SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Budgets, retirements, title changes and language classes were among the many items discussion by the Scarsdale Board of Education at its most recent meeting.
Prior to their business meeting on Monday, Jan. 9, trustees got together with Superintendent Dr. Thomas Hagerman and others to review the budget process and timeline.
During the public portion of the session, board members heard a report by Drew Patrick, assistant superintendent for human resources and leadership development.
Patrick reported that six longtime teachers, who have a combined 153 years of teaching service, will be retiring.
They are: Steven Boyer, Elise Levine, Anita Occhiuto, and Howard Rodstein at the high school, and Joanne Harris and Caran Pullen at the middle school.
Patrick also told the board that parents have been notified concerning the district’s feedback survey for probationary teachers.
With the budget in mind, he and other administrators also shared their staffing recommendations with the board.
These recommendations were based on three factors: student educational outcomes and achievement; district goals and the district's Transition Plan; and mandates and best practices.
Basically, administrators called for more staff for the district’s elementary literacy support program; elementary LRC; in-house speech student services; High School STEAM and physical education programs.
They also recommended hiring a second nurse at the high school and more custodians for the high school’s expanded space.
Patrick told the board that additional staff are needed in light of a project rise in the district’s enrollment.
He proposed changing the titles of elementary teachers-in-charge to assistant principals, in keeping, he said, with their “significantly increased administrative responsibilities” over the past several years.
The board also heard a presentation on the likely budget impact of a proposed Mandarin language enrichment program at the middle school.
The proposed program would take place during “Zero Period,” before the start of the regular school day.
Parents, who have been pushing for Mandarin classes suffered a setback nearly a year ago when the district’s curriculum chief said the numbers did not support the hiring of another language teacher.
A survey of incoming sixth-graders had shown, the board was told last February that only 42 had shown an interest in learning the Chinese dialect, while the minimum required was 48.
Based on that, the district withdrew its request for funds in the 2016-17 budget.
Parents, back then, said they weren’t giving up the fight.