At its last regular meeting in 2021, the Rome Board of Education addressed several resolutions regarding the ongoing drafting of the new district policy manual, as well as issues relating to people operations, including retirements. Patricia Wheeler, teaching assistant at Clough, and Linda Froio, typist at Strough, as well as the appointment of Jodi Marchone as acting principal at Clough Elementary School.
At the meeting, held on December 22, the council received a presentation from district architects and financial consultants, proposing options for addressing repairs and upgrades as part of capital project improvements over the course of of a working study session.
They also heard from several local leaders and community members during the public comment segment of the meeting to express their frustration at the suspension of the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion contract with Access Global Group, a DCI consultant in the middle of his third year of service to the district when council voted to end those services in November.
Members unanimously approved the consent agenda and then heard an update from the chair of the facilities committee, Paul Hagerty, who dedicated his time for the second consecutive regular meeting to express the urgency that ‘he feels in the face of the council regarding the acute concerns about the closure of Staley, the problems with bus transportation, the imbalance between the catchment areas of the districts and the cry of families and teachers to take care of the classes too large for effective teaching.
“My biggest problem is, I don’t know how bad things are going in elementary schools right now,” Hagerty said.
Hagerty urged colleagues to prioritize designing a short-term solution while waiting for longer-term redistribution proposals still pending. Vice-Chair of the Board Tanya Davis proposed scheduling a dedicated Facilities Committee meeting to address issues related to proposed capital projects and redistribution plans, in addition to chairing the first meeting. of the ad hoc redistribution committee in January.
The next scheduled facilities meeting – scheduled for Jan. 18 – has been postponed in light of conflicts with upcoming budget retreats.
During discussions on financial matters, members confirmed that the 2022-2023 Budget Retreats, which are working sessions not open to the public to discuss aspects of the school budget that will be recommended to district voters in May, will be scheduled. for Jan. 12, 19 and 26. Members will also participate in the board governance training on Jan. 19. The board will also discuss the Superintendent’s assessment at an executive meeting on January 13.
Joe Mellace, chairman of the People Operations Committee, came up with a total of 12 action points, where Resolution # 11 was deleted because it duplicated Resolution # 10. Resolutions to approve probationary and non-teaching staff were passed unanimously.
Resolution # 3, seeking approval from extracurricular ski staff, the production crew, the jazz band, and the National Honor Society – with salaries ranging from $ 700 to $ 1,200 – has inspired some discussion.
Board chairman John Nash has expressed reservations about some clubs, but will not vote no so as not to interfere with student benefits in the future. Member Craig Ferretti echoed Nash’s concerns and intentions. None of the members contributing to the speech were specific as to the activities or concerns in question. The resolution was approved by all voting members, with Davis abstaining due to a dispute where one of his children attended one of the clubs.
The Council then unanimously approved resolutions appointing the coaches of extracurricular and winter sports. They also approved an updated job description for the newly created role of ‘Student Support Specialist’ and approved the hiring of two Student Support Specialists, one dedicated to each from Strough Middle School and Rome Free. Academy, both at an annual salary of $ 42,000 and both start working in January.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are pleased to see these positions filled,” said Nash.
Board Clerk Dr Karen Fontana invited new staff to join the Equity Working Group, noting that this would serve in response to a request from Jackie Nelson – Rome Chapter President of NAACP and working group member – include staff “more representative of the Rome student body”.
The members unanimously approved the granting of the mandate to Nikiya Pomponi, professor of ENL (English as a new language) of the district, effective January 7, 2022, with the thanks and congratulations of the board of directors.
With regret, members unanimously approved the retirements of Patricia Wheeler, teacher assistant at Clough, and Linda Froio, typist at Strough, with both retirements beginning after the end of the school year. June 30, 2022.
Nash said on behalf of the board, “Thank you to these two ladies for their service to the district.”
The board considered a request for approval of a “team of one” that would see new recruit Isabella O’Rourke compete on behalf of the Rome Free Academy in alpine skiing. O’Rourke would train with the Camden High School Alpine Ski Team and be supervised, as needed, by a trainer appointed by RFA – in this case – Melissa O’Rourke, mother of Isabella, who has agreed to perform the services while waiving any wages or salaries. The arrangement is in accordance with New York State Public High School Athletic Association rules for the 2021-2022 winter season.
The board also unanimously approved the appointment of teaching staff, including Sarah Sorge-Elacqua, science teacher at Strough, with an annual salary of $ 61,910, and Kristine Moskal, reading teacher at Ganesvoort, with an annual salary. of $ 56,910.
Finally, members approved the appointment of Jodi Marchone as Acting Principal of Clough Elementary School.