South Country Central School District Board Notes April 29, 2020 Business Meeting and Budget Presentation

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During the Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Joseph Giani gave a detailed update on school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, with special emphasis on student connectivity and virtual learning. He said connectivity is a top priority. The District will have a better idea about the number of students who are having issues connecting with their teachers once data has finished being collected. Dr. Giani explained that Chromebooks have been distributed to 800 students in grades 3-12, and that number will increase with the rollout of the Google Classroom format for students in grades K-2 this week. Home visits are also being planned for students with whom the District has been unable to reach. He also noted that hard copies of all lessons are available for students who are experiencing difficulties in connecting with a device. Dr. Giani also reported that the District is examining how to modify grading.

Dr. Giani also reported that the Grab-and-Go Meal distribution service is still in operation for students under the age of 18 years of age, and breakfast and lunch for the weekend is distributed on Friday at Bellport High School, Frank P. Long Intermediate School and Verne W. Critz Elementary School between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Families in self quarantine or without transportation can call 631-730-1501 or email grab.n.go@southcountry.org to arrange delivery. He said the District provides approximately 1,000 each day and 4,000 meals on Fridays, accounting for weekend distribution. Childcare is also available through SCOPE at multiple locations throughout the region. For information, log onto the District website at www.southcountry.org. No families are utilizing provided childcare services at this time.

The scheduled April advisory committee meeting did not take place this month. Dr. Giani said the meetings will take place virtually during the month of June and include the following: Finance and Facilities (June 1), Strategic Planning (June 2), Health and Safety (June 3) and Teaching and Learning (June 4).

Dr. Giani also gave the Board of Education an Budget Expense and Revenue update, which at this time, carries a 24.6 FTE decrease overall. The current budget is program driven with no programs eliminated or changes in the Fine and Performing Arts and Interscholastic Athletic programs. The current budget also continues support of K-12 intervention programs with no reduction in student support staff and preserves elementary class sizes. Pre-K transportation is still included in the budget. Dr. Giani said he hopes to find out more about state aid in the coming weeks, but that the District is still concerned about possible mid-year adjustments, a low increase of state aid and no fulfillment of foundation aid. The District is also considering a referendum to transfer $2.3 million of the Capital reserve to the employee retirement system (ERS Reserve) to prepare for a mid-year pandemic cut from the state and to offset any transportation increases. Governor Andrew Cuomo has not set a date for the budget and trustee election, so the District has time to evaluate the best ways to eliminate the current revenue and expenses gap.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on May 13 with the time to be determined. The trustees and Dr. Giani will continue to discuss expenses and revenues in relation to the 2020-2021 budget during the May 13 meeting.