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You are here: Home Schools District Enrollment, School Construction, Field Lights and a Moment of Silence for Jeff Langsam from the Scarsdale School Board
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District Enrollment, School Construction, Field Lights and a Moment of Silence for Jeff Langsam from the Scarsdale School Board

A suntanned and renewed Board of Education met for their opening meeting of the school year with three new members installed. Karen Ceske, Carl Finger and Ron Schulhof, elected in May ’19, have now taken their seats at the table, bringing a new vibe to the proceedings.

Superintendent Thomas Hagerman reported that the 2019-20 school year is underway and thanked the entire faculty and staff for preparing the district for the opening. He noted that the theme of inclusion and belonging is top of mind at all the schools, with the goal of having everyone feel welcome and engaged.

He reported that during the summer months, classrooms were renovated at Greenacres and air conditioning was added to select spaces at many of thejeffrey langsam scarsdale ny obituaryJeffrey Langsam elementary schools so that cool spaces are available to all students on hot days. In addition, the roof at Heathcote School was replaced, a new stairway was completed at Fox Meadow, new boilers are being installed at the high school and the list goes on.

With the anniversary of 9/11 on Wednesday, Hagerman said that the day would be commemorated in an age appropriate way at each school. At the high school, the event will be discussed in social studies classes, middle school students will observe a moment of silence and discuss it in social studies class and the sixth grade will be engaged in a day of service and write letters to servicemen abroad.

Jeff Langsam

Dr. Hagerman reported that long time AV specialist Jeff Langsam passed away on September 8, 2019 and called for a moment of silence. Langsam was the son of Harriet Sobol, wife of Scarsdale’s former superintendent Thomas Sobol. Langsam was a familiar face around the district where he filmed many board meetings and school and community events. According to Dr. Hagerman, Langsam lost a battle with cancer and leaves a wife and a son. He was 53 years old. Funeral details can be found here

Enrollment

Assistant Superintendent Drew Patrick provided an enrollment report, showing that 4,748 students were enrolled overall, just two students shy of the projection of 4,750 and up slightly from last year’s enrollment of 4,726 students. He showed the graph below of the ten-year history of enrollment and said, “we are right in the middle of the ten-year trend.”

enrollment

Reviewing enrollment for the elementary schools, he concluded that while enrollment at Fox Meadow and Quaker Ridge are on the rise, the number of students declined at Edgewood, Greenacres and Heathcote this year. An analysis of kindergarten enrollment shows that Greenacres has 37 children entering kindergarten this year, with one class of 18 and another of 19, as compared to Fox Meadow, with 85 children in 4 sections. Overall, there are 308 kindergarten students this year – with 396 students in fifth grade. Patrick conjectured that this dip could be due to real estate trends and “red shirting,” where some 5 year-olds attend pre-school for an additional year before entering kindergarten. Enrollment at the middle and high schools is consistent with projections and on par with last year. See the full analysis here

elementaryenrollment

Facilities

Representatives from Park East Construction provided a more detailed report of the construction and renovations done around the district this summer.

At Greenacres, 11 classroom and six bathrooms were renovated in the original portion of the school. The rooms received new ceiling tiles, new flooring, casework and paint, new tile was installed in the bathrooms and temporary walls were constructed to separate the existing school from the construction area. For the addition, excavation for the foundation and footings are in 35% complete.

At Heathcote, the work on the new roof is 90% complete and at the high school the installation of the new boilers is almost finished.

Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey reported that the renovated classrooms at Greenacres now have more usable floor and wall space and more efficient storage He reported that rooms gained 35-100 square feet from the removal of cubbies, toilets and doors. New LED lighting allows seven different settings and according to Mattey, “teachers are adapting quickly to the use of the new space.”

renovatedclassroom

The univents will be replaced in these rooms next summer. He said that daily air quality testing results would be posted daily on the district website.

Mattey said he plans to meet with Greenacres PTA and will also schedule a meeting with the Greenacres Neighborhood Association on October 30.

Running through the list of additional district work, here is what we learned:

-The security vestibules at the elementary schools are expected to be completed by October 1st.

-The outdoor stairs leading to the field at Fox Meadow is complete.

-Rigging for the middle school stage will be installed in December/January.

-The middle school hot water heaters were installed in August.

-HVAC will be installed in the orchestra room at the middle school.

-Installation of new elevators at the middle and high schools is more involved than anticipated and will be longer term projects.GAFoundationGreenacres Addition

Lights at Butler Field

Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi gave an update on the status of a proposal to install lighting on Butler Field. As the field is leased to the school district by the Village, the district needs clearance from the Village to move forward with the project.

