News Releases 2016


Mad City Money
Tentative Contract Vote
ICSD Ranks 6
ICSD Audit Results
Curley Resigns
BOE Filing Period
Tentative Contract Agreement
ICSD BOE Letter
Caroline Certified Wildlife Habitat
New Roots Revision Request
Joint Statement From ICSD & ITA
IPDA Ratifies Contract 2016
Caroline & Children's Garden
Official Vote Results
No School May 27 & 30
BOE Grainger Awarded
Election Press Release
Meeting Rebroadcast
Interim Water Testing
Proposed 2016-2017 Budget
Team ICSD Day November 15
Luvelle Brown Supt. of the Year
ICSD BOE Media Alert
Community Conversations
Presidential Citation For Music
Dr. Brown Earns Top 30 Award
New Roots Renewal Hearing
Convocation 2016-2017


 
 
October 31, 2016
JOIN ITHACA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR Team ICSD DAY NOVEMBER 15
Team ICSD Day is November 15.  The purpose of this special day is to pay tribute to the culture of love that exists in our learning organization. On Team ICSD Day, everyone connected to the Ithaca City School District directly or indirectly is encouraged to wear cardinal and share messages about what Team ICSD means to them.
 
Engagement is encouraged by community partners, alumni, staff, caregivers, friends, volunteers, local businesses, and other supporters of ICSD. Everyone is encouraged to send photos and videos sharing memories and messages about reasons they love ICSD.
 
Engagement will be recognized in various categories. The categories include Largest Group; Most Team-Spirited; Most Creative; Farthest Distance From ICSD; Youngest Team ICSD Member; Best Team ICSD Poem; and Most Empowering Video.
 
You may start engaging now!
 
Please send photos and messages that include Team ICSD to icsdcommunications@icsd.k12.ny.us. Use #teamICSD to share anticipation, excitement, and plans. On November 15, help saturate our school community and beyond with examples of collaboration, camaraderie, and celebration for the Ithaca City School District.
 
Send questions and comments to icsdcommunications@icsd.k12.ny.us. Everyone’s contribution to the success of Team ICSD Day is appreciated!

October 26, 2016
LUVELLE BROWN NAMED 2017 NEW YORK STATE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YEAR
The New York State Council of School Superintendents announced that Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown of the Ithaca City School District has been named the 2017 New York State School Superintendent of the Year.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Brown as he has delivered on his promises,” said ICSD Board of Education President Robert Ainslie. “The amazing results and transformation in our school district are evident for all to see.”

Dr. Brown was appointed as the ICSD superintendent in 2011. He worked collaboratively with the community to establish a vision of “6000+ Thinkers” and a mission to “Engage, Educate, Empower.”

Since 2011, the ICSD graduation rate has skyrocketed from 78 percent to above 90 percent while all student groups are reaching unprecedented levels of performance, including
  • an 8 percent increase in enrollment and diversity in higher-level courses;
  • a 58 percent increase in enrollment in co-curricular programs;
  • a 7 percent increase in the number of students reading on-grade level K-5;
  • a 64 percent reduction in discipline referrals;
  • and a reduction of the special education classification rate in ICSD from significantly above the state average (14.8 percent) to significantly below (11.6 percent).
“I am overjoyed,” said Dr. Brown. “This special recognition is a tribute to the exceptional efforts and accomplishments of the entire Ithaca City School District community.”

Council Executive Director Dr. Charles Dedrick said, “Luvelle is truly deserving of this recognition for his leadership at the state and national levels, his effective and creative use of technology in education, and for his passion and dedication to the students within the Ithaca City School District. In fact, Luvelle was the first person who introduced me to the importance of social media in education and was one of the reasons why I joined Twitter when I was a district superintendent.”

Prior to becoming superintendent, Dr. Brown had experiences as a teacher, coach, principal, and school chief information officer. He has been an active community leader, serving in leadership roles for various non-profit organizations such as Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. and co-founding the Central Virginia chapter of 100 Black Men of America. 

Council President Patricia Sullivan-Kriss, West Hempstead said, “Luvelle has been an important voice in education for the State of New York and the students he serves. His innovation in technology and program implementation is well known and regarded. We congratulate him on this important recognition and are delighted that he will represent the superintendents of our state for the national superintendent of the year.”

Dr. Brown has received various awards and recognition for his leadership. He was honored by the National School Boards Association as a “20-to-Watch” and received the Center for Digital Education Top 30 Award. In 2014, he received the eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award. 

