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Farmingdale School Board Discusses SLO, Assessments

Tax Certioraris Burden to Fall on School Districts 2013-14

At the Wednesday, Feb. 1, public board meeting of the Farmingdale School District 34 people were in attendance, including many student teachers from Molloy College in Rockville Center, observing as part of a classroom assignment.

Many of the student teachers in attendance were shocked to learn firsthand how the state-mandated learning objectives and student assessments will be evolving, as presented by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Joan Ripley.

Ripley gave an overview of the Student Learning Objectives (SLO) and Assessments. SLO and assessments for students are related to the legislation on annual professional performance (APPR) for teachers, instructors.

SLO takes into consideration things such as: coursework, the student population being taught, common core standards being addressed, how the material applies to the course being taught, what student work will be used to measure the goals, expected target by the end of the course, calculated effectiveness of course material, gauging where students are pre-course, and post-course.

Ripley said Farmingdale School District already uses many of these concepts in its curriculum and assessments, although there is still much work to be done to reach the complete requirement. The state expects, by the end of May, all school districts to have a plan of how to assess all of its students, in all classes and grade levels.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Paul Defendini gave a presentation to the board and community members in attendance regarding the county guarantee lawsuit, tax certioraris law that will affect Nassau County school districts.

Defendini explained that a tax certiorari occurs when an individual or business grieves their taxes. Defendini said this usually happens more frequently with commercial businesses than it does with private residents. A tax certiorari is then ordered when the adjustment and settlement was not made timely for the tax rolls to change; the owner has been overtaxed by the county’s assessment for that property and in most cases a cash repayment is due back to the owner.

“Nassau County has the highest number of grievances anywhere in the State of New York,” said Defendini. “It’s unbelievable the amount of grievances that happen here, in Nassau County; as a result of that they [Nassau County] have incurred significant costs not only for the repayment of those grievances, but in legal costs that are associated with contesting their [owners’] assessed values.”

Defendini warns that this burden falling on the school districts could result in additional costs to school districts as a result of handling tax certioraris, including in-house legal representation.

Defendini explained that with the tax certiorari law that has been enacted, beginning in the 2013-14 school year, it will be the responsibility of the district to return payments to a grieving property owner. The county will take responsibility for all corrections prior to 2013. Defendini advised that the law is being appealed in the courts, but this is a challenge that will face Nassau County school districts, as it stands.

The next public Farmingdale Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 7 at 8 p.m. in the Howitt Middle School cafeteria on Van Cott Avenue in Farmingdale.

Special budget workshops will be held on March 14, March 21, and a regular budget workshop for public input will be held on March 28. A regular meeting planned for the adoption of the budget for voter approval will be held on April 3. The public is invited and encouraged to attend regular school board meetings and special sessions of the board of education.