Tag Archives: Board of Education

Speaking to members of the KCSD Board of Education

Public comment at Kingston City School District Board of Education meetings gives parents the opportunity to voice comments or concerns to the BOE** but it does not allow opportunity for discussion or for responses to be given to the comments/concerns.

The KCSD Board of Education started Coffee and Conversation several years ago as an opportunity for the community to have informal discussions with and ask questions of members of the Board of Education.  The opportunities for discussion with BOE members are expanding this year with several new venues as well as a variety of time options.

Members of the KCSD BOE will be at the Uptown Kingston Farmer’s Market on Saturday September 26, 2015 from 10:30am – 12:30pm.

Barnes & Noble and Uptown Coffee have been added as new venues throughout the school year.  BOE members will also be available at Riverview Baptist Church on Wednesday October 28, 2015 and at New Progressive Baptist Church on Tuesday April 12, 2016.  Two Saturday Coffee and Conversations (in October and February) will be held at the Cioni Building.  All dates are listed on the KCSD website.

I would like to encourage parents to take advantage of these opportunities to talk to BOE members whether you have specific questions/concerns or not.  The job of a Board of Education member is challenging and often thankless.  These volunteers are responsible for the running of a $150 million ‘company’ (the Kingston City School District) on our behalf.  It is our responsibility to communicate with the BOE members, whom we have elected, so they know how we want to see that ‘company’ run.  We should thank them as well when we are satisfied with the job being done.

Your voice matters

** Consult the Guide for Addressing School Concerns to ensure you have followed the proper channels to get a student-specific or school-specific problem addressed before taking it to the school board.

Building a Better Broadway committee responds to public comments

I received notification today that the Technical Advisory Committee for the Building a Better Broadway project met yesterday and proposed modifications to the plan with the intent to address the concerns raised during the public comment period.

Come to the BOE meeting tonight and hear about the proposed revisions.

Hi Jolyn,

I wanted to alert you ( and other parents) on the Building a Better Broadway draft plan.  The Technical Advisory Committee met with the consultants and UC Planning officials yesterday, and agreed on major changes to the draft plan.  Dr. Paladino was in attendance also.

I  wanted to give you a heads-up before the Board meeting since people using the existing online documents will be commenting on an outdated version of the draft plan.  I’d hate to see parents basing their comments on a version of the plan that no longer exists;  I believe they would be better served by listening to the presentation on these proposed changes from the consultants, County and City officials, and responding at the second comment period, or by contacting the Superintendent or the County Planning Department after the meeting.  I think  the revisions address many of the concerns that you and other parents have expressed previously.

In brief ,the revised draft calls for a phased approach where the first phase, with all the signals, sidewalk improvements and pedestrian safety features featured  in the previous plan would be done first, along the whole Broadway corridor (tenders for this work are planned to be issued in  September 2016, with work potentially starting in spring of 2017).  Also in phase one,  the bike lane as proposed in the old draft would be developed from Liberty St. to O’Reilly Street and end there.   At that point shared lane markings (“sharrows”), would be painted on the streets  to  direct  bike riders onto O’Reilly St., Hasbrouck Ave. and Jansen Ave. to connect with the Kingston Point Rail Trail.  Parking in front of KHS would not be affected.

The second phase would implement the bike lane from O’Reilly to East Chester St. when the following conditions are met: 1)the KHS main entrance has been relocated to the center of campus (which the Superintendent said is planned for the fall of 2018); and 2) the City addresses parking issues in a wider scope than just Broadway.

So essentially, the parking/drop-off area will remain as it is and there will initially be a bike lane that ends one block west of KHS.  I should also mention that engineering changes have been agreed that will retain most (but not all) of the parking spaces opposite Dallas Hot Wieners.

Tom

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 Public Comments

The City of Kingston and Ulster County have undertaken the Building a Better Broadway project to enhance Broadway between Liberty Street and Staples Street in Midtown Kingston.  The plan includes new sidewalks, bicycle lanes, trees, benches, historic-style lighting and other streetscape improvements and new traffic and pedestrian signalization.

UPDATE – Wednesday September 16, 2015:  The Technical Advisory Committee for Building a Better Broadway met yesterday and has modified the plan with the intent to address the concerns raised during the public comment period.  Come to the BOE meeting tonight to hear about the revised plan!

