that evening, Mr. Matatia might be able to quantify what had caused some of these differences to show where the estimates had been off base and also whether there was room to put the funds back into the budget.  She further commented that she understood that putting the funds back affected both the tax levy calculation as well as the amount they would be able to levy the following year, however if they were coming out with the excess, in her view this begs the question as to whether that excess really belonged as an expensed line item in the budget to begin with.  She wondered if they were perhaps being a bit too conservative.

Superintendent Teed responded that they needed to take into consideration the placement of students.  This year, they had a residential student who changed their status and went to a day student.  This represented a huge savings for the district.  There are special education students who are placed in programs out of district and then they move out of the district.  This also represents savings.

President Arbor responded that she was not meaning to suggest that there were not valid reasons for the differences.  She further noted that she understood that they needed to be cautious because they could always be faced with new special education students who might move into the district, however if they were looking at a situation where some had moved out, she suggested that there might be some room there.

Mrs. Vaught inquired whether or not it would be legally possible to take some of the reserve money and set it aside to help offset the tax levy.

The answer was yes.  Monies can be kept as part of the unassigned fund balance, although they would be exceeding the recommended 4%.  That being said, provided that the Board had intention for how they planned to spend the excess, then it would be okay.  He cautioned that it would be important that the public be informed that should they not be able to retain their level of unassigned fund balance down the line, the District might have to at times exceed the tax cap to compensate.

Mrs. Vaught responded that she felt it would go a long way towards receiving voter approval for both the funding of the Repair Reserve and the budget in general, if they were to give a little something back to the taxpayers while they had the funds to do so.

Mr. Matatia responded that he felt that the important thing towards that decision was that the Board continue to have discussions about it.

The entire Board seemed to be in favor of funding the Workers Compensation Reserve.

Ultimately, it was agreed that Mr. Matatia and Superintendent Teed would look at it further and present the Board with options prior to their voting next month.

Superintendent’s Report – Superintendent Teed stated that she was very proud to announce that 10 of the recent 17 2017 graduates had graduated with an advanced designation diploma.  In order to achieve this type of diploma, the students must pass 9 Regents exams.  The remaining students received Regents Diplomas, having passed 5 regents exams.  Superintendent Teed congratulated all of the students as well as the faculty who helped them to achieve these accomplishments.

The Superintendent has also reached out to Terry Reynolds from Orange Ulster Boces with regard to possible Board Retreat dates. Neither Ms. Reynolds nor Mr. Hecht are available during the month of August, but they have provided a couple of dates in July as well as a few in September when they could facilitate the retreat.

The dates were provided and it was agreed that the Board would check their availability and follow up with the Superintendent, who would then coordinate with the administration before moving forward to schedule the retreat.

The Administration will be working with the Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center in the creation of their new website.  They will be moving to School Messenger.  Currently they have School World.  Work will continue over the summer, although the Superintendent does not feel that the site will be launched before the start of the 2017/2018 school year.

With regard to some financial information that had been requested by Mrs. Zeigelbauer pertaining to the breakdown of Orange and Rockland expenses on the monthly reports, the Superintendent noted that she had looked into this and that they system they currently utilized would not allow them to create reports that broke these expenses out by account gas vs. electric.  In order to create a report of this nature, a manual report would need to be completed monthly.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer then noted that there had been an expenditure on the recent report for $11,700 for the Tuxedo Park School.  She wondered what specifically this was for.

Mr. Matatia explained that this was for the health services for their nurse and psychologist.  The District, in turn, bills out for this cost to all of the other school districts that have students who attend TPS.

Items for Action and/or Discussion:
Warrants, Transfers & Bids – There were none.

Personnel – A revised personnel sheet was circulated to the Board members. 

The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the substitute pay rates for the 2017/2018 school year as presented.

Mrs. Petrosky commented that she felt that the substitute school nurse rate seemed quite low.  This was briefly discussed.  The Superintendent noted that finding a substitute nurse for a day or two in a K-12 district was quite difficult.  They had attempted to utilize a service with little to no success.  They are still actively looking for substitute nurses. 

Mrs. Petrosky suggested that increasing the per diem amount might help to attract more people.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the food service worker and part-time bus driver staff appointments as well as those for Gen’l Ledger Data Clerk, Accounts Payable Clerk and part time Internal Claims Officer.

Next, they voted unanimously in favor of accepting the resignation of the current part time Internal Claims Officer.

Classroom Section - A resolution proposing that the second grade be split into two sections was then presented and discussed.  The Superintendent suggested that creating this second classroom would create the need for a new full time teacher.  She proposed that the Board might consider the idea of eliminating the full time STEM Integration Specialist, a position for which they are also hiring, when considering the addition of another full time teacher.  Ultimately it was decided that the classroom should be split and that both full-time positions should be filled, maintaining the full time STEM integration position.

Professional Development Plan – The Professional Development plan was then put forward for adoption.

Board member Nancy Bourke inquired as to whether or not all of the teachers took professional development in language acquisition aligned with their subject matter.

The Superintendent responded that all teachers had undergone professional development training within this area.  Because the district is fairly small in terms of English language learners, they have a waiver from the State, which relieves them from having to have all teachers receive this training.

Mrs. Bourke then inquired about some of the Goals and Objectives noting that Objective One was that the number of students receiving a grade of 3 or higher on the New York State ELA and Math assessments meet or exceed 55% and Objective two is 65%.  She feels these numbers are low and noted that if it were her own child in the program, she would be looking for much higher percentages. 

The Superintendent responded that these percentages were based on data from the previous year and they did not yet have the data from this year.  She added that in putting together the plan they created obtainable goals.

Next Mrs. Burke noted that under the implementation section of the plan pre-testing was discussed.  She has a problem with the idea of pre-testing.  She doesn’t feel that testing students on information they haven’t learned yet is a productive use of time and furthermore that it creates frustration and anger for the students.

Superintendent Teed responded that they did use benchmark testing in order to determine what the baseline level of knowledge was at the beginning of the year so that teachers would know how to differentiate. 

Mrs. Burke responded that she understood how this might be helpful at the elementary school level, however at the high school level she did not feel it was a productive practice.

Principal Schrammel explained that the process of pretesting had begun just last year and that moving forward they were hoping to redesign it.  They are currently working on a comprehensive assessment plan to determine what the best methods are for assessing students.  One of the methods they will be using moving forward is though NWEA and Maps testing at the K-6 level.  Students will take  “screeners” in September, January and June and these will show successes or weaknesses in certain areas of math and English.  For 7-12 it is much more difficult to assess but they need to have some kind of goal to obtain towards the regents at the end of the year.  One of the recommendations, made by a teacher, has been to assess quarterly.  It is an ongoing process.

Mrs. Burke responded that she felt that it was safe to assume that a 10th grader going into Global History knows nothing about what started World War One.  She reiterated that she felt it was a waste of valuable class time to spend an entire period testing the kids on this kind of stuff.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer commented that she shared Mrs. Burke’s concerns with regard to the percentages.  She feels that goals are supposed to be aspirational.  While she understands that the District does not want to be skewered by either the public or the press and thus they have a conservative outlook in terms of making their goals obtainable, she feels that 55% and 65% is cringe worthy. “If somebody got a 55% or a 65% on a test, they failed.  When I look at 55% and 65% of our students passing those exams, it seems to me like that’s a failing number.”

Mrs. Vaught agreed, noting that it was somewhat of a “glass half full/half empty” type of situation.  While the District may meet it’s goal with 55% of students passing, what is unspoken in that is that 45% of the students are not passing.  She understands why they want to keep the goals obtainable but also feels they should be shooting for a higher percentage rate. 

Superintendent Teed responded that it was important for the Board to keep in mind that the goals represented grades 3-12, but in grades 3-8 there were students who were opting out of the tests, and this has a direct effect on the percentages.  “That is a huge factor in this,” she stated. 

Mrs. Zeigelbaueer suggested that they change the goal to indicate that the percentages referred to those students who were being testing.

Superintendent Teed replied that if they were to do that, the number could be skewed and this is why they strive to make the goals obtainable.  “But as much as you prepare your students, you could have your highest achieving students opting out. My recommendation would be to look at out results when they come in and then possibly revisit this, but it is hard to say right now.  Unfortunately the State wants you to submit a plan by a certain time of year, but you don’t have the results back from them yet.”

Mrs. Zeigelbauer wondered when the District could expect to receive the results.

“Hopefully soon,” responded the Superintendent.

Mr. Schrammel added that traditionally results came in mid-August.  The Commissioner has released questions earlier than usual this year and based on this, he assumes the scores might follow in a similar fashion.  It would certainly be beneficial for the staff to have them.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer responded that she would like to revisit the discussion when the scores come in.

Superintendent Teed agreed that this could be done commenting, “I understand what you are saying about the percentages.  I don’t disagree with you.  You want to have aspirational goals as do we.  When we work together we have to keep in mind what are the factors that effect these and we are focusing on student achievement.”

Noting that the Professional Development Plan had been put in place for the first time this past year, Mrs. Vaught inquired as to how the administration was measuring and evaluating its success in order to evolve it moving forward.

The Superintendent responded that the test scores would be a critical factor in evaluating where they had come in.  They also look at the professional development that they have put into place.  They had to put in for the new science and social studies standards and this has been incorporated into the plan. 

Mrs. Vaught wondered if all of the professional development was geared towards state testing.

Vice Principal Sorensen responded by providing a somewhat lengthy list of a wide range of professional development opportunities that the District took advantage of over the last year. 

Mr. Schrammel added that Goals 1-2 could be assessed based on the test scores.  Outside of that, they evaluate their success in house.  They work together as a team discussing various things with faculty and parents in order to get an idea of what is working and what is not.  For example, they were able to review their implementation of quarterly tests and determine that some of the process was working and some was not, which is why they have made the move to NWEA.  They do not have a specific checklist that they go by, but they are constantly re-evaluating programs.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the professional development plan.

Email Retention – Noting that there had been some recent questions with regard to the District’s Policy concerning email retention, Superintendent Teed circulated a copy of Policy #6301, which was most recently reviewed in 2004.  She further noted that the District complies with the latest Records Retention and Distribution Schedule. (ED1) She reached out to the Orange Ulster Boces Director of Technology in an effort to see what other districts were doing and he in turn asked his colleagues from another District.  There is no set standard Statewide.  This type of governance is really at the District level.  Some Districts save emails for 1 year, others 6 and others 10. 

Mrs. Petrosky commented that she had spoken with the District Attorney who had informed her that ED1 was the regulation that dictated what needs to be saved and that it is in effect and binding.

Superintendent Teed suggested that they could create a policy at the Boards discretion but added “again, I would have to get around the content-specific piece.”

President Arbor noted that there were certain content-specific emails that needed to be retained for a specific duration in accordance with ED1 but there was no specific email policy.

The Superintendent affirmed this, further stating “I think e-mail over-all is still a very confusing topic for many districts….on what has to be saved and what doesn’t.”

Mrs. Vaught inquired as to whether student emails were retained.  She wondered what would happen were there to be a bullying situation via school email.  Would the school be able to access these emails?

The Superintendent responded that student emails were not retained for a long time, but suggested that they might be able to create an email archive.

Mrs. Petrosky noted that there were ways of selecting certain flag words within e-mail that could tip off the retention process.

Mrs. Vaught suggested that she felt it was somewhat of a liability issue.  For the same reason that security cameras are installed in school hallways and lunchrooms, she feels they need to have the ability to access the emails should a situation arise.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer stated that at her company emails were retained for 5 years and they had been told by their council that one reason for this was that the emails were discoverable by law should there be a lawsuit.   She had assumed that the school District had some sort of similar policy.   While she is curious to learn what the details of ED1, she believes that the grit of it has to so with how the school implemented the system in order to comply with the law.

Mrs. Vaught wondered if anyone could tell them what the current retention period was.

Mrs. Arbor further inquired what the process for recovering an email that had been deleted might be.

The Superintendent noted that there was a difference between archiving and retrieving emails.

Vice President Eirand suggested that the Board put together a list of questions that they could submit to their IT people.

Mrs. Petrosky noted that as the Orange Ulster Boces server was directly involved with the District system, it might be helpful to have them come and make a presentation to the Board.

The Superintendent responded that Boces had recommended a records retention specialist and noted that she could reach out to this person.  She further suggested that should would contact the IT staff in order to determine how long student, faculty, staff and Board emails were being retained on the system and the ability to retrieve these emails in terms of time frame.

President Arbor further suggested that they should also speak with their attorneys to find out what their recommendations were in terms of what they should be doing.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer noted that she felt the other challenge laid in the fact that she was not sure if there were any current staff members who were aware of how the system was set up.  Obviously somebody has to administer it, but if they don’t know the details of how it was implemented, this will need to be sorted out as well.

Chromebooks – Superintendent Teed reported that newly elected Board member Nancy Bourke had requested the use of a Chromebook in order to manage her Board related materials.  Consequently, they decided to bring the discussion before the entire Board to see if they were also interested in utilizing Chromebooks.  The District does not have extra Chromebooks laying around so if the Board decides that they want them, the machines would have to be ordered at a cost of roughly $200-$225 per computer.

Mrs. Vaught commented that she had no problem with Mrs. Burke acquiring a computer however she did not need or want one.

Mrs. Petrsoky commented that if the District were to make a machine available to Mrs. Burke, they would have to make it available to all seven Board members.  She added that she would not like to see them take computers away from the students, so the decision would have to made as to whether or not they were going to spend the money to make 7 physically available.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer suggested that an alternative to this could simply be making hard copies of the Board Materials available to those Board members who requested them.

The Superintendent responded that currently the monthly materials are emailed.  She expressed some concern over the idea of sending these materials to the Board members via another individual.

President Arbor suggested that the Board members could pick up the materials themselves.

Mrs. Bourke expressed some concern over the hard copies, noting that this was a waste of paper.

Mrs. Vaught wondered if the District might have an extra machine floating around that they might be able to make available for Mrs. Bourke.

Superintendent Teed responded that they had begun pushing the Chromebooks down into GGM to help get those students acclimated with the machines.

Vice President Eirand indicated that he was not interested in using a Chromebook.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer concurred, but indicated that she would like to have a paper copy, as she often times printed the emailed materials out herself when reviewing them.

Various methods of dispersing hard copy materials to the various Board members was briefly discussed.

Ultimately it was agreed that the administration would look to see if they had a machine that they could make available for Mrs. Bourke.

Public Comments:
Mary Graetzer commented that she was somewhat dismayed to see that without having made mention of it in the meeting, the Board had changed the time of their regular meetings form 7pm to 6:30pm.  She further noted that as it stood with the 7pm time, there were many residents who were not able to attend the meetings, but having been at almost every one this past year she feels entitled to say that changing the time 6:30 will make it even more difficult for more people to attend.  Many of the residents in the community commute to and from jobs, which makes it challenging to make the meetings at 7pm, never mind 6:30.  She feels it is a real shame that the change was made and that it was made without any discussion or public notice of any kind.  She further commented that she did not know what the reasoning was behind the way the meeting room was configured, but without the use of the microphones, audience members could not hear a word of what was being said.  “Hopefully that horseshoe works well for you,” she commented “but we’re way back here and you’re way up there…you’re looking at each other and your voices are not projecting out and it feels as though you are not very friendly towards people who are coming to attend your meetings.”

John McNamara commented that in relation to the Chromebook discussion he felt it was outrageous that when there was a focus on trying to keep expenses low that the Board would even consider asking the school to provide Chromebooks for them.  In this day and age he feels this is embarrassing. He then inquired about Tuxedo Farms and specifically what was happening with the pending payment that was due to the district when the developer paid their first building permit. Further, with regard to that payment he wondered whether there had been discussions about how the money would be allocated once the District received it.

Superintendent Teed responded that there was no update.  In the past the District had been in discussions with the Farms as to a possible payment schedule however, the representative from Farms is unfortunately not making himself available to meet with the school currently.  They are waiting to meet with the developer to make things come to fruition before they make plans for the money.

Mr. McNamara commented that there was a legal agreement between the school and the developer, so that if the developer did not pay the school, legal action could be pursued.

The Superintendent affirmed this.

Barbara Johnson inquired as to how many IT staff the District maintained and where they came from.   She wondered if these employees were with the District or if they were outside consultants.

Superintendent Teed responded that the District is contracted with Orange Ulster Boces for an IT person two days per week. 

Speaking to the email retention discussion, Mr. McNamara commented that in the financial services industry, most firms are required to retain emails for a period of five years and there is email monitoring that takes place whereby the software is programed with key words to help identify certain emails for monitoring.  This could be designed to monitor situations such as bullying, which as Mrs. Vaught pointed out earlier, is something the District should do there best to stay in front of.

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The George F. Baker High School Class of 2017 completes its journey - 6/30/17

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SENATOR BONACIC HONORS EXCEPTIONAL GEORGE F. BAKER STUDENT AT HIS ANNUAL EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION EVENT

(Albany, NY)- Senator John J. Bonacic (R/C/I-Mt. Hope) recently honored high school valedictorians, salutatorians and honored students from 23 high schools in the 42nd Senate District at his annual “Excellence in Education” event in Albany. The special occasion honors students who not only have excelled academically, but have also made positive contributions to their community.

“These students are some of the best and brightest New York State has to offer,” said Senator Bonacic. “Each of these students excel because of their hard work and dedication to their studies, their peers and their community. They have the qualities to be the future leaders of America and I am proud of each and every one of them and their accomplishments.”

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You’ve Got This - 6/26/17

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Board of Education Meeting, June 15, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, June 15, 2017.  All members were present.

Recognition of Retires:
Superintendent Nancy Teed and Board President Diane Petrosky recognized the following staff members who will be retiring at the end of the school year by presenting them each with a golden apple:
Kenneth Rubino, Linda Frazer, Beverly Tesser, Joanne Mingione, Ray Cerano and Joanne Miele.  Also recognized was retiree Lynn Caporale, who was not present.
Next, the Superintendent and Board President presented Vice President Joanne Vernon with a commemorative bowl, acknowledging her 9 years of service on the Board of Education.  Mrs. Vernon’s term ends on June 30.  In accepting the bowl, Mrs. Vernon thanked the Board, the Administration, staff, teachers and the community for their support, commenting that it had been a pleasure to serve in various capacities over the past 9 years.  She further commented that she had “really put her heart and soul” into the job and believed that every action taken over the course of the 9 years was done in a respectful way and in an effort to do what was best for the students of Tuxedo, while keeping the taxpayers in mind.  She wished the current Board all the best in continuing to what was best for the students, and again thanked everyone for the privilege of serving. 

Public Comment:
There were no public comments.

Routine Business:
Approval of Meeting Minutes – 5/18/2017 – The meeting minutes from 5/18/2017 were unanimously approved by the Board.

Administrator’s Reports-
Business Administrator – Business Administrator Marc Matatia informed the Board that due to a scheduling conflict, the auditors would be beginning their work on Tuesday, June 20 instead of the following day as originally planned. 

Moving on to the District’s reserves, he circulated a list of reserve funds available to school, indicating the District currently has 6 funds in total, with three of these being funded and three more recently established ones empty.  He also circulated a summary of balances for three funded accounts along with some information regarding the monies that they are projecting to have which can be put towards some of these reserve accounts.  He noted that the Board had previously discussed finalizing these decisions in the month of July however the auditor has suggested that they wait until August because they will not have their final figures until the books have been closed out, sometime in July.  He reminded the Board that should they choose to fund the Repair Reserves, they would need voter approval.  Depending on how much the Board decides to fund this reserve, the monies would be earmarked and kept in the Unallocated Fund Balance, with the proposed funding to appear as a part of next year’s budget vote. 

Board member Mike Arone inquired as to the full cost of the water damage that has occurred in both schools over the course of the past few months. 

Mr. Matatia and Superintendent Teed responded that they would be able to provide this information at the next meeting, once all of the repairs have been completed.  Thankfully, the repairs were completely covered by insurance.

Board member Allyson Arbor inquired as to what they would do if the need arose for emergency repairs during the first part of the school year…before they were able to put the repair reserves to a public vote. 

She was informed that if there were an emergency, they could access the funds but would have to make a plan for paying them back.

Vice President Vernon wondered at what amount the District was required to go out for a RFP.

The answer was $30,000, although in certain situations, depending on the job and the circumstances, they could do it for less.

With regard to the reports as presented in the Board packets, Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer commented that at the previous meeting, they had discussed the idea of having a greater level of detail provided with regard to the O & R charges, and wondered if moving forward they might be able to itemize these by building and also indicate which charges were gas and which electric.

Superintendent Teed responded that they could look at the program they utilize to generate the reports and see if they could break them down by building.

K-12 Principal and Assistant Principal Reports- These were included in the Board packets.  There were no questions from the Board.

Superintendent’s Report – Superintendent Teed stated that she was very pleased to inform the Board that in looking at the end of year data they are projecting that over 60% of the graduating seniors will graduate with a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation.  Last year, it was 46%,.  They are extremely pleased with this.  Approximately 70% of the graduates will have a Regents Diploma following the STEM Pathway in Science.  Noting that this was very preliminary data, she went on to say that based upon data they had collected during the year they are projecting to have a 95% pass rate for the algebra Regents and 30% of these students will score at a mastery level 4 (85 or above.) These numbers do not include students who choose to re-take the test.

Preliminary results are also allowing them to project an approximate 95% pass rate on US History & Government, with 72% of these students scoring at the mastery level. 

Again, she reiterated that these figures are preliminary.

tudents in GGM “knocked it out of the park” in the Rockland Boulders reading challenge.  Staff found out about the challenge late and the students only had 12 days to complete it.  7 students read 1000 pages or more and earned an opportunity to throw out a first pitch and free tickets to the Rockland Boulders game on June 22.

Superintendent Teed then extended her congratulations to the GGM Geography Bee champions Chima Oparaji (1st place) Noah Haring (2nd) and Aiden Iazzetti & Grace Donnelly (tied for 3rd.)

The District is hoping to have both the Gymnasium and Auditorium painted this summer.  Colors are still being determined.  They are also looking at he possibility of replacing the mat on the stage. 

The following dates were then announced:
Friday – 6/16 – 8th Grade Graduation – 6pm
Monday – 6/19 – Kindergarten Graduation – 9am
Tuesday – 6/20 – 6th Grade Moving Up Ceremony – 9am       
Friday – 6/23 – High School Graduation – 6pm

OCSBA Update :
As there was no OCSBA meeting in June, there was no update given.
                              
Items for Action and/or Discussion:

Warrants, Transfers & Bids – There were none

CPSE/CSE – These were unanimously approved.

Acceptance of Non-Resident Students – The District is looking to accept 6 non-resident students for the 2017/2018 school year.  This past year there were 7, but one of them is graduating.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting these students.

Acceptance of School Budget Vote & Board of Education Election – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the budget vote and election results.

Energy Purchase Resolution – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting this resolution.

Cooperative Purchasing Resolution – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting this resolution.

2017 Reserve Fund Balance Resolution – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this resolution, which will allow them to fund the reserves as discussed earlier in the meeting. 

New Course Recommendations:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the following new elective courses for the 2017/18 school year as recommended:
General Music (7&8) Oceanography (9-12) 3D Art (9-12 and Advanced Engineering (9-12)

Personnel  - The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving two new instructional appointments and 27 non-instructional appointments.  Board member Meg Vaught noted that of the 27 non-instructional appointments, 16 of these appeared to be students or alumni who were seeking summer employment.  She inquired as to whether or not there was enough work to keep them all busy and specifically what they would be doing.
The Superintendent responded that the schedules varied and that many of them could only work during certain time periods over the summer due to other summer plans.  She further commented that there was plenty of work for them to do as the would be helping to scour and clean both buildings “from top to bottom” in preparation for next fall.  Having the students there to do a lot of the preliminary work is extremely helpful to the custodial staff.

Next the Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the resignation of Nancy Bourke as a substitute teacher.  Mrs. Bourke has been elected to the Board of Education, effective July 1, 2017.

