F-M News Fall 2016
A key initiative of the Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education during the 2016-2017 school year is to address district facilities issues. While prior boards, district officials and the community have done outstanding work in maintaining our facilities, we now face the reality that some are in need of significant attention. This presents us with a tremendous opportunity.
As was made abundantly clear during its well-attended regular meeting on Nov. 14, the board of education is eager to educate the community about the district’s facilities’ needs, to listen carefully to stakeholders’ viewpoints and to move forward with active community engagement.
We want to hear from you.
If you were unable to participate in the online survey made available during the summer and early fall or attend one of our community forums in June, then please give your input through the district’s Let’s Talk! feature available via the district’s website, www.fmschools.org/let’stalk.
We are planning future opportunities for participation, and of course, you are always welcome to attend board meetings.
The board looks forward to continuing to work with the community to develop a plan that will propel our students and community forward for decades to come.
F-M News September 2016
September is magical. There is nothing quite like the fresh start a new school year brings with its new classes, renewed friendships and endless possibilities. Our community does nothing more important than educate its children, and the F-M Board of Education is grateful for this community’s support.
We are fortunate to surround our children with gifted educators who strive mightily and constantly for the benefit of our kids and our community. We appreciate how they inspire our children, and instill in them a love of learning.
As we continue with our facilities planning process, we look forward to ensuring that the district’s facilities remain well-suited to meet the instructional needs of our students into the future. We invite community input in the development of a long-range facilities plan, and we are grateful to those who attended community forums during the last school year and who have already participated in the district’s online survey.
The survey will be available on the district website through Sept. 23. Please take a few moments to review the information on our website, www.fmschools.org/facilities, and then let us know what you think by completing the survey.
We look forward to hearing from many residents throughout this process as these are the buildings where your children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors will spend a great portion of their formative years.
Enjoy the last days of summer vacation, and best wishes for a wonderful school year!
F-M News Spring 2016
It may come as a surprise to many, but there is a little-known section of the education law that allows a board of education to expand its membership to include a non-voting student representative for a one-year term.
The additional spot on the board of education must be approved by the board and the community-at-large. Last spring, the Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education approved a policy that would allow it to add a student member to its board, pending voter approval.
Board members felt that a student member could provide a unique voice that could inform the school board governance process. Even though they cannot vote, such an opportunity provides students with a voice in how decisions are made and provides the board with a unique perspective on educational issues.
The public will have an opportunity to vote on the measure as a proposition during the statewide school budget vote on May 17, 2016. There is no financial compensation for any individual, including the student, for serving on the board.
If approved by voters, the board is legally required to appoint a senior in high school who has attended the high school for at least two years prior to the selection.
The law states that the student board member may be any one of the following: the elected student president of the high school; a student elected by the student body; a student selected by the high school student government; a student selected by either the high school principal or superintendent of schools; or a student selected by a majority vote of the school board.
Even though districts officially appoint a senior, they often invite a junior to sit in the audience as a “student-board-member-in-training.” This allows for a smooth transition from one year to the next.
Although the student member cannot vote, he or she can sit with the board at all public meetings and participate in all board hearings and meetings, except executive session. The student representative is allowed to voice his or her opinion on any topic that is being discussed by the board. In New York state, the proposition to appoint a student representative to the board of education must be approved by voters and re-approved every two years.
With students and teachers settling into their routines, we are pleased to report that the 2015-16 school year is off to a smooth start.
As anticipated, the arrival of a new superintendent, Dr. Craig J. Tice, has ushered in some new endeavors as new leadership often means new beginnings and ideas. The board of education has worked closely with Dr. Tice to outline new goals while ensuring continuity in supporting our mission of providing excellence in education to all students.
We asked Dr. Tice to work with the administration and teachers to help connect faculty members with similar pedagogical interests by publishing action research and to schedule curriculum audits in all major content areas by benchmarking our district against rigorous standards. They will also be exploring national research-based best practices to determine if those practices could enhance curriculum already implemented in our classrooms.
