Amity Board of Education News - May
Amity Budget Approved by Referendum
The Amity Board of Education (ABOE) would like to thank the support of the community for the successful passage of the 2023-2024 Amity Regional School District Budget. The final vote count across the three towns was 1246 in favor and 808 against. Additionally, each town individually approved the budget. The budget is an extremely low 2.25 percent increase over the budget for the current year. Interestingly, we are still getting questions about why the budget must be increased at all since we have had surpluses in the past few years and have all that extra money. The facts are that any unspent funds each year must be used in a manner dictated by law for the benefit of the district’s students. Part of these funds may be put into a capital account and the rest must be used to reduce the net expenses for the next year. At the end of the 21-22 fiscal year, for example, capital funds in the amount of $929,175 were appropriated to repair the middle school roofs, purchase new musical instruments for our middle school music programs, and complete architectural plans for our lecture hall repair. Significant additional taxpayer costs were avoided by doing this rather than bonding for these projects. We are also using the remaining unspent $711,936.66 to lower the net expenses for this year as required by law. In turn, we reduced the required payments from our towns to the Amity District by an equal amount based on each town’s enrollment. This gives the towns additional funds to use at their discretion and zeros out the balance of unspent funds (surplus). It is important for residents to understand that a regional school district like Amity is not permitted to carry reserve undesignated funds from year to year so our outstanding finance staff works hard to be certain we are using our budgeted funds in the most efficient and effective manner sometimes resulting in unspent funds.
Amity Board of Education Community Forum
The ABOE and Board Communications Committee will be hosting its first Community Forum on May 22, 2023, beginning at 6:30 pm in the ARHS Library Media Center. The purpose of the community forum is to prompt an open, civil exchange of questions and ideas between our parents and students and members of the Board and school administration. We hope that forum provides a transparent venue where questions asked receive answers immediately. The broad focus topic of our first forum is ACADEMICS. Feedback on future topics will be solicited at the end of the meeting. The forum is expected to last about 2 hours.
New Board Policies
The Board of Education adopted one new policy at its last meeting and accepted revisions to an existing policy. The new Policy 0524 – Bias Incidents in Schools codifies the Board’s commitment to providing a safe learning and working environment free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying. It also reinforces the ability of school officials to report bias incidents to law enforcement for investigation. The revised Policy 6144 – Controversial Topics was updated to reflect concerns that the Board has heard from public comment around topics that may be perceived as controversial. The policy is accompanied by a new administrative regulation. In addition to these, several existing policies about policy development have been updated; a new policy on extracurricular participation will be discussed at the June meeting.
Amity Teacher of the Year and Award of Excellence
Nominated by her peers, Amity Middle School Bethany Social Studies Teacher Marissa Nall is 2024 Amity Teacher of the Year. Armed with great perspective and a positive attitude, Ms. Nall exudes the idea that anything is possible. She puts the needs of the students, staff, and parents as a high priority – listening to her colleagues, developing inspiring relationships with her students; and forging strong connections with parents. Selected by the Award of Excellence committee from those nominated, I am pleased to announce that Randy Joiner is the 2023 Award of Excellence Recipient. Mr. Joiner serves as a District Maintenance Specialist and is truly a Jack of all Trades – there is nothing he cannot do and brings infectious positivity and kindness to his work.
Gold Pen Recipients
The Gold Pen is Amity’s Annual Award in which teachers recognize their colleagues for their dependability, hard work, commitment to students, and whose contributions to Amity are valued by their peers. Recognized on May 4, 2023, this year’s recipients are: Mr. Robert Murphy (Social Studies, AMSB), Ms. Kate Hoffman (Health/PE, AMSO), and Mr. Christopher Parrillo (Special Education, ARHS). Families of the winners and teachers from each of the schools were invited to the high school to join in the celebration of the award winners.
Virtual Keynote – A Parent Primer on Social Hosting, DUI, Texting & Driving, and More
Just in time for prom and graduation season, please join attorneys Alex Mario and Jessica Ayala from the Carter Mario Law Firm for this important webinar on the legal implications to both parents and students of social hosting, teen DUIs, and texting & driving. The contents of this webinar are appropriate for parents of middle and high school students. This Virtual Keynote is funded by CarterCares - a program giving back to the community from the Carter Mario Law Firm.
Thanks to BOE Student Representative
Since 2019, the Amity Board of Education has seated two non-voting members from the Amity student body. Elected first by their peers to Student Government and then selected following an application process, a student Board member serves a 2-year term beginning in their Junior year of high school. They play an important role of bringing student voice, opinion, and feedback to the decisions made by the Board of Education. The Amity Board of Education would like to extend its sincere appreciation and thanks to graduating Marin Korenaga for her two years of service to our students and our community.
Amity Investment Club Places 2nd in International Competition
Amity’s “7 Chakras” Investing Team placed second in the world championship round of the Wharton School of Business Investing Challenge on April 21-22, 2023. The investing challenge started with approximately 3,000 teams before narrowing down to the top 10 teams from around the world for final round of competition.
Amity Awarded at Academic Decathlon National Competition
Amity’s Academic Decathlon Team received the Rookie of the Year award at the National Competition in Frisco, TX last week. Additionally, team members were awarded 6 individual medals in the Essay, Science, and Interview competitions.
JSA (Junior State of America) Recognition
Congratulations to the Amity JSA for receiving recognition as the Northeast Chapter of the Year! The result was because of the great work by the students, with three students receiving individual recognitions.
ARHS Drug-Alcohol Awareness Speaker Series
During the week of April 3 – 7, 2023, the ARHS student assistance counselor and the members of our PE/Health department worked together to host the annual Amity Drug-Alcohol Awareness Speaker Series. The series is a community outreach program where speakers from our local communities speak with students in the health and physical education classes about the dangers, pressures, decisions, and consequences related to addiction. Some of the speakers were Amity Alumni, while others were members of the larger community who are passionate about helping young people make healthy choices.
The bi-annual survey conducted in partnership with the Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge Drug and Alcohol Advisory Committee (BOWDAAC) was administered to students in grades 7, 9, and 11 during the last week in April. The results from the survey will provide the community with vital information about its young people and will help Amity staff improve curriculum and plan strategies and programs to promote prevention and decrease risk factors.