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Board Meeting Questions & Answers » Board of Education Questions & Answers 2013-2014

Board of Education Questions & Answers 2013-2014

Board of Education Questions & Answers 2013-2014



Answers to questions asked during Public Comments sessions at recent Board of Education meetings. These are questions that required further research for a response. These types of Q & A's will be posted here after each Board of Education meeting.

BOE Meeting, June 23, 2014
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Question: Did any BOE members eliminate names of families from the Verify Residence report?
Answer: NO. Please see June 9 response below regarding Verify Residence process.
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Question: What is the number of signatures required to be placed on the ballot as a Board of Education candidate? And compare this to the number of signatures required for inclusion on the schools' parent ballot to acknowledge a religious holiday.
Answer: At least 10 signatures of qualified voters of the school district are required on a school board candidate's petition.
500 signatures of adult district residents will be required on the holiday petition.


Question: Please explain why you are voting on a resolution that gives you the authority to issue up to $10 million in tax exempt obligations during this calendar year for lease-purchase agreements when you are only purchasing an $85,000 school bus? What other lease-purchase items are you anticipating?

Answer: The resolution did not give the authority to issue up to $10 million in lease purchase agreements. Please see the agenda from the June 23 meeting for an explanation of the resolution.





Question: What are advantages to the community of opting out of the school lunch program?

Answer: Opting out of the school lunch program gives the school district more flexibility on food choices and a huge reduction in paperwork required by the state and federal government, for little benefit for a school district of our size and socioeconomic demographic.


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BOE Meeting, June 9, 2014
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Question: Amount of settlement and amount of legal fees included for Item M.1.c.?

Answer: The details of a legal settlement like this are confidential. Total district spending on legal fees for the year, broken down into general categories, will be available after the fiscal year closes.







Question: How many days of testing at the high school next year including PARCC and midterms/finals?

Answer: This is still being determined. We are looking into eliminating final exams and having the midterms subsume the "SGO" assessments (that were given during regular class time) in an attempt to minimize total testing time. All in, there will most likely be five additional days of testing in 2014-15--nine new PARCC days minus the four deleted final exam days (but, again, all of this is yet to be finalized). We will also be eliminating the three delayed opening days previously used for HSPA administration (since that test is going away in 2014-15).





Question: Verify Residence report--what was the process used to investigate the no matches and no records, who performed the work, and how many students were eliminated based on hearsay, personal experience, etc.?

Answer: Millburn school district staff performed all of the work and the Property Committee was provided with a detailed overview. Here is a link to the statement made by the chair of the Property Committee at the March 17 meeting explaining the process. The steps taken by the district upon the receipt of the Verify Residence report were posted on this site following the March 17 BOE meeting. For convenience, they are posted again below, with an update to note that those in question have been sent residency verification letters:



“Verify Residence conducted a Residence Database Audit on a list of 4,974 student names provided to them from our database. For each student, the search used the name and address of one associated parent or legal guardians (father). At our request, they also verified addresses for the second parent names for those students who have siblings in the district.

Verify Residence provided the district with a report of their findings, based on their address/name search against three major databases, one of which is the National Change of Address database of the U.S. Postal Service. Each name was searched against each of the three databases, with results for them listed as either:

Match (the address matches the current address for that data provider)

No Match (the address you provided does NOT match the current address on file with that data provider)

No Record (there is no record found for the name as associated with the address provided by the district)

Verify Residence (VR) confirms that there are many reasons (in addition to a student living out of district) that may cause a No Match or No Record status, including database issues such as misspellings, hyphenations, abbreviations, nicknames, married name not current, recent address change, etc.

Upon receipt of the VR report, the district reviewed the master results and reconciled the reports for each database as follows:

1. Reviewed the master list and identified any combination of no records or no matches in VR databases with a result of 566 students, equating to 398 families.

2. Removed 5th and 8th grade students since they are going to be re-registered this spring.

3. Removed current seniors (with no siblings) from the list.

4. Removed families whose “multiple addresses” e.g. separate households, were both in Millburn-Short Hills, so therefore residency is not in question.

5. Removed families who had registered for the 2013-2014 school year within the last year whose records are still current.

6. Removed Kindergarten students (all registered within the last year), and PreSchool students (all of whom must re-register when they enter Kindergarten).”