The board is proud of all that our district has accomplished to date, and we would like to build upon those achievements by our faculty and students by exploring the possibility of being recognized nationally by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools as having Programs of Distinction.
Middle States Programs of Distinction are highly regarded as models around the globe because a school’s accomplishments in specific areas of expertise have been externally validated as ones of excellence. Fayetteville-Manlius is well-positioned to serve as one of those models and would benefit from the opportunity to use the Middle States Programs of Distinction process to identify our strengths and areas for growth.
As a board, we are excited about the future and look forward to working with our new superintendent and administration as an effective governance team. Best wishes for a successful school year!
F-M News, September 2015
The Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education welcomes district staff members and families to the new school year.
This year is particularly special as the district welcomes its sixth superintendent, Dr. Craig J. Tice. New leadership brings new perspective and ideas that, in turn, bring about growth. The board looks forward to working with Dr. Tice as he acclimates himself to the district and community.
The board also welcomes Jonna Johnson as she begins her new role in the district as Mott Road Elementary School principal and Wellwood Middle School’s new assistant principal, Warren W. Smith.
During the summer months, many improvements were made to our facilities. These building projects will have a positive impact on students by enhancing the safety and comfort of these learning environments. Thank you for being patient as these tasks were completed.
As your children head back to school this year, we encourage you to ask them to try something new. Our district is fortunate to offer students a diverse range of science, music, arts, leadership and sports activities that enhance their educational experience.
We wish you a wonderful school year. Hornet Pride!
F-M News, Spring 2015
School districts across New York state are making devastating cuts to educational programs as they adjust to rising costs that are outpacing revenue.
Continued reductions are not a viable long-term solution to fiscal challenges when today’s students and teachers must meet higher performance standards than ever before. This trend of reductions cannot continue without threatening the quality – and equality – of the education available to all students.
We all have a stake in the health of our schools – and the state of our schools affects the community.
How can you help?
Parents and community members can stand up for local schools, including the Fayetteville-Manlius School District, by following these action steps:
• Learn about the issues affecting your schools, such as the Gap Elimination Adjustment, unfair distribution of state aid and lack of funding for new mandates.
• Develop a “laser talk” to communicate your concerns. The message should identify the problem, present a solution, issue a call to action and include a personal story.
• Advocate with your legislators. Send them a letter or email, meet with them face-to-face or attend town hall meetings.
• Advocate in the community. Organize a letter-writing group, participate in a forum and spread your message on social media. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can also be used to showcase the teaching and learning taking place across your school district.
Learn more about advocacy and how you can support the F-M District by visiting www.fmschools.org/budget. Information includes videos, sample advocacy letters and general budget information.
Your voice can make a difference!
F-M News, November 2014
The Fayetteville-Manlius Education Foundation is currently in need of volunteers interested in serving on its board of directors.
The F-M Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was started in 1992 to raise funds to promote, enhance, and supplement district educational and extracurricular programs.
Over the years, the foundation has awarded more than $150,000 in grants to F-M students and staff members for various projects, including after school enrichment programs, teacher classroom projects and assistance to student clubs.
In addition to awarding grants, foundation members were responsible for raising the money needed to build the F-M Observatory and establishing the F-M Hall of Distinction, which recognizes F-M alumni.
The foundation’s success is dependent first and foremost on a strong volunteer board with members committed to developing a strategic fund development plan through relationships with area businesses, parents and community members. Individuals of various backgrounds are needed to make the foundation a success.
Educational foundations raise money to support programs that are not funded with taxpayer dollars through the school district budget. Individuals and groups may apply for a foundation grant for money to pay for creative projects that enhance student learning and expand their educational opportunities. Donations are controlled and allocated by the foundation, not the school district, and are tax deductible for the contributors.
If you are interested in learning more about the foundation and potentially serving on the board, please send a letter of interest to email@example.com.
F-M News - September 2014
The Fayetteville-Manlius School District Board of Education looks forward to another successful school year. Even when faced with challenges, our staff and students find ways to turn these into opportunities for growth.
