South Orangetown Central School District

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Message from Board President Steven Finn

As we make our way through this winter season, SOCSD continues its mission of elevating, engaging, and inspiring all of our students.

SOCSD kicked off its School Community Survey on January 24–the first survey of this kind since 2017. This is an important opportunity for the District to get input from our students, families, staff and community. Please take the time to complete the survey before the February 16 deadline. We appreciate everyone’s commitment to making SOCSD the best that it can be.

Work on next year‘s budget continues, and the administration is working hard to make sure we stay fiscally responsible while providing a quality education for every student. At our January 25 meeting, the Board was very pleased to hear from the internal auditor that the findings from the District’s annual risk assessment were excellent.

With mid-winter recess right around the corner, we hope that it gives everyone a chance to take a break and recharge their batteries. Let us return on February 26 with the energy and excitement that it will take to bring our school district to new heights this spring.

Board Work in Progress

School Community Survey: The District launched its SOCSD School Community Survey two weeks ago. Parents and staff received a link to the online survey on January 24 via ParentSquare. The survey will be administered to students (grades 6-12 only) at school the week of February 5. Community members are encouraged to take the survey via this link.

In the coming months, the District will share and use these survey results to chart a course of action and set goals towards becoming an even more exceptional place to learn and work.

Risk Assessment: The District’s internal auditors presented the results of their annual risk assessment at the January 11 Board meeting, which they characterized as an “excellent” report. Eight of the ten areas assessed were rated as low risk; the two areas identified as moderate risk were addressed through policies adopted by the Board at its January 25 meeting (Policies 8130.2 – Workplace Violence Prevention and 9520.6 – The Right of Employees to Express Breast Milk in the Workplace).

The New York State Education Department defines the primary responsibility of the internal audit function as “assist[ing] boards of education in ensuring that the school district’s risks are identified and that appropriate internal controls, such as policies and procedures, are in place to address those risks.”

Budget: At the January 25 meeting, Dr. Culot and Mr. Kern provided a brief budget development update regarding state aid. According to the state budget presented by Governor Hochul on January 16, Foundation Aid will be fully funded for 2024-25. The District anticipates an increase of $565,135 increase in Foundation Aid in 2024- 2025 over what was budgeted for 2023-2024. View the presentation slides.

As part of the annual budget development process, the Board of Education has heard several department-level presentations from District leaders this month:

A schedule of upcoming budget presentations is posted on the Budget webpage.

Policy: Second readings of Policies 2410 (Policy Development, Adoption, Implementation and Review) and 5151 (Education of Students in Temporary Housing and Unaccompanied Youth) were held during the January 11 Board meeting. Policy 2410 was adopted; 5151 was moved to a third reading on January 25, at which time it was tabled.

In accordance with a recommendation from the New York State School Boards Association, Policies 8130.2 (Workplace Violence Prevention) and 9520.6 (The Right of Employees to Express Breast Milk in the Workplace) were placed under Policy Committee review in December. First readings of both policies were conducted at the January 11 Board meeting; the Board adopted both policies following second readings on January 25.

To view all policies currently under review by the Board of Education, visit the Policies Under Review webpage.

Capital Improvements Project: The District’s architect provided a status update on capital work across the District at the January 25 Board meeting. The District-wide Capital Improvements Project remains on schedule to break ground in Summer 2024 at WOS and CLE. Bids were awarded in December and the kickoff meeting with vendors was held on January 10. Construction includes HVAC installation and classroom renovations and will be phased over Summer 2024 and Summer 2025. View the presentation slides.

Upcoming Meetings/Workshops

Board of Education Regular Meeting
February 8 at 7:30PM
South Orangetown Middle School Library

Meeting dates, times and locations are subject to change. Be sure to check the District’s e-Backpack webpage for the most up-to-date information. Board meeting agendas, minutes and audio are posted online at BoardDocs. Board policies are posted at BoardPolicyOnline.

Questions? Send an email to the Board of Education at

The Board Brief is a monthly communication from the South Orangetown Central School District Board of Education.