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Mineola School District Adopts APPR Plan

Teacher contract negotiations still ongoing

The Mineola School District adopted its Annual Professional Performance Review Plan (APPR) last week. The APPR has been the subject of much scrutiny and is still in its infancy of being utilized across New York State.

The state requires that every school district and BOCES negotiate and adopt an annual review plan that evaluates teachers and principals. District Superintendent Michael Nagler said it has to be negotiated in “good faith” and all parties have to sign off on a plan and submit their review through an online portal dubbed the “Review Room.”

Under the new APPR plan, 60 percent of teacher ratings would be based on classroom observations, 20 percent on students’ scores on state standardized tests, and 20 percent on a list of three scoring options. That could include locally developed tests, tests offered by third parties or a simple doubling of the value placed on the state tests. School boards would have to negotiate the final 20 percent with their local unions.

Any school district that does not implement the new APPR by January 2013 will be forced to forgo its share of an $805 million increase in school aid planned for this year. Had Mineola not adopted a plan by January, Nagler estimated the district would have lost about $50,000 in state aid. Calls to the state education department were not returned.

“In the event that it is not negotiated, districts are allowed to impose their own plan,” Nagler said. “It still must be negotiated over time. In the interim of the negotiations that are occurring, we must still comply with the law and have a plan on file. This resolution is imposing an APPR that we will follow until it’s negotiated with the teachers.”

School district principals have come to an agreement on APPR, Nagler revealed. The plan was unanimously passed, sans Trustee Terence Hale, who was absent from the meeting for undisclosed reasons. The district is still in talks with the Mineola Teachers Association (MTA).

“Attached to [the APPR] are state monies,” Nagler stated. “Mineola did apply for a management efficiency grant. There are extra points allotted if a plan is submitted and approved by Sept. 1.”

The district and the MTA have held seven meetings since the April 17 meeting, reported first by the Mineola American. The district’s impartial mediator, Howard Edelman has dealt with numerous contract squabbles, including deliberations for the Freeport School District and Hewlett-Woodmere School District. He did not return calls seeking comment.

“We’re making incremental progress,” noted Nagler. The district and the MTA are scheduled to meet next on Aug. 23.

“We have declared an impasse on the custodians and the aides,” Nagler revealed. “We have been assigned a mediator and have tentative [meeting dates] in September. Concerning clerical staff, we have not established a mediator yet. I began preliminary talks with administrators. This is the first time we came to the table. We’re not at an impasse yet with them.”

The 275-member MTA has operated without a contract since June 30, 2011. While there are no salary increases when a district has no agreement in place with a union, Mineola still has to pay STEP increases, according to the Triborough Amendment in the Taylor Law, which prohibits a public employer from altering any provision of an expired labor agreement until a new agreement is reached.

“It sounds like the principals to a point, have agreed to what’s been submitted or what’s being submitted,” Board President William Hornberger said. The MTA reviewed the APPR plan on July 18.

School districts like West Hempstead, after a two-year contract battle, agreed to no STEP increase until 2013 last May. Nagler did not indicate if Mineola would take a similar approach. MTA President Teresa Perrotta Hafner did not return calls for comment.

The previous agreement in Mineola called for a 3.5 percent raise each year for the duration of that contract, with STEP increases between 1.5 to 2 percent. Teachers contributed approximately 15 percent to medical benefit costs.

News

Audience members were treated to an evening of incredible singing by 10 extremely talented Wheatley students during the Tri-M Music Honor Society’s Wheatley Idol X on Friday, Nov. 7, in the packed Wheatley auditorium.

 

Nada Al-Okla, sang “Titanium” by David Guetta, Michaela Balboni sang “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities, Alex Boubour sang “Love Song” by The Cure, Melanie Esquilin sang “At Last” by Etta James, Tessa Karikas sang “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, Ben Lee sang “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5, Lauren Levine sang “Drops of Jupiter” by Train, Ally Levy sang “A

Drop in the Ocean” by Ron Pope, Juliana Luber sang “Reflection” by Alan Menken and Morgan Misk sang “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse.

What Thanksgiving Means In Mineola

Thanksgiving is a holiday, a festival, celebration and food fest. Tradition says the first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated by pilgrims and Native Americans back in 1621 to give thanks for their harvest after a harsh winter. Over a century later, George Washington, the nation’s first president, issued a Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789.

 

Fast forward to 21st century—the modern day Thanksgiving has come a long way since then. What has not changed however is the shared elaborate meal consumed with family and  friends in the same spirit of celebration and giving thanks for the blessings.


Sports

Mineola High School student Mary Elizabeth Smith signed her letter of intent to attend Stetson University in the fall. She is receiving a partial athletic scholarship and will be a member of the Stetson Rowing team.  

 

Smith is an accomplished rower who has trained locally and competed nationally. She began her rowing career as a 10th grader and ranks 53 in her rowing classification. 


 

In their semifinals home playoff game, the 9-year-old Mineola Chiefs (7-2) shut out perennial power Seaford Broncos 21-0. 

 

The Chiefs defense, the strength of the team, was lights out, making gang tackles all over the field. The defensive line of Charlie Villa, Luigi Kaloudis, Michael Nygaard, Luke Ruiz, John Jochym, Zachary Bohringer, Johnny Kessler, Zakria Zulfiqar and Jack McCormack kept the pressure on Seaford’s offense all game long. The Linebackers John Viggiani and Nick Rios attacked the runners and finished off the Broncos.


Calendar

Rockinghams - November 29

Village Green Tree Lighting - December 2

Village Meeting - December 3 


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com