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December 13, 2023 Business Meeting Minutes

Cohoes City School District

Board of Education Business Meeting
December 13, 2023 Cohoes Middle School
Library, 6 pm

(The Board of Education may entertain a motion to enter into an executive session subject to Board approval.)

MINUTES

The Meeting was called to Order by the President, Mrs. Carey at 6:01 pm

ROLL CALL
Present:

  • Mrs. Giller –
  • Mr. Jackson
  • Mrs. Snyder
  • Mrs. Gendron
  • Mrs. Paradis
  • Mr. Jarosz
  • Mrs. Carey

Also Present:

  • Ms. Peggy O’Shea, Superintendent of Schools
  • Mr. Dan Martinelli, Assistant Superintendent
  • Mrs. Stacy Mackey, School Business Official

II. DISTRICT REPORTS

Superintendent Reports – Ms. O’Shea announced that Phase 2 of the Capital Project has been approved by NYSED. CS Arch will present an update along with anticipated construction timelines at the January 10 Board of Education meeting.  She also provided an update regarding the bleachers on the alumni field in the Capital Project.

Principal presented their building plans for the 2023-2024 school year and building goals which align with the District’s Beliefs and Commitments.
School Climate and Culture – Ms. O’Shea discussed shared that there is a recommendation on the agenda for a safety officer to be assigned to the Middle School, to fill the opening from a recent resignation. She mentioned that the posting for the secondary tutoring center instructor closes on 12/14/2023 with a plan for the center to be opened after the holiday
break.

Ms. O’Shea stated that a session to discuss response to student behavior with secondary administrators is scheduled for January 3, 2024.  She will also be reaching out to elementary administrators to schedule a similar meeting.

Ms. O’Shea expressed her gratitude for the partnership we have with the Cohoes Police Department and a meeting has been scheduled for January 4, 2024 with secondary principals, the Chief and Assistant Chief of Police.

Ms. O’Shea discussed the expectations of students at sporting events and shared that a police officer would be in attendance at home games.  She also made the board aware that the expectations were sent home via Synergy, ParentSquare and read at games. Athletic Director Jeff Huneau will be discussing this at a future Athletic Director meeting as other districts are experiencing similar concerns.

Business Update – Ms. Mackey shared that the increase of minimum wage will be on the January 10th agenda as this will impact part-time employees. Additional contracts and resolution language in regards to piggybacking of contracts for the Capital Projects will be on a January agenda.  Borrowing of 3.6 million dollars recently went out to bid.  The district received five bidders.

Ms. Mackey also reviewed the Draft Long Range Financial plan which summarized actual results for the 2022/23 school year and forecasts for 2024 through 2027 school years. She discussed assumptions used for the revenues and expenses of the projected years.  The plan is used to prepare the 2024-2025 budget goals.  Ms. Mackey further explained that 2024- 2025 budget goals would be to remain within the tax cap and to be mindful to limit legacy
cost when foreseeable with no planned use of appropriated fund balance or reserves.  New Return on investment forms will be used as a tool to assist in prioritizing budget needs.

Ms. Mackey reviewed the budget timeline; including upcoming needs assessment meetings, budget committee meetings and presentations at future board meetings.  She mentioned that Assembly Member John McDonald will be joining us at the January 31, 2024 meeting to provide an update on the New York State budget.

III. BOARD OF EDUCATION DISCUSSION OF AGENDA ITEMS

Mr. Jackson asked Ms. O’Shea about the impact of the closing of the College of Saint Rose on the District.  Ms. O’Shea advised the board that it is a loss for the district as we have worked with many student teachers from the college and have hired many teachers who have gone through Saint Rose. We also know of at least four former students who will be impacted.  Ms. O’Shea shared that she recently wrote a letter to Dr. Virginia Goatley at the State University at Albany supporting their addition of Adolescent Education BS, Early
Childhood/Childhood Education BS and Special Education BS programs.