UPDATE – 6/9/14: Upon completing this process the district has a list of 52 (reduced to 46 upon realization there were 6 more recently registered preschool students). These priority names will be sent letters in the near future requesting proof of residency. As of the time of the June 9 Board of Education meeting, all families who did not meet the above criteria had been sent the residency verification letter. No one was excluded.

If necessary, we can use these master lists at any time for follow-up.




BOE Meeting, May 27, 2014

Question: When will the decision about Diwali be made?

Answer: The committee is still working on developing a procedure regarding closing schools that would prioritize education and be based on the needs of the functioning of the school district. Once developed, the details of the procedure will be articulated in writing and reviewed by our school district attorney before being definitively decided upon. We hope to have these processes completed in a few weeks, though it may take longer if the attorney recommends changes in any proposed procedure, or if the committee feels the need to deliberate further for any reason.



Question: What more information does the BOE need from the community to make the decision?

Answer: At this moment, the BOE doesn't need any more information, though we will reach out to the community for additional information should the committee determine more information is needed.



Question: Are we still on track to make a decision by the end of the year?

Answer: We are on track to make a decision by the end of the year, though any decisions could take longer if the attorney recommends changes in any proposed procedure, or if the committee feels the need to deliberate further for any reason.


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BOE Meeting, May 12, 2014 -- COMMON CORE and PARCC

Question: How will the district handle a situation where a student opts out of taking one or more of the state’s annual standardized tests?

Answer: The district is in the process of interpreting conflicting directives from the state in this area. Though we have been told that these tests are not optional, we will not force a student to take a test. What we do with the student who “opts out” while the testing is going on for his/her peers, and how we code his/her test booklet, will be decided soon. As you can imagine, given the fact that test scores will be used to evaluate teachers now, we don’t want to make any hasty decisions on this front, but will instead devise a sensible approach that will be common among all seven of our schools.





Question: How much time will be spent on testing in 2015-16 (both the # of hours a student spends on the test and also the # of delayed openings required)?

Answer: Exactly how much time will depend on the grade level, but it will be about double what is spent now, with NJASK. The exact amount of time each segment of a PARCC test in, say, Grade 5 math will take is still being determined by the state, so we cannot at this time give exact amounts, but we can say it will be about double (since there will be two testing windows with PARCC—in March and May—compared to the one testing window now with NJASK). The other wildcard, also still not finalized, is how many delayed openings we will need at the 6-12 levels to administer PARCC. Given that it is entirely online, the logistics involved are much more complicated and we are still working out how to get the most devices in one place, at one time, while minimizing the impact on instruction elsewhere.





Question: What student data is being collected and submitted to the state via NJSMART?

Answer: NJ SMART collects directly from Millburn Township Public Schools basic demographic, special ed, course and grade information for it students. NJ SMART also collects student state test results from their own state testing systems.


A complete listing of the various submissions we make to the state as well as links to detailed documentation on the data submitted can be found at: http://www.nj.gov/education/njsmart/download/









Question: Has the BOE given thought to the impact of the Common Core and PARCC on property values?

Answer: The Board of Education would never allow anything to compromise the quality of Millburn’s schools, as it is a generally accepted principle that a community’s schools are a large factor in what makes the community an attractive place in which to live.





Question: Did educators have input into the development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?

Answer: Yes, educators were involved in the development of the CCSS.









Question: What is the long-term plan for world language instruction at the K-5 level and has the district looked at what other districts do in this regard?

Answer: The district plans on having 40 minutes of instruction per week in Spanish in both Grades 3 and 4, using Middlebury’s interactive software as the basis for instruction. In Grade 5, the 40 minutes per week of Middlebury will continue, supplemented by 40 additional minutes per week of instruction with a Millburn Spanish teacher (she will be shared among all five elementary schools, one day per week at each). The goal of this plan is to have all students finish the first half of “Spanish I” by the time they enter Middle School. The goal is then expanded to have students (who continue with Spanish and who do not change to French) finish the second half of Spanish I by the time they enter Grade 7, and then finish all of Spanish II by the time they enter MHS. This will, in turn, fully prepare them to continue a complete and challenging career in Spanish (with AP and elective choices in Grades 11 and 12). The district has examined what other districts do with regard to world language instruction at the K-5 level. District approaches to this are as varied as the districts are themselves, and as a result, there is no single “best fit” approach. Rather, districts tailor their approach to fit their own, local needs and circumstances, which is what the above plan does for us here in Millburn.
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BOE Meeting, April 28, 2014



1. QUESTION: Can you post district enrollment figures as of February 2014?



1. ANSWER: The closest update we have is with enrollments as of 4/11/14 (see document below)







2. QUESTION: State specifically how the verifyresidence.com figures got from 1,000+ to 52.



2. ANSWER: Please see answer from March 17 BOE meeting. Also note that it was reported in the Property Committee minutes at the 4/28 BOE meeting that the 52 number was reduced to 46 as 6 of the original addresses were found to be from pre-school parents/ guardians whose residency had been confirmed with all valid documents during the registration process within this school year.







