Catching Up with the Haldane School Board

Highlights from recent meetings

■ On Oct. 6, the board appointed Doug Donaghy, a senior at the high school, at its student adviser for 2020-21. It also hired Amy Pastula as a grade 2-3 teacher at $74,728 annually and Erin VonDollen as a grade K-1 teacher at $52,344 annually.

■ On Oct. 20, the board recognized Donaghy as a Commended National Merit Scholar and Sophia Kottman as a National Merit Semifinalist. It also acknowledged Walter Hoess, who plays the trumpet, for his selection to the New York State School Music Association All-State Symphonic Band.

■ The board accepted grants from the Haldane Arts Alliance for 35 folding stools for outdoor band seating ($379); art supplies for K-7 students ($289); two virtual visits by authors to the elementary and middle schools ($547); 14 digital keyboards for students in grades 7 and 8 ($841); and two overhead digital cameras for art classes ($190).

■ The board accepted a $4,895 donation from the Haldane School Foundation for Teen Mental Health First Aid, a program developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health that “teaches high school students how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health or substance-use issues in their friends and peers.”

■ The board accepted the resignation of Patty O’Rourke, a special education teacher at the high school, and Diana Geller, a special education teacher at the elementary school who plans to retire on June 30. Fourth grade teacher Lisa Pray also announced her retirement, effective Dec. 31.

■ On Nov. 3, the board selected a bid from Arrow Steel Window Corp. of Elmsford to replace the elementary-school windows for $551,800 and a bid from Peter Gisondi & Co. of White Plains for painting for $43,250.

■ On Nov. 3, the board approved an agreement with the Haldane Faculty Association through June 30 that cameras placed in classrooms for virtual learning “will not be used for the purpose of recording employee time or attendance” or for teacher evaluations. The board and teachers’ union also extended their collective bargaining agreement through June 30 with a 1 percent salary increase for teachers, a 2 percent increase for teaching assistants and a 1/2-percent increase in health insurance premiums.

■ On Nov. 17, Leah Horn, the director of technology, noted that the district had spent about $153,000 on equipment related to virtual learning, including $80,000 on laptops, $8,400 on webcams, $11,645 on internet hot spots, $14,800 on touch-screen TVs, $3,990 on iPads, $1,475 on document cameras, $14,628 on outdoor internet access points and $18,000 on software.

■ The board on Nov. 17 approved 64 books, a minivan and a 40-passenger school bus to be scrapped because of their poor condition.

■ The board appointed Eric Romanino, a retired Beacon High School athletic director, as interim athletic director and dean of students for $750 per day through April 19 while it searches for a successor to Chris Salumn, now at Carmel High School. It also appointed Anthony Morabito as junior varsity girls’ basketball coach.

■ The board voted to refinance the $5.1 million in principal remaining on a $7.52 million bond issued in 2012 that matures in 2021. The bond had been issued to refinance $6.87 million in bonds issued in 2004. Anne Dinio, the Haldane business manager, says the move will save the district $545,000 in interest through 2031.

■ At its Dec. 15 meeting, the board accepted a $500 donation for the district from Nancy, Larry, Joe and Brian Belluscio in memory of Steve Gregorio, a Haldane graduate who died on Nov. 22 at age 42.

■ On Dec. 16, Superintendent Philip Benante announced that instruction for all grades following the holiday will be remote through Friday (Jan. 8), with plans to return to an in-person and hybrid schedule on Jan. 11.

■ The next meeting of the board will be held at the school at 7 p.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 5).

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