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Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 









Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Status Report on Roosevelt Union Free School District



May 11, 2007



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

              In response to the request of the Regents, SED staff provides monthly status reports on the Roosevelt Union Free School District.


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.


              On April 16, 2007, I appointed an internal departmental Roosevelt cabinet. The cabinet is established to ensure that all resources and staff expertise throughout USNY are employed to assist the Roosevelt School District to improve the academic programs that are available to students.


              In April, the Board of Regents held its meeting on Long Island.  Key highlights of the meeting included visits to the Roosevelt Junior/Senior High School, the Washington Rose Elementary School and the Centennial Elementary School. The Regents also convened a public forum at the Roosevelt Junior/Senior High School auditorium on improving low performing schools. 




Staff recommends that the Regents review the attached status report, SED/Roosevelt monthly meeting agenda, and the Roosevelt Superintendent’s annual report, which provide information on the operations and oversight of the Roosevelt Union Free School District. Staff can also provide additional information on specific issues if requested.


  • Attachment A: SED Status Report of the Roosevelt Union Free School District.
  • Attachment B: Roosevelt School District/SED Monthly Meeting Agenda, April 19, 2007.
  • Attachment C: Roosevelt Superintendent Annual Report


Timetable for Implementation


              Not applicable.




                                                                                                                                            ATTACHMENT A





This item provides information regarding six areas of continued Department focus during this reporting period.


  • State Education Department (SED) Oversight and Support


SED has significantly increased its oversight and support for the Roosevelt School Union Free School District in light of the resignation of the Superintendent, a severe budget deficit, and the implications of the deficit on students, staff and the community. The Executive Director for the Office of School Improvement has been assigned to work in the district at least two days a week. The most intensive focus in recent weeks has been on the development of the District budget for 2007-2008, and all steps related to that process, including the development of the budget brochure and budget notice.


Examples of oversight and support activities include the following:


April 16, 2007 – Senior Deputy Commissioner Johanna Duncan-Poitier appointed an internal SED cabinet that will work to ensure that all resources and staff expertise available throughout USNY will be employed to assist the Roosevelt School District.


April 18, 2007 – The Roosevelt Regional Liaison participated in the second meeting to support the development and subsequent implementation of the Five-Year Education Plan. The meeting included community representatives and district/building leaders.


April 18-19, 2007 – The Executive Director, the SED Regional Supervisor for Long Island, the Interim Director of the Long Island Regional Support Center, and the Roosevelt Fiscal Administrator met with representatives of the Office of State Comptroller to review issues related to the district preliminary budget and the letter transmitted to the District by the Office of the State Comptroller related to the reasonableness of the budget.


April 25, 2007 – The Executive Director inquired as to the status of the development of the school district’s new Five-Year Financial Stabilization Plan. Upon learning that the plan, which is due May 25, was not progressing, a meeting of the school district administrative cabinet was convened, and writing assignments and timelines were established. It should be noted that this plan will include the five-year cycle for review/replacement of textbooks; controls and procedures to ensure that revenues and expenditures remain in balance; and the calendar for development of the school district budget for 2008-09, with opportunities for meaningful community input and involvement.


April 27, 2007 – The Executive Director met with VESID senior administrators and Roosevelt district staff to discuss funding special education postsecondary education services. This initiative will provide targeted transition support to high school students with individualized education plans and Section 504 Accommodation Plans who are in the process of transitioning from high school to postsecondary education and employment. Priorities being considered include summer internships, employment for students in the New Horizons alternative program, and the establishment of a culinary arts program. The Executive Director will also meet with the local and regional Chambers of Commerce to explore other ideas and available support for students. These priorities will be included in the Five-Year Financial Stabilization Plan.


May 1, 2007 – The Executive Director conducted an unannounced site visit to the Roosevelt school buildings after school hours to review the work of the custodians and cleaners. Notations were made regarding attendance and effectiveness of these personnel. The Roosevelt Director of School Facilities makes similar visits as a regular part of his work and shares concerns with central office administrators. The Executive Director and the Director of School Facilities will conduct a repeat visit (unannounced) to schools, before the school day begins, to further assess the effectiveness of building maintenance.


May 2, 2007 – The Executive Director met with community members to discuss the draft school district budget for 2007-08 and issues related to oversight and support of the Roosevelt School District.


