West Valley School Board accepts new business official contract
All but one board member voted in favor of the motion, including a text message to Board President Stephen Kowalski from absent member George Kazmierczak.
“I have received a text from George that says, ‘I support the board hiring Ann.’ He is on a business trip, but wanted to show his support,” Kowalski reported.
O’Brien, a certified public accountant, holds a certificate to serve as a school district business leader in New York state.Her approved contract would commence on Aug. 20 and expire June 30, 2015.
Several other staff appointments were approved, with the exception of the head girls varsity soccer coach position, which was tabled until the next meeting.
New Superintendent Eric Lawton thanked outgoing Superintendent Hillary Bowen for her help during his transition.
“She’s been outstanding to work with, giving me the background and making herself available. She’s made the transition much easier,” Lawton said.
He also reported that his entry plan is almost finished and that he plans to send a questionnaire to all board members to “get data to back up decisions.”
The opening faculty and staff meeting will include bus drivers, cleaners and other non-teaching staff.
In the area of building maintenance, Lawton said that water dripping through the ceiling in one classroom is not a leak in the roof itself, but a build-up of water from the roof repair.
“The repair would be over $10,000, and it’s not worth it. It was recommended that we hold off until a capital project where we can do the whole roof,” Lawton explained. “It doesn’t drip until it gets really hot like this. It’s like boiling water. It expands and doesn’t have anywhere to go. We’re going to monitor it and keep an eye on it.”
In addition, a main power switch that does not work was called “really critical.”
“We’ve got to get that fixed sooner than later. I don’t know if anyone knew how critical it was, but it’s safety,” Lawton said. He noted that the job will be bid out, since it exceeds $10,000.
“You use it or lose it,” said Kowalski. “If you don’t use it, the springs become obsolete and now the technology has changed. It’s nobody’s fault; it’s just time.”
Principal Dan Amodeo reported that the master schedule is “98 percent completed. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube®. [Matt] LaBrake and I have been working on it and a [Erie 1 BOCES representative] said it is one of the cleanest master schedules she has ever seen.
“We want to give our teachers the ability to do common planning throughout,” he continued.
“It will be beneficial in coordinating common core, data and assessment and scheduling courses to allow the greatest availability and the greatest number and variety of courses to enrich our students’ education.”
Among those coordinations are increased musical education alignment, allowing students in grades nine – 12 and six – eight to take either chorus or band. The five 20-minute lunches will be replaced by three 30-minute lunches.
“This will benefit our revised lunch program, regarding federal requirements for menus and servings,” said Amodeo.
He also noted that the New York State Department of Education English Language Arts and math test results are currently embargoed by the state. Amodeo said he will provide those scores as soon as he is allowed to release them.
A motion to add music theory I and composition I courses to the catalog was approved after some discussion centering around the scheduling and competition of those courses with others already on the schedule.
Board Member Dennis McCauley asked whether there had been discussion about the issue previous to the last board meeting, when the idea was first presented.
“Early on, I had a meeting with the music department about the possibility of offering these types of classes. At the time, we didn’t know if it was going to be possible contractually or with scheduling,” Amodeo said. “[Aron] Cole conveyed interest and had conversations with students who would be interested. I asked for a course summary and who might be taking the class and that was what was provided at the last meeting.”
McCauley asked how other electives, for which scheduling is underway, might “keep their recruits.
“Since it sounds like you’re taking from a limited pool, would this be pulling from other courses? The staff has already recruited for their courses, so how will they find out their students have been pulled?”
“It’s all guided by student interest,” Amodeo said. “That has been gauged very high.”
McCauley also asked whether there would be more than one section of these classes, since he noted, “It doesn’t make educational sense to have classes of six students.”
Amodeo said that the only courses that have more than one section are core courses. “All electives are singletons. The constraints of the schedule would not allow more than one section. It’s not the way this schedule is designed. If courses cannot be filled, we will take a look at that as we go.”
Kowalski noted that, under current district policy, a class must have six students enrolled in order to run.
In other board news:
– A 2 percent salary increase was approved for the district clerk, superintendent’s secretary, deputy treasurer and senior account clerk.
– The Franklinville girls were approved to join the West Valley girls for an open gym session to practice basketball on July 29 and Aug. 5 from 6 – 9 p.m. The certificate of insurance from Franklinville has been received.
The next WVCS Board of Education meeting will take place on Monday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. in the library conference room.