Dr. Brown was also selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the nation's top 100 innovative superintendents. Along with that distinction, Dr. Brown was invited to be a featured speaker at President Barack Obama’s first National Superintendent Summit at the White House. Dr. Brown serves on the New York State Council of School Superintendents’ Executive Committee, The School Superintendents Association Digital Consortium, The Center for Digital Education Advisory Council, and CoSN’s Empowered Superintendent Advisory Panel.

Dr. Brown is a highly regarded speaker, addressing a range of topics for local, regional, and national audiences. He has published numerous articles and is the co-author of ThinkTweets: 100 Transformative Tweets for Educators.

As the New York State Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Brown now becomes New York’s candidate for national superintendent of the year - to be awarded at AASA’s National Conference on Education in New Orleans, LA scheduled for March 2-4, 2017.

The Superintendent of the Year Award was established in 1988 by AASA and is co-sponsored by the ARAMARK Education, the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, and AASA.

October 25, 2016
ICSD BOE MEMBERS HOST PRESS CONFERENCE OCTOBER 26 FOR SPECIAL RECOGNITION OF SUPERINTENDENT LUVELLE BROWN
The Ithaca City School District Board of Education members will host a press conference to make an important announcement regarding a special recognition for Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown. The announcement will be made at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26 at Northeast Elementary School, which is located at 425 Winthrop Drive. The press conference will begin promptly at 1 p.m. The board members, superintendent, and other participants will be available for live interviews and photographs. 
 
October 11, 2016
COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS WITH ICSD SUPERINTENDENT
This fall, Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown will engage the community at a variety of locations on Monday evenings from October through December throughout the Ithaca City School District. Dr. Brown will conduct sessions that are one hour long, actively listening and learning with community members at a series of non-traditional venues.
 
- October 17 at West Village Apartments, Community Room 5:30 p.m.
- October 24 at Enfield Community Building 2:30 p.m.
- November 7 at Southside Community Center 5:30 p.m.
- November 21 at Brookton Market 5 p.m.
- December 5 at Greater Ithaca Activities Center 5:30 p.m.
- December 12 at Ithaca Community Childcare Center 5:30 p.m.
 
These community conversations offer an opportunity for the public to share visions of success regarding the Ithaca City School District. Community members will be asked a series of questions related to continuous improvement efforts in the school district. The idea behind the “Community Conversations” begins with a simple premise – our community is rich with ideas, thoughtful engagement, and strategies. Participants are asked to think differently – to propose creative ideas, propose effective problem-solving methods, and suggest untapped resources.
 
October 5, 2016
ICSD RECIPIENT OF 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CITATION AWARD FOR MUSIC
The Ithaca City School District is the recipient of the 2016 Presidential Citation Award for music. ICSD is one of two school districts honored with this distinguished award this year.
 
The NYSSMA® Presidential Citation Award is given to districts that act as models for music education programs in New York State and provide a well-rounded music program at all levels. ICSD has been building the music program over the last five years. Student participation is up over 120 percent.
 
“There has been an increase in the outreach to our community,” said David Brown, ICSD Chief Administration Officer and Director of Fine & Performing Arts. “Music education is available to everyone. Anyone who can’t afford a musical instrument is provided one by the district. We have one of the strongest collaborators in the Fine Arts Booster Group. That’s why we are getting this award – because of the initiatives, teaching, and collaborations. I would like to thank all of the music faculty and staff that made this recognition possible.”
 
NYSSMA® President Michael Brownell stated, “Your music program is one to be emulated. It stresses high quality, is well balanced, innovative, and enjoys supports from the administration, parents, and community. We hope that this award shows in some small way, the esteem in which the state’s music educators hold the ICSD and the appreciation that NYSSMA® has for your district’s support of a quality music program. We applaud your contribution to music education and to the students of your district.”
 
“In the face of fiscal constraints, our community has maintained a commitment to an exceptional music program,” said ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown. “We are proud of this special recognition from NYSSMA.”

Dr. Luvelle Brown Named one of The Nation’s Top Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers.
September 29, 2016
Ithaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown is named as one of the Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers by The Center for Digital Education.
 
The Center for Digital Education made the announcement today, honoring 30 education and technology leaders across the United States who are transforming the education landscape. This year’s Top 30 honorees include 24 individuals, four teams, and two organizations. The 2016 winners were selected based on their efforts to improve education; their impact on student outcomes; and their overall initiative, creativity, and leadership skills.
 
“I am proud of the work we have done,” said Dr. Brown.  “I’m dedicated to the innovation and systemic transformations needed to meet the needs of our community’s learners.  It feels good to be recognized for those efforts.”
 
