Full Board


Jean C. Stevens



Status Report on Roosevelt Union Free School District



November 15, 2006



Goals 1 and 2










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.




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, November 21, 2006.


Timetable for Implementation


          Not applicable.






                                                                                                    ATTACHMENT A





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 District. A Department team, consisting of program, legal and fiscal staff, meets monthly with the Superintendent and his administrative cabinet. The next meeting is scheduled on November 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 November 21, 2006 meeting is included in Attachment B.


         During this report period, the Department received complaints that some high school students do not have school schedules and that appropriate instructional materials are not available to students attending the Washington Rose Elementary School.  SED began investigations of each complaint the following day.


         At the high school, it was determined that some students did not have schedules and this matter was brought to the attention of appropriate school administrators and has been resolved.  The investigation of instructional resources was completed through a site visit on October 25.  During the site visit, the school principal acknowledged the insufficiency of instructional materials, with editions of grade 4 materials ranging from 1980 to 1996.  The matters of student schedules and instructional materials are included as agenda items for the November 21 SED/Roosevelt monthly meeting (Attachment B).


         The Commissioner met with Ronald Ross, Roosevelt Superintendent of Schools, on November 7, 2006, to review performance for the period 2005-06 and to present expectations for 2006-07.  Although the superintendent has successfully established a number of new programs which may be expected to improve student engagement and performance, significant barriers to progress, such as those noted above, continue to come to the attention of SED.  For this reason, the Commissioner has directed Department staff to conduct a comprehensive review of the district and each of its schools.


On November 27-28, 2006, SED will dispatch teams of experts across program areas to conduct central office and school-level reviews to determine progress and needs related to the following areas: general education (ELA and mathematics) resources, special education services, Academic Intervention Services, student support services, child nutrition, early childhood services, bilingual education, facilities, technology and data, fiscal administration, leadership, governance and professional development. The team will also conduct a district-wide review of instructional resources. The review team will complete their respective reviews and prepare a final report which will include recommendations to be shared with the Commissioner and district staff.  In December 2006, SED plans to call a Community Meeting to be held on-site in the Roosevelt School District.  The meeting will include a presentation by SED officials regarding school district performance and preliminary findings accruing from the November site visits.  The Community Meeting will also provide community members and organizations the opportunity to share their recommendations and information for Department consideration.


          Mr. Edward McCormick has announced his resignation as Member and President of the Interim Board of Education for the Roosevelt School District.  The Board of Regents must appoint a successor to fill his unexpired term.


2.     Academic


·       Five-Year Education Plan


The Department has completed a preliminary review of the Five-Year Education Plan and will work with the district to enhance certain sections. Additional recommendations will be provided subsequent to the November coordinated site visit to the district. 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. SED and the district will discuss the date and time for this public meeting.


·       Title I


The Title I Consolidated Application for the Roosevelt Union Free School District has been reviewed and approved by SED.  The SED liaison will conduct monthly visits to review the implementation of Title I program services.  The district has received an initial payment for the 2006-2007 school year.


·       Performance Data


Accountability status:  Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the school district is designated as a District in Need of Assistance due to grade 8 ELA and math performance of students with disabilities. Pursuant to No Child Left Behind, the district and all elementary schools are in good standing; the middle school and high school are in Restructuring status. Neither the middle school nor the high school met Adequate Yearly Progress targets. Pursuant to the State accountability system, both the middle school and high school are in SURR status due to ELA and math performance.  The middle school performance is low and “flat”; SURR targets were not met. The high school achieved SURR targets (by one point) in ELA and math, but submitted data that were incomplete and will be reviewed by the Office Audit Services.


3.     Finance


·       Fiscal Administrator


          Chapter 33 of the Laws of 2002 authorizes the Commissioner of Education to appoint a fiscal administrator for the Roosevelt Union Free School District to ensure the Board of Education:


·       maintains a balanced budget;

·       otherwise acts consistently; and

·       continues to implement the District’s five-year financial stabilization plan.


The fiscal administrator started his assignment in early October.  His first significant goal was to work with the district to close the books for the 2005-2006 school year and file the requisite State aid submissions by November 1, 2006.  That goal has been accomplished. He is now reviewing the 2006-07 budget as well as the practices that impact the districts revenues and expenditures.


·     Fiscal Deficit


          The Department was made aware of a budget deficit:


  1. The deficit for 2005-2006 is approximately $5.7 million.  Although the external auditors and the Office of the State Comptroller are finalizing their respective audits, no material adjustments to this operating loss are expected. 
  2. The deficit is due to the following three factors.   

(a) An approximate revenue shortfall of $1.9 million (the district miscalculated revenue). 

(b) This was compounded when the district over-expended appropriations by an additional $2.0 million.

