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Locking named new North Collins School Board president

Shannon Locking will preside over the North Collins School Board as its new president after winning the seat with no opposition.

Locking and former president Richard Foster were tied for support at the reorganizational meeting of the board earlier this month leaving Vice President Mark Snow to run the meeting. Renomination for the post found only Locking as a candidate and five votes were cast for her, including Foster’s. Snow did not vote and board member David Gier was absent.

Foster did offer a statement to the board and the new president on the importance of being a “pro-active” body. He added that with the challenges ahead, the board will need to “enlist the help of all the professionals in the district.”

The board heard a report from the district’s internal auditor Bahgat and Laurito-Bahgat outlining risk management issues.

Items reviewed from the previous year included the need to properly tag district inventory; review of access to computer records due to the realignment of district staffing; developing a written plan for computer data loss; and the updating of the district’s organizational chart to reflect recent changes.

In the current year the firm recommended: conflict of interest disclosure forms be on file with the district and be updated each year; a greater segregation of duties in the business office with an additional employee; The cafeteria manager, who deposits funds for the district, should be bonded.

Superintendent Benjamin Halsey noted that some of the issues have been addressed with an additional employee hired in the business office earlier this year and a new cafeteria operation contract will soon be ratified. The terms of that contract provide for the bonding of the manager by the operations company.

The inventory tagging is being performed by the district’s technology department and the board reached a consensus that the next internal audit should study that process to see if it is operating normally and on track to meet expectations.

Halsey reported that the tree trimming project is complete. Sealing of driveways and parking lots will begin shortly with the high school campus first to be done.

Elementary Principal John Cataldo gave details on recent state English language arts and mathematics testing for grades 3-6. He noted that both tests saw improvements from last year in all grades with ELA rising from 68 percent to 72 percent this year and math from 71 percent to 76 percent. Cataldo also provided a comparison of each grade over its career. The current sixth graders saw the biggest improvement in ELA rising from 55 percent as fifth graders to 70 percent this year. Current fourth graders saw the biggest jump to 89 percent, which is up from 51 percent as third graders.

Annie Metcalf, high school principal, echoed the elementary results for seventh and eighth grade students at the junior high, but reminded the board that 70 percent passing rates also mean that 30 percent of students need additional attention in those subjects She is making changes to schedules for the coming year to offer students that help through academic intervention services.

Board Member Martin Niefergold soughtreaction from the board about a proposed “Wall of Fame” for the district. With the means of selection and administration of the project unknown, the board agreed to invite Al DeCarlo to present his experience in running the honor.

The board additionally plans to solicit public input on the idea by advertising DeCarlo’s visit through the district newsletter.

In other business the board:

• Appointed the Committee on Preschool Special Education, including Nicole Livingston-Neal, chair; Janice King, speech/language therapist; Amy Abad and Karla Eder, elementary teachers; and Marie Parnitzke, parent representative and evaluation and agency representatives.

• Appointed the following to the Committee on Special Education: Nicole Livingston-Neal, chair and school psychologist; John Cataldo, elementary principal; Annie Metcalf, Jr.-Sr. high principal; Wendy Habermehl, elementary school nurse; Robert English, Amy Ward and Scott Gill, counselors; Janice King Patricia Montroy, Arthur Gasiewicz, Susan Flaherty, Dawn Blidy, Adele Flanagan, Jaime Ando and Nancy Green, all special education teachers; Amy Abad, elementary and Grant Walters, secondary, both general education teachers; Edith Chmiel, secretary; and Tammy Catalano, Marie Parnitzke and Mary Lou Smith, parent representatives.


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