South Country Central School District Board Notes - January 8, 2020 Business Meeting

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The public business meeting held on January 8, 2020 commenced with Bellport High School Principal Timothy Hogan introducing Eagle Scout Jake D’Esposito, who erected a Purple Martin colony at Squassux Landing in Brookhaven. Ex-Officio Board Member Carly Dioloso also announced that the Bellport High School’s Bellport’s Got Talent has been postponed to March 20. 

During the superintendent’s report, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani announced that in light of recent amendments to Education Law concerning contracts for School Resource Officers, the District is in the process of making revisions to the proposed agreement with the Suffolk County Police Department for SRO services. The SRO Memorandum of Understanding is posted on the district website for community review. Members of the community who wish to comment or make suggestions to the proposed MOU can send them to the District Clerk no later than January 29, 2020. 

The Board unanimously approved the Shared Decision-Making Plan. Its revision includes greater participation on building-level shared decision-making teams and puts a communication network in place between building teams and the Board’s Advisory Committees, thereby facilitating communication with the Board, administration, faculty, staff, parents and the community.

The Board discussed All Class/Grade Level field trips. Dr. Giani pointed out that the previously approved eighth grade Philadelphia trip has not yet met its goal of 275 students and that an additional 43 students are needed to fill the third bus. He asked the Board for their guidance on “how little is not enough” and what is the Board’s view of a trip running with about two thirds of the grade not attending. He also offered his opinion that a committee be assembled to examine the issue further and to give guidance on field trip policy. President Anne Hayes felt that the different trips should be itemized to make the field trip policy easier to understand, while Trustee Melissa Aruta said she would like to see more ability to fundraise for these trips as well as a committee. Trustee Chris Picini offered that if there is a field trip committee formed, suggestions should come from the teachers and directors and students should witness the uniqueness of Long Island. Carly Diolosa also added that field trips should be available to everyone and that no student should feel excluded due to economic advantage.

In addition to the unanimous approval of policies 7240 and 5684, the Board discussed legislation in Albany mandating all children receive the HPV vaccine regardless of parental consent and administration of the influenza vaccine for persons attending daycare. Mr. Picini said the District needs to take a stand on how these laws will affect the operation of the District’s schools and that he does not want a health care practitioner to vaccinate students without parental consent. Ms. Aruta said she has issue with any law that bypasses  parent consent.

Dr. Giani also announced the tenure of Director of Special Education and Student Support Services Kerry Carson, effective February 11, and Assistant Director of Special Education and Student Support Services Laurie O’Hara, effective February 11. The District also appointed Daniel Maresca as the District’s Network/Systems Administrator, effective February 3. 

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on January 22. During this business meeting, the District will give the first 2020-2021 budget presentation review and discuss long term planning.