Board of Education hears results of internal audit, gives update on fall sports


After a brief power outage which resulted in the temporary loss of internet at the high school, the Board of Education met virtually to hear the results of an internal audit and updates on the status of the fall athletics season.

James Hricay, assistant superintendent of business, said that Wednesday at about 2:30 p.m. PMHS lost power and internet due to a broken wire on Corlies Ave.. The power outage caused some smoking, which is why residents may have observed a number of fire trucks and police cars rushing to the high school around that time. At the time of the meeting, power had been restored but internet was still down. The high school lost internet again Thursday morning prior to first period, and it was restored by 9 a.m..

Chris Kopf, the district’s audit partner from PKF O’Connor Davies, presented the findings of the district’s internal audit. Kopf explained that the limited use of reserves in the 2020-21 budget will help the district in the future if state funding remains low and help prevent having to raise taxes dramatically. The five-year upward trend in property taxes and the 1% increase in the Westchester County sales tax have also helped offset some of the district’s spending.

Section 1 has announced that two spectators per home athlete will be permitted to attend sporting events, and that no visiting team spectators will be allowed.

“I know this summer everyone was playing together doing lots of these things, and we’re excited that as a school we’re starting to be able to get back to that level as well, but we have a responsibility to do it in a very safe way and a methodical way, and give ourselves time to add new variables, see how it goes, make sure it’s going well before we then move to the next level,” said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ regarding these new regulations.

Dr. Steven Garcia, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, and personnel, provided updates on the status of New York State tests and regents exams this year. These exams were cancelled for the spring of 2020, and since schools across the state have returned to classes in different formats, the NYS Board of Regents is examining “several factors” which could impact schools’ ability to give these tests, which cannot be administered virtually. Garcia added that the US Department of Education has mandated that these exams be administered during the 2020-21 school year, but given that it is an election year there is some speculation that a different administration would not require this. Garcia expects that these exams will happen and said that he will continue to update the board as he receives new information.

Students and parents have received a number of opportunities to give feedback to the district about their experiences with the hybrid learning plan. Board President Jessica DeDomenico said that parents and students have been invited to engage in Thought Exchanges surrounding the reopening plan and Julia Chung, assistant superintendent for pupil personnel services, said that a separate survey has been sent to parents of students with disabilities.

Dr. Champ also acknowledged Millie Bonilla, the district clerk, who is leaving the PUFSD to pursue a clerking position at a larger district.

DeDomenico asked her colleagues if they would consider meeting earlier in the future, as many district parents are now working from home and would be able to attend meetings at an earlier time. The members of the board agreed to think about this proposition and decide at a later meeting.

The board will meet next on October 21 at 8:15 p.m. in the PMS gym. Attendance will be limited to 34 people and attendees will be required to wear face masks, have their temperature screened and complete a health questionnaire upon arrival.