Board sets 2015-2016 tax rates

At its Aug. 25 meeting, the Liberty Board of Education adopted the
district’s tax rate calculation for the 2015-16 school year that
carries an average tax rate decrease of 5.44 percent.

The lower tax rate reflects the Board of Education’s efforts to
keep its school tax levy as low as possible while continuing to
deliver a quality education program.

The board decided to use part of the district’s fund balance as
revenue in order to lower the tax levy, which is the total amount
of dollars raised by all school taxes. Because of this, the
2015-16 tax levy will increase 0 percent.

Tax rates may vary from year-to-year due to changes in
equalization rates, which are determined by the New York State
Office of Real Property Services, and property assessments, which
are determined at the town level.

Tax rates may differ among the towns within a school district
because each property is individually assessed in relation to its
full market value. Every summer, the state assigns an equalization
rate for each town that creates an assessment value equal to its
full market value. This process is intended to ensure that each
town pays its fair share of school taxes based on the town’s
market value.

These calculations anticipate that residents of Bethel, Liberty,
Neversink, Rockland and Thompson will see a decrease in their tax
bills during the 2015-16 school year, while residents of Fallsburg
will see an increase of $1.63 or 3.54 percent in their tax bills.

Although the school district’s 2015-16 budget remains under the
state-mandated cap and carries a tax levy decrease, property
owners’ tax rates may increase or decrease because of changes in
their assessment or the town’s equalization rate.

The school district has no control over property assessments or
equalization rates; it only controls the tax levy. Questions about
assessments and equalization rates should be directed to the
appropriate town assessor’s office.

Tax bills will be mailed to residents during the first week in
Sept. and are due by Sept. 30 without penalty. If you don’t
receive your bill by Sept. 15, please contact the tax collector,
Jeanne Dutcher at (845) 439-3557.

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PreK orientation is Sept. 1

The following letter was mailed home to parents and guardians of
preschool students. Please read the information below and contact
Patti Green at 292-5400 ext. 2030 if you have any questions.

Please note that the Pre-K Open House/Orientation date has
changed. Pre-K will be having an Open House/Orientation on
Tuesday, Sept. 1.

If your child is attending the a.m. Pre-K session, please arrive
between 8-10:30 a.m. If your child is attending the p.m. Pre-K
session, please arrive between 12-2:30 p.m. You should plan thirty
minutes for this classroom visit.

This is a very important event. Your child should come with you to
meet his or her teacher and tour the classroom. Please bring your
child’s supplies in at this time.

If your child will be taking the bus, you must call contact Patti
Green at 292-5400 ext. 2030 and make the necessary arrangements
one week PRIOR to the Pre-K Open House/Orientation visit. We will
give out bus tags and answer any questions you may have.

The first full day of school for Pre-K is Tuesday, Sept. 8. All
a.m. session students will be eating free breakfast. All a.m.
students will receive free lunch in school.

We look forward to your visit! Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Jacqueline Harris
Liberty Elementary School Principal

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Attendance first step to learning

The first month of the school year is an important landmark and,
in terms of attendance, can indicate how the rest of the year is
going to go.

Because of the importance of a strong start, September has been
designated as Attendance Awareness Month. The trend of chronic
absence can start as early as kindergarten and persist through
high school, contributing to achievement gaps and ultimately to
dropout rates. School attendance is essential to academic success,
but too often students, parents and schools don’t realize how
quickly absences, excused or unexcused, can add up to academic
trouble. Chronic absence— missing just 18 days per school year—
can lead to third graders unable to master reading, sixth graders
failing courses and ninth graders dropping out of high school.

During Attendance Awareness Month, the district is asking school
leaders, parents and students to act upon these critical first
steps to help stem chronic absenteeism in their schools:

• Build a habit and a culture of regular attendance;
• Use data to monitor when chronic absence is a problem; and
• Identify and solve barriers to getting children to school.

Every school day counts and everyone can make a difference. Join
us this September for the launch of Attendance Awareness Month.

For additional tips and information about Attendance Awareness
Month, visit www.attendanceworks.org.

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Rotary BBQ on Aug. 26

The Liberty Rotary Club invites parents and students to attend its
weekly barbecue on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at Hanofee Park. There,
motivational speaker Lois Barth will offer insight about how to
stand out and achieve their goals. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m.
and the cost is $15. However; dinner is optional. Attendees do not
have to pay to listen to the presentation, which will begin at
6:30 p.m. To RSVP or for more information, contact Gary Silverman
at (845) 292-8001 or gsilverman@hvc.rr.com.

