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Superintendent's Message
Massena Central School Board of Education Update
September 2, 2016


I hope all of you are enjoying a great Labor Day weekend with friends and family.  I went to the parade today in Massena and there was an excellent turnout of people to see this showing of labor pride.  Many of our faculty and staff marched along with the student band which did an excellent job.  This tradition is alive and well in Massena.
School Begins
We had a great opening of school on Thursday with our 10 month faculty and staff back on campus.  It is nice to see this energy as they prepare for the return of our students on Tuesday, September 6th.  I want to wish everyone all the best as we begin another school year together. 
In terms of staffing, we introduced 29 new people in our opening session with a few others waiting for Board approval or to finish up with their current employment. These include the AD, Madison Elementary Principal, .5 Library Media Specialist, cafeteria monitors, and literacy teacher.
Our athletic program is off to a great start with the Boys Varsity Football team winning a thrilling come from behind 26-23 victory over rival St. Lawrence Central on Friday night. The cheerleading squad was also in great form at the game.  Congrats to all!
Texting and Driving Video
Below is a link to a short, but powerful video on texting and driving.  This link was shared by the Massena Police Department in the hope that it could possibly save a life.  Please take a moment to view it and share it with the people you care about. 
Massena Drug Free Coalition Sponsors “Chasing the Dragon”
I want to share an important event which I hope will garner excellent attendance in our community. The Massena Drug Free Coalition will be showing a documentary about the heroin epidemic on September 8th in the HS Auditorium at 6:30 pm. The film is entitled “Chasing the Dragon” and it includes a panel discussion and information tables set up at 5:30 pm prior to the event.  The showing coincides with the expected sentencing of Patrick Lloyd in US District Court for trafficking heroin in the Massena area. Below is further information about the event as provided by Coalition Coordinator Kristin Colarusso Martin:
“I wanted to share more information about the Chasing the Dragon Community Event that the Massena Drug Free Coalition is partnering with the US Attorney General’s Office to host on the evening of September 8th.
Chasing the Dragon is a documentary developed by the FBI and DEA to increase awareness of the heroin epidemic.  The link to the documentary is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4B6DMM9Bqg
The Attorney General’s office is working with select communities to host events in which the film will be screened for members of the community and then followed with a panel discussion of experts and community members involved with the epidemic, from schools to law enforcement to treatment and recovery. 
This venue is meant to be a platform to bring the community together to identify and connect with resources and support systems to better address this epidemic. 
There will be an opportunity for Coalition members and other support programs to share information at tables in the High School Lobby from 5:30-6:30pm and the Screening and panel discussion will take place from 6:30-8:30pm.
Please plan to attend and share this information with your network so that we can have a strong showing!  If you do plan to have a table in the lobby, Sarah Boyce at the high school said that they have plenty of tables but we need to let her know how many we need so please email me by 9/1/16 if you would like a table.
If anyone would like to volunteer to help me out with a community survey, it would be wonderful!
Details are as follows:
Who is invited: EVERYONE in the Massena Community and surrounding communities.  Some of you may be contacted separately to be on the panel discussion.
Where: At the High School Auditorium
When: September 8th, 2016.  Tabling is from 5:30-6:30 and the film and panel discussion are from 6:30-8:30pm”
Rural Schools Association Newsletter

Attached is the Rural Schools Association newsletter for July, 2016. It contains an analysis of our current state aid funding by Director David Little.
Albany Update
The following is the latest news from Albany as presented by Hinman Straub, counsel for the Board of Regents.

Governor Announces Funding for Clean Air and Alternative Transportation Projects

On Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo announced the availability of $98.7 million in funding to support bicycle, pedestrian, multi-use path and transportation-related programs.  Project will be chosen through a competitive solicitation process, based on criteria that include public benefit, air quality improvement, and innovation.

Applications for funding may be developed by any municipality or non-profit incorporated group, but projects must be sponsored either by a municipality, a state agency or public authority eligible to administer federal transportation funds. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) will accept applications through Oct. 21, 2016. Program guidance, applications and workshop schedules can be found here

Gov. Cuomo said:

“By supporting much-needed improvements and making our roads safer, this funding is a win-win for the state.  New York is now investing more to revitalize our cities, towns, and villages than any other time in our state’s history, and these upgrades will move us even closer to fulfilling the requirements of the Clean Air Act, all while making our transportation safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike.”

Comptroller:  State Tax Collections Fall
A July cash report released earlier today by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli shows that tax collections dropped by $1.1 billion (4.4%) in the first four months of the state fiscal year compared to the same period in 2015.  The collections are below initial projections mainly due to lower-than-expected collections from the personal income tax.
Comptroller DiNapoli said:

 “Tax collections are well below initial projections, and the Division of the Budget has made adjustments.  We still have eight months left in the fiscal year, and the state must be prepared to take action if necessary.”
NYS Comptroller News
NYS Common Retirement Fund Announces First Quarter Results

The New York State Common Retirement Fund’s overall return in the first quarter of the state fiscal year 2016-2017 was 2 percent for the three-month period ending June 30, 2016, with an estimated value of $181 billion, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Report Finds Mixed Job Picture in Upstate NY
Upstate New York lags behind downstate New York and the nation in job growth since the Great Recession, according to a report examining upstate employment trends issued by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Since June 2009, total employment in upstate New York rose by 0.3 percent compared to 2.2 percent in the downstate region and 1.9 percent nationwide during the same time frame.
Pension Contribution Rates Remain Stable for Fiscal Year 2017-18

Employer contribution rates for the New York State and Local Retirement System will stay virtually the same in Fiscal Year 2017-18 compared to Fiscal Year 2016-17, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced.
Upcoming Events
9/6—School Opens
9/7—BOE Goals Discussion—6:00 pm—Superintendent’s Office
9/8—Massena Drug Free Coalition Showing of “Chasing the Dragon”—6:30 pm—HS Auditorium
9/12—Tax Collection Meeting—4:00 pm—Town Hall; Madison Elementary Open House—5:00 pm
9/13Madison Elementary Open House—5:00 pm
9/14—Nightengale Elementary Open House—5:00 pm
9/15—Jefferson Open House—5:00 pm; BOE Meeting—6:30 pm—HS Room 314
Last Updated: 9/13/16
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