News - N - Notes

January 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Happy half-way through the school year! So many good things are happening in this district – I wish that all of you could take a day and just walk around and see what goes on with our students. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Our Growing Family

Congratulations to Primary Elementary Music Teacher Emily Phillips and her husband on the birth of her son Joseph Daniel Cappuccio. Joseph was born Tuesday, January 26.


At the beginning of the month our District honored long-time employee Chet Siebert. Mr. Siebert has been employed by the District in our transportation department for a total of 48 years. 48 years!!??? What an incredible career and dedication to our District. Chet has served both as a bus driver and a bus monitor, being the first school employee to greet students each day and the last to say good-bye each afternoon. I cannot imagine how many lives he has touched with his quiet humor and quick wit. Many afternoons between runs he would stop in to District Office, walk through and just smile and say hello. We wish Chet well in his retirement.

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Safe Schools

Our district subscribes to the Safe Schools hot-line as a service to our community and staff. Safe Schools is an anonymous phone number or on-line address that can be used to report safety and security concerns that occur in our district or at our events. A District employee then receives the anonymous tip or complaint and we launch an investigation. Our response is then sent to Safe Schools and they close the loop and get the information back to the original person who reported. Legally we cannot take complaints that occur in neighborhoods, or among family members, but we do take all school-related complaints very seriously and look into each one that comes in. Please save the Safe Schools hot-line number in a safe place. That number is 1-800-418-6423 ext. 359. Or you may reach Safe Schools at Again this is a confidential service but it is very helpful if you identify yourself so we can check with you on any questions we might have as we investigate.

ASI and Supervisor of Transportation Search Process

As I indicated in a previous email we will have an inclusive search process to fill both of these administrative positions. Further information will be coming your way, and I encourage you to volunteer to participate if you are interested.


Commissioner Elia has announced a recent facelift to the EngageNY website that was originally developed to facilitate the sharing of best practice around Common Core implementation. The changes include a “more robust search, responsive design for better viewing on mobile devices, and streamlined navigation. Please take a look -

Budget Development

I have now spoken in front of the majority of you several times regarding budget development. But based on some comments I am hearing, I feel it important to redefine for you what it means to use a zero based budget approach. It does not mean that there will be no additional expenditures; it does not mean that each administrator has been told to come in with a 0% increase; it does not mean we look for ways to slash and burn purchases or staff. What it does mean is that we do a thorough analysis of our needs vs. our wants. It means that we look at enrollment numbers and if the data warrants it, we make decisions based on the trend, either through reductions, additions or realignment of staff members. It means that I keep my promise to the administrative team and if they have a proven, significant need, we will find the money, even if it is a significant increase. It means that one year one of the buildings or departments may show an increase and the next year may show a decrease – there is no set amount that any are given or need to spend. So when you hear that there may be reductions don’t immediately become a watch-dog, looking to make certain those reductions are fair and equitable, and that all buildings will see the same reductions. Those reductions are data based and change from year to year or change within a year. I am more than happy to talk about the budget development process with any of you, at any time. We have faced years that were much tighter and we have faced years that have been much more affluent. I can tell you that we will all work diligently to present a budget that meets the needs of all of our students. And then we will work equally hard to make certain that we have community support.

A Good Reminder

This came across my email this morning and I was given permission to share it.

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Make it a good one!