March 11, 2017
“State of the District”
Dear Members of the Croton-Harmon School Community:
I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts regarding the current state of the Croton-Harmon School District as well as ideas on how together we will continue to move the district forward as we keep our focus on student learning.
The theme of my remarks is sustainability. We live in a world where we must plan multiple years into the future in order to continue to survive the ever-changing environment of change in New York State.
It is the responsibility of the board and administration to ensure sustainability. I believe that we must continue to focus on three areas where sustainability is critical: facilities sustainability, financial sustainability, and educational sustainability.
Facilities Sustainability: The Capital Bond
In October 2016 the community approved a capital project bond. The bond funds work at all three district schools, the district
The majority of the proposed work calls for upgrades at Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School, including major HVAC and facade upgrades in the third- and fourth-grade wing, window replacements in the first-grade wing and installation of additional lighting. At Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School upgrades to the building’s steam piping and ventilation systems will take place along with continued support for the Innovation and Design lab. At Croton-Harmon High School, the work includes the creation of collaborative learning spaces in the library, replacement of gymnasium floor and bleachers as well as upgrades to building ventilation and the fire alarm system. It is important to note that the new debt associated with the proposed bond referendum essentially replaces the old debt. The bond will not raise taxes for residents.
The work funded by the bond will sustain the condition of our buildings well into the future. The timing of the bond to coincide with retiring debt also supports fiscal responsibility. It is our responsibility to ensure that students will have the quality facilities they need to support their learning over time.
Fiscal Sustainability: The 2017-18 Budget
Our budget continues to support on-line learning, Engineering courses, and Computer Science Courses. We have maintained reasonable class sizes. We have met the increasing mandates from the State of New
How are we doing this? Planning for the future. The board and the administration forecast outward for multiple years; we take into account our debt service and our reserves; we constantly evaluate the potential need to reallocate resources rather than looking for additional dollars. In a word, we are “proactive.”
1.0 FTE - World Language teacher in CET
1.0 FTE English as a New Language teacher (FTE spread between all 3 schools) to meet new regulations support English Language Learners
1.0 FTE – Elementary (K-6) Teacher contingency
0.6 FTE – Academic Support for CET reading
0.4 FTE – Academic Support for CET math
An Athletic Trainer
While continuing to strengthen our programs, over the last 8 years we have averaged a tax rate increase of .88% Town of Cortland, .06% Town of Yorktown Residents.
Educational Sustainability: The Five Year Education Plan
Last spring our district took the initial steps to create an educational plan for the next five years. We sent out invitations to the public to join our Strategic Coherence Planning Committee. We also solicited participation from our educators and high school students. The committee has twenty-five
The committee began its work by doing a careful review of the research on the skills and knowledge our students will need in order to succeed in the future. The committee found that our students need to be able to think creatively, globally, independently and perhaps differently to contribute positively to a globalized society. As we reflected on the current research we are certainly reminded of the Croton-Harmon School District’s vision and mission.
In September 2016, the Strategic Coherence Planning Committee identified critical and creative thinking for problem-solving as the focus for our new five-year educational plan. To help us do an analysis between our current state and the desired state, our committee reached out to all our stakeholders: parents and community, educators, and students via surveys and forums.
We are now in the process of identifying the various strategies and associated action plans to achieve the identified goal. We will ask the board of education to endorse the plan this May. Then it is on to implementation!
As a K-12
Dr. Edward R. Fuhrman, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools