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Mineola Board of Ed Notebook: June 21

Other news from the June 21 board of education meeting.

The  held a meeting on Thursday, June 21. Here are some of the things you may have missed.

District Survey

  • The results of the have all been tallied according to Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler, who contacted the survey company on June 15.
  • The district is putting together a Powerpoint presentation that the district will post to the district website along with a sampling of comments.
  • The district has asked for a further segregation of data to see how parents at the elementary, middle and high school levels responded.
  • “The results in general were very favorable,” Dr. Nagler said, noting a 75 percent rating “of either ‘A’ or ‘B’.”

Construction Update

  • Construction on is moving along and is expected to be finished on time and on budget. The district is waiting on two items, specifically roofing materials and two large doors for the field side which have a long lead time at the manufacturer.
  • is still awaiting approval from the state on the engineering review. “We’re kind of at the mercy of state approval before we can begin that project,” Dr. Nagler said.
  • Regarding the , the had a meeting the week of June 11 with a presentation given to the board on July 5. “We really did not have a consensus that one plan was better than another,” Dr. Nagler said, noting that the latest option, No. 9, enters and exits on Saville.
  • Dr. Nagler met June 21 with architects for the , reporting that the last proposal came in over-budget and “we’re working to get it down within a comfortable budget.” The district has about $300,000, but is only “comfortable” spending $200,000 on the project. Looking to start in February 2013 break. Hot lunches would be served via the other buildings.
  • School crews started demolition at Meadow on June 25. They have already removed the library, taking glass out and been emptying classrooms. The district will be installing two bathrooms via in-house construction and wiring every room for computers and electricity.
  • Crews will also be taking down a wall in the first classroom on the second floor on the east side of the middle wing to make room for the in the . Installation of the air conditioning also started the week of June 25, as did demolition and construction of the art room at the high school.
  • In response to a question regarding the budget for the cafeteria renovations, one of the reasons for leaving $100,000 is as a safeguard against the equipment failure in the cafeteria should it need to be replaced.

Textbook Request

  • The school district had a request for textbooks from a student who lives in the district but is attending a school out of state.
  • The superintendent stated at the meeting that legal counsel said that the district does not have to supply textbooks to the student.
  • However, the student’s family contacted the state, which indicated otherwise.
  • The school district has since inquired to the state as to the difference of opinion “but they haven’t given us a definitive answer about their interpretation,” Dr. Nagler said. “I don’t think its a big deal – if we have the books – to give the student the books. If we have to purchase it, specific books, I think that’s something different but if we have gotten enough copies of that titles, personally I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

Budget Transfers

  • The board authorized the transfer of surplus money as of June 30, 2012 from the district’s unassigned fund balance in an amount not to exceed $400,000 into the following reserve funds: capitol reserve, employee benefit accrued liability reserve, workers compensation.
  • The district’s books do not close until September.
  • “We need to establish the ability to fund the reserves if we choose to,” Dr. Nagler explained, adding that it was the district’s intention to replenish $600,000 used in the last budget and use any remaining money to fund any or none of the reserves listed.
  • According to assistant superintendent of finance Jack Waters, estimates are that the district is running at a 1 percent surplus of $800,000 to $1 million.
  • Currently the district has not funded the capitol reserve, while employee benefits is “possibly” $350,000 according to Waters and workers compensation is $175,000.
  • Waters recommended adding more to employee benefits.
  • There was one worker’s compensation claim at about $50,000.
  • Dr. Nagler reminded the board that the tax certiorari when settled, would have to be part of a new fund which would have to be funded.

Other Board News

  • The board waived the second formal reading for the and the Civility, Citizenship & Character Education policies, as well as repeal a policy entitled Harassment and Bullying, which became obsolete with the adoption of the former two policies.
  • A corrective action plan stemming from the 2011 internal audit of the district was filed with the state education department. The internal auditor conducts risk assessment, certifies that state controls are adhered to and makes recommendations. When the auditors come in in October and present the 2012 certified financials, they will review their 2011 findings and recommendations to see if the corrective action plan has been implemented.
  • In response to a question from a resident about how student workers are chosen for the summer, Dr. Nagler said that this year the district accepted “every student” that applied but adjusted for their availability in terms of time by placing them in a rotation. “One of the things we find with our well-intentioned students is that the nice weather kind of rolls around and they kind of drop out so we’re hoping that this actually gives us a solid workforce.” This is the first year that the district has had more applicants than positions. “You do see a drop-off, especially kids who are going off to college, and they’re leaving mid-August, they want a week to themselves.”
  • The district has applied for a management efficiency grant. The grant “capturing and how we became more efficient and we save money in the process, we kept our programs,” the superintendent said. $1.8 million over 3 years maximum.
  • Dr. Nagler noted that he had received a phone call from informing him that the district would receive an additional $75,000 in bullet aid on top of the additional $50,000 for iPad expansion.

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