Tag Archives: 2nd Century Project

Kingston High School capital project

Attend Board of Education Meeting 9/16/15

The Kingston Board of Education will hear two presentations of potential interest to parents at the meeting tomorrow Wednesday September 16, 2015 7pm at the Cioni Building.

I encourage parents to attend and hear more about both of these projects.

View the full board of education meeting agenda here and the new Annotated Board Calendar here.

 

Building a Better Broadway update

The public comment period for the “Building a Better Broadway” project ends this Friday September 4, 2015.  I spoke regarding the project during public comment at the Board of Education meeting on September 2 and members of the BOE also discussed the project briefly.

I encourage parents and community members to submit comments regarding the project to Brian Slack bsla@co.ulster.ny.us as soon as possible.  If you have comments/concerns similar to those already submitted, your submission will lend credence to the concern.  If you have a different comment or concern, your submission will ensure that it is brought before the project staff and Technical Advisory Committee.

My comments to the KCSD Board of Education on September 2, 2015:

Thank you for the resolution at the last board meeting asking for a 30 day extension of the Building a Better Broadway project comment period.

I was disappointed when the City of Kingston decided to only extend the comment period by two weeks until this coming Friday September 4. Many parents are just returning from vacations and are overwhelmed with getting kids ready for school and probably have not even heard about the project let alone been able to submit comments.

My initial concerns submitted for the project centered around the loss of half of the parking between Pine Grove Avenue and East Chester Street including all parking directly in front of KHS. The parking concerns centered on three areas:

  • finding parking when large events are going on
  • being able to park close to the entrance when not many people are at the school due to concerns regarding safety that some parents have when coming to KHS
  • and parking at drop-off and dismissal times.

Mr. Slack said the project planners will be meeting with the BOE on Sept 16 so I am hoping that you will keep these additional concerns in mind during that discussion since the formal comment period will be closed.

Additional concerns are:

  • Implications of 2 construction projects (KHS and Broadway) at the same time on traffic around KHS
  • Mr. Slack proposes re-opening the crescent drive for student drop-off/pick-up but I thought it was closed for more reasons than just post Sandy Hook security including access to the fire lanes.
  • Will KHS students be encouraged to ride bikes to school? If so where will they park their bikes and who will instruct on bike safety while on the bike paths, crossing Broadway, using the new traffic signals which include bike-turn signals, etc?
  • General enforcement of bike/traffic rules regarding the bike lanes. The lanes are not on school property but an accident just off school property will affect the school just as an off-property fight would. Unfortunately bikers in general do not follow the rules of the road as they should as any driver can attest.

I understand the benefits of bike riding even though I am not a biker. I am concerned though about the many implications of bike lanes on Broadway. Are there other ways that we can meet the needs of everyone (bikers, parents, students, business customers and business owners)?

I will end with this question: if a project presents so many issues for the members of the Kingston City School District to overcome, can the project really be good for the City of Kingston?

I took the following notes when Dr. Padalino took time prior to his regular report to the BOE to address the Building a Better Broadway project.  He confirmed that he did arrange for a presentation on the project to the BOE on Sept 16.  Also the school district has been offered a seat on the planning team so Dr. Padalino will be ‘at the table’ for upcoming discussions.   “Thank you to Jolyn and Maria for bringing me up to speed on the project last week.”  Dr Padalino will be taking comments from BOE and parents even after the comment period is closed.
Mr. Shaughnessy was contacted by Tom Polk regarding the project.  He will submit his own comments tomorrow (before comment period ends).  Thinks it is a very ill-thought out plan especially as it impacts the high school.  One concern is that the east bound lane of traffic will be right against curb at Kingston High School.  Pointed out accident last year where student bolted out at Dunkin’ Donuts and was hit by bus.  No buffer between KHS sidewalk and moving traffic.  Where will there be adequate parking for pick-up and drop-off?  What will city do with bus stops on Broadway?  How will emergency vehicles get through with just 2 lanes for traffic?  Mr. Shaughnessy does not feel that a presentation will help as he has thought about the project and doesn’t think a presentation will change his mind.
Dr Padalino believes that having a seat at the planning table will give KCSD opportunity for continued input.  If board members have individual comments, he recommends submitting them before the comment period closes this week.  Mr. Shaughnessy – little bit unsettling that would go ahead with these plans and not seek the input of the school district.  Dr Padalino – that was communicated (to the city), that he was disappointed about that.  Plan for the project isn’t due until next year.  Dr. Padalino will report back to BOE about his participation on the planning committee.
Ms. Guido said she commented individually on the plan as a resident near Broadway.
Tom Polk, an avid biker, the father of two children who attended KHS and a member of the Building a Better Broadway technical advisory committee, spoke to the BOE during closing public comment regarding benefits of the project beyond bike paths but did not know of the 2-minute limit on public comment so did not get to share his full comment.  He spoke of new traffic signals along Broadway, new count-down timers for pedestrians and sidewalk improvements including bump-outs.  You can read the details for all of these items in the draft project plan.  Mr. Polk stated that the Building a Better Broadway plan would be presented to the City of Kingston Common Council later this fall.
 ***
Notes regarding “Building a Better Broadway” project:
  • My original post regarding the project noting the loss of 55 parking spaces on Broadway around KHS
  • Building a Better Broadway draft project plan – dated July 22, 2015 and Appendix
  • Existing Conditions report and Appendix contains parking observation data and analysis.  Note: this parking data is an area of concern as the data is just a ONE time count of cars parked one day in the spring of 2014 in both public and private parking.  As it turns out the count was made for the private KHS parking lots after 4pm on the date selected and after 7 for the parking on Broadway right in front of KHS.  Despite the time, the Broadway parking is ‘heavily utilized’.  Based on this one-time observation and inclusion of both public and private parking lots, the Existing Conditions report concludes “The parking data do not indicate a widespread parking deficiency, but there are areas where parking regulations could be modified to encourage more parking a block away where adequate capacity exists.”
  • E-mails between Jolyn and Brian Slack detailing some concerns and responses – Building a Better Broadway project emails
  • Submit your comments by Friday September 4, 2015 to: Brian C. Slack, AICP Principal Transportation Planner Ulster County Transportation Council 244 Fair Street • Kingston, NY 12401 bsla@co.ulster.ny.us • (845) 334-5590
  • Ulster County webpage for Building a Better Broadway project
  • City of Kingston webpage for Building a Better Broadway project
  • Comments I submitted regarding the project and responses from Mr. Slack – Building a Better Broadway project emails

