BOE Meeting December 14

The Spackenkill Union Free School District’s Board of Education will hold a Regular Meeting on Monday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Orville A. Todd Middle School. On the agenda are the Rollover Budget Presentation and Budget Exit Survey Results by Michele Moloney.

The community is welcome and always encouraged to attend. For information about any BOE meeting presentations, please visit the BoardDocs section of this website, which is located under the Board of Education drop-down menu, or CLICK HERE.

STA Sponsors Toys for Tots Drive



From now until December 9, the Spackenkill Teachers' Association is holding a Toys for Tots drive. Consider giving a new, unwrapped toy. Look for the donation box in the lobby of your school. Thank you for your generosity. CLICK HERE for more information.

SHS Athletes Sign Letters of Intent

On Monday, November 23, Spackenkill High School held a college National Letter of Intent signing  for the following athletes: Stanley Garrant  (golf), Saint Peter's University; Josh Rosario (baseball), Mercer University; Michael Hovermill (baseball), Point Park University; and Hannah Emigh  (field hockey), St. Thomas Aquinas College. Congratulations to the athletes!

Adopt-a-Family Returns




Once again, the Spackenkill community is participating in the Adopt-a-Family program. Just pick a diamond off a giving tree in your school lobby and return your donation to the box by the tree by Friday, December 18. CLICK HERE to read more about the program. Thank you for your contribution!

Teachers Run for Charity

On November 7 four Spackenkill teachers participated in the Disney Wine and Dine half-marathon with 15,000 runners. Pictured from left to right are teachers Jennifer Wilson, Kim Rogers, Karin McGuire, and Geraldine LaGasse. The race was the culminating activity for the teachers after completing an eight-month-long fundraising journey for The Sparrow’s Nest of the Hudson Valley. This charity provides meals for Hudson Valley families whose caregivers are battling cancer.  Sparrow’s Nest is currently feeding 52 families and continues to grow.  

Each of these teachers committed to raising thousands of dollars through various fundraisers. With 160 runners, Sparrow's Nest had the greatest representation of any charity at the Florida race and raised $470,000. While originally slated as a half-marathon, the race was shortened to 7.1 miles after dangerous thunderstorms threatened the Orlando area, causing a temporary evacuation and a race delay.

These teachers were greatly supported by the Spackenkill community as they worked to make a difference in the lives of local families.  Congratulations to the teachers and thank you Spackenkill community!

More Headline News

Strategic Plan 2015-2020

CLICK HERE to read the Board-approved SUFSD Strategic Plan for 2015-2020.

Smart Schools Bond Act Investment Plan

CLICK HERE to read the Board-approved Smart Schools Bond Act Investment Plan for SUFSD.

Comptroller's Audit

Attached is a copy of the most recent Comptroller’s Audit of the Spackenkill Union Free School District. CLICK HERE for the audit.

The Board of Education and District Administration strive to follow the highest standards of fiscal management and ethical practices. 

It is important to note that State Auditors found no instances of fraud or misrepresentation of our financial statements.

It is also important to note that none of the district’s reserves are prohibited by New York State and our independent auditors and management of the school district do not believe they are excessive. 

The audit report addresses several items concerning financial condition and includes inferences that district officials and the Board of Education have made it a practice of overfunding reserves.  It is important to keep in mind that reserves are authorized by the Board of Education and reviewed annually by the district’s independent external auditors.  . 

In January 2015, the district received, from the Comptroller’s Office, a “0% designation” on the state’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring system for the both the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years.   According to the Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System Fact Sheet, “the system is designed to identify where an entity is headed so the decision-makers are not merely responding to a crisis.  Instead, they are taking deliberate, long-term and strategic approaches to managing the affairs of their local government.”  This has been the long-term historic approach that the district has taken with respect to budgeting and managing fund balance and reserves.

Since the implementation of the tax cap the district has been consciously using reserves in a conservative manner in order to not only stay below the tax cap but as to not deplete reserves in a manner that could be considered fiscally imprudent and cause fiscal stress on future budgets.  The concern is further complicated by the revenue challenges districts are facing in having uncertain long-term state aid projections.  

The 2014-2015 independent audit found no issues. CLICK HERE for the link to that audit.

Public Input Sought on District Policies

The Board is beginning its review of the policies in the 4000 series and welcomes public input. Please send all feedback to

CLICK HERE to read the policies.

