The Highland Central School District Board of Education met on Tuesday, July 7 for its annual reorganization meeting in which newly elected board members were sworn in. Incumbents Mike Bakatsias and Debbie Pagano pledged to perform their duties for another three-year term each and new board member Ed Meisel took the oath for the first time. Meisel will also fulfill a three-year term on the board.
The members of the Highland BOE voted to retain Alan Barone as the board’s president. Barone is serving his fifth consecutive term on the School Board. A lifelong Highland resident with a background in commercial construction, Barone put three sons through the Highland school system and has an extensive background in community service as a volunteer firefighter and former Little League coach and president of the organization and former chairman of the Town of Lloyd Recreation Commission.
School Board member Sue Gilmore was absent from the reorganizational meeting, but had earlier conveyed to Barone, he said, her intention to step down as the board’s vice-president due to the expanded duties she took on last year as Highland district representative on the Ulster BOCES board. Trustee Tom Miller was nominated and confirmed as the board’s new vice-president. Miller is serving his second three-year term on the Highland School Board and also has a leadership background with several local youth sporting organizations.
Sub-committees within the board were established to reflect the change of board members, with recent BOE member Mike Reid remaining on the Support Services Committee as a community member along with current board members Barone, Miller and Meisel. The Finance Committee has been absorbed into the Audit Committee, which will have Barone, Heather Welch and Pagano continuing on in that capacity. The Negotiations Committee will be composed of Pagano, Gilmore and Welch. Other committee formations will be: HELPA: Welch, Barone and Bakatsias; HTA: Miller, Gilmore and Pagano; and Strategic Planning: Meisel, Welch and Miller.
Liaisons appointed were: PTA, Bakatsias and Meisel; Ulster BOCES board, Gilmore; CSE/CPSE, Pagano and Miller; CDEP (Comprehensive District Education Plan), to be determined.
Board of Education meetings will continue to be held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. with the exception of the second meeting in April, 2016, which will be held on April 20. Any modifications to the schedule will be announced by the district clerk prior to the scheduled meeting date.
Information on board meetings can be found on the district website at www.highland-k12.org. The board also announced its intention to step up their presence on social media this year, maintaining an active presence on Twitter and Facebook.
Appointments of district officers were made as follows: District clerk, Lisa M. Cerniglia; district treasurer, Tera VanAmburgh; school tax collector, Louise M. Lynch; claims auditor (to be determined); deputy claims auditor, Jill Greenland (no compensation); and deputy treasurer, Maryanne Lostaglio (no compensation).
Other appointments included Shaw & Perelson, May and Lambert, LLP as school attorneys; HealthQuest as school physician; The Bonadio Group as internal auditors; Raymond G. Preusser CPA, P.C. as independent auditor; records access officer (to be determined); Dr. Michael O’Rourke as asbestos designee; Louise M. Lynch as purchasing agent; Jill Greenland as central treasurer for extracurricular activities; Sarah Dudley-Lemek and another person to be determined as Title VII and IX compliance officers; OMNI as 403 (b) third party administrator; Barbara E. Chapman as ADA/504 compliance officer and attendance and residency officer; Elizabeth McCloughlin as homeless liaison; and Charlie Witte as student activity faculty claims auditor.
The following individuals will serve on the Committee on Special Education: chairpersons Barbara E. Chapman, Michael Paff, Lisa Neer and Sara Moore; parent members (to be determined); psychologist members Michael Paff, Lisa Neer and Sara Moore; and teacher members (all teachers, speech therapists, guidance counselors, social workers, occupational therapists and physical therapists approved).
The board designated The Poughkeepsie Journal as the district’s official newspaper. Schools Superintendent Deborah Haab was given the authority to certify payrolls with the business administrator Louise Lynch to serve in Haab’s absence. The superintendent will also have the authority to take action on administrative and teacher requests to attend conferences, conventions and workshops within the limits of the 2015-2016 school budget.
The Highland School District agreed to participate with other school districts of the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Ulster County, in the joint bidding of commodities to be requested by the school district purchasing agent and approved by the superintendent.