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Mineola Board of Ed Notebook: Dec. 19

Other news from the December 19 board of education meeting.

The  held a meeting on Thursday, Dec. 1. Here are some of the things you may have missed.

ELA and Math Testing Dates

  • New York State is changing some of the parameters in this year’s testing with a third day added to both the ELA and math exams.
  • The test dates will be April 17-19 for ELA and April 25-27 for math.
  • Over the three days students will average 180 minutes of test time, with a 10 minute break factored into the time.
  • “The reason why it’s so long... about half of the questions on this test won’t count,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler said. “The children won’t know that; the questions that won’t count are test questions for next year’s exam.”
  • In order to create a new assessment in line with common core the state must test the reliability of the questions.
  • “The only way to test those questions is to actually give them as test questions,” Dr. Nagler said, adding that he did not anticipate future exams to remain this length. “I hope it’s a much shorter exam. Third graders are going to be 175 minutes in their first day and a 70 minute exam is a lot.”

Waste Disposal Settlement

  • A settlement has been reached over alleged improper disposal of waste, with the district agreeing to pay $10,000.
  • “This was a long time ago, prior to this board and administration,” Dr. Nagler said.
  • Over 100 school districts were involved in the settlement where originally the state sued the seven or eight primary parties involved after the agreed to pick up a large portion of the responsibility for cleanup.
  • The superfund site makes anyone who ever deposited waste at the site whether hazardous or otherwise, responsible for cleanup. However, the initial parties “dragged everybody else in.”
  • Mineola joined with 13 other school districts, public water districts and park districts to negotiate a better deal than was initially offered.

NWEA Test Error

  • The district was notified the week of December 12 that a grading error had occurred on the NWEA exams in grades K and 1, which is a different test than grades two to five.
  • “So our scores increased in kindergarten, I believe it was somewhere 72 percent below proficiency and now we’re at 50, a very nice jump in a week but we still have a lot of work to do there,” Dr. Nagler said, adding that a notice was sent home to kindergarten and first grade parents.

Recycling Money

  • Following a request from board president Christine Napolitano, Dr. Nagler reported that Royal Waste had issued a check to the middle school PTA for $420 in 2008, the high school PTA for $400 in 2007 and $420 in 2008 for recycling efforts.
  • About $170 of the funds were used to purchase two ads in music journals in 2010 and 2011 for the marching band.
  • When they originally started , the money was directly correlated to recycling.
  • “I don’t think they’re recycling as much,” Dr. Nagler said. “It’s always a... if you have a certain tonnage they were giving back of that tonnage.”
  • The district’s agreement was that the money did not go to the general fund.
  • President Napolitano said that she would follow up with the PTAs so there would be “no question about where the money went.”

Construction Update

  • Crews did to the .
  • There is no construction being done at the .
  • Dr. Nagler did say that the district did need “an update on our kitchen project there,” but that architects “were focusing on the library right now.”
  • Since the district is purchasing all new equipment and doing construction for the , it will “push the cafeteria budget probably closer than we want to take it.”
  • Some of the work may be funded out of the capital budget for the next school year.
  • A report may be available at the February business meeting.

Other Board News

  • The board modified and repassed a resolution from the July 10, 2010 reorganizational meeting changing the standard workday for the district treasurer from four to 7 hours and indicated a number of days per month for the district clerk and district treasurer despite the fact that both participate in the district’s time keeping system. “Two years ago we made a mistake in how we passed this resolution,” Dr. Nagler said, adding that “it wasn’t clear” the first time the measure was passed. “Now they inform us that the error has to be fixed so this is fixing it.”
  • The superintendent was contacted by “three interested parties” regarding renting the . Dr. Nagler conducted tours the week of December 12 and on December 19. The request for proposals were originally due December 30 but extensions were granted due to the time of the year and the shortness of delivery of the RFP.
  • Following , the has requested another such exchange, this time with Austria. Science instructional leader John Gollisz speaks German and reportedly has a contact in the country.
  • There are three clubs at the in need of moderators, including the chess club and math olympiad. The club advisor position was advertised district-wide after receiving no response from the middle school.
  • Music teacher Tracey Campbell brought part of the string ensemble for a preview of the winter concert, performing a classical selection as well as “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

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