3. QUESTION: Is it possible to add French as a world language option at the K-5 level?



3. ANSWER: Right now, we do only offer Spanish in Grades 3-5. It would be possible to offer French as well, but it would be very difficult to manage (the regular classroom teacher in Grades 3-5, when his/her class is scheduled for world language instruction, would have to manage two different online programs in the same class, which is not impossible, but tricky). Also, students would have to choose between French and Spanish at a much earlier age (Grade 3) than they do now (Grade 6). Also, in Grade 5, we'd need to hire another teacher to provide French instruction for the additional, live-teacher 40 minutes (new in 2014-15, Spanish only). So, possible, but tricky to manage and somewhat costly as well. We will monitor how our French students do in Middle School in the coming years and revisit the topic as needed, and as possible, to ensure their continued success.







4. QUESTION: What are possible alternate sources of revenue, such as activity fees, the BOE can consider in future budgets?



4. ANSWER: The Board of Education and the Strategic Planning Committees have a variety of options under discussion for generating revenue in the future. Some examples of suggestions, as well methods used by other districts are:



--Dedicated grant writing effort



--Fundraising through alumni network, capital campaign, district-wide fundraising drive



--Pay to play fees- fees for all students to participate in sports, student activities, etc.



--Asset Monetization - allowing advertising on district assets (eg. advertising on buses, fields, etc.)



--Increases to some charges already in place in Millburn could include raising subscription busing fee, reducing income threshold for waiver to busing fees.



BOE Meeting, April 7, 2014





1. QUESTION: When will the decision be made on Diwali?



1. ANSWER:The Program Committee is hoping to have a decision on Diwali by the end of this school year.











2. QUESTION: Why hasn't Dr. Wadhwa been assigned to the Program Committee?



2. ANSWER: Assignments to Board committees are made at the discretion of the Board President. The assignments are based on a variety of factors. Any board member should stand prepared to serve on any committee and committee assignments are made such that the Board can fulfill its responsibilities as a whole. Assignments are not made so that individual members can pursue particular issues.











3. QUESTION: Has the BOE considered removing all religious days off in the calendar and implementing a liberal attendance policy on those days instead?



3. ANSWER: Though we are very much still in discussion as a committee, the option of removing all religious holidays from our school calendar has been raised and is one of several options being discussed.


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BOE Meeting, April 7, 2014





1. QUESTION: When will the decision be made on Diwali?



1. ANSWER:The Program Committee is hoping to have a decision on Diwali by the end of this school year.











2. QUESTION: Why hasn't Dr. Wadhwa been assigned to the Program Committee?



2. ANSWER: Assignments to Board committees are made at the discretion of the Board President. The assignments are based on a variety of factors. Any board member should stand prepared to serve on any committee and committee assignments are made such that the Board can fulfill its responsibilities as a whole. Assignments are not made so that individual members can pursue particular issues.











3. QUESTION: Has the BOE considered removing all religious days off in the calendar and implementing a liberal attendance policy on those days instead?



3. ANSWER: Though we are very much still in discussion as a committee, the option of removing all religious holidays from our school calendar has been raised and is one of several options being discussed.



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BOE Meeting, March 24, 2014

1. QUESTION: Why does the district need so much bandwidth (10GB Private Fiber WAN Services and 2GB internet access) and does this have anything to do with PARCC?

1. ANSWER: The district is implementing a 10G private fiber network in order to accommodate high volume data traffic associated with Disaster Recovery (DR) plans that would place a redundant data center at one of the school buildings. This server-to-server traffic requires large bandwidth. The new network design incorporates redundant connections between buildings and the internet that will minimize the effect of local power outages or storm damage while at the same time providing for the higher bandwidth requirements of multimedia resources.