IV. COMMUNITY DISCUSSION OF AGENDA ITEMS – None

V. OLD BUSINESS – None

VI. REPORT FROM MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION

A. THAT the Board accepts the Minutes of the Board of Education meeting of
November 9, 2023.

B. THAT the Board of Education accepts the minutes for the Committee on Special Education and the Committee on Pre-School Special Education for the
following dates: 8/3/23, 8/29/23, 8/30/23, 9/1/23, 9/8/23, 9/15/23, 9/19/23, 9/26/23, 10/2/23, 10/6/23, 10/11/23, 10/12/23, 10/16/23, 10/19/23, 10/20/23,
11/2/23, 11/3/23, 11/6/23, 11/15/23, 9/21/23, 10/16/23, 10/17/23, 10/18/23,
10/19/23, 10/20/23, 10/25/23, 11/1/23, 11/2/23, 11/9/23, 11/14/23, 11/16/23,
12/4/23

C. THAT the Board of Education approves change order CO 01-001 on NYS
Education Department Project # 01-05-00-01-002-016 for the Abram Lansing Capital Outlay Project, as follows:

Contractor: Akros Management, Inc., 15 Warehouse Row, Albany, NY 12205

Original Contract Sum: $176,350.00
Net change by previously approved change orders: $0.00
Contract Sum Prior to this change order: $176,350.00
This change order will modify the contract sum by: ($5,000.00)
The new contract sum including this change order: $171,350.00
The contract will be changed by (days): 0

D. THAT the Board of Education approves the Memorandum of Agreement between the Cohoes City School District and the Cohoes Teachers’ Association dated December 13, 2023 in accordance with the terms and conditions herein.

E. THAT the Board of Education approves the letter of agreement dated October 24, 2023 between the Cohoes City School District and Proctor’s located at 432 State Street, Schenectady, New York (Collaborative School of the Arts) for arts based programming during the 2023-2024 school year in accordance with the terms and conditions herein.

F. THAT the Board of Education approves the Agreement dated December 13, 2023 between the Cohoes City School District and TK Elevator located at 4 Airport Park Boulevard, Albany, NY for elevator work at Harmony Hill School (SED project number 01-05-00-01-010-012) and Van Schaick Grade School (SED project number 01-05-00-01-0-005-019) as part of Phase 1 of the 2022 Capital Project in accordance with the terms and conditions herein.

G. THAT the Board of Education approves the agreement dated November 13, 2023 between the Cohoes City School District and Teaching Strategies located at 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 300, Bethesda, Maryland in accordance with the terms and conditions herein.

H. THAT Board of Education of the Cohoes City School District approves the
Settlement Agreement dated November 13, 2023 involving Student # 17478630 in accordance with the terms and conditions herein.

I. THAT the Board of Education approves the Corrective Action Plan dated
December 13, 2023 thereto as prepared by the School Business Official in
response to the Office of State Comptroller Audit report 2022M-107.

J. THAT the Board of Education approves the following item to be removed from the fixed asset inventory for surplus:
Steam table – tag number 001611 (20090590)

VII. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT – PERSONNEL

Instructional

A. THAT the Board of Education amend item VII (H) of the October 25, 2023
Agenda to read as follows:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School
District appoints Helen Perry to a four – year probationary term in the tenure area of Special Education, effective November 13, 2023 and expiring on November 12, 2027 November 27, 2023 and expiring on November 26, 2027. Ms. Perry holds Initial Certification in the area of Students With Disabilities (Grades 1-6).

Helen Perry

  • Position: 1.0 FTE Special Education Teacher (AL)
  • Certification: Students With Disabilities (Grades 1-6)
  • Tenure Area: Special Education
  • Effective Date:  November 13, 2023 November 27, 2023
  • Tenure Date: November 12, 2027 November 26, 2027
  • Salary: Step 4 of the current CTA contract

B. THAT the Board of Education amend item VII (R) of the July 5, 2023 Business Meeting agenda as follows:

THAT the Board of Education appoints the following individuals to the Building
Leadership Teams listed below for the 2023-2024 school year:

