Minutes April 12, 2011


Chappaqua, New York



April 12, 2011



8:15 p.m.



Bell Middle School Auditorium



Board of Education
Janet Benton, President
Gregg Bresner, Vice President
Alyson Kiesel
Jeffrey Mester
Randall Katchis


Staff Members

Mr. John Chambers, Interim Superintendent

Dr. Lyn McKay, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Mr. John Chow, Assistant Superintendent for Business

Theresa Markley, District Clerk / Adm. Asst. to Superintendent


Visitors Present:

Representatives of the Chappaqua PTA, school PTAs, building administrators, faculty, and other interested citizens.


President Janet Benton convened the public session at 6:45 p.m. and moved to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of negotiations (employee contracts) personnel, and legal issue.

At 8:25 p.m. Jeffrey Mester moved to adjourn the Executive Session and reconvene the public session. Alyson Kiesel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

President Benton welcomed the community. She commented that phase one of the budget process that began last November concludes tonight with the board adoption of a final budget. Phase two, the effective communication of budget information to the community, will conclude with the budget vote on May 17.


  • Budget Adoption - 2011-12

    Interim Superintendent John Chambers noted the proposed budget is $111,448,488, a 1.88% increase over the 2010-11 budget. He introduced John Chow to present detailed information on the use of fund balance, the tax analysis, and the setting of the contingency budget.

    Mr. Chow reviewed the March 31 revenue and expenditure reports, highlighting the fund balance projections for year end. He estimated a surplus of $400,000 on the revenue side and $1.6 million on the expenditure side. He noted $800,000 of unspent monies on the salary line (due to unfilled positions, savings from retirements) and $228,000 unspent on the bond line (the result of refinancing). He reviewed the amounts of fund balance used over the past several years, highlighting that in 2010-11, $2.6 million was used on the revenue side and $1.3 million was used on the expense side.

    Mr. Chow presented several scenarios showing projected fund balances of General Fund reserve accounts and their depletion over time under different assumptions of fund balance usage. He presented options of using $3.5 million, $4 million, and $4.5 million in fund balance and identified the reserve funds from which the monies would be transferred.

    He reported that the assessed taxable valuations as of 3/31/11 in both New Castle and Mt. Pleasant had decreased from 2010-11. He presented an estimated tax analysis for the 2011-12 proposed budget using three fund balance use assumptions. Using $3.5 million, the estimated tax increase for New Castle is 2.89% and decrease for Mt. Pleasant is (6.19%). The estimated New Castle increase is 2.37% using $4.0 million, and 1.85% using $4.5 million.

    Mr. Chow reviewed the purpose of a contingency budget. Our contingency budget cap for the 2011-12 proposed budget is $111,316,248, a 1.76% increase. The board discussed the unusual situation of the contingency cap being so close in value to the proposed budget.

    Board members voiced their support for the proposed budget. They each thanked the administration, colleagues, and community for sharing their comments and suggestions over the course of the budget process.

  • Finance Advisory Group Report

    Jeffrey Mester reviewed the charges of the Finance Advisory Group and it's division of labor into three areas to study mandates, analysis of data, and communication. He thanked the members of the group for their contributions. He remarked on the amount of research and time they invested in preparation for their meetings. Because of the amount of information researched and not all members were present, it was suggested that topics will be discussed at additional board meetings.

    Judy McGrath reported for the mandate study group. The group's goals were 1) to identify and describe the mandates that most impact the school district and 2) to determine how best to address these mandates. They identified six critical areas: the Triborough Amendment, the pension program, retiree heath care benefits, Tenure and LIFO layoff policy, and state testing. The group developed a School Mandate Primer document.

    Mr. Mester reported on the comparative data compiled by PNWBOCES. He noted from the summary, to the extent CCSD believes it is important to compare our expenditures relative to other "peer" districts, we should design a process that retrieves the data directly from the NYS ST3 database. He presented several areas of immediate review and suggestions to create platforms to effect structural change.

    Haley Ferraro reported for the communication subgroup and suggested improvements to communication such as community surveys using online survey tools, additional meetings to discuss budget issues, and increased use of website for information. The group prepared a suggested survey for board approval. The survey model will be presented to the community and the information will be disseminated to the public upon completion.

Questions and Comments on topics.

There were a number of questions on surplus appropriations.


Information Business Affairs


President's Report

President Benton noted the recent passing of long time Business Administrator Henne Starace. Henne worked 35 years in the district and was active in Rotary, and many other areas of the district. Her particular passion was Special Olympics.


Jeffrey Mester moved to adopt the Proposed Budget in the amount of $111,448,488 to include $4.25 million in reserves, a contingency budget cap, and ratify the Property Tax Report Card for the 2011-2012 school year. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Board Election Process and Deadline

Two vacancies will occur on the Board of Education this year. President Benton announced that she and Gregg Bresner are not running for re-election this year. Qualified voters who are interested in serving on the board of education are asked to submit petitions to District Clerk Theresa Markley by Monday, April 18, at 5:00 p.m.