2. QUESTION: How did the district calculate the number 52 from the initial Verifiyresidence.com report?

2. ANSWER: This question has been asked and answered. See answer from March 17 BOE meeting.





3. QUESTION: When will the BOE will decide whether or not to include Diwali in the district calendar as a day off?

3. ANSWER: The Program Committee will continue to gather data, deliberate and discuss the issues surrounding closing schools for observances. We are hoping (though cannot promise at this point) to make a recommendation to the full Board by the end of this school year.



4. QUESTION: Is the district considering using technology to account for days lost to weather?

4. ANSWER: The district would love to do this, but as of press time, the NJ Department of Education has not granted permission for districts to pursue such a solution to days lost to weather. We are keeping our fingers on the pulse of this one, however, as it would be a very positive development (it would, please know, require substantial amounts of training and preparation time before it could be implemented).







5. QUESTION: What measures is the district taking to help protect students and prevent tragedies like the ones involving current and former students in the past few weeks?

5. ANSWER:

All staff take part in annual mandatory suicide awareness and response training in compliance with state and district policy. These occur at the beginning of the year in each building. The child study teams review general information on suicide as well as standard district procedures regarding reporting student demonstration of suicidal ideation. We also mandate that each faculty member participate in an online training in suicide annually. Every 5 years we conduct a 2-hour intensive training on suicide awareness/prevention for all staff. All new staff receive this training during their new staff orientation.







Our social workers and psychologists are trained in suicide risk assessment. The district has a research-based detailed risk assessment protocol which has been reviewed and approved by our consulting psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Faber. Any student who displays any kind of suicidal behavior (e.g. makes a statement or writes something which indicates suicidal intention) is immediately sent to the principal and one of our psychologists or social workers conducts a detailed risk assessment. If a student is determined to be a high risk, the parent is immediately contacted. The student is continuously under staff supervision until the parent arrives, and the parent is advised that the student must be immediately evaluated by a psychiatrist. A medical psychiatric clearance must be provided before the student can return to school. In all cases the parent is contacted and the student is closely monitored going forward. This is all in addition to what the counseling staff does at the middle and high school on a daily basis.









6. QUESTION: What schools and grade levels are involved with this spring's PARCC field test pilot project and will the results of this pilot be shared with parents?

6. ANSWER: Randomly selected classes in Grades 3-9 are piloting the field test for PARCC in Math and Language Arts at Glenwood, Deerfield, MS and HS. There will be no scoring of these field tests, therefore no performance information will be shared with parents.





7. QUESTION: What is the intersection between the common core state standards and the "iSTEM" curriculum movement the district has been presenting lately?

7. ANSWER: The Next Generation Science Standards (Common Core State Standards for Science) are due to be adopted by the state shortly. In them will be a focus on the engineering design elements that have been described as part of the iSTEM discussions.









8. QUESTION: What are the costs the district has incurred and will incur as a result of implementing the common core state standards?

8. ANSWER: To date, we have updated our district curricula to be aligned with the Common Core Standards as part of the QSAC process. We have also increased the number of laptop computers to be used with the PARCC assessments as well as for daily use as part of the District Technology Model. We will be conducting professional development workshops this summer to enhance teaching strategies in Math and Language Arts to meet the Common Core Standards. These workshops will run approximately $12K.

The district has added 330 new Apple MacBook Pro laptops over the past 2 budget cycles specifically to increase the number of laptops available for daily instruction. Those computers can also be used for PARCC testing. The cost of these laptops was approximately $1,100 each (financed over 5 years).


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BOE Meeting, March 17, 2014

1. QUESTION: What methodology was used to come up with a verifyresidence.com figure of 52 when the report appears to suggest over 1,000 names are in question?



1. ANSWER:

Verify Residence conducted a Residence Database Audit on a list of 4,974 student names provided to them from our database. For each student, the search used the name and address of one associated parent or legal guardians (father). At our request, they also verified addresses for the second parent names for those students who have siblings in the district.



Verify Residence provided the district with a report of their findings, based on their address/name search against three major databases, one of which is the National Change of Address database of the U.S. Postal Service. Each name was searched against each of the three databases, with results for them listed as either:



Match (the address matches the current address for that data provider)

No Match (the address you provided does NOT match the current address on file with that data provider)

No Record (there is no record found for the name as associated with the address provided by the district)



Verify Residence (VR) confirms that there are many reasons (in addition to a student living out of district) that may cause a No Match or No Record status, including database issues such as misspellings, hyphenations, abbreviations, nicknames, married name not current, recent address change, etc.