The following Clubs for the 2017/18 school year were then unanimously accepted
Art Club (HS), National Junior Honor Society, Art (GGM),
Odyssey of the Mind, Basketball (GGM),Production Team,
Drama Club, Haunted Hallways, Senior Class Advisor, Drama Club (GGM), Spring Musical Director, Drama Club (HS) Spring Musical, STEM Advisor, Engineering Club, Student Council (GGM), Fitness Club, Student Council (HS), Garden Club, Yearbook (GGM), Homework Club, Yearbook (HS), Jazz Ensemble, National Honor Society.

as were the following Athletic Teams/Activities:

Baseball – Boys Varsity, Softball - Girls Varsity, Baseball - Boys Modified, Softball - Girls Modified, Basketball  – Girls Modified, Volleyball - Girls Modified, Basketball - Boys Modified, Volleyball - Girls Junior Varsity, Basketball - Boys Varsity,  Volleyball - Girls Varsity, Cross Country – Varsity, Wrestling – Varsity, Golf –Varsity, Skiing – Varsity, Soccer - Boys Modified, Soccer - Boys Junior Varsity

Mrs. Vaught noted that there did not seem to be any math oriented clubs in the works, noting that retiree Mrs. Tesser had run both Math Counts and the Problem Solving Club.  Noting that there seemed to have been a good level of interest in these clubs, she wondered if they planned to add any math based groups based on ability of the staff to lead them.

The answer was that they were hopeful to add new clubs if possible.  They are currently seeking an individual to fill this position. 

Resolution Employees Covered Under Item A- The Board voted in favor of adopting this resolution with 6 Board members voting in favor and member Adam Eirand abstaining.

Discussion: Follow Up Items – With regard to the discussion that took place during the May meeting with regard to the use of personal hand held devices in school, the Superintendent reported that Principal Schrammel has crafted a letter that will go out to parents prior to the start of the 2017/18 school year indicating that there is a new building level policy, to be enforced by all teachers, that during academic classes students are to place their devices in their bookbags and they may not access them at any point during instruction.  If teachers require the use of these devices it will be on an individual basis.  Students will have to follow this directive or they will be identified as having violated the policy and will be subject to the District’s Code of Conduct.

Vice President Vernon wondered whether the Code of Conduct needed to be updated to reflect this.

The answer was no, the current wording would allow for it.

Mrs. Arbor suggested that Mr. Schrammel include information about how to reach students in case of emergency within his letter and it was agreed that this would be done.
Next, following up on last month’s discussion of honor roll and high honor roll, Superintendent Teed noted that they had been asked to provide the correlation between students receiving these honors while also receiving Academic Intervention Services (AIS).  Commenting that she felt it was important to note that in the High School most students taking student level courses are recommended for AIS based on their Regents scores from the prior year, the NYS test scores, parent referrals and teacher referrals she reported the following:
Quarter 1 – 22% of students in AIS made the High Honor Roll
                    50% of students in AIS made the Honor Roll

Quarter 2 – 22% of students in AIS made the High Honor Roll
                    25% of students in AIS made the Honor Roll

Quarter 3 – 18% of students in AIS made the High Honor Roll
                    33% of students in AIS made the Honor Roll

The Superintendent further noted that not all students receiving AIS were receiving the services for one particular program.  Vice President Vernon added that Tuxedo was unique because they offered the services for multiple subjects during the course of the school day.

Public Comments:
John McNamara requested that when scheduling meetings, the Board consider other municipal meetings that might be occurring at the same time, noting that earlier that week they had conducted a Strategic Planning Workshop at the same time as the Town Board was meeting and it was impossible for residents to be two places at one time. 
Secondly he inquired as to whether the date of school board budget vote was mandated by the State or if the District had some control over it, noting that there had been some conversation around town amongst residents who were wondering if the vote could take place on a Saturday, which would allow for increased voter turn-out.

He was informed that the District did not have any control over this and that the vote was held annual on the 3rd Tuesday in May. 

The Board then adjourned into an Executive Session for the purpose of discussion contract negotiations.

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting, June 15, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Recognition of Retirees
V. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
VI. Routine Business
1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes – 05/18/2017
2. Administrators’ Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent’s Report
4. OCSBA Update
VII. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Acceptance of Non-Resident Students
4. Acceptance of School Budget Vote & Board of Education Election
5. Energy Purchase Resolution
6. Cooperative Purchasing Resolution
7. 2017 Reserve Fund Balance Resolution
8. New Course Recommendations
9. Personnel
10. Resolution Employees Covered Under Item A
11. Discussion: Follow Up Items
12. Proposed Executive Session re: Contract Negotiations
VIII. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
IX. Correspondence
X. Adjournment

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Tuxedo’s George Grant Mason students rock the Rockland Boulder’s reading challenge - 6/16/17

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Board of Education To Hold Strategic Planning Workshop June 12

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that, a special meeting of the Board of Education of the Tuxedo Union Free School District will be held on 6/12/17 at 7:00 PM in the Multipurpose Room of the George Grant Mason School.

The purpose of this meeting is to hold a workshop for strategic planning for the district. There will not be an opportunity for public comment.

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Tuxedo School District participates in ‘Jeans For Troops’ Dress Down Day - 6/7/17

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Board of Education Meeting May 18, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, May 18 2017.  All members were present.

Public Comment:
On behalf of the Tuxedo Teacher’s Association and the Tuxedo Employees Union, Cynthia Lyons thanked the Board for putting together a budget that the community could support.

Approval of Minutes:
 Meeting minutes for 4/6/17 and 4/20/17 were unanimously approved.

Administrator’s Reports :
Business Administrator - Business Administrator Marc Matatia addressed concerns raised at the previous meeting with regard to Orange and Rockland charges that had been more excessive than normal.  He explained that there had been 4 additional invoices included that were submitted by the Utility Company late.  These 4 invoices were representative of the District’s 4 largest accounts.

Board president Diane Petrosky inquired as to whether or not the gas rates were higher during the winter months.

The answer was no.  The rates do not change but the energy consumption and the gas consumption for the boilers go up.

Mr. Matatia then thanked everyone, including the administration, staff and all those who came out to vote for the budget, which was approved the previous Tuesday.

K-12 Principal – There were no questions from the Board for Mr. Schrammel.

K-12 Assistant Principal – There were no questions from the Board for Mr. Sorenson

Superintendent’s Report - Superintendent Nancy Teed began her report by announcing that the school had been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation.  The monies will be utilized to provide scholarships to students interested in entering a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) training programs and or engineering programs at the post secondary level.  She thanked Mr. Margotta for his hard work in securing the grant.  Superintendent Teed also expressed her gratitude to the PTO for their assistance with the 7th & 8th Grade Student Council sponsored dance as well as sponsoring the 4-6 grade Spring Fling Dance, commenting “The kids had a ball and the pictures show it!”
Next, the Superintendent congratulated the winners of the 4-6 Spelling Bee, which occurred the previous day.  Chima Oparaji took first place, followed by Noah Herring in second and Mareena Zeigelbauer in third.

There will be a new process put into place within the next week to 10 days for students riding the late bus. Because there is a new driver on this route, the Director of Transportation is initiating a process to help make the transition as seamless as possible.  Students will be issued bus passes whenever they stay after school, which contain their name and address.  They will turn these passes into the driver when boarding the bus.  The Administration will also maintain a list of which students are riding this bus on any given day.  Also with regard to transportation, the Superintendent noted that there had been an unfortunate traffic accident early that morning and the resulting road closures and traffic prevented some of the busses from picking up children.  In light of this, she reminded all parents to please sign up for Mr. Schrammel’s REMIND notices.  Noting that phone calls are not always the best method of reaching parents for numerous reasons, she stated The REMIND system is a quick and easy way to keep parents informed.

Board member Meg Vaught inquired as to whether or not there might be any merit in setting up a REMIND that was dedicated specifically to transportation.  Noting that some parents might want to customize which types of information they received from the school, she further acknowledged that she wasn’t sure if something like this would be easily manageable or not.

Mr. Schrammel responded that he could look into establishing this, however everyone would have to sign up for it specifically.

Mrs. Vaught suggested it might be easier to launch it with the start of the new school year.

The Superintendent added that in the meantime, they would continue making phone calls as they did not want to neglect anyone who might not be signed up for the REMIND.

On May 23 Mr. Schrammel and Mr. Margotta will be attending the Orange and Rockland reception for the STEM grant of $1,000 that the District received late last month.

This year in addition to the Memorial Day Float, which is currently being built, there will be a combination of a High School and Elementary School District drum line in the annual Town Parade.  Students in grades K-6 have also been invited to march and must complete a permission slip in order to join.  Any Kindergarten students wishing to march must be accompanied by an adult.

The Administrative staff is hard at work on a Comprehensive Assessment Plan for the 2017/18 school year.  The plan is currently in a draft stage and is undergoing revisions as they seek input from the staff.  Full details will be provided as the plan comes together.

The District has not had a Comprehensive Assessment Plan before.  The Administration feels it will be a good way to monitor how they are assessing student growth.

Finally, the Superintendent reminded everyone of the following upcoming events:
Tuesday May 23 – High School Spring Concert – 7pm
Friday – May 26 – School IS IN SESSION (originally, this was supposed to be a vacation day but had to be reclaimed for instruction due to the number of snow days utilized)
 Monday – May 29 – Memorial Day Parade – Line up is approximately 10:45am
Friday June 2 – GGM Science Fair – 1:30pm
Tuesday June 6 – Modified Pizza/Award Session for Modified Sports Teams – 3-5:30pm
Thursday June 8 – National Honor Society Awards Night – 7pm
Friday June 9 – GGM Field Day
Tuesday – June 15 – Donuts with Dads – 8:45am
Friday – June 16 – 8th Grade Graduation – 6pm
Monday June 19 – Kindergarten Graduation – 9am
Tuesday June 20 – 6th Grade Moving Up Ceremony -9am
Friday – June 23 – High School Graduation – 6pm

OCSBA Update:
Board member Meg Vaught reported that the most recent OCSBA meeting had featured a presentation by Vihn Gerald, an Education Services Specialist with regard to the ASVAB/Career Exploration Program.  Essentially what this group does is to provide aptitude tests that are used principally by the Military for placement but can also be extremely helpful in helping students to determine which career paths they might want to follow. Students who take this test are not required to submit them to the Military nor do they have any obligation to the Military.  The testing can be extremely helpful in determining career paths for those students who may be unsure of which direction they should go in.  The organization comes into Districts and provides the test to interested students for free however they have been meeting some resistance from districts who view the testing as military recruitment.  

The Nominating Committee put forth nominations for Board leadership and there were some minor changes.  Mrs. Vaught noted that since the meeting had occurred, OCSBA President Ron Sommer had lost the election in his district and this would likely impact his roll on the OCSBA Board.  Additionally Karyn Meier will be replacing Susan Boyle as the Executive Director.

A new OCSBA website is expected in June.

New School Board member training will take place on June 13 and June 15.  A recommended list of materials for New Board members was provided and Mrs. Vaught gave this to the Board clerk.

With regard to the OCSBA budget, things are remaining relatively flat with only a few, minor increases.  There will be no increase in dues.

There was a roundtable discussion with regard to district budgets across the County.  All districts present at the meeting reported having come in under the cap and the majority of them seem to be hiring, which was recognized as a good thing.  Mrs. Vaught further noted that since this discussion had taken place, all of the budgets had been successfully passed in their Districts.

Finally, Mrs. Vaught made a plea for the District to consider sending some representation to the NYYSBA’s annual Conference, which will take place in Lake Placid this year.  The conference features several key note speakers, a huge educational expo with hundreds of vendors and Mrs. Vaught feels it would also be a great opportunity for Tuxedo to network with other districts as well as key leaders in education for this region.

Board President Diane Petrosky  inquired as to who the first Vice President nominated to the OCSBA Board was, noting that it was this individual who would likely take over for Mr. Sommer.

Mrs. Vaught responded that she did not know the name off hand.
With regard to the aptitude testing, Vice President Joanne Vernon inquired as to whether or not parent notification would be expected in order for students to take the test.

The answer was yes

President Petrosky noted that previously there had been another organization offering a similar test, however the issue they had encountered was that the organization was keeping the information rather than providing it to the students.  She wondered whether this had been addressed.

Mrs. Vaught responded that it had not.  She provided a copy of the presentation to the Board clerk.

President Petrosky wondered if they might be able to investigate this further, reiterating that previously the keeping of information on students had been a discomfort to many parents.  She asked Mr. Schrammel if he would investigate the organization and obtain some information in this regard.

He agreed to do so.

Warrants, Transfers & Bids : There were none

CPSE/CSE – These were passed unanimously

Review & Yearly extension of Board Policy #4110 (Non-Resident Tuition, Student

Payment, Student Attendance): Following minimal discussion, the Board voted unanimously in favor of the extension.

Non-Resident  Tuition Rate for 2017/18 School Year : Superintendent Teed explained that based upon policies established by New York State as well as the Board of Education policy the Tuxedo non-resident rate is calculated for grades K-6 and 7-12 and they are as follows: K-6 - $11,108 and  7-12 - $14,312.  The increase is $149 in GGM and $192 in the High School.

Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer inquired as to what the increases were based on.
The answer was that policy dictates that the District use the New York State formula.  At minimum the increase must be commensurate with the tax rate increase that is incurred by the District residents.  Mrs. Teed is aware that there are surrounding Districts that are lowering their tuition rates.  She feels they must be supplementing this with other funding.
Mr. Matatia concurred, further explaining that the District begins with what they receive from the State as an estimated non-resident tuition rate and then they remove some fixed costs.  The number actually came in lower than what has been presented however, Board Policy dictates that the rate must increase by the tax rate increase at a minimum.

This is why the increases have occurred.

Vice President Vernon added that the District also offers scholarships to non-resident students who qualify, which allows them to offset this.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the rate.

APPR Lead Evaluator Certification: Each year the district is required to recertify the evaluators for both teachers and building Administrators.    The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Nancy Teed, Jason Schrammel and Eric Sorenson as evaluators for classroom teachers and Nancy Teed as the evaluator for building principals. 

Proposed Board of Education Meeting Schedule for 2017/18:This was unanimously approved.

Senior Citizens Tax Exemption:  Superintendent Teed read aloud the resolution.  It was then approved unanimously by the Board.

Real Property Tax Exemption for Volunteer Workers: Superintendent Teed read aloud the resolution.  It was then approved unanimously by the Board.

Alternative Veterans Exemption and Exemption and Gold Star Parents Resolution: Superintendent Teed read aloud the resolution.  It was then approved unanimously by the Board.

Presentation/Discussion Honor Roll/High Honor Roll – Benchmark Testing:
As per the Board’s request at their previous meeting, school Principal Jason Schrammel provided the Board with a presentation detailing the criteria for Honor Roll and High Honor Roll in both GGM and the High School including a comparison with surrounding districts and their criteria for the same.  The presentation also included information regarding the benchmark testing that is employed in the district.

Following the presentation, there was a discussion.

Vice President Vernon inquired as to what Map testing was specifically, noting that she wanted to make sure that everyone was aware what it entails.  She further commented that she was familiar with some of the software Mr. Schrammel had mentioned and wondered which one they would be using.

Mr. Schrammel responded that they had chosen NWA.  He also noted that 5 years ago the district had subscribed to NWA and maps testing and therefore, they are familiar with the software. 

Vice President Vernon inquired about the software’s alignment to the standards.

Mr. Schrammel replied that it was completely aligned to the standards.

Vice President then wanted to know, how the District would handle their AP schedule should they chose to move towards quarterly testing as opposed to mid-terms and finals.
Mr. Schrammel noted that this was something they needed to discuss with the teachers.  He suggested that for an AP given in May, that particular class might have to be run in trimesters.  In this case, quarterly testing would be used for the Regents level students and he feels that he could “chop up” the AP to fit the model. 

Commenting that she understood the holistic approach, Vice President Vernon inquired about the arts and other programs that might be factored in, specifically in terms of their value credit-wise.  Is an art class or a music class worth the same number of credits as one of these other classes?

Mr. Schrammel explained that they were all weighted and graded the same.

Superintendent Teed interjected that the weighting of an AP course is high than that of a typical course.

Vice President Vernon responded that they were also discussion the elementary school, where there was not much room for electives.  She further stated that she felt there was an often misunderstood piece, whereby people didn’t understand how it was possible for Special Education students to achieve honor roll.  “Obviously it is important that students be given the same opportunities to have their achievements based on their programs,” she commented further suggesting that she felt it was important that people be aware of this.  

Superintendent Teed agreed, commenting that for students with IEPs (Individualized Education Plan) their programs are designed to level the playing field so that they can achieve their goals.

“They still take the same 3-8 testing and Regents exams and they still have to get 65 or higher to pass and 85 or higher for mastery,” added Mr. Schrammel. “There is a safety net of a 55, but our goal is always 65 or higher and 85 for mastery.”

Mrs. Vaught wondered about the correlation between the number of students who are receiving Academic Intervention services and the number of students achieving honor roll and high honor roll.

Superintendent Teed responded that they could get this data, but she cautioned that not all students who are recommended for AIS are actually in AIS because their parents opt them out.

Mrs. Vaught responded that she understood this, adding that similarly, some of the students are opted into AIS without having met the criteria as based on State Testing.

Vice President Vernon added that AIS was not a Special Education oriented program either.

Commenting that she understood that each student had their own individual situation, she noted that when she took a step back and looked at things in “general terms” it doesn’t add up to her that a student could be receiving intervention services, presumably (although not all the time) because their test scores were at a certain level and yet at the same time that student is able to achieve the High Honor roll.  She further commented that she was not suggesting that this was not right, based on the data that had just been presented, just that it seemed odd.  She agreed with both Mr. Schrammel and Vice President Vernon that a holistic approach is a good one in forming well-rounded students, but she expressed some concern with the way in which electives are being weighted.  Using her own children as examples, Mrs. Vaught noted that chorus and orchestra in the high school take place during a portion of the daily lunch period.  She wondered how a course that spans roughly 40 minutes over the course of a week could have the same weight as one of the core subjects that the students are taking every day and which require a great deal of work and studying.   Noting that both subjects were equally important in terms of a well-rounded education, she questioned the decision to weight these courses equally given the amount of time and effort is being given to each proportionally. 

Vice President Vernon commented that she felt there was great value in providing the intervention and giving students the support they needed and that if the students are responding well, then they will be achieving. 

Superintendent Teed responded that they had discussed several options as follows:

Eliminate the Honor Roll and High Honor Roll altogether

Eliminate numerical and letter grades for Elementary school students (5-6) in all specials except Spanish.  These grades could be replaced with Pass/Fail and Pass with Honors

Eliminate the numerical and letter grades for High School Students in PE, Band, Chorus and Orchestra.  These grades could be replaced with Pass/Fail and Pass with Honors.

Vice President Vernon wondered how this might impact student applications for colleges. 

Mrs. Teed responded that if a particular student was applying in the area of Humanities, this raised an important issue as they would not have numerical grades attached to these courses.  She further commented that it was the recommendation of the administration that keep things as they currently are in the high school.  Tuxedo is in line with other high school programs.  If they want to consider changing the elementary school system for grades 5 and 6 then they could consider it.

Board member Allyson Arbor pointed out that when applying to colleges, the school sends a high school transcript and the colleges and universities can see what went in to making up a individual student’s GPA.  The colleges will know what derived the grades.  She further commented that she agreed they should keep things the same if this is what other schools were doing, but wondered if there was also a way to have an honor roll system to recognize the students who were excelling in the core subjects.  She proposed “honor roll with distinction.”

Vice President Vernon suggested that the trouble with this would be that other students with different strengths would not be equally recognized.

Mrs. Arbor suggested that this could be accounted for by adding distinctions for different areas of study.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer commented that she felt that the kids took pride in achieving honor roll and high honor roll and that it was important to them.  She feels it is important that it be kept it and that if all of the districts around Tuxedo are using the same criteria, they should probably stick with “the norm.”  She further questioned the decision to suggest as an option eliminating numerical and letter grades for Elementary school students (5-6) in all specials except Spanish.  Why Spanish?

Mr. Schrammel explained that Tuxedo is one of the few area schools that offer Spanish as a language at the elementary school level.  They are pushing the envelope at the 8th grade level when they take the proficiency exam and are setting them up to take college level prep courses in Spanish at a high school level.  They want to continue this rigor piece so that the students can take college level Spanish as a possible Junior in High School.
Vice President Vernon states that the one option that had not been named was to remain as-is with a continued focus on the rigor and the work that has been done with the staff in terms of monitoring that performance. 

Mrs. Vaught thanked Mr. Schrammel for compiling all of the information in his report.

Adding on to what Mrs. Arbor had stated earlier, Mrs. Zeigelbauer  suggested that there might be some value in assigning distinctions in certain areas of study.

The Superintendent stated that she felt they needed to be cautious in looking at the different grade levels and distinguishing different areas as there were bound to be some kids who were more athletic or musical.  She thinks it is a great idea to recognize kids and to this end they have awards at the end of the year.

Commenting that she didn’t know if it would be possible, Mrs. Vaught wondered if theymight be able to provide parents with two GPA numbers…one based on all classes and one based on just the core classes.

Superintendent Teed responded that these were the courses that they hoped parents were looking at when they received their children’s report cards.

Review & Discussion of Policy #4408 (Bring Your Own Device):
Superintendent Teed comment that questions had been raised with regard to students bringing their devices to school and possibly utilizing those devices during class time when they shouldn’t be.  There are times when students are allowed to use their devices, such as lunch time, but students should not be using them during class time.  She further noted that there are parents who are texting their students throughout the day.  The District wants to partner with parents, but they do feel that it is inappropriate to be texting back and forth in class.  In looking at the policy and reviewing It and talking with the administration and faculty, they have learned that there some faculty members who collect phones at the beginning of class.  She thinks this is a good idea and is not sure there is a need to change the policy.  Rather she suggested that it would be up to the Administration to work with the faculty to enforce the current policy and hold them accountable.

Vice President Vernon wondered whether the practice of collecting cell phones at the beginning of class would be enforced across the board moving forward.

Mr. Schrammel responded that in discussing this topic with faculty and specifically the possibility of a building policy that dictated that during tests and quizzes students would be required to put their cell phones in a designated spot, the issue of inequity was brought up.  For students who do not have devices, this will become a known fact.

Therefore, the designated spot would have to be a basket or a bucket where the devices were concealed.   With this policy in place, parents who felt the need to reach their children during the school day would have to contact Mr. Schrammel directly.

Vice President Vernon added that perhaps they should send a reminder home to parents as well to encourage them to refrain from texting during the academic portion of the day.  She feels a gentle reminder like this would be beneficial.

Mr. Schrammel agreed.

Mrs. Vaught pointed out that students in the High School had chrome books and active email addresses.  If necessary, their parents can reach them that way.  She further commented that she really liked the idea of having the devices collected before class.  Reading from the policy she stated “each teacher has the right to allow or disallow the use of mobile devices to support student learning or achievement during instructional time as he or she deems appropriate.”  She wondered how they went about determining the threshold for appropriate and the once determined, how to they follow through and make sure that it is being enforced.  Referencing experiences she has had with her own children, she commented that sometimes, when they have finished class work, the students are allowed to use their devices during free-time and have the ability to surf the web.  As a parent, this concerns her.  Conversely, in other classes students are permitted to use their devices as calculators, which is arguably a use that is directly supportive to instruction.  Where do they draw the line?  She further commented that although she might be antiquated in her thinking, she thought it might be a good idea to discourage the use of devices during lunch and encourage face to face communication and conversation.  She suggested that perhaps they could initiate “device-free lunch” a couple of times a week in an effort to promote real time communication.

Mr. Schrammel responded that there are students who engage and play cards with one another, however he feels there is something to be said for putting on music and taking a mental break as well.

Superintendent Teed commented that she thought in asking this question it was important that they allow teachers some flexibility because there are some classes in which the teachers utilize the devices.  There are kids that cannot manipulate the chrome book as easily as their device because they are used to the device.  She does not recommend taking the devices away from the students.

Vice President Vernon responded that she had a little bit of difficulty with this.  The chrome book is what the students will eventually be tested on if and when the district moves to electronic testing.  In her view it would have to be an unbelievably rare issue for a child to have to use their personal handheld device vs. using the chrome book. 