Weather-Related Closing Information

Please be aware that the district now has the option of calling both 2- and 3-hour delays during the 2015-2016 school year.  There are also changes with SchoolMessenger, our automated calling service, which provides timely communication to parents and staff members on such matters as weather-related closings and delays, attendance, general-interest activities, and district emergencies. Upon registration in our district, only the household telephone number will be sent to the SchoolMessenger system to receive emergency or weather-related school closing information. Families are asked to sign up with a SchoolMessenger account to customize their contact information and provide additional phone numbers and email addresses. By the beginning of October, all families will receive a letter with the necessary instructions to create or access their accounts. Opt-out information will be included in the mailing. Please note, new this school year: General-interest messages will not be sent by a phone call or text message.  To receive non-emergency messages, please add an email address to your SchoolMessenger account.  

Support SHS Fundraiser

Surprise friends or family members with a flock of pink flamingos on their lawns! The birds will only be here from September 9 through November 19 and will not return until spring of 2016. Order your flock today!  Download order forms and information below or speak to a member of the Flocking Team by calling 463-7822:

CLICK HERE for the flyer.

CLICK HERE for the order form.

Nassau Student's Artwork in DC Exhibit

First grade Nassau student Kara Aagaard’s artwork "Teddy Bear" has been selected as a winner in the 2015 Yo Soy…Je Suis…I Am…The Future VSA International Art Program and Children’s Art Competition. The art will be part of an exhibition at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC, during the month of November. Government representatives from New York have been invited to attend the exhibition’s opening reception to view Kara’s artwork. To learn more about the VSA program, CLICK HERE.

Letter from Assemblymember Didi Barrett

CLICK HERE to read a letter from Assemblymember Didi Barrett to the Spackenkill Board of Education.

Letter to Officials Regarding Tax Credit Bill

CLICK HERE to read letters opposing the tax credit bill from the Spackenkill Board of Education to Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Senator Sue Serino.

For Your Information: Passing a Stopped School Bus Traffic Violation

Spackenkill wants to remind all parents, adults, and driving students that passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights while on school grounds (private road) or roadways is a traffic violation. Every person convicted of the first violation will be punished by a fine of $250 to $400 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or by both fine and imprisonment.  Additional traffic violations increase both fine and time of imprisonment.  Such violation may also result in a five-point penalty on one’s driver’s license.  School district grounds are not exempt from these laws.  This information is shared in the interest of safety for all students and as a reminder to those who violate the law what passing a stopped school bus with flashing lights can cost in fines and points.  We wouldn’t want this to happen to any of our community members.

Letters to Elected Officials Regarding Budget

The Spackenkill Board of Education recently sent letters to Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Senator Sue Serino objecting to those officials' support for Governor Cuomo's Budget and the new APPR matrix.

CLICK HERE to read a letter to Assemblymember Didi Barrett.

CLICK HERE to read a letter to Senator Sue Serino.

Spackenkill Receives Excellence Award

On March 26, 2015,  the Spackenkill District was awarded the 2014 Silver Excellence Award from Partners in Performance Excellence (PiPEx), a Baldrige Enterprise Member. The award recognizes Spackenkill for its leadership, management, and operational practices in the field of education. It was the first time a New York State district has received this honor in more than 20 years. This ceremony took place in the high school auditorium and showcased the best of Spackenkill. District Board members past and present, staff, students, and the community were present for this special occasion. Honored guests included Lydia Biskup, Director of District Operations for Senator Sue Serino's office, who presented Spackenkill with a Senate Proclamation honoring the school district, and Kimberly Usewicz, a representative from Assemblywomen Didi Barrett's office, who read a New York State Assembly Citation thanking the district for "working to ensure that the members of our next generation are prepared to be thoughtful, engaged community leaders." 

CLICK HERE for a gallery of images.

CLICK HERE for the Hudson Valley News Network story about the event.

District Earns Safety Award

For the third consecutive year, the Spackenkill Union Free School District has won the Utica National Insurance Group's School Safety Excellence Award, titanium level, the highest distinction. The honor recognizes the school district's' safety efforts as we work to keep students, staff, and visitors safe. SUFSD officials accepted a certificate to commemorate the safety efforts and a $500 award for use in furthering those efforts

Letter from New Yorkers United for Kids

It has come to our attention that families in the district recently received a letter from an organization called New Yorkers United for Kids. The District was in no way involved with this mailing, and we are looking into how addresses might have been obtained.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the letter sent by New Yorkers United for Kids.

District Recognized for Music Program

For the third consecutive year, the Spackenkill district has received a 2015 Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation. The award reflects the district's commitment to music education and recognizes Spackenkill's program as among the best in the nation. LEARN MORE.

Spackenkill Mobile App Debuts

Check out our new Spackenkill mobile app! It’s available for both Android and iOS devices. CLICK HERE for the link. The app can always be found in the left sidebar of our district homepage or you can search for it in Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. This app makes it easy to find information from our website when using a mobile device. Just go into the settings and choose the buildings about which you want to get news and information. You can find bus routes, team schedules, cafeteria menus, and upcoming events for each school. You’ll also have easy access to our eSchool mobile site, SchoolMessenger, and our Facebook page. Download the app today and see for yourself!

