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E-mail from Gov. Cuomo leads to discussion at North Collins School Board

BY: Larry Wroblewski | January 17, 2013

An e-mail from Governor Andrew Cuomo was shared by North Collins School Superintendent Benjamin Halsey with the school board at its January 8 work session. The message updates progress made by the New NY Education Reform Commission set up by the governor to make recommendations for future educational reforms. Eight key points were presented and goes on to state that a final action plan will be completed in the Fall of this year.

One point drawing concern is a proposal to create a statewide mode “Community School” that utilize schools as a community hub to improve access to public, nonprofit and private services/resources such as health care and social services for students and their families.

Halsey noted that such types of programs are in use in the rural northern section of the state. Commonly hospitals conduct outreach clinics at schools with the assistance of school medical staff. Halsey’s concern stem from the potential for increased staff time and additional utility bills for extended hours for which there has been no expression of state financial support. He sees it having the potential to creating additional unfunded mandates that school districts would be required to pay for.

Another point raises the possibility of extending both the school day and school year to expand quality learning time for students. Again, there would be additional costs added if such a program were approved.

Halsey saw promise in a point to build better bridges from high school to college and careers with early college high schools and career technical education.

However, he found problems with a point to pursue efficiencies such as district consolidation, high school regionalization and shared services to increase student services noting that current state law requires individual school boards to enter into and approve such measures.

In other business the Board:

• Approved Erin L. Agle as substitute nurse and Jonathan M. Feniello, Nicole a. Gangloff and Stephanie M. Russo as substitute teachers for the year.

• Approved Timothy Flanagan, Scott Kaplan, Lindsay Koudounas, Jennifer Schmitt and Brandi Weidright as members of the Junior National Honor Society Committee.

• Approved Thomas Bittner, Lisa Brosnick, Joseph Steger, Elaine Verstraete and Grant J. Walters as members of the National Honor Society Committee.

The Board went into an extensive Executive Session. It will also meet for a special meeting on January 15 and go immediately into Executive Session. The next regular meeting will be held January 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the High School.

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