“I am speaking in terms of researching some items in certain classes,” responded the Superintendent.

“I think the benefits outweigh the negatives in terms of utilizing instructional time with the chrome books and if there is a child who is deficient in that area, I think we have to support them and make the call about the phones,” replied the Vice President.  “There’s tons of research out there about the use of devices.  We are not saying that the kids are never to use them.  We all use them.  I do think that the appropriateness sis using what we have and what we are allocating as a valuable technology to utilize in the classroom.  If they have the device in their hand, they could also be looking at whatever topic they might choose, even while they are looking up research.  We know it because we are guilty of it.”  She went on to say that in one of her daughter’s college classes, the students are not permitted to take notes on their own devices because the professor doesn’t want them doing anything else during class.  Instead they are required to use pen and pencil.  She suggested that sometimes the question as to why the students need their hand held devices during instruction exists.  Why do they need them 24/7?  She understands the fact that they should give teachers the opportunity to manage their classrooms, but the bottom line is that kids are very resourceful in getting around it.  She is sure that the administration will monitor this topic closely because it came up as an area of concern and they need to minimize those situations where students are utilizing the devices inappropriately.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer commented that she would be in support of a policy  that during instructional time the devices were removed unless the teacher deemed them necessary as part of what they are doing. She feels that they should be collected at the beginning of every class.

The Superintendent responded that this is what she had been suggesting.

Vice President Vernon commented that the idea of collecting them bothered her.
Board member Mike Arone agreed, stating he felt that students should be told to put them away.

Schrammel commented that at the end of the day, students would be able to text under their desks without teachers seeing.  A diligent student will be able to get around the rules.  Collecting the phones removes this possibility.  The equity piece also needs to be considered.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer suggested that it would come down to the honor system, as kids would be required to put their devices in a basket (or some such other collection spot) and if they did not do this, and were in turn caught with the device, there would have to be consequences.

Mr. Schrammel agreed.

Mrs. Vaught suggested there was a window of liability when kids posted to Social Media from school during the day.  Earlier that week she saw such a post depicting a child’s lunch.

It was argued that lunch was free time and the devices were allowed then.

“That might be true,” commented Mrs. Arbor “it’s on the property though….or is just not pictures of people, but you can take pictures of your lunch?”

Mr. Schrammel responded that they could look at DASA rules and regulations (Dignity for All Students Act), which is also something to be looked at.    “By removing that device, it might impede an individual from bullying…or not taking pictures of their lunch but of a classmate or something of that nature.  You can remove that aspect as well.  It’s a slippery slope and that is the discussion that we are having…especially that it was brought to light.”

“So we will keep it at the building level directive,” commented the Superintendent
Mr. Schrammel added that perhaps instead of collection, the devices could be kept in backpacks, which would then be left at the front of the room.  From there they would need to rely on the honor system.  If an individual is caught with the device in their pocket, then they would have to go see either himself or Mr. Sorenson.  If the devices are kept in backpacks at the front of the room, this takes away the liability involved with collecting the devices.  He feels that this might be a good way to bring everyone on to the same page and it is a conversation that he will be having with the staff.

Mr. Arone inquired as to when Mr. Schrammel anticipated something like this going into effect.

Mr. Schrammel responded that he could begin having conversations with the staff as early as the next day.

Mrs. Arbor wondered whether there would be any sort of written policy in terms of something that could be communicated to parents.

The answer was yes.

Discussion – Strategic Plan: The Board will conduct a Strategic Plan workshop with Terry Reynolds from OU BOCES on June 12 at 7pm.   Mrs. Teed provided the Board with sample plans from other districts for the Board to review in the meantime.

Personnel – The personal instructional appointments included Sharon Fox as Library Media Specialist beginning in the 2017/18 school year, a volunteer custodial substitute, a volunteer baseball coach and the resignation of a greeter.

Mrs. Arbor wondered whether the volunteer baseball coach was currently a teacher at the school.

The answer was no.

Mrs. Arbor then wondered whether anyone could volunteer for positions like this.

The Superintendent responded that there was a process that they need to go though, including fingerprinting and training, but the district does accept volunteers.

Vice President Vernon noted that the Library Media Specialist would be replacing both the Librarian and the Technology teacher.  It is newly combined position.

Mr. Schrammel added that they were really excited about Sharon.  She is a literature buff who builds computers on the side.  She writes code. She likes robotics.  He feels that she is that blend of what a Library Media Specialist should be and the District is very excited to have her.  She comes from a much larger school district (Middletown, Newburgh) and she is very excited to be in the classroom with our students.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer inquired as to what the delta was between Sharon’s salary and the two salaries she was replacing.

The Superintendent responded that she would follow up with this information as soon as possible.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving the personnel items.

Public Comments:
Mary Graetzer commented that listening to the conversation about the handheld devices, she finds it appalling that any personal devices are allowed in the school.  “My parents couldn’t get in touch with me during the school day, and we all lived just fine,” she added.  She further comment that what she was really appalled about was the comment that some of the students didn’t get around very well on the chrome books and so it is easier for them to use their phones. “Then teach them, damn it,” she stated.  “They are in school and they should be taught how to be very conversant with the chrome books.
Superintended Teed responded that she had been referring to Special Education students with special needs when she made this comment.

“Ok, well you didn’t say that,” responded Mrs. Graetzer.

John McNamara inquired whether or not the Board had built in an additional meeting for the purpose of adopting the budget that is not at the budget deadline as a part of their meeting schedule.

It was explained that the budget calendar is separate from the meeting schedule that was approved earlier in the evening.

Speaking to the issue of handheld devices, he then stated that he felt it was a bad idea for any employee of the School District to be touching anybody else’s “$800 devices” and having them in their possession where something could go wrong, which would open the door to accusations of damage or sending emails etc.  He suggested that if the devices were going to be removed they might want to initiate a locker system.  If parents need to get in touch with their student for any reason, they should go through the Main Office.
Finally, referencing Mr. Schrammel’s report on the honor roll and high honor roll, Mr. McNamara noted that the charts had been presented by building.  He wondered whether the other schools that he had used for comparison had also been broken down by building.

Mr. Schrammel responded that the high school data he had presented encompassed 7-12.  The comparison of schools was broken down from elementary schools (Washingtonville, Port Jervis, Chester for example have a k-4 program and then a 5-6 program) to high schools.  When looking at other high schools, he noted that where there were 7-8 middle school programs, they utilized the same standards as the high schools in their district.  It is an apples-to-apples comparison.

Mike Reardon commented that he had a friend/client who is an executive at Stryker and he had reported that the High School had visited Stryker and that there was an incident with 2 children and as a result, Tuxedo High School is no longer welcome at Stryker.  He wondered whether there was any truth to this.

There was a brief disagreement with regard  to when the High School had visited Stryker.
“At the end of the day, did Stryker inform the High School that they are not allowed to go there anymore?” inquired Mr. Reardon.

“No Sir, I was never informed of that,” replied Mr. Schrammel.

“Ok.  On the record you are saying that.  Ok,” replied Mr. Reardon.

He further inquired as to whether or not there had been an incident.  Mr. Schrammel replied that they had had a conversation with some students with regard to something that might have happened.  Mr. Reardon then wanted to know if those students were in 7th or 8th grade.

“No comment,” responded Mr. Schrammel.

Mr. Reardon then went on to suggest that 7th and 8th graders did not belong with 9-12.

He feels it is a bad combination and that the younger kids are hurting the older kids. 

“You have to understand this,” He stated.  ‘Everybody acts like it is not a big deal, but it is a big deal.”  He further suggested that the immature behavior of the younger kids would have an impact on the older kids, who might one day be looking for a job.  He went on to suggest that if the High School were to close and Tuxedo children were sent to either Suffern or Mahwah, then taxes would go down and the kids would receive a better, well rounded education.

Mrs. Vaught responded that historically, prior to the construction of the addition, grades 7 and 8 had been encompassed in the high school for decades without any problems.

Mr. Reardon wondered whether during that time period the children were all going on fieldtrips together.

Mrs. Vaught responded that she did not know for sure, but she didn’t think so.  She acknowledged that Mr. Reardon might have a point with regard to the trips, but maintained that combining the grade levels in the school building itself was not an issue.
Mr. Reardon asserted that there were two different levels of maturity at play and what might be beneficial to the 7th and 8th graders could hurt the 11th and 12th grade students.

Mrs. Vaught argued that in her view, this depended on circumstance.

President Petrosky thanked Mr. Reardon for his comments, stating that she was not going to comment on any specific incident but assuring him that the administration was well aware of these types of concerns and were re-examining how the trips are handled.

Discussion – Follow-up Items:
Superintendent Teed recapped some items that will be followed up on at the next meeting.

The first was the correlation between students receiving academic intervention services and those who make honor roll and high honor roll.

The second was a follow up on the “Bring Your Own Device” policy.  The administration will work on a building level plan and inform the Board as well as putting together written communication to the parents with regard to this issue.

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting May 18, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
V. Routine Business
1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes - (04/06/17 & 04/20/17)
2. Administrators' Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent's Report
4. OCSBA Update
VI. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Review & Yearly Extension of Board Policy# 4110 (Non-Resident Tuition
Student Payment, Student Attendance)
4. Non- Resident Tuition Rate for 2017 /18 School Year
5. APPR Lead Evaluator Certification
6. Proposed Board of Education Meeting Schedule for 2017 /18
7. Senior Citizens Tax Exemption
8. Real Property Tax Exemption for Volunteer Workers
9. Alternative Veterans Exemption and Gold Star Parents Resolution
10. Presentation/Discussion Honor Roll/High Honor Roll-Benchmark Testing
11. Review & Discussion of Policy# 4408 (Bring Your Own Device)
12. Discussion - Strategic Plan
13. Discussion Follow Up Items
14. Personnel
15. Proposed Executive Session re: Contract Negotiations
VII. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
Vill. Correspondence
IX. Adjournment

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Tuxedo Union Free School District Budget Vote and Election Results

Tuxedo voters went to polls on Tuesday, May 16 with the following results:

The Tuxedo Union Free School Budget was passed by a vote of 248-202.

Nancy Bourke will be the newest member of the Board of Education with 274 votes.

There were 10 write in candidates as follows:

Joe Rickard – 7 votes
Kathy Norris – 3 Votes
Michael Bruno – 2 Votes
Tara Schultz – 2 Votes
Paul DiPaolo – 1 Vote
Robin McFadden – 1 Vote
Michael Reardon – 1 Vote
Fidelis Curry – 1 Vote
Steve Debor – 1 Vote
My Dog Chester – 1 Vote

A total of 20 absentee ballots were received with the following outcome:
16 – Yes
4 – No

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Board of Education Budget Hearing, May 9, 7pm

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that a Public Hearing of the qualified voters of the Tuxedo Union Free School District, Towns of Tuxedo and Warwick, Orange County, New York, will be held in the George Grant Mason Elementary School Multipurpose Room in said district on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 7:00 p.m., prevailing time, for the presentation of the 2017-2018 budget.

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Tuxedo Union Free School District Survey Comments

At their most recent meeting on April 20, the Board of Education announced that upon the advice of their attorney they would not be releasing the comment section from the recent community wide survey that they conducted earlier this year.  It was however noted that the comments would be made available to public via FOIL in the business office at the school.

TPFYI has foiled the comments and they appear here.

The complete survey results are available for review on the school’s website: http://tuxedoufsd.org/

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26,189 pages read in four weeks - 4/25/17

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Board of Education Meeting April 20, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, April 20 at 7pm.

Board member Adam Eirand was absent.

The meeting began with a moment of silence in honor of beloved bus driver Ed Kealer who passed away recently.  Superintendent Teed noted that if anyone wished to send condolence cards to Mr. Kealer’s family, they could send them directly to her attention and she would forward them on to his family.
 
Recognition of Valedictorian and Salutatorian:
Superintendent Teed introduced the Valedictorian for the class of 2017, Arik Mozejko.  Arik was awarded scholarship monies by the New York State Education Department as a recipient of the 2017 Academic Excellence Scholarship Award for his overall Regents exam average.  During his time at George F. Baker he has amassed a sizable resume of 13 AP or honors level courses and was one of the few students who pursued the Mandarin Chinese program, where he received a score of 100 on the Mandarin Chinese Checkpoint B Exam.  Arik has been researching and visiting many colleges, but has expressed the most interest in SUNY Stony Brook.  He was also awarded both the Presidential Scholarship and the Valedictorian Scholarship.  He is a member of the National Honor Society and recently lent his voice to the High School’s production of Beauty and The Beast in the role of Narrator.  Arik was also one of two students from Tuxedo who received the Orange County Scholar Athlete Award.  He plans to become an astrophysicist. 

Superintendent Teed offered her congratulations to Arik and his family on this tremendous accomplishment.  He was presented with a pin and photos were taken.

Next, the Superintendent introduced the 2017 Salutatorian, Jeremy Dedel.  Jeremy plans on attending Manhattan College in the fall, where he was awarded the highest recognition to students for academic achievement and will receive a Merit Scholarship in the amount of $26,000 per year.  He is planning to pursue computer science as his major and in his spare time will join the Jazz Club.   This year Jeremy was also awarded a $500 scholarship from the New York State Education Department t as a recipient of the 2017 Academic Excellence Scholarship Award for his overall Regents exam average.  During his time at George F. Baker, Jeremy has taken the most academically challenging course load available, including a total of 12 AP courses, 4 of which were taken during his senior year.  He is currently a member of Tuxedo’s Jazz Ensemble as well as the Band, where he plays the Piano and the Trombone.  He is also a highly regarded member of Tuxedo’s Production Team, a member of the National Honor Society and President of the Student Council.  This year he is also completing an internship at Live Technologies. 

Superintendent Teed offered her congratulations to Jeremy and his family on this tremendous accomplishment.  He was presented with a pin and photos were taken.

Proposed Executive Session – regarding personnel matter:
The Board then entered into an Executive Session for 45 minutes for the purpose of discussing a specific personnel matter.

Public Comment:
Joe Rickard urged the Board not to move forward with the budget currently before them, suggesting it was a contrived rather than a controlled document. 

Instead, he requested that they ask the business manager to provide a couple of cases where they would have a flat budget and another one where there would be a reduction in year over year spending. He feels that the proposed budget was engineered by the district administration to gain a year over year budget increase without really managing or controlling the budget. He feels that the Board should consider giving the taxpayers a break for a change.

He further pointed out that enrollment since “the Greenwood Lake exodus” continues to decline.   He feels that planning assumption made by the Superintendent of 236 students for next year is incorrect based on what some parents have told him. He thinks there will be less.  The District is receiving more in State aid.  They maintain 125 employees for 236 students!

They have 16 buses that can accommodate over 500 students.

He believes strongly that there are lots of areas within the line items provided where cuts can be made and that the Board needs to get more details.  In his view, the District should be spending less, not more, on athletics and extra curricular activities due to less students. Additionally, he suggested that there are excess funds within the reserve funds and budget to help reduce the budget. The district does not need to maintain reserves in excess of 4% as required by the State.

Administrators’ Reports:
Board President Diane Petrosky inquired as to whether there were any questions from the Board with regard to the Administrator’s Reports, which were included in the monthly Board Packet.

Speaking to the Business Administrator’s report, Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer inquired about 10 checks, all written on February 15 to Orange and Rockland, spanning two different bank accounts and totaling over $18,000.  Noting that the explanation in the report read “Traffic Light” for all 10 transactions, she wondered what the funds were actually for.

Consulting Business Administrator John Steiger explained that GGM and GFB issue checks from two separate accounts.  The description of  “Traffic Light” is the longest one that the system will allow them to enter when putting together the report. 

Mrs. Zeigelbauer thanked him for this information and again inquired what the charges were for, noting the large number of checks that had been issued.

Mr. Steiger responded that he did not know the specifics off hand, but they would look into it and provide the information.

Next Mrs. Zeigelbauer inquired about 13 instances where it appeared that checks had been issued without purchase orders.

Superintendent Teed responded that they have been working hard to stay on top of this, but occasionally one slipped through the cracks.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer recalled that the Superintendent had only recently initiated a new policy with regard to this specific issue.  She further commented that if there had been only 1 or 2, she probably would not have made a note of it, however 13 seemed a large number to have slipped through, given the fact that a new policy had recently been put in place. 
Superintendent Teed agreed with this assessment and stated that she would look into it further in an attempt to assess what had happened.

Addressing Principal Schrammel and Vice Principal Sorenson, Board member Meg Vaught noted that in Mr. Sorenson’s report for the month of March, he had referenced 57 students grades 9-12 who earned either Honor Roll or High Honor Roll for the second quarter.  She further noted that the total number of students enrolled for grades 9-12 was 77, which means that only 20 students are not achieving these honors.  She wondered how these numbers correlated with those from last year at this time. 

Mr. Schrammel indicated that he did not know these numbers off hand.

Indicating that this was understandable, Mrs. Vaught stated that was curious to know what the percentage of Honors Students was in correlation with the number of Students who failed to pass their regents exams.

Before Mr. Schrammel could respond, Superintendent Teed interjected, suggesting that the administration could put together a presentation detailing the system by which honor roll and high honor roll are awarded and present it to the Board at their meeting in May.
Mrs. Vaught responded that this would great and thanked Mrs. Teed for the offer.

Board member Allyson Arber wondered how other districts awarded honor roll and high honor roll and suggested that this might be valuable information to include with the presentation.

Noting that the regents exams were fast approaching, Mrs. Vaught then inquired about the benchmark testing, wondering how this was going and specifically how the data was being analyzed and what measures were being taken as a result to ensure that students performed better on this years tests.

Mr. Schrammel responded that he, Mr. Sorenson and the teaching staff were analyzing the benchmark data and he felt that the process was going well and that they have been able to detect some issues and ultimately implement assistance where needed via A.I.S. (Academic Intervention Services) It is an ongoing initiative and they are making changes and improvements to it as they move along.

Mrs. Vaught wanted to know if it was only those students who were enrolled with A.I.S. who were receiving extra help as a result of the initiative.

The answer was no.  Students across the Board are receiving help and remediation.

Mrs. Arber noted that Mr. Schrammel had made reference to Field Testing in his report.  She wondered if he could provide a little more detail as to what this was.

Mr. Schrammel explained that there are certain test questions that the State wants to  “test out” on the population before they become a part of the test and therefore schools are chosen to participate in this type of testing.  Selected high school groups are given specific blocks of time for this (2+ hours) The testing can also take place at the elementary level, and this year, in addition to Juniors and Seniors, 6th graders in Tuxedo will be Field Testing as well.  The field-testing is mandated. 

Board member Mike Arone inquired about Special Education costs.  He wondered specifically how many students in the district were receiving services, how many teachers had been allocated. and whether they could project how much money would be spent on Special Education in the following year.

It was explained that the amount of monies spent on special education relied upon a number of factors including the specifics of each situation and the amount of aid the District receives from the State.  There is a specific formula used to determine this.   At this point, the District does not know how much money they will receive for next year.

Mrs. Vaught asked whether they knew the percentage of students who had opted out of ELA State Testing.

Superintendent Teed responded that 14% of the students had opted out.

Mrs. Vaught then wanted to know what the students who opted out were doing during the time their classmates were taking the tests.

Mr. Schrammel responded that 7 and 8 graders who opted out ran through their regular class day while students in grades 3-6 go to the Multipurpose room where they work on independent work that they bring themselves.

Mrs. Vaught wondered whether the 7 and 8 graders who took the test were missing curriculum that the non-testers were receiving.

Mr. Schrammel assured her that they were not.  The non-testers are receiving remediation and review.

Finally, Mrs. Vaught asked if there were a policy in place with regard to regular classroom tests taking place during the same week that the State Tests are given.

The answer was no.  There is no such policy in place.

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Teed began by congratulating the District Music teachers, Mrs. Kurian and Mr. Chan for all of their efforts as Tuxedo was named one of the 2017 best communities for music education by the National Association of Music Merchant’s Foundation.  This is a huge accomplishment and the district is extremely proud.  

During the month of March the Board approved the expenditure of up to $3,000 in order to secure a surveyor in order to have the Euvard property and the surrounding area surveyed.  The District received multiple estimates and has hired Robert S. Murray to complete the survey at a cost of $2,750.  This is in no way intended to disrupt the building that is happening in that area.  The District would just like to clearly define the boundaries of their property. 

The Healthcare contribution increase for the District is 18% for next year.  The Superintendent has been researching options and having conversations with multiple people.  Becoming self-insured is, in her view, not a feasible plan as from what she has heard the District would need a minimum of 500 employees in order to go this route.  “Even with 500, it’s very very risky,” she added, further noting that the New York State Health Plan had come in higher than their current plan for next year.  They will, however, continue to explore options.

The Superintendent is continuing to work with Mrs. Reynolds at Orange Ulster Boces on the District’s strategic plan with goals and measurable objectives.  She commented that she had been working together with her administrative team to develop the goals and they are aligning them to their Professional Development plan.  Their focus is on increasing student achievement K-12, providing high quality professional development to the staff, maintaining safe and technology rich innovative learning environment and continuing to improve community relations.  The Superintendent will be scheduling a meeting with Mrs. Reynolds for the purpose of reviewing all of this information before it is formally presented to the Board for their review as well. 

The Lady Black Knight basketball players from West Point visited students at GGM on April 20.  This is one of the nicest rewards the students receive for all of their hard work participating in the Lady Knight’s Reading Challenge and placing in the top spots in comparison to other students in Orange County.

The District would like to initiate a co-ed intramural club this spring, running five days a week for different grade levels; 2 days for 5-6 grades, 2 days for 7-8 and 1 day for 9-12.  The intent is to give all of the students an opportunity to get involved with competitive sports and develop their interests in these areas.

Mrs. Arber wondered if this would be taking place throughout the entire year or on a seasonal basis only. 

Superintendent Teed responded that it would run until June only.  They want to assess the interest rates and analyze the availability of the gym before making further plans.

While on the topic of athletics, the Superintendent noted that the Varsity baseball team has had 2 wins and 1 loss this season while the softball team has not been able to kick off their season due to rainy weather.

She then noted the following key events, which are coming up in the near future:

Friday April 21 – 7-9pm – PTO Spring Fling for grades 4-6
Thursday April 27 – Kindergarten Screening at GGM.
Saturday April 29 – All County Concerts for elementary band, chorus and orchestra
as well as vocal jazz at Newburgh Free Academy
May 2 – May 2 – New York State Math Assessments grades 3-8
Thursday May 5 – Muffins for Mom in GGM
Friday May 12 – Grandparents Tea
Tuesday May 16 – K-3 Spring concert – 1:45pm / 4-6 Spring Concert 6:30pm
The budget vote will also occur on Tuesday May 16 from 2-9pm in the Multi-purpose room at GGM.

Mrs. Arber inquired as to whether the Superintendent had received any feedback on the sports program for next fall, specifically the merger with the Chester school district, in terms of general interest levels.

The Superintendent responded that she had not received a lot of comments from the students yet, although with regard to football, the Chester Football coach works in High School and has been holding meetings to gauge interest.  “A lot of students initially will say they are interested and then when they talk to their parents and then come back and realize that they have to dedicate themselves in many ways to a sport….  It takes a full commitment.”

Mrs. Vaught in reviewing the enrollment report she had noticed that the District had lost two students in the high school over the course of the last month.  Being that one of these students is in class with her daughters, Mrs. Vaught understands that the reason for the departure has to do with relocation however she wondered whether the District had conducted an exit interview with the family.

The answer was not yet, but they are intending to do so.

President Petrosky then commented that in March the District had shared the results of their recent survey and they had received a few inquiries with regard to the release of the comment section.  On the advice of their attorney, the Board will not release these comments. However, they feel strongly that they would like to make them available to the public in as legal a method as possible.  Individuals wishing to view the comments can fill out a FOIL request with the Business Office after which a copy will be made immediately available.

Items for Action and/or Discussion:

Warrants Transfers & Bids – There were none

CPSE/CSE – A motion was made and unanimously adopted.

