VIDEO: 2017 Educational Series “On Public Education”

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By Rebecca Martin

We are just about half way through our educational series this year, with this recent panel on “Public Education” that was so enlightening.  Did you know that every summer, the Kingston City School District re-writes curriculum to supplement “Engage NY” by selected teachers in the district? Or that only 1% of the school district’s budget is federal dollars?

A special thanks to Robin Jacobowitz and James Shaugnessy for their time and service to our community.  As always, to Julie, Peter, Matthew and staff at “Church Des Artistes” for hosting us.

00:00 –  1:45  
About Robin Jacobowitz, Ph.D.: Robin Jacobowitz is the director of education projects at the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz. She taught for many years as an adjunct in SUNY New Paltz’s School of Education. Previously, Jacobowitz worked at New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy, where her research centered on the growth and development of charter schools in New York State, the organizational structures that facilitate teaching and learning in New York City small high schools, and leadership transitions in new schools in New York City. She also worked with the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children, where her research focused on the relationship between constituency building and policy work in affecting systemic school reform in New York State. Prior to beginning her career in research, Jacobowitz worked with the Public Education Network in Washington D.C., where she provided technical assistance to local education funds around the country on issues of school governance, school health, and public engagement. Jacobowitz holds an M.Ed. in education policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She is currently a trustee on the Kingston City School District Board of Education and a member of the executive committee of the Ulster County School Boards Association.

About James F. Shaugnessy, Jr.: James joined the Kingston City School District’s Board of Education because he felt he could make a positive contribution. “I have a daughter who attends school in the District. I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable with the School Board leadership of the District and that the philosophies practiced would be compatible with an environment I would want for my daughter.” In addition, James believes, “The Board also has a responsibility for looking forward to the future needs of the District.”  If James could achieve any educational goal while serving as a Board of Education member, it would be to see excellent programs implemented for all students so that each student can reach his or her maximum potential.  Current Board committee involvement includes serving Chair of the Audit Committee, as well as a member of the Jefferson Committee and the District Comprehensive Improvement Plan Committee.



1:46 – 5:45 
An explanation of how public education works.

5:46 – 8:19
Can you explain how local elections are organized as it pertains to the board of education? How is it different from a local government election?

8:20 – 9:15
How are districts in the City of Kingston determined? What is the history?

9:15 – 18:25
About School Board Elections, voter turn-out and May elections.

18:26 – 24:02
Can you explain how the funding for capital projects, such as the Kingston High School, impacts the public’s tax bill?

24:03 – 
About the Board of Education and school closures, populations and the tax cap.


27:23 – 32:56
Clarifying terms and what the public pays for.

32:57 – 37:42
What items are covered for children in the Kingston City School District who choose to attend a school outside of the district? Transportation? Special services?


37:42 – 38:52

Education as a State function and the 14th amendment.

38:53 – 43:02
An explanation of Brown vs. Board of Education, 1954

43:06 – 44:30
An explanation of Education Amendments of 1972.

44:31 – 48:25
Would magnet schools be beneficial in the City of Kingston?

48:28 – 49:15
An explanation of Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)


49:16 – 55:35

An explanation of all recent Federal education efforts and how they impact us on a State and local level.

55:36 – 57:26
The public’s ability to reform local public education in NYS.

57:27 – 1:00:00
How does accepting funds through the federal government for public schools impact our decision-making on a local level?

1:00:04 – 1:04:24
Every summer, the Kingston City School District ‘re-writes’ curriculum to supplement “Engage NY”.  Teachers who are interested apply and are selected by the district.  Other district initiatives.

1:04:27 – 1:12:52
How might parent groups be supported by the BOE to do more advocacy for the School District?

1:12:53 – 1:24:54
Why is the district decreasing in size and what might be done to increase parent involvement in district initiatives such as re-writing curriculum, a county school district concept and more.

1:24:55 – 1:28:29
More on what federal dollars means on a local level.  Federal dollars reflects 1% of Kingston City School District, just under $2 million. 









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