Upon receipt of the VR report, the district reviewed the master results and reconciled the reports for each database as follows:



1. Reviewed the master list and identified any combination of no records or no matches in VR databases with a result of 566 students, equating to 398 families.

2. Removed 5th and 8th grade students since they are going to be re-registered this spring.

3. Removed current seniors (with no siblings) from the list.

4. Removed families whose “multiple addresses” e.g. separate households, were both in Millburn-Short Hills, so therefore residency is not in question.

5. Removed families who had registered for the 2013-2014 school year within the last year whose records are still current.

6. Removed Kindergarten students (all registered within the last year), and PreSchool students (all of whom must re-register when they enter Kindergarten).



Upon completing this process the district has a list of 52 priority names that will be sent letters in the near future requesting proof of residency.

If necessary, we can use these master lists at any time for follow-up.











2. QUESTION: What will be the division of responsibilities between the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and the new Curriculum Supervisor position?



2. ANSWER:

The district Curriculum Supervisor will:

  • Work in conjunction with the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and the district administrators to set annual departmental goals and report related progress to the Superintendent.
  • Supervise the development, articulation, revision, and implementation of District programs PreK-12
  • Assist in the interpretation/articulation of the department’s program to the parent community and general public.
  • Assist in supervising and coordinating the district-wide testing program for all students, grades PreK-12 (including the PARCC, MAP and NJASK).
  • Assist with all matters pertaining to textbook review and selection, student examinations, use of supplementary teaching materials, etc. in assigned curricular areas.
  • Oversee the selected ordering, maintaining inventory, and distribution of all related departmental materials and equipment.
  • Work with colleagues to evaluate, ensure program effectiveness and recommend enhancements as needed.
  • Oversee the preparation of curriculum guides and supervises their use by staff.
  • Serve as a resource person for building principals and staff.
  • Conduct classroom observations and consults with building principals on the evaluations of selected teachers.
  • Oversee the planning, developing and presenting of professional in-service activities.
  • Assist with the preparation of the budget in the assigned curricular areas.
  • Maintain records, prepares and submits periodic reports related to assigned responsibilities.
  • Assist with the recruiting, interviewing, screening, selection and induction of new staff.
  • Contribute/lend assistance to committees, staff meetings and/or individuals promoting school-related activities (ex. Strategic Planning Implementation Teams).


The district Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction will continue to:

  • Evaluate the instructional program K-12
  • Oversee, review, suggest and guide discussion of new course curriculum as well as revisions of current curriculum.
  • Ensure alignment to the NJCCCS and new Common Core
  •  Guide the Program Committee of the Board of Education
  •  Maintain and uphold all State regulations and requirements (ex. mandated trainings and compliance)
  • Oversee QSAC monitoring
  •  Act as the District Testing Coordinator
  • Prepare and present all reports on assessment to the Board of Education
  • Prepare and present Professional Development


a. Oversees all School Year PD

b. Prepares, monitors and guides New Staff Orientation Week

c. Prepares, monitors and guides all non-tenure PD

  • Work closely with HR in professional development and observation tracking and other personnel issues.
  • Acts as District 504 / I&RS  Officer
  • Acts as the District Affirmative Action Officer
  • Prepare and Manage a $800,000.00 budget
  • Facilitate monthly with Elementary Level Principals and Instructional Supervisors
  • Attend school functions with day and evening presence
  • Attend professional development conferences to stay current on DOE mandates, professional development, Common Core, and Teach NJ
  •  Head the District Evaluation Advisory Committee


a. Provides guidance and oversight of implementation of new guidelines

b. Provides professional development – district wide

c. Guides and teaches on the new SGO procedures

d. Researched, helped choose and trains on the new Evaluation tool – T-Eval

  • Internal Coordinator for the District Strategic Plan
  • Oversee all Strategic Planning phases: research and data gathering, action teams, implementation team
  • Oversee Graduate Course Application approvals
  • Oversee all curriculum writing and converting to Google Docs
  • Acts as Supervisor to district Media Specialists, Computer Teachers and ELL
  • Oversight of Lead Teachers positions for Art and PE
  • Oversight of development of CART (Content Area Resource Teacher) position at the Middle School
  • Conducts observations for all Year 1 -4 teachers across the district
  • Administrator of NCLB Federal Title I, II and II grants



3. QUESTION: Which administrative positions are included in the "Comparative Studies" chart that outlines how many administrators are in the district at the building and district levels?