Adoption of the 2017/2018 Proposed Budget:
Referencing Mr. Rickard’s earlier comment, Mrs. Zeigelbauer wondered whether it might be possible for them to take $50,000 from the reserve funds and put it towards the budget.  Commenting that she realizes that they need money for capital projects and emergency funds, she stated that it seemed to her like there was a large sum of money in the reserve funds and while she certainly did not want to jeopardize their ability to complete necessary capital improvements or the overall fiscal health of the District for that matter, she still wondered if it were not something they should consider.

Mr. Steiger responded that adding additional money to fund balance whether it was from a reserve fund or not, would put them “behind the 8-ball” the following year, so when they went to prepare the 18/19 budget instead of having to come up with $600,000, they would have to come up with $650,000.  This means they would have to come up with this much money from savings, through the budget or via additional revenues.  Also, if they were to use the funds as Mrs. Zeigelbauer suggested, they would be reducing the tax levy, which would make it tougher for them to come within the cap moving forward.  He cautioned that it could end up costing them a lot more 2-3 years down the road.  There are also capital improvements as part of the 5-year facilities plan to consider such roofs, sidewalks and windows.  He feels that the district has a sound amount of funding in the reserves and that the administration has worked hard at making it work in a way that will be beneficial down the road.

Mrs. Arber wondered whether or not the District had received their final aid numbers form the State.

Mr. Stegier responded that they had.  Tuxedo receives the minimum amount of aid.  The amount of the increase was $9,000, although he cautioned that it would months before they did an audit on the aid, so they could not guarantee that that they would receive the full amount.  They were also notified that there was the potential of a mid-year cut, depending on what happens with President Trump’s budget cut to Federal programs.  They still do not know what the final number will be and won’t know until the Federal Government adopts their budget.

Mrs. Zegelbauer wondered how the Board could then adopt their budget without this information.

“It’s your best guestimate of what has happened in the past,” responded Mr. Steiger.         

Speaking to Mr. Steiger’s previous comment pertaining to the suggestion that should they put $50,000 back into the budget now, the district would have to come up with the money the following year, Mrs. Arber stated that this presupposes that the budget figures were accurate to begin with.  The question is raised as to why there is an extra $50,000 available to apply to a future budget.  The snowball effect really only comes into play if this is a good number.  It begs the question as to whether that budget should have been $50,000 lower to begin with.  It is not an automatic given that if they were to cut $50,000 this year, next year things would have to increase by that amount.  What they really need to do is re-examine it and determine whether the expense was overstated in the previous year.

Mr. Steiger responded that this was a fair assessment.  He further stated however that they have no idea what the future holds.  They could have a family move into the district with triplets who are blind, and something like this could blow the budget out.

Transportation is another major concern.  The District’s busses are aging.  He feels it is important to make sure that they put a well thought out budget in place taking all of these things into consideration.

Board Vice President Joanne Vernon added that just as they cannot anticipate whether they might have children with special needs moving into the district, they might also have children in the District who are currently receiving services who then decide to move.  The District will have budgeted for these students and so this where it could appear that there is an inflated amount of money.  The District has no control over these types of things.

“The object of a school district just because you have a $13,000,000 budget doesn’t mean you are going to spend $13,000,000,” commented    Mr. Steiger. “That is not the goal.  The goal is to spend less than that.”

“95%” stated Mrs. Arber.

“That is correct.  You beat me to it!” responded Mr. Steiger.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer commented that she felt that because the District did have excess money within the budget from previous years where they did not expend as much as they thought they would, resulting in a large reserve, that it would be a nod to the taxpayers to try and give them back $50,000.  Originally she was going to propose $100,000, but reconsidered this amount when thinking about the potential for unforeseen expenses as well as the capital improvements.  She went on to state that the sad part about all of this was that because of the schedule and the way the process goes, this was all a moot point as the Board was required by law to approve a budget that evening.

Mr. Steger responded that the process was crazy, noting that the budget hearing would not take place for weeks yet and that they would not have the power to make any changes to the document as a result of that hearing.  “It is a reverse system that the State has put in place.”

Mrs. Zeigelbauer requested that on a go-forward basis they arrange for more workshops and allow for more time to not only adjust the numbers and review them in detail but also allow for public comment and a thorough review before they are forced to adopt a budget.

Mrs. Vaught wondered what would happen if they did not adopt a budget that evening,
“The State comes in,” responded President Petrosky.

“Meaning what exactly?” Mrs. Vaught asked.

“They run the school district,” stated Mrs. Petrosky.

“How does that work?” responded Mrs. Vaught.

Mr. Steiger suggested that the State could ultimately decide that the Board was not fulfilling their obligation and then there would be a State appointed Board that would come in and do what they believed was right for the community.

He agreed that lengthening the process was a good idea, but also stated that historically even when this was so, residents tended to come out after the budget had been adopted and make their comments and suggestions.  He advised that it is very difficult to ascertain what everyone is thinking and would like to see in the budget.

“As John said,” added President Petrsoky, “it’s our best guestimate.”

Mrs. Vernon added that in June they would be making some decisions with regard to funding the reserve accounts and that might be an opportunity for them to plan forward towards the next budget.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of adopting the 2017/2018 proposed budget.
Adoption of School Tax Property Report Card – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the School Tax Property Report Card.
Orange-Ulster BOCES Administrative Budget Vote – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the 2017/2018 Orange Ulster BOCES administrative budget.
Orange-Ulster BOCES Board Member Election – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Board member elections (2 candidates for 2 open seats)
Resolution – OU BOCES Cooperative Bid – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the OU BOCERS cooperative Bid process.
Donation – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the donation of a National Geographic Mural World Map from Mrs. Cynthia Dinan.  The map has been hung on the wall in the High School.
Personnel – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving all personnel items.

Public Comment:
Nancy Bourke thanked the Board for their hard work on the budget, which she feels appears to be very sound and will meet the needs to of the District in the coming year.  She further commented that she had enjoyed hearing the good news about the Black Knights visiting the elementary school and especially about the Music Department.  She commended the teachers, students, administration and the Board on this wonderful honor.

Joe Rickard commented that he resented the comments and behavior of an outside financial Consultant, who did not reside in the district and who, in his opinion, had hammered the Board into passing the budget.  The consultant told the Board that if they did not agree to the budget the State would take over the Board and the district.  He cautioned that the Board members should check into this as he had had issues like this in the past with this District where things that were stated were simply not true.  He is resentful of somebody coming in from the outside and literally trying to intimidate the Board into passing the budget.

Next he referenced the recent school survey, noting the following results as posted on the school website:

25% of our students either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the
statement "The school challenges me to my full potential"

27% of our students either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the
statement "School administration is responsive to student concerns"

27% of our students either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the
statement "Technology effectively supports teaching and learning"

32% of our students either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the
statement "Class sizes are appropriate to meet my needs"

37% of our students either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the
statement "I am proud to go to this school"

38% of our students either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the
statement "The rules at school are enforced for all students"

He wanted to know what the Board was doing about these results as he feels these comments are unacceptable.  He wanted to know if they were concerned? This is a small STEM school, for the kids to suggest that they did not have the technology they needed was unbelievable!  These are the kids and the parents!  “Do you think anybody is going to send a kid to our school when 38% of the kids said they are not proud to be in the school!?!”  Again, he inquired as to what the administration was doing about this issue.

President Petrosky thanked Mr. Rickard for his comments.  She further stated that the survey had been conducted as a tool for the Board.  “Those are the results.  We are aware of them and we are working with them with the administration and the students.”
Mr. Rickard wondered if there would be a follow up report.

“Those are the results of the survey,” repeated President Petrosky. “We are taking those results and working with them.”

Mr. Rickard wondered what the next step would be.  Would the results be shared with the public?

“We shared the results,” President Petrosky responded.

Vice President Vernon suggested that some of this would be included within the strategic plan, which should identify areas where the district needs to show improvement as well as areas of concern.  “That is why we have BOCES working with us to develop the strategic plan and the Board will continue to be working on it.”

“That was one step and one tool and we are using that tool to help us move forward,” added Mrs. Petrosky.

“There will be future goal setting that will address any concerns that have come up as a result of the survey”

Mrs. Vaught commented that she could speak directly to Mr. Rickard’s questions in stating that yes, members of the Board were concerned with the results and they were discussing this as a Board actively.

Mr. Rickard suggested that they should go back to the students and try to determine why these were the results, further commenting that in his view, they were devastating.
John McNamara commented that when Mrs. Vaught had asked Mr. Steiger what would happen if the Board did not adopt the budget that evening he had responded that the school would be taken over by the State.  This sounds like a lie to him.  Why could the vote not have been postponed?  Why was there not any opportunity for the discussions that were taking place tonight any earlier? 

Superintendent Teed responded that the budget had been discussed since the fall.
Mr. McNamara responded that from where he was sitting it appeared that everything had been thrown at the Board that night and they had been forced into making a decision.
Mrs. Zeigelbauer responded that in all fairness they had received the information at the budget workshops but they had not seen both pieces of the budget together until the second workshop.  She feels it is hard to take everything in and adjust it and formulate questions in the short period of time provided.  This is why she has suggested extending the process moving forward.

Mr. McNamara responded that he was not criticizing the Board members, but he did not understand why they couldn’t get in front of this. 

Vice President Vernon responded that as a Board they had been talking about how they needed to plan fiscally in a better way by setting up the reserves and allocating funds there and they had decided that they needed to see where were at the end of this year.  There have been discussions by the Board by meetings that are very poorly attended by the public. 

President Petrosky added that the discussions regarding the reserve funds took place back in October.  As far as the workshops are concerned, they have discussed it amongst themselves and they do feel they could extend the process, but they have had the information.  It was not thrown at them that evening.  They do have a New York State deadline.

Mr. McNamara responded that he appreciated the explanation, and as the Board knew, he had only missed 1 or 2 meetings over the course of the last 2 years.  Quite frankly, there has not been much discussion or questioning of the numbers in public.  There have been a few members of the Board who have been extremely vocal in questioning things, but if they knew they were up against this point tonight and there were still questions to be asked, there should have been an opportunity to do so.  He understands that this can be changed on the go-forward but he stated that he wanted to make it a matter of record that he found it extremely disappointing that he felt there were individuals on the Board who may have reluctantly voted in favor of adopting the budget (at least that is the impression he received in the audience.) He appreciates all the time and effort that everyone is putting in, but pushing things through is how the District got to the place its in now to begin with. 

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Local school districts earn national honors for music programs - 4/18/17

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting April 20, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Recognition of Valedictorian and Salutatorian
V. Proposed Executive Session-regarding personnel matter
VI. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
VII. Routine Business
1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes – 03/13/17, 03/16/17, 03/30/17
2. Administrators’ Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent’s Report
VIII. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Adoption of 2017/2018 Proposed Budget
4. Adoption of School Tax Property Report Card
5. Orange-Ulster BOCES Administrative Budget Vote
6. Orange-Ulster BOCES Board Member Election
7. Resolution – OU BOCES Cooperative Bid
8. Donation
9. Personnel
IX. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
X. Proposed Executive Session- regarding potential contract negotiations
XI. Correspondence
XII. Adjournment

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Tuxedo and Chester school districts to merge for select sports - 4/17/17

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Tuxedo STEM Academy students visit pharmaceutical company - 4/17/17

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Board of Education Budget Work Sessions March 30 & April 6

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that, The Tuxedo School District Board of Education will hold Budget Work Sessions on 03/30/2017, 04/06/2017, and if necessary, on 04/13/2017. The meetings will be held at 7:00 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room in the George Grant Mason School, located at 11 Hillside Ave. in the town of Tuxedo, New York.

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George F. Baker Presents Beauty and The Beast This Weekend!

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Board of Education Meeting March 16, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, March 16 at 7pm.
All members were present.

Business Administrator’s Report:
Interim Business Administrator Marc Matatia provided the Board with General Fund estimated Revenues for 16/17 vs. 17/18 as well as 2017-18 proposed budget appropriations, including a 16/17 17/18 budget to budget comparison.

He briefly reviewed any and all increases and decreases with the Board, providing explanations for each as he moved along.  The expected tax levy increase is expected to be a 1.06%, which is below cap.  There are two budget workshops coming up on March 31 and April 6 respectively, where the budget will be reviewed in detail.  These are public meetings and residents are encouraged to attend.

Next, Mr. Matatia presented the Board with an outline of Expenditures per pupil among the O-U BOCES component districts, as requested by a member of the public at the previous meeting.  The information comes from the 2015/2016 New York State School District Report Card, which is presented annually at budget time.  Mr. Matatia explained that the 16/17 report card will be coming out sometime in the beginning of April, so there is a little bit of a lag in the data as presented.  

To review this analysis, click here.

Commenting that she believed she already knew the answer to her question, Board president Diane Petroski states that on the Administrators Report there were a few areas where she had noticed repeated charges by a particular teacher at Staples.  She asked for an explanation as to how this could possibly happen.

Mr. Matatia responded that the district sometimes receives partial shipments on some of their orders and when this occurs, they make partial payments.

Next, President Petrosky commented that there were a number of checks drawn for substantial amounts of money ($4,000, $3,000) on individual community members.  She wondered if this was connected to the STAR reimbursements.
The answer was yes.  These are refund checks.

Superintendent’s Report:
Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed reported that the District was busy preparing for the New York State grades 3-8 ELA testing, which will take place March 28-30. 
This past Sunday, the District attended the Rockland Youth Fest, held at Rockland Community College.  There was a good turnout and they were able to hand out a good deal of information about both schools.  Ms. Teed expressed her gratitude to all of the staff members who assisted in running the event booth. 

Kindergarten through 6 grade parent/teacher conferences will be held on March 22 from 12-3.  Parents have the opportunity to register for these online. 

Beauty and The Beast tickets are available online or via the Main Office.  If anybody is experiencing difficulty obtaining tickets, they should contact Mr. Sorenson, who will be glad to assist.  Some of the cast members will give a short performance for the residents of the Promenade this coming Monday.

There will not be a family movie night during the month of April due to spring break.

Open Gym basketball for those ages 19 and up will begin on March 27 from 7-9pm in the gymnasium on Mondays and Wednesdays.

The District is continuing to send as much information as possible to parents in a digital manner.  Ms. Teed cautioned that it is really important for parents to notify them if their email address changes in order to ensure that they are receiving proper communication.  She requested that anybody whose email address might have changed should contact Mrs. Dickson in the Guidance office in order to update the information.

Mr. Sorenson has been attending The Model Schools, through O-U BOCES and the representative group will be visiting Tuxedo next Thursday in order to gain insight on the STEM program in both schools.

There has been a recent change to the school website.  Where there used to be “highlight” tabs all the way to the right on the top, there is now a “Newsletter” tab. 

All the District newsletters can be found there.

A report on staff training outlining all of the training that has been completed thus far this year was included in this month’s Board packet.  They are matching this training to their Professional Development Plan and are very close to achieving the goals that were set.  The committee will be meeting shortly to tweek the plan before the end of the year.

With regard to the O-U healthcare plan, Ms. Teed reported that she, Mr. Matatia and Mr. Martin have been attending meetings and there is a projected increase for next year of 20%, which is clearly a sizable amount.  This has not been finalized yet.  They expect to have more definitive numbers sometime next week.  There is also the possibility of a mid-year increase this year and if this is the case, Ms. Teed stated that she would update the Board immediately. 

Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer inquired as to whether or not there had been any indication as to why there might be such drastic increases.

Ms. Teed responded that there were many claims and losses last year.  Last year’s increase was relatively small  If this had been higher and the claims loss had been appropriately matched, the current increase would not be nearly as substantial.

Parent/Student/Community Survey Results:
Together with Principal Schrammel, Ms. Teed presented the Board with data-based results from their recent parent/student/community survey.  These results have been posted to the district’s website and can be viewed by clicking here.

66 students, 83 parents and 66 community members participated in the survey. 

Following the presentation, Board member Meg Vaught inquired as to whether there was an available breakdown indicating how many of the students who participated in the survey were from GGM vs. GBF. 

The answer was 40 students from GFB, 20 from GGM and 6 Anonymous.

OCSBA Report:
Board member Meg Vaught reported that the most recent meeting of OCSBA had been “action packed” with two different presentations having taken place.  The first was given by Diane Lang, who heads up Instructional Support.  Mrs. Vaught found Ms. Lang to be very enthusiastic and excited about the programming offered through her department, which includes a huge catalogue of continuing teacher leader education and professional development workshops as well as opportunities for digital field trips and e-learning.  They have also just launched a new Collaborative Science Initiative.

Next, there was a presentation entitled “What’s New At BOCES” given by BOCES Superintendent Bill Hecht.  In brief, BOCES is offering an abundance of new and exciting programming such as Animal Science, Aviation, Pharmacy Tech, Personal Training Assistant and Medical Administrative Assistant classes.  Of the 37 BOCES State-wide there is a 95% graduation rate among Career & Tech students and O-U BOCES enjoys a 98% graduation rate.  They are continuing to work on revising their current diploma system with the goal of creating 1 master diploma moving forward.

In addition to these two presentations, the two incumbents who are running for re-election to the BOCES Board briefly introduced themselves.

The budget presentation and dinner will take place on April 5.

There will be no OCSBA meeting during the month of April.

Items for Action and/or Discussion:
Warrants, Transfers & Bids – there were none.

CPSE/CSE – These were unanimously approved.

Nomination of O-U BOCES Board Candidates – President Petrosky stated that she knew both candidates personally and that they were both very dedicated individuals.  They are Lawrence Berger and Martha Bogart.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving these nominations.

Resolution: External Auditor – The Board voted unanimously in favor of extending the RFP with Raymond Preusser.

2016/2017 Board of Registration Recommendations – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the 2016/2017 Board of Registration recommendations.  These are the individuals who will be working on Election Day.

Adoption of 2017/18 School Calendar – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the 2017/18 school calendar.

Personnel – A motion was made to approve 7.1-7.3 inclusive.  Board member Allyson Arber inquired about the Occupational Therapist, noting that she was already employed by the District.  She wondered if they were changing her full-time equivalency number.

The answer was yes, as her caseload is increasing and she needs the extra time in order to adequately service all of the students who receive these services.
The Board then voted unanimously in favor of approving 7.1-7.3.  

Ms. Teed then announced that 7.4 two resignations for the purpose of retirement from Mrs. Beverly Tesser and Mrs. Linda Frazer.  She thanked both ladies for their many years of dedicated and wonderful service to the District.  This was met by a round of applause.  The Board then approved 7.4 unanimously.

Appointment of Business Administrator - Next, the Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Marc Matatia as Business Administrator for a 4-year probationary term from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2021 at an annual salary of $105,000.  President Petrosky commented that Mr. Matatia had joined the District when they were in great need of both leadership and direction and had served them quite well.  The District looks forward to working with him moving forward.

Appointment of Superintendent- The Board voted 5-2 in favor of appointing Nancy Teed to a 3-year contract as Superintendent of Schools, expiring in June of 2020 at a salary rate of $168,000 with Board members Meg Vaught and Dorothy Zeigelbauer opposed.

Superintendent Teed thanked the Board for the opportunity, commenting that she looked forward to continuing her work on behalf of the students with the staff, parents and community.

Public Comment:

Donna Posta inquired about the lack of advertising with regard to presentation of the survey results, further commenting that she had received e-mail after e-mail asking her to engage in the survey, but no communication with regard to the presentation of the results.  She believes that if the presentation had been more widely publicized, there would have been many more people present to hear about the results. 

Superintendent Teed responded that all of the results had been posted to the District website. 

“The parents put their names on it.  Did the kids put their names on it?” inquired Mrs. Posta.

The answer was yes.

Mrs. Posta then wanted to know, given the fact the children had been required to supply their names, whether the administration believed the results were accurate. 

Mr. Schrammel responded that they did.

Mrs. Posta then wanted to know if the District had done anything to reach out to any surrounding schools with regard to athletics and the possibility of collaboration for modified. 

Superintendent Teed responded that they were working on lining up some possible options for next year. 

“What happened to this year?” responded Mrs. Posta.  “How come this wasn’t taken care of before my daughter found out that she can’t play softball?”  She went on to say that she believed the situation in which her daughter and friends were stuck was a real shame.  She wondered what was being doing to recruit new students.  She feels BOCES is a great thing, but this entails sending kids out rather than bringing kids in.  She wondered how many applications had been received to date for next year and for which grades.

Superintendent Teed responded that currently, students were filling out scholarship renewal applications.  They have until June to complete these applications.  To date, 2 of these have been received, but the others have time to complete them.

Mrs. Posta indicated that there would be at least 4 students leaving from her daughter’s class and the Superintendent responded that they did not have any confirmation on this as they need official requests for records, however they have a good idea of some students that might be leaving.  That being said, she has also spoken with parents who may be moving to the area.  She cannot say definitively until they have enrolled.

Mrs. Posta again wanted to know why nothing had been done about the athletic program.  “I would have had my daughter go out for the baseball team, but I am afraid she is going to get hit in face,” she stated.  She wondered why it was taking so long to get something established.

The Superintendent responded that she understood Mrs. Posta’s concerns, but she could not make the students play sports.  They do not want to harass kids to the point where they feel that they have to participate.

Mrs. Posta countered that she was not referring to the kids currently enrolled in Tuxedo, but rather was wanting to know why the District had not reached out further to explore possibilities with other schools, specifically TPS.

Superintendent Teed responded that Mr. Landro had reached out to TPS on several occasions over the last several years.

Board Vice President Joanne Vernon suggested that there were some scheduling conflicts with TPS.

Referring back to the survey, Mrs. Posta wanted to know if the District was planning to release the actual written comments that had been submitted by parents and community members alike.

President Petrosky responded that they could not comment on this, but indicated that they had been discussing it as a Board and had obtained some legal advice.
Mrs. Posta wanted to know how the community was supposed to know how everyone else was collectively feeling if the comments were to not be shared publicly. 

Superintendent Teed responded that they had presented a summery of the results.  She further stated that, despite the fact that Mrs. Posta felt that the Board members had seen her comments, that it had been an anonymous survey and that the Board had not been privy to any names.

“But we had to put our names on it before we could fill it out” responded Mrs. Posta.
“To submit for duplication purposes,” replied Superintendent Teed.

Mrs. Posta then stated that she didn’t feel the questions on the survey adequately addressed the issues within the school.  She has no problems with the administration or talking to the teachers.  She knows that her daughter feels safe at the school. She suggested that the real problems they were facing (athletics, enrollment etc) were either not being addressed or they were not being addressed publicly.  In her view, everything seems to be swept under the rug with all eyes on “the bigger picture,” which she does not believe will ever change until these other things are addressed.  She feels that the questions addressed in the survey were basically minutia in comparison.  This is why viewing the actual comments is so important in her view.

President Petrosky responded that the Board was privy to the comments but that some of them named specific students and teachers and as per the advice of their attorney they would be discussing this amongst themselves as a Board first.

Mrs. Posta responded that she understood this, further suggesting that in her view it was not about a particular teacher or child, but rather about how the school could be improved.  “You need bodies.”

“We are well aware of this,” responded President Petrosky.  “If you listened to what Ms. Teed said earlier, 7 members of our staff were at RCC this past weekend.”

Mrs. Posta indicated that she understood this but wanted to know what they were offering people.  She further suggested that prospective students could find 3d printers at any school.

President Petrsoky indicated that the Board was also well aware of the issue with athletics.  She commented that she was sorry that there were certain teams that they could not field.  She indicated that they are looking into partnering with other schools.  They have spoken with TPS on many occasions but unfortunately the schedules did no align and ultimately, the two schools play on two different types of teams.  TPS students cannot play on a public school team and although public school students can play on their teams, the scheduling remains a major issue.  This is why they are looking into partnering with other districts.

Mrs. Posta reiterated that she felt this was taking too long.  She went on to say that she had attended the community based focus group during the recent Superintendent search and one of the former Board members had indicated that he had spoken with many happy students and that his children had enjoyed a wonderful experience, graduating with a plethora of AP credits.  Mrs. Posta feels this is misleading, as the children of this particular person graduated while Greenwood Lake Students were still a part of the district.  She wanted to know which of the current students he had spoken with and in what capacity he had approached them, further suggesting that when approached by adults and official representatives of the school students often felt obligated to indicate that everything was fine, even when it was not. 