Abram Lansing Elementary School
Christina Kellar
Sue Keough
Melissa Lowden
Bridget Quinlan
Brittany Whitford
Holly Scensny
Carole Blide (CSEA)
Cliff Bird

Cohoes Middle School
Elaine Flatow
Andee Bartholomew
Lindsay Fontaine
Melissa Benoit
John Dundon
Stacey Nolan (CSEA)
Deanna Kelly
Kyle McFarland

Harmony Hill School
Mary Beth Cepiel
Christine Guarnieri
Catherine Lamina
Sarah Adkins
Jenna Howe
Stacy Smith-Bold (CSEA)
Mark Perry

Cohoes High School
Terrin Griffin
Kerry Bottenfield
Alicia Ozols
Virginia Jackson
Sean Dollard
Carolyn Tetrault (CSEA)
Heather Bradt (Assistant Principal)
Laura Tarlo

Van Schaick Grade School
Bonnie Bellville
Carrie Bennett
Katrina Keith
Amber DellaRocco
Amanda Dorr
Pam Krupski (CSEA)
Jacqueline DeChiaro

C. THAT the Board of Education approve the following student teacher placements from the following school (unpaid):

SUNY Plattsburgh
January 29, 2024 – March 22, 2024
Emily Eriole with Alison Craver at Abram Lansing Elementary School

The College of St. Rose
January 16, 2024 – March 8, 2024
Mariana Gonzalez with Keith Fischer at Cohoes High School
Alexandra Reale with AmberLynn DellaRocco at Van Schaick Grade School

The College of St. Rose
March 11, 2024 – May 8, 2024
Caitlyn Hennessy with John Ketchoyian at Cohoes High School
Alexandra Nash with Briana Flaherty at Abram Lansing Elementary School
Shari Brophy with Amanda Dorr at Van Schaick Grade School

Russell Sage College
January 16, 2024 – March 8, 2024
Rachael Gregg with Teresa Gendron at Cohoes Middle School

D. THAT the Board of Education appoints the following individuals to the Substitute Teacher and Tutor list:

Sloane, Emily
Stilwell, Stefon
Kazaoka, Courtney
Kirsch, Amy
Korn, Andrew
Budd, Ashley
Effective: December 14, 2023

E. THAT the Board of Education accepts the resignation of Lisa Sexton-Foster from the position of Long-Term Substitute Science teacher (CMS).
Effective: November 15, 2023.

F. THAT the Board of Education approves a salary increase due to additional
assignments for the following individual for the 2023-2024 school year:

Kerry Bottenfield – 0.2 FTE as per CTA contract – ESL – (1.2 FTE total) (CHS)
Effective: November 20, 2023 through June 30, 2024

John Gelatt – 0.2 FTE as per CTA contract – Social Studies – (1.2 FTE total)
(CHS)
Terrance Keegan – 0.2 FTE as per CTA contract – Social Studies – (1.2 FTE total) (CHS)
Effective: November 28, 2023 through January 12, 2024

Michelle Smith-Ball – 0.1 FTE as per CTA contract – Art – (1.1 FTE total) (CMS)
Effective: November 28, 2023 through January 26, 2024

Michelle Smith-Ball – 0.1 FTE as per CTA contract – Music- (1.1 FTE total)
(CMS)
Effective: January 29, 2024 through June 30, 2024

Colleen Duff – 0.2 FTE as per CTA contract – Science- (1.2 FTE total) (CMS)
Emily Dundon – 0. 2 FTE as per CTA contract – Science- (1.2 FTE total) (CMS)
Jaclyn Penney – 0. 2 FTE as per CTA contract – Science- (1.2 FTE total) (CMS)
Effective: December 4, 2024 through June 30, 2024

G. BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School District does hereby grant Timothy Cary a “part-time” (.6 FTE) leave of absence from his employment as a Teaching Assistant, for the period commencing November 20, 2023 and ending no later than June 30, 2024, to accept a part-time (.6 FTE) term position as a Spanish teacher. At the conclusion of the term appointment Mr. Cary will be returned to a full-time Teaching Assistant position.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Education of the Cohoes City
School District, upon the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, does hereby appoint Timothy Cary to a term position as a Spanish teacher, for the maximum period November 20, 2023 to June 30, 2024, subject to earlier
termination by the Board of Education.

