The Mohawk school board moved ahead with a plan to offer a junior firefighter program at a meeting Monday.
Fire Chief Dan Mabbett gave a presentation on the program and the board agreed to treat the opportunity like a college visit, according to interim Superintendent Gene Beirne. Three dates will be offered between now and the end of the school year so interested students may come to the guidance office to sign up or learn more about the program.
Mabbett said in a telephone interview the department is looking for ways to recruit additional members. To take part in the junior firefighter program, students would have to be at least 16 years old. “What we’re looking for is guys who are willing to make the commitment,” he said. That commitment includes taking the 100-hour Firefighter 1 training course and being on hand for training and for fires when possible. “It’s not just a place to hang out,” said Mabbett.
A firefighter must be at least 18 years old to go into a burning structure to fight a fire, but at 16 he or she can fight fires from outside the building once he completes the training.
“We’re trying to get younger members,” said Mabbett. “We have to start somewhere.”
He said participants might find they want to continue with the local volunteer fire department or pursue firefighting as a career with a paid department.
Mabbett sees the program as one through which students could be graded and earn school credit. They could also be eligible for tuition reimbursement through a program offered by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York.
“It’s a very physical job,” said Mabbett. “What you want to put in is what you’re going to get out of it.”
The board also approved the terms and conditions of employment for non-union personnel for the 2013 - 2014 school year. Beirne said this covers employees such as the superintendent’s secretary, director of transportation, accounts clerk and head custodian who are not covered by any union. He said they received the same percentage pay increase as the non-instructional employees.
Beirne reported he and Ilion School Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. have been discussing how to use the technology funds the districts receive from the state. “We’re talking about combining the funds, which total about $120,000, and spending it this year on technology software for next year,” he said. He noted if the districts don’t use the money, they will lose it. “We’re putting some ideas together and we’ll be meeting with the faculty,” he added.
Beirne also reported if Congress and the White House can’t come to an agreement and sequestration goes into effect, the district stands to lose about $36,000, based on the number he was given in November when a similar situation loomed. “That’s the only number I’ve ever received,” he said.
Page 2 of 2 - Recognition
The board recognized the resignation of board President James Fleming and the retirement of Rosemary Wroblewski, a special education aide.
Wroblewski began working in the school district cafeteria in 1985 and then became a part-time special education aide. Later she was moved to full time.
She has worked at both Fisher and Jarvis schools, according to a statement Beirne read and has been at her current position since around 1999.
“The dates and times are not important when it comes to Rosemary: Rosemary’s whole being is geared for the Mohawk Central School District,” said Beirne. “It does not matter what building she was in or what job she held; she always did her job with enthusiasm, competency, dedication to the students and their well-being and with her wonderful sense of humor brought joy to wherever she worked. She is one of those people who leaves a gap in your life when she is not around. Rosemary will be leaving a huge gap when she retires from Mohawk CSD.”
Fleming was also recognized as having been a supportive parent before he became a board member. He was elected to the board of education in 2009 and spent two terms as vice president and one term as president of the board. He was a three-year member of the transportation committee, a three-year member of the policy review committee and a one-year member of the shared services committee.
“Jim has always brought a high level of professionalism and dedication to the position. Also, a unique legal knowledge,” according to the statement that was read. “His motivation and interest has always been making sure that the students at Mohawk CSD receive a quality education. We could never thank him enough for the many hours of unappreciated work spent on the board positions. We wish you the very best in the new job you have in the court system and further wish you good luck in all issues.”
The board accepted his resignation effect upon the adjournment of Monday’s meeting.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the permanent appointment of Sarah Barber, teacher aide, five hours per day effective March 5.
• Adjusted the director of special education position to full-time, 10 months with an additional 20 required workdays in the summer at a rate of 1/200th of employee’s salary, effective July 1.
• Approved the stipend for the junior high academic honors advisor position effective immediately.
• Accepted the resignations of Jessica Bowman and Jojo Levi as student council co-advisors, effective immediately.