President Petrosky reiterated that the Board understood Mrs. Posta’s concerns and thanked her for her remarks.

Nancy Bourke offered her best wishes and congratulations to both Ms. Teed and Mr. Matatia on their appointments.  She then inquired about Mr. Matatia’s earlier preliminary budget presentation, wanting to know what was included in the “Miscellaneous Revenues” category. 

Mr. Matatia responded that the majority of it was the BOCES refund money that was distributed over the summer.  BOCES does not take a profit, so any monies that they do receive gets divided equitably among the school districts and returned to them in a payment the following school year.  Additionally, the District participates in E-Rate, which entitles them to certain technology reimbursements. 

Rachel DiPaolo inquired as to the number of students in the community who are eligible to attend the District but instead opt to attend private schools. 

Superintendent Teed responded that she did not have an updated number, but believed there were approximately 85 students attending private schools.

Mrs. DiPaolo wondered what percentage of overall school-age children in Tuxedo this encompassed, and Superintendent Teed responded that she did not know.

Mrs. DiPaolo then suggested that the survey results painted a rather “rosy” picture of the school environment but what they did not address was the number of students who have left the District over the last 4-5 years and why they had left.  She believes that the information that has been presented is quite distorted, especially as it does not include the individual comments.  She has a child in the 7th grade at St. Paul’s, and there are now a total of 12 students from Tuxedo in his class there.  She believes this paints an accurate picture of what is happening in the District.

The Superintendent responded that she appreciated Mrs. DiPaolo’s comments and that as a Community member she had the opportunity to voice them on her survey,
“But without reading the comments, one would never know this information,” responded Mrs. DiPaolo, indicating that the slides presented did not contain information of this nature.

The Superintendent replied that the slides were based on raw data collected in the survey.

Mrs. Posta interjected that the data might be correct, but without the comments, the results were in her view skewed.  She feels people need to be aware of the comments, because otherwise it appears that everything is rosy when it is not.  She further suggested that she was not the only parent who felt this way but because of the long history whereby nothing changes in the school that parents were either pulling their children or making the best of their situation without comment as it was widely believed that after years of complaining, nothing was going to make a difference.  She reiterated her disappointment with the fact that District had not informed the community that the results would be presented that evening.

The Superintendent responded that she had Mrs. Posta had exchanged emails the week prior and at that time, she had indicated that the results would be presented at an upcoming Board meeting.  She had not provided Mrs. Posta with a date because at that time there had not been a definitive date set.

Mrs. Posta wanted to know for how long the Superintendent had known that the results would be presented that evening.

“I was working on it earlier this week,” responded Superintendent Teed.

Mrs. Arber wondered if they might be able to add the presentation to the next month’s meeting agenda and re-present the information with plenty of notice to the community.

“I don’t see why not,” replied President Petrosky.

“It’s posted on our website right now,” stated the Superintendent. 

Joanne Vernon suggested that the school announce that the results had been posted to the website and then offer the presentation again in April.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer wondered if they might have a response from their attorney by that time, indicating whether or not they could release the comments.

“I have that information for our executive session this evening,” responded President Petrosky.

John McNamara thanked Mr. Matatia for his expenditure per pupil analysis, but suggested that it did not provide an accurate comparison of the total expenditure of the budget vs. the students.  He would like to go on record as stating that the analysis leaves out some administrative costs as well as transportation costs. 

Mr. Matatia partially agreed with this, commenting that the information provided is what had been given to them by the State during the budget season.

Mr. McNamara suggested that what the analysis did not do was to take the budget and divide it by the number of students, which in his view would be a more accurate method of obtaining the information he was looking for.  He feels that these are the numbers that the community really needs to see because they reflect the actual cost to the taxpayers.  The newspapers are not quoting these numbers.  “If we are going to say that our School District is competitive, or it’s not competitive, I am hoping to get to the numbers that are out there in public.  If you put these numbers out against what is in the paper, it makes us look extremely competitive and it makes the papers look wrong.  I think we have got to be able to look at numbers here in this room that are actually the numbers that can be compared to other school districts.”

Mr. Matatia responded that this is exactly why the State provides them with this information.  The numbers Mr. McNamara is referring to in the papers reflect the total budget divided by the number of students who can be quickly identified with a specific building.  The costs go outside of the students within the buildings however.  There are costs for educating other students from other districts.  There are costs for sending some students out to other districts.  There are costs associated with some students in the district who attend private schools, such as transportation, technology and text books.  This is why the State developed specific formula for determining the cost-per-student, which identifies all of those students and the specific costs that can be attributed to both general education and special education and also broken down into K-6 and 7-12 levels.

“We know hoe much we are levying on our tax payers, we know what grants come in, we know how many students live here, so we should be able to get to a bottom-line number of what it is costing us…the actual cost per student,” responded Mr. McNamara.  He further indicated that this is what he believes they are up against whether they believe the costs are contained or high.  He feels that one way or the other the information that was provided that evening would not put anybody’s mind at ease because they were not the actual numbers.  He inquired as to whether or not Mr. Matatia could provide the actual number for the cost per student, indicating that he could then go to other Districts and make a comparison.

Mr. Matatia responded that he would certainly look into it.

Mrs. DiPaolo indicated that she did not understand how a Board felt that an incoming Freshman class of 10-20 children was a healthy situation.  She believes that not one of the many Tuxedo children currently attending St. Paul’s is considering returning to Tuxedo for high school.  She doesn’t understand why there isn’t more being done to publish what is good about the school and the positive results (if there are any) that might entice people to return.  She has not received anything that makes her want to bring her child back to Tuxedo.  She has now put three children through private schools and it is not because she wanted to pay for private school education, but rather because she does not want to put her child in a class of 10-20 children where he cannot play a sport and there is no social aspect.  She wondered how the Board could perceive this as a healthy environment for a child’s high school experience. 

“Thank You,” responded President Petrosky.

“It was a question,” countered Mrs. DiPaolo.

“I can’t answer that question,” stated President Petrosky.  “We don’t have the numbers right now.  I can’t answer that question.  I did say to you that we are looking at all aspects of encouraging and building upon our children’s education.  There are some families that are very happy with those numbers.  There are some families, such as yours, that are not.   Your job as a parent is to meet your child’s needs.  Our job is to meet the needs of the student body within our building and we try to base those decisions upon that.  We do not have the degeneration numbers right now.  We continue to look at them.  We get updates all the time.  We try to stay on top of it.  You can say that because of conversations you know who is going and who is not going, but we don’t know that.  I thank you for coming out.  I thank you for your comments.  I assure you that we continually look at these numbers and what we can do to better the education of not only the students here but the students who are tuitioning in and we continue to try and entice people to come into the community.  Thank you.”

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting March 16, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
V. Routine Business
1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes - 02/16/17
2. Administrators' Rep011s
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent's Report
4. OCSBA Update
VI. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Nomination of Orange-Ulster BOCES Board Candidates
4. Resolution: External Auditor
5. 2016/2017 Board of Registration Recommendation
6. Adoption of 2017 /18 School Calendar
7. Personnel
VIl. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
VIII. Proposed Executive Session- regarding potential contract negotiations
IX. Correspondence
X. Adjournment

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Special Board of Education Meeting March 13, 2017

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that, The Tuxedo School District Board of Education will hold a special meeting on 03/13/2017. The meeting will be held at 6:30 PM in the library of the George F. Baker High School, located at 1 Tornado Drive in the town of Tuxedo, New York.

The purpose of the meeting is (upon board approval) to enter Executive Session, for the purpose of receiving advice from counsel. There will not be an opportunity for public comment.

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Tuxedo STEM Academy visits Anka Precision in Congers - 3/1/17

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Board of Education Meeting February 16, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, February 16 at 7pm.  Board member Adam Eirand was absent.

Public Comment: John McNamara inquired of the business administrator if he could provide a figure that could be used to compare the cost-per-student rate in Tuxedo to surrounding districts.  He noted that in years past this figure had been asked for and the public had been told that it would be like “comparing apples to oranges.”  With this in mind, he stated that he was looking for a number that would allow him to compare “apples to apples.”  Next he stated that in previous meetings the Board had mentioned creating surveys that could be distributed on a blind basis.  He wondered if there had been any progress in this area.  Finally, he wondered if there were any updates as to how the District might be able to influence the public rating sites, such as greatschools.org.

Vice President Joanne Vernon responded that there was currently a survey being circulated throughout the community that was put out by the District and was available through a variety of sources (both electronic and paper) Friday, February 17 is the deadline for participation. 

With regard to greatschools.org, she noted that this was a private business that was updated every three years.  That being said, Interim Superintendent Teed and Principal Schrammel have been looking at it in order to make sure the information there is accurate. 

Interim Business Administrator Marc Matatia assured Mr. McNamara that he could provide him with the cost-per-student figure he was looking for.

Routine Business:

Approval of Minutes - The Board unanimously approved meeting minutes from 1/12/17, 1/17/17. 1/19/17, 1/24/17 and 2/7/17.

Administrative Reports – Business Administrator Marc Matatia presented the maximum tax cap calculation and revenue budget for the 2017-2018 school year.  Click here to see what was presented.

K-12 Principal and Assistant Principal – These reports were included in the Board packets and although both gentlemen were present, there were no questions. 

Superintendent’s Report – Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed began by announcing the names of the students who will serve as Valedictorian and Salutatorian for the class of 2017.  These students and their families will be invited to an upcoming Board member so they can be formally congratulated. The New York State Education Department just released graduation rates for 2016 and Tuxedo had a 100%, vs. 97% the year prior.  50% of the students received an advanced designation diploma vs. 37% in 2015.  The Administrative staff is scheduled to meet with two vendors, Star 360 and NWEA, in their quest for formative assessments.  This is something that they are hoping to put into place next year, which would give them even more information upon which they can analyze data over longer periods of time.  

Read Across America will be taking place once again in GGM on March 1 and 2.

Board members, parents and faculty are all invited to read to the students.  Any of those who would like to participate should contact Mrs. Eirand in the GGM office to set up a time.

With regard to the survey that is currently circulating, the Interim Superintendent reported that to date they have received 65 Student surveys, 81 Parent surveys and 58 Community surveys.  A summary of the results will be provided at the next meeting.  February 17 is the survey deadline.

The District has been in talks with the Rockland Tennis and Golf Association in regard to bringing in extra-curricular activities, specifically golf and tennis, at the GGM level.  They are very excited about this. 

Mr. Stankiewicz will be bringing student artwork to the The Arts Build Confidence Showcase, which is taking place on February 25 from 11-5 in the center court on the lower level of the Galleria in Middletown.  Winners will be chosen at 4pm.

The District will be putting out information shortly with regard to the community open gym basketball program, which was a huge success last year.  They are hoping to kick it off in mid-March.

With regard to grants, Interim Superintendent Teed reported that the District had applied for two last year with O & R and the US Department of Education.  They did not receive money from any of these.  This year they have applied for two additional grants, one of which they did not receive and one they are still waiting to hear about.  The Administrative team is constantly on the lookout for grant opportunities.

Movie night will be taking place on March 3, where Beauty and The Beast will be shown.  This has been timed to coincide with the High School Musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which will be taking place March 24-26.  Tickets will be $8 for students and seniors.  All others will be $11.  Online ticket purchased will begin on February 17 and will be $12.50.  Tickets can also be purchased at the school.  Seniors must purchase their tickets in person in order to avoid the additional online ordering fees.

Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer commented that the PTO had purchased a license for Grant Station Software.  The credentials can be shared with anybody on staff who is interested in looking at grants for the school.  It was agreed that these would be sent along to the administration to review.

Board member Meg Vaught inquired of Principal Schrammel as to his thoughts on limiting the use of personal hand-held devices during school day.  She wondered whether there was a policy in place limiting or restricting such use, further commenting that she had actually seen some student Instagram posts made during the school day.

Mr. Schrammel responded that, years ago the Board had approved a BYOD Policy (Bring Your Own Device) and some students do use their own devices either in lieu of the School Devices or if they forget their Chromebook.  With regard to posting, Mr. Schrammel stated that this was a direct violation of policy and the Student Code of Conduct and when it is discovered it should be brought to their attention.  While they do not prescribe to use of personal devices, if it is during down time or lunch, the students are permitted to use them. 

Mrs. Vaught then wondered what the District’s liability was in terms of potential online bullying or the posting of unauthorized pictures.  Mr. Schrammel replied that these things constituted a violation of DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) rules and regulations and if it is brought to their attention it is handled in an expedited manner.  Mrs. Olivia is the DASA coordinator, and they work very closely with her on situations like these.

Mrs. Vaught thanked Mr. Schrammel for his answers, further commenting that she was sure these types of things were difficult to regulate given the push to move forward with technology and the increase of device use as part of the curriculum.

Vice President Vernon wondered if perhaps this might serve as an opportunity to remind parents and students that a policy exists and what the expectations are. 

Mr. Schrammel agreed, responding that a reminder blast of this nature could definitely be done.  He further noted that when one is logged into the school’s wifi, in order to sign out, one must agree to the AUP (Acceptable Use Policy.)  As part of the curriculum they also speak to the kids about using devices properly.  They have to teach 21st century digital literacy and leadership, emphasizing that actions have consequences.  He further commented that in GGM, when he sees a child with a personal handheld device (phone, Ipod etc.) he asks that child to leave the device at home, because if something breaks it is the responsibility of the student and dealing with this can be very difficult.  Phone should be off in the K-6 building.  Phones should also be off in the 7-12 building, but he acknowledged that he can not go through student’s pockets to ensure this is happening.

Mrs. Vernon commented that being in a digital age, the reality is that if a parent wants their child to have these devices, there is not much the District can do, but perhaps restating the need for students to not bring the devices to school could help alleviate any issues.

Mrs. Vaught added that with the Chromebooks, parents can be in contact with their students via email during their free periods. 

The Interim Superintendent stated that years ago, no devices were permitted in schools, implying that if discovered they were held with the administration until the end of the day.

Board member Allyson Arber pointed out that some children bring their devices because they have lengthy bus rides to and from school. 

Moving on, Interim Superintendent Teed stated that Mrs. Arber had recently met with Mr. Schrammel and herself in her capacity as a member of the Marketing committee to review updates and look forward at what as been secured.  A report detailing marketing expenses to date was provided to the Board.  A booth has been secured at the Rockland Community College Youth Fest coming up on March 12.  The District did receive a new non-resident application as a result of their participation in this event last year.  A booth has also been secured at an upcoming Nyack Street Fair.  Both schools will be promoted.  The PTO has some left over T-shirts and bags, which will be donated as giveaways.  Additionally, The District has secured Joe Brady from LMC, who is a videographer who has already shot a video consisting of students in both buildings, staff members, parents and BOE members.  There will be two videos, one for each school, to be used for promotional purposes.  The videos should be completed shortly and they are very excited to see it!  The district will also be running an online ad with NY Metro Parent/Rockland Parent Magazine for 5 months.  

An update of the Mulford Funds, detailing scholarship and marketing monies was also provided and discussed.  The idea of establishing a yearly budget for marketing expenses to be included as a line item was also discussed.  Mrs. Vaught asked if moving forward the Board could be provided with an update on these funds on a quarterly basis.  The answer was yes.

OCSBA Update – Meg Vaught reported having attended the recent OCSBA meeting at which a presentation focusing on the Governor’s proposed budget was given by representatives of NYSSBA (New York State School Board’s Association) and discussed.  The biggest point of concern, which played a central roll in the discussion, is the Governor’s proposed approach to Foundation Aid.  While this number will actually increase, it is anticipated that the State will award larger amounts of money to fewer districts, ultimately based on last year’s distributions.  Districts are eligible to receive anywhere from 1-15% in aid.  Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, Tuxedo receives the smallest amount possible, at 1%.  As a part of his proposed plan, the Governor is looking to repeal the statutory formula that is used to determine the amount of money that districts should be receiving in aid.  This number is important because it provides the districts with some leverage when they are able to point at the amount that they should receiving in aid vs. the amount they actually are receiving.  If repealed, this number will go away and in all probability districts will find themselves locked into their current percentage rates in perpetuity.  The annual Capital Conference, which provides districts with the ability to meet and talk with their government representatives, was supposed to take place on Monday, February 13, but was ultimately cancelled due to inclement weather.  This is unfortunate as representatives from OCSBA were scheduled to attend and raise these issues, along with some others, directly with government officials.  It does not appear that the Conference will be rescheduled this year.

There followed a discussion regarding the possibility of having representatives from Tuxedo attempt to meet/schedule appointments with various government officials in hopes of bringing awareness to these issues as well as some others that might be considered more district-specific.  Mrs. Vaught circulated the “talking points” that would have been used by OCSBA at the Capital Conference and it was agreed that the Board members would take a look at these and add anything they felt might be important before making the final decisions about scheduling any such appointments.

The recent of appointment of Betsy Devos was also briefly discussed relative to the idea of reviving the Charter Application, however it was ultimately suggested that while the Board could and should certainly keep their eye on what was happening, the State of New York was ultimately not in favor of either Ms. Devos or the idea of a Charter in Tuxedo.

Items for Action and/or Discussion:
Warrants Transfers and Bids – There were none
CPSE/CSE – These were unanimously approved
Personnel – All personal items were unanimously approved.  Interim Superintendent Teed noted that there were three resignations for the purposes of retirement.  They are Ray Serrano, Lynn Caporale and Jo-Anne Mignone.  These three individuals have dedicated many years to the District and the Interim Superintendent publicly thanked them for their dedication to the District, the facilities, the parents, the Administration and the Board.

Public Comment:
There was no further public comment.

The Board then adjourned into an executive session for the purpose of discussing potential contract negotiations. 

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting February 16, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
V. Routine Business
1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes (01/12/17, 01/17/17, 01/19/17, 01/24/17,
02/07/17)
2. Administrators' Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent's Report
• Marketing Committee Update
4. OCSBA Update
VI. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Personnel
VII. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
VIII. Proposed Executive Session- regarding potential contract negotiations
IX. Correspondence
X. Adjournment

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Special Board of Education Meeting February 7, 2017

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that, The Tuxedo School District Board of Education will hold a special meeting on 02/07/2017 with a snow date of 02/08/2017. The meeting will be held at 7:30 PM in the library of the George F. Baker High School, located at 1 Tornado Drive in the town of Tuxedo, New York.

The purpose of the meeting is (upon board approval) to enter Executive Session, for the purpose of matters leading to the potential appointment/employment of a particular individual. There will not be an opportunity for public comment.

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Board of Education Meeting January 19, 2017

The Board of Education met on Thursday, January 19 2017 at 7pm. Board member Mike Arone was absent.

Public Comment:
On behalf of the Tuxedo Teacher’s Association, Vice President Cynthia Lyons thanked the Board for their time, energy and service. She went on to say that on behalf of the majority of their membership, they wanted the Board to know that they supported the continuity of the strong leadership and positive in which the district is moving.

Barbara Voss commented that she was the 6th grade teacher in GGM and also had a daughter who is currently a Junior at George F. Baker. She thanked the Board for their efforts to secure the best leader for the children of the District. She then stated that she wanted to simply declare her support for Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed for Superintendent of Schools.

Routine Business:

Approval of Board Meeting Minutes – The Board unanimously approved meeting minutes from December of 2016 and January of 2010.

Administrators Reports
Business Administrator – Business Administrator Marc Matatia reported that budget development for the 2017/2018 was well under way. The District cabinet had been meeting to discuss the spending plans for next year as well as saving opportunities that exist. They have also had preliminary communications with the teachers with regard to supplies and the best way to procure them. The initial, proposed executive budget from the Governor was released on January 18. Mr. Matatia noted that this would “change plenty” in the coming months, but that it was right on target with what the District had been expecting. The largest increase in AID will come from BOCES. This figure nearly doubled. The CPI (Consumer Price Index) was also released along with the proposed budget. This is the key figure in determining what the tax cap will be. The number is 1.62% which, while still below 2, is a marked improvement over last year’s cap, which was .12. This should help the District.

Board President Diana Petrosky commented that in reviewing Mr. Matatia’s report she had noted that there was a payroll check that had not been cashed since September. Suggesting that it was her background in business that lead her to the discovery, she asked Mr. Matatia how long the check was good for.

Mr. Matatia responded that he believed it was 90 days, but he would double check.

K-12 Principal – Jason Schrammel indicated that he had nothing to add to the report that had been included in the Board packet.

K-12 Assistant Principal – Eric Sorenson also indicated that he had nothing to add to the report that had been included in the Board packet.

Interim Superintendent’s Report – Interim Superintendent Teed noted that during Regents Week the 7th and 8th grade students would have Midterm Exams during the morning hours and would be offered a STEM related activity in the afternoon. These STEM activities will be optional for students, many of whom have indicated that they feel mid-terms are more important and they would like to spend the time studying. A field trip for 7th Grade students has been scheduled on Tuesday, January 24 to visit Caribbean Foods in Tappan. Caribbean Foods can accommodate up to 14 students and students will be included on a first-come-first-serve basis. Those who are unable to go on this trip will have another opportunity to visit the same location in June.

The Administration hopes that parents are finding the monthly District-wide newsletter as a valuable source of information regarding the events that are occurring within the District. They plan on continuing to distribute the letter and the Interim Superintendent thanked Mr. Schrammel for his efforts with it.

The District has surveyed students in grades 8-11 regarding elective interests for the 2017/2018 school year. Based upon the results of this survey, Mrs. Oliva will be meeting with students and course selection sheets will be going home in the coming works.

Parents are encouraged to have conversations with their children about the courses that they select for the coming year.

District Administration is also developing student, parent and community surveys to be used vehicles for school and District improvement. These surveys will assist in assessing the strengths and areas in need of improvement in the District. The target for distribution is February 1. Mr. Schrammel will be sending a message home to parents with regard to the student survey and if they would like to opt their child out of taking it that will be an option.

Board member Allyson Arbor wondered whether the survey would be distributed to every resident of the community at large or only within the school community.

Interim Superintendent Teed responded that for the community at large they planned on utilizing the Chamber of Commerce and Town e-mail blasts. They feel this is the most efficient way to send it out.

Mr. Schrammel added that there were 3 individual surveys that would be going out to each demographic, students, parents of students and community members.

Technically, a parent will have the option to fill out both the parent and community member surveys.

The Interim Superintendent added that there would also be hard copies available in the business office if there were people who wanted to obtain a paper copy.

Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer inquired whether the distribution method for all three surveys would be purely electronic.

Mr. Schrammel responded that surveys had been created using Google forms.

Mr. Sorenson added that if they needed to generate paper copies, they would do so.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer responded that she was only asking because she wasn’t sure that all of the students had internet access at home. She assumed that if this was the case, they would have the ability to fill the surveys out in school. She just wants to make sure that they are distributed to everyone and that nobody is left out.

The Administration is also working on a District-wide comprehensive assessment plan, which will be instrumental in assessing the growth of students. This year pre-testing, benchmarking and post-testing have been implemented. They are looking to formalize this “somewhat more” beginning in the next school year. Digital details will be provided in the very near future. They are currently firming up cost and timeline details.

Interim Superintendent Teed thanked both Mr. Schrammel and Mr. Sorenson for the time they had spent giving personal, guided tours of the school for parents and students over the past few weeks. They anticipate have a new non-resident student start in the High School at the end of the month. There is also a non-resident elementary school student who is coming to shadow for a day next week.

The following are upcoming dates of interest in the Disitrct:
Regents week is January 24-27. Schedules are posted on the District website.
February 3 – The Kindergarten presents The Mitten at 1:45pm
February 3 – Family Movie night – start time of 6:30pm
February 10 – GGM Pep Rally – 1pm
February 13 – Dedication for the Madeline Napolitano Fitness Center – 2:30pm. The silver dollars have been invited to attend this event and enjoy the refreshments afterwards.

