BOE adopts Veterans’ Exemption

At its meeting on on Feb. 23, the Liberty Board of Education adopted
the Alternative Veterans’ Exemption at the minimum level, which
exempts a portion of eligible veterans’ property values from school
taxes based on state law.

Liberty adopted the minimum level of exemptions for eligible
veterans:
• Basic exemption – 15 percent off the assessed value of qualified
residential properties (up to $6,000)
• Combat Zone exemption – in addition to Basic, 10 percent off for
vets who have served in a combat zone (up to $4,000)
• Disabled Veterans exemption – in addition to Basic (and Combat
Zone, if applicable), a variable discount based upon a
service-related disability (up to $20,000)

While property tax exemptions for veterans have been in effect
statewide since the 1980s, they have until now only been applied
to the county and town portions of a veteran’s tax bill. In 2013,
the New York State Legislature approved an amendment to expand the
program to school districts, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed
into law in December 2013.

Veterans with already approved exemptions on file with their local
municipality do not need to reapply for a school tax exemption.
However, new exemption applications must be filed with the town
assessor by March 1, 2016, for September 2017 school tax bills and
January 2017 town/city/village tax bills.

Please contact your local town assessor for questions about
eligibility and applications.

 

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Annual POPS Prism concert set for Wednesday, Mar. 9

As part of Music in Our School’s Month, the Liberty Central School
High School Music Department will present their Annual POPS Prism
Concert on Wednesday March 9, 2016 at 7 p.m. in the David E.
Panebaker Auditorium. The snow date will be March 10.

The concert will feature all of the high school’s performing
ensembles. The program will also feature some student soloists,
small ensembles and duets performing an array of popular tunes,
past and present.

The unique prism concert format allows for a continuous cycle of
music as each song flows into the next without applause and
minimum interruption. For this reason audience members should plan
on being in their seats by 7 p.m. Entry into the auditorium after
the start of the concert cannot be guaranteed. The students are
under the direction of Tim Hamblin, Dan McConnell and Sarah Weber.

The concert is free and open to the public. Donations will be
appreciated to help support our music scholarships.

Please contact Timothy Hamblin, Director of Music for further
information. He can be reached at 292-5400 X2021 or
thamblin@libertyk12.org.

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Colors Wars pits class against class

Liberty High School’s annual clash of the classes will begin on
Monday, March 7. Students will earn points for their respective
graduating class by dressing up for the following Spirit Days:

Monday, March 7: Mix-Match Day
Mix up your clothes! Wear colors that don’t match, two different
shoes, different patterns, mix formal-wear with casual—the crazier
the better!

Tuesday, March 8: Twin Day
Grab a friend and dress alike! Just because you’re both wearing
jeans doesn’t make you a twin—how matchy-matchy can you get?!

Wednesday, March 9: Hippie Day
Show your inner peace and love and pull out your tie-dye! The more
flowers and peace, the better!

Thursday, March 10: Pajama Day
Have you always wanted to wear your onesie to school? Now is your
chance! Please respect the dress code rules listed below.

Friday, March 11: Class Color Day
Freshmen will make up the blue class; sophomores will make up the
green class, juniors will make up the orange class and seniors
will make up the purple class. Faculty and staff will wear pink.

On Thursday, March 10, students can stay after school to decorate
the halls. For more information, please see a Student Council
representative.

Official Rules:

Gain points for color wars.
Each morning in homeroom, teachers will tally up the amount of
students participating on each grade level. In order to count
toward your class total, students must be in homeroom. Homeroom
teachers have final say in whether an outfit is appropriate and
meets participation requirements.

Keep all outfits appropriate.
All outfits must adhere to the Liberty High School dress code
which can be found in the student agenda.  Pajamas and
onesies must cover a student’s chest, midriff, groin and buttocks.
Pajamas should not be revealing and must be kept closed, zippered,
buttoned, etc. Slippers are not allowed. Regular clothing must be
worn underneath onesies.

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District adopts Alternative Veterans Exemption

At its meeting  on Feb. 23, the Liberty Board of Education adopted the Alternative Veterans’ Exemption at the minimum level, which exempts a portion of eligible veterans’ property values from school taxes based on state law.