The Village Planning Board met on July 31 to review the project.

Here is what they determined:

1. Location: Appears to be appropriate for the intended use and purpose.

2. Type: Appears to be improvements with respect to [diesel engine] noise, fumes and energy efficiency based upon the information presented.

3. Direction/Spillage: [Permanent lights] are an improvement over the current portables.

4. Elevations: [80 ft.] height is a negative that must be weighed against the other benefits. The height is a moderately negative issue for the substantial benefit of minimizing spillage.

5. Landscape/Screening: Landscaping and screening may be needed, especially on Wayside to screen the brightness of the field.

6. Impact: The Planning Board is not capable of making recommendations based upon greater use. [Our] recommendation is based upon similar use. If the use is similar, there is no significant impact. There is documented improvement in the sound system. The sound system is an improvement and a positive thing to have a sound system that is designed for the space. The Village Board of Trustees should consider types of usage and seasonal usage.

7. Regulation: Declined to make a recommendation.

Board President Scott Silberfeind said that the Board of Education would meet with the Village Board on September 25 to discuss the Planning Board’s recommendations, including screening, the sound system and usage.

Environmental Testing Update

The district hired a new environmental testing company, Louis Berger to conduct testing around the district. John Trenholm reported that Berger is quick to respond, thorough and knowledgeable.

Before the opening of school, they did baseline assessments of all occupied spaces in the district and identified 25 areas that needed to be addressed, which Mattey said was “a very low amount,” given the size of the district. All areas were remediated prior to the first day of school and there will be annual inspections in the future.

Post construction air quality tests were conducted at Greenacres, and these reports along with testing in the district office, can be found here

Safety and Security

District Security Director Michael Spedaliere reported that he met with building staff at all schools this summer to review drills and training and introduce the new security monitors. He conducted interviews with 32 candidates for security monitor position and hired 12. They were trained on the district’s visitor management policy and informed about the culture and climate of the schools.

At Greenacres, he worked with police and administrators on new drop off and pick up procedures due to the school construction and reported that everything is going smoothly.

A discussion then ensued about the district’s four safety and security committees, some with overlapping goals and missions.

The District Safety Committee has 40 members, including parents and a high school student. That committee discusses a wide variety of issues such as security, health, safety, building usage, parking, traffic and even playgrounds. The committee discusses and raises issues from committee members and the community at large.

Board Member Ron Schulhof asked the administration to reconsider the composition of the DERT committee, or District-Level Emergency Response Team. All members of that committee have offices in the district office. He said, “the DERT committee should have two members who are not located in the district office – in the case the emergency occurs in the district office. Stuart Mattey responded and said they would study this issue.

A discussion ensued about the composition of another safety committee, The District SSEM Projects Committee, that meets to review and recommend projects for implementation. This committee is comprised of cabinet members (administrators), staff leadership and a member of the Board of Education. There are no parents on this committee.

According to Dr. Hagerman, the role of this committee is to define best practices, look for opportunities for mitigation and put these projects into a timeline for review and implementation.

Board members Karen Ceske and Ron Schulhof asked the administration to assign a parent to this committee on a trial basis. Carl Finger asked the district to outline the roles of these various committees on the website to clarify confusion about the four committees. At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Hagerman said the composition of the SSEM committee would be re-considered.

Protocols for Written Communications to the Board

The board had previously discussed the idea of publishing letters to the board and the responses. Board member Chris Morin reported that the Village publishes these letters and the responses. However the NY School Board Association found no boards who do this, and Scott Silberfein said that though counsel said there was no reason they could not do it he asked them to consider if publishing the letters would have a chilling effect on communications to the board. Counsel thought that administrative and legal time to review these would outweigh the benefits of publishing these letters and the response. They decided not to make this change.

Contract for Aides and Assistants:

The Board reviewed terms of a new contract with aides and assistants, to be approved at the September 23 meeting. The terms of the new agreement are summarized below:

The agreement covers a four-year term, from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2023

Compensation increases according to Step movement, plus:

1.75% increase in 2019-20
1.50% increase in 2020-21
1.25% increase in 2021-22
1.25% increase in 2022-23

-Computer Aides shall receive an additional $1.00/hr
-Increase in the use of sick days for purposes of family illness from 2 to 3 of 10 days annually
-Sick day accumulation increase from 50 to 60 days
-District will opt in to 41-j of the Retirement and Social Security law, proving for retirement credit for certain unused sick leave days
-Increase in bereavement leave from 4 to 5 days annually
-Increase in personal leave use from 3 to 4 days annually
-Addition of a mentoring stipend for certain aides to provide support for newly hired aides
-Addition of a seventh paid holiday

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