Letters to Officials Regarding Proposed Education Reforms

CLICK HERE to read letters to Governo Andrew Cuomo, Senator Sue Serino and Assemblymember Didi Barrett regarding proposed education reforms.

SUFSD Parent Survey Results

CLICK HERE to read the results of the Parent Engagement and Satisfaction Survey, fall 2014.

LHCSS Press Release on Proposed Education Reforms

CLICK HERE to read a press release from the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents regarding Governor Cuomo's proposed education reforrm.

Letter to Governor Cuomo from NYSAPE

CLICK HERE to read a cover letter and FOIL request from New York State Allies for Public Education regarding release of state aid projections.

Letter to NYSED Regarding Field Testing

CLICK HERE to read a letter to the New York State Education Department regarding a proposed amendment on field testing. A reolution passed by the SUFSD BOE in April 2014 is included.

Interscholastic Athletics and Health Exam Requirements

CLICK HERE to read about interscholastic athletics and health exam requirements.

NYSED Memo on APPR Assessments

Following, please find a memo we received from the New York State Department of Education (NYSED ) regarding what it deems “unnecessary APPR assessments.” In regard to Task 1, several of the middle school and high school subjects that are identified as administering pre-assessments do not do so.  Some subjects/courses that did administer pre-assessments last year have eliminated them for next year.

In regard to Tasks 2 and 3, the APPR requirements are very complicated at the secondary level.  Many of the assessments listed in the following memo exist in the event that they are needed, but many of them may never actually be administered.   Additionally, the local Student Learning Objective (SLO) and the assessment used for it need to be negotiated with each individual teacher; many teachers are, rightfully so, concerned about using the same exam for both the 20% state score and the 20% local score of their evaluations.   For one test to comprise 40% of a person’s evaluation is not reasonable.  For similar reasons, teachers are reluctant to be assigned scores based on tests administered in subject areas they do not teach (such as a health teacher being evaluated  based on an English assessment). 

CLICK HERE to read the NYSED memo.

CLICK HERE to read an updated list of APPR pre- and post-assessments for the 2014-2015 school-year.

Parents' Bill of Rights

The purpose of the Parents’ Bill of Rights is to inform parents of the legal requirements regarding privacy, security and use of student data . CLICK HERE to read the document.

Property Tax Freeze Credit

The Property Tax Freeze Credit is a two-year tax relief program that reimburses qualifying New York State homeowners for increases in local property taxes on their primary residences. SUFSD is in compliance for year 1. Taxpayers will be entitled to a refund from the state in the fall of 2014. CLICK HERE for more information.



New Service of Dutchess County HELPLINE

The Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene has expanded its 24-hour HELPLINE service to include texting.   Dutchess TEXTS is designed as an alternate way to access mental health assistance since many people, particularly young adults and teenagers, often prefer to text rather than talk on the phone.    Young people can access support services by texting “DMH” to 741 741 READ MORE...

SUFSD Board of Education Approves Resolution

At the April 22 Board of Education meeting, the Testing, Common Core, and Privacy Resolution was approved.

                                                         CLiCK HERE to read the resolution.

NYS 2014-2015 Legislative Changes Regarding Common Core and Student Privacy

The New York State Legislature recently passed its 2014-2015 budget, which contains provisions impacting our district and students. The new legislation features a number of changes with regard to the implementation of the Common Core and student data privacy. We have outlined the key provisions, which are effective as of April 1, 2014 (unless otherwise noted), as follows. READ MORE.

BOE Approves Veterans' Exemption

At the February 25 Board meeting, a partial exemption from school taxes for veterans was approved by the Spackenkill Board of Education.   Military veterans may receive an exemption based upon their type and time of service.  The default exemptions were approved for Spackenkill veterans. READ MORE

Food Service Account Allows Parents to Manage Food Choices

If your child has a dietary restriction or allergy that you would like listed on their NutriKids/MySchoolBucks account or if you wish to limit or block the purchase of a specific food item, please contact the Spackenkill Food Service Department at 463-7836 or
CLICK HERE for the School Lunch web section

UPDATE: EngageNY Portal Parent Fact Sheet

The EngageNY Portal provides educators, parents, and students with access to educational data, curriculum and instructional resources. The updated document includes responses to additional questions raised over the past few weeks in addition to a short summary of the data security and privacy protections in place for the EngageNY Portal. Additional information about the Portal can be found at

READ the Parent Fact Sheet (PDF) | EngageNY Portal Data Dictionary (PDF)

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