SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – A seemingly never-ending flow of state mandates are making it difficult for Lakeland Central School District officials to prepare its programs and curriculum with long-term planning, school board members said.
“Right now, it’s hard to make a five-year plan in curriculum because of the new standards coming in, so we’ve kind of had to curtail some of our plans we had going forward,” said Jean Miccio, assistant superintendent for instruction.
Miccio recommended the board instead re-visit curriculum on a yearly basis in order to have more specific goals. Board member Steve Korn agreed specific curriculum planning might not be possible, but said the district should still set long-term goals.
“Five-year plans are also the aspirational,” Korn said. “Whether it be increase in advanced placement courses or early foreign language, I don’t know what they would be. You can still have aspirational goals that are less certain than the one-year, detailed curriculum instructional plans.”
Another difficulty with long-term planning involved the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new mandated changes to school lunch menus. Changes include making fruits and vegetables a required part of lunch, banning anything more than 1 percent milk -- all flavored milk, including chocolate milk, must be fat-free -- and the school only can serve a maximum of 10 grains per week.
“Maybe it will get to the point where it’s not even worth taking a subsidy and just running our own program the way it should be run,” said Superintendent George Stone. “We were in the cafeteria today at Panas talking about this and participation is down.”
Board members agreed to add a goal about working proactively with elected officials on mandate relief.
Director of Communications Jim VanDevelde said a goal of his is to create a mobile phone app for the district. He said the school’s website currently is accessible with a phone, but he wants to make it more mobile friendly and provide easy access to schedules, lunches and more.