South Country Central School District Board Notes March 11, 2020 Business Meeting

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During the first business meeting of the month, the trustees recognized those who contributed to the great success of the Bellport Middle School production of “Frozen Jr.,” held on January 17-18. Principal Dr. Jamal Colson said the musical positively impacted the students and community in many ways. Staff members Michelle Stiriz (director), Sean Austin (musical producer), Oya Bangura (choreographer), Alicia Ferrara (costume designer), Nicolette Clock (assistant producer) and Kieran Sawyer (stage manager) were congratulated. Dr. Colson also introduced shining principal cast members Madison Aruta (townsperson and an Oaken family member), Alexa Allan (Elsa), Kaelyn Schmidt (Anna), Max Yablon (Kristof), Mason Linke (Hans), Madison Roberts (Sven), Jacob Chojnacki (Olaf), Gael Michel (Pabbie), Samantha DeLillo (snow chorus) and Rileigh Picken (Queen Iduna).     

Dr. Giani also congratulated Frank P. Long Intermediate School teacher David Perkins who received NYS Senator Monica Martinez’s Influential Educator Award. Brookhaven Elementary School Principal Dr. Rebecca Raymond was also congratulated for receiving the Brookhaven Free Library’s sixth annual Community Partner in Literacy Award.

Dr. Giani also noted that further lead testing has been done in accordance with the Department of Health’s Lead Testing in School Drinking Water requirement. During the initial draw, 62 sites did not pass acceptable lead testing levels. Nine were water fountains at Bellport High School, Frank P. Long Intermediate School and Verne W. Critz Elementary School. During a second draw, 27 sites did not pass, five of which are water fountains. The District is in the process of formulating a remediation plan and is updating the District website so the community can more readily access the environmental test results. Dr. Giani also noted that the District’s bottle filler water fountains do filter and reduce lead and other harmful particulates.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability Marlon Small and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani delivered the fourth budget presentation on Instructional Codes (2000s). They noted that this area is the largest category of expenditures in the 2020-2021 proposed budget, which includes elementary and secondary education, athletics, special education, clubs and extracurricular activities, etc. Some of the financial challenges in this area include contractual obligations, transportation costs, benefits and costs associated with BOCES and special education. The District to date is still working to reduce a sizeable gap between revenue and costs. On March 25, the Board of Education will discuss staffing analysis and will discuss whether to appropriate from the fund balance and stay within the allowable tax levy limit.

The Board of Education also adopted the 2020-2021 school calendar, which will include the following: student start date on September 8, staff start date on September 2, no school on November 25 (the day before Thanksgiving) and one built-in snow day. 

The Board of Education is currently voting for the top three winners from each school for the Design the Sign contest. Students throughout the District entered artwork for consideration on the No Idle Zone signage to be placed on all campuses. The signs should be fabricated and installed during the  month of April campaign.