“Our 2016 Top 30 award winners are visionaries who are going against the grain to increase funding, bandwidth, privacy protocols, predictive analytics, and to improve the personalization of learning. With technology as their catalyst, they are dedicated to transforming education at the local, state and national levels in ways that have a positive impact on student success,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director of the Center for Digital Education. “I am thrilled to recognize our award winners and applaud their achievements.”
 
Click here to view Superintendent Brown’s feature by the Center for Digital Education. 

September 9, 2016
NEW ROOTS PUBLIC HEARING SEPTEMBER 13 AT 6PM
A public hearing will be conducted at the Ithaca City School District to get input on the proposed five-year renewal of charter by New Roots Charter School to commence August 1, 2017. According to the renewal application, the school would serve about 148 students in grades 9 through 12.
 
The public hearing will be September 13, 2016 at 6 p.m. in the Board Room at 400 Lake Street. Oral and written comments are sought. A sign-in sheet will be available at 5 p.m. for those who wish to speak – speakers will have two minutes each to share input. Written comments may be submitted to the ICSD district clerk at jennifer.hillman@icsd.k12.ny.us. Please put “New Roots Charter Renewal” in the subject line. Written comments may also be mailed to District Clerk, ICSD, 400 Lake Street, Ithaca, NY 14850. Written comments that are mailed must be received no later than noon September 15, 2016. The renewal is sought by New Roots from its authorizing agency, SUNY Charter Schools Institute. All comments received by the deadline will be sent to SUNY Charter Schools Institute and NYSED within 15 days of the hearing.
 
The board will meet at 7 p.m. for its regularly scheduled Discussion and Voting Meeting following the conclusion of the public hearing.

August 30, 2016
ICSD CONVOCATION 8:30 A.M. SEPTEMBER 6 AT KULP AUDITORIUM
A convocation September 6 commences the 2016-2017 academic school year for 1,200 faculty and staff of the Ithaca City School District.
 
Convocation will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Kulp Auditorium at Ithaca High School. ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown will deliver the keynote address. The event will include special recognitions, information on school district progress towards goals, and continuous improvement efforts.

Wednesday, September 7 will be the first day of classes for students in grades kindergarten through six, grade 9, and all new entrants. Thursday, September 8 will be a full day for all students in grades kindergarten through 12.
 
Visit the ICSD website at http://www.ithacacityschools.org to view the 2016-2017 academic calendar and the Board of Education meeting schedule.

June 16, 2016
JOINT STATEMENT FROM ICSD & ITA: TENTATIVE AGREEMENT REACHED
The Ithaca Teachers Association and the Ithaca City School District have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract. During the Facilitated Negotiation process that took place this week, both parties worked collaboratively and listened carefully to the concerns and issues from each side. This tentative agreement represents positive movement towards the goals of the district and teachers in the bargaining unit. Both parties look forward to continuing efforts to further these goals and make progress while providing an excellent education to all children and families in our community. The ratification process with the ITA membership will occur between now and June 24.
 
June 14, 2016
ICSD AND ITHACA PRINCIPALS & DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION SETTLE NEW CONTRACT
An agreement was reached between the Ithaca City School District and the Ithaca Principals and Directors Association on a new collective bargaining agreement. The IPDA represents various administrative leadership positions throughout the district such as building principals, associate principals, and directors of instructional programming.
 
The new contract, ratified unanimously yesterday by the membership of the IPDA, resulted in the introduction of a new health insurance plan to the district that should provide long-term cost stability.
 
“The plan, known as the Platinum Plan through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, will offer significant stability to the district taxpayers while also providing exceptional and affordable coverage to the members of IPDA,” said Chief Operations Officer Amanda Verba.
 
ICSD Superintendent Luvelle Brown said, “I thank the leadership of the IPDA for being so well prepared at the negotiating table and especially the rank-and-file members for their careful consideration and endorsement of the new health plan. As a direct result of IPDA’s willingness to bargain on a new health insurance plan, we were able to increase the base pay of each member by $1,000 per year for the next three years and afford them a contract with raises of 4 percent each year as well.”
 
The Board of Education is set to vote on the proposed agreement at its meeting tonight.

May 23, 2016
CAROLINE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND ITHACA CHILDREN’S GARDEN TEAM UP TO PILOT ONE-OF-A-KIND SUMMER EXPERIENCE
ANNOUNCING THE CAROLINE WILDERNESS PERFORMANCE ACADEMY
OPEN TO RISING SECOND-, THIRD- AND FOURTH-GRADE CAROLINE STUDENTS
DEADLINE TO APPLY THURSDAY, MAY 26
 
How are we connected?
 