3. ANSWER:

BUILDING (19 total): 7 Principals, 2 MHS Assistant Principals, 2 Middle School Assistant Principals, 5 K-5 Instructional Supervisors, 1 Program Chair at Middle, 2 Department Chairs at MHS (five people, each teaching three classes and supervising for two classes per day, which equates to 5*0.40 = 2.0 FTE)



DISTRICT (4 total): 1 Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, 1 Music Director, 1 PK-5 Special Education Supervisor, 1 6-12 Special Education Supervisor



CERTIFICATED ADMINISTRATORS NOT INCLUDED (3 total): 1 Superintendent (only supervises administrators), 1 Director of Special Education (fewer than 40 teacher observations annually), 1 Director of Athletics (fewer than 40 teacher observations annually)





The revised chart can be found here:
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BOE Meeting, March 10, 2014

Q1. Why hasn't the full board seen all of the student data provided by VeryifyResidence.com?"



A1. Recently the Property Committee of the Board, at the direction of the Board President and as reported to the Board, undertook a verification analysis of all students enrolled in the Millburn Public Schools. This Committee and the Administration, on behalf of the Board, engaged the services of VerifyResidence.com to analyze the residency data provided to the Millburn Public Schools at the time of enrollment and on a continuing basis for all students who attend Millburn Public Schools. Recently, a detailed status report was provided to the Property Committee with respect to the analysis of this data and to receive high level direction regarding the methodology and strategy for the next steps of inquiry that will be taken to confirm residency as reported during the March 10th, 2014 Board of Education Meeting.



At this time, that analysis is not complete. It is the goal of the analysis to verify the residences of all students and to ensure that there are no discrepancies in the information. When the analysis is complete, a report will be made to the Property Committee advising as to the students whose residence cannot be verified. At that time, the District Administration will follow the next step of the District’s residency verification procedure and an investigation will take place to confirm whether or not the student is domiciled in the District. If any results of any residency investigations are inconclusive regarding residency, the Board of Education will be informed.



Until the time of a residency hearing, the identity of those students is protected both by individual right to privacy and the Federal Education Records Privacy Act. At this time, it is beyond the scope of the full Board of Education members’ authority to review student data.





Q2. Can the public get a timeline as to when the program committee might make a decision regarding vacation or holiday changes to the calendar?"



A2. We can't commit to a timeline currently. We are still very much in data-gathering mode, and deliberating the pros and cons of options discussed. There are many important factors that are all connected. We are discussing the issue at every Program Committee meeting, have had one extra meeting to focus on the topic and will be holding another ad hoc Program Committee meeting on March 19th. We will continue to discuss the issue of school closure for observances until we reach a resolution."





Q3. Could you please clarify the administrator count on the comparative administrative capacity worksheet distributed on 3/10/14--the building-based figure seems low.



A3. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The correct number for building-based administrators should read 19 (not 16), as there are part-time Department Chairs at MHS that should have been counted (for the part of their work day that involves supervisory responsibilities). This error will be fixed in the next version of the sheet.


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BOE Meeting, February 24, 2014
Q1. How much State Aid do we receive?
A1. We just received the state aid figures from the state for 2014-2015. Millburn has received a slight increase from last year of $98,800, given to districts to help with state testing readiness and other related expenses. The total state aid for 2014-15 will be $1,981,782.
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BOE Meeting, February 10, 2014
Q1. Was any research done locally before incorporating the common core standards into local curriculum?
A1. No. This is a state mandate and as a result, local districts do not have the discretion as to whether or not to comply.
Q1. If the state mandates something and a local district doesn't want to do it, what options does the local school board have?
A1. Local boards of education must comply with things that are mandated by the state, otherwise they run the risk of sanctions like withholding of state aid.
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BOE Meeting, January 27, 2014

At the 1/27/14 BOE meeting, various questions about the district's approach to residency verification were asked, as follows:





1. Do we collect residency verification documents from every family every year? No.


2. Will the board consider revising the district policy regarding the collection of tuition in certain cases (such as when a student moves out of the district mid year)? Yes. The Policy Committee will review Policy #5111 and suggested changes, if any, will be presented in upcoming public meetings, following standard policy revision protocols (i.e., a first and second reading before anything is changed).


3. NOTE: Questions were raised about individual residency situations--these cannot be answered due to privacy concerns.


4. What happens when mail that is sent home to parents is returned to the district? This is a good example of a source of information on a POSSIBLE residency issue that we collect and investigate accordingly.


