Story by Shelley R. Clapper
Students and their families attended the Florida Union Free School District Board meeting on Thurs., May 18, as recognition was given to outstanding students of 2016-17. During the meeting, Rachel Behrent was named Valedictorian and Katherine Mazur was named Salutatorian for the Class of 2017.
The following students also received special recognition from the Board: Scholar-Athletes – James Smyth and Sarah Wierzbicki; Humanities students – Sarah Wierzbicki and Elijah Gardener; and Spartan Helpers – Natalya Camacho and Brian Freund.
Board members present at the meeting were Board President John A. Campana, Board Vice President John T. Redman II, Timothy Beattie, Robin E. Fraser, and Meg Sgombick.
Seven Tenure Positions Conferred
Seven tenure positions were conferred by the Board. At the school level, tenure was awarded to Caroline Hluchan. Another elementary school tenure position was awarded to Jennifer Gass.
“Always has a positive response to students and is a Florida Alumni,” said Golden Hill Elementary Principal Debbie Lisack.
At the secondary school level, tenure was awarded to English teacher Tracie Moon. S.S. Seward Institute Principal Michael Rheaume said that Moon is always positive, kind and thinking of new ways to bring English alive for the students.
Tenure was also awarded to Science teacher Andrew Layton. Rheaume provided a humorous aside on Layton’s methods of teaching including, “climbing on a ladder and dropping Barbies all in the name of scientific data.” Tenure was awarded to Foreign Language teacher Victoria Tartaglione. Rheaume said that Tartaglione wants the children to be proficient in language and that the SUNY level Spanish class that was added was her idea. He added that she also helps with the Spanish Club. Tenure was also awarded to Michael Conklin in the area of Special Education.
All tenure positions are effective on Sept. 1. Following the announcements of tenure positions, the meeting broke briefly for refreshments.
College Readiness & Career Initiatives
A presentation was given on college and career readiness initiatives. Business teacher Barbara Scheibling spoke about the Virtual High School, which is an online program seniors have recently taken. Students took a personal finance class, which included learning about credit cards, checking accounts and investment opportunities.
High School senior, Emma Meier and salutatorian, Katherine Mazur, offered their perspectives on the college readiness and career program initiatives.
“I think students are very lucky to have this opportunity. We are almost 18 and about to go into the real world,” said Mazur, who also spoke about mock job interviews that both juniors and seniors participated-in as well as preparing resumes.
Results of Budget Vote & Election
The final tally for the school budget vote, held on Tues., May 16, was announced. The 2017-18 budget, in the amount of $21,231,803, was approved with 459 yes votes and 174 no votes. Superintendent Jan Jehring commented that this was the highest approval rating the District has had since the 1990s. Howard Cohen was elected to the one open seat on the school board for a three-year term with 337 votes, while Matthew Mulhare received 289 votes.
Acceptance of Donation
A motion to gratefully accept the donation of an electronic sign from Robert Keyser of Strategic Signage, as part of an Eagle Scout project initiated by Vincent Palacino, passed. The approximate cost of the sign is $26,000. The Board also thanked the boy scouts for the landscaping surrounding the sign.
The Board accepted a bequest from the will of Gloria Parmerter in the amount of $10,000 to establish a scholarship in the name of Richard and Gloria Parmerter.
Superintendent Jan Jehring was enthusiastic as she reported that work was being done on the District’s new website. She said that there was a broad-based group working on it, including community members, staff members and teachers and a member of the PTSA.
The next Board meeting will be held on Thurs., Jun. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the S.S. Seward Memorial building, located at 51 N. Main St. in Florida.