The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education continued to move forward with plans for redistricting by the fall of 2015 at its regular meeting Monday, June 23.
Superintendent Mark Potter presented board members with a new map illustrating the new district lines, but he said there were still changes to be made.
“Already, we did identify two areas we want to look at,” Potter said. In those areas, there are isolated pockets attending different schools than the rest of the neighborhood. “This is a fluid document. There are things that will change.”
Potter and BOE President Patricia DeBona-Rosier asked the board to look through the map and see if there were other similar areas or additional problems that need to be addressed.
Rosier pointed out that, once these boundaries are approved, they’ll stay in place for at least a few years.
“We’re looking at a five-year plan of sorts,” she said. “We won’t be shifting boundaries every year.”
Several board members asked how new development would impact those district lines.
“You can’t look at a crystal ball [in terms of new development],” Potter said. “We have to react to what we see and know right now.”
The board also discussed their policy toward the siblings of English language learners (ELL) and students with disabilities (SWD). Of SWD students, 19 are currently not at their home school.
“Not every building has a special education continuum program,” Potter said. “Those students have to go where the services are. But that’s something that families grapple with.”
Potter advised that the placement of siblings SWD students be taken on a case-by-case basis.
“There are occasions when students need to be kept together,” he said. “But with so few kids, I think it’s best to address it one by one.”
In terms of ELL, Potter pointed out that, in most cases, all children in a given sibling group would likely need the ESL services.
“The ESL program is based on certain eligibility requirements,” he said. “Often all kids in a family qualify for those services. They’re from families that are not English-speaking, so they’re all in need of those services.”
The board will continue to work on the redistricting proposals at future meetings.
The board began researching redistricting last year. The district had not done a districtwide redrawing of the lines in more than 30 years. The new district lines will go into effect at the start of the 2014-15 school year.
Calculating our carbon footprint
Student liaison Marc Alessi, who graduated Saturday, addressed the board with regard to a project he and a group of students completed as part of their SUNY-ESF Environmental Science class.
Alessi gave a presentation along with Laura Leung and Julie Pento, advised the board of their efforts to determine the carbon footprint at LHS. The group also included Jason Mai and Meaghan Reilly. Alessi said LHS is one of the first high schools in the country to take on such a calculation.
According to Laura Leung, the idea of the carbon footprint is derived from the ecological footprint, which is a calculation of how efficiently a population uses the resources they acquire.
“It gives you a measurement of how many Earths it would take for the world to sustainably live the way you live,” Leung said. “When I did it, I got 3.4 Earths, which was shocking to me.”
The carbon footprint also includes the carbon dioxide output of a particular population, which is related to global climate change.
The students broke the project into five sections for discussion: energy, transportation, food consumption, waste production and paper. That data was then organized into three scopes based on the relation of the emissions from the school: direct emissions from the school (bus diesel, food consumption, etc.), indirect omissions purchased or acquired by the high school (electricity) and indirect emissions caused by the high school (such as gas expended by students and teachers for their commute). Working with Potter, the students attained data that they then put into their online calculator. They also conducted surveys of 100 students from each grade as well as one-third of the staff; the surveys dealt with transportation and food consumption.
According to the results, about 40 percent of the total carbon dioxide came from food consumption, 30 percent came from transportation and 20 percent from purchased electricity.
“Between students and teachers, each day they travel a total of 7,000 miles,” Alessi said. “That’s enough to travel to Los Angeles and back. That’s just commuting, not buses. Over one school year, which is 180 days, they travel 1.2 million miles, which is enough to circumnavigate the globe more than four times.”
In addition, according to the surveys, only 23 percent of students buy lunch, but the district buys enough milk cartons for each student to drink three per day – a total of 850,000 per year.
The group suggested that the high school create activities to try to encourage carpooling and reduce the transportation emissions from the school. They also addressed the food consumption issue, suggesting that the number of milk cartons be cut back.
Alessi said he was hopeful that someone else would carry on the project in the future.
“We’re hoping that down the road, another group will calculate it again using district resources to see if we can change it,” he said.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.