Liberty adopted the minimum level of exemptions for eligible veterans:
• Basic exemption – 15 percent off the assessed value of qualified residential properties (up to $6,000)
• Combat Zone exemption – in addition to Basic, 10 percent off for vets who have served in a combat zone (up to $4,000)
• Disabled Veterans exemption – in addition to Basic (and Combat Zone, if applicable), a variable discount based upon a service-related disability (up to $20,000)

While property tax exemptions for veterans have been in effect statewide since the 1980s, they have until now only been applied to the county and town portions of a veteran’s tax bill. In 2013, the New York State Legislature approved an amendment to expand the program to school districts, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law in December 2013.

Veterans with already approved exemptions on file with their local municipality do not need to reapply for a school tax exemption. However, new exemption applications must be filed with the town assessor by March 1, 2016, for September 2017 school tax bills and January 2017 town/city/village tax bills.

Please contact your local town assessor for questions about eligibility and applications.

 

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School districts throughout New York, including Liberty, have been
notified by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) that
annual state testing of students in grades 3 through 8 will be done
differently this year. The tests, which are administered in the
spring, will have fewer questions and will no longer be timed.

In announcing the changes, NYSED officials said the new format is
intended to “improve the testing experience for students and the
validity of the assessments.” The department recently contracted
with a new test vendor, Questar Assessments Inc., which will
replace New York’s longtime test company Pearson in providing the
exam materials in 2016.

NYSED has decreased the number of test questions on both the 2016
Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests. On all ELA
tests in grades 3-8, students will read one less passage and
answer fewer questions. On the math tests in grades 3-8, four
questions are to be eliminated from the multiple choice test
sections at each grade level. Students will also be given as much
time as needed to complete the tests, which will be administered
over six days in April. Students had previously been given 60 to
90 minutes to complete each day’s test, depending on the subject
and grade level.

The 2016 spring testing dates are as follows:
• NYS 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA): April 5-7, 2016
• NYS 3-8 math: April 13-15, 2016

Overview of changes to NYS assessments

Decreased Number of Test Questions
The 2016 Grade 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) Tests will
have one less reading passage and fewer questions to answer. The
2016 Grade 3-8 Mathematics Tests will also have fewer questions.

Untimed Testing
The 2016 Grade 3-8 ELA and Mathematics Tests will be untimed. This
change gives students more opportunity to demonstrate what they
know and can do by allowing them to work at their own pace. In
general, this means that as long as students are productively
working, they will have as much time as they need to finish their
tests.

Greater Teacher Involvement
The State Education Department has increased the number of New
York State teachers involved in creating and reviewing the
assessments and will expand opportunities for teachers to be
involved in future test development.

Teachers from across the State gathered in Albany in October 2015
to evaluate and select questions for the 2016 tests.

Beginning in fall 2015 and going forward, a greater number of New
York State teachers have been—and will continue to be—involved in
the review of all test questions and final test forms.

For the first time ever, New York State teachers will write the
test questions for the Grade 3-8 ELA and Mathematics tests. These
questions will first be used on the 2018 tests.

New Test Vendor
Last summer, Questar Assessment Inc. was awarded the State’s Grade
3-8 ELA and Mathematics assessment contract. Questar Assessment
Inc. has partnered with the Department on the changes described
above and on other changes to the Grade 3-8 ELA and Mathematics
tests.

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Salad bars added to cafeteria choices

Students who have access to salad bars in their school cafeterias
eat three times more fruits and vegetables than their peers who
don’t. And these extra servings can add up to better health and
better grades. Thanks to a “Let’s Move” fundraising campaign,
Liberty Central School District is ensuring all 1,625 of its
students are offered plenty of fresh produce options, daily.

Beginning in June, students will be able to eat fresh vegetables
and fruit from a salad bar thanks to a grant from “Let’s Move
Salad Bars to Schools” its partner, the Whole Kids Foundation and
Cornell Cooperative Extension. “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools,” part of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, is an initiative to increase the healthy fruits and vegetables that children have access to in
school. The program launched in 2010 and has granted salad bars to
more than 4,100 schools, nationwide.

In July 2015, Liberty Schools’ Food Services Director Dara Smith
submitted an application through the “Let’s Move Salad Bars to
Schools” website to request the salad bars for the schools.

“The district was interested in using salad bars as a way to
encourage more students to participate in their meal program, as
well as to meet new federal school lunch nutrition standards that
require schools to serve an increased amount and variety of fruit
and vegetables each day,” she said.

