Minutes March 1, 2011


Chappaqua, New York



March 1, 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 6:30p.m. and moved to enter into Executive Session to discuss a personnel issue with superintendent search consultants Bruce Dennis and Deborah Raizes of Hazard Young, Attea. Jeffrey Mester seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

At 8:20 p.m. Jeffrey Mester moved to adjourn the Executive Session and reconvene the public session. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

President Benton welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming to Bell. In order to accommodate as many people as possible without disrupting the Greeley theatre rehearsal in the auditorium it was decided to move the meeting to Bell.

She gave an overall review of the plan for reviewing the Superintendent's proposed budget over the next five meetings. She thanked the community members for sharing their thoughts, questions, and comments and urged them to continue to engage the board and administration via email. She noted that the administration and board share those emails and have used those questions and comments to create additional topics for budget discussion and added that an updated list had been emailed to the community and posted on the website. She also clarified that there is no board position on the budget in this stage of the process.

She turned the meeting over to Interim Superintendent John Chambers who introduced Deputy Superintendent Lyn McKay to begin the curriculum budget presentation.


Dr. McKay began by assuring the Board and community that the K-12 program is extremely strong as evidenced by our second place standing out of 40 Westchester districts in reading and math, as well as our strong performance on a variety of internal and extermal assessments. She reported that the Tri-States will be visiting the district to help us assess our progress in teaching critical thinking skills (the Board questions). The visiting team will visit 48 classrooms and meet with students, parents, teachers and administrators on March 23, 24, and 25. Dr. McKay proposed that the excellence in our educational program is strongly supported by the district's commitment to :Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Design; Professional Development; and Leadership. Under Curriculum, areas of focus are: literacy, mathematics, accountable talk, blended/online learning, virtual learning and assessment, co-teaching practices. Profession Development includes summer curriculum work, teacher action research, learning teams, learning symposia, parent workshops and resources, and conferences. Leadership Work encompasses coaching, action research, learning walks, new evaluation of teachers and principals, grade-level and department chair work.

Dr. McKay detailed plans for the 2011-2012 school year to include work in the areas of: Academic Intervention Services (AIS) and Response to Intervention (RTI). Leadership; online blended learning, Mathematics, Literacy, Related arts including the Lincoln Center Partnership, Social Studies and Science; NCLB coordination, 3-8; World Language 5-12; Health and Family and Consumer Science and special projects at Greeley.

She provided a line by line detailed explanation of Curriculum Studies/Professional Development and noted a total budget $1,482,197 represents a 9.9% reduction or $92,611 over last year.

Darlene Nicolosi, the Director of Technology presented her proposed Technology budget of $1,995,823 with a reduction of 3.18% or $65,597 for 2011/2012. The Technology budget supports three major areas: 1) Instructional Technology, 2) Data Management, and 3) Operational Infrastructure. Ms. Nicolosi stated that technology is also in a very strong place. She mentioned some of the ways that technology supports curriculum design. Data Management has evolved to support not only the student database, but produces the many mandated reports. She reviewed the hardware inventory and outstanding leases, and noted PC's are replaced every six years. The operational infrastructure continues to evolve utilizing different approaches and reallocation of resources. Mobile learning is emerging as a strong impact on student learning as well using smaller, less expensive devices. The district contracts with a company for technicians with very specific skill sets who are on call and available for emergencies, including weekends, which does not incur overtime costs.

Interim Superintendent John Chambers presented a revised budget calendar with additional topics. He underscored that the budget is still in a state of flux noting that the impact of the staff reductions has been lessened from 14 full time equivalents to about six full time equivalents due to attrition, retirements, and the extension of the retirement incentive. He summarized how the administration arrived at the proposed budget and outlined when the extended topics will be addressed.

Seven Bridges Principal Martha Zornow again reviewed the projected lower grade level enrollment for next year and explained the proposed change to reduce the number of teams in seventh and eighth grades. There will be one full team and one half team at each grade level.

Average team section size will be 23.2 in seventh grade and 25 in eighth grade. The half teams will share core subject area teachers, with each teacher teaching two sections of seventh grade and two sections of eighth grade. Students will be taught by certified, subject matter teachers. Grades are not being mixed and students will eat lunch and have specials with their grade level. Ms. Zornow commented that she is familiar with the blended team model from her work in other Westchester districts. It was also noted that half teams have been used in past years at Bell when warranted by enrollment numbers and some teachers have expressed excitement at the prospect of teaching two grade levels.

