Tuesday, Oct 03rd

BOE Announces New Hires and Reviews Policy on Tuition for Non-Resident Students

BoardPortrait22 23Students are just going back to school this week but the Board of Education, and many of our District’s faculty and staff, have been hard at work all summer to ensure a smooth start to the school year. Much of this work was discussed at the Board of Education meeting held on Monday August 8th, 2023. Here are just a few of the highlights:

BOE President Ron Schulhof outlined planning, hiring, cleaning, orientations and so much more work done during the summer months. Schulhof also made note of the progress being made to improve telecom cell service in and around the high school and Fox Meadow. Work with Verizon on Post Road is currently underway and the BOE looks forward to continuing to partner with the Village to bring improvements from the other carriers they met with over the summer.

Dr. Edgar McIntosh presented on the “Rolling Gradebook” a new pilot program being implemented at the high school. For more details on the program, please see our article SHS Pilots New Grading System here.

In the Human Resources department there have been many new hires.

Faculty appointments include:

Timothy Leddy has been recommended for appointment in the tenure area of Special Education. He holds a BA from Hunter College and a Masters from Manhattanville College. Mr. Leddy holds New York State Certification in Students with Disabilities Grades 5-9, English Language Arts Grades 7-12, and Students with Disabilities Grades 7-12. Prior to joining Scarsdale, Mr. Leddy has been a special education teacher in the Eastchester School District.

Aimee Baez has been recommended for appointment as a Leave Replacement faculty member commencing on August 29, 2023. Dr. Baez will be working as the school psychologist at Scarsdale Middle School while Dr. Hasler is out on leave. She holds New York State Certification as a School Psychologist and in Childhood Education Grades 1-6. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Bard College, a Masters in Science General and Special Childhood Education from Bank Street College, and a Doctor of Psychology from St. John University. Dr. Baez was previously an intern at the middle school and more recently served as a psychologist at the School at Columbia University.

Neil Epstein is recommended for appointment as a Leave Replacement faculty member commencing on August 29, 2023. Mr. Epstein will be the 7th grade social studies teacher at Scarsdale Middle School while Ms. Rothman acts as Interim Assistant Principal at the middle school. He holds New York State Certification in Social Studies Grades 7-12 and Social Studies Grades 5-6 Extension. He earned his BS in Finance from the University of Delaware and a Master of Secondary Social studies Education from Queens College. Mr. Epstein recently taught social studies in the Great Neck Public Schools.

Brandon Shea is recommended for appointment as a Leave Replacement faculty member commencing on August 29, 2023. Mr. Shea will be the 7th grade science teacher at Scarsdale Middle School while Ms. Mastroianni is out on leave. He holds New York State Certification in Biology 7-12. He earned a Bachelor of Science from SUNY of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Masters of Science for Teachers from Pace University. Brandon previously worked as an intern and student teacher at both Scarsdale Middle School and Scarsdale High School.

Jennifer McPherson is recommended to fill the position of long-term substitute teacher at the daily rate of $200 beginning August 29, 2023, and continuing as long as services are satisfactory and needed, but no later than October 31, 2023. Jennifer will be assigned to Scarsdale Middle School covering for Melissa Zeiler who will be on leave.

Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services, Eric Rauschenbach gave an Update on our Day Automation System Integration (Lockdown system) and said that the new system is set to be up and running by October 16th of this year.

During Public Comments, SHS Senior Rick Yang advocated for the creation of a Tier One Wellness Center in our district. Yang quoted startling statistics that support the need for a wellness center in addition to outlining the specifics of Governor Hochul’s grant that allocates $8.3 Million to Create and Support New School-Based Mental Health Clinics. Dr. Patrick thanked Yang for participating in the public comments and asked Mr. Yang to please email him directly to continue the discussion.

Non-Resident Students

While there were many other business and action items discussed at the meeting (if interested, you can find those action items if you scroll through the meeting agenda here), one point of interest was information item 11.09 Policy 5152 - Admission of Non-Resident Students where the Board engaged in a discussion of the payment of tuition by non-resident students experiencing exceptional circumstances. Dr. Patrick gave an example of one such exceptional circumstance describing a student in their senior year, who is no longer able to afford to live in the district but has spent their entire academic career here. The BOE would like to bring forward a draft proposing an amendment to the existing policy in order for the Board to have power to offer continued education here in Scarsdale in extreme circumstances like this. Many of the BOE members spoke in favor of bringing forward such a draft saying, “It is in the best interest of the student.”

