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January 21, 2018
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General News: Updates from December BOE Meeting

December 24, 2017

Board of Education 12/18/17
By Hannah Comitz

Awards:
Jeffrey and Marietta Moulton were honored for their dedication to section 9 volleyball. Mr. Kroemer, the athletic director, presented the couple with awards. Mrs. Palumbo presented awards to two children who won the peace poster contest. This event is sponsored by the Lions Club. These are only two children out of the 14 who participated in the community based contest. Over 100 countries participate in this poster contest each year. One student is chosen from each country to compete. The first place winner for Cornwall was Morgan Gagnon who won $100 for her amazing artwork.


The Arts:
The board was shown a video that contained numerous pictures of artwork made by elementary school children. Mrs Meyers was excited to show the video to the board members.

Peace:
Every child in the elementary school was able to make peace posters. About 235 posters were collected and five posters were chosen to be presented to the board. Each child had the opportunity to talk about their art and what peace means to them. The only child who was not in attendance was Joseph Geraci. Below are pictures of the 5 posters with the names of the artists next to them.


Town Events:
Mr. Miller said that “it has been a wonderful winter concert season.” Each school has created tremendous displays for the public. The middle school’s winter contest will be in January. Mr. Miller congratulates all the hard work done by the teachers, which he said payed off beautifully.

Regents Scores:
One of the board members said that Cornwall is number one in the area for Regents test scores. He congratulated Mrs. Imperato and Mrs. Polumbo on the great test scores.

Sam Delacruz’s Report:
The Keep It Clean drive was a huge success and students learned the importance of giving back to their community. The COH winter concert was on December 12. Sam Delacruz said congratulations on a job well done to all the students and faculty. The concert choir from the high school will be coming to the elementary schools to fill the hallways with carols on December 21st.
The 1960s time capsule was opened and the students had tons of fun learning about this time era. Artifacts from 2017 will be sealed up again soon.

Ana Martinez’s Report:
The high school’s winter concert and Poetry Out Loud recitations went wonderfully. The Night of Peace went very well and it was a fantastic display of culture. All Donations that were collected went to UNICEF.

Outreach Committee:
This committee met at the library and had about 20 people in attendance. The board discussed sending more newsletters to let the community knows what is going on.

Visitation Committee:
The committee went to Willow and commented on the positive conversations they had with the teachers. The teachers requested more storage and electrical updates at Willow elementary school. The teachers are pleased with the small class sizes, so the board said they will keep that in mind when budgeting for next year.

NYSBA Representative:
This board member took several courses about financial planning for education at this event. There is also a program, that is more for colleges but is slowly coming down, that lets teachers use whatever teaching material they want. This gives the teachers more freedom to be creative while teaching.

New Textbooks:
A new math textbook was approved. The new work books are broke up by category so there is a combination of digital and paper supplies. The district decided on a three year contract with this publisher and textbook company, instead of the previous five year contract.

Discussion of Capital Project Vote:
The board requested that each member keep their comments between five to 10 minutes. The board head joked that 10 minutes each is far over an hour, so make it brief. Some members definitely did not follow this request.
The board all agreed that the there are priorities to take care of first to keep students and faculty safe.
A lot of the members like the idea of having multiple options for the public to decide on next vote. That way the updates are not a take or leave it situation.
Bickering started after misunderstanding over distributing papers to the public. There were some comments exchanged and tensions were high. Eventually things calmed down and each members’ points were finally expressed. This same member in which the argument started, volunteered himself as the facilities committee head. He felt that new leadership is needed. He also proposed becoming a National Blue Ribbon school within 5 years, because he feels the community and the schools can do it.
Another member said that it is important to listen to the community and reflect on the possible changes moving forward. A member mentioned promoting the focus groups to the public. This will let people come join the board in this discussion, which will build confidence. He also said that all committees should be open to the public.
Mrs. Quinn said that people have stopped her out in public to say that the updates of the schools can not be done all at once. Many people proposed breaking the options up. She wanted to to tell the community to look at the YouTube channels of the board meetings to stay up on current topics.
The board understands where the community is coming from. The large price tag scared already over taxed citizens. The community has clearly made a choice that the board now needs to adapt to.
Nancy Bryan said that she is disturbed by the comments on social media. She pointed out that the taxes are not the town’s issue, it is Albany who has decided this. She was shocked by how little people showed up to the forums, even though they were held at many different times during the day. The board was accused of hiding things, but she wanted to emphasis that all of the meetings are posted on the website, so nothing is hidden.

Drama started again amongst some of the Board members. This went on for quite a while. There was even a cheer section for the quarrel between the few members.

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