Assistant Superintendent John Chow presented the effect of draft tax levy/tax rate estimates with and without the use of fund balance. He included an alternate scenario of tax rates using a budget with an additional $1 million in spending. He emphasized that these are estimates that have been calculated using last year's assessments (8-1-2010). Using no fund balance, the proposed budget with a spending increase of 1.78% would result in a total tax levy increase of 5.1%. This increase would translate into an estimated tax rate increase of 5.93% for New Castle and a 3.36% decrease for Mt. Pleasant. Using $2 million of fund balance would incur a 3.06% tax levy increase and an estimated tax rate increase of 3.88% for New Castle and a tax decrease -5.24% for Mt. Pleasant. Both John Chambers and Chow stressed that it was prudent to use fund balance on the reserve side of the budget. John Chow reported that the fund balance represents money already collected from the taxpayers and should be given back. The district has $13.6 million in reserve funds, and $4.3 million is unappropriated.

Questions and Comments on topic. There were a number of comments and questions about the presentation.


Information Business Affairs


President's Report


Superintendent Search

President Benton reported that the Board met with search consultants from Hazard Young Attea for a final debriefing of the candidates. The board continues to work hard, and they remain on its timetable to select a final candidate in March.


Superintendent's Report


Tri-States visit

Interim Superintendent John Chambers reminded everyone that the Tri-States group will be visiting March 23, 24, and 25. The Board will be invited to participate and complete a survey. He emphasized the importance of this educational undertaking.



Question and Comments on Report Items



Alyson Kiesel moved to approve meeting minutes as amended, for:


Minutes of February 15, 2011

Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Recommended Action: Personnel

Interim Superintendent John Chambers made the following recommendations.




"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":

Kristin Boniello.


"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":

Elaine Tulis.

Resignation for Purposes of Retirement:

Ms. Karen Schnell, Teaching Assistant, Horace Greeley High School, effective March 3, 2011.

Ms. Patricia Carney, Teacher of Elementary Education, Douglas Grafflin Elementary School, effective June 30, 2011.


Ms. Toby Osinski, (.5) Teaching Assistant, Roaring Brook Elementary School, effective February 15, 2011.

Appointment: Part Time

Ms. Janet Hartman, (.5) Teaching Assistant, Roaring Brook Elementary School, effective February 16, 2011 through June 30, 2011 (or earlier at the discretion of the Board of Education), $10,178, prorated.

Jeffrey Mester moved to accept the recommendation. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Chambers made the following recommendation.

Resignation for Purpose of Retirement:

Amy Harland - Teacher Aide at Westorchard Elementary School, retiring effective June 30, 2011.


Leslie Zedlovich - Senior Office Assistant-Automated Systems, Education Center, effective March 1, 2011.

Dimitra Galatas - Teacher Aide, Roaring Brook Elementary School, effective March 4, 2011.


BE IT RESOLVED that, the Board of Education hereby appoints the individual listed below as a per diem clerical substitute to be employed on an "as needed" basis, effective February 14, 2011:

Clare Weber

Randall Katchis moved to accept Mr. Chambers' recommendation. Alyson Kiesel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Recommended Action: Other


Gregg Bresner moved to approve CSE summaries reported to the Board on February 18, 2011. Alyson Kiesel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Jeffrey Mester moved to approve a proposal from KG&D, architects, for Architectural and Engineering Services to amend Seven Brides Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan to allow for paving of existing Seven Bridges parking. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.





Questions and Comments


Notice of Future Meetings -

President Benton gave notice of future meetings:

Monday, March 7, 2011 at Education Center - 7:45 a.m.

Which we anticipate will go into Executive Session to discuss probationary reviews with administrators

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at Education Center - 7:45 a.m.

Which we anticipate will go into Executive Session to discuss probationary reviews with administrators

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


Board Meeting / Work Session

Spec. Ed / Operations & Maint.



At 11:58 p.m. President Benton asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting and return to Executive Session. Jeffrey Mester so moved. Randall Katchis seconded. The motion passed unanimously. At 12:30 a.m. Alyson Kiesel moved to adjourn the Executive Session and return to public session for adjournment. Gregg Bresner seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

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

Janet Benton, Board President