The discussion of admission of non-resident students brings to mind another recent headline detailing statements from the New York State Attorney General's Office and the state Education Department. "Our offices write to remind school administrators that all children and youth in New York between the ages of 5 and 21 have the right to a free public-school education, regardless of immigration status, language proficiency, or whether the student is living in a shelter, migrant camp, or other temporary housing," they announced.

For better understanding on this topic we reached out to Ron Schulhof who said, “My understanding is that the letter issued from Attorney General James and Commissioner Rosa outlines already existing Federal and State laws. The Board and Administration regularly review District Policies to ensure compliance with the appropriate laws. For example, last year the Board adopted Policy 5151 - Homeless Children to address changes in the requirements of the McKinney Vento Act and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). At this time, the Board has not been notified that any specific policy regarding admissions requires an update based on the letter from the Attorney General and State Education Department.

Unrelated to the letter from the AG and SED, the Board did engage in a policy discussion at the August 28th, 2023 Board meeting regarding Policy 5152 - Admission of Non-Resident Students. The discussion related to this policy focused on payment of tuition by non-resident students experiencing exceptional circumstances. The Board came to consensus to have the Administration present a draft update to this policy that would add that authority to provide exceptions to the required tuition payment by non-residents under exceptional circumstances. Currently, Policy 5152 does not provide the Board nor Administration such authority if a student experiences an exceptional circumstance that results in loss of residency. As of note, the authority for the Board to provide such an exception already exists in the Policy for the children of District employees upon the death of the District employee while the child is still a student in the District. Should anyone wish to watch the full Board discussion, please visit the Scarsdale Board Video Page. The video of Board meetings is usually posted within a few days of the meeting. The Board anticipates discussing a first draft of this policy update at the September 11, 2023 Board meeting.

Financial Risk Assessment

A presentation of the Review of the Risk Assessment Update Report was given by the District’s internal auditor Richard Coffey of CPA Cullen & Danowski, LLP. As described by the BOE in their agenda, “As part of the NYS Comptroller’s five-point plan to strengthen financial accountability, school districts are required to engage an internal auditor to perform risk assessments and help boards of education in developing internal controls to reduce financial risk. The purpose of the Updated Risk Assessment Report is to annually review the critical business processes of the District including governance, accounting, revenue and cash management, payroll, purchasing, facilities, student services, and student-related data.

After their review, a recommendation is made to the Board of Education for acceptance of these reports. In addition, the Audit Committee, upon consultation with the Internal Auditor and Administration, recommends an area of intensive review for the upcoming year to be included in the Applying Agreed-Upon Procedures Report.”

Mr. Coffee’s presentation detailed many aspects of the report including positive attributes where the District is doing well, in addition to highlighting recommendations for areas of improvement in their Corrective Action Plan. The Corrective Action Plan suggested nine recommendations including:


We recommend that the District strengthen the cash receipts process related to funds collected at athletic events during the evenings and weekends by developing procedures to require that a designated administrator assist with having these receipts safeguarded in the safe with the schools’ main office right after the event. This would reduce the potential loss or theft of these funds while being held by a person from the event until the receipts are deposited a day or several days later in the safe.”

However, Andrew B. Lennon, Assistant Superintendent for Business, explained that eight of the nine recommendations have already been completed and the ninth is pending and actively being assessed. You can read the full Risk Assessment Update Report here and see the recommendations and the management responses here.

Mr. Coffee also presented the Detailed Testing Audit Report and Management's Corrective Action Plan. The report explains, “We note that the District has protocols in place related to the processing of payroll transactions that includes a Payroll Process document with detailed steps covering various procedures and internal controls designed to mitigate the inherent risk within the payroll process (e.g., Payroll Clerk is unable to set up employees in SMARTS) and the Business Office understands the need to have proper controls in place. We also found that the employees we interviewed demonstrate a positive attitude towards improving procedures and are knowledgeable about the requirements related to their responsibilities.” The report further states, “We found some opportunities to improve operations as a result of our engagement.” The six recommendations for improvement and our District’s management response can be found here.

Mr. Lennon explained that a great deal of work has taken place to improve this area of business in our district, which can be attested to by the management’s responses to the improvement recommendations.

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