Zauderer Property Update

Randall Katchis reported on the Zauderer property. Mr. Katchis presented Campbell's preliminary plan for the site. The district hired Campbell Engineering to prepare topographical maps with pertinent information for slopes, wetlands, subdivision map, roads and roadways and percolation tests. Rules and regulations for maximizing value to the district were provided by our school attorney. Discussion and work toward the future sale of the Zauderer property will continue.


President Benton reported that board members will meet to vote on the PNW/BOCES Administrative Budget and Election of Board Members, Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at the Education Center at 8:00 a.m. This date is scheduled for all component school districts by Putnam / Northern Westchester BOCES.


Superintendent's Report


Tri-State Visit

Interim Superintendent John Chambers asked Dr. McKay to report on the school activities she attended over the weekend. She was impressed with the number of students who participated in the senior musical, "The Wedding Singer" at Greeley and the variety of ecological and interesting activities at the Green Fair at Bell.

Dr. McKay reported that March 22-25 the district welcomed twenty-two visitors from the Tri-State Consortium to evaluate how the district is doing with meeting the critical thinking strategic question and where to go next. Parents, teachers, board members, administrators, and students were invited to participate. The written report will be available from Tri-States in a few weeks.


Green Committee

Jeffrey Mester, John Chow, and building representatives met with the Sustainability Advisory Board from Town of New Castle. They have a plan to encourage students to utilize the buses and will present their ideas for reducing the carbon footprint at the next Board meeting.


Seven Bridges and Horace Greeley students and parents are in the process of organizing and performing in a jazz concert on May 1, in the Performing Arts Center to raise funds for Japan after the recent horrendous earthquake and lingering nuclear facility problems.

Question and Comments on Report Items






Alyson Kiesel moved to adopt the minutes of March 15, 2011, as amended. Jeffrey Mester seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Recommended Action: Personnel

Interim Superintendent John Chambers recommended that items 4.1 and 4.2 be approved.




"BE IT RESOLVED that, the Board of Education hereby appoints the individuals listed as per diem substitute teachers to be employed on an "as needed" basis":

Theresa Flora, and

Jennifer Kirkpatrick.


"BE IT RESOLVED that, the Board of Education hereby authorizes the attached Agreements for Services for the individuals and agencies listed below effective for the 2010/2011 school year, or earlier at the discretion of the Board of Education":

Rachel Marino,

Carole Horn,

Andrea Frusciante,

Gail Treffinger,

Jan Gordon,

Wendy Bresnahan Seaver,

John Dever, and

Olga Kowal.

Request for Parental Leave of Absence:

Ms. Shana Weldon, Teacher of Elementary Education, Seven Bridges Middle School, effective May 2, 2011 through June 17, 2011.

Request for Discretionary Leave of Absence:

Ms. Heather Butler, Teaching Assistant, Seven Bridges Middle School, effective March 21, 2011 through June 17, 2011.

Ms. Jennifer Kirkpatrick, Teaching Assistant, Robert E. Bell Middle School, effective April 4, 2011 through June 30, 2011.

Appointment: Coaching

Ms. Lindsay Schrader, 7-8th Grade Girls' Lacrosse Assistant, Seven Bridges Middle School, effective March 28, 2011 through June 10, 2011 (or earlier at the discretion of the Board of Education), Step 1, $3,698.



Resignation for Purpose of Retirement:

Ann Peterson - Teacher Aide at Westorchard Elementary School, retiring effective June 30, 2011.

Randall Katchis moved to accept the recommendations. Alyson Kiesel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Recommended Action: Other


Alyson Kiesel moved to approve CSE summaries reported to the Board on April 8, 2011. Randall Katchis. The motion passed unanimously.


Alyson Kiesel moved to appoint the Board of Registration for 2011, salary at $10 per hour. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Alyson Kiesel moved to approve a Tax Certiorari Refund in the amount of $4,185.66 to residents Peter and Suzanne Phillips. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Alyson Kiesel moved to accept a gift to Horace Greeley in the amount of $1,000 from the 2010-11 Intel Science Award to be used for Science Dept. printer supplies and symposium and science fair fees. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.





Jeffrey Mester moved to accept and/or approve the following items. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Revenues Report - March 31, 2011


Expenditures Report - March 31, 2011


Budget Transfer from Tuition Private to Tuition Public in the amount of $131,000.


Approve usage of Ed-Data Service's Skilled Trade Bids from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012 in the amount of $1,950.


Bid #838 - Driver's Education - PAS Auto School - $25/per student for Summer session; $430 per student for Fall/Spring session - July 1, 2011- June 30, 2012.

Questions and Comments


President Benton gave Notice of Future Meetings -

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at Education Center - 8:00 a.m.

All component school districts - vote on BOCES administrative budget and to elect BOCES Board members

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at Horace Greeley High School - 8:15 p.m.


Public Hearing on School and Library Budgets for 2011-12



At 12:35 p.m. President Benton asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Jeffrey Mester so moved. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Theresa M. Markley, District Clerk / Admin. Asst. To Superintendent

Janet Benton, Board President