Recently, the staff at Caroline Elementary read “Belling the Cat,” an Aesop fable that teaches the importance of evaluating a plan. In Caroline’s case, the fable encouraged teachers to reflect upon inclusive teaching practices and discuss the positive impact for all students. Out of this conversation emerged a vision for a new Caroline Wilderness Performance Academy. Thanks to generous support from the Park Foundation, plans for the Academy are real and well under way.
 
Each morning from August 1-19, Caroline teachers will lead student-centered activities to explore the question: How are we connected? Through field study, creative writing and fish bowl discussions, students will look at answering this complex question and record their process through the creation of a short documentary. Each afternoon, Ithaca Children’s Garden play workers will join campers at Caroline to facilitate rich, child-led, nature-based play that relates to the theme of the day.
 
Open to rising second-, third- and fourth-graders, the summer camp blends literacy, performance, art and nature-play throughout three intensive weeks. The summer camp culminates in a screening of the youth performance. Inclusivity, creativity, innovation, and meeting children where they are, are guiding principles of the summer camp.
 
“When Caroline Elementary Principal Mary Grover approached us to collaborate on this project, I looked at our plan to not take on anything new this season and chucked it right out the window,” said Erin Marteal, executive director, Ithaca Children’s Garden.
 
Ithaca Children’s Garden strives to foster authentic, child-led discovery, exploration, and play, and Caroline is known for their culture of empowering students to be leaders of their own learning. These are significant shifts in conventional education, and underpin the Caroline - Ithaca Children’s Garden partnership.
 
“Caroline is doing such wonderful, out of the box work with their curriculum, exploring new ways of teaching and learning for impact, we couldn’t ignore the call. As we look around the district at schools who are ready to engage with authentic, child-directed play for children’s learning and healthy development, Caroline is right at the top,” Marteal said.
 
The academy, besides being incredibly fun, is designed to inclusively engage learners and their families throughout the summer, with the culminating three-week camp at Caroline Elementary, completely outside.

Caroline’s 21-acre campus includes a quarter-mile nature trail with three outdoor classrooms, apple trees, school vegetable gardens, as well as pollinator and bird habitat gardens. This outdoor learning environment is intentional, engaging and aligned to interdisciplinary studies that students participate in throughout the year. It will be the stage for this outdoor learning laboratory, and provide the backdrop for the culminating interactive performance.
 
“We believe when students are given an authentic purpose and opportunity to share learning, they engage and succeed,” said Principal Mary Grover.
 
CONTACT
Mary Grover, Caroline Elementary, 607-342-8748, mary.grover@icsd.k12.ny.us
Erin Marteal, Ithaca Children’s Garden, 607-319-4203, erin@ithacachildrensgarden.org

 May 18, 2016
OFFICIAL RESULTS: ICSD BUDGET VOTE AND BOARD OF EDUCATION ELECTION
The results listed below of the 2016 budget vote and school board election have been certified by the Board of Education.
 
  • Proposition #1, the proposed school budget of $119,088,829 for 2016-2017, having received 1797 yes votes and 788 no votes; 
 
  • Proposition #2, the appropriation and expenditure of funds from the School District’s 2013 Capital Reserve Fund, having received 2023 yes votes and 556 no votes; 
 
  • Proposition #3, pertaining to the proposed lease with the Enfield Community Council, having received 2118 yes votes and 439 no votes.
 
All three of the propositions have passed. Further, the results of the election to the Board of Education are
 
  • Eldred V. Harris JD, received 1741 votes
  • Robert Ainslie, received 1685 votes
  • Bradley Grainger, received 1641 votes
  • Nicole La Fave, received 661 votes
 
Eldred V. Harris JD, having received the highest number of votes will begin serving immediately upon taking and filing the oath of office for a term of office ending on June 30, 2019. Robert Ainslie and Bradley Grainger, having received the second and third highest number of votes, respectively, are confirmed as elected to the Board of Education - each for a three-year term commencing July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2019. Nicole La Fave, having received the fourth highest number of votes, is confirmed as elected to the Board of Education for the balance of the unexpired term of office of Jen Curley, commencing May 18, 2016 and ending June 30, 2018.

May 18, 2016
No School for Students on May 27 & May 30

School will be closed for students Friday, May 27 and Monday, May 30 throughout Ithaca City School District. All school-sponsored after-school and evening activities are also cancelled.
 
In accordance with the Ithaca City School District Academic Calendar, there will be no school for students on Friday, May 27 as a result of no emergency closing days used this past winter. There is no school for students, faculty and staff on Monday, May 30 in observation of the national holiday, Memorial Day.
 