(c) The final component to the deficit is due to the appropriation of $1.7 million of fund balance.


The Department is working with the district to tighten fiscal controls to ensure that expenditures do not exceed the budget, and revenue projections are accurate.  The Department is also striving to identify any untapped or previously unrecorded revenue sources.


          In addition to the $5.7 million shortfall, the district also recognized a prior-period adjustment to the 2004-2005 financials of $1.6 million.  The prior-period adjustment related to expenditures was not recorded in 2004-2005. As of June 30, 2006, the district’s cumulative undesignated fund deficit is $3,422,693.


4.       Audit



The school district submitted its report on outstanding audit recommendations on September 27, indicating that 23 of the 29 outstanding recommendations have been implemented. The remaining 6 recommendations will be implemented by February 2007. The Office of Audit Services (OAS) will analyze the information provided by the district and prepare a status report for the Board of Regents.



OAS is continuing an 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. At the conclusion of the audit, a report will be provided to the Board of Regents.         



An audit by the Office of the State Comptroller is ongoing and is scheduled to be completed by the end of November 2006.  This audit was requested by SED in September 2006, following the receipt of information of a significant school district budget deficit.


5.       Construction


On November 2, 2006, SED Office of Facilities Planning staff visited Roosevelt for the purpose of inspecting building construction, reviewing facilities operations, and meeting with all consultants to assess the current state of completion with respect to available finances. Staff met with the consultants and project managers, Superintendent Ross, and the new business official.


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.


·       Washington Rose Elementary


The building masonry is complete.  Some staining of the exterior split face block is under investigation.  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.


It is expected that the building will be completed on schedule and on budget, and ready for occupancy by the end of December 2006. However, Superintendent Ross has recently determined not to move into the new facility until mid-January, following 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 are made to the facility prior to occupancy. 



At the middle school, all footings and sub-grade foundation walls are complete.  As a result of the contamination and debris discovered on this site, a remediation plan was developed by the district and its consultants and approved by SED, DEC, and DOH.  The under-slab vapor extraction system has been installed, the heavy vapor barrier was completed, and concrete floor slabs have been completed with vapor tight boots around slab penetrations.  All debris beneath the new facility was removed.  This completes the interior portion of the remediation plan.


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, will monitor this process.  All exterior remediation work is scheduled to begin the week of November 13, 2006.


Site work includes a wooded field north of the property that will be cleared,

beginning November 13, for an athletic field.  The middle school oil tank has been approved by Nassau County and will be installed before Thanksgiving.


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.  A further evaluation of these impacts is being developed under separate cover. 



          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’s bid is significantly below the next lowest bidders.  He was also fined for illegal dumping five years ago by DEC.  SED will evaluate the requested information, and talk to DEC and previous project owners to determine whether he is currently a responsible person. 


It appears that this project will either be on budget or possibly $1M 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.


·       High School


New boilers were completed in the high school.  All future work will be delayed based on delays in the completion of the middle school.  Cost overruns at the middle school will ultimately impact the scope of the high school renovations.  SED will work with the district to evaluate available options including the use of RESCUE and EXCEL funding.


                                                                                                                                            ATTACHMENT B

Roosevelt School District-NYSED Monthly Meeting Agenda

November 21, 2006 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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







Five-Year Education Plan

Discussion of:

-- Status of the Five-Year Education Plan, including necessary Restructuring, Comprehensive Education and Corrective Action Plans

--November 27 and 28 SED Site Visit to District and Schools


10 minutes

District is clear regarding next steps as it relates to review and revisions of submitted plans.




District is clear regarding site visit schedule and scope of review.


 Fiscal Issues

Discussion of:

--Fiscal Administrator Report

--Final Five-Year Fiscal Stabilization Plan due before applying for $4 million  advance

--Plans and reports related to the $6 million

--Quarterly budget report for OSC

--District Contingency Budget status/06-07 base/bonding

--End-of-year financial statement/status of audit 

--Fiscal Deficit



30 minutes

District is clear regarding responsibilities and a timeline is agreed upon by both SED and the District.  Technical assistance that may be needed is identified.







District and SED have clear understanding of the role of the Fiscal Administrator.


Curriculum and Instruction

Discussion of:

--Student Resources (books, paper)

--Student Scheduling

--Professional Development

--Update Regarding SURR petition for high school



20 minutes

District/SED have understanding of resources available to students/teachers.


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


10 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.




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



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



Review 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/SED receives updated information on construction.


Board of Education Agenda


Agenda Items


5 minutes

District understands expectations for the finalization of agenda items for SED review.


Master Calendar


Review of Master Calendar, due dates and status of actions


15 minutes


Status of calendar items is confirmed.