06/11/15 6:00am
06/11/2015 6:00 AM

Lack of home tutoring services

Two parents addressed the school board Tuesday claiming their children aren’t receiving home tutoring services.

Robin Southard said her 16-year-old daughter suffers from cystic fibrosis and has been out of school since December due to her illness.

“I’m still not getting the home instruction,” she said. “The school year’s almost over. Something needs to be done.”

Raquel Ortiz-Dantzler said her daughter, who’s in seventh grade, has Autism and has been without home tutoring for the past month.

Ms. Carney asked for Ms. Southard’s contact information and said she’ll get back to her. As for Ms. Ortiz-Dantzler, Ms. Carney said she’s already discussed “an alternative” for her daughter’s situation.

Ms. Ortiz-Dantzler claimed no such information has been provided.

“I’m not happy with this answer,” she said.

Ms. Carney then said she would meet with Ms. Ortiz-Dantzler to discuss her concerns.

Allergies and safety on buses

Riverhead school district officials gave a presentation Tuesday to discuss policies for administering medication to students on school buses.

District nurse Dan Hull said that if a student has a life threatening allergy, the district will develop an individual health care plan as a guide for how school officials should respond if a student has an emergency.

Bus drivers must volunteer to receive the training to administer EpiPens.

Transportation director Amala Cain said students who have more serious medical conditions or are unable to self-administer medicine are transported to school on minibuses who have bus monitors trained to administer EpiPens onboard.

Parent Yolanda Thomas said she believes the district should provide aides on school buses instead of assigning students to minibuses, which she described as a punishment.

No district bus driver addressed the school board during the meeting.

jnuzzo@timesreview.com

06/10/15 6:00am
06/10/2015 6:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO Laurie Downs is running for school board.

Laurie Downs says she’ll no longer be behind a camera at Riverhead school board meetings. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Laurie Downs has videotaped her last Riverhead school board meeting.

The Polish Town resident and school board watchdog announced her decision to step down from the responsibility during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting.

“I’ve been doing this for the community for 15 years,” she said about her volunteerism. “I’m 59 years old. I was 44 when I started this. Tonight’s my swan song. Tonight is the last night of videotaping. I will still be here, but I will not be shuffling back and forth [between the school and Riverhead Town Hall] with any disks.”

The decision comes after vice president Sue Koukounas suggested at the May 26 school board meeting that the district upload the videos to its website along with continuing to air the recordings on public access, an idea Ms. Downs said she was “thrilled” about.

“For years, we were told it couldn’t happen,” Ms. Downs said. “Now we have the mechanism to do it. I’m very happy about that.”

The plan to post school board meetings online came after Ms. Koukounas said she had heard several complaints about how some meetings weren’t aired on public access. Posting the videos in BoardDocs, the same software that organizes the school board’s meeting agendas and minutes, would be beneficial to the community because residents could watch the videos at their convenience, she said.

Under the current videotaping arrangement, Ms. Downs records the meetings with the district’s equipment and school officials burn the videos onto DVDs. After a meeting is over, Ms. Downs returns the equipment to the school, picks up a DVD recording of the previous meeting, and delivers it to Town Hall to air on Channel 22, which is the town’s public access channel. The district sends the recordings directly to Southampton Town.

As a volunteer, Ms. Downs receives no compensation for her efforts.

After school board member Lori Hulse thanked Ms. Downs for her service, she said Riverhead and Southampton towns are currently negotiating their 10-year renewal franchise agreements with Cablevision and believes grant money is available for providing a camera person to video record meetings.

“It’s a public obligation,” Ms. Hulse said. “I think this is something we should pursue with the towns.”

Superintendent Nancy Carney and school board president Greg Meyer said while the district has attempted to pursue such a plan in the past, agreed to revisit those efforts.

“We’ll give it a try, again,” Mr. Meyer said.

jnuzzo@timesreview.com

06/01/15 5:19pm
06/01/2015 5:19 PM

Riverhead School District officials have scheduled a dedication ceremony for dozens of books donated in memory of Jan Mackey.

School officials and the local community have held fundraisers to purchase the books for the Phillips Avenue School library.

Ms. Mackey taught in the district’s elementary and middle schools for over 30 years. She died Jan. 18, 2014 at the age of 64.

The dedication ceremony is June 17 at 4 p.m. in the school’s library. Coffee and cake will be served.

05/27/15 6:00am
05/27/2015 6:00 AM
Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney, left, school board president Sue K and member Chris Dorr at Tuesday's meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney, left, school board president Sue K and member Chris Dorr at Tuesday’s meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Residents may soon be able to watch Riverhead school board meetings online.

During the Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday night, vice president Sue Koukounas suggested the district upload the videos to its website starting in September, since software is already in place to do so.

(more…)

05/19/15 10:27pm
05/19/2015 10:27 PM

 

Sue Koukounas, center, and Ann Cotten-DeGrasse, right, were the top two vote-getters on Tuesday night. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Sue Koukounas, center, and Ann Cotten-DeGrasse, right, were the top two vote-getters on Tuesday night. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Riverhead school budget passed Tuesday night and in the five-way race for two open school board seats in Riverhead, Sue Koukounas and Ann Cotten-DeGrasse were elected to three-year terms.

As for the the three propositions, all three of them passed.

(more…)