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Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007 - 9:00am

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Report on the Roosevelt School District



November 26, 2007


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Information


Monthly report on work underway and progress made in the Roosevelt Union Free School District to support student success.


Reason(s) for Consideration


Requested by members of the Board of Regents.

Proposed Handling 


For information.


Procedural History


              Each month, the State Education Department provides a report to the Board of Regents on continued work underway in Roosevelt to strengthen student achievement, achieve fiscal stability, and to provide for a productive learning environment where all students can succeed.


Background Information


The Commissioner of Education exercises fiscal and educational program oversight in the Roosevelt Union Free School District, consistent with Chapter 33 of the Laws of 2002. Each month, the State Education Department provides a report to the Board of Regents on activities and accomplishments in the Roosevelt School District.  This month’s report is attached. 






Building upon the work already completed in the 2007-08 school year, members of the Board of Regents and State Education Department staff continues to work with Robert-Wayne Harris, Roosevelt Superintendent and School District staff to support student success and to help the district achieve fiscal stability. 




It is recommended that the Regents review the attached update on the operations and oversight of the Roosevelt Union Free School District. Staff is available to provide additional information as requested.


Timetable for Implementation


              Not applicable.




update on work underway and progress made




The Board of Regents and the State Education Department have significantly increased support and oversight at the Roosevelt Union Free School District.  Building upon the progress made to date in the district in 2007-08, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department continue to work with the new Roosevelt Superintendent and staff to support student success and to help the district achieve fiscal stability.  Highlights of work and progress made in October/November include:


Leadership in the Roosevelt School District


Robert-Wayne Harris has completed his first month as Superintendent (he assumed the post on October 15th) and has made an impressive beginning.  Mr. Harris is working closely with Gale Stevens-Haynes and her colleagues on the Board of Education, teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community leaders.    Mr. Harris is also working with the State Education Department and Dr. William Brosnan, Interim Executive Director of the Long Island Regional School Support Center, as well as other partners.


Following a series of telephone and video conferences, in November, Johanna Duncan-Poitier led a monthly visit to Roosevelt, with a focus on rebuilding the district’s financial systems and addressing other important priorities in the district.  Roosevelt leadership and State Education Department staff agreed to continue regular meetings in 2008 with a focus on addressing the educational needs of the students and achieving fiscal stability in the district.  Regent Roger Tilles and Commissioner Mills also visited the district on November 15th and met with Superintendent Harris and the district’s business official to express support for the new leadership in the district.     


Facilities and Construction


A new Director of Facilities, Patrick Mehr, has been hired to work in collaboration with Department staff to manage and administer existing facilities and ongoing construction projects in the Roosevelt school district.  Mr. Mehr will be attending the School Facility Managers’ Academy, hosted by the New York State Association for Superintendents of School Buildings and Grounds (SBGA).  The Academy provides facilities management professionals with important information on code compliance, budgeting, and health and safety requirements.  In addition, this year, Roosevelt will be piloting a new facilities management software package offered by School Due, a national school facilities management software company. 


A public meeting to discuss progress made on ongoing construction projects in the district and next steps with the Roosevelt community is scheduled for December 11, 2007. 





Fiscal Updates


Quarterly Report from the Office of the State Comptroller


The district received the first quarterly review report from the Office of the State Comptroller. Comptroller DiNapoli’s report stated that spending is currently within budget.  In a meeting held between the on-site auditors, the district, and the fiscal administrator, OSC reported that despite much work still ahead, marked improvements have been made.


Progress made this Month to Improve Fiscal Oversight in the District


Consistent with the recommendations of the Office of the State Comptroller, a number of steps have been taken this month to fiscal oversight in the district.  Examples include:


  • The treasurer is now working to ensure that budget status reports for all funds are submitted to the Board of Education at the monthly board meetings.


  • A summary of all budget transfers approved by the Superintendent is now submitted to the Board of Education each month.


  • The district’s business official, with assistance from the treasurer, now updates the district’s cash flow schedule on a monthly basis and provides a copy to the members of the Board of Education at its regularly scheduled meeting. 


  • The district has requested that all known financial obligations (including salaries) be reported as part of a mass encumbrance by November 30.  The mass encumbrances will help to ensure that the budget is not over spent.  Adjustments can then be made periodically when expenditures are processed above or below expectation. 


Financing Opportunity for Ongoing Capital Project


District administrators are working with the district’s fiscal administrator, financial advisor and bond counsel toward closing on a $62 million financing opportunity through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY).  The financing would enable construction on the ongoing $208 million capital project to continue.  The closing is scheduled for early December.


Update on State Legislation to Alleviate Deficit


Both houses of the State Legislature have introduced separate proposals to alleviate the district’s deficit.   We are hopeful that an agreement will be reached in the upcoming legislative session.


