Board of Education Virtual Meeting links
Wednesday, Oct. 20: The Board of Education will meet virtually at 7 p.m. If you are planning to address the board via Privilege of the Floor, please email Board Secretary Dottie Salvatore at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the POF list. [GOOGLE MEET LINK TO VIRTUAL 10/20 BOARD MEETING]
Wednesday, Nov. 10: The Board of Education will meet virtually at 7 p.m. If you are planning to address the board via Privilege of the Floor, please email Board Secretary Dottie Salvatore at email@example.com to be added to the POF list. [GOOGLE MEET LINK TO VIRTUAL 11/10 BOARD MEETING]
Message from Board President David Versocki
Dear BH-BL Parents and Community Members,
I want to let you know why the Board of Education cancelled its Sept. 22 meeting, as well as inform you that our October and November meetings will be held virtually via Google Meet. Please know, these decisions were not made lightly. The board is made up of individuals with widely varying views but we work together. We engage in thoughtful, considerate, and lengthy discussions centered around what’s ultimately best, at this time, for our entire community.
We had received several requests for medical exemptions to the mask protocols. Legal counsel has informed us that there are many nuances to the NYS school mask mandate. This includes providing appropriate accommodations per ADA laws (American with Disabilities Act) to medically exempt individuals who are using school buildings for after-school/community-based events, such as board meetings. (It should be noted that this does not apply during regular school day hours where the Department of Health mask protocols are in full effect.)
By midday Wednesday, the board was still exploring how best to fulfill the ADA requirements within our available building spaces. We recognized that we may have a significant number of individuals requesting accommodations and we would need to prepare a large, spread out environment in order to hold in-person meetings to safely accommodate all in attendance. Considering this, we felt that it was in the best interest of the entire community to cancel that evening’s meeting. Additionally, while we prefer in-person meetings, we also decided at that time to hold the Oct. 6, Oct. 20, and Nov. 10 meetings via Google Meet in order to properly accommodate all attendees. (Earlier this month, the Open Meeting laws were adjusted to allow board meetings to continue to be held virtually, provided that they were live streamed to the public.)
The board’s long-standing commitment to being available and connected to all BH-BL residents means we will continue to offer Privilege of the Floor at our virtual meetings. Several board members did express genuine concern that shifting our next few meetings to a virtual setting might give the impression the board does not want public participation. That, however, is quite the opposite of what we want. We do want to hear from our community members. We have always and still welcome attendance and participation at our meetings. We often solicit community feedback through surveys and other means and we hold forums, such as the most recent one dedicated to answering community questions about reopening schools. We hope you will continue to attend our meeting, whether in person or virtual.
We are also discussing other ways we can connect with the community as a board, and we continue to encourage residents to reach out on a broader level to their local legislators, Departments of Health, and Governor Hochul’s office about matters that impact school districts and the state as a whole.
The links to join the virtual board meetings will be available on the district website the day of our scheduled meetings. To participate in the privilege of the floor portion of the meetings, please sign up by contacting Board Secretary Dottie Salvatore at firstname.lastname@example.org. Board attendees may also participate by unmuting their electronic device and asking to be added to the privilege of the floor list during that portion of the meeting. Your input is welcomed.
We look forward to seeing you, albeit virtually, at our next several meetings.
Sincerely and on behalf of the BH-BL Board of Education,
David Versocki, Board President