The start of a new school year can be an anxious time for students, especially those entering a new school for the first time. Each of our school buildings has a special way to welcome students with a focus on those transitioning between the elementary and middle school or middle school and high school levels. This helps our students get off to a great start and builds a solid foundation for the upcoming year.
The district welcomes new teachers during its annual Opening Day at F-M High School, and the Board will meet in early September to review our goals for the new year so we can continue to enhance our mission of providing excellence in education to all students.
There are many exciting changes ahead for our district.
We are launching our full-day kindergarten program. Our teachers have been preparing all summer for a smooth transition for the Class of 2027. Curriculum work in general never stops in the district, and it is at the heart of our 21st Century Learner Attributes to ensure all students reach their full potential.
We welcome two new assistant principals: Lora Champlain at the high school and Amy Getman-Herringshaw at Eagle Hill Middle School. We look forward to the wonderful contributions we are sure they will make in their new roles to their school communities and our district as a whole.
Construction projects have been going full speed this summer, and we are excited to see them complete. The bleacher project that voters approved last year should be done in time for the first sporting events of the new school year. Our new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant bleachers will offer more room for fans creating a much safer and comfortable viewing environment.
We hope you get a chance to join us at the many wonderful events and activities that abound throughout our district during the school year. Our students and staff are talented and exhibit F-M PRIDE (Progress, Responsibility, Integrity, Determination, Excellence) in all that they do. We are excited to see what the 2014-15 brings us!
F-M News- February 2014
During the 2009-2010 budget year, the New York State Legislature began to use portions of aid allotted to school districts to address the state’s own budget deficit. Since then, the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), as this process is known, has resulted in a loss of over $14 million for the Fayetteville-Manlius School District. That is approximately $3 million per year.
This is a significant amount of money for our district. To maintain our existing programs and services for the 2013-14 school year, voters in May 2013 approved a budget increase of $1,834,488. To make up for dollars the state took back in the form of the GEA, the district has had to make reductions and use fund balance and reserve funds. If F-M was receiving the amount of aid the Legislature determined it needs, the impact to our budget would be beneficial.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his recent State of the State Address, said that New York state’s budget deficit has been eliminated. As a result, he is seeking to cut taxes by $2 billion. No mention, however, has been made about restoring aid owed to schools. It would seem that since the deficit was resolved in part by taking funds from schools, the state should begin to give school districts their full share of funding now that the deficit crisis has ended.
Over the last five years, school districts have made difficult decisions due to the GEA. Funding that could support academic programs has not been there. It is important to emphasize that restoring GEA funds is not giving more to schools – it is giving back to schools the aid promised by the Legislature.
F-M residents can help school districts by contacting their state representatives to request GEA funding be restored. Sen. John DeFrancisco can be reached at 333 E. Washington St., Suite 800, Syracuse, NY 13202 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Assemblyman Al Stirpe can be reached at 7293 Buckley Rd., Suite 201, North Syracuse, NY 13212 or email@example.com.
In order to maintain that level of achievement, the F-M Board of Education regularly reviews student performance, staff development and academic programs.
Currently, the Board is reviewing the district’s Languages Other Than English (LOTE) program to determine the feasibility of introducing languages earlier than seventh grade. The 2013 First-Year Teacher Leader Group submitted a report with recommendations regarding LOTE to the Board at its Nov. 4 meeting.
The Board has also requested a report from the superintendent with recommendations regarding the district moving to full-day kindergarten. The superintendent will present the full-day kindergarten study to the Board at its Dec. 9 meeting, and there will be an opportunity for public comment following the report.
The Board plans to hold a special meeting on Jan. 27 for a final review of both reports in order to prioritize recommendations from each.
There is well-documented research regarding the benefits of both starting foreign languages in elementary school and full-day kindergarten. In reviewing reports and recommendations, the board considers first what is in the best academic interest of students. The Board then considers budget, staff and the impact on existing programs in the district.
The Board values input from district residents throughout the review process. Questions or comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.