Hi Jolyn,

I wanted to alert you ( and other parents) on the Building a Better Broadway draft plan.  The Technical Advisory Committee met with the consultants and UC Planning officials yesterday, and agreed on major changes to the draft plan.  Dr. Paladino was in attendance also.

I  wanted to give you a heads-up before the Board meeting since people using the existing online documents will be commenting on an outdated version of the draft plan.  I’d hate to see parents basing their comments on a version of the plan that no longer exists;  I believe they would be better served by listening to the presentation on these proposed changes from the consultants, County and City officials, and responding at the second comment period, or by contacting the Superintendent or the County Planning Department after the meeting.  I think  the revisions address many of the concerns that you and other parents have expressed previously.

In brief ,the revised draft calls for a phased approach where the first phase, with all the signals, sidewalk improvements and pedestrian safety features featured  in the previous plan would be done first, along the whole Broadway corridor (tenders for this work are planned to be issued in  September 2016, with work potentially starting in spring of 2017).  Also in phase one,  the bike lane as proposed in the old draft would be developed from Liberty St. to O’Reilly Street and end there.   At that point shared lane markings (“sharrows”), would be painted on the streets  to  direct  bike riders onto O’Reilly St., Hasbrouck Ave. and Jansen Ave. to connect with the Kingston Point Rail Trail.  Parking in front of KHS would not be affected.

The second phase would implement the bike lane from O’Reilly to East Chester St. when the following conditions are met: 1)the KHS main entrance has been relocated to the center of campus (which the Superintendent said is planned for the fall of 2018); and 2) the City addresses parking issues in a wider scope than just Broadway.

So essentially, the parking/drop-off area will remain as it is and there will initially be a bike lane that ends one block west of KHS.  I should also mention that engineering changes have been agreed that will retain most (but not all) of the parking spaces opposite Dallas Hot Wieners.

Tom

The plan also contains items of concern including loss of parking along Broadway (55 spaces around Kingston High School), reduction to one lane in each direction for portions of Broadway and a variety of other considerations resulting from the changes (read more about these concerns reported on Jolyn’s Education Corner here).

“Broadway revamp plan in Kingston draws support, criticism” – Daily Freeman – September 10, 2015

The 78 comments submitted during the public comment period address a wide range of points and include both comments that are fully supporting the Building a Better Broadway plan and comments raising concerns regarding various aspects of the plan.

The Kingston City School District Board of Education will hear a presentation on the Building a Better Broadway plan tomorrow September 16 7pm at the Cioni Building and will have the opportunity to ask questions. The public can speak during public comment at the beginning of the BOE meeting and can listen to the presentation but will not be able to ask questions during the presentation since only board members speak during the board meeting.  I encourage parents and community members to attend and hear more about the project.

KCSD parents may also submit questions and concerns to KCSD superintendent Dr. Paul Padalino ppadalino@kingstoncityschools.org who will then take them to the Building a Better Broadway planning committee.

Additional information:

 

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 Mayoral Debate

The two Democratic candidates for Kingston mayor, Shayne Gallo and Steve Noble, debated at Temple Emanuel on August 24, 2015. The entire debate is available for viewing here along with the list of questions.

Two of the questions are likely to be of interest to parents within the Kingston City School District whether you live and vote in the City of Kingston or not:

  • Question #3 Do you believe the City Mayor should have more input or oversight into the Kingston school district and their budgets and board of education?
    20:52 – 21:55    Shayne Gallo
    21:57 – 23:50    Steve Noble
  • Question #7  Do you support initiatives such as the Rail Trail, ‘Building a Better Broadway’ and the Riverport?
    37:15 – 38:40  Shayne Gallo
    38:47 – 40:55  Steve Noble
    41:00 – 41: 28  Shayne Gallo rebuttal

Question #7 impacts KCSD and specifically Kingston High School due to the parking concerns recently raised associated with the Building a Better Broadway project.

At a meeting Wednesday night, the Board of Education had requested a 30-day extension of the comment period on the transportation council’s proposed Building a Better Broadway Project, which would use $4.5 million in state and federal aid to improve traffic efficiency and safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians along Kingston’s main business corridor. Board of Education Trustee James Shaughnessy said the proposal would affect Kingston High School but has not yet been evaluated by school district administrators.

