THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

Full Board

 

FROM:

Jean C. Stevens

 

SUBJECT:

Status Report on Roosevelt Union Free School District

 

DATE:

December 20, 2006

 

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1 and 2

 

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Information

 

Monthly status report on key issues for the Roosevelt Union Free School District.

 

Reason(s) for Consideration

 

Requested by members of the Board of Regents.
         
Proposed Handling 

 

For information.

 

Procedural History

 

          Not applicable.

 

Background Information

 

          Roosevelt Union Free School District is the only New York State take-over school district.  On April 12, 2002, Chapter 33 of the Laws of 2002 was enacted into law authorizing the removal of the Board of Education (BOE) of the Roosevelt Union Free School District and the appointment of an interim board by the Commissioner of Education.

 

 

          Section 1 of the statute authorizes the Commissioner of Education to appoint and supervise the superintendent of schools; he may disapprove the appointments of assistant or associate superintendents, building principals and other school administrators and supervisors, including tenure appointments. Furthermore, the Commissioner exercises fiscal and educational program oversight. The interim BOE must provide a five-year education plan with annual updates and a five-year financial stabilization plan for the district, which shall ensure that revenues and expenditures are in balance.  The interim BOE must also provide the Board of Regents with periodic updates of the educational progress of the school district.

 

Recommendation

 

Staff recommends that the Regents review the attached status report and SED/Roosevelt monthly meeting agenda that provides information on the operations and oversight of the Roosevelt Union Free School District:

 

·       Attachment A: SED Status Report on Roosevelt Union Free School District

·       Attachment B: Roosevelt School District Monthly Meeting Agenda, December 21, 2006.

 

Timetable for Implementation

 

          Not applicable.

 

 

Attachments

 

 


                                                                                                    ATTACHMENT A

 

 

SED STATUS REPORT ON ROOSEVELT UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

The following provides information regarding five areas of continued Department focus during this reporting period.

 

 

1.     State Education Department (SED) Oversight and Support

 

                   The State Education Department continues to provide ongoing and sustained oversight of the Roosevelt Union Free School District. A Department team, consisting of program, legal and fiscal staff, meets monthly with the Superintendent and his administrative cabinet. A meeting is scheduled on December 21, 2006. The agenda is developed each month with input from all members of the SED Roosevelt team and with the opportunity for input from the district. The agenda for the December 21, 2006 meeting is included in Attachment B.

 

On November 28-29, 2006, a team of SED and regional network experts conducted central office and school-level reviews to determine progress and needs related to the following areas: general education (ELA and mathematics) instruction and resources; special education services; Academic Intervention Services; student support services, including attendance and census report; child nutrition; early childhood services; bilingual education; facilities, technology and data; fiscal administration; leadership; governance; professional development and library services.

 

The review of the Roosevelt School District is based on a four-stage approach:

 

Ř     Stage 1. November 20-21, the SED Title I Office completed a district-level review focused on instructional, fiduciary and accountability requirements. On November 22, preliminary findings, observations and considerations were verbally presented to teams who would conduct the stage 2 reviews.

 

Ř     Stage 2. November 28-29, seven review teams completed reviews in each building and with central office personnel.  The building-level reviews included interviews of principals, assistant principals, teachers, guidance personnel and students (at the middle school and high school levels); and classroom visits across program areas (primarily in ELA and mathematics).

 

Ř     Stage 3.  December 4-5, the Office of Child Nutrition Program Administration completed a review of the nutrition program in all schools in the district.

 

Ř     Stage 4. A Roosevelt School District Community Meeting will be held in

early 2007. The meeting will be led by Commissioner Mills who will

   present information regarding school district performance, and community

   members/organizations will have the opportunity to present

   recommendations and comments.

 

Following the site visits described in stages 2 and 3, the team prepared draft reports which include observations and recommendations. It is anticipated that this comprehensive review of the district will provide SED with more complete information upon which to determine whether the district’s Five-Year Education Plan is approvable or in need of revisions. In addition, the school district will have objective, factual information to be considered in making programmatic and resource allocation adjustments during 2006-07, and for the development of the 2007-08 school district budget.

 

2.       Interim Board of Education

 

          Mr. Edward McCormick, Dr. Laval Wilson, and Mr. Glenn E. Simmons have announced their resignations as members of the Interim Board of Education for the Roosevelt School District. A public announcement has been placed in selective newspapers and websites to canvass for new Roosevelt board members. Applications must be received in the Superintendent’s office by 3:00 pm, December 22, 2006. Interviews will be conducted by Vice Chancellor Sanford and Regents Tilles and Cofield on January 5, 2007 in Roosevelt. The Board of Regents will be asked to vote on recommended appointments at the January Board of Regents meeting.

