A Message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents and Community Members:
Hoping that this note continues to find you all healthy and well. For those of you who have been impacted by a reduction or loss of jobs, please know that we are thinking of you and trying to keep things as consistent as possible with your children’s schooling while you manage this. To this end, our sincere thanks to all of the parents, caregivers, and community members who have stepped up to assist with the delivery of your children’s education, all while managing your own personal and professional situations. As we are now in our 10th week of teaching and learning under closure rules, this has been a monumental task for all involved and our partnerships have never been so important. Thank you!!
A few announcements for you regarding the end of year, summer programs, and fall reopening:
- End of the School Year and Closure Plans Status – Based on our use of Good Friday and the spring recess as instructional days, our last day of school for students is Thursday, June 18, 2020 as we will have met the state’s 180 day requirement. While the remaining weeks will provide challenges of their own as we get into assessments and report cards, I am confident that we will collectively manage our way through them in fine and meaningful fashion. More to come from your principals on these details.
- Based on the Governor’s announcement last week, our Food Service Program as well as our Child Care for Essential Employees Program are to continue throughout the summer. We are awaiting guidance from the State Education Department to determine if these are to look any different than what we have been providing during the closure.
- The Governor also announced that our Extended School Year program for students with disabilities will be run through remote learning only. Again, we will await specific guidance from the NY State Education Department to determine how we will proceed and will communicate with parents accordingly.
Last week, the Board of Education adopted the recommended budget for the 2020-21 school year. Some important details on this and the vote/election:
- Budget Details – The budget newsletter as well as the very detailed budget statement can be found on the front page of the website and in the District Budget Info tabs respectively. The proposed budget carries an increase in expenditures of 1.3% and a tax levy increase of 3.53%. However, because of the significant growth in new construction in the district of 2.79%, the 7th highest growth of those districts reporting from the 57 counties outside of New York City, the average homeowner will see an increase of 1.35%. Lots more information on our website and in our newsletter which, in addition to being posted online, will arrive in mailboxes next week.
- Budget Vote and Board Election – As we have noted in earlier communications, this year’s Budget Vote and Board Election will take place by absentee ballot only. Ballots must be received in the mail or in the ballot dropbox which will be placed at the entrance of the District Office, BSHS,or Gordon Creek ES by 5pm on June 9. All registered voters will be receiving information on the process for this in the mail in the coming days.
And finally, a few operational items for your attention:
- Search for and Appointment of Building Principals – While we are balancing personnel reductions with the impact on services, one of our most important tasks right now is filling our two building principal positions. These full time positions are required by state regulation for each school building and are critical to organizing our teaching, learning, and support services.
- Malta Avenue – As noted in previous communications, Mrs. Sarah Johnson, currently the K-8 assistant principal in the Schuylerville School District, has been offered and has accepted the principal position and will begin her duties on July 1. Additional information on Mrs. Johnson can be found on our website.
- Gordon Creek – Our search process continues and we have issued the parent survey based on the building Advisory Committee’s Principal Profile. The results of this survey will assist in guiding us through the remaining interview, presentation, and selection processes. On our current timeline, should a strong candidate emerge who matches the Committee’s Profile, we hope to have a recommendation to the Board of Education at their June 3 meeting.
- Use of Fields and Tennis Courts – A number of you have asked about the use of our fields and tennis courts. Under the current order of the Governor, our facilities are closed until June 13. This includes our fields and tennis courts. Once we have been given clearance to open these facilities – currently slated for Phase 4 of the state reopening plan – we will let you know. Thanks very much for your patience and understanding.
- Phase 5 Learning Survey – Thanks very much to those who have completed the District’s Remote Learning Survey. If you have not been able to do so, the survey remains live until Friday at 4:00pm and can be found HERE. This information will help us with improving our processes for our summer Extended School Year program as well as in the year ahead should we remain fully or partially closed.
- Fall 2020 Reopening – While there are a tremendous amount of unknowns about what September will bring, there is nonetheless a great deal of planning taking place in the District, in the region, and at the state level. At all levels there is a notable amount of anxieties as there are far more questions than there are answers. With this said, our phase 6 planning team will continue its work and we will update you as we proceed with each of our respective steps. In the meantime, the BOCES organizations across the state are seeking feedback including your thoughts and concerns about reopening and are asking every district’s residents to participate in a statewide virtual conversation about reopening schools. You will be able to read and rate other participants’ responses. Based on those ratings, the most important thoughts will rise to the top. All contributions are anonymous. The exchange results will be shared with our elected officials so that they will have a more global understanding of the thoughts and ideas our community members have about returning to in-person schooling. I encourage everyone to use the link below to share your thoughts and help evaluate the critical issues. If English is not your first language, there is a translation feature. The Thought Exchange Link for parent input is https://my.thoughtexchange.com/333518046
Our continued thanks for all that you are doing to support your children during the closure. I speak for all of us at the District when I say that we truly cannot wait to see all of our students on campus again.
Superintendent of Schools
Ballston Spa CSD