Board of Education Corner – January 2021

My apologies for this delay of the January monthly Board Corner Report. As most can imagine, it has been a very busy start for the GJSD Board of Education in 2021.  We are excited for what the new year is going to bring to our district and to our community.  We know that 2020 was a very difficult year for everyone. With that said, we are committed to making this year one we will all remember, for the positive reasons and not the negative ones.

The BOE  is continuing its work on a variety of issues facing our district. These include the development of  the annual budget, negotiations with several of our bargaining units, and developing a plan to begin bringing the board and the work we do back to some sort of normalcy. We also hope to conduct  what business we can, in-person.

As you have seen the past two months, portions of the budget have been presented prior to our board meeting. That trend will continue, going forward, until the budget vote in May.  Our Audit, Budget, and Finance Committee has been working hand in hand in developing the budget with the Administration. We are making great progress, not only on this year’s budget, but also on a long range plan for future years.

Our Facilities Committee has finished analyzing the Building Condition Survey that was conducted last year. This survey was helpful in determining the future needs for our district’s facilities in order for us to prepare now for projects that may need to be done in the future.  The committee has also been working on the exploration of a potential Capital Outlay Project. The survey identified the need for repairs to the exterior wall of our pool area.  Most recently, this committee has looked at ways to continue to utilize grants that were awarded to the district for improvements to some of our technology components as well.  More information on this topic will be coming in the next several months.

Our Academic and Extracurricular Committee was charged with the task of rewriting our Affiliated Organizations Policy.  We are happy to announce that the policy was completed and adopted by the Board of Education at our most recent board meeting.  I applaud the work that the committee and all those involved did to make sure this policy fit the needs of all groups whom it would affect.  This committee will play a very important role in the near future as they will be helping explore options for ways to bring our students back to a more normal environment in the coming months.

Our district continues our advocacy efforts on a daily basis and we are beginning to see some movement, because of not only our efforts here in our district, but also those efforts of many districts across the state.  We are happy to recognize that one of our board members, Beverly Alves, has been asked to become a member of the NYSSBA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Bev was also added to NYSSBA’s advocacy group which works with other school districts across the state in meeting and talking with our elected representatives in New York and in Washington.

Lastly, we, as a board, are beginning to look at ways to bring our work back to a somewhat normal setting.  For the past eleven months, most of our meetings have been done in a virtual setting.  We are currently working on a plan that will restore meetings to an in-person format rather than a  virtual format.  The development of this plan is in the beginning stages, but the plan will allow us to gradually return to a normal setting. We would like to begin the first phase of this implementation at our March meeting.  This would put us on track to be able to conduct some of our most important meetings and hearings, pertaining to the budget, back to an in-person format . We will have more information and a definite answer, with details, at an upcoming meeting.

As we look forward to Spring, please continue to be safe and stay well.

Respectfully submitted,
Chris Tallon