 

3.      Academic

 

·       Five-Year Education Plan

 

The Department Roosevelt team completed a review of the Five-Year Education Plan and made recommendations that will help the district strengthen sections of the plan. Additional recommendations are expected to result from the comprehensive site visit. A final revised plan is subject to the approval of the Commissioner. When the Commissioner approves the plan, the revised plan will be presented to the community at a public meeting by the Roosevelt Board of Education and the Commissioner or his designee.

 

·       Title I

 

The Title I School Improvement Grant Extension for the Roosevelt Union Free School District has been approved by SED. The SED liaison will conduct monthly visits to review the implementation of Title I program services.  

 

·     SURR Status

 

          The district has petitioned for the Roosevelt High School to be removed from SURR status. The SED Office of Audit Services is completing the review of remaining records that are connected to the decision regarding SURR status. The final determination regarding SURR will be made by the New York City Office at SED.

4.               Finance

 

Based upon information provided by the district, the fiscal administrator successfully completed the task of costing out the $6 million special academic improvement grant.  The analyses provide an accounting for funds appropriated by the Legislature for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.

 

The district’s independent auditors have completed their report for the 2005-06 fiscal year.  Though the auditors have confirmed a $5.7 million operating loss, there has been an improvement in the type of audit opinion received. For example, the district received a disclaimer of opinion for the 2004-05 school year, which means that the records and supporting documentation were in such poor condition that the auditors could not render an opinion.  Due to a combined SED/district effort this year, sufficient evidence was provided to support an unqualified audit opinion.  From a financial reporting standpoint, the district is certainly headed in the right direction.

 

The Department continues to press the district to encumber its fixed costs.  Once this exercise is completed, there will be a clearer picture of the fiscal state of the district for the current year (2006-07).  The district has also begun the process of preparing the 2007-08 budget. 

 

5.       Audit

 

 

Six of the original 62 audit recommendations remain unimplemented. The school district needs to provide the status of those remaining recommendations as they become implemented. The Office of Audit Services (OAS) will analyze the information provided by the district and prepare a status report for the Board of Regents.

 

 

The Office of Audit Services (OAS) completed field work on the audit of the reliability of the district’s data. The last phase of the audit is an assessment of the reliability of the 2002 cohort data which was submitted to the Department in August. The data is being analyzed and a report will be prepared. The final report on the results of the audit will be provided to the Board of Regents.

 

 

The Office of the State Comptroller audit was scheduled to be completed by the end of November 2006, but additional time was needed.  It is projected that the work will completed before the end of December. 

 

6.       Construction

 

On November 28-29, SED Office of Facilities Planning staff visited Roosevelt for the purpose of inspecting building construction and reviewing facilities operations.

 

In general, the projects are progressing well and within budget.  One exception is the middle school, which is on budget with respect to the construction of the facility, but significantly over budget with respect to the unanticipated costs for remediation of the debris-filled site acquired from Nassau County.  

 

The Office of Facilities Planning is considering several possibilities to defray the cost of site remediation.  These include negotiating with Nassau County, reimbursement from a district-obtained insurance policy, culpability of district consultants and possible additional voter authorization to utilize the district’s EXCEL funding.

 

 

Phase I of this project is complete and operational.  Minor “punch list” items continue to be evaluated and corrected.  Phase II, consisting of the gymnasium and cafeteria spaces, will be constructed after the completion of Ulysses Byas Elementary School.   Phase II Centennial documents are being completed and readied for bid at this time.  Phase II consists of the library, gym, and cafeteria spaces, and will be built in the location of the existing school to be demolished, and connected to the new classroom wing currently in use.  Final bids will allow SED to understand how much funding is available for completion of the high school project.

 

·       Washington Rose Elementary

 

The building masonry is complete.  Some staining of the exterior split face block is under investigation. The manufacturer and installer are visiting the site this week to resolve the problem. Final roofing is installed.  Windows and doors are installed with final interior and exterior trim being completed. The elevator technicians have begun installing the elevator.  Fire sprinkler work will begin shortly when approved by the Nassau County Fire Marshall.  Site work continues with various areas receiving concrete walks.

 

The HVAC contractor is in financial difficulty and is not completing the project.  SED is working with the bonding company to identify the remaining work in order for them to staff and complete the project.  The original schedule of December 15 for completion will not be met.  However, Superintendent Ross had recently determined not to move into the new facility until after the administration of State assessments.  This decision is based on avoiding disruption and confusion just prior to exams.  This will allow some additional time to ensure the completion of “punch list” items and final adjustments to the facility prior to occupancy.  It is now expected that the facility will be completed in late January, and the move will be scheduled over the mid-February winter break.