Building a Better Broadway project timeline that I have assembled after learning of the project in August 2015:

  • RFP – September 30, 2013 – bids due October 30, 2013
  • Press release for Bringing Back Broadway – undated but sometime before fall 2014
  • Existing Conditions Report and Appendix November 6, 2014 – parking data from spring 2014   Note: the parking data is actually a ONE time count in the spring of 2014 of cars in the parking spaces/lots after 4pm for the private KHS parking lots and after 7 for the Broadway parking directly in front of KHS.
  • First Public Meeting – November 19, 2014 – presentation
  • RFQ – January 26, 2015 – responses due February 23, 2015
  • April 20, 2015 Needs and Opportunities report based on Nov 19 public meeting.  Note:  I did not notice anything in the Nov 19 presentation indicating parking loss when I looked through the presentation but this report clearly refers to the possibility being discussed back in November 2014.  While there were a couple of comments indicating opposition to bike lanes and questioning the need for them, the vast majority (by a 31 out of 33) were in favor of bike lanes.  In fact, the most common comment related to bike lanes was the desire to see dedicated bike lanes, even at the expense of loss of parking.  Many acknowledged that this would be a painful conversation but one they were willing to undertake.  Also 2.3.8   Parking  Lack of parking was not expressed as a concern, rather, it was the need to better sign the parking lots just off Broadway to make the municipal parking lots more attractive with landscaping and to provide replacement municipal parking off Broadway where spaces on Broadway may be replaced by bicycle lanes (or perhaps angled‐parking on the opposite side).  This report also minimizes the impact of the parking loss by noting that the cars observed as being parked in the spaces could be accommodated in other parking locations (p. 15 and 16).  The report claims observation of ‘peak parking demand’ however if you examine the actual data in the Existing Conditions Report Appendix, the observation was conducted on ONE day in front of KHS after 7 which I do not consider an accurate evaluation of ‘peak parking demand’.  And it turns out the Broadway parking smack in front of KHS was ‘heavily utilized’ even at the time surveyed.
  • Freeman article July 14, 2015 –  The city has hired Greenman-Pedersen Inc., of Babylon, N.Y., to draw up design plans for the work, which is to include new sidewalks, bicycle lanes, trees, benches, historic-style lighting and other streetscape improvements. The work will also include new traffic and pedestrian signalization.  Work to begin at best fall 2016 according to Mr. Swanzey.
  • Second Public Information Meeting – August 6, 2015 – announcement flyer; July 28 Freeman article announcing the meeting; presentation – The presentation has a graphic on p. 23 with the impact on parking which shows that the parking remaining on Broadway after the loss of 55 parking spaces still exceeds ‘demand’.  The presentation file does not indicate how ‘demand’ was determined.  I have already noted concerns with the parking data in the Existing Conditions Report if that is the basis for the determination.
  • Freeman article reporting on August 6 meeting – I heard about the Building a Better Broadway project shortly after the August 6 meeting.
  • KCSD administration/BOE learned about Building a Better Broadway project and voted to request 30-day extension of public comment period – August 19, 2015
  • Comment period extended to September 4, 2015 – August 20, 2015
  • Dr. Padalino announced that he will serve as KCSD representative on the Building a Better Broadway planning committee – September 2, 2015

KCSD Board of Education meeting tonight – September 2, 2015

The Kingston City School District Board of Education is meeting tonight at 7pm at the Cioni Building if anyone wants to hear what the board is currently discussing or wants to speak as part of public comment.

