SSCSD Board of Education Meeting Notes (SEEN)
July 28, 2022
Notes by Rebecca Lynch
View the meeting. Read the Meeting Agenda.
Trustees Present: Tony Krackeler (President), Natalya Lakhtakia (VP), Erika Borman, John Ellis, Amanda Ellithorpe, Anjie Emeka, Dean Kolligian, Connie Woytowich. Absent: John Brueggemann.
7:10pm Public Comment #1
- Erin Leary: spoke in favor of reforming campaign practices to protect against influence of outside groups and “dark money”.
7:13pm Board Committee Reports
- Update on chairs and committee members for this year
Social and Emotional Programs and Initiatives in SSCSD – Presentation by Heather Reynolds
- NL: Are we looking at return on investment with Second Step?
- A: It is our goal to do that. We are training ourselves on collecting the data in a way that is consistent and therefore usable.
- CW: Do we not currently have PD for Second Step?
- A: Second Step has its own self-paced PD opportunities, and those topics are also covered at Superintendent’s Conference Days.
- CW: Have staff given an indication of the effectiveness of Second Step and Generation ready?
- A: The teachers seem to like Second Step because it’s packaged and it’s easy to do the lessons, but there is also a lot of variation in how it is used. Generation Ready was interrupted by the pandemic, but the assessment piece is happening.
- MP: For Second Step, there is a team who meets regularly to discuss and assess with regard to the effectiveness of the lessons
- LC: The initial training for Second Step was done 3 years ago, and now the Social Workers are the point people at each building and make sure that new staff are trained. There is also an end-of-year assessment for the students to evaluate the program.
School Safety and Educational Climate 2017-2022 – Presentation by Mike Patton
- Top 4 infractions – missed assigned class, tardiness, disrespectful behavior, insubordination
Information on Consultants – had been previously requested by board members
- CW: doesn’t recall seeing these contracts previously, so where/when did the board approve them?
- Anjie: some of them were approved before CW was on the board.
- TK: For others, the cost is about 1% of the total budget and there is a limit to how granular the board gets. The Finance Committee sees more, but is it expected that a $1600 line item would need to be brought in front of the board for approval?
- CW: How do we measure the effectiveness of PD?
- LC: we often have follow-up surveys, do pre-and post-evaluations, and solicit feedback.
- Amanda: It’s inconsistent with what we hear about, and we’re told some things are too granular and some aren’t. Should there be a threshold for us to hear about something? Also, is there a reason why anticipated costs for the 22-23 school year aren’t listed?
- A: They weren’t asked for.
- Amanda: did the district used to partner with local organizations for Parent University?
- A: yes.
- Amanda: Could we continue to do that, to defray costs?
- A: Yes, we can do that.
Enrollment Update – Presentation by Dave L’Hommedieu and Valerie ElSawi
- NL: supports the flex zone program, but has a question about its implementation. Her street is now split between 3 elementary schools, which means 3 bus routes will go through it. Using neighborhood as an example, but believes it goes against the spirit of the flex zone policy and seems more like a scattering than an even-ing out. How do we balance the goal of smaller class sizes with some of these other factors? How does the decision get made as to what school kids will go to?
- A: It’s very challenging, and they look at a lot of factors but tend to not look at it on that micro level. We could try to look at those factors as well though.
- Amanda: Why is enrollment decreasing? Is there higher enrollment in private school or for homeschooling?
- A: The cost of housing is a factor, and there isn’t any new industry.
- Amanda: But the population numbers have stayed flat, so enrollment shouldn’t decrease.
- A: The demographics aren’t flat. There has been an incremental increase in private school, and homeschool enrollment fluctuates. We haven’t seen one single reason.
9:09pm Modifications to the Consent Agenda
9:14pm Discussion of Consent Agenda
9:15pm Motion to approve consent agenda – passes unanimously
9:17pm Agenda Planning
- There is a lengthy discussion of the desire by some board members to add SROs to the elementary schools. DK wants to add an agenda item to continue to evaluate the number of SROs in the district, including the financial implications. He wants to know what the “cost of goods” would be. Anjie wants to know what “continuing to evaluate” would entail. She also wants to wait to have further discussion until after the NYSIR assessment, to see what their recommendations are. DK would want the additional SROs for this school year, so doesn’t want to wait to start talking about it until after the assessment. TK says that any discussion would have to include what other safety and non-safety items would be impacted. DK says he was trying to sugarcoat it before, but he doesn’t care how much it costs and will pay anything to increase the number of SROs. Amanda agrees with DK.
- Motion for DK’s agenda item “to increase safety and security of our district” – does not pass
- TK: motion to table discussion until after receipt of NYSIR assessment – does not pass
- TK thinks they should discuss how to discuss this at the governance retreat.
- CW: motion to get information on actual cost of adding SROs, by having MP talk to the PD and Sheriff – motion passes unanimously
- Amanda: motion to survey faculty and staff about how they feel about the level of safety in their buildings
- NL: that is outside the scope of the board
- Amanda doesn’t feel comfortable supporting the safety plan without knowing how the faculty and staff feel.
- MP: says that asking for this survey is not board business, but he could seek feedback.
- Amanda: What’s the difference between feedback and a survey?
- MP: the board cannot direct him to survey people based just on their interests. The board does not dictate how the district collects information regarding certain topics.
- NL: the union meetings would be a good opportunity to obtain feedback from teachers
- Amanda: withdraws motion
9:56pm Board Member Comments
9:59pm Motion to enter executive session – passes unanimously