As they consider the 2015-16 school year budget, the Great Neck School District Board of Education is also addressing several policy revisions. At the most recent March public action meeting, the school board discussed four policy revisions for the following: scholarship aid for the summer program, wellness, equal opportunity and Internet publishing. School Board Trustee Susan Healy, who chairs the board’s policy committee, explained the policies and the proposed revisions.
The proposed change to the scholarship aid policy for the district’s summer program adds the requirement of certification by the Nassau County Department of Social Services. This will be another method used to objectively assess eligibility for these programs. The policy states that summer scholarship aid is available for resident children who attend summer programs provided by the Great Neck Public Schools. Children will be eligible for summer scholarships based on a review of income, verified by IRS tax transcripts according to a schedule developed by the Nassau County Department of Social Services. Based on submission of this information by the deadline, a decision will be made regarding eligibility for scholarship aid.
The proposals for the existing wellness policy contains revisions to the policy and the accompanying regulations. These revisions address the recent updates in federal regulations with regard to implementing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The policy states that the school board is “committed to providing a school environment that enhances the learning and development of lifelong wellness practices. In order to accomplish this the school provides a healthful environment and ensures that all school activities are consistent with this policy.” The policy also contains recommendations and guidelines for implementing the policy and an appendix of bylaws.
The revision for the equal opportunity policy addresses the “reality that the list of classes protected from discrimination continues to spread.” In order to be inclusive for all new additions to the list, language is added to indicate that the school district will not discriminate on the basis of any arbitrary criteria. Also, the policy will now reference that there are other district compliance officers who are identified in corresponding school district policies. The policy revision will ensure fair and equitable educational and employment opportunities for all of its students and staff. Discrimination in any form and to any degree and towards any individual or group, “subverts the avowed aims of a free and democratic society,” according to policy.
The proposed revision to the policy on Internet publishing amends the guidelines for publishing photos, videos and personal information, by lowering the grade restrictions for each of these activities. This policy is intended to ensure that school district proposed Internet content supports the educational mission of the district and disseminates appropriate and timely information to the local and global community, without compromising the safety and privacy of the students and staff. Students and staff are encouraged to take advantage of educational opportunities beyond the classroom. The school board states that it authorizes district-sponsored Internet publishing because it offers an educational activity for students to gain experience in responsible use of the Internet.
All four of these proposed policy revisions were read for only the first time, so no action was taken. In order to propose a new policy, revise an existing policy or delete an old policy, the proposal must be heard at a school board public action meeting at least three times.