Reports from the Executive Director indicate the continued need of the school district and SED to engage the community and provide regular information updates on key issues.


The SED Roosevelt team, consisting of program, legal and fiscal staff, continues to meet monthly with the Superintendent and his administrative cabinet.  The agenda is developed each month with input from all members of the SED Roosevelt team and with an opportunity for input from the district. The agenda for the April 19, 2007 meeting is included as Attachment B. The next meeting is scheduled on May 17 in New York City.


2.           Finance


The Commissioner’s Orders that were presented to the Roosevelt Board of Education and Superintendent on March 13 and 22, 2007 are completed.


The school district tax report card was adapted on April 19 and the district’s budget was presented to the public at the April 26 meeting of the Board of Education. SED officials, the Roosevelt Fiscal Administrator and two Advisory Team members attended the April 26, 2007 Board of Education meeting to answer questions the community had regarding the 2007-08 school budget. The school district budget vote is scheduled for May 15.


The Board and the Superintendent must prepare a new Five-Year Financial Stabilization Plan and submit a final plan no later than May 25, 2007. The Five-Year Financial Stabilization Plan, the Five-Year Education Plan and the school district budget for 2007-08 will be developed to ensure consistency across the three documents. Both Five-Year plans must be aligned with the requirements in Chapter 33 of the Laws of 2002.


The State Comptroller announced that, along with increased oversight by SED, Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) staff will conduct continuous monitoring and audits of the district’s finances.  OSC auditors met with SED and the district on May 2, 2007 to discuss the implementation of OSC real time oversight. This is the first time OSC has implemented such an approach, whereby an auditor will remain on-site for approximately one year. The audit will have a fiscal focus, not programmatic, and quarterly reports will be issued to the school superintendent, Board of Education and Commissioner of Education. (The first quarterly report is planned to be issued in the fall of 2007.)  Although the OSC audit is not directed to SED or the manner in which SED monitors the Roosevelt School District, the review will address the manner in which the Department-appointed Fiscal Administrator adheres to roles and responsibilities set in Chapter 33, and implementation of requirements, such as the Five-Year Financial Stabilization Plan.


3.           Interim Board of Education


SED continues to work with the Superintendent and Roosevelt Interim Board of Education to plan professional development and orientation for Roosevelt Board of Education members. Board training is scheduled for June 5, 2007 to provide required fiscal training to Board members. A Board of Education retreat will also be scheduled to provide further training on fiscal oversight and the requirements of Chapter 33.


4.           Academic


The district has begun to develop a new Five-Year Education Plan for the period July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2012. The second meeting of the Five-Year Plan development team was held on April 18, 2007 and included representatives from the community, the Board of Education, district support staff, facilities staff, district administrative staff, and a SED representative. Participants were assigned to small work groups focused on four key categories: education targets, organizational structures, staffing, and learning community involvement.  The Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction prepared and shared with SED a summary of the notes from the April 18 meeting.


A draft of the Five-Year Education Plan will be completed on May 9, 2007. The plan will be presented to the Board of Education on May 24, and submitted to the Commissioner on May 25. In June, the Commissioner or his designee will present the Five-Year Education Plan to the public.


5.           Audit


  • Final Audit Report (SD-0205-5)


The Office of Audit Services (OAS) visited the district the week of May 7 to follow up on outstanding audit recommendations. A report will be presented to the Board of Regents.


  • Data Audit


OAS completed field work on the audit of the reliability of the district’s data.  A draft report is in process. The district is given 30 days to respond to the draft. A final report is then issued, which includes the district’s response as an appendix. At the conclusion of the audit, the report will be presented to the Board of Regents.


  • State Comptroller Audit


The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) audit has been completed. A Corrective Action Plan must be developed by the district and submitted to OSC and the Commissioner by June 4, 2007.


6.           Construction


The district’s construction update focuses on Washington Rose Elementary School, Ulysses Byas Elementary School and the middle school.



Operational issues continue to be resolved as the staff become familiar with the operation of the new facility. 


  • Ulysses
    Byas Elementary School


Demolition is completed, and facility construction will commence immediately.


  • Middle School 


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has set a time, date and location for the next Roosevelt middle school land remediation meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to update the community regarding the progress of investigations and remediation of the middle school construction site. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 23, 2007, at 7: p.m. at the United Cerebral Palsy Center, 380 Washington Avenue, in Roosevelt.  A comprehensive question-and-answer document was developed by DEC, SED and the Department of Health (DOH), and is being mailed to the community prior to the meeting.