Other Examples of Progress made in the District


  • High School Transcripts under Review: This month, the Long Island Regional School Support Center has arranged for two retired school leaders to carefully review the accuracy of the transcripts of students enrolled in high school and to assist with identifying and addressing inconsistencies between paper records and the district’s data system.  This process will help to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the student records at Roosevelt in the long-term.


  • Nutrition Services: The Department’s Office of Child Nutrition is providing technical assistance and training to the district on State requirements and regulations related to the district’s food service operations.


  • ESL Family Literacy Program: The Roosevelt English as a Second Language (ESL) and Language Department and the Adult Education Program are offering an ESL Family Literacy program to students in grade 1-3 and their families (see attached flyer).  The program will is being held on Saturdays from November 17, 2007 – May 17, 2008.   Reading, writing, and ESL classes for both students and parents are being offered.


  • Board of Education Policy Book now being updated:  A recommended timetable for reviewing the district’s existing policies will be shared with the Board of Education.  Dr. Brosnan is providing assistance on this project.


  • Title I/SURR Grant: The Office of Regional School Services has reviewed and approved Roosevelt’s Title I application and SURR grants.  This enables the district to continue to implement these important programs throughout the 2007-08 school year.


  • State Aid Report: Staff in the Department’s Office of State Aid are working closely with Roosevelt leadership to finalize the district’s State Aid report.


  • Student Safety: The County Executive’s office continues to provide crossing guards at six site locations for the 2007-08 school year.


  • Project "Band Together": During visits to the district in November, Superintendent Harris mentioned that the school band had only 12 players because they only had instruments for 12. Regent Tilles followed up by contacting every arts center and organization on Long Island as well as 15 high schools that will be collecting instruments for Roosevelt and any other school that needs them. 


  • Social Services: Superintendent Harris is working with the Nassau County Executive’s office on the possibility of getting two Social Workers provided by the County.


  • Community Meeting with Nassau County Assessor’s Office: Superintendent Harris has arranged for a representative from the Nassau County Assessor’s office to attend a community meeting in January to provide information to home owners regarding the assessed value of their homes. 


  • Special Meeting of the Board of Education: Superintendent Harris is scheduling a special meeting of the Board of Education in early December concerning the environmental issues at the new Middle School site and to discuss the status of the search for a High School Principal. 


Next Steps


The Board of Regents and the State Education Department will continue to work closely with the Superintendent, the Roosevelt Board of Education, district administrators and teachers, members of the community, and other partners to address both short and long term priorities for the district.  In addition, Dr. Brosnan continues to provide support to the district through the Long Island Regional School Support Center.  Highlights of future next steps include:


  • Developing a strong curriculum and alignment process for all students (including students receiving special education and gifted and talented students).


  • Developing a system to replace textbooks and instructional materials consistent with the State’s learning standards.


  • Finalizing a five-year education plan that is consistent with the district’s fiscal plan (additional time was provided on this to enable the new Superintendent to oversee the development of the plan).


  • Continue major construction projects in the district.


  • Continue advocacy efforts with representatives of the Legislature and others to address Roosevelt’s deficit situation. 


  • Continue the Department’s monthly Roosevelt Cabinet meetings to work with Roosevelt leadership to identify new educational opportunities and resources for Roosevelt to support student success. 


  • Develop a professional development plan that supports teaching and learning.


  • Continue to ensure that key leadership responsibilities (e.g., curriculum, guidance) are carried out to meet the educational needs of students in the district.


  • Update and implement district policies and safety plans.











The Roosevelt UFSD

ESL and Language Department and

the Adult Education Program


Invites all ESL 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students to attend the


ESL Family Literacy Program


The program will meet on the following Saturdays


, 17 - Dec. 1, 15 – Jan. 5, 12, 26 – Feb. 9, 16 – Mar. 1, 8, 29 –


. 5, 12, 19 – May 3- 10 – 17, 2008.

Text Box: Reading, Writing and ESL Classes for the ESL students will be offeredText Box: Reading, Writing and ESL Classes for the ESL students Parents will be offered 





Contact your child’s classroom teacher or ESL teacher for more information




El Departamento de Ingles Como Segundo Idioma y el Departamento de Educación de Adultos del

Distrito Escolar de Roosevelt


Invita a todos los estudiantes de ESL de 1ero, 2do y 3er grado

y a sus familias a participar de


La Academia de Lectura y Escritura para

los estudiantes de ESL y sus Familias


El programa se reunirá durante los sábados siguientes


, 17 - Diciembre. 1, 15 – Enero. 5, 12, 26 – Febrero. 9, 16 –


. 1, 8, 29 – Abril. 5, 12, 19 – Mayo 3- 10 – 17, 2008.

Text Box: Clases de Ingles Como Segundo Idioma serán ofrecidas a los padres de los estudiantes de 1ero a 3er gradoText Box: Clases de lectura, escritura y matemáticas serán ofrecidas a los estudiantes de 1ero a 3er grado 






Comuníquese con la maestro de ESL de su niño