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Salad bar part of cafeteria choices

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an invaluable source of nutrients,
but many children and adolescents don’t eat enough of them. As part
of an ongoing effort to provide students with easy access to healthy
foods, Liberty Central School District is raising funds to bring a
salad bar to all three of its schools.

In July 2015, the district applied to Let’s Move Salad Bars to
Schools, a healthy school lunch initiative that provides fully
equipped salad bars to schools.

In August, the district received word that its application had
been approved and that each Liberty school has been added to a
queue of schools in the United States that are raising funds for
salad bars.

The cost for one freestanding, mobile salad bar grant is $2,825
and includes everything a school needs to get started, including
the bar, chill pads, pans and tongs. Each salad bar can serve a
school for ten years.

Although the district’s application has been approved, the
district is not guaranteed to receive all three salad bars within
a set time period. It can take up to a year for a single salad bar
to be fully funded, depending on the number of schools waiting in
the queue as well as the amount of direct donations the district
receives.

Residents who are interested in making a tax-deductible donation
to the district’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools fundraising
page can help installing salad bars in our schools sooner.

If you have any questions please contact our district’s Food
Service Director, Dara Smith at 845-292-5400 ext. 2040.

Additional Resources:

Frequently asked questions

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Education Department releases test scores

On Aug. 12, the New York State Education Department released
results from assessment tests that students across the state in
grades 3-8 took in the spring of 2015, giving teachers and
administrators insight into curricular areas that may need to be
refined to support student learning.

The state’s release included district and school results on the
math and English language arts assessments. As in the past,
students’ scores on the tests are converted into the following
performance levels.

Level 4: Student excels in Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS)
for this grade level.
Level 3: Student is proficient in CCLS for this grade level.
Level 2: Student is not proficient in CCLS for this grade level
(partial but insufficient).
Level 1: Student is well below proficient in standards for this
grade level.

Although the percentage of Liberty students who scored levels 3
and 4 trends below the state average, it is important to note that
there are a variety of factors which contribute to the district’s
performance, including the number of students who speak English as
a second language and the number of students who chose to opt-out
of this year’s exams.

For this and other reasons, Liberty Superintendent of Schools Dr.
William Silver cautions against heavy reliance of test scores, and
instead advises parents to take these results with a grain of
salt.

“Although we are disappointed in the results, we have to remember
that these tests represent a single data point, compromised by the
high number of opt-outs,” said Silver. “We know we have work to
do, but believe we are on the right path to improve student
performance. In looking at individual student growth, teachers and
building administrators look at broad set of data – state tests,
NWEA, classroom assessments and performance. This is a single
measure and by itself is not indicative of the success or failure
or areas of weakness or strength in our students.”

Individual student score reports will be available to schools to
share with parents in the coming weeks, according to the state.
The reports provide parents with information about their child’s
performance level (1, 2, 3 or 4) and their child’s performance
compared to other children in the same grade across the state.
Once available, the district will mail parents of students who
were in grades 3-8 last year score reports about their children’s
performance on the tests.

This year marked the third time these tests were based upon the
Common Core Learning Standards that the State Board of Regents
adopted in 2010.

These national standards are designed to help students better
develop skills and gain exposure in the areas that matter most in
the world that awaits them after graduation.

Assistant Superintendent Carol Napolitano said that while these
national standards place importance on standardized test results,
the larger purpose of education is making sure that students have
the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to be successful
in life.

“As the teachers adjust to teaching the common core curriculum and
its rigorous expectations, we will continue to provide the
strongest professional development opportunities we can to support
our teachers with making sure all our students are learning the
standards and skills required to allow our students to graduate
and be successful in a competitive world,” she said.

