District tax rates set in North Collins
Superintendent Benjamin Halsey noted that increases for towns at or near full valuation level rose just under 2 percent. The exceptions were Concord, which is at 47 percent valuation and Eden at 67 percent. Halsey informed the board of a $1.8 million unexpected valuation increase for Collins due to errors in taxing gas wells in the past. The charge represents a one-time increase to correct the error and will not be repeated in the future.
The board also awarded operation of the food service program to Sodexo Management, Inc. at a maximum per meal cost reimbursement of $2.546. The rate is a 50-cent increase over the past year and Sodexo was the sole bidder for the contract.
Annie Metcalf, junior-senior high principal, gave the passing results following this year’s Regents examinations, they are: 100 percent passing English Arts, U.S. History and Living Environment; 98 percent Global History and Geography; 96 percent Algebra II/Trig.; 94 percent Earth Science and Integrated Algebra; 92 percent Geometry and 81 percent Physics.
Metcalf also reported that 70 applications had been received for the Art Instructor vacancy, insuring that the school will be able to retain an experienced and qualified teacher. She will also be conducting interviews for a .5 grade seven science teacher and for a school nurse.
She informed the board that Zachary Gier attended the two-week UB Eric Pitman Annual Summer Workshop in Computational Science through the facilitation of Jennifer Schmitt.
Orientation for parents and students entering ninth grade will be held Aug. 29, while the program for those entering seventh grade will be Aug. 30.
Metcalf also reported that due to the reduction from a .7 to .5 science instructor, foreign language courses at the seventh-grade level have been eliminated. The school will formulate a one-year language program for eighth-graders to meet state requirements. “We are as skinny as we can get in the Science Department,” she said.
Board member Richard Foster said that the problem stems from the amount of lab time that must be scheduled into course structure, in addition to instructional time. Citing a past board review of curriculum, he noted that there are virtually as many science classes as other core curriculum, however, with the additional requirement for 15 lab periods.
Board member Michael Stefan said that if the number of labs is causing a problem, the board needs to look at that to see if it can be fixed before looking at additional staff.
Board member Martin Niefergold reported on progress in a proposed “North Collins Hall of Fame.” He proposed outlining the project in the district newsletter and inviting the public to a meeting several weeks following to solicit ideas. He reported that the idea has met with enthusiasm from people he has encountered.
The board focused on ideas as it develops its goals for the new school year. Foster suggested reviewing board procedures and policies, many of which have not been reviewed in 10 years. Board President Shannon Locking suggested the board review academic programming as early as October, to avoid the rush at budget time. She would also like to the see the board review its goals in January to see if they are on track or if adjustments need to be made. She further suggested that the administration might conduct a survey of staff to gain further input on changes that could be made. Stefan would like to see a schedule of planned topics for the year. It would inform both the board and department heads when certain reviews would take place.