Two policies that might be of interest to parents are being considered for updates:

The proposed updates to the policy are in the agenda.

Also a number of bids for construction of the ‘wings’ off Salzmann at Kingston High School are scheduled to be accepted as part of the consent agenda.  They will only be discussed at the board meeting if a member of the board asks to ‘pull’ the motion from the consent agenda so that it can be discussed and then voted on individually.  Note:  This is standard practice for how motions are presented as part of the agenda for KCSD BOE meetings.  I explain the process just for those who might not be familiar with how the board meetings work.

 

Kingston Board of Education Report – January 7, 2015

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

 

 

 

Kingston Board of Education meeting – June 18, 2014

The Kingston Board of Education meeting is tomorrow Wednesday June 18, 2014 at Bailey Middle School.  Principal Julie Linton will do a welcome after roll call at 6pm and then the board will go into executive session.  The agenda does not list an expected time for public comment but it generally is 7pm.

The agenda is available here.

The architects are to present the final designs for the Kingston High School Capital project (the designs that will be submitted for New York State approval for the project later this summer).

I am wondering when the new Kingston High School principal will be announced?  Dr. Manuel is basically done now (working both in D.C. and here this month) and totally done in Kingston the end of June.  KHS students have left the building other than for regents and the ‘make-up’ half day of school on June 26 (assuming kids actually come in) so they will not meet the new principal until September and parents are pretty much done as well.  As president of the KHS Parents Association, I had hoped for the opportunity for some sort of transition from one principal to the next.

The superintendent’s report also includes:

  • Report Card Committee
  • Middle School Schedules
  • Real Estate Update

BOE92 to merge the Onteora and Kingston football teams for 2014/2015 caught my attention in light of a comment made by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill today at Common Sense Education Lobby Day that Onteora was going to only have 1 school/campus very soon (this was new news to the Onteora parents who were meeting with Assemblyman Cahill along with Kingston parents as part of the lobby day).

Updates to 2 policies will have their first reading:

  • Policy 5150 School Admissions
  • Policy 5420 Student Health Services

Board of Ed meeting tomorrow June 4, 2014 with report/parent concerns from May 21 meeting

The Kingston Board of Education will be meeting tomorrow June 4, 2014 at Kingston High School in the auditorium.

  • 5:45pm – public hearing for Kingston High School Jefferson Code
  • 6pm – district recognition/retirement & tenure ceremony followed by executive session
  • 7pm – public comment normally starts around 7pm (when executive session ends)

The superintendent’s report includes:  an update on the high school capital project, end-of-year activities and a middle school schedule update.

Other items of note on the agenda:

  • A classroom at GW is being leased to BOCES for next school year and Bailey is being leased to BOCES for the summer.
  • Subdivision of Sophie Finn property (from Kingston High School) so it can be sold.  Approval of sale of Sophie Finn property.
  • Some additional school volunteers are listed for approval by the board of education.
  • Adoption of Veteran’s Tax Exemption/Gold Star Parents.

 

I intended to distribute the following summary from the last board meeting last week but got distracted by a variety of education-related items.  I am including it for your reference since there were several items that I thought might be of interest to parents and very little of the information ended up in the newspaper.

Please pay particular attention to the concerns regarding Project Global and the move of 5th grade band/chorus/orchestra out of the regular school day and into the middle school club/activity period which is outside of what most parents/students consider to be the ‘regular school day’.

***

Jolyn’s summary from the May 21, 2014 Kingston Board of Education meeting

Attendance was fairly low at the first Board of Education meeting after the school budget/Board of Education vote. with about 20 people in attendance.

During public comment, I invited the Board of Education members, on behalf of Kingston Action for Education, to join local parents for Common Sense Education Lobby Day in Albany on June 17, 2014.

Art teacher for Project Global at Kingston High School, Amy VanKleeck, spoke about how thoroughly convinced the students, parents and teachers involved in Project Global are of the benefits of the program.  However “the life of the program is dependent upon you (the board) taking an interest in what we are dong”.  The students and the teachers are afraid again this year that the program will be displaced from the Carnegie Library next year.  The location is a vital part of the program.

2nd century project – steering committee met on May 21.  Will report to Master Plan Facilities committee on June 4.  All of the drawings and plans will be ready to share with the board and the community by the end of June.  Architects have been asked to provide a cost estimate for adding a/c to KHS auditorium.

Real estate updates:  Contracts have been signed for the sale of Zena and Tillson schools, closing dates will be scheduled.  Ulster county legislator has approved the sale of Sophie Finn.

