South Country Central School District Board Notes - Feb 26, 2020 Business Meeting

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At the start of the February 26 business meeting, the trustees recognized Bellport High School senior Alexis Spence, who was recently invited to the New York State PTA Legislative Summit and Lobby Day at the Capitol Building in Albany. While there, she received a NYS Assembly citation and a NYS PTA scholarship for lobbying NYS Senator Monica Martinez and NYS Assemblyman Joe DeStefano for increased state funding to support mental health services for students, a ban on all flavored tobacco and vaping products, increased state funding to support these two previous causes and to oppose any legislation in support of recreational marijuana. In addition, NYS PTA President Lorey Zaman awarded Alexis the Susanne Smoller Commitment to Advocacy Youth Award for promoting an annual Mental Health Awareness Week at the high school.   

During Dr. Joseph Giani’s Superintendent’s Report, he reported results of the district’s most recent lead testing in school drinking water, as required by the New York State Department of Health. Water sources which were identified as requiring further action have been shut down and remediation will take place and further testing will be performed. 

In response to news about the coronavirus, Dr. Giani said the District is keeping the virus on its radar so as to be prepared in the event of an outbreak. Currently school nurses monitor students coming to the health office reporting symptoms similar to the flu and to coronavirus. Nurses send notes home to parents, making them aware of flu-like symptoms during this time of year and to keep children home when they are ill – and follow up with those students who do not return to school. We are currently preparing a letter to go home to parents with more information about the virus. The letter will describe symptoms, what is known, how it spreads, and prevention.

Dr. Giani also urged the public to respond to the 2020 Census, especially since the information collected provides monetary assistance to the school district. 

Dr. Giani also congratulated Bellport High School wrestler Josh Leidig who qualified as an All-State wrestler and Class of 2017 alumna Shannon Gibbons who will audition for American Idol on Sunday, March 1.

During the Trustee and Advisory Committee Reports, trustee Lisa Di Santo reported that the Teaching and Learning Committee is developing a comprehensive guidance plan for grades K-12. Trustees Clyde Parker and Cameron Trent and President E. Anne Hayes also reported that they attended several wonderful Black History Month celebration activities that provided students and staff with additional insight into black history. 

In the district’s third budget presentation, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Management Services Christine Costa provided a rundown on codes 1000 (General Support), 5000 (transportation) and 9000 (undistributed and miscellaneous), which are three of the four main components of the budget. She talked about what is included in each code and financial challenges faced in the areas of contracts, transportation, benefits and BOCES/special education. On March 11, Ms. Costa will present budget information pertaining to curriculum and instruction. The Board of Education is scheduled to adopt the 2020-2021 district spending plan on April 15. 

In other business, the Board of Education approved four policies: 5410 (Purchasing), 6121 (Sexual Harassment in the Workplace), 6215 (Probation and Tenure) and new policy 7440 (Student Voter Registration and Pre-Registration). 

The next Board of Education will be held on March 11, at 7:30 p.m., at the Central Administration Offices.