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:

July 19, 2006

 

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1 and 2

 

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Information

 

In May, the Full Board received a comprehensive status report on the Roosevelt Union Free School, including data related to academic performance and school completion, a summary of technical assistance provided by SED and the Long Island technical assistance network, and a summary of activities in the district prepared by Superintendent Ronald Ross.  In addition, the Full Board heard a brief report from Superintendent Ronald Ross and Board President Edward McCormick. Staff was asked to provide additional information on a monthly basis on the status of timely key issues for the district. The first such monthly report was provided in June 2006. The attached report responds to the request for July.

 

Reason(s) for Consideration

 

Response to request for additional information on a monthly basis.
         
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 in accordance with contractual agreements, while ensuring stability in governance and administration of the school district.  Furthermore, the Commissioner exercises fiscal control as well as 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 on timely issues related to the operations of the Roosevelt Union Free School District.

 

Timetable for Implementation

 

          Not applicable.

 

 

Attachment

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

STATUS REPORT ON ROOSEVELT UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

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

 

I.                 Academic

 

       Five-Year Education Plan

 

The District will update the Five-Year Education Plan and present it to the public

in September 2006.  The Department will review the Plan prior to public presentation.

 

       School Counseling Plan

 

The District submitted a School Counseling Plan to the Department on June 30, 2006 for the period 2005-2007.  This Plan includes sections related to New York State and national school counselor standards, supportive learning environment standards, and school counseling department goals, for elementary (K-6) and secondary (7-12) components.  School counselors at Roosevelt are expected to work with students on academic, career and personal-social development.

 

       Summer School

 

One hundred forty-three students are attending the districtís summer school in the following subject areas: English Language Arts (ELA), Grades 9, 10 and 11; English as a Second Language (ESL), advanced, intermediate and beginner; Global History; Living Environment; Mathematics A and B; and U.S. History.

 

II.       Finance

 

 

The Roosevelt Board of Education approved on July 10, 2006 the appointment of a Director of Business and Finance to replace the former business official. The State Education Department was consulted and approved the selected candidate prior to Board of Education approval. The district had also hired a retired school business official recommended by the Department to assist it on an interim basis after the former business official resigned. The retired school business official will assist the new Director of Business and Finance during the transition.

 

 

The district submitted its budget for a second vote on June 20, 2006, and it was defeated. The Board of Education met on June 27, 2006 and adopted a contingency budget. As a result, expenditures are reduced by $3.6 million or 5.5%. Reductions in expenditures have resulted in the elimination of pre-kindergarten programs and sports programs for the 2006-07 school year. Kindergarten programs will be limited to half-day programs, and staff reductions are anticipated over the course of the year. The Board of Education President, Mr. Edward McCormick, indicated that the Board will conduct a financial summit in late July to look at the status of the districtís finances in the past year and upcoming year.

 

III.       Audit

 

 

The final audit report was issued by the Office of Audit Services (OAS) on May 18, 2005. The President of the Board of Education indicated in the districtís response that all appropriate recommendations will be implemented and pledged a cooperative relationship.

 

Progress in implementing any outstanding audit recommendations will be tracked during scheduled monthly meetings of SED senior managers with Superintendent Ross and members of his administrative cabinet.  The next scheduled meeting is July 28, 2006.

 

OAS normally follows up on all recommendations contained in final audit reports 90 days after issuance of the report. Superintendent Ross, members of his administrative cabinet and the Board President indicated they would respond prior to the 90-day period. OAS will analyze the information provided by the District and prepare a status report for the Board of Regents on all audit recommendations.

 

 

Staff from the Office of Audit Services (OAS) and the Office of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education (EMSC) are reviewing the 2001 student cohort and graduation data to assess its reliability. The last phase of the review will involve an assessment of the 2002 cohort data which will be submitted to the Department in early August. At the conclusion of the audit, a report will be provided to the Board of Regents.

 

IV.      Construction

 

Staff from the Office of Facilities Planning regularly visit 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.  The status of construction in Centennial Elementary, Washington Rose Elementary, Ulysses Byas Elementary and the High School remains as reported in the June 12, 2006 monthly report to the Board of Regents.

 

 

At the middle school, the remediation plan for the work site is in progress.  The final report was approved by both the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, July 14, 2006.  The district will be directed to proceed with the approved plan.  The initial insurance claim for site contamination was rejected, and further negotiation will take place.  The Nassau County Executive's office has been advised that the claim was rejected and that they will be expected to take responsibility for the cleanup costs.  Discussion has begun between the County and Superintendent Ross. Because of the delays in original land acquisition, and because of the delays due to debris remediation, it is very unlikely, even with overtime, that the facility could be completed on schedule by September 2007. The work of the project is being scheduled with a concentration on the classroom portions of the school scheduled for earlier completion.