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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

The founders of the popular Facebook group “Massapequa Moms,” a ‘virtual living room with 6,700 people,’ are leveraging their social media power to create a new discount loyalty card good all over Long Island—including, they hope, in Mineola. 

 

With a hugely popular Facebook community, co-founders Dawn Boyle Kostakis and Stephanie Hartman wanted to “figure out a way that we could help the consumer and the business owner at the same time; keeping commerce going, keeping it all local and having the people get a little bang for their buck,” said Kostakis. They wanted to serve more than just Massapequa, too, and the Long Island Loyalty card was born. 

Educating The Underprivileged Girl

As I tried to make my way through the unforgiving monsoon season, rain pouring as far as the eye could see, dodging puddles I rushed inside the school building. The guard yelled in the background for the children to come in quickly before they dragged in even more mud inside. Trying hard not to slip on the wet dirty floor, I pondered to myself what

exactly I was doing here. The words of Mahatma Gandhi resonated inside my head, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

 

Here I was at a school in Mumbai India, 7800 miles from my home in Mineola, volunteering with “Aseema,” a non-governmental organization whose mission is to empower and educate the under privileged children. Children living on the streets or in slums and in inhuman conditions.


Sports

The Mineola Mustangs varsity football team defeated the Roosevelt Roughriders 47-38 on Saturday, Sept. 20.

 

Senior quarterback James Gerstner led the Mustangs (2-0) to victory by rushing 212 yards and securing five touchdowns on 23 carries.  He also completed 11 of 13 passes for 229 yards and one touchdown.

 

“This was a big game—we were ready and pumped up all week,” Gerstner said.  “We came in ranked third but we knew we could beat them.”

Mustangs Shut Out Valley Stream

The Mineola Varsity Football team’s defense dominated Valley Stream South, winning 21-0 on Sept. 13. The Falcons never got further then Mineola’s 30 yard line. The defense was lead by senior linebackers Eric Guardado (8 tackles 6 assist), Ed Hincapie (6 tackles, 5 assist) and safety John Clancy (tackles, 3 assist).

 

Defensive linemen Anthony Sarno, Luigi Athan, Victor Tineo, Matt Lafaye and Chris Brenes controlled the line of scrimmage. Defensive backs Peter McCormack and Chris Lockwood played very well as they combined for eight tackles and only allowed two pass completions. Linebacker Kyle Dunleavy, Ben Carbone, Matt Kosowski and Brian Smith also played very well.


Calendar

Exercise Class - September 24

Silver Sneaker Fitness - September 25

International Night - September 25


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