South Country Central School District Board Notes - February 12, 2020 Business Meeting

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The February 12 business meeting commenced with congratulations to the students and faculty who hosted Bellport High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani also reminded the community that prekindergarten and kindergarten registration is taking place by appointment. He also told the community that everyone should respond to the 2020 census, with Board President E. Anne Hayes adding that the information collected is protected and provides monetary assistance for the school district. 

The trustees spoke about their attendance at the recent Longwood Legislative Breakfast,  and ex-officio board member Carly Dioloso, who received the opportunity to question legislators, said it was interesting to hear what to expect this budget year. Carly also told the Board that Bellport High School’s student council has applied to become a National Council of Excellence. 

During the first of three presentations, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Marlon Small, Director of Humanities Jaclyn O’ Hagan and social studies teacher Andrew Budris informed the Board about the Kiva Challenge, a problem-based learning project for all ninth grade Global History students and in partnership with the South Country Education Foundation. After researching a developing country with a focus on how a person’s environment can present specific challenges, the students chose deserving applicants for receipt of microloans. Through a presentation, the students presented evidence to advocate for their applicant, and the class voted on which presentation was most deserving. During the meeting, the Kiva Challenge winners were recognized and included: first place – (teacher – Paul Feltman) Sara Abdelbasset, Madeline Day, Nikki Hirschkind and Rachel Li; second place – (teacher – Wendy Palladino) Andres Reyes Chacon, Carla Benavides Ventura and Karen Aguilar Soriano; and tied for third place – (teacher Joseph Scioli) Vanessa Perez, Destiny Rivera and Emily Angamarca and (teacher – Wendy Palladino) Ryan Grell, Edgar Osorio Ramirez and Andrew McLaurin. Additional information on the Kiva Challenge will be posted to the District’s website.  

Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Management Services Christine Costa also gave the Board a rundown on the projected tax levy limit and revenue for the 2020-2021 school year. Ms. Costa presented fast facts about the tax levy, explained the difference between tax levy and tax rate and showed how the tax levy is calculated. She also explained that under the tax cap law, the District will be allowed a budget-to-budget increase of 2.1 percent, which remains within the allowable tax cap. The District will adopt the 2020-2021 budget on May 6. 

The third presentation by Mr. Small, Director of Guidance and Counseling Programs Jenna Restivo and Bellport High School Principal Timothy Hogan discussed the historical graduation rate and the projected Class of 2020 graduation rate. The presenters also discussed interventions and programs to assist students who are struggling. Based on data so far, the District predicts that the graduation rate for the Class of 2020 will be similar to last school year. 

The Board also had a First Reading of policies 5410 (Purchasing), 6121 (Sexual Harassment in the Workplace), 6215 (Probation and Tenure) and 7440 (Student Voter Registration and Pre-Registration).   

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on February 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Central Administration Offices.