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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations
Meeting Minutes for May 3, 2000

1. Introductions

2. Minutes: Joanne McElroy motioned to accept the April minutes. David Phaff seconded. Motion approved.

3. Communications/Announcements
Carol Wallace circulated a petition to actively protect and use Albany's historic, cultural and natural resources to produce a vibrant economy.
Aimee Allaud distributed a Million Mom sign-up sheet. For more information contact League of Women Voters at 465-4162.
Delaware Area NA events: dinner theater 5/19-21; tour of homes for sale 5/7.
May 20 Delaware Area & Second Avenue Neighborhood Association plant sales.

4. Committees
a. Committee on University & Community Relations
Next meeting is Wednesday, May 10 at 7 pm at the Albany Police Department, 526 Central Avenue. Final update on the "Spring Six-Point Plan," including neighborhood clean up and trash pick-up dates and the "Whistle Watch" safety program. Planning to continue for the 10th anniversary celebration this fall.

b. Friends of Lincoln Park Pool
Press conference went very well and a new flyer with an historic picture has been created. For more information and to support this effort contact: Friends of Lincoln Park Pool, PO Box 7296, Albany, NY 12224-0296. 433-0679, friendsofthepool@aol.com.

c. Budget
No report.

d. Code Enforcement and Quality of Life (CEQL)
Met with the Mayor and Phil Calderone who are supportive of the CEQL survey. They are completely supportive of improving quality of public education and overall cleanliness of Albany.

At this time, it would not be to our (or the City's) benefit to have a public forum. The Mayor has agreed that once the data is collected, someone from the outside should analyze the results. They proposed holding neighborhood specific meetings to address issues that arise in specific areas.

Preliminary report from Albany Law on the Code Ordinances. City hiring a new attorney to deal with code enforcement issues. Hoping that this will lead to changes in ordinance and give the outdated ordinances some teeth.

Resident Guide to the City is being proposed. NAs will be asked to be on committee with City Department Heads.

NAs raised concerns about:
Lack of public meeting. The neighborhood meetings have been held repeatedly and it's time for a citywide forum.
Education issues. Although everyone is concerned with education, let's not lose our focus.
Survey needs to include some form of identification (i.e. zip code)
Assistant Corporate Council was part of an "11 Point Plan" in 1974. How far have we come in 26 years?
Collection of data - hard to get people to fill out surveys
Lonnie Palmer stated that there are 400-500 high school seniors who need to complete Government Service Hours. They might be able to assist in collecting data.

e. Deputy Chief of Police, Bob Wolfgang 462-8012
Chief or Deputy trying to attend every CANA meeting.
Boom box enforcement will begin.
Gun shots in Mansion Neighborhood: gangs are a growing trend and this was gang related. Dealing with issue and looking towards creative solutions. Recommended CANA consider scheduling the gang task force for an update on the gang issues in the city.
Citizens voiced concern of stoop sitters and being told by police that they can't do anything.

7. Guest Speaker: Lonnie Palmer, Superintendent of Schools

Palmer reviewed the proposed budget and implications on the schools and taxpayers. This included the proposed Master Plan to improve the facilities. 

Q: Is the Charter School exempt from budget impact? Guaranteed money nonetheless?
A: Income per child based on size of budget. Their formulas are set by legislation. A NO vote won't penalize Charter School or the Legislation.

Q: Do you have anything to do with Charter School?
A: No. They have their own administration. 70% of special education students went to the charter school, 42% returned to city schools. Kids have been shifted all around. Couldn't get accurate attendance numbers from the school until Christmas.

Q: What's the possibility of addressing legislation at the state level?
A: Local legislators have helped but the governor is not willing to admit a mistake and deals were made based on pay raises and everything might unravel.

Comment: This impacts kids. Poor kids don't have equal opportunities including being able to afford computers.

Q: Can Albany get any part of additional money that "big cities" get?
A: Spoke with Mayor. Albany School District intent is to share in that. Legislation does not allow for sharing in large cities. Where in small cities, school and city budget is the same. Albany is a small city being treated as a large city.

Q: STAR program is a great tragedy. Benefits homeowner. People who have money are getting more. 62% of living units in Albany are renter occupied. Owners and money are going to the suburbs.
A: Correct.

Q: How would windfall impact budget?
A: Would not impact expenses but might impact tax rate (September). Do we want to refund to taxpayer or address needs neglected because we are operating on a bare bones budget.
Q: Major study of schools and Master Plan. How much of proposed budget kick in to move Master Plan along. What is money being used for?
A: In 2000-01: $150,000 to continue Master Plan including vote. In 2001-02: $150,000. There will be 11 elementary schools (k-5); 3 middle schools (6-8 w/600-650 students); 1 high school (less than 2,000 students in 9-12 - vocational (integrated academic/vocational) Harriet Gibbons (school to work) will accommodate some students; Pre-K center (4) of the 11 elementary schools will have space for full day kindergarten.

Q: Is extra money for charter school repeated (extra state aid)
A: Not earmarked for Charter Schools - accumulated $1M more than anticipated.

Q: 30 teachers = $1M
How many staff live in city? A: Teaching staff = 40% / Non-teaching staff = 85%
What is the accountability for teaching staff for scores. Working hard on. Principals should plan. NYS tenure law is tough - can't replace teachers. 
Possible to tie performance with salary? No

Q: HUD has program called teacher Next Door. Is District promoting?
A: HUD program sounds good. Would like more information.

Q: What's the projected cost for Master Plan. Where is money coming from?
A: First building in 2003. Actual facility costs $150-200 M

Q: Is there a video presentation of the Master Plan?
A: Yes.

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm.

Submitted by Sandra Thomas and Marggie Skinner