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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 - 11:20pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Report on the Roosevelt School District



January 3, 2008


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 completed in the first half of the 2007-08 school year, members of the Board of Regents and State Education Department staff continue to work with Superintendent Robert-Wayne Harris, school district staff, and other partners 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 in the district in the first half of the 2007-08 school year, 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 November/December include:


Leadership in the Roosevelt School District


Robert-Wayne Harris has completed his second month as Superintendent.  Mr. Harris continues to work 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.


Roosevelt leadership and State Education Department staff will continue regular meetings in 2008 with a focus on addressing the educational needs of the students and achieving fiscal stability in the district.


Teachers’ Contract Approved by State Education Department


This month, consistent with Chapter 33 of the Laws of 2002, the State Education Department approved the memorandum of agreement between the Roosevelt School District and the Roosevelt Teacher’s Association.  The memorandum was approved by the Board of Education in June.  The contract will be effective July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2010.


Engaging the Resources of USNY and Other Partners to Help Ensure a Strong Future for the District


Board of Regents and State Education Department


In addition to regular leadership meetings and routine assistance, members of the Board of Regents and the State Education Department are working with the leadership at Roosevelt on a number of special projects that include:


  • Staff in the New York State Archives areworking with Roosevelt leadership to help strengthen the district’s records retention and management system.  Work underway and proposed next steps include:
    • Surveying the district’s existing records
    • Providing on-site records management training
    • Helping to  develop records management policies and procedures for the district
    • Exploring long-term grant opportunities


  • Over the last few months, State Education Department staff have been working very closely with Superintendent Harris and Roosevelt leadership to strengthen the district’s financial systems.


  • Other highlights of work underway at Roosevelt in collaboration with the Board of Regents and the State Education Department include:


  • Roosevelt’s Title I & Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) grants have been reviewed and approved by the State Education Department. As a result, the district can implement these programs throughout the 2007-08 school year.
  • The district’s State Aid report is being finalized.
  • The Department’s Office of Child Nutrition is providing technical assistance and will also provide training to the district related to State requirements and regulations related to the district’s food service operations.


BOCES & Long Island
Regional School Support Center


The regional BOCES and the Long Island Regional School Support Center continue to provide important assistance to the district to help address Roosevelt’s priorities and needs and to build systems needed to help ensure a strong future for the district.  Examples of work underway include:


  • The Long Island Regional Support Center is collaborating with district leadership to undertake a comprehensive review of Roosevelt’s high school transcripts.  Work is now underway to:


  • Verify the accuracy of the data and address inconsistencies between the paper records and data system
  • Help ensure the integrity of student transcripts in the long term


  • Opportunities are being explored for providing professional development and assistance to the high school guidance department


  • Dr. William Brosnan, Interim Director of the Long Island Regional School Support Center, is providing assistance with updating Board of Education Policy Book.




The Nassau County Executive and other County Departments are also providing assistance and support to the Roosevelt School District including:


  • Nassau County continues to provide crossing guards at six sites to ensure student safety
  • Opportunities are being explored for expanding social work services available to students in the district
  • A representative of the Nassau County Assessor’s Office will attend a community meeting this month to provide information to homeowners and address questions.


Facilities and Construction


A new Director of Facilities, Patrick Mehr, has started his assignment and is working collaboratively with Department staff to manage and administer existing facilities and ongoing construction projects in the Roosevelt school district. 


A public meeting to discuss progress made on middle school land remediation and next steps was held in the district on December 11, 2007.  Staff from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the NYS Department of Health (DOH), the State Education Department, and Roosevelt Superintendent Harris provided the Roosevelt community and the media with an update on the progress of the cleanup project.  Based on test evidence to date, the site is no longer contaminated as a result of the massive clean-up efforts.  It is expected that there will be no restrictions on the land as were originally contemplated.  Construction continues and is expected to be completed this Spring.


Fiscal Updates


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 actions are being implemented to maintain fiscal stability in the district.  Examples are:


  • Work on the district’s 2008-2009 operating budget is currently underway.


  • The district 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 Department is also securing additional assistance for the development of critical business systems.


Financing Made Available for Ongoing Capital Project


Based upon the direction of the district’s construction manager, financial advisor and bond counsel, Roosevelt requested that the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) issue $52 million through the school district revenue bond financing program.  The closing occurred on December 13, 2007.  The financing will enable the district to complete all school construction on the ongoing $208 million capital project except the high school.  The district will consider how to approach the high school project in combination with utilizing the recently enacted EXCEL funding to further reduce the local share for taxpayers.

Update on State Legislation to Alleviate Deficit


In December, the State Senate approved a financial package, originally proposed by the Assembly, that included $8 million to alleviate Roosevelt’s budget deficit, a $6 million annual increase in state aid, and a three-year extension of a $4-million annual aid advance.  The financial package now requires passage in the Assembly.  We continue to work with both the Senate and Assembly and remain hopeful that the final outcome will help the district to achieve long-term fiscal stability.


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.