SED, DEC, and DOH continue to coordinate activities to ensure the middle school site is cleaned in accordance with the approved remediation plan. DEC will implement a Citizen Participation Plan to inform the community about environmental issues impacting the middle school. DEC has conducted tests of soil samples on five private properties to determine if there is more widespread contamination within the community. The results of the soil samples will be shared with the community on May 23, 2007 at the United Cerebral Palsy Center in Roosevelt.


SED continues to review the total financial impact of the remediation of the middle school land and the building completion schedule. Once the full extent of the necessary remediation is known, we will have better information about the final schedule for occupancy of the middle school and the impact of the cost of the middle school remediation project on the high school renovation project.









Roosevelt School District-NYSED Monthly Meeting Agenda

April 19, 2007 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

School District
, Board Room    Board Room Phone: (516) 345-7009






Board of Education

Discussion of orientation and training for board members.



10 minutes

District and SED discuss plan to reschedule and provide training to board members.



-- 5-Year Education Plan. Progress to date, timeline and next steps

-- Update regarding development of district-wide Pre K-12 curriculum

-- Purchase of instructional materials for 2007-2008

-- Student schedules


25 minutes

District and SED discuss April 18th meeting and are informed regarding next steps.


Fiscal Issues

Discussion of fiscal issues, including:

-- Commissioner’s Orders

--Budget status (2007-2008)

--Fiscal deficit reduction plan(s)

--5-Year Stabilization Plan (progress to date and next steps)

--OSC audit next steps

--Fiscal Administrator Report

--Quarterly budget report for OSC


45 minutes

District and SED are clear regarding timely fiscal issues.



Board of Regents

Meeting/ Report

Discuss April Regents meeting visit and May annual report to the Regents


10 minutes

Discuss April Board of Regents visit and May annual report  to the Board of Regents.



OAS Audits




Discussion of:

 --Audit Issues




5 minutes

District and SED have clear understanding of draft report on data reliability and remaining outstanding audit recommendations.


Construction Status

Discussion of status of construction projects.


Preparation for next public meeting on middle school land remediation.


10 minutes

District and SED receive updated information on construction.


Review of District/SED actions that need to be completed for meeting.


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.


      District Personnel Issues


District provides information regarding personnel appointments and tenure.


5 minutes

District shares information regarding upcoming personnel/tenure appointments.


Master Calendar

Review of Master Calendar, due dates and status of actions.



5 minutes

Status of calendar items is confirmed. 













Superintendent Annual Report



I leave this district with many positive changes over the past three years. The security and safety of our schools have been greatly improved since we developed our own security staff. Students now feel safe when they enter the buildings. We currently have 25 teachers completing their work for National Board Certification.  When I came here in 2004, there were no Advanced Placement courses at the high school. Currently we offer 13 Advanced Placement courses. Elementary schools are now on a par with any school districts on Long Island or in the State. Our science programs, music and arts, and chess in the elementary schools have helped to make them exemplars of what elementary schools can become.


We have destroyed the myth that schools are only teaching to the tests and not developing the whole child. We now offer Mandarin Chinese for first and second graders. We have opened two new elementary schools on time and under budget as we continue the five-year new construction plan. The high school and junior high school now compete in FIRST (robotics) competition as well as Moot Court competitions and have garnered awards in their first year of participation. The chorale group has performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Sports teams have flourished under our new policy of “No pass, No play.”  Our Ninth Grade Academy has become a model for improving academic performance and attendance for entering students.


We have instituted a new student data system and have finally gotten student records and information accurately entered into the system. This has been an extremely difficult task completed under the most arduous environment imaginable. We now have a functioning technology department. We have developed positive connections with Hofstra and Adelphi Universities and NYIT for professional development for our teachers.  We have developed a strong connection with the Brookhaven National Laboratory and one of our students has been selected to intern there this summer. She was only one of four chosen on Long Island. I have appointed two strong leaders as principals of the high school and the middle school. The middle school also became a separate entity during my tenure as superintendent. We will have completed a K-12 curriculum aligned with State standards as of June in English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies developed by our teachers.


It has been a distinct pleasure to have served the Board of Regents as Superintendent. I thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve the children of Roosevelt.