What’s the saying? If you get lemons, make lemonade. Or in Sachem’s case, if you were a permanent substitute teacher last year, change the title to preferred substitute and take a pay cut.
After cutting permanent substitutes from the school budget, the Sachem Central School District board of education Wednesday night, during a board work session, approved the title of preferred substitutes, who will take a 10 percent pay cut from a $105 to $95 day rate and be on-call with the district’s substitute call system.
According to Bruce Singer, Sachem's associate superintendent for business, this will save the district between $100,000 and $150,000 for the 2011-2012 school year.
Sachem Superintendent James Nolan said permanent substitutes approached him with the idea once they learned their positions would be cut.
Track vandalized at Sachem North
The newly paved track at Sachem High School North was vandalized by minors over the weekend, according to district administrators and representatives from McClave Construction Management, who are in charge of various projects being worked on throughout the school district.
They said over 30 footprints are visible on the track, which is still stripe-less. The question now is whether or not to proceed and patch up the blemishes, or cut out that portion of the damaged track and start from scratch on the curved stretch.
“I’d rather have a brand new track done right,” said Board Trustee Mike Timo. “At this point we spent a lot of money to put in a brand new track. If it means cutting out that whole section of footprints versus patching them over and our insurance pays for it, I’d rather see them cut it out and be 100 percent to par than something less than perfect.”
Nicosia Talks Civics Curriculum
Sal Nicosia is no stranger to the Sachem community. The 55-year resident spoke at length at this week’s board meeting about the need for a full civics program to be offered in the school district, educating children about not only local government, but about the work force for various fields to educate on society in general.
Nicosia said he taught classes with this approach as early as the 1950s when he was an educator in Patchogue-Medford. Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri was one of his students.
“This endeavor will awaken something that will make us be able to live with the motto we have. Sans Egal,” he said. “We are a unique community.”
Sachem currently allows students at select elementary schools and at the secondary level to here and speak with guest lecturers about their positions in society.
“This really makes learning real,” Nolan said. “Kids would say to me, ‘I don’t know what I want to be.’ It’s not important what you become, but who you become.”
“Implementing this as an educational tool will impact kids for many years,” said Board President Rob Scavo.
The district's curriculum council will be discussing the program further and integrating methods of civics education when possible.
Co-Curricular Activities Update
Don’t lose hope yet, kids. Co-curricular activities at the secondary level may come back into the picture this year once the board gets a proposal from the Sachem Central Teachers Association, according to Scavo.
He said co-curricular activities remain a priority to the board of education and there is a likely chance they could be reinstated.
“They’re a huge part of making students not only responsible and leaders, but showing them that you have to be a member of the community and represent Sachem as a community,” said Rich Lemke, a teacher and Interact Club advisor at Sachem High School East.
Universal Pre-K Discussions
For nearly 35 minutes, administrators and board members tossed scenarios back and forth regarding Universal Pre-K policies and regulations and eventually decided to table the discussion. A majority of the talk pertained to the current lottery system in place to pick the children for the program.
The board approved an agreement between the school district and SCOPE Education Services for 252 four-year old children to participate in pre-k programs.
The next board of education meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the administrative annex at Samoset Middle School.