School Board: Gym, FIT Center renovations are reported to be on time

The Board of Education heard an overview of current capital projects, listened to presentations by Superintendent Michael Hynes on his goals and new state standards, made a decision on fall sports programs and set personnel appointments for both summer school and the 2011-2012 academic year when it last met on Tuesday evening, July 26, with Vice President Thomas Graffagnino presiding in the absence of President Stephen Gessner. The dates for the board’s August and September meetings were also set.

School maintenance crew leader Michael Dunning and school business official Jessica Mack reported that all capital projects currently underway will be completed on schedule and in time for the opening of the school year, despite earlier construction delays. The FIT Center and school gymnasium are expected to be finished at the end of August, while the lobby, relocation of the business office and facilities/conference room will be completed mid-August.

Mr. Dunning and Ms. Mack will be meeting with the district’s architect, Mosaic, in the next week to discuss scheduling of the other items that were included in this year’s bond issue, including the generator, brick work and windows. According to Mr. Dunning, although work on these projects will take place next summer, planning must begin now.

Dr. Hynes outlined his five goals, including a 100-day entry plan; curriculum and instructional issues; budget and financial planning; capital improvements and facilities; and public relations.

As part of his 100-day plan, Dr. Hynes is in the process of meeting “100 Families in 100 Days,” as he calls the initiative. His meetings with students, parents, staff as well as businesses and community members are providing him with “a range of opinions across the Shelter Island community,” he said. He also outlined his work on a comprehensive organizational review “to develop an understanding of the alignment of actions and activities within the district as they relate to the board’s goals.” This objective, said the superintendent, is “intended to facilitate the development of professional relationships and an understanding of the district’s internal culture.” It will encompass staff input, administrative and systems reviews.

The purpose of the curriculum and instruction goals is to “engage our faculty, staff and community in a dialogue designed to raise awareness of the instructional/learning process.” This goal, according to Dr. Hynes, addresses improvement in students’ test scores and Regents outcomes as well as a review of all K-12 curricular material, tracking graduates’ college careers and an analysis of all educational programs, with subsequent recommendations to the board.

Under finance, Dr. Hynes said that he will be developing short- and long-term goals with the business official and continue work on developing “a consistent process for budget development and community reporting while putting forth a budget that is responsible to taxpayers and protects student services.”

“Sprucing up the lobby” to make it more welcoming is one of his capital improvement goals, as is “keeping on top of the architect and the on-going construction and maximizing our use of space,” he said.

His fifth goal focuses on public relations and community engagement and includes strengthening the school website, reinventing and developing the PTSA, and “bringing people to the school who don’t normally come here and work at making the school the center of the community.”

The superintendent segued into a report on the new state standards. “I feel like I’m talking an awful lot tonight,” he said, while handing board members thick state-generated documents. Acknowledging that this would be an on-going process and discussion, he stated that the new requirements focus on the improvement of student performance, new learning standards for certain subjects and “making more kids college-ready.” According to Dr. Hynes, the school district received $9,000 in state aid for use over four years to meet those goals.

The board discussed whether the school should offer junior high girls soccer and cross country this fall since only two students had elected each of those sports. “We need to come up with a minimum number of students we’ll field a sport for,” said Mr. Graffagnino. Board member Elizabeth Melichar concurred, saying, “Hard decisions have to be made with the two-percent tax cap. Anything that takes money out of the pockets has to be carefully examined.” The decision was ultimately made not to offer the sports and to encourage the four students to choose other activities.

In other business, the board made the following appointments upon the recommendations of the superintendent:

• For summer school, Jacqueline Brewer as shared student aide and Jennifer Gulluscio for Leap Into Learning Mathematics, both at their individual hourly rates.

• Named the following coaches and stipends for the 2011-2012 school year:  Brian Becker, junior high girls basketball coach, $2,563; Cindy Belt, varsity girls volleyball coach, $5,051; Jay Card, varsity golf coach and JV boys basketball coach, $3,275 and $4,697, respectively.

• Appointed  Rebecca Mundy yearbook advisor for a stipend of $4,396.

• Cindy Griffin was named district treasurer at a fee of $25 per signing session, pending employment clearance by the New York State Department of Education and Meghan Lang, named deputy district treasurer, at the same rate.

• Sam Schneider, former district business manager, was hired as a consultant for the period July 27, 2022 through June 30, 2012 at the rate of $600 per day, for a maximum of six days.

• Named Carmen Ianotti interim CSE chairperson effective July 27, 2011 at the rate of $600 per day.

Before adjourning, the board set its next two meetings for Tuesday, August 29 and Monday, September 19, both at 7 p.m.