May 13, 2016 
Bradley Grainger to be Honored As 2016 Board Members of Achievement

Bradley Grainger has been selected as a recipient of the “School Board Members of Achievement” award by the Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga School Boards Association. Grainger has been a member of the Ithaca City School District Board of Education for nine years and is a candidate for a fourth term on Tuesday. He will be honored at the Central New York School Board Association’s upcoming annual dinner on Thursday, May 26 at The Lodge at Welch Allyn in Skaneateles, NY.
 
Grainger is one of five recipients of this prestigious honor. This honor is bestowed on school board members who have demonstrated exceptional service and leadership on the boards in which they have served and their area’s school boards association.  
 
“While pleased to be recognized, school boards are a team effort and I have had the pleasure to serve with outstanding colleagues who are all dedicated to our students, staff and taxpayers,” said Grainger.
 
“Mr. Grainger’s deep understanding of finance and our school district’s teaching and learning initiatives are invaluable,” said Superintendent Luvelle Brown. “Our community benefits from Mr. Grainger’s talents, commitment, and passion for public education.”
 
The theme of the annual meeting is 40 Years CNYSBA: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. The annual meeting features a panel discussion of old and current CNYSBA members and staff members, who will reflect about the past and look to the future. The panel discussion will be moderated by Guy Cosentino, who is known for his role as host to public affairs shows and school board candidate debates.

May 10, 2016
Three Candidates for Ithaca City Schools Board

The May 17 election for the Ithaca City School Board will include three nominated candidates for four openings. The budget and election mailing listed four names, one of which should have been deleted, as that person is not a resident within the school district.
 
The ballots on Tuesday will have the names of Bradley Grainger, Eldred Harris and Robert Ainslie as nominated candidates. No other name will appear on the ballot as a nominated candidate. However, spaces are available for write-in votes.
 
In addition to the election of Board members, there will be three ballot propositions.  The first is the 2016-2017 budget for the school district, which includes a tax levy increase of 2.1% and will be reflected in a slightly lower tax rate. The second proposition will allow the school district to expend existing reserve funds for the purchase of eight buses and the funding of three maintenance projects. Proposition number 3 will allow the school district to lease land at the Enfield Elementary School to the Enfield Community Council, allowing the construction of a community center.
 
Polls will be open noon to 9:00pm on Tuesday, May 17.  

April 15, 2016
ICSD BOE MEETING REBROADCAST

Time Warner Cable has scheduled an additional rebroadcast of the Board of Education Meeting held April 12. This meeting included the presentation by Superintendent Luvelle Brown of the proposed budget for the 2016-2017 school year. The additional rebroadcast will be Saturday at 8:30 pm on channel 16. The regular broadcast of BOE meetings is live on Time Warner 15. Then, the rebroadcast is on Time Warner 16 the following Friday at noon and 8:30pm, and Saturday on Channel 16 at 8:30am. 
 
The news release below is from Tompkins County Health Department and is provided to you by leadership at the Ithaca City School District.
 
TOMPKINS COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa – Public Health Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact: Theresa Lyczko – TCHD at 607-274-6600 and David Brown – ICSD at 607-274-2252
 
Tompkins County Health Department & Ithaca City School District Release Interim Reports on Lead Tests at Caroline & Enfield Schools 
 
Ithaca, NY – April 14, 2016 – The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) and the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) have been investigating lead in the drinking water in the Caroline and Enfield Elementary Schools. Elevated levels of lead were detected in the drinking water at both schools in August 2015. The ICSD turned off all consumptive-use fixtures and has been supplying certified bottled water.
 
The TCHD and the ICSD collected separate sets of samples at Caroline and Enfield Elementary Schools in March 2016.  All fixtures at both schools were previously tested in February 2016. The March results from Caroline were significantly better than the school-wide test results from February 2016.  The results also indicated that flushing the drinking water fixtures for a short period of time might be effective in reducing lead levels in the drinking water.
 
The Enfield results were not as conclusive – with some results being higher and some lower than previous sampling results.
 
Additional information is needed to assess the situation at both schools: A plumbing profile needs to be developed. The ICSD has selected a consultant who will assist in this and related activities. Source (ground) water samples have been collected at both schools and will be tested for water quality parameters in addition to lead.  The source water results and the plumbing profile will be used to determine what additional sampling should be conducted or if other changes should be implemented.
 
The ICSD will continue to provide certified bottled water while the investigation continues. TCHD will be coordinating with ICSD, NYSDOH and EPA on the investigation at all schools in the District.
 