Finally, the Interim Superintendent reported that she had been contacted by the Times Herald Record as they are putting together a piece on the age of teachers in the District as compared to salary rate. The results that were presented were inaccurate and Interim Superintendent Teed indicated this to the newspaper and also provided her with the correct information. When asked for a comment, Interim Superintendent Teed suggested that rather than comparing salaries and age, she would rather see them report on the educational levels of the teachers. If one looks at the staff in the Tuxedo Union Free School District, they will be amazed by the number of teachers who have Masters +. The article will focus on the number of teachers who are 49 and older and how many employees are making a certain dollar amount and up. The article is due to come out by Monday January 23.

Board member Meg Vaught inquired about the recent loss of a non-resident student and wondered whether an exit interview had been conducted.

The Interim Superintendent responded that the student had moved.

Mrs. Vaught then wanted to know if they had been receiving scholarship funds.

The answer was no.

OCSBA Update:
As there was no OCSBA meeting in January, no report was given.

Items for Action and/or Discussion:
Warrants, Transfers & Bids did not require any action

CPSE/CSE was unanimously accepted.

Resolution – Reserve Accounts – The Board voted unanimously in favor of establishing 3 new reserve accounts. They are not required to fund these accounts at the current time, but it is important that they be established now.

Resolution – TEU Contract Ratification – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Tuxedo Employment Union contract. (3-year collective bargaining agreement)

Resolution – Course Change – The Interim Superintendent explained that Mr.Schrammel had recommended to her changing the Media Production course to Acoustic Performance for the second semester of the current school year. There are many students who are interested in enrolling in this course, which will be taught by Mr. Chan. The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the change.

Donation – Portable Piano – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the donation of a portable piano.

Emergency Closing Days – To date, the Districthas not utilized any of their emergency closing days. The 2016/17 calendar allows for 5 such days. The Board voted unanimously in favor of giving back 1 day on Friday, February 17, provided 2 closings days were not utilized between now and February 16. If 2 or more days are used, then school will be in session on the 17th.

Personnel – Personnel items were unanimously approved by the Board with Interim Superintendent Teed drawing attention to the fact that long-time District Physical Education Teacher, Kenneth Rubino had submitted his retirement notice. She thanked Mr. Rubino for his many years of service in the district and this was met by a round of applause.

Public Comment:
There was no further public comment.

Other Business:
Board Member Dorothy Zeigelbauer asked for an update with regard to a meeting that was supposed to be taking place with Tuxedo Farms. She wondered if this meeting had occurred and if so, what the result was.

Board president Diana Petrosky responded that the meeting had not taken place. There was a meeting between a Town representative and the Board’s Tuxedo Farms Committee, and President Petrosky commented she believed that they had had a “very nice” discussion.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer responded that as she recalled it, Board members Adam Eirand and Mike Arone had been appointed to the committee and that they were going to attempt to set up a meeting with the Developer.

Mr. Eirand responded that there had been a meeting that included the Committee along with President Petrosky, the Interim Superintendent and Town Council member Michele Lindsay. Andrew Dance of the Related Companies was unfortunately unable to attend.

Various things were discussed with Mrs. Lindsay and Mr. Eirand felt that she was extremely receptive to the District’s view and she agreed to try and push Mr. Dance a little harder into attending a meeting in the future.

President Petrosky added that Mrs. Lindsay had committed to attempting to reach out on the District’s behalf in an attempt to set up a meeting with Mr. Dance.

Mrs. Zeigelbauer responded that as per their previous discussions, she had been under the impression that the Board would be sending only Mr. Eirand and Mr. Arone to meet with Mr. Dance.

President Petrosky responded “If you look at our policy, a part of the policy the Board President is a member of every committee. I was not available until about 10 minutes prior to that, so I came down as I was already coming down for a meeting later.”

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting January 19, 2017

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
V. Routine Business
1. Approval of Board Meeting Minutes (12/15/16, 01/10/16)
2. Administrators' Rep011s
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent's Rep011
4. OCSBA Update
VI. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Resolution - Reserve Accounts
4. Resolution - Iroquois Contract
5. Resolution - TEU Contract Ratification
6. Resolution - Course Change
7. Donation - Portable Piano
8. Emergency Closing Days
9. Personnel
VII. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
VIII. Proposed Executive Session- regarding potential contract negotiations
IX. Correspondence
X. Adjournment

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Board of Education Special Meetings Notice

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that, The Tuxedo Union Free School District Board of Education will hold special meetings on 01/10/2017, 01/12/2017, and 01/17/2016 (snow date 01/18/2017). All meetings will be held at 7:00 PM in the library of the George F. Baker High School, located at 1 Tornado Drive in the town of Tuxedo, New York.

It is anticipated that the Board, upon Board approval, will convene Executive Sessions, to discuss matters leading to the potential appointment/employment of a particular individual. There will not be an opportunity for public comment and no public action will be taken.

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Board of Education Meeting December 15, 2016

The Board of Education met on December 15, 2016 at 6:30pm.  Board members Michael Arone and Dorothy Zeigelbauer were absent.

A public hearing was held on the Smart Schools Bond Act at 6:30, preceding the regular monthly meeting.  The Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA) was approved by the voters in a statewide referendum held during the 2014 General Election, authorizing the issuance of $2 billion of general obligation bonds to finance improved educational technology and infrastructure to improve learning and opportunity for students throughout the State. The SSBA requires that a Review Board review and approve districts’ Smart Schools Investment Plans before any funds may be made available for the program.  Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed presented the Board with the District’s Investment Plan.  There were no comments from the public, so the hearing was closed.

The regular meeting began at 7pm.

Public Comment:

There were no public comments.

Recognition of Varsity Volleyball Team:

Interim Superintendent Teed welcomed the Varsity Women’s Volleyball team and presented them with a plaque on behalf of the Board of Education acknowledging their accomplishments this season.  Members of the team were recognized by name as were Coach Hines and Coach SchweitzerThe team placed third in the New York State Class D volleyball finals in Glens Falls, NY.  Some individuals received additional recognitions including Keira Costello (first team all state, MVP first team All County and all tournament team State Final Four) Emily Dowling (second team All State and first team All County) Ali Garcia (first team All County) and Elizabeth Minano  (honorable mention All County.)  Pictures were taken.  On behalf of the team, Coach Hines thanked the Board, commenting that they were extremely appreciative of the support and recognition.  She further noted that earlier in the week the Team had also been recognized as a New York State Scholar Athlete Team, which means that the GPAs of the team as a whole, accumulatively, was a 90 or above. 

Board President Diane Petrosky then announced that based on a conversation she had held with the Board attorney earlier that evening, she was requesting that the Board adjourn into an executive session for the purpose of discussing a particular officer of the District.

The session lasted roughly 35 minutes.

Routine Buiness:

Approval of the 11/17/16 Board Minutes – The Board unanimously approved the meeting minutes from 11/17/16.

Administrator’s Reports-

Business Administrator -  Interim Business Administrator Marc Matatia reported that the repairs on boiler #2 at the High School have been completed.  With regard to lead testing, 6 faucets were replaced and retested.  The District is still awaiting the results.  As reported last month, the District chose to flush and retest 8 faucets that originally failed the test prior to replacement.  Of these, five failed again but three showed lower levels after having been flushed.  Each test cost the District a total of $22, totaling $176.  In the long run, the flushing and retesting will be saving the district money, as it costs roughly $250 to replace each faucet.  The other five will be replaced and retested.

K-12 Principal – Principal Schrammel reported that the Parent Portal had been opened and all teachers are now using it.  Feedback from parents has been great thus far. 

K-12 Assistant Principal – Assistant Principal Sorenson reported that the District held a ½ conference day the day before, during which teachers completed Common Core training via BOCES for the second time this year K-6.  Curriculum, Curriculum mapping and RTI skill in the High School were worked on as well

Superintendent’s Report –

Interim Superintendent Teed reminded everyone of the following upcoming calendar events:

12/16/16 – High School STEM field trips – Students 7-12 will be going on STEM related field trips, visiting one of three destinations. 

Winter Recess runs 12/26-1/2 with school resuming on 1/3/17.

The PTO will meet on 1/5 at 7pm

Family Movie night will occur on  1/6 at 6pm

Kindergarten Orientation will take place on 1/19 an 9am in the cafeteria

Regents exams will be given from 1/24-1/27

In response to an inquiry that was recently made, Interim Superintendent Teed then provided the Board with information regarding the No Fuss Lunch program out of New Jersey.  This is a program whereby parents purchase all organic meals for their children, which are in turn delivered to the school for consumption.  They do follow the National School lunch standards, however, part of their agreement would require the purchase of a minimum of 70 lunches.  They also prefer to serve their own lunches with no other food servers in the same location, which would make it impossible for the District to serve their lunches.  Prices start at $4.75 per lunch, with a gluten free option starting at $6.25 per lunch.  The District would be responsible for the cost of any meals provided via the free & reduced lunch program.  Ultimately, it would cost one student $23.75 per week for lunches.  There are legalities involved with the serving of the food, should the District staff serve any of it.  The school attorney advised the Superintendent that he did not feel it was such a good idea.  Ms. Teed further commented that the District does get reimbursed by the State for some of the food they serve, which amounts for over $2,000 a month.  Although she feels it was worth looking into, ultimately the Interim Superintendent feels that bearing the burden of paying for these lunches would significantly hurt the district on a daily basis.

OCSBA Update-

Board member Meg Vaught reported having attended the December meeting of OCSBA at which a presentation on Collective Bargaining was made and the upcoming Capital Conference was discussed.

Items for Action and/or Discussion:

Warrants, Transfers & Bids – There were none

CPSE/CSE – These were unanimously approved by the Board

Resolution – APPR – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the District’s APPR plan. 

Acceptance of Non-Resident Student – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting a non-resident student to the District

Resolution – Smart Schools Investment Plan – The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the Smart Schools Investment Plan as presented earlier by the Interim Superintendent.

Senior Trip – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving the Senior Trip to Disney World in May, 2017.

Personnel – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the personnel items as presented forth in their Board packets.

Superintendent Search – The Superintendent Search is underway, with interviews having taken place earlier in the day “in house.”  During the month of January, the Board will hold three executive session meetings for the purpose of interviewing candidates.  These will take place on 1/10, 1/12 and 1/17.  An alternate snow date of 1/18 was selected.

Marketing Committee Discussion – Noting that she understood that the current meeting was probably not the right time, Board member Meg Vaught commented that as a member of the Marketing Committee she was interested in hearing thoughts from the other Board members as to the direction the District should take with their marketing initiative.  She further suggested that she felt it might make sense to put together some sort of marketing plan aimed at retaining the current student population.  Using the 8th grade as an example, she commented that she understood that some families chose to send their children to private or parochial schools no matter what, but there were others that they might be able to retain with the right kind of effort.

The Interim Superintendent responded that she had initiated an internal marketing committee with all staff members and they were set to meet next Wednesday and would be meeting monthly moving forward.   She further suggested that one major marketing stumbling block they are encountering is that people are still unsure as to whether or not the High School is open or will remain open, which is a deterrent. 

Vice President Vernon commented that the District has stated unequivocally that they intend to remain open.  If they were contemplating closure, the discussion would have been initiated months ago as a decision would have to be made no later than February.  This discussion has not occurred, because the District is not considering closure. 

The Interim Superintendent responded that unfortunately there were still residents who were very concerned.  She further commented that she had an employee who had recently come to talk to her and informed her that they had sold their home in Tuxedo, suggesting that with the instability in the High School, they were afraid that their taxes were going to skyrocket should the school close.

That being said, Ms. Teed suggested that they set some dates post new year for the Advisory Marketing Committee to meet and review the ideas that the Internal Marketing Committee put forth.

Board member Allyson Arber commented that she felt it would be helpful for them review all of the marketing to date and take a look at the level of response they have received from the various types of initiative in order to determine what was working and what was not.

Interim Superintendent Teed responded that she had been attempting to track for the purpose of comparison to last year this and had also been keeping a record of the number of times the District has appeared in various publications.  She further commented that there were currently two prospective students scheduled for shadowing (Tornado for A Day) and they are very excited about this.

Public Comment:

John McNamara commented that in regards to the marketing piece, he felt that they needed to take a closer look at the cost per student which, being more than double that of the surrounding towns, he feels could be driving some of the problem.  Additionally, he feels they should take a look at some of the rating sites and determine what would be needed to turn around the District’s scores there. 

Interim Superintendent Teed responded that the data on many of those sites is 3 years old.  While some of the sites do pull state report card information, many of the ratings are based on survey questions completed by students and parents and therefore, it can boil down to how many people they can get to complete these surveys.

Mr. McNamara then stated that he liked Mrs. Vaught’s idea about interviewing the 8th grade class to see whether they were looking forward to attending the Tuxedo High School or another school.  He further suggested that the District should consider circulating an anonymous survey to all of the students and their parents asking them to rate the school and make suggestions for improvement. 

Principal Schrammel responded that he had reached out to all 8th grade parents last year personally to discuss  what options they were looking at and whether they wanted to talk more about Tuxedo and if so, how he could assist them.  Some of the parents were responsive and others were not.

Mr. McNamara responded that this was a good idea, but he also felt that an anonymous survey might be a better indicator of where problems existed in general, either perceived or in actuality.

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Tuxedo participates in the West Point Women's Black Knights Reading program - 12/14/16

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting December 15, 2016

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
V. Recognition of Varsity Volleyball Team
VI. Routine Business
1. Approval of 11/17/16 Board Meeting Minutes
2. Administrators' Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent's Report
4. OCSBA Update
VII. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Resolution - APPR
4. Acceptance ofNon-Resident Student
5. Resolution - Smart Schools Investment Plan
6. Senior Trip
7. Personnel
8. Superintendent Search
9. Other: Marketing Committee Discussion
Vill. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
IX. Proposed Executive Session- regarding potential contract negotiations
X. Correspondence
XI. Adjournment

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Tuxedo's National Honor Society students assist food pantries - 12/2/16

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Tuxedo students to take part in Hour of Code - 12/2/16

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George Grant Mason School participates in Computer Science Week - 11/29/16

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George F. Baker National Honor Society assists local pantries - 11/28/16

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Board of Education Meeting November 17, 2016

The Board of Education met on Thursday, November 17 at 7pm.

Board member Allyson Arber was absent.

Public Comment:

There were no public comments.

Recognition of Service – Golden Apples Presented:

Golden apples were presented to both Nancy Bourke and Kathleen Bacigalupo, who both recently retired after many years of service to the district. 

Introduction of new faculty members to the Board of Education:

Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed introduced new faculty members Mrs. Sobel and Mr. Chan to both the Board of Education and the public.  Mrs. Sobel teaches math in the high school.  Mr. Chan teaches music in the high school and was also a coach to the modified soccer team.  As part of his work in the high school, Mr. Chan has put together a jazz ensemble, and following his introduction, this group performed a short number much to the delight of the Board and the audience alike.

Presentation by R. Preusser:

The District is in a strong fiscal position and has found itself with an unappropriated fund balance of roughly $375,000.

Raymond Preusser, CPA lead the Board through a somewhat lengthy review of the various reserve funds available to them, further explaining that although the Board can establish any of these funds at present, they could not transfer any of the money into them until summer of 2017. 

This was followed by a question and answer period with the Board members.

Routine Business:

Administrator’s Reports:

The Board had no questions in response to the Principal and Assistant Principal Reports they received as part of their packets. 

Principal Schrammel reminded everyone to wear red on the following day as the Varsity Women’s Volleyball team is heading off the State Finals!

With regard to Operations & Maintenance, Interim Business Administrator Marc Matatia reported that of the 105 water sources tested for lead as per the State mandate, 14 failed…8 in the High School, one outside the gym and 4 in GGM.  The subsequently water was shut-off the signs posted at all of these locations.  6 of the faucets will be replaced.  The other 8 were flushed and retested, with results due back next few weeks.

With regard to the boiler repair, Mr. Matatia reported that in addition to the contracted cost of $19,500, it has been discovered that 5 additional nipples are needed at a cost of $3,200.  There is also a steam leak in the high school, which has been ongoing for a while but in recent weeks has spread into the ceiling of the cafeteria.  Remediation efforts included the replacement of a pump, which will cost the district no more than $2,400.

Board president Diana Petrosky inquired as to whether the total cost of boiler repairs, including the additional work, was still below the other competing BIDs they had initially received.

The answer was yes.  Mr. Matatia added that they have been extremely pleased with the work to date.

The Interim Superintendent noted that it was important that everyone remember that these constituted unexpected costs, which are likely to occur.  She further commented that during the rain the storm earlier that week, Principal Schrammel had informed her that there were 5 leaks in GGM.  Therefore, at some point, roof repairs will be necessary.

President Petrosky agreed, adding that the District faces many repairs down the line such as work on the roof, repairs to the main steps and eventually boiler replacement.  She feels they need to keep all of this in mind when they begin making decisions about where to put their reserves.

With regard to the retesting of water faucets, Interim Superintendent Teed reported that they had done an initial cost analysis on replacing everything and that the results proved that the retesting made the most fiscal sense based on the location faucets in question.

Board member Mike Arone inquired as to what he felt was the extensive cost of the boiler nipple repairs, noting that this was his line of expertise.

Mr. Matatia responded that the nipples were $650 apiece whereas the other companies were asking triple that amount.

Mr. Arone then wanted to know based on what criteria the contractor had been chosen.

The answer was that they had been the lowest bidder.

Mr. Arone wondered how old the boilers were.

The Interim Superintendent responded that she was not sure exactly how old they were, but they were definitely quite old.  She cautioned that the maintenance staff had been telling her that the District would not be able to put “band-aids” on them for much longer.

Mr. Arone stated that he would like to see the boilers and Interim Superintendent Teed responded that this could definitely be arranged.

Interim Superintendent’s Report – Concerning enrollment, Interim Superintendent Teed reported that the District is down 2 students since September.  This reflects students who had made the decision to move on from the District previously, but had not formally requested records and were therefore still included in the enrollment numbers.  Currently there are 114 students enrolled in the High School (7-12) and 126 in the elementary school.  Next week there will be a Tornado For A Day event, where prospective non-resident students have the opportunity to visit the District and shadow current students.  Additionally, a new family recently moved into Tuxedo with 2 students who will be enrolling in the Elementary school. 

On November 28, the District will be opening the Grade Book section of the parent portal and grades will be posted in real time there.  Interim Superintendent Teed cautioned that it was important to remember that “real time” could be task and/or subject dependent.  All classes may not be posted at the exact same time each week.   That being said, the District is excited to be rolling this out. 

Board Vice President Joanne Vernon inquired as to whether there would be oversight that guaranteed that grades were posted within a certain time frame.

The answer was yes.  Mr. Schrammel and Mr. Sorenson will be monitoring the process.

The Administration anticipates holding a Public Hearing on December 15 (the next regularly scheduled meeting of the BOE) to present information on the Smart Schools Bond Act.  This information will detail the planned purchases that the District would like to make in order to enhance technology District wide.  The District was awarded roughly $96,000.

There will be a STEM trip on December 12 to Triangle Manufacturing in Upper Saddle River, NJ.  STEM Director Mr. Margotta was able to make a connection with the owner of this company, Neal Strohmeyer, who lives in Tuxedo Park.  Students will be able to take a tour of the company and see how they manufacture pharmaceutical products, such as replacement knees and hips as well as surgical instruments.  They also use a HAAS machine that is very similar to the District’s mini mill, which will be an additional bonus for the students.

Again, the Interim Superintendent congratulated the Varsity Girls Volleyball team, commenting that they would be playing in the final 4 State playoffs at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday, November 19.  The District is extremely proud of these ladies.

Mr. Schrammel added that there would be a surprise send off for the team the following day at noon, featuring a Police escort out of town.

Interim Superintendent Teed then reminded everyone of the following upcoming events:

Open House will take place on Wednesday, November 30 from 6-8pm.

The PTO will meet on Thursday, December 1 at 7pm

The annual tree lighting is on December 2.

Parent/Teacher conferences for grades K-6 will take place on Wednesday, December 7 from 3-6pm.

The K-6 Holiday Concert will take place on Tuesday, December 13 at 9am with the 7-12 concert taking place on the same date at 7pm.

International Day will take place on Wednesday, December 14 at 9am.

Wednesday, December 14 is also a half day/conference day.

OCSBA Update – Board President Petrosky noted that she had been intending to attend the OCSBA meeting, but ultimately had not done so.  She was disappointed not to have made it as Legoland was scheduled to give a presentation.  Luckily, the District Administrators were able to attend a presentation by Legoland on November 9, where they detailed their involvement with curriculum throughout the local school Districts and their involvement with STEM.  Legoland does not yet have all of the necessary permits they need to move forward with the project, so this was an informational meeting only and in many ways, a sales pitch of sorts.  All the same, the Administrators found it to be both informative and interesting and hope that the District can form a relationship with Legoland that will benefit the STEM program in the elementary school if and when the project does move ahead.

Items for Action and/or Discussion:

Warrants, Transfers & Bids – There were none.

CPSE/CSE – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving these.

Standard Work Day & Reporting Resolution – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this resolution. 

8th Grade Overnight Trip to Boston – May 31-June 1, 2017 – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving this trip.

Donation Resolutions – Three generous donations were recently made to the District.  The first was a gift of $1,000 from Sue Heywood on behalf of TPAG, to be used to enhance the performing arts program.  The second was the donation of a musical instrument from the Ferri family and the last was a donation of some colored paper to the Kindergarten from Andy Berish.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of accepting all three donations.

Extra-Curricular Funds Resolution – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting this resolution, which allows for the transfer of funds from those extra-curricular activities that no longer exist to those that are currently operating. 

Second Reading & Adoption of Policy 4210 – “Threats of Violence in School” –

The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting this resolution.

Adoption of 2016-2017 Board of Education Goals –

The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting their 2016-2017 Goals, a copy of which will be posted to the District website.

Personnel – The Board voted unanimously in favor of all personnel changes as proposed.

Superintendent Search –

Vice President Vernon reported that the Board had received a copy of the contract with Leadership Advantage, which came in $14,000 (2,000 less than the originally proposed cost) and includes all print advertising, which has already begun taking place.  The information will also be posted to the District website on November 18.  Focus group meetings have been scheduled for December 8.  Teacher representatives, representatives from support staff, the PTO, Administration, General Public and the Board will all participate in these group meetings at varying times throughout the day and evening.  The closing for the ad will be December 12 and the first round of interviews will be taking place in early January.  There will be additional group sessions will be set up so that the public can meet with the candidates once the Board gets through the first round, after which the decision process will begin.

President Petrosky commented that two of the Board members were also members of the PTO Board.  She further suggested that as the BOE will be the final team interviewing the candidates that these Board members should not serve as PTO representatives within that focus group.

Board member inquired as to how many individuals would be ideal for each focus group.

The answer was 3-5.

Discussion regarding students residing in northern part of Tuxedo:

President Petrosky commented that the Board had been discussing the possibility of reaching out to the Monroe Woodbury district regarding the students in the Northern part of Tuxedo.  An ad-hoc committee was formed for the purpose of gathering information at the October meeting of the BOE.  Updates were provided.

Committee member Mike Arone reported that he had overheard a conversation between residents of Laurel Ridge in which they expressed a strong desire to remain in the Monroe District and seemed dead set against any potential move back to the Tuxedo District. 

Meg Vaught reported that, as per directive given at the October meeting, she had reached out to Kristy Apostolides, President of the Northern Tuxedo Resident’s Association, to discuss the issue at hand as well as the possibility of possibly being added to the groups next meeting agenda.  Ms. Apostolides informed her that although membership within the group spanned all the neighborhoods in Northern Tuxedo, meetings were attended primarily by residents of Laurel Ridge and therefore, attending a meeting would probably not be the best way of pooling the entire demographic.  She suggested that the school put together a survey, which she in turn would help to distribute via an email list.  Ms. Apostolides further cautioned that many of the younger families living in Laurel Ridge had actually purchased their homes with the Monroe District in mind, and therefore were very resistant to the idea of a change like this.

