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04/28/17 5:55am

The Oysterponds School District is proposing a spending increase of $24,373 — or .43 percent — in its 2017-18 school budget.

The district plans to raise the tax levy by .48 percent to stay under the tax cap. That translates to an increase of 18 cents per $100 of assessed value. An average home assessed at $6,000 would have an estimated increase of $10.82, according to a district budget brochure.

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04/22/16 6:00am
04/22/2016 6:00 AM

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In response to the large numbers of students who have opted out of state-mandated testing in previous years, New York State education officials recently compromised by agreeing to hold off until 2020 on tying test results to teacher ratings.

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05/14/13 12:00pm

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Oysterponds school board president Dorothy-Dean Thomas, center, with board members Deborah Dumont, right, and Thom Gray. The Board of Education meets tonight.

The Oysterponds school board is expected to discuss the district’s technology-upgrade plan at tonight’s regular meeting in Orient.

Representatives from Switch Technologies of Rocky Point will give a presentation about the elementary school building’s technical infrastructure, according to tonight’s agenda.

Superintendent Richard Malone has said the upgrade is needed in order for the district to be in compliance with a  mandate from Albany to have students in grades 3-6 complete state assessments online by 2014.

The school board approved a contract with Switch Technologies in February to prepare the district for the mandate. The cost of the project is not to exceed $7,500, according to school documents.

The school board will also hold a public hearing 7 p.m. tonight to discuss the proposed 2013-14 budget.

Scroll down to view the complete agenda. Pick up Thursday’s paper for more on this story.

Oysterponds school board meeting agenda, May 14, 2013

10/13/12 11:50am
10/13/2012 11:50 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Dr. Dan Goldfarb gives student Nico Wittenburg hands-on instruction in the use of a camera.

In the new literacy center at Oysterponds Elementary School in Orient, a variety of digital cameras were scattered on a table one September morning beneath a projection of an iconic North Fork image.

It was the Oysterponds Camera Club’s first meeting of the new school year, and school psychologist Dan Goldfarb, who’s run the club for the past six years, was using an iPad to zoom in on the photograph, depicting a haystack on a farm. The image had something unusual superimposed on it: thin, green lines resembling a game of tic-tac-toe.

It’s all part of the club’s mission of teaching Oysterponds students about photography. They learn balancing elements, leading lines, symmetry and patterns, viewpoint, background, creating depth, framing, cropping and experimentation.

“The only rule in photography is that there are no rules,” Dr. Goldfarb explained to a group of six students. “But I am going to teach you some guidelines.”

At the start of his lesson, Dr. Goldfarb explained how photographers apply the “Rule of Thirds,” the most common method used to set up a shot.

His example of the haystack showed how a person’s gaze is naturally drawn to the nine segments of an imaginary grid, especially at the points where the four lines intersect.

Since the haystack was located at an intersection, Dr. Goldfarb deemed the image a good photograph. The horizon’s setup was done nicely, too, he added.

“You either show a lot of ground and very little sky, or you show a lot of sky and very little ground,” he said. “When people take pictures, they tend to put the thing they want to take a picture of right smack-dab in the middle. That’s OK when you’re taking photos of friends and family, but it doesn’t make the picture interesting.”

This year, for the first time, the club will run for six weeks instead of four and will meet twice a week.

Each student will work with a partner and learn how to use professional Canon cameras, which Dr. Goldfarb provides from his personal collection.

“They all get the lecture about making sure they are wearing the strap,” he said. “I’ve never had a problem and trust them.”

Photography is his hobby and said he still has his Minolta SRT-202 35-millimeter film camera.

“I have a great deal of difficulty drawing a stick figure,” Dr. Goldfarb said. “There’s something about photography that the machines allow me to have some creativity when I have absolutely no manual dexterity in terms of anything artistic.”

Oysterponds student and camera club member Nico Wittenburg said after the meeting that he’s excited to learn about photography.
“I have a lot of fun taking pictures when my mom lets me use her camera,” he said.

Students have already completed their first project where they walked around the school and took pictures of rusty items. Other projects will include taking pictures at nearby Orient Congregational Cemetery and various houses located throughout town.

To follow along with the Oysterponds Camera Club’s progress, visit flickr.com/photos/oysterponds.

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08/02/12 10:00am

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Oysterponds school board president Dorothy-Dean Thomas, center, with board members Deborah Dumont, right, and Thom Gray. The Board of Education has rescheduled its secondary school contract vote to Sept. 4.

The Oysterponds Board of Education will hold a special meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the Orient elementary school.

The public vote on Oysterponds’ five-year secondary school contract with Greenport has been pushed back to the day after Labor Day since Oysterponds missed a deadline to publish the legal notice.

School officials were expected to set an Aug. 20 referendum on continuing the two school districts’ long-running agreement, in which East Marion and Orient students move to Greenport for grades 7-12. But after the Oysterponds district missed the legal notice publishing deadline earlier this month, Orient and East Marion residents will now be asked to approve the contract on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Oysterponds board president Dorothy-Dean Thomas said Tuesday that since the district failed to publish referendum details 45 days prior to the proposed August vote, as required by state law, Sept. 4 was the first date available after placing the legal notice in the July 19 issue of The Suffolk Times.

The secondary contract issue has spurred a contentious debate within the community over the past few years.

In 2010, a lame-duck Oysterponds Board of Education extended the original three-year contract between the districts — set to expire in June 2012 — by two years. But just two months later, a new school board voted to delete the two-year extension and lop one year off the original three-year agreement.

Greenport then took Oysterponds to court. Last June, the state ruled in favor of Oysterponds and found the extended agreement was not valid because a long-term contract must be approved by voters. Secondary school tuition has since been determined by the Seneca Falls rate, a state formula that establishes the highest tuition rate a district can charge for nonresident students.

Although state education law requires the sending school district to hold a public referendum on secondary school contracts with terms longer than two years, the Oysterponds board agreed earlier this year to allow residents to vote on any secondary school contract regardless of length. No such vote is needed in Greenport.

The proposed tuition costs for sending East Marion and Orient secondary school students will be $14,200 per student next year, about the same as Oysterponds currently pays. Special education tuition will be about $61,000 per student, a drop of nearly $3,000 from the current rate.

Residents will be able to review the proposed contract about a week before the vote.

Although the legal notice has been published, the school board is expected to formally amend its referendum resolution setting the Sept. 4 contract vote during tonight’s meeting.

Scroll down to review tonight’s special meeting agenda.

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Oysterponds BOE Special Meeting Agenda, Aug. 2, 2012