“If there is no parking on the south side of Broadway all the way past the high school, it’s really going to have a detrimental impact to drop offs and pickups, parking during the day, parking during the evening, and events,” he said.

Daily Freeman August 19, 2015

Neither candidate addressed the Broadway plan in any detail as part of the debate but you can read more about it here.  If you have any concerns associated with the loss of 55 parking spaces around KHS as part of the Building a Better Broadway project, submit your comments to Brian Slack bsla@co.ulster.ny.us by Friday September 4, 2015.

New commissioner of education MaryEllen Elia committed to state take-over of ‘failing’ schools

New York’s new commissioner of education MaryEllen Elia is committed to having the state take-over ‘failing’ school districts (Governor Cuomo called this putting schools into ‘receivership’ in his 2015 education budget demands) – specifically the Buffalo school district if they don’t mend their ways in the next year.

Buffalo News’ Tiffany Lankes:  If there was any question how serious the state is about taking control of Buffalo’s schools, new Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia made clear her intentions to Buffalo School Board members late last week. ‘Rest assured,’ she told them in a meeting in Buffalo, ‘that if the schools do not show demonstrable improvement, someone will come in under my authority and fix those schools.’ The state Education Department already is taking steps to do just that. A year from now, five Buffalo schools are headed for a takeover by someone outside the district. Twenty more city schools are on the same path for the following year. At that point, the state has within its power to place any city school it deems failing in the hands of someone outside the district. And as it stands now, just 15 of the district’s 56 schools are in good standing with the state. That means, unless significant improvement is made in student performance, someone other than the Buffalo superintendent or School Board will be in charge of nearly half of Buffalo’s public schools in just a couple of years. – Education commissioner to Buffalo:  Fix your schools, or I will – July 19, 2015

This post from Diana Ravitch is important since it shows New York State’s less than stellar success in a past attempt at turning around a school district.

It’s worth recalling the state’s previous attempt to “fix” a failing district. In 2002, the legislature passed a law permitting a state takeover of the segregated Roosevelt school district on Long Island.

John Hildebrand of Newsday summed up the gains and losses in 2013, when the state relinquished control.

“New York State’s historic takeover of Roosevelt schools has fallen short of its purpose in boosting student academic performance, raising questions over how Albany might better deal with struggling districts in the future, policymakers say. The state is highly unlikely ever to attempt another direct takeover of a local district, those officials add. Albany’s intervention ends Monday, after 11 years and more than $300 million in extra state spending.

Please don’t ignore this because it is happening far away in Buffalo. Who knows how long before the New York State Education Department might decide it is time to take over schools right here in Dutchess or Ulster County?  When a district is put into receivership, local control is lost.  The local school board and school superintendent no longer have any say in what happens in the district.

When Elia demanded that the School Board fix the city schools or she would act, she was referring to a new state law that allows for the appointment of receivers who would have unprecedented powers to make sweeping changes at failing schools.

A receiver, appointed by the district from a list of candidates selected by the state commissioner, would have the authority to circumvent the voting power of the School Board and force changes to union contracts.

The receiver could lengthen the school day, require staff members to reapply for their jobs and implement academic programs. – Education commissioner to Buffalo:  Fix your schools, or I will – July 19, 2015

As I read the comments from Commissioner Elia in the Buffalo News**, I have to admit that I wondered exactly how she expects NYSED to be able to fix Buffalo’s problems.  Blogger Sean Crowley almost lost me at the start with his Game of Thrones references (I haven’t seen it) but I have to agree with the sentiments in his post:

NYSED Commissioner Elia told the media –just like the previous ineptocrat who held the NYSED sceptre– she was on a “listening tour” of the state. In truth, Commissioner Elia wasn’t listening to anyone. She was making statements. More to the point, she was making threats dolled up as promises. In Buffalo she continued to bang the ed reform drum about “failing schools” who’d better straighten up and fly right.

… If bluster and threats from out of touch bureaucrats could fix our struggling schools, New York’s schools would be leading the nation. If it wasn’t enough to hear Cuomo or Lil John King popping off at the mouth with misguided machismo and tough talk directed at teachers, now we’ve got this Sunshine State re-tread, her million dollar brown parachute from Florida not even unpacked yet, picking up the storyline exactly where King left off.