Administrative staff searches:  All new positions including KHS principal were posted with closing date of May 23.  Dr. Padalino, Mr. Voerg and Mr. Olsen were going to go through applications upon closing.  KHS staff will be asked for input regarding KHS principal selection.  Job descriptions for the new administrative staff positions have still not been written.

Middle school schedule update:  8th grade advanced classes will be kept for next year, technology will be moved back to 8th grade, adding a business class in 8th grade to deal with too many study halls, enrichment/reteach periods being changed to allow teachers to figure out how to best provide (not separate period), will still have block scheduling next year – looking at reducing length of long blocks, 5th grade band/orchestra/chorus will be in 9th period

School lunch price will be increased for next year.

Resolution passed to put Cioni building up for sale.

Many school volunteers approved by the board.  One group of names was in the agenda and another group of names was “walked” into the meeting to be approved for upcoming field trips.

Coffee & Conversation is over until September.  Mrs. Bowers noted that no one has attended the last 2 events she hosted although she then clarified that one parent who did not yet have school-age children attended one event and had a lot of questions about education in Kingston.

Parent Highlights for April 2, 2014 Kingston Board of Education meeting

The agenda appears to be relatively short for tonight’s Board of Education meeting (April 2, 2014) at Crown Street.  Public comment generally begins at 7pm.

The district has posted the agenda for the meeting here.

The topics I find to be of note for parents are in the superintendent’s report and include a 2nd century update (the KHS capital project) and an update on the 2014-2015 budget.

I am hopeful that Dr. Padalino will give some information on the stakeholder meetings that the architects are conducting with various groups regarding the 2nd century project.  I am also wondering when parents will have opportunity to give input on the project and what is the proper way for parents to ask questions/give input?  Will there be a stakeholder meeting for parents?  There are parent representatives on the KHS BLT (Building Leadership Team) that received a report in February but only a small number of the comments/concerns from the BLT team were presented to the architects in February and the KHS BLT has not heard when to expect future reports from the architects (as of the March 27, 2014 KHS BLT meeting).

I believe the board will need to vote on the 2014-2015 budget at the next board meeting so I expect them to be discussing a draft budget at the meeting tonight.  Parents need to be watching for how the $2.9 million budget shortfall presented at the first budget forum (and possibly larger if less money than hoped for is received from the state) will be addressed.  The final budget forum that the district will be holding is next Monday April 7, 2014 at 6pm.

 

 

Parent Highlights for 3/4/14 Kingston Board Of Education Meeting

The Kingston Board of Education will be meeting tomorrow March 4, 2014 at the Cioni Building on Crown Street.

Several items on the agenda caught my eye as being of particular note to parents.

The second reading of the School Volunteer Policy #1250 is occurring.  Changes previously discussed here and here.  The changes to the School Volunteer Policy are scheduled to be approved at the BOE meeting on 3/19/14.

The Superintendent’s Report includes the 2nd Century Project (the high school capital project) and the quarterly update on Board/Superintendent Goals (curriculum, facilities, budget, student achievement and transitions/redistricting). The November update on Board/Superintendent Goals had a lot of details about Common Core implementation, middle school changes, the KHS Scholar’s Academy and other topics that parents are often talking about so I recommend parents attend for this update if at all possible.

The September 18, 2013 BOE meeting minutes contain the Superintendent Goals that are being reported on at the meeting tomorrow.

Are there other topics that you think parents should particularly note as you read through the agenda?

Parent Highlights for 2/19/14 Kingston Board Of Education Meeting

If the weather cooperates, the Kingston Board of Education will be meeting tomorrow February 19, 2014 at Robert Graves Elementary School.   UPDATE 2/19/14 3pm District clerk confirms BOE meeting is still being held even though after school activities are canceled.  Quarterly update on Board/Superintendent Goals moved to 3/5/14.

I would like to draw your attention to several items on the agenda that I think are of particular note to parents.

The first reading of changes to the School Volunteer Policy #1250 is on the agenda. Changes of particular note to parents include requirements for room parents, classroom readers and field trip chaperons (tier 2 volunteers).

The Superintendent’s Report includes the 2nd Century Project (the high school capital project) and the quarterly update on Board/Superintendent Goals (curriculum, facilities, budget, student achievement and transitions/redistricting). The November update on Board/Superintendent Goals had a lot of details about Common Core implementation, middle school changes, the KHS Scholar’s Academy and other topics that parents are often talking about so I recommend parents attend for this update if at all possible.

The meeting agenda is posted on the school district website.  Pages 8 and 9 contain the updated School Volunteer Policy #1250.

The September 18, 2013 BOE meeting minutes contain the Superintendent Goals that are being reported on at the meeting tomorrow.

Are there other topics that you think parents should particularly note as you read through the agenda?