Reports for these interim results at Caroline and Enfield Elementary Schools are posted on the TCHD and ICSD websites:
 
http://www.tompkinscountyny.gov/health/schooldrinkingwater#faq
http://www.ithacacityschools.org/districtpage.cfm?pageid=601

- end -


April 8, 2016
SUPERINTENDENT BROWN PRESENTS PROPOSED 2016-2017 BUDGET

Superintendent of Ithaca City School District, Dr. Luvelle Brown will present the proposed budget for the 2016-2017 school year to the Board of Education on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

 

The presentation by Superintendent Brown is one of several important informational opportunities to come, regarding the budget, that culminate into a community-wide vote next month. The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the proposed budget on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. To learn more about the 2016-2017 budget, please visit the Board of Education Budget page of the Ithaca City School District website.

 

Visit the district Let’s Talk! page, and share your thoughts, questions, or concerns about the proposed 2016-2017 budget. Access the Let’s Talk! page on the ICSD website from the top menu bar on any page, then click “Contacts,” then click “Let’s Talk.” Learn more about Let’s Talk! Let’s Talk! streamlines communication, facilitating open dialogue between district leaders and the community.

 

The community is encouraged to attend Board of Education and Committee meetings to engage in the discussion about the budget - in addition to casting your vote! The Twitter hashtag #ICSDBOE is being used to involve district leaders and community members. The Board of Education meetings are broadcast live on Time Warner 15, and rebroadcast on Time Warner 16 the following Friday at 12:00 noon and 8:30PM, and Saturday on Channel 16 at 8:30AM. The broadcasts are also archived on the Board of Education page of the district website.

 

A budget hearing will be held Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 6:00PM followed by Tele-Town Hall at 7:30PM. During Tele-Town Hall, the community is encouraged to ask questions and get responses in real-time. All ICSD student households will receive an invitation by phone to participate in a live conference call. The Ithaca community is invited to join the Tele-Town Hall by these methods: call in at (855)-756-7520 extension 28298# or tweet using #ICSDBOE. Participants who call in will have the option to listen only to the discussion or enter into the queue to have their questions about the budget addressed by Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown, district leadership, and members of the Board of Education.

 

The community is scheduled to vote on the proposed budget Tuesday, May 17, 2016 from 12:00 noon to 9:00PM.

All Ithaca High School seniors will take part in a program entitled Mad City Money during the second half of their school day on Friday, April 1. Organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension and Alternatives Credit UnionMad City Money is a simulation designed to let our students practice making real-life financial decisions. This program has been successful at other area schools, and will be an engaging and thought-provoking exercise with time allotted for self-reflection. During the simulation, pairs of students will receive unique life facts such as salary, occupation, spouse (in some cases), children, and more. They will then visit several "life stations" to purchase necessary items such as housing, transportation, insurance, and many other items that students may not have considered before. Their goal will be simple: live within their means! As an added bonus, students who complete all stations will be entered into drawings to receive a pair of prom tickets, IHS apparel, and more. This is a rare opportunity for the whole grade to come together. We are excited to make this a tradition at IHS. See what the excitement is about - watch an earlier Mad City Money event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvynxONrlps .


March 3, 2016
ITA MEMBERSHIP VOTES IN FAVOR OF TENTATIVE CONTRACT AGREEMENT

The tentative contract agreement between the Ithaca Teachers Association (ITA) and the Ithaca City School District has been approved by a vote of the full membership of the ITA. Once approved by the Board of Education, the new contract will cover the current school year.
 
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Luvelle Brown stated, “The District was notified on Wednesday, March 2 that the ITA membership voted in favor of ratification. The tentative agreement will now be voted upon by the Board of Education at its March 8 meeting.”   
 
If approved by the Board of Education, the new contract will cover the 2015-2016 school year.
 
Details of the proposed contract include:
 
  • 1.5% increases to teacher base salaries - retroactive to July 1, 2015;
  • an additional $600 added to teacher base salaries for all teachers - retroactive to July 1, 2015;
  • an additional 0.7% increase to teacher base salaries - effective June 30, 2016;
  • an increase in out-of-pocket maximums to employees’ current Classic Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan - $50 increase for individual plans, which are currently $100; and $150 increase for family plans, which are currently $300;
  • no change in co-pay cost for generic medication, which remains $5 under the prescription drug plan; and an increase of $10 in co-pay cost for brand name medication, which is currently $10;
  • removal of sabbatical leaves from the contract.
 
“The ICSD negotiating team looks forward to entering facilitated negotiations with the ITA leadership team within the next 60 days,” said Superintendent Brown. “Our goal is to work collaboratively and with the utmost transparency with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) facilitator and ITA to have a new agreement in place for the upcoming school year by June 30, 2016.”
 