This is a term appointment and is not a probationary appointment. It is specifically acknowledged that Mr. Cary has agreed to waive any rights he may have to a probationary appointment and consideration for tenure and such agreement is evidenced by a writing signed by both parties. Mr. Cary will receive salary and benefits as outlined in the Letter Agreement by and between Mr. Cary and the Superintendent of Schools. In the event Mr. Cary’s term position is discontinued by the Board of Education prior to June 30, 2024, he may return from his leave of absence to resume his service as a full-time Teaching Assistant.

H. BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School
District appoints Joshua Lewandowski to a four – year probationary term in the
tenure area of Social Studies, effective January 16, 2024 and expiring on January 15, 2028. Mr. Lewandowski holds Professional Certification in the area of Social Studies 7-12.

Joshua Lewandowski

  • Position: 1.0 FTE Social Studies Teacher (CHS)
  • Certification: Social Studies 7-12
  • Tenure Area: Social Studies
  • Effective Date: January 16, 2024
  • Tenure Date: January 15, 2028
  • Salary: Step 8 of the current CTA contract

I. THAT the Board of Education appoint the following individuals as advisors to the clubs and activities listed for the 2023-2024 school year, contingent upon
acceptable program enrollment:

Clubs and Activities                                              Name                                           FTE

Academic Resource Center (CHS)                   Daniel Shepard                                  0.5
Effective 12/14/2023                                          Marilyn Barton                                  0.5

Elementary Musical Choral Director                 Jennifer Ballard                           1.0

 

Non-Instructional

J. BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School
District hereby appoints the following individual to the Full -Time Teacher Aide Substitute list, subject to the rules of the Cohoes Civil Service Commission, such appointment is a temporary appointment.

Stacie Sorel
Effective: December 13, 2023

K. THAT the Board of Education accept the resignation of Kebrina Ekwe from her position as a Full Time Teacher Aide (AL).

Effective: December 1, 2023

L. THAT the Board of Education accept the resignation of Elizabeth Stone from her position as a Part Time Teacher Aide (VS).

Effective: November 21, 2023

M. THAT the Board of Education accept the resignation of Christopher McNeill
from his position as a Part Time School Safety Officer.
Effective: November 20, 2023

N. BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School
District hereby appoints Carmen Serrano to the position of Part-Time Teacher
Aide subject to the rules of the Cohoes Civil Service Commission, such
appointment is a temporary appointment.

Carmen Serrano

Position: Part-Time Teacher Aide (HH)
Effective Date: November 28, 2023 through June 30, 2024
Salary: $14.20 per hour

O. BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School
District hereby appoints Cassidy Begin to the position of Part-Time Teacher Aide subject to the rules of the Cohoes Civil Service Commission, such appointment is a temporary appointment.

Cassidy Begin

  • Position: Part-Time Teacher Aide (HH)
  • Effective Date: November 28, 2023 through June 30, 2024
  • Salary: $14.20 per hour

ADDENDA:

VII. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SUPERINTEDENT – PERSONNEL:

Non-Instructional

P. THAT the Board of Education appoints the following individuals to the coaching positions listed below for the 2023-2024 school year, as per the CTA contract. Position is contingent upon acceptable program enrollment:

CO-CURRICULAR  ACTIVITY                              NAME                               FTE
Basketball – Girls, JV                                              York Bush                           1.0
Basketball – Girls Modified                              Blain Goverski                     1.0
Basketball – Boys, Modified                           Nicholas Foglia                     1.0
Cheerleading – JV (Winter)                              Amya Sousis                         1.0
Unified Bowling                                                    Teresa Gendron                    1.0
Esports – Varsity (Spring)                                   Michael Wilt                         1.0

Q. THAT the Board of Education approve the unpaid leave of absence request of Felicity Dessingue from her position as Teacher Aide. (VS)

Effective: December 16, 2023 through June 30, 2024

R. BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School
District hereby appoints Katherine Samuel to the position of Part-Time Teacher Aide subject to the rules of the Cohoes Civil Service Commission, such appointment is a temporary appointment.

