Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 27 July 2012 00:00
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.
Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00
Eleni Pitzel has lived in East Williston since 1975, having raised five children. Prior to that, she and her family lived in Floral Park. Pitzel is a longtime club member, and served as corresponding secretary for two years.
Pitzel has been the club’s art instructor for four years; she also teaches art at St. Paul’s Orthodox Cathedral in West Hempstead. “My artistic skills are a gift from God, and from that gift I give back to others,” Pitzel said.
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
A new proposal by interim Town of North Hempstead Supervisor John Riordan seeks to hike pay for elected officials. Riordan's plan would have board members’ salaries jump by $15,000 to a total of $55,000, an increase of approximately 37.5 percent. Other proposed salaries would be $138,000 for the supervisor, $115,000 for the receiver of taxes and $105,000 for the town clerk.
Riordan introduced the proposal at the last town board meeting, on Nov. 19, requesting that a resolution be placed on the agenda setting Dec. 10 for a public hearing to consider the adoption of an amendment that would enable the salary increases for the 2014 calendar year.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
MAA Travel Soccer teams wrapped up their respective fall 2013 seasons recently. Two MAA teams won titles this season in the Long Island Junior Soccer League; the BU13 Mineola Empire went 9-0-1 and the GU14 Red Bulls enjoyed a 8-1-1 campaign to each win first place trophies. The GU11 Honey Badgers went undefeated (6-0-2) and finished in second place in their division, as did the GU15 Mini-Mustangs with a 7-1-1 season record.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The Mineola 12U fall intramural baseball team celebrated their fall season and tournament championship with a pizza party/awards dinner on Nov. 20. In addition to celebrating a great fall season and tournament championship, the boys were treated to an inspirational talk by coach Ken Conrade, the 2013 New York State High School Coach of the Year.
Conrade, the Kellenberg Memorial High School assistant principal for academics and girls varsity softball coach, was the keynote speaker for the awards dinner. He presented a very talked about baseball and youth sports.
Conrade’s talk was framed around each inning of a baseball game. He used stories and examples from the first to an extra “10th inning” to drive home both a sports and life lesson. For example, as part of the seventh inning stretch, he had each player stand up, stretch their legs and then go and thank their parents for their support and commitment to their baseball playing.