Unfortunately it appears that we are looking at another year of TEST REFUSAL and continuing to fight to save public education in New York State for our kids.

 

**Note:  Just so everyone knows, the Buffalo News has been charged by several fighting against Common Core as being a mouth-piece of Governor Cuomo and those who are supporting all of the current ‘education reform’ in place in New York.  I knew that when I read the Buffalo News article but didn’t think to point it out until I came across Mr. Crowley’s blog post.

Location change for KCSD board of education meetings being considered

KCSD Board of Education member James Shaughnessy has posted the following on facebook:

School Board President Nora Scherer and Superintendent Dr. Paul Padalino have prepared a school board meeting schedule for 2015-2016 that eliminates the practice of holding one meeting annually in each elementary school. The reason given is that the district’s broadcast equipment is not well suited for use outside of the Cioni administration building. One meeting each year would continue to be held at the high school and each middle school. Please comment your opinion. Thank you.

I appreciate that Mr. Shaughnessy is reaching out to the community to seek our opinion on this matter.

I personally would be disappointed if the practice of holding one board of education meeting annually in each elementary school is eliminated.  I like the opportunity to hear from each school principal and visit each school throughout the school year.  I particularly appreciated when the school presentation portion was moved to after the executive session so that the public didn’t have to sit through the executive session time slot to attend both the school presentation and the rest of the board of education meeting.  I feel that it would be a loss to stop having board meetings at the elementary schools and I have emailed my opinion to the KCSD board members.  I have no idea if I am in the minority or the majority though.  I do know that the microphone system is a challenge at times for those who wish to watch the board of education meetings from home.

If you have thoughts on the location of the board meetings, please communicate them to Mr. Shaughnessy and/or the other KCSD board of education members.

James Shaughnessy (845) 339-5262 jshaughnessy@kingstoncityschools.org

Contact information for all KCSD board members is available here.

KCSD passes school budget and re-seats incumbents

Thank you to those who exercised their democratic rights and voted in today’s school board and budget vote.

Results are in and the incumbents were re-elected to the KCSD Board of Education with Robin Jacobowitz, Danielle Guido and Jim Shaughnessy winning 3 year terms and James Michael winning the remaining one year in Matt McCoy’s outstanding term.  The paper mistakenly reports this term as having two years left.  The school budget passed as well as the proposition to establish a new Capital Reserve Fund.

Budget 2015 vote tally

Dr. Padalino predictably stated that the vote indicates that the community is happy with the KHS project in spite of the extension in time frame and reduction in size and that the community is pleased with the way the board is running the school district.

District Superintendent Paul Padalino said the re-election of incumbents was an affirmation that district residents support the high school renovation and expansion project, even though it will take longer than expected.

“Both propositions passing and the incumbents being reseated, that is a message from the community that they’re pleased with the way the board is running the district,” Padalino said. “It really is a vote of confidence.”

Kingston City School District was not alone in passing our school budget.  In fact the budget in every school district in Ulster County passed – read here.   I don’t know if most districts re-seated incumbents or not.  I do know that the challengers swept the election for the Saugerties school board of education.

Perhaps the budget vote does indeed say that all communities are happy with the way their local school districts are being run.  In fact I hope that is true.  I would like it very much if all parents are happy with their local schools.  However I know that 200,000 New York State TEST REFUSALS says that parents are NOT HAPPY with an awful lot about education in New York State!

Do NOT forget to vote – May 19, 2015

The Kingston City School District budget vote and board of education election is tomorrow Tuesday May 19, 2015.  Do NOT forget to vote!

KCSD Sample Ballot 2015

Six candidates are running for four seats on the KCSD board of education.  Read information here and here about the six candidates which include incumbents Jim Shaughnessy, Robin Jacobowitz, James Michael and Danielle Guido and new-comers Tim O’Brien and Fred Wadnola.

The KCSD budget for the 2015-2016 school year is up for a vote as well as Proposition 2 to create a new Capital Reserve Fund.  Read information about the budget and the new fund on the district website here.

Vote at your local elementary school.  Click here to determine which school you vote at if you are unsure.  Polls are open from 7am to 9pm tomorrow Tuesday May 19, 2015.