10/05/18 8:00am
STOCK PHOTO There are many sources of help for anxiety and depression.

STOCK PHOTO
There are many sources of help for anxiety and depression.

I was watching my granddaughter’s JV volleyball team play a tense game against Port Jefferson at the school gym last Friday when I began saying to myself, “This is too stressful.There’s too much anxiety and tension being created by this tight game!”

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03/17/14 8:00am
JULIE LANE PHOTO Social studies teacher Brian Doelger will offer an overview Monday night about how collaborative teaching is working on Shelter Island as the Board of Education welcomes Southold Superintendent David Gamberg and Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Dr. Steve Cohen to the next discussion about an alliance among the three aimed at improving education.

JULIE LANE PHOTO
Social studies teacher Brian Doelger will offer an overview Monday night about how collaborative teaching is working on Shelter Island as the Board of Education welcomes Southold Superintendent David Gamberg and Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Dr. Steve Cohen to the next discussion about an alliance aimed at improving education.

Three East End school superintendents, who launched a forum at Stony Brook University Thursday night on improving education, are coming to Shelter Island for a public meeting tonight. (more…)

03/14/14 2:00pm
From left, Southold Superintendent David Gamberg, author Andy Hargreaves, Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg, South Side High School principal Carol Burris, Plainview-Old Bethpage assistant superintendent Tim Eagen, Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steven Cohen and Shelter Island Superintendent Michael Hynes. Mr. Hargreaves co-wrote "Professional Capital" with education advocate Michael Fullan, who joined the panel via Skype. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

School district administrators and teachers gathered Thursday at Stony Brook University for a panel discussion about”Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School.” Book co-author and education advocate Michael Fullan joined the panel via Skype. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

The leaders of three local school districts have partnered up to expand educational opportunities within their schools in the midst of mandates coming down from Albany as part of what’s known as the Common Core State Standards.

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03/13/14 7:30pm

Panelists at Thursday night’s ‘Public Education at a Crossroads’ forum at Stony Brook University. (Credit: Michael White)

A forum entitled “Public Education at a Crossroads,” organized by three East End school superintendents, is set for tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Stony Brook University’s Wang Center.

Follow the link below for live streaming video of the event:

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01/11/12 4:51pm

If the Shelter Island Board of Education rolled over its 2011-12 budget into 2012-13 with no changes in staffing, programs or cuts, taxpayers would be looking at a 4.5 percent increase in taxes, according to Superintendent Michael Hynes.

With the new 2-percent state-imposed tax cap adopted last year in Albany, Dr. Hynes estimated that he and board members will need to cut at least $200,000 from the existing budget to meet that ceiling.

Even without changes, fixed contractual cost, health insurance, fuel and other expenses will increase, forcing cuts to be made in other areas to compensate.

The 2-percent tax cap means the district probably will have to sustain more than $1 million in cuts over the next five years, Dr. Hynes predicted.

Dr. Hynes and the School Board are in the midst of contract negotiations with the Shelter Island Faculty Association, whose members are working without a contract. The old one expired with the new year.

At a time when there’s so much pressure to increase student test scores and enhance programs, “It’s a recipe for disaster,” Dr. Hynes said of the combination of the tax cap and no indication of what mandate relief might be forthcoming.

Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed a committee last spring to recommend mandate relief, but there’s no indication of when it might make its recommendations.

The current $9.6 million budget represents a .97-percent increase in spending from the previous year. But to pare the 2010-2011 budget down for the current school year, the board had to reduce the hours of four positions — the school librarian and math, business and home ec teachers. The librarian’s position was partially restored this year.

“I plan the way I always plan; I don’t expect anything from New York State,” Dr. Hynes said. He qualified that at Monday night’s School Board meeting, saying he expected the same amount from the state as the district received last year.

Just how much the district actually will have to cut depends on state aid and political efforts to end some unfunded or under-funded mandates. Dr. Hynes said he didn’t expect to have any information available about the actual state aid figure or whether any mandates will be eliminated before April, when the budget has to be finalized so it can be presented to voters in May.

In February, he and the board will start reviewing the budget line by line, looking for places to cut spending, Dr. Hynes said. Budget meetings are set for February 13 and 29 and March 12, all at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Hynes said he also is not pleased with the state’s schedule for elementary school testing. It will have elementary school students taking three days of tests during the week they return from spring vacation in mid-April and three more the next week. Tests in English language arts are slated for April 17, 18 and 19 followed by math tests on April 24, 25 and 26.

“State Ed lives in a vacuum or in a silo,” Dr. Hynes said of the Department of Education in Albany. “I don’t want to make any excuses for the kids or the teachers,” the superintendent said, but “to me, it doesn’t make any sense” to offer the tests so soon after the school break, or to “lengthen the tests and raise the levels for passing the tests.”

Part of the new system of teacher evaluations is based on student performance on the tests, he noted. Despite the changes in testing, he predicted that Shelter Island would remain a district in good standing.