March 3, 2016 
ICSD IN TOP 10 OF BEST SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR TEACHER SUPPORT

Ithaca City School District is ranked the 6th best school district for Teacher Support in New York State.

 

New York school districts were assessed on several factors, which represent how well a school district supports their teachers. Criteria included class size, availability of administrators and support staff, and student proficiency levels. 

 

The district has over 5,400 students and employs more than 685 teachers to meet student needs. With a ratio of about 11 students per teacher, ICSD strives to ensure that all students achieve academic excellence, states a Teacher.org report on the rankings. According to the report, ICSD was the only school district in Upstate, New York to rank in the top 20. Also, it is one of three schools from all school districts assessed to employ more than 300 support staff.

 

The report states, teachers work hard every day, and the more support they have the better they can succeed at inspiring our future. This is why Teacher.org has ranked school districts in New York that excel in supporting teachers inside and outside of the classroom. For this ranking, 383 school districts in New York were analyzed. The top 50 school districts are featured. To learn more, visit http://www.teacher.org/state/new-york/#school-districts.

 

Teacher.org Founder Salpy Baharian describes the ranking as “an outstanding accomplishment,” and encourages ICSD to “continue to inspire.” This designation comes with an official badge (below).


March 2, 2016

ITHACA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT EARNS COMMENDABLE AUDIT RESULTS

 


The New York State Comptroller recently released a report on the findings of an audit conducted on Ithaca City School District. The report notes that ICSD administration budgeted responsibly during financially challenging times.

 

“Our goal last fiscal year was to ensure that the revenue realized by ICSD exceeded our expenditures,” said Chief Operations Officer Amanda Verba. “To do so, we continued to educate our administrators, staff, families, and other key school community members about the importance of supporting our work while maintaining efficiency in our management of the budget. We will continue to work within the parameters of limited State Aid and the Tax Cap to fund our priorities and move the work forward.”

 

The audit is the product of an investigation into whether administration properly managed the school district’s fund balance from 2010 to June 30, 2015. The fund balance is the remaining money and resources a district has from prior fiscal years that is available for use to lower real property taxes for the following fiscal year.

 

ICSD started incurring a deficit in the fiscal year 2011-2012 when money spent by the district for operations was more than money coming into the district.  

 

Ultimately, the district saved $3 million by decreasing staff through attrition and consolidation of positions. Other measures implemented by the district that helped include transitioning its information technology services to the Board of Cooperative Educational Services. This saved the district $664,000 from the fiscal year 2013-2014 to 2014-2015.


"I appreciate the comptroller's thorough analysis of the budget process and decisions made here in the Ithaca City School District,” said Luvelle Brown, Superintendent of ICSD Schools. “Their findings affirm our beliefs that we have been both effective and efficient with our community's resources."
 
February 25, 2016
CURLEY RESIGNS FROM BOARD OF EDUCATION

Jennifer Curley resigned from the Ithaca City School District Board of Education February 24, 2016.


February 17, 2016
FILING PERIOD FOR ITHACA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD CANDIDATES
 
Nominating petitions for the May 17, 2016 Ithaca City School  Board  election are now available. The three Board candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to three-year terms.
 
The 2016 Annual Budget Vote and School Board Election will be held on May 17, 2016. In order to run for a Board seat, nominating petitions must be filed in the Office of the District Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on April 27, 2016.
 
Nominating petitions, along with other forms and information for candidates, are available on the ICSD website at http://www.ithacacityschools.org/districtpage.cfm?pageid=215 and in the Office of the District Clerk at 400 Lake Street in Ithaca.
 
For more information, please contact the District Clerk at jennifer.hillman@icsd.k12.ny.us or (607) 274-2102.
 
February 10, 2016
ICSD & ITA REACH TENTATIVE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
The Ithaca City School District is pleased to announce that a tentative collective bargaining agreement has been reached with the Ithaca Teachers Association. Ratification voting by the Association membership will be followed by a vote of the Board of Education.

February 9, 2016
ICSD BOE GUEST EDITORIAL SUBMISSION

The Ithaca City School District is pleased to announce that a tentative collective bargaining agreement has been reached with the Ithaca Teachers Association. Ratification voting by the Association membership will be followed by a vote of the Board of Education.
 

As members of the Board of Education of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), we write to express our concerns, frustration and angst over the Governor’s proposed budget. Four items are of particular concern to our District and taxpayers:  The Gap Elimination Adjustment(GEA), Foundation Aid, the Property Tax Cap and  Pre-K funding.

