A school board traditionally sees its members serve three-year terms, which can seem either like an eternity or the blink of an eye in the world of public education. But there are even shorter terms on the board — the presidency and vice-presidency, voted on each year at a reorganizational meeting.
In Kingston, the annual reorganizational meeting took place on Wednesday, July 1, with Nora Scherer retaining her presidency and the Rev. James Childs Sr. earning the support of fellow trustees as vice-president.
“I am, of course, deeply honored to have fellow trustees support me,” said Scherer. “I believe that the Kingston City School District has a board comprised of dedicated individuals who regard very seriously their responsibility to serve this community. They are, as a group, generous with their time. Many of them head up subcommittees of the board while others are trustee members of those committees. If each of them does the caliber of work of which I know he or she is capable, I am confident that the Kingston City School District will be certain to continue on an upward trajectory toward excellence.”
Scherer cited the district’s budget for the 2015-16 school year as an important accomplishment, as it was the fourth straight spending plan which came in at or below the tax cap.
“This year’s budget not only preserved all programs and services that currently exist but also increased the support for student programming that will be available next year,” Scherer said. “We are adding teachers or teaching assistants in grades K-2 and elementary level co-taught special education classes, an additional math AIS teacher, a social worker and a psychologist.”
Scherer also noted that despite a few hurdles, the Kingston High School Second Century renovation project is moving forward, including new oversight to ensure the renovation plan runs as smoothly as possible. Settling a pair of labor contracts — the KTF and ASPA — in the past year was also important, as was the board’s increased efforts to help stop the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which for the past five years has seen public school districts lose anticipated state aid to make up for other budget shortfalls.
“We continue to advocate for full and fair funding of our public schools and to separate the APPR for our teachers from the district’s eligibility for state aid,” said Scherer.
Scherer said she hopes her term as president during the 2015-16 school year will help continue moving the district in the right direction.
“I believe that the president of the board of education is a trustee like any other and has no more authority than any other member of the board,” Scherer said. “However, I do believe that he or she has the obligation to set the tone for the board.”