Word of the Month for July - Cooperation
August 4, 2014
Board of Education Meeting
Golding Middle School Library at 7:00 p.m.
July 28, 2011
Board moves to put election policy before voters
The Cobleskill-Richmondville Board of Education agreed this week to put before voters a policy change that would alter the way elections are held for BOE candidates.
According to the current policy [policy 2120.1], “each vacancy upon the board of education to be filled shall be considered a separate office.” This sets forth the practice in which interested BOE candidates must petition to run for a specific open board seat.
The board agreed unanimously to change the policy so that instead of petitioning for a specific seat, all vacant board seats would be considered “at large.” The change would mean that instead of running for a specific board position, the candidates who receive the top votes would be elected to any open seats.
For example, there were three vacant seats resulting in three board elections on the 2011 ballot. Under the revised policy, instead of choosing between candidates for a specific seat, the names of all six candidates would have been on the ballot and voters would have been asked to vote for three candidates. The top three vote-getters would have been elected to the board.
“I’ve heard loud and clear that people are looking for the at large option,” Board President Bruce Tryon said.
However, before this policy can be adopted and put into affect, it must be voted on by the general electorate.
Russell Smith made a motion for a special election prior to the annual school budget vote in May, so that the new policy change would affect the 2012-13 Board of Education election.
When the board was informed that a special election would cost the district about $1,000, the board moved that the vote on the new policy be put on the ballot during the annual vote instead of spending the money for a special vote.
If the ballot passes on the May 2012 vote day, the policy will go into affect for the 2013 Board of Education election. If the policy change is not approved, the board election procedure will remain as is.
Also under review at Monday’s meeting was policy 2120.2, which established two election districts in C-RCS. By law, voter registration is required in elections in which there are two election districts. This means anyone wishing to vote on the school budget, proposals or board elections must be pre-registered with the county Board of Elections.
The Board of Education discussed the alternative option, which is to do away with voter registration, but to do so would mean the district could not be divided into separate election districts or have multiple polling places. It would also mean that election officials would be working off of two lists: those registered with the county Board of Elections and those registered with the school. The district would also incur an additional cost in the formation and maintenance of a registration list.
Given that there are no issues with the current voting procedure, the board voted to adopt policy 2120.2 as is, keeping the required registration and two voting districts.
The board also adopted policy 2120.3 — which states that the annual district school budget, as well as any propositions, shall be submitted for voter approval as required by law — without any changes.
The board was asked by a member of the public to review how public comment is presenting in the BOE minutes. The issue revolved around the use of the word “commented,” which does not indicate whether the speaker is for or against the topic.
The board discussed expanding the public comment section with “a few minor word changes” such as adding “in favor of” or “spoke against” to make the minutes more accurate to the intent of the speaker.
“If a person has the courage to speak to the board, we should make it clear that they were heard and understood,” board member Russell Smith said.
While some board members voiced concern that the clerk would have to interpret the speaker’s intention, thus leading to a possible challenge of the minutes, overall, the members agreed to having the public comments section in the board minutes reflect the speaker’s opinion, when possible.
As requested at the July 11 meeting, the board added reports by the bargaining units to the agenda. This week, Tracy Smith spoke on behalf of the C-RCS Teachers Association.
She said that nine teachers have recently opened their homes to exchange students who are part of SUNY Cobleskill’s Central America Ambassador Program.
Teachers have also been preparing for fall by adjusting to new buildings, new classrooms and approaching changes in core curriculum and teacher evaluations.
“We need to be educated just like our students as we move forward,” Smith said. “I am confident that the new evaluation system will confirm the talent of the teachers here.”
C-RCS administrators also updated the board to the goings on in the schools.
Summer School Principal Jeff Klenk gave a brief report on summer school at C-RCS.
Currently 54 students are participating in 10 special education classes this summer at Ryder. Fifteen students are taking part in three distance learning and four teacher-taught classes at the high school.
“It’s going well,” Klenk said.
There are currently 16 students, including seven G.E.D. students, who may be eligible for graduation in August.
Summer graduation is Aug. 22 at 6:30 at the high school.
High School Principal Melissa Ausfeld reported that the first meeting with teachers was held regarding the new changes in Common Core Learning Standards and how those changes may affect how and what they teach. Additional meetings on the subject are schedule for August.
The inquiry team also had its initial meeting. Additional meetings of the team will be scheduled in August.
Code of Conduct
Every year, committees are formed to review the athletic and student codes of conduct.
This year, minor changes were suggested for the Athletic Code of Conduct such as the correction of two typos, a statement addressing school accident insurance, and the replacement of the word MySpace with Facebook.
“Our code is significantly different than some school districts, especially with middle schoolers trying to work their way back on the team,” Superintendent Lynn Macan said. “When at the end of the year you see those middle schoolors honored for academics as well as athletics, you see it makes a difference.”
There were no revisions proposed to the Student Code of Conduct.
“We feel very good about the minor language changes made last year, therefore there are no recommended changes,” Macan said.
Both codes were unanimously adopted.
The next Board of Education meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 8, in the Golding Middle School library.
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