I attended the Kingston Board of Education meeting on January 7, 2015 and found the following items interesting from a parent’s perspective.
Project Labor Agreement for the KHS Capital Project (renovations): Two gentlemen spoke during public comment asking the BOE to reconsider their NO vote regarding usage of a project labor agreement for the high school capital project but no additional discussion of the topic occurred during the board meeting. Both gentlemen stated that they believed there was misinformation and misunderstandings based on what they read in the newspapers and asked board members with any questions to contact them via the contact information given to the board and/or Dr. Padalino. I note this item for two reasons:
- While I have not done a lot of research on project labor agreements, this issue affects the high school capital project which I know is an area of interest to many in the school district.
- Also I have personally felt the frustration of not being able to dialogue with the full board of education and I believe that same frustration underpinned the comments of these two gentlemen. Unfortunately while open meeting laws allow for the public comment time, the BOE has a stated policy to not respond to those comments and therefore it often feels that concerns are not addressed.
The Daily Freeman reported regarding the project labor agreement comments at the January 7 board of education meeting in this article and here is a letter to the editor regarding the project labor agreement from a local Kingston parent. Earlier discussion is reported here (December 10, 2014 BOE meeting) and here (January 5 article in preparation for January 7 BOE meeting).
It was also interesting that the board announced that public comment would be limited to 30 minutes if that time was reached (it was not). If more people wished to comment than would fit in 30 minutes, a second public comment time would be available at the end of the board meeting. I don’t know if this is a new policy to limit public comment time for this year or not.
District Recognition: SRO Harry Woltman, Glen Maisch and Rachel Meyers were recognized by Dr. Padalino for their actions that saved the life of a spectator with a medical emergency at a basketball game recently.
BOCES Update: Dr. Khoury, district superintendent of Ulster BOCES, shared information about several Ulster BOCES programs with the BOE. He spoke highly of the Hudson Valley PTECH program housed in Kingston at the Carnegie Building regarding both its cost (low cost to the districts in that it costs $17,000 per student but is all BOCES-aidable so most districts get about 50 cents on the dollar back; Dr. Khoury compared this cost to the half-day CTE program which is about $10,000 so would be $20,000 if it were a full-day program like PTECH) and Kingston’s support/participation (12 of the 16 students enrolled are from the Kingston City School District). Due to a reported shortage of programmers in the United States, Ulster BOCES is making a concerted effort to emphasize programming to their students in many subjects. They are also shifting to a more multi-disciplinary project-based approach in as many subjects/courses as possible.
JFK Playground Update: Equipment being shipped from manufacturer on January 22, 2015. Installation (via community build) scheduled for weekend of March 30, 2015.
Policies: First reading of the following policies occurred with no comment:
- Policy 1900 – School-Family-Community Partnership
- Policy 5110 – School Attendance Boundaries
- Policy 8635 – Information Security Breach and Notification
Policy 5500 Student Records was withdrawn from the agenda and will be considered again in February.
Legislative Action: The Kingston BOE approved placing a petition suggested by the Ulster County School Board Association’s Legislative Action committee on the district website in support of restoration to the state budget of this year’s GAP elimination adjustment (GEA) and foundation aid. Information will be posted very soon asking everyone possible to support this petition to our legislators. UPDATE: Information about the impact of GEA as well as a link to the Fair Funding for Our Schools petition is available here.
Upcoming Meeting Dates: All meetings are at the Cioni building unless noted otherwise.
- BOE Teaching and Learning Committee – February 26, 2015 9:30am
- BOE Policy Committee – January 9, 2015 9am
- BOE Audit and Finance Committee – January 27, 2015 9am
- BOE Coffee & Conversation – January 13, 2015 at Monkey Joe’s BOE members Danielle Guido and Priscilla Lowe will attend. Dr. Padalino will be in Albany and will not be able to attend.
- KCSD Budget Forum – January 29, 2015 6pm – the presentation from the November 20, 2014 budget forum is available here
- March 18, 2015 Board of Education meeting moved to March 25, 2015 – location still at Edson elementary school