Board of Trustees Meeting
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Our World Neighborhood Education Corporation
36-12 35th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106
The Trustees present were:
Melissa Chin, Vice President
Maura Fitzgerald, Secretary
Charles Guadagnolo, Treasurer
Also present were:
Brian Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer
Mark Crusante, Development Director
Lucille Ranchor, Admissions Coordinator
Tabitha Daye, Elementary School Secretary
Monique Officer, Senior Accountant
NAME, Temporary Controller (Leave Replacement)
Lillian-Vega Morales, PTO Co-Chair
Nerissa Vales, PTO Co-Chair
Cliff Schneider, Attorney
Florence Adu, Consultant
Melissa Chin, Vice President of OWNCS Board of Trustees, chaired the meeting.
Rich Bogle and Brian Ferguson with
Cliff Schneider and Florence Adu
Mr. Bogle informed the Board that work had begun on the new OWN2 facility, and that a representative of our architects, Sage & Coombe, and the OWN team are attending weekly meetings at the site to review progress. They reported that the meetings are very productive and that Sage & Coombe is ensuring that the proper materials are being used and that the end product lives up to our plans and vision.
In the meantime, a developer has approached OWN about the possibility of building a facility to suit a K-8 school at 44th Road and 10th Street in Long Island City by the fall of 2020. The Board went on to discuss the fact that there is genuine need in the district, especially in that area, due to the recent building boom, and the proximity to Queensbridge. Florence Adu presented some preliminary budget projections based on the models created for the previous expansion. Upon discussion the Board agreed that it was worth engaging in a discussion with the developer and to consider applying for a 3rd charter in order to open a school in that location. They further agreed to discuss it more deeply at their next Strategic Planning meeting in the near future. In the meantime, the Board agreed that the Administration should take the first steps to prepare the groundwork for a new charter application to ensure community support.
Mr. Schneider explained to the Board, that with the addition of second school, and possibly a third, it could be useful to establish a 501c(3) “Friends of OWN” with the broad mission of supporting the operations of the OWN schools. As such, the Friends entity could assume responsibility for all occupancy expenses and become the landlord to each school. The Friends would be a separate non-profit with a separate board, but with some overlap with the Board and Administration of the Education Corporation. It requires a minimum of three members, though it is more typical to have five members. He recommended that it include one current member of the OWN Board, one senior leader from the school, plus three other members. In answer to questions from the Board, he responded that the new non-profit would be easy to dissolve if it were no longer needed in the future, and that it would be eligible for additional grants once we have three schools.
The Committee went on to review the status of current negotiations for the renewal of the Middle School lease.
Lillian Vega-Morales and Nerissa Vales
The PTO was very pleased to announce that it had supplemented its last give of $6,000 for technology with an additional $8,500 to allow the purchase of two Smart Boards for the school. The gift will be commemorated by plaques.
They gave an update on the launch of the Free Arts program to take place in March and April, reporting that 7 of the 8 weeks are already filled. In the meantime they are planning a Middle School Spirit Week and a Read-a-Thon in March.
Melissa Chin and Brian Ferguson
Ms. Chin and Mr. Ferguson reported that the most recent meeting of the Education Committee focused on professional development especially regarding the recent Special Education expansion. They pointed out that collaborative co-teaching requires extra planning, and a specific skill set, so they are looking at the need for training, and the use of a floating SPED teacher to allow the primary co-teachers the time to coordinate and plan appropriately.
Respectfully submitted by:
Maura Fitzgerald, Secretary, OWNCS Board of Trustees