Katherine Samuel

  • Position: Part-Time Teacher Aide (HH)
  • Effective Date: December 14, 2023 through June 30, 2024
  • Salary: $14.20 per hour

S. BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School
District hereby appoints Christopher Scaccia to the position of Part-Time School Safety Officer, subject to the rules of the Cohoes Civil Service Commission, such appointment is a provisional appointment.

Christopher Scaccia

  • Position: Part-Time School Safety Officer (Provisional)
  • Effective Date: December 19, 2023 through June 30, 2024
  • Salary: $21 per hour

T. BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the Cohoes City School
District hereby extends the employment of Peggy O’Shea to June 30, 2027,
amends the employment agreement dated May 5, 2021 and authorizes the Board President to execute said addendum and authorizes payment in accordance therewith.

DESIGNATION OF CONSENT AGENDA: THAT the Board of Education adopts the following resolutions of the December 13, 2023agenda;

VI (A-J), VII (A-T) and IX (A)

  • Moved by: Mrs. Snyder
  • Second by: Mrs. Gendron
  • All voted “Aye”
  • Motion carried: 7-0

VIII. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT – BUSINESS/FINANCE

IX. FINANCIAL REPORTS (Recommended by the Superintendent)

A. I recommend that the following reports be accepted by the Board of Education:

  • Warrants- October and November 2023
  • Budget Transfers – October and November 2023
  • Budget Status Report – October and November 2023
  • Revenue Status Report – October and November 2023
  • Bank Reconciliation Report – October and November 2023
  • Internal Claims Audit Report – September, October and November 2023
  • Reserve and Fund Balance Report

X. INFORMATION AND CONSIDERATION -None.

XI. COMMENTS FROM BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS

Mrs. Gendron complimented Career Education Coordinator Becky LaForest on all of her hard work.

Mrs. Carey discussed the letter jointly signed by CTA and CSEA Union officers regarding their concerns with Synergy.  She advised the Board that she recently attended a meeting with Ms. O’Shea and union presidents to discuss their concerns.  Mrs. Carey, on behalf of the Board, requested that Ms. O’Shea perform a deeper dive and prepare a report and share out at the next meeting.  Ms. O’Shea mentioned that she will include information from recently held student focus groups. Mr. Jackson also voiced concerns regarding the parent
aspect of Synergy.  Ms. O’Shea stated she will work to get input from parents as well.

XII. QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS FROM AUDIENCE

Cohoes Middle School Social Worker, Elaine Flatow gave an update on the Holiday Hope Program. All of the proceeds from the Election Day raffles allowed the Holiday Shop to provide 40 families, 100 students with 300 gifts as well as hand-made scarves, gloves and hats. She thanked her social worker colleagues for their hard work and dedication. Mrs. Carey thanked the team for their amazing job, and on behalf of the board, she wished everyone happy holidays!

XIII. BOARD POLICY REVIEW

First Reading:
4321.12 – Use of Time Out Rooms (replaces current 4321.12)
4321.12.1 – Limited Authorized Use of Physical Restraint (replaces current 4321.12)
8210 – Use of Surveillance Cameras on School Property
9000 – Personnel Goals
9120.1 – Conflict of Interest
9170 – Meals and Refreshments
9500 – Compensation and Benefits
9520.6 – Right of Employees to Express Breast Milk in the Workplace

XIV. DATES FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

January 10, 2024 –Cohoes Middle School Library at 6 PM
January 31, 2024 – Cohoes Middle School Library at 6 PM

XV. ADJOURNMENT

  • MOTION: To adjourn at 7:48 pm
  • Moved by: Mrs. Gendron
  • Second by: Mr. Jarosz
  • All voted “Aye”
  • Motion carried: 7-0
Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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