More information and parent resources

State release of 2015 grade 3-8
assessments


Common Core resources for families

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Arrival procedures at LES

As the new school year approaches, parents are reminded to adhere
to the new arrival and dismissal procedures in order to facilitate
a safe and efficient arrival and dismissal for all Liberty
Elementary School students. Please refer to the diagram below to
understand the traffic flow and note the following procedures:

Arrival:
• The main entrance of Liberty Elementary School will open at
7:45 a.m. for walkers and drop-off students. Please do not arrive
before this time, as there is no supervision available and only
staff will be permitted into the school.
• “Kiss and Drop” is in the parking lot next to the public
library. At “Kiss and Drop”, parents and/or guardians will simply
kiss their child goodbye and drop them off at the sidewalk; the
driver does not get out of the car.
• School monitors will be available at “Kiss and Drop” to
direct students into the school through the North Main Street
door.
• No adults will be permitted into the North Main Street door
– “Kiss and Drop” kids only!
• Parents and/or guardians who want to walk their children
into the building will need to park directly in front of the main
entrance of the building. Cars should park heading into the space
diagonally, and parents may escort their children through the main
entrance. Please do not park in the staff parking lot or in any
numbered parking spaces.
• Buses will park in back of the school in the bus lane for
student drop off. This means that parents can start parking and
walking in by the main entrance at 7:45 a.m. No traffic will be
permitted in the bus lane behind the school until after the buses
have left the campus at 7:50 a.m.
• To avoid bus congestion, it is advised not to arrive at
school until 7:45 a.m.
• Students are not considered late until after 8:05 a.m., at
which time they will need to receive a pass from the main office.

Dismissal:
• Call the office before 1 p.m. for any changes in dismissal
procedures. Requests will not be taken after 1 p.m., except in
writing.
• Parent entrance and/or sign outs are prohibited between
2:25-2:50 p.m.
• Dismissal begins at 2:40 p.m., but buses line up in the bus
lane at 2:30 p.m. Car traffic will not be admitted into the bus
lanes until after the buses have left.
• Students who are being picked up by a relative without a
vehicle will be dismissed through the main entrance and led down
to the sidewalk after the buses leave at approximately 2:50 p.m.
• Walkers will be dismissed through the playground doors
after buses leave at 2:50 p.m.
• Parents and/or guardians who are driving will be asked pull
up to the main entrance no earlier than 2:40 p.m. and wait in
their car until their child is released.

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Student health requirements for LES

School begins again on Sept. 8 and there are a few requirements from New York State which must be met or students may not be allowed to attend school. All pre-K, kindergarten, second and fourth grade students must have a recent physical form and a list of current immunizations on file with the LES health office. The physical must have been performed after Sept. 1, 2014. Letters were sent out in June regarding the need for physicals and immunizations. There is only a month left to satisfy these mandatory health record requirements. Any questions or concerns can be directed to Mrs. Rydell by phone at 292-5400, ext. 2508 or by email at drydell@libertyk12.org. The fax number for the office is 292-0525 and completed forms may be sent to the office by this method.

It is also important that all parents update their contact information including their address and telephone numbers with the school. This information is used to contact parents when their child has a health or academic problem. Incorrect information can delay proper health care or academic intervention.

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Free breakfasts to be served

Overview
Breakfast as a part of the morning school day is a great way to
reach students who do not have the opportunity to eat before school.
Every morning*, free breakfast will be served in the classrooms of
Liberty Elementary and Middle School and in the cafeteria of Liberty
High School.

Food
Nutritious meals are planned in a one-month cycle. They include a
hot or cold entrée, juice or fruit, and milk. Menu modifications are
available for children with a documented medical condition. Requests
for special diets should be initiated with the school nurse.
Documentation from a licensed physician may be required. Students
are not forced to participate; they do not have to take a meal.

Breakfast in the classroom at Liberty Elementary and Middle
School

Breakfast is packed in an insulated rolling bag and are delivered
from the cafeteria area by food service staff and taken into each
classroom. Placemats are put on each student’s desk. Each food item,
along with plastic silverware and hand wipes are placed on each
desk. All students are given the opportunity to enjoy breakfast
quietly at their desks while the teacher conducts attendance and
morning announcements are announced. Dry disposable towels will be
available for any spills and moist towels will be available to clean
desks. Trash and food bags are removed and collected by food service
staff when breakfast is over (10-15 minutes). Meals will not be
available after first period.

Breakfast in the cafeteria at Liberty High School
Breakfast is packed in individual food kits and are available for
student pick-up. Each food kit, along with plastic silverware and
hand wipes are placed on each desk. All students will be given the
opportunity to enjoy breakfast quietly inside the cafeteria before
the morning bell rings. Students will be asked to dispose any
remaining food or trash before heading to first period.

*Breakfast will not be served when there is a delayed opening.

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