Superintendent's Roundtable Stays Focused
Superintendent's Roundtable in Focus
on Student Success
Sharing a list of points to discuss (see below), Dr. Walter Schartner calmly addressed the nearly 200 people, comprised of parents, staff members, administrators, and Board of Education members, who attended his first Superintendent’s Roundtable in the Middle School cafeteria.
With the focus on student success, Dr. Schartner enumerated the current situation at the elementary level, how the district got there, and what has changed since the May budget vote. Dr. Schartner also reported that recent unfunded mandates from the state, which changed the cut scores for the Math and ELA assessments, now necessitates the district provide AIS (Academic Intervention Services) for 226 more students. According to the state’s newest levels, these additional students require extra help to meet the required learning standards in English language arts and mathematics.
In addition, Dr. Schartner started a list of items that the district would want to change, if it could, including the need for more AIS personnel, while linking how these changes would impact the students.
Engaging the audience to respond to the information, Dr. Schartner heard parents express dissatisfaction with the allotted lunch periods, larger class sizes, and changes in the lunch program. Listening to and recording their concerns, Dr. Schartner explained that nothing could be immediately resolved during the roundtable, but these issues would be reexamined and reevaluated with the Board of Education members for alternatives wherever possible. The audience was encouraged to attend the regularly schedule Board meetings for updates.
Roundtable in Focus
on Student Success
Present Situation at the Elementary Level
Due to budget cuts, staff reductions, and inter building scheduling of shared staff, the elementary lunch and recess periods have been reduced by 10 minutes (from 50 minutes to 40 minutes).
Class sizes, affected by the removal of the Shared Area policy, have fluctuations in populations among the three buildings, but the district has attempted to keep sizes consistent. This year's numbers are as follows:
Kindergarten has 223 students in 10 sections with class sizes ranging from 25-20.
First Grade has 212 students in 9 sections with class sizes ranging from 24-22.
Second Grade has 246 students in 10 sections with class sizes ranging from 25-24.
Third Grade has 234 students in 11 sections with class sizes ranging from 22-20.
Fourth Grade has 247 students in 11 sections with class sizes ranging from 26-21.
Fifth Grade has 254 students in 11 sections with class sizes ranging from 25-21.
Recent unfunded mandates from the state, which changed the cut scores for the Math and ELA assessments, now requires the district to provide AIS (Academic Intervention Services) for 226 more students. According to the state’s newest levels, these additional students require extra help to meet the required learning standards in English language arts and mathematics.
In both the Math and ELA, the state has determined that these growth-model tests should be an hour longer in reading comprehension and essay writing.
Twenty percent of teacher evaluations will be based on the results of these New York State Assessments scores.
How Did We Get There?
During the 2010-2011 Budget process last spring,
The district saw a spending increase of 1.8%and a tax rate increase of 5.9, which voters approved in May;
State Aid was reduced by 5%;
The district eliminated eleven teaching positions this year (this makes twenty teaching positions, mostly through retirement over the past two years), two administrative positions, two clerical positions, two-part-time custodial positions, Transportation Director, and a district treasurer position;
While two elementary positions were reduced, one at Cherry and one at Lincoln, only one probationary teacher lost a job.
With this allotment of shared staff, the elementary principals could no longer schedule 50-minute periods for lunch since special periods are only 40-minutes in length and these specials staff must travel now from building to building, due to the reduction of positions;
When the Town of Islip determined the taxable assessments of all properties ins Sayville, (both residences and businesses), it shifted the tax burden away from the homeowners. This allowed Sayville School District to reduce its voter-approved spending increase to 1.77% (tather than 1.8%) and its voter-approved tax-rate increase was lowered to 3.93%;
What has Changed Since the May Budget Vote?
The District added back
0.5 social worker at Cherry and 0.5 psychologist at Sunrise,
a student assistance counselor at the High school,
0.2 ESL teacher (for students who recently moved into the district.)
Next year, 2011-2012) is still an unknown. The state projects a $9 billion shortfall and federal money will no longer be available. With the Race to the Top mandates (for which Sayville only receives $5,000 a year), the District has to fulfill more obligations with little or no money.