President Petrosky added that she had spoken to a number of younger families, including her son and his family, who felt so strongly that they wanted to remain with Monroe that they would be willing to walk a petition against any potential move.  These families purchased their homes with the larger district and extra-curricular activities in mind.  Additionally, she reached out to  a number of Senior Citizens, whom she reported felt that their homes had more value because of the Monroe District and were also not in favor of the change.  Finally, she spoke with Town Supervisor Mike Rost, who informed her that the Town as a whole could not support the effort when there was a group of residents who were strongly opposed to it.  The President feels that this may not be the proper time for the Board to be reviewing this potential change.  She noted that there are currently discussions taking place in the Monroe Woodbury District about changing District lines having to do with the proposed Annexation.  One politician has cautioned her and Vice President Vernon that bringing attention to Tuxedo in this way could bring about consolidation into the Monroe District.  She feels that Board needs to take these possible repercussions into consideration when deciding whether or not to move forward with exploring this issue.

Vice President Vernon commented that she felt that at this time pursuing this initiative would be like “poking the bear.”  It is clear that the Monroe District has zero interest in returning these students to Tuxedo.  They are probably ecstatic about the potential line change currently proposed as they will lose the high cost of special education for the KJ population and in losing that certain population, she feels that they would probably love to have those monies made up by gaining Tuxedo’s population.  She feels Tuxedo needs to be very cautious and now is not the time.  Governor Cuomo is looking to consolidate Districts.  Tuxedo is an extremely small voting block and means nothing to anyone in terms of making change.  The small voices of Tuxedo do not have much of an effect.   She believes that moving forward could very possibly hurt the District.  There are some things on the horizon and, unofficially speaking, it appears as though the Tuxedo Farms project may be moving forward and this is the direction she feels that the school should take.

Adam Eirand agreed, commenting that several families he had spoken to had also told him they had purchased their homes for the Monroe District.  He noted that when the issue had first come up at the Board level he had supported investigating it, but after having talked with some of the applicable residents he had changed his mind.  “Very simply put,” he stated “putting myself in their shoes….I would be very upset if I bought a home in a District like Monroe Woodbury and then I was told that my children would no longer be going there.”  He further stated that without 100% approval from those residents, he did not favor moving forward.  He suggested that perhaps somewhere down the line they could provide those families with a choice, so that the families who are interested might be able to enroll in Tuxedo.

Mike Arone also agreed, commenting that Monroe will not back the decision and the general consensus from people living in those neighborhoods is negative.

Meg Vaught also agreed, but commented that she did not feel they should abandon the efforts permanently.  She believes that Monroe will never willingly give up the Tuxedo students, since tax dollars from Tuxedo make up roughly 10 million dollars of their annual budget.  Likewise, she does not feel there will ever be 100% support from Northern Tuxedo residents.  All the same, she believes that down the line, as the Tuxedo District grows, bringing all Tuxedo Students into one District is still something they should consider exploring for a multitude of reasons.

Dorothy Ziegelbauer also agreed, commenting she felt moving forward would be futile at this point.

President Petrosky stated that she felt they needed to focus on the students they already had and bringing more students in. It is important that they keep apprised of what is happening with Tuxedo Farms.  There is a committee in place that will hopefully be meeting with Councilwoman Michele Lindsay in the near future to discuss.  Currently, there is nothing going on with the Farms and this is a result of the developer’s supposed negotiations with the Pilgrim Pipeline.  It appears as though things are starting to move forward however, which should be a good thing for the school.  The Farms committee is more than willing to sit down with the Town and the Developer and discuss ways in which the school can help to move things along. 

Public Comment:

John Macnamara inquired with regard to the Board’s conversation about Tuxedo Farms and the school, noting the Related’s main representative, Andrew Dance, had made it very clear on several occasions that the developer did not want to move forward, and has even suggested that they cannot move forward, specifically because of the troubles with the school district.  He wondered how the Board planned on combatting this.  

Meg Vaught responded that at the most recent meetings of the Town Board and Planning Board it had been brought to light that the developer had not put as much effort into attracting builders for the project as they had previously implied due to their on-going negotiations with the Pilgrim Pipeline.  As originally proposed, the pipeline would cut right through the center of the development and, needless to say, this would have a significant impact on any building there.  According to Town Supervisor Mike Rost, Andrew Dance has now indicated that they plan to move forward with attempting to actively attract builders.  In light of this, Mrs. Vaught feels that this would be a good time for the Board to get together with the Town and the Developer and hopefully come to some sort of agreement as to how they can all move forward to everybody’s benefit.  That being said, there has been no disclosure from either entity as to what will actually be happening with the Pilgrim Pipeline and whether or not it has been rerouted around the development.

Mr. Macnamara wondered when the developer had first learned of the pipeline and how long the negotiations had been going on.

Vice President Vernon responded that she did think that the BOE could or should speak for either the Pipeline or the Developer.  She added that Mr. Dance had been asked to submit a list of builders who had been contacted by the developer initially and who had rejected the project.  This list has never materialized.

Following some further discussion, the Board adjourned into an executive session to discuss potential contract negotiations. 

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Tuxedo bands together for run to volleyball's final four - 11/18/16

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Tuxedo Kindergarten pays tribute to Veterans - 11/18/16

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting November 17, 2016

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
V. Recognition of Service – Golden Apples Presented
VI. Introduction of new faculty members to Board of Education
VII. Presentation by R. Preusser - Options for Reserve Funds
VIII. Routine Business
1. Approval of 10/20/16 Board Meeting Minutes
2. Administrators’ Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent’s Report
4. OCSBA Update
IX. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. Standard Work Day & Reporting Resolution RS2417A
4. 8th Grade Overnight Trip to Boston – May 31 -June 1, 2017
5. Donations Resolutions
6. Extra-Curricular Funds Resolution
7. Second Reading & Adoption of Policy #4210: “Threats of Violence in School”
8. Adoption of 2016-2017 Board of Education Goals
9. Personnel
10. Superintendent Search
11. Discussion regarding students residing in northern part of Tuxedo
X. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
XI. Proposed Executive Session – Potential Contract Negotiations
XII. Correspondence
XIII. Adjournment

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Tuxedo girls volleyball team soars to state Class D final four - 11/14/16

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Tuxedo moves on to regional Class D final - 11/9/16

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Tuxedo heeds coach's message in volleyball section final - 11/7/16

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Board of Education Meeting October 20, 2016

The Board of Education met on October 20, 2016 at 7pm.  All members were present.

Recognition of Service Awards:
The Board formally recognized former Board of Education member Dr. David Kauffer for his 12 years of service on the Board of Education, (2004-2016) presenting him with a golden apple. 

Former Board Member Dr. Ray Barone was also briefly recognized for his 11 years of service (2005-2016) however he was not present to accept an apple.

Public Comment:
Tina Cardona expressed her gratitude to Principal Jason Schrammel, noting that when her husband had stopped in unannounced at the school with some questions, he had made himself almost instantly assessable, providing answers and quickly addressing their concerns.  This type of service is extremely valuable for parents and the Cardonas are extremely appreciative for it. 

Independent Auditor’s Presentation – Scott Preusser of Raymond G. Pruesser presented the Board with an overview of the District’s most recent external audit.  A summary of the auditor’s results was distributed to the public and can be viewed here.  In summation, the district is in sound financial condition.    After putting money back towards taxes, the District was able to retain a $900,000 of unassigned fund balance.  This is due to substantial savings with employee benefits, as well as transportation and Special Ed costs.  The idea of creating additional reserve funds was presented and Mr. Preusser suggested that his firm would be willing to come and talk to the Board further about this and the various options that exist. 

Board Vice President Joanne Vernon commented that the Board was aware of the opportunity to participate in a workshop style meeting with Mr. Preusser’s firm, which would provide them with a better understanding of how they might utilize some of the funds, if they so chose, by instituting various reserve accounts that might be beneficial for the District as they move forward in keeping them in a stronger financial position.  Also, there may be some opportunity to support the education aspect of the staff members who may need to run certain clubs, and understand what their obligations are in order to meet financial standards.

Board President Diana Petrosky stated that she believed they were in the final stages of scheduling this presentation with Mr. Preussers office for the November meeting of the Board.  

Board member Dorothy Ziegelbauer stated that she wished to clarify that there was a typo on page two of the report, where the year 2015 had been put at the top of both columns.  2016 should be at the top of the column on the left.

A Board Member asked for clarification with regard to savings that lead to the increase in unassigned fund balance.  Noting that Mr. Preusser had listed employee benefits and special education costs as areas where substantial amounts of money was saved, she wondered how/why the benefits and costs had not been accurately budgeted for.

It was explained that the district had needed to budget for unemployment when excessing a large number of staff following the loss of Greenwood Lake Students.  Thankfully, many of the excessed staff members were able to find new jobs quickly and therefore, the District did not have to pay the anticipated unemployment costs, which lead to a substantial amount of savings within the budget.  Additionally, there was a special education student who moved out of the district, which resulted in the additional savings.

Mr. Preusser further advised that special education costs could be extremely difficult, especially for smaller districts like Tuxedo.  There have been cases where one student can cost a district up to $100,000 including transportation costs.  He cautioned that it was important to maintain leeway within the budget for situations like this.

Board member Allyson Arber pointed out that another reason the District was able to replenish their reserves was that they obtained some additional revenue.  Additional State Aid and grant monies also contributed to the increase in funds. 
Mr. Preusser agreed with this, pointed out that there had also been some insurance reimbursement adding to the increase.

Mrs. Arbor then commented that the District had spent roughly 91% percent of their anticipated budgeted expenditures.  She asked Mr. Preusser to clarify that moving forward they are looing to spend 94-96% of these budget monies. 

Mr. Preusser concurred, noting that the District had spent 95% of budgeted expenditures the two previous years.  He further commented that this having been the first year without Greenwood Lake students made things difficult for the District in terms of estimating what some of the expenditures would be.  These figures were adjusted for 2016-2017.  He suggested that 95% was a good number to aim for, further cautioning that should a district spend all of the money budgeted, they would eat into their fund balance. 

In summation, President Petrosky asked Mr. Preusser to confirm that over all, the District is in “very good fiscal health.”

Mr. Preusser complied, further stating that the situation had improved from the previous year and that the District now had options, which was a very good thing.

Administrators Reports:
Business Administrator – Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed introduced Interim Business Administrator Marc Matatia along with the consultant to the Business Office, John Steiger.  In response to the abundance of questions with regard to the District’s fiscal future, a 3-year Budget Outlook has been created.  Noting that the outlook was based on some assumptions and that certain things, such as commodity prices etc., could change very quickly, she asked Mr. Matatia to provide an overview of the Outlook.  Copies were also distributed to the audience.  To view a copy of the District’s Three Year Budget Outlook, click hereand here.

Following the presentation, the Board was invited to ask questions.  A fair amount of the discussion centered on the District’s PILOT agreements (Payment in Lieu of Taxes), which are not negotiated by the District. 

Mrs. Vaught inquired as to how many PILOT agreements the District Maintained. 
The answer was three: IBM, Millennium Pipeline and the Promenade.

Board member Adam Eirand inquired as to why the District did not have any say in negotiating their PILOT agreements.

President Petrosky responded that the way the law is written in the State of New York for Orange County, school districts are not included in the negotiations.   In Tuxedo’s case, IBM (provides the largest payment) is in the Tuxedo School District but physically in the Town of Warwick.   Therefore, Warwick negotiates that PILOT and informs the District what they will receive.

Mr. Eirand then asked about The Promenade and President Petrosky informed him that this agreement had been negotiated by the Town of Tuxedo years ago and that the District had not been consulted. 

Mrs. Ziegelbauer asked about Millennium Pipeline and whether the Town had negotiated that agreement as well.

President Petrosky informed her that several towns had negotiated that agreement, but ultimately yes, it was negotiated under the same circumstances.

Mrs. Ziegelbauer inquired about the variance for the BOCES funds and specifically what dictates that number.

Mr. Matatia explained that BOCES does not take profit so, at the end of each year, if their revenues exceed their expenditures, they have a formula for how that money is redistributed back to the Districts.    

K-12 Principal Report - Principal Schrammel gave a presentation outlining the new benchmark testing process that has been put into place this year. 
A copy of this presentation can be viewed here.

It is a process based in formative assessment, which will allow them to more clearly identify where student learning is and where they need to direct it, while also examining how they can close educational gaps.  Using the data, the district plans to put together a comprehensive District Wide Assessment Plan for the 2017-2018 school year. 

Noting that she thought the development of the district wide assessment plan was a great thing, Mrs. Vaught wondered by what method the data would be assessed and how then how those results would drive changes in instruction.   She further inquired as to how the district might deal with a wide array of learning needs within one classroom.

Mr. Schrammel explained that they had designed a differentiated instruction lesson for all teachers K-12 and then brought in a certified trainer in to educate them on this model.  He feels it was extremely beneficial for everyone involved. 

Speaking to the assessment of the data, Mr. Schrammel stated that there were a number of different services that they could contract out to.  In the past, the District has used MAPS testing, which is a computer based model that has the adaptive ability to scale the questions to the test taker based on their results in real time. 

Mrs. Vaught then wanted to know who would be analyzing the data.

Mr. Schrammel explained that initially he and Vice Principal Sorenson had been extracting the data and providing it to the individual teachers.   This practice will continue but moving forward, they will also be looking at the data in their monthly faculty meetings, where they have broken into faculty teams comprised of cross sections of teachers grouped by school, for the purpose of analyzing learning results and identifying commonalities.  He cautioned, often times “it could be about the data, or it could be about the individual student as well.”
For clarification purposes, Vice President Vernon stated that although the term “differentiated instruction” is often unclear to people, the reality is that it is all just an example of really good teaching.  It is not a new founded system.  Typically teachers are trained to ensure that they are meeting the student needs where the student it. (?? This doesn’t make sense.  Did you leave a word out?) By having baseline data, they can drive instruction to support a particular student wherever they may be.  She further suggested that small class size was also a beneficial component to all of this.  Not everyone will learn in the same way or at the same pace and students will need different things.  It is important that the District is providing all of these things, but they need to make sure that the level is high as they want their test scores to improve. 

Mr. Schrammel agreed, responding that one of the things they had learned about in their recent conference was a new technology, which allows for leveled reading. Students in K-12 can all read the same article at different levels.  Within one classroom, everyone might think they are reading the exact same thing because the content is consistent, but each student is able to learn and move forward at their own individual level.

Board member Alysson Arbor inquired as to how the tests were being derived.

Mr. Schrammel responded that most of them were either Regents or State test based.  They have also worked with Orange Ulster BOCES in the past to develop SLO testing.  (Student Learning Objective)  These are generalized tests by grade level.

Mrs. Arbor then wanted to know if the tests were given in the same format as the State Tests will be given.  For example, she wondered if the third graders (who will be testing for the first time this year) were presented with scantron sheets.

Mr. Schrammel responded that the District does not have a scantron reader in house.  While they could develop a bubble system, which he feels might be a great idea moving forward, they did not do this for the first round of testing.  They did, however, use comparable blocks of time for the testing.

Mrs. Arbor then inquired as to how the quarterly information would be distributed to parents and to what degree the parents would be brought into the process.

Mr. Schrammel replied that at elementary level (K-6) the information would be on the report cards.  At the high school level the information is provided during parent/teacher conferences. 

There followed a brief discussion between Vice President Vernon and Mr. Schrammel with regard to testing schedules and the ability of some students to retake Regents exams.  Retakes are typically administered in January and the District is working with students in AIS as well as those who declined AIS to encourage a re-take and help them prepare.

A discussion about the number of students who have declined AIS services ensued.
Mrs. Arbor wondered if it might be possible to offer AIS services after school to accommodate students whose schedules were jam packed.

The Interim Superintendent responded that this was a contractual item and that the District currently did not offer AIS services outside of the regular school day.

Board member Mike Arone asked if all kids at all levels were being given the same tests.
The answer was yes.  The baseline tests are the same.  Analyzing the data will allow them to assess whether or not students need to be advanced or pushed to new levels.

Board member Dorothy Ziegelbauer wondered how student achievement differences in the classroom were accounted for when everyone was provided with the same homework but there is one student who is at a much higher level than the others.

Mr. Schrammel responded that when this occurs, the homework should be differentiated so that the advanced student received a tougher assignment.

Mrs. Arbor wondered if this practice was currently employed in both schools.

The answer was yes. 

K-12 Assistant Principal – Vice Principal Eric Sorenson commented that he felt the ENL training and differentiated Instruction workshop with teachers had been both successful and powerful.  Additionally, the District has rolled out Google Guardians for grades 7-12, which is a program that will allow parents to oversee their child’s work/progress/assignments in Google Classroom and also communicate directly with teachers.   A workshop was offered for parents to better understand how to use the program and several attended with strong results. 

Vice President Vernon wondered if there was any way to monitor how many parents were utilizing the service.

Mr. Sorenson responded that he was not sure and would ultimately need to go into the system and count.  He guestimated that about ½ of the parents have signed up thus far.

“If ½ the parents haven’t signed up, how are they supporting their student…and aware?” wondered Vice President Vernon. 

She wondered if it were the District’s responsibility to remind parents that the opportunity was there and that they are holding parents accountable for their students progress track.

Mr. Sorensen agreed, commenting that this was one of the attributes of the system.  Instead of logging directly into their children’s account, this program allows for oversight.  Letters were sent to all of the parents inviting them to join and he has been very on top of getting all of those who are interested signed up.  “On our end, we are putting out all of the information so that parents can be in real time, knowing what is going on and so that communication between student, parent and teacher is clear.”

Superintendent’s Report:
Interim Superintendent Teed began by updating the Board with regard to certain mandates that have come down over the past several months and the associated costs.  The first is with regard to water testing.  Although the District proactively tested several drinking sources last year, the State has now mandated that every potable source be tested.  This testing has been completed, although the District has not yet received the results.  102 samples were tested as $22 per sample.  At this time, they are looking at a cost of approximately $3,100 for the testing plus whatever remediation might be necessary.  The State has also mandated that a certified engineer must review any remediation that takes place.  This will be an additional cost.  Interim Superintendent Teed assured the Board that once the results had been received, any necessary remediation would take place immediately.  In the meantime, the results of the voluntary testing that took place last year are available on the website.    Another new mandate is that carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in all of the buildings.  Currently the district has 25 battery operated detectors installed and 3 hardwired detectors.  The estimated cost of bringing everything into compliance is $4,200. 

A new sign-in security procedure has been implemented in GGM.  Parents and visitors must sign-in with the greeter.  If the visitor is there to pick up their child, the greeter will make contact with the classroom and the child will be escorted down to the greeter’s desk.  If the visitor has an appointment, they will wait in that area to be met.  This is a security measure that is being put in place in an effort to keep people from wandering about the building and to protect the students and staff.

GGM will soon begin using a new program called DREAM BOX.  This is a program that students can utilize at home to assist in reinforcing math skills.  It is cost-free and it will be recommended that students use it at home 2-3 times a week in addition to completing their math homework.  The program is an adaptive learning application, which replicates playing games and is based on math algorithms.  It assesses student learning in real time.

Senator Bonacic will be visiting the District on Monday, October 24 to assist in the unveiling of the new Haas Minimill machine.  The District was able to purchase the machine due in large part to the senator’s efforts tin obtaining additional state aid. 

There will be an Open House on Wednesday October 26 from 6-8pm.  All are welcome to attend.  The event will showcase both schools.

On Thursday October 27 at 7pm the National Honor Society and National Jr. Honor Society will hold its induction ceremony in the High School Auditorium.

Haunted Hallways is back and will take place on Friday October 28 and Saturday October 29 from 7-10:30pm.  This is a great, festive event and all are encouraged to attend.

Residents can sign up in advance by calling the main office in the High School.  There will also be a GGM Halloween parade for those students who wish to participate on Monday, October 31 from 8:30-9am.   No clown costumes will be permitted.  For those students who do not want to participate, additional fall activities will be available in the building.   Halloween will be a half-day for all students as it is a Superintendent’s conference day.  Dismissal will take place at 11:25 am. 

The Student Councils in both schools will be participating in Coloring for Chemo.

This organization collects art supplies and donates them to juvenile cancer facilities. 

The drive will take place from October 17-November 4.

President Petrosky added that even though the Interim Superintendent had provided rough estimates with regard to the water testing and remediation, that the public should realize that these costs could ultimately be in the thousands of dollars based on whatever might be necessary.  Referencing the new safety measures in GGM, she commented that this was something that had come up as a suggestion as they had sat down with their safety program and realized that there were individuals coming into the building and sometimes roaming about.  The new regulations are not to discourage parents from coming to school but rather to encourage safety for the students.

Mrs. Ziegelbauer wondered whether there had been any remediation following the voluntary water testing.

The answer was yes.  There were two locations that were in need of remediation. 

Mrs. Ziegelbuaer then wondered whether the three carbon monoxide monitors that were already hardwired were located near the furnaces.

The answer was yes.  They are in the boiler rooms.

Mr. Arone wondered how often water testing would occur.

The interim Superintendent responded that the State had not come down with a mandated schedule for testing as of yet. There has been talk about State Aid for the purpose of offsetting some of the water-testing costs however to date, she has not been informed of any procedures having been put in place.

Mr. Arone then wondered how many different tests were being run.

The answer was only lead.

He then asked how many water mains came into the buildings and how old the buildings were.

The answer was 2 mains (one for each building) and 86 years old.

Mr. Arone then inquired as to what a HAAS Minimill machine was.

The Interim Superintendent explained that this was a computer, numerically controlled machine.  Students will be taught to program the machine in order to build product, using CAD.

Mrs. Vaught wondered if there had been a large response to the Open House to date.
Interim Superintendent Teed responded that there had been a few responses.  The Rockland digital marketing piece kicks off on October 21 and over the weekend through Tuesday.  There will also be an insert in the Journal News and an ad in the Times Herald Record.  Digital Marketing will begin in November on the THR website as well. 

Bringing the topic back to the water testing, Board member Adam Eirand inquired as to whether the two sites that had already been remediated were identified by location on the school website. 

The answer was yes. 

He further wondered hat type of remediation had been needed.

The answer was replacement of a fixture, like a bubbler on a fountain.

OCSBA Update:
Mrs. Vaught reported the following with regard to the recent OCSBA (Orange County School Boards Assoc) meeting.

Lions Kidsight USA gave a short presentation detailing a free service they offer to schools whereby they do advanced vision testing in children up to 6 years.  This testing does not replace the testing done annually by the school nurse but rather augments it by screening more in depth for various issues.  Lions Sight has reported that they catch issues with 8-10% of those they test.  While the service is entirely free, a permission slip from the parents is required.  Mrs. Vaught provided the Interim Superintendent with the detailed brochure she was given at the meeting.

The annual NYSBA convention is coming up October 26-27.  Mrs. Vaught noted that at the last meeting, President Petrosky had identified herself as the voting delegate for the district but had not commented as to whether or not she was planning to attend.  Commenting that it seemed like it would be a fantastic opportunity for the District in terms of networking and learning, Mrs. Vaught suggested that although they had not budgeted for it this year, they might consider doing so for next year’s convention in Lake Placid.

President Petrosky indictaed that she was planning to attend.

Mrs. Vaught expressed her pleasure at this, noting that this year’s keynote speaker would be speaking on Why America Is Failing Science – Regaining Dominance in STEM, which she felt was pertinent to the District with the STEM Academy.

The meeting also featured some robust conversation surrounding the proposed NYSBA resolutions and Mrs. Vaught noted that many of the issues discussed, such as lunch time recess and not-enough-time-in-the-school-day, seem to be effecting districts across the county.

OBSBA will be offering training with regard to mandated child abuse reporting.  There will be a 30 minute session on November 16, after which they will be holding an additional meeting for new school board members who might wish to stay and discuss any issues they have encountered or questions they might have after having completed their first few months in office.

Finally, BOCES Superintendent Bill Hecht reported that BOCES had developed a 5-year facilities plan, which includes both a new septic system at the Goshen campus, as well as new roofing in other locations.  While the septic system can be paid for within the confines of the normal budget, the roofs will need to be bonded and there is a chance that this could come down outside of the tax cap, and if that happens, all Districts will be affected. 
President Petrosky noted that fortunately, in comparison to other Districts, Tuxedo is given a smaller portion of expenses to pay when large costs are broken out in that way.

