Sunday, July 15, 2012

Board of Education meeting Summary: 11 July 2012

From: larry tierney []
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 10:54 AM
To: Larry Tierney
Subject: Board of Education meeting Summary


Hi all-

If you are already receiving these from my friend's Chris Picini and Rocco DiVito then let me know and I'll not forward them to you in the future.  Larry Tierney


The July 11 2012 Board of Education meeting was comprised or two meetings; the Annual Re-organization Meeting and the Business Meeting. 


The opening of the Reorganization Meeting began with our new and reelected trustees taking their oaths of office.  Once that was completed, the vote for President and Vice-President began. 


The first nominee, Owen Durney. lost in a close 4-5 vote followed quickly by a nomination for Julio Morales, who then won on a 6-2 vote. Lisa Grossman was the first nominee for the Vice-President's seat, but she could not garner enough votes.  A nomination for Owen Durney followed collecting enough to win the VP seat.


District Administration Clerk and various other important administrative and district seats were then voted on and passed.  Information on these appointments can be found in the July 11 Agenda posted on the South Country School District website.  Once these various appointments and contracts were voted and approved, the board adjourned to executive session ending the Annual Reorganization meeting.


After a lengthy executive session (2+ hours), the regularly scheduled business meeting began with the "Consent Agenda" which was quickly dispensed with.   The "New Business" discussion contained several very important new resolutions.


Lisa Grossman began with three incredibly impactful resolutions for future meeting agenda items - all of which were accepted:

1.      For future consideration – A resolution that BOE members cannot benefit from their board appointments

2.      For future consideration – A resolution changing the residency requirements for employment to the South Country School District and changing the entrance exam passing grade requirements to 90%.

3.      For future consideration – A resolution to form two (2) hiring committees for the purpose of selecting eligible candidates for:

·         Teachers/Teaching Assistants

·         Superintendent


Jeanette Mistler followed with a very popular resolution  that all future BOE meetings be moved to the Bellport Middle School.  Two of the board members voted "No" due to the audio system and dais shortcomings.  President Morales tried to flush out their concerns but the resolution was passed.


Barbara Shatzman in turn asked the BOE legal representative, Mr Guercio, if it is a violation of the Open Meetings Law if four (4) BOE trustees meet outside of public sessions.  His response was "grey" with the bottom line of  "…you must prove that decisions are being made."


The Public Session immediately followed and began with the following speakers:


Reggie Seltzer began a statement clearly and specifically outlining, "… as a legislative arm of this district, this BOE has every right to eliminate the Building and Administrative Services position".  Reggie continued that by eliminating that position it actually helps guard against any further legal repercussions because "…it would make any appeal of the original Supreme Court judgment moot.."  Plainly stated, you can't appeal a position that wasn't supposed to exist anyway!


Nancy Norman followed with a "thank you" statement for the district shutting the air conditioning unit down during the summer.  Personal Note: Hopefully we can keep after the district to find a permanent solution before school begins it's September session.  


Cheryl Moodt then addressed the board with three questions:

1.     What is the status of the middle school "Assault" allegations?

2.     What progress has the district made towards fixing our "segregated classes"?

3.      What is the status of investigation of BOE members releasing grades to the public?

Mr. Morales took notes and promised to follow-up and report at future meetings.


Toni Huffine followed with a statement that the district's accounting of the current bond balance is questionable and that a forensic audit of the bond issue funds is more than justified.  The board quietly took this statement under advisement.


Lastly, Larry Hoff spoke asking the board if there has been any corrective measure taken to date and will there be additional corrective actions in the future to satisfy the Bronwen Black report recommendations?  He then asked if the board still consider this an "open" matter?  Legal counsel responded, "…the issue is still open."



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