The grant provides a complete salad bar package including the
Cambro brand bar, the pans, pan covers, tongs and ice packs to
keep the items chilled throughout the lunch service. Schools are
then responsible for providing the produce. Each of the salad bars
costs $2,825 and Salad bars have a useful life expectancy of 10
years.

If you have any questions please contact Dara Smith at
845-292-5400 ext. 2040.

Additional Resources:

Frequently asked questions

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BOE to hold public hearing on veteran’s exemption

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that pursuant to Section 458-a of the Real
Property Tax Law, that the Board of Education of the Liberty Central
School District will hold a public hearing on February 23, 2016 at
7:00 p.m., in the High School Media Center, 125 Buckley Street,
Liberty, NY 12754. The purpose of this public hearing is to hear all
interested parties and citizens regarding a proposed resolution that
authorizes a partial exemption of school taxes for eligible veterans
as provided for in Real Property Tax Law section 458-a(2)(a)-(c) &
(d)(i).

It is anticipated that the Board of Education will vote on this
proposed resolution at the public meeting immediately following
the public hearing, also at the HS Media Center on February 23,
2016.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that if such proposed resolution is
approved, the Board of Education will hold a second public hearing
immediately thereafter, to hear all interested parties and
citizens regarding a proposed resolution to alter the maximum
allowable tax exemptions, pursuant to Real Property Tax Law
section 458-a(d)(ii).

It is anticipated that the Board of Education will vote on this
proposed resolution at the public meeting immediately following
the public hearing, also at the HS Media Center on February 23,
2016.

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District plans for “give back” days

When snow days are not used, the district “gives them back” by
closing school on days that were originally scheduled to have
school in session. Although we have seven snow days built into the
schedule for the 2015-2016 school year, as of Feb. 16, we have
used one.

While no one can accurately predict what the winter has in store
for us, at this point it seems likely that we will not require all
seven snow days. It therefore seems prudent to begin making a plan
for “giving back” some of these snow days.

This week, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bill Silver will send a letter home to all parents and guardians which outlines the district’s plan to “give back” this year’s snow days.

The following change in the calendar is designed to work around
state assessments, Regents preparation and AP exams.

By March 17, 2016*:

If there are five or more snow days unused, school will be closed
for students on March 18, April 25, April 22, May 26, and May 27, 2016.

If there are four or more snow days unused, school will be closed
for students on April 25, April 22, May 26, and May 27, 2016.

If there are three or more snow days unused, school will be closed
for students on April 22, May 26, and May 27, 2016.

If there are two or more snow days unused, school will be closed
for students on May 26, and May 27, 2016.

If there are one or more snow days unused, school will be closed
for students on May 27, 2016.

* Please note that in the event additional days are needed for
inclement weather at any time for the remainder of the school
year, some of the dates listed above will remain as regular school
days and your child will need to be in attendance at school.
Additional information will be available on Liberty’s website at
www.libertyk12.org if any necessary changes are made.

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Website to undergo maintenance

The district’s service provider will be conducting routine
maintenance from Friday, Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. through 7 a.m. on
Saturday, Feb. 20. As a result, the Liberty Central School District
website will be offline during this time.

This maintenance has been scheduled after school hours and at the
start of a weekend in an attempt minimize the impact on the school
website. No student or other school district information will be
compromised. If you have any questions, please contact
apagano@libertyk12.org.

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Spanish classroom uses eBook technology

With an influx of technology into classrooms, teaching has undergone
a major change. From traditional lectures, classrooms have shifted
to technologically driven interactive sessions. In Liberty Middle
School, students from Señora Cielo Canola’s Spanish class use a
series of eTextbooks called “Voces,” which means ‘voices’ in
Spanish.

The Voces eTextbook includes text, practice exercises, videos,
audio, games and reportable assessments, all of which can be
accessed through a single portal by teachers and students. Each
student has his or her own login ID number and can practice using
conventional computers and other electronic devices, such as iPads
and smart Phones.

“I keep track of how often students log on and practice,” Señora
Canola said. “Every time they submit an activity I give them extra
credit. It’s very engaging.”

The Voces eTextbook brings learning to life, as it also offers
games, and photos and videos of Spanish speaking countries, she
added.

The award-winning content in the Voces eTextbook series has been
recognized by the Association of Educational Publishers. For more
information, visit the Classroom Voces website.

 

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