5. What was the former procedure for verifying changes of address?
Previously, the individual schools interacted directly with the parents and handled all such changes to contact information and updated the district database accordingly. Now, we have centralized that function at the Ed Center, with residents required to provide a form and proofs of new residency before their address is changed in the system. This is one more improvement to our efficiency and consistency.


6. Why is the district only re-registering two grades prior to the 2014-15 school year? We are combining this two-grade approach, which has been the plan all along once the district funded a new, part-time Registrar position in the 2013-14 budget, with a concerted effort to clean up and update our database (using an outside firm that specializes in this service). Our previous (Spring 2012) re-registration of one grade did not uncover any cases where the residency of a student came into question, so before we commit the time and resources to possibly re-registering every student, we are going to combine the two grade approach with a database cleanup effort and see if that sheds any light on the question of how many, if any, non-residents are in our schools. We will collect that information and proceed from there.

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BOE Meeting, January 13, 2014



1. What is the breakdown of legal fees paid by the district?

Please see table below:

 

LEGAL FEES: 2012-13 2011-12 2010-11
Special Education 200,084 223,776 79,207
Other 36,553 78,213 115,510
Negotiation Fees 2,800 90,458 61,415

 


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BOE Meeting, December 16, 2013

1. How often do MHS teachers assign homework on Edline after school is done for the day? Is there a board policy that precludes that from happening?"





ANSWER: The guideline is that teachers do not assign homework after school is over UNLESS they have told their students beforehand that circumstances dictate a late posting/announcement. Still, in those cases, teachers are expected to be understanding if students cannot access the assignment. If this is not the case, the teacher should be contacted (preferably by the student -- then parent). ThE Department Chairs should be contacted if a concern persists.


BOE Meeting, November 11, 2013

1. Why is the new "Human Geography AP" course open to only 12th graders?



ANSWER: The Human Geography AP course is being introduced as a new course in the High School Social Studies Department in SY 2014-2015. It is being proposed to begin at the senior level. As with all courses, we will then review the offering for other grades based on students' interest.





2. Why did the BOE take action on an agenda item before providing an answer to a question from a member of the public at the meeting on that item?



ANSWER: The Board of Education welcomes input and comments from the public at all its meetings, before (and after) the "action items" section of the agenda, and this input can be considered by board members before any votes that meeting. If a member of the public has a specific question about something, including an item on the agenda for that meeting, the Board and district administration will take down the question and make every effort to research the answer and post it on the district website's "Q&A" link in a timely manner. However, the board's business at that meeting cannot automatically be held up by questions from the public--to do so would effectively provide "filibuster" power to one or more members of the public, which is not the intent of the "Public Comments" section of the agenda. An individual board member may move to table an item on the agenda, based on something such as comments/questions from the public, but absent of such a motion (duly seconded and approved by the board), the agenda proceeds as originally planned.



3. There are some areas in the district around some schools where lights seem to be out of order. What is the status?



ANSWER: The school district’s electrician recently retired. We have contracted with an electrical company who will be in the district next week to investigate and report on lighting issues around the schools, and repairs will follow.




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BOE Meeting, October 14, 2013

Q a. Does the MHS Student Liaison Committee accurately reflect the student body?



b. How can a student who is not on the Committee get his/her concerns heard by the Committee?



ANSWER:

a. The committee represents a cross-section of all four high school grades, reflecting the personalities, academic abilities, athletic talents, diversity of opinion and other interests of the student body. Students are recommended by their guidance counselors who select the students that they believe represent the student body, who are available and willing to participate, and able to articulate the views of their peers.



b. Students who have concerns can share them with guidance counselors, administrators and class officers at any time, and ask that they be shared with the student liaison committee.


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BOE Meeting, September 9, 2013
Q: Can we capture some data regarding how many students dis-enroll from the Millburn schools to attend a non-public (in-state) school instead?
A: Yes. Over the past 9 years, a total of 422 students have left the district's schools to instead attend a "non-public in-state" school. Of those, 99 were rising 6th graders, 126 were rising 9th graders, and the remaining 197 were from the other grades combined. On average, roughly 47 students leave our schools each year to attend a non-public in-state school instead. This equates to just under 1% of each year's total district enrollment leaving to a non-public in-state school and is not a net figure in that it does not include those students entering the district from such schools.