Speaking to the convention, President Petrosky noted that she had attended it many times over the years and it is very valuable, however it can be cost prohibitive.   Attending all 4 days would cost well over $2,000, which include the fees to attend as well as the cost of a hotel room.  In lieu of attending the entire conference, she has registered to attend the convention meeting and represent Tuxedo as a voting delegate.  This will not cost the district anything.

Mrs. Vaught inquired as to whether the $2,000 was a flat fee for attendance of it his was a conglomerate of the various expenses.

President Petrosky replied that estimate would be per person.  There is a legal conference at the beginning of the event that is over $400 per member (Tuxedo is a member District) and then the convention itself is an additional $400.  Additionally, the rooms that are blocked off are typically well over $250 per night.  Associated dinners can also be well over $150 per person for night.  These are all great things to do and can be valuable for the District, but as the NYSBA rep for the District, she has made the decision to attend the one meeting only. 

Items for Action and/or Discussion:
Warrants, Transfers & Bids – There were none.

CPSE/CSE – Items 2.01 through 2.04 were unanimously approved.

School Board Recognition Week – School Board recognition week is October 24-28.  On behalf of the District Administration, the faculty and the Staff , the Superintendent offered her gratitude to the Board for all that they do.  The Students in GGM created cards for the Board members, which were distributed along with some snacks.

Adoption of 2017-2018 Budget Calendar – The Board voted unanimously in favor of adopting the 2017-2018 Budget Calendar as presented. 

Acceptance of the 2015/2016 Financial Audit Report – President Petrosky explained that by accepting the report as presented, they were not approving anything.  They were mandated to acknowledge receipt, which is what this agenda item is all about.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of accepting the 2015/2016 Financial Audit Report.

Policy #4210 – “Threats of Violence in School” (First Reading) –
President Petrosky explained that the Board Policy was to present new policies in the form of a “first reading” at a Board meeting.  Board members will then have one
month to review the policy and either make comments or suggest changes prior to it’s adoption at the following month’s meeting.    The policy was displayed on the screen for everyone to read.  Vice President Vernon asked for clarification that anybody making a threat against the District was engaging in a criminal act.  Board member and Greenwood Lake Police Sargent Adam Eirand confirmed that this was indeed correct.

Personnel – The Board voted unanimously in favor of approving 7.1-7.2.

Discussion – Northern Tuxedo Students – Interim Superintendent Teed opened the conversation by explaining that initially she had reached out to Senator Bonacic in an attempt to enlist his help with convincing the Commission of Education to consider redistricting the boundaries in the Monroe District to allow those students to return to Tuxedo.  The Senator indicated that he felt that attempting to achieve this at the State Ed level would be “a very very hard hump to get over.”  Based on this,,she called the Superintendent in Monroe to discuss the issue, and was told that the issue would be brought to the attention of the Monroe Board.   This occurred and the Monroe Board indicated that they were not interested in entertaining the idea of losing those students.  Superintendent Teed then wrote a letter to Commissioner Elia at the New York State Education Department, asking her for her consideration with the redistricting.  A copy of this letter was also sent to the Monroe Superintendent along with Bill Hecht, the BOCES Superintendent and Senator Bonacic. 

The Interim Superintendent then circulated a copy of this letter to the Board for their review. 

For the purpose of clarifying things for the public, President Petrosky commented that the way the process is written, if the Tuxedo School Board agrees to accept the students and the Monroe Board decides to allow them to leave and the two Districts reach an agreement, the decision goes to the Superintendent at the County level to sign off on and make a recommendation to the State of New York.  This is why the letters were sent to the people they were. 

Vice President Vernon commented that the reality of the situation was that Monroe
Woodbury would not likely release those students because they would be letting go of millions of dollars in revenue. 

President Petrosky added that the Tuxedo students represented approximately ten million dollars of the Monroe budget.  She further stated that this is something she has worked on many times before with various groups through the community, however the Board felt that it might be worth another try now with everything that is going on in the Town of Monroe and with the Monroe School District.  She has also reached out to a number of people.  It has been recommended to her that to  proceed the District should try one of two things.  First they should show an interest from the northern portion of Town and to unify the Town by walking a petition door to door.  (This was done 5-6 years ago)  Secondly, they should contact the North Tuxedo Residents Association and speak to them to gauge their interest. 
President Petrosky then commented that she had been told that these students had never been a part of the Tuxedo District historically, but had rather been a part of the Southfields district, attending either Monroe or Tuxedo.  The President has been told that this is something that would “also have to be overcome.”  Bottom line, if they want to move forward, she suggested that first step would be to reach out to Residents in Clinton Woods, Laurel Ridge, Brammertown Road, Arden and Southfields gauge their interest in moving forward.  She further suggested that they put together an ad hoc committee for the purpose of doing this.

Mrs. Arber inquired as to whether any response had been received to the Interim Superintendent’s letter.

The answer was no.  The letter was sent to the Commissioner.  The Interim Superintendent had a verbal conversation with the BOCES Superintendent who indicated that he would have no trouble signing off on it, but both parties would need to be in agreement and he was not in a position to force this.

Mrs. Arbor responded that she would be very interested to hear how the residents in the Northern part of Town  felt about all of this and to that end, she was supportive of forming an exploratory committee. She further commented however, that she was under the impression that even if they did this, and were able to get a petition full of signatures to present to the Monroe Board, that Board would still say no.   She wondered if their were any other mechanism for moving things forward. 

President Petrosky responded that the Commissioner was in a position to change it but she believed that any such decision would be based on the impacts to both districts and it is believed that this change would have a seriously negative impact on Monroe, while having a positive impact on Tuxedo.  If there were going to be a positive impact on both Districts, she feels it would be looked at differently.  “If you have 300 homes in the Northern part of town and 298 of them want this to happen, that would hold weight with the Commissioner, but again, it’s in the hands of the Monroe School Board and the recommendation must be made by their Superintendent to the School Board in order to have that vote.” 

Vice President Vernon suggested that in light of the fact that there were redistricting and annexation discussions going on, and the impact that that will have on the Monroe School District, for them to loose 10 million would be very challenging.  She is not sure that Tuxedo is enough of a voting block to really send a message to the elected officials to have their voices heard.  It’s worth a try.  She also cautioned that if the State began looking very closely at this, the issue of consolidation could come to light and become an issue. 

Mrs. Arbor responded that the Tuxedo District is in the situation that they are in and she feels that the State is aware of that and therefore, she does not believe that moving forward with this would exacerbate that potential. 

President Petrosky commented that she had received feedback from a number of people indicating that it would be both the worst time and the ideal time to move forward with something like this. It is the worst time for Monroe because of everything they have going on, but it is arguably the best time for Tuxedo since they are going to be redistricting. 

Following some further discussion, Mrs. Vaught volunteered to talk with Kristy Apostolides, who is the president of the Northern Tuxedo Residents Association, about the possibility of coming to a meeting to gauge general interest in moving forward.   Vice President Vernon also volunteered to discuss the issue with the Senator while he was visiting on the District on Monday.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of forming an exploratory committee, comprised of Mrs. Vaught and Mr. Arone. 

Other Business:
Interim Superintendent Teed commented that she wanted to publicly thank High School Student Andrew Hekl.  Andrew recently completed his Eagle Scout project, which consisted of building 4 new tables and a stone flower planter, which have all been installed on Circle Field.  The Interim Superintendent encouraged everyone to visit it, commenting that it had really enhanced the playground area.  Students use it during the day and the community uses it in the evenings and on weekends.  Again, she expressed her sincere gratitude to Andrew and this was met by a round of applause from the audience.

The Board then adjourned into Executive session to discuss contract negotiations and/or potential employment of a particular firm or a particular person.

They emerged from the executive session roughly an hour and 15 minutes later and voted unanimously in favor of hiring the recruitment firm Leadership Advantage, LLC at a cost not to exceed $16,000 to conduct their upcoming Superintendent search.

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Tuxedo STEM Academy unveils HAAS Mini Mill - 10/26/16

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Senator Bonacic visits Tuxedo STEM Academy

On Monday, October 24, 2016, the Tuxedo STEM Academy held a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil its newest addition, a HAAS Mini Mill to the HAAS Lab at the STEM Academy. District staff and students, Dylan Leo, Arik Mozejko, Jeremy Dedel and Vasilis Lymberis were joined by Senator John Bonacic at the unveiling of the Mini Mill. Senator Bonacic was crucial in securing additional state aid for the district last year. This prompted district officials to investigate and plan the beginnings of the HAAS Lab.

District officials said the HAAS Mini Mill was purchased to enhance the STEM Program for the students at the high school. With the addition of the Mini Mill, students will be capable of going from the thought process/idea to the design process to the fabrication process. The students are currently utilizing CAD (computer assisted drawing) and will be introduced to SolidWorks in the near future.

Others who joined the unveiling of the Mini Mill were Neil McGill, Director of Operations at Allendale Machinery. McGill has worked closely with the district’s STEM Advisor, Marco Margotta in developing a partnership between the district and Allendale Machinery.

Others present were: Diana Petrosky, President of the Board of Education, Joanne Vernon, Vice President of the Board of Education, Jason Schrammel, Principal and Interim Superintendent, Nancy Teed.

The Tuxedo Union Free School District is holding Open Houses on 10/26 & 11/30 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Those interested may visit the website for additional information:
www.tuxedoufsd.org

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Agenda for Board of Education Meeting October 20, 2016

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Pledge of Allegiance
IV. Recognition of Service Award(s)
V. Public Comment (Up to 3 minutes per person; 30 minutes total per meeting)
VI. ApprovaL of Minutes: 09/15/16 and 10/11/16
VII. Routine Business
1. Independent Auditor's Presentation- Scott Preusser of Raymond G. Preusser
CPA, PC
2. Administrators' Reports
• Business Administrator
• K-12 Principal
• K-12 Assistant Principal
3. Superintendent's Report
4. OCSBA Update
VIII. Items for Action and/or Discussion
1. Warrants, Transfers & Bids
2. CPSE/CSE
3. School Board Recognition Week- (10/24/16 to 10/28/2016)
4. Adoption of2017-2018 Budget Calendar
5. Acceptance of 2015/2016 Financial Audit Repott
6. Policy #4210- "Threats of Violence in School" (First Reading)
7. Personnel
8. Discussion-Notthern Tuxedo Students
IX. Public Comment
X. Correspondence
XI. Proposed Executive Session- Contract negotiations and/or potential employment of a
pmticular firm or a pmticular person
XII. Adjournment

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Special Board of Education Meeting October 11, 2016

The Board of Education held a special meeting on Tuesday October 11 at 6:30pm.  Board members Adam Eirand and Michael Arone were absent.

Public Participation:
There were no comments from the public.

Resolution – Board Approval of Amended District-Wide School Safety Plan:
Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed provided a brief over view of the amendments, which consisted mostly of name changes/updates.

The Board then voted unanimously to approve the amended District-wide safety plan.

Resolution  - Board Approval and Awarding of Contract Bid for repair work for the Tuxedo High School Boiler Project:
Board member Meg Vaught inquired as to whether or not at least three competing bids had been obtained.

The answer was yes.

The Board then voted unanimously in favor of awarding the bid as recommended by the Interim Superintendent.

Audit Committee Appointment:
The Board voted unanimously in favor of appointing Volker Baer as the Audit Committee Community Representative.

Superintendent Search:
Board Vice President Joanne Vernon explained that 6 search firms had been contacted for possible assistance with the upcoming search and of those, 4 had agreed to make presentations before the Board. 

Unfortunately, one of the firms had to back out at the last minute, so therefore, the Board would be hearing from/interviewing three entities that evening:
                        OUBOCES
                        Leadership Advantage
                        Hazard, Young, Attea & Assoc.

The Board then adjourned into executive session for the purpose of conducting said interviews and subsequent discussion of the potential employment of a particular firm or a particular person.

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Agenda for Special Board Of Education Meeting October 11, 2016

I. Call to Order
II. Roll Call and Quorum Check
III. Public Participation/6:50 p.m. move to Proposed Executive Session
IV. Resolution-Board Approval of Amended District-Wide School Safety Plan
V. Resolution-Board Approval and Awarding of Contract Bid for repair work for the Tuxedo High School Boiler Project
VI. Superintendent Search
VII. Proposed Executive Session – Potential employment of a particular firm or a particular person
VIII. Adjournment

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Baker students participate in the Presidential Debate at Hofstra - 9/28/16

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Tuxedo School Board Seeks Community Members for Audit Committee

The Tuxedo Board of Education has extended an invitation to community members who may be interested in joining the Audit Committee. The mission of the Audit Committee is to provide independent advice, assistance, and recommendations to the Board in the oversight of the internal and external audit functions of the district.

For more information, please visit the school website at http://tuxedoufsd.org/

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Special Board of Education Workshop Meeting September 19, 2016

The Board of Education held a Special Workshop Meeting on Monday September 19 at 7pm for the purpose of setting Board of Education Goals for the 2016/2017 school year.  All members were present.

The meeting lasted for roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes with a wide range of subjects being discussed at length.  The Board examined 5 key areas, ultimately making a list of goals as they pertained to each.  Some of these are listed here:

1. Community Relations

  • Foster strong partnerships with home, school, businesses and the community to ensure that everyone is well informed.
  • Improve the distribution of information to the public
  • Improve minutes by providing greater detail
  • Promote E-mail distribution (links to agendas, meeting minutes, policy    changes)
  • Create and provide a Quarterly Update from the Board of Education to the community

2. Finances and Long Term Planning  

  • Create and Show budget-to-actual format  
  • Restructure procedures in Business office based on results of recent Comptrollers report
  • Provide financial information to support the fact that the district does not  need non-resident students in order to sustain its program.
  • Expand the roll of the Audit Committee and nominate a Committee spokesperson
  • Provide a 3-year Financial Plan of fiscal sustainability

           
3. Staff Development

  • Support and Increase training in various instructional strategies across all  staff (Common Core (ELA & Math), STEM, Character Education

4. Student Achievement

  • Benchmarking according to District protocol
  • Prioritize continuous improvement for all students at all levels in all areas of instruction

5. School Environment

  • Maintain an innovative learning environment that is safe, efficient, nurturing and supportive of all student interest and needs.

It was agreed that this information would be compiled into one document, which would be presented at the October meeting for review and adoption.

Additionally, a Special Meeting was set for October 11 at 6:30pm for the purpose of interviewing Superintendent Search firms as well as approving a finalized District Wide Emergency Plan.

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Board of Education Meeting September 15, 2016

The Board of Education met on Thursday, September 15, 2016.
Board member Allyson Arber was absent.

Public Participation:
Uli Pendl of Tuxedo Park began by stating that he had several questions for the Board as follows:

  1. What is the final Reserve number?
  2. What has Ms. Cupano done to warrant her dismissal?  Was it connection with the recent State audit?  Have those members who were on the Board at the time of the audit submitted their resignations as a result of their oversight?
  3. When will the taxpayers see a new line-by-line budget?  Will there be a draft available to the public prior to the workshop?
  4. When will the taxpayers see the promised 3-year plan, which he feels ought to be based on “realistic facts” and not “made assumptions.”

In response to the first question, Board President Diana Petrosky responded that the Interim Superintendent would attempt to provide some information during her report.

Regarding the question about Ms. Cupano, she stated that the Board would not be discussing any such personnel issues.  Ms. Cupano is on personal leave.

 

She then inquired of Mr. Pendl as to specifically which budget (2014,2015, 2016) he was seeking a new line-by-line for.

He responded that he was looking for an updated version of the most recently approved budget, 2016/2017.

President Petrosky replied that this would be addressed throughout the meeting.

 

Joe Rickard commented that everybody was very disappointed by the recent audit, which he referred to as “devastating.”  He suggested that the Board had promised both a revised budget and the presentation of a 3-year plan at the two previous meetings, but they had not produced either.  He further commented that the school was going to be hiring a Business Manager that evening and he would like to know what process was used in selecting this individual, specifically how many people had been interviewed and what were the qualifications of the individual selected.  He feels that it is important that the Board is asking these questions.  He went on to inquire as to whom specifically on the Board or in the Business Office, with financial background, had interviewed the candidate.  He stated that the District had been struggling with their budget for almost a decade with budget after budget that had not been put out correctly.

Finally, he inquired about the forensic audit, commenting that the public had been told they could expect to see results in October.  He asked for assurance that the results would in fact be presented as promised so that the public could get a chance to see exactly how bad the situation was that the State created the audit.

Interim Superintendent Nancy Teed responded that she and Mr. Rickard had actually already corresponded regarding these questions. 

Mr. Rickard replied that there had been correspondence with regard to his first question, but not the second two.

The Interim Superintendent stated she had clarified during the August 18 meeting that she would not be putting up a revised budget, but that she anticipated providing an explanation as to the results of the Comptroller’s report and whether it had had any effects on the budget.  This clarification can be found in the meeting minutes.  

Mr. Rickard disagreed, stating that he had originally asked for a new budget and that Ms. Teed had told him that a revised budget would be presented at the September meeting.

Again, Ms. Teed disagreed with this, noting that she had already discussed this with Mr. Rickard, but again asserting that she had misspoken during a July meeting but had clarified herself during the August meeting, clearly stating that she anticipated providing an explanation.  In their most recent correspondence, Mr. Rickard had inquired as to whether or not there would be any explanation provided and she had informed him that due to the leave of absence of Ms. Cupano, there has not been a Business Administrator serving in that capacity.  She further stated that they would work their hardest to get this information out for the October meeting. 

Board President Diana Petrosky added that this was not a promise, although they would do their best to get the information.  She further stated that they were putting the right people in place.  “You keep saying that we are promising.  I am telling you in front of a room full of people, I am not promising.  We are going to work as hard as we can.”

“We’re working as hard as we can,” added Ms. Teed.

“To do it responsibly and correctly,” stated President Petrosky, “which is I’m sure what you want Mr. Rickard.”

“I do,” replied Mr. Rickard.

With regard to hiring the Interim Business Administrator, the Interim Superintendent stated that she was recommending the hiring of Marc Matatia.  He comes to Tuxedo from the Schenectady District where he worked for three years as an assistant to the Director of Finance.  He also worked in North Colonie.  She is also in receipt of recommendations from outside sources via Orange Ulster BOCES.  She further stated that she was also recommending the hiring of a consultant Business Administrator, John Staiger, who worked in the Tuxedo District many years ago. Mr. Staiger has recently retired.  He will assist on a consultant basis with closing the books and also helping the District to prepare for State Aid submissions.   The Interim Superintendent feels that hiring these two individuals will give them the opportunity to evaluate the situation in the business office and to look forward to 2017/2018 and the needs of the District within that office. 

As for the forensic audit, Interim Superintendent Teed stated that this had not been completed yet.  The Board is not yet in receipt of the report.   As soon as it is received, the findings will be released.  She went on to say that they had never promised that findings would be released in August.  She stated that she would never make that promise if she did not have a completed report.  Once she has it done, she will release it. 

Mr. Rickard wondered when this might be.

The Interim Superintendent responded that it would be released after it had received Board approval. 

Mr. Rickard wondered when the report was due to be submitted to the District for Board approval.  He reiterated that he felt this was incredibly important as the public had voted on a budget, but now knew that the numbers were incorrect.

Interim Superintendent Teed responded that she did not disagree.  At this time she does not have a due date, but she is working with the attorney to procure one as soon as possible. 

President Petrosky added: “The school attorney is working with the auditor.  There are specific guidelines.  When they complete that audit, as the attorney has advised me, the Board will be given a report.  Once that report is reviewed and we are satisfied that our criteria has been met, we will accept it or send it back.  If you have the financial background that you say, you know that that report will then be FOILable by anybody in the community, but we have set criteria and that criteria must be met before the audit report is created. Thank You.”

Routine Business:
1.Approval of Minutes – Minutes were approved for meetings that took place on 8/4/16, 8/18/16 and 8/23/16.

2. Administrators Reports –
Treasurer’s Report – Board Vice President, Joanne Vernon, commented that the Board realized that they were not yet “closed out” and that they were looking forward to the new staffing and the oversight to provide them with a close-out so that the figures would be understandable and accurate.
           
K-12 School Principal – Principal Schrammel had nothing to add to his
Report as it had been submitted to the Board.

K-12 Assistant Principal – Assistant Principal, Eric Sorenson, had nothing to
add to his report as it had been submitted to the Board.

3. Interim Superintendent’s Report – Interim Superintendent began by highlighting some upcoming events in the District.  The PTO sponsored Back To School Carnival is slated to take place on Friday, September 16 from 3-6pm.  Everyone is encouraged to attend.  Wednesday September 21 is Back To School Night in the High School beginning at 7pm.  On Thursday, September 22, there will be an early dismissal drill, with students being dismissed at approximately 2:15/2:20pm.  A letter will be going home to parents as a reminder.  Friday, September 23 is Peace Day.  This is a wonderful event that takes place annually on the lawn in front of the High School.  It begins at 9am.  On Wednesday, September 28 Back To School Night in GGM will take place, commencing at 6pm. 

Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer inquired as to whether or not the after school program would be taking place on the day of the early dismissal drill. (9/22)
The Interim Superintendent responded that she believed it would run, but she would double check on this.

Moving on she reported that Governor Cuomo had recently signed legislation to test drinking water for lead in all schools across the State.  Tuxedo was ahead of the curve when they initiated this process last spring.  They tested all identifiable drinking sources at that time and now they are required to test all potable sources.  There are 134 of them.  The District is hopeful that this testing will be complete on September 26 and once the results are received, they will be posted in addition to the other results, which were already posted.

Mr. Sorenson will be taking a small group of High School students to Hofstra University in September 26 to observe the Presidential Debate program.  This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for them.  This announcement was met by a round of applause from the audience.  The first High School STEM field trip will also take place on that day, with the students traveling to Krutgers.

An enrollment report entitled Transfer Report was provided outlining the number entering and exiting the District now that the shuffling around has stabilized in both buildings. 

Board member Meg Vaught inquired whether or not it might be possible to put together an enrollment report that showed the number of children in each class relative to what it was last year (i.e. last years 4th grade next to this year’s 5th grade) so that they could determine the loss and growth in each individual class.

The Interim Superintendent responded “We can certainly look at that to see if we can capture that moment in time that this was generated off our student management system.”
Board member Dorothy Zeigelbauer clarified that there were 23 students who transferred into the District while 20 transferred out.  The net effect is 3 new students. 

Interim Superintendent Teed confirmed this, commenting that there was also a recommendation on the table that evening for the Board to accept 2 additional non-resident students, which would bring the District to a total of 8 non-resident students; 6 in the High School and 2 at the elementary level.

Moving on, the Interim Superintendent stated that she would also like to comment on information that had been shared out at the previous Board meeting regarding concerns about the Regents scores from the June 2014 time period.  Specifically, a parent addressed the Board with concerns because the Regents scores were listed inaccurately for her child.  Since that time, the administration has dug into every Regents exam given in the June 2014 period and discovered that there had been an error.  The then employed guidance counselor entered the scores incorrectly in the system.  The scores were sent to the Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center, who generated an error report back to the guidance councilor.  That report was ignored by both the guidance counselor and the then employed building Principal.

Ultimately, the scores were entered incorrectly, reflecting a Regents score that was actually a final exam score.  The Administration was contacted each of the 9 parents of the students that were effected and a new transcript has been generated and given to them.  For any student interested in taking the algebra Regents again, academic intervention services have been offered and they can re-take the test in January and/or June.  They have double-checked every other Regents score for tests given during that time period and determined that they are all valid. 

Board President Diana Petrosky inquired as to what procedure had been put in place to ensure that something like this does not happen again.

The Interim Superintendent responed that the “checks” currently in place allow that the High School guidance couselor, who imports the scores, will respond immediately to any error report that might occur by correcting the error.  The Building Administration will serve as a second check and now, both the Principal and the Assistant Principal will serve as a third check point for any potential errors.

 

Finally, Interim Superintendent Teed commented that she wanted to present some pre-closing figures, although she noted that the books had not been formally closed yet.  She has been working with the external auditor, who assisted her in providing this information, which she is presenting to the Board as there will need to be conversation regarding the unassigned fund balance monies and whether or not the Board would like to move monies into a different account.

To view the information that was presented, click