 

 

Exterior completion of the remediation plan involves the complete excavation and removal of all debris on-site with appropriate testing of soil to determine what soil may stay for re-utilization and what soil must be removed and disposed of off-site.  The district’s environmental consultants, as well as DEC and DOH, are monitoring the process. Exterior remediation is under way.

 

Due to the delays experienced at this site in order to address soil contamination, the facility will not be completed on budget, or on schedule.   Current estimates based on the amount of debris discovered, and the cost to date of implementing the approved remediation plan, are that the middle school is currently $10 million over budget, and over one-year behind the original schedule.   A meeting is scheduled for  December 12, 2006 with DEC, DOH, SED, and the district, as well as the district’s consultants, to discuss progress on the remediation plan, and to discuss the possibility of holding Nassau County responsible for the cleanup costs as it originally contaminated the property.  Based on the outcomes of this meeting, a plan of action will be developed to complete the project.

 

A public meeting will also be scheduled in Roosevelt to answer questions from the public and to respond to concerns raised regarding contamination of the middle school site.  DEC, DOH, and SED will participate.

 

 

          Bids were opened for Ulysses Byas Elementary School on October 26, 2006.  There were multiple bidders for each contract, eliminating previous concerns regarding limited competition.  The low bidders were interviewed and several were asked to provide additional information to clarify their submission.  The site contractor was determined to be a responsible bidder and his bid was accepted.

 

It appears that this project will either be on budget or possibly $1 million below budget based on final evaluation of the site contractor. It is expected that this project will be completed on schedule for occupancy in September 2008.  Start of work will be slightly delayed by the current HVAC delays at Washington Rose, but this will not impact the occupancy date for Ulysses Byas.

 

·       High School

 

All future work will continue to be delayed contingent upon the completion of the middle school. The high school project cannot be commenced until the new middle school is completed.  Cost overruns at the middle school will ultimately impact the scope of the high school renovations.  SED is meeting with the district to evaluate available options including the use of RESCUE and EXCEL funding.  When the second phase of Centennial is bid SED will have a further understanding of those costs, as well as more definitive estimates of the middle school remediation costs, and will have a complete picture of the funding available for the high school.

 


ATTACHMENT B

 

Roosevelt School District-NYSED Monthly Meeting Agenda                                  

December 21, 2006 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

475 Park Avenue South,  NYC, NYSED,  2nd Floor, Board of Regents Room

AGENDA ITEM

MODE

TIME

OUTCOME

Procedures for Appointment of Board of Education Members

Discussion of steps which must be taken to replace 3 vacancies on Board of Education.

 

 

15 minutes

District and SED have clear understanding of procedures for Board of Education appointments.

 

 

SED Site Visit

Discussion of:

--Status of Site Visit Report

--Five-Year Education Plan

--Public Meeting

--Resource Inventory

 

 

15 minutes

District and SED are clear regarding next steps related to the site visit.

 

SED/Roosevelt Protocol for Visits and Reports to Regents

Discussion of:

--SED/Roosevelt protocol for visits

--Reports to Regents

 

10 minutes

District and SED are clear regarding protocol for visits and reports to Regents.

 

 

 

 Fiscal Issues

Discussion of:

--Fiscal Administrator Report

--Quarterly budget report for OSC

--2006-07 Contingency Budget status 

--Fiscal deficit

 

20 minutes

District and SED are clear regarding timely fiscal issues.

 

 

 

 

 

Curriculum and Instruction

Discussion of:

--Update regarding SURR petition

for high school

--Curriculum development process

 

20 minutes

District and SED receive update on SURR status and discuss status of curriculum development.

 

Special Education Issues

 

 

 

 Update regarding the District’s participation in the VESID/Quality Assurance Focused Review (QA FR) in the area of “IDEA Effective Practices” for 2006-2007.

 

5 minutes

District and SED have clear understanding of next steps related to 2006-07 QA FR and anticipated Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) with a focus on MS/HS improved instruction and outcomes reflected in State Performance Plan (SPP) indicators.

 

 

Audits

Discussion of:

--Office of Audit Services audit of 2001 and 2002 cohort data and systems that will affect accuracy of data in the future

--Progress in implementing outstanding OAS audit recommendations

-- Status  of OSC audit

 

 

10 minutes

District and SED have clear understanding of data reliability and data management issues, and status of audit recommendations.

 

      District Personnel Issues: Standard Operating Procedures

 

Adoption of Standard Operating Procedures related to personnel appointments and tenure

 

10 minutes

District and SED agree to implement Standard Operating Procedures as they relate to personnel appointments and tenure.

 

Construction Status

Discussion of status of construction projects

 

 

10 minutes

District and SED receive update information on construction.

 

Master Calendar

Review of Master Calendar, due dates and status of actions

 

5 minutes

Status of calendar items is confirmed.