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December 26, 2018

Civil Service DOF Test Prep Webinar Recap

Thanks to all who joined us for last week's lunch-and-learn webinar in preparation for the upcoming  Director of Facilities Civil Service Exam on January 5, 2019. If you couldn't make it or would like to review the content presented, you may view a recording of the webinar here.
 
Additional information on the Civil Service test, along with study materials, is located here.
Southern Cayuga District Residents to Vote on Solar Project

Residents are set to vote on the Southern Cayuga Central School District's proposed capital project for a solar panel array.

A public hearing and vote are scheduled for January on a proposal for a $1.5 million project to create an approximately 750 kilowatt solar panel system on the district's campus, according to a news release. The district would partner with Renovus Solar in Ithaca to make the 3-acre system, which the district said is estimated to meet 45 percent of the district's annual electrical needs and save more than $30,000 annually, the press release said.

District Superintendent Patrick Jensen said the project is in line with the district's other recent efforts, such as a past capital project in which the majority of the district's indoor lights were replaced with more efficient LED lights and a 12 kilowatt solar array was installed on the roof. 

"I think it's a part of our long-term plan to become more efficient," Jensen said.
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Albany Seeks to Expand Eligibility for Busing

What’s the definition of a hazard for a youngster who is walking to school? According to a state transportation aid program, it could be a roadway with no shoulder, or a railroad crossing.

Albany city school officials, however, believe there are other hazards including crime-ridden neighborhoods or vacant building lots that students must traverse on their way to and from school.

It’s one of the arguments the district is making in seeking financial assistance for providing bus service to kids who live within 1.5 miles of school.

New York State helps offset transportation costs for students who live more than 1.5 miles away. Many suburban districts, such as neighboring Bethlehem, bus kids who live as close as a half mile away from their schools and the district bears the extra cost.

But in Albany, officials say that spending more for bus service within 1.5 miles would be too much to ask of hard-pressed taxpayers.
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Plattsburgh District Sets Terms for City on Bridge’s Fate

The Plattsburgh City School Board has drawn a line in the sand in its negotiations with the City of Plattsburgh over the Webb Island Footbridge.

Mayor Colin Read doesn't see the city crossing it; he considers the proposal "a real step backward."

For many years, the footbridge over the Saranac River gave students a shortcut to Plattsburgh High School from the city's South End. It is owned by the school district, though the City of Plattsburgh had maintained it for decades.

Inspections in fall 2017 resulted in the shutdown of the walkway due to structural deficiencies that required repairs estimated then at $416,000.

State Sen. Betty Little has secured a $400,000 grant for that work, through the State and Municipal Facilities Program. Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) acquired $50,000 for the project as well.

But the city and school district have not been able to come to a deal over what to do with the span when it finally outlives its useful life. 
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School Psychologist Staffing Levels Raise Concern

Twenty-nine percent of school superintendents in New York state said their school districts lack enough school psychologists to meet student needs. And among school psychologists, 66 percent believe there is not enough capacity to meet their needs.

Those findings come from surveys by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) and the New York Association of School Psychologists (NYASP).

Among superintendents, the level of concern varied by region. It was highest in the Mohawk Valley, where 60 percent of superintendents said they see a shortage of psychologists. Also highly concerned were superintendents in Central New York (44 percent); Capital Region (37 percent); St. Lawrence-Black River (35 percent); Suffolk County (33 percent); and the North Country (32 percent).

The results are summarized in a report titled “Of Sound Mind: Do Schools Have Enough Mental Health Support Staff To Meet Student Need?”
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Upcoming Events

March 5, 2019: Advocacy Day

March 6, 2019: Classrooms of the Future Summit

October 13-16, 2019: NYS School Facilities Managers' Annual Conference & Expo, Saratoga Springs, NY

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