Board Notes: October 16, 2019 Business Meeting

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The October 16 meeting opened with comments from the Board of Education about the community’s enthusiasm during the annual homecoming parade and football game, held on October 5. Both trustees Melissa Aruta and Cameron Trent congratulated Bellport Middle School on the annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration, held on October 11. Celebrating Latino and Spanish American culture, the program featured poetry, music, dancing and wonderful food. Vice President Jack Nix also encouraged the community to attend Bellport High School’s drama “The Game’s Afoot,” to be held on November 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and General Administration Nelson Briggs gave a report on the District’s recruitment, hiring and retention of faculty and staff, information which closely links to the Board of Education’s priorities. 

The Board also continued its discussion on allowing consent for school security cameras to be linked to the Suffolk County Police Department in cases of emergency. Previously, Dr. Giani and the Board discussed concerns regarding how the language of the agreement potentially affects student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. There was a question on whether the SCPD will have access to data when maintenance on the technology is performed. After speaking with counsel, the Board and Dr. Giani reported that they are confident that the language of the agreement protects student privacy, but that there needs to be further review of the policy regarding student records before finalizing the agreement.

The District’s Safety Plan was also approved with revisions which included the new South Haven Early Childhood Center and a change to the bus company’s name.  

The South Country Education Foundation also received a thank you for its generous donation of $55,683 in grants for the school year. The money for the grants was generously donated to the foundation by members of the community and will be used for student programming. 

There was public comment regarding the audit of Bellport Middle School’s eighth grade field trip. Board of Education President E. Anne Hayes said there has been a lot of community misinformation. She added that the Board and administration are not saying that there will be no field trip for this class, but that they are looking for an alternative with “fresh eyes.”  

The next Board of Education will be held on October 30, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.