 

Since 2010, as a result of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, New York State has  withheld almost 21 million dollars in promised school aid from the Ithaca City School District. Unfortunately, the governor’s proposed budget continues this destructive policy by withholding another 1.15 million dollars in school aid from ICSD for 2016-17.  In addition, in allocating foundation aid to upstate school districts, which is intended to support general operating expenses, the ICSD is projected to get zero - NO -additional funding this year.

 

Making matters worse the state- mandated Property Tax Cap only allows school districts to increase taxes by 2% or the cost of inflation, whichever is less. This year, inflation is almost zero. Although some expenses are excluded from this cap, this year’s cap will be quite restrictive. Unfortunately for our district, there will be an approximately 7% increase in health insurance and a 10% increase in workers compensation. This will widen the  gap between projected revenues and projected expenditures. Staying underneath this restrictive Property Tax Cap is extremely challenging and could have serious repercussions for our programs.

 

Lack of funding for the Universal Pre-K programs for our region is another significant deficiency in the governor’s proposed budget. Our region’s four year olds are not being served by current state funding formulas. Existing funding for upstate enables some districts to convert half day Pre-K to full day. Pioneering districts such as ICSD already have had full day programs so cannot access these funds. In fact, due to years of the GEA clawback our district has had to significantly scale back our Pre-K programs in recent years. Universal Pre-K is vital in leveling the opportunities for children from low income backgrounds. All young children deserve this opportunity.

 

The toxic combination of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, no additional Foundation Aid,  and the Property Tax Cap pegged at close to 0%  puts our district in a serious financial predicament. Years of continuous financial strain make for difficult choices and put our educational mission at risk. New York State has experienced budget surpluses for the past two years. It is unethical to run a State budget surplus and simultaneously withhold needed funds from school districts. We urge New York State to completely abolish the Gap Elimination Adjustment this year and properly fund education for the children in the Ithaca City School District and in all of New York State.

 

Signed,

 

Robert Ainslie, President

Christopher Malcolm, Vice President

Jennifer Curley

Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell

Bradley Grainger

Eldred V. Harris

Moira Lang

Ann Reichlin

Dr. Patricia Wasyliw


February 3, 2016
New Wildlife Habitat Certified at Caroline
 
Caroline Elementary School is recognized for its wilderness trail by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a Certified Wildlife Habitat®.
 
The NWF celebrates the efforts of the students, staff members, parents, and community members at Caroline Elementary for creating a space that improves habitats for birds, butterflies, frogs and other wildlife. The trail improves habitats by providing essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, as well as cover and places to raise young.
 
This certification also makes Caroline’s certified wildlife habitat part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a national effort to restore critical habitat for pollinators.
 
The application and certification process was completed as a result of the collaborative efforts between Peggy Weber’s kindergarten students and Danielle Rottenstein’s 5th graders.
 
“We give credit to the entire Caroline Community for coming together to create our Wilderness Campus and outside learning environments,” Weber said.
 
Rottenstein said, “This was a great opportunity for 5th graders to share their understanding and knowledge of ecosystems and transfer their learning into real world experience.”
 
The NWF is America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization. The organization’s Garden for Wildlife program encourages responsible gardening that helps pollinators and other wildlife thrive. It encourages planting with native species like milkweed, and discourages chemical pesticide use. With nearly 200,000 locations and growing, NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitats and Community Wildlife Habitats recognize individuals, schools, groups, and whole communities committed to providing habitat for wildlife.

January 8, 2016
New Roots charter revision request Public Hearing JANUARY 12

The Ithaca City School District seeks public input on a proposed charter revision to decrease enrollment from 200 to 160 by New Roots Charter School for a) the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year and b) the 2016-2017 school year, which is the last year of the current charter term. The revision is sought by New Roots from its authorizing agency, SUNY Charter Schools Institute (CSI).  New Roots has made a petition for an extension of time for consideration of its revision request.
 
ICSD will conduct a public hearing on this matter on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 from 6 pm to 7 pm in the Board Room at the Administration Building, 400 Lake Street, Ithaca, New York 14850. Public comments will be two minutes per speaker. Oral and written comments are sought. Written comments can be submitted to the ICSD district clerk at Jennifer.Hillman@icsd.k12.ny.us with the subject line “New Roots Charter Revision.” Written comments can also be mailed to District Clerk, ICSD, 400 Lake Street, Ithaca, New York 14850.
 
The public hearing will be recorded, and comments will be sent to SUNY CSI as part of the community feedback on this revision request. Documents related to the revision application can be found and reviewed in BoardDocs accessible via the Board of Education page of the ICSD website.
 
The regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will start at 7 pm, ending the public hearing.