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The Times
  • Central Valley school board mulls various issues

  • The board of education of the new Central Valley Central School District has a number of decisions to make and some of them were raised during Tuesday’s meeting at Jarvis High School.

    Some will have to do with preparing the school buildings for the changeover to the new district.

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  • The board of education of the new Central Valley Central School District has a number of decisions to make and some of them were raised during Tuesday’s meeting at Jarvis High School.
    Some will have to do with preparing the school buildings for the changeover to the new district.
    Michael Croneiser, construction manager from C&S Companies, and Phil Squadrito and Kerry B. Tarolli ,of King and King, were on hand to update the board on the Expanding Our Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL) projects under way in both districts.
    Croneiser said the Mohawk project focused on safety and energy management and included removal of the pool at Fisher Elementary School and filling in the area. He estimated the work is about 60 to 70 percent complete. Some outside work remains to be done around the pool area.
    Ilion’s project was larger and included tiling the hallways, work in the media center, resurfacing the track and replacing light poles in the baseball field and track area due to safety concerns. The project is on schedule to be substantially complete by the end of summer, he said.
    Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. said he had initially thought the remaining EXCEL money would have to be spent prior to July 1, but has since learned this money - upward of $1 million between the two schools - will still be available when the new district takes over and could be used for some of the building preparation work.
    He asked the board to think about how best to “neutralize” the buildings while honoring the traditions of both districts.
    Board member William Lennox suggested the best of the items from both schools be displayed as a group, but added, “Mohican and Bomber will have to go as soon as possible.”
    Squadrito said in the Camden school district information was scanned into a software program that allows visitors to go to a computer station and call up information about alumni and their awards and accomplishments.
    “They cleared space and archived a lot of stuff,” he said.
    Tangorra said he would work with King and King and bring a plan to the board.
    Board member Fred Schell asked if the district could save money by having volunteers do some of the work. Tangorra said quality insured contractors would be needed for any EXCEL project work.
    School resource officer
    The board will also have to consider whether or not to have a school resource officer, a suggestion that was raised during the merger study.
    Tangorra said he had talked with Ilion Police Chief Tim Parisi about the value of having an officer assigned to a school building and about how the community’s concerns might be accomplished without a school resource officer.
    Page 2 of 2 - “A school resource officer is not an armed guard,” said Tangorra.
    If the board is primarily concerned about security, he added, having one officer assigned to one school building would not be the answer. Board members may want to consider hiring additional social workers to work with troubled youths and continuing the good relationships both districts have with their respective police departments or hiring security guards. There could also be jurisdictional concerns with an SRO because the two communities are served by separate police departments.
    There is grant funding available that would pay 75 percent of the cost of the officer for three years with the district picking up the other 25 percent. After that, the district would be paying 100 percent of the cost. This is a competitive grant, Tangorra said.
    “It’s not all about dollars and cents,” said board member Matthew Shedd.
    Tangorra said he wasn’t suggesting the district not apply for the grant.
    “I just want us to go into it with our eyes wide open. If we pay for an SRO we’re not buying peace of mind,” he said.
    Board member Vicki Judd suggested the board consider offering additional disaster training for the staff. Parents and volunteers should also be educated, she added.
    “We could use the BOCES safety office more,” said board member Daniel LaLonde. He said in many districts, the SRO is one of the first positions cut.
    Board members suggested asking the police chiefs to meet with the board to discuss concerns.
    “The SRO may be a solution to a problem we don’t even know exists,” said board President Stephen Coupe. “Can someone do a district-wide safety assessment?”
    Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Superintendent  Mark Vivacqua said the BOCES safety office performs such audits.
    Tangorra asked board members to review a policy draft on grading and homework to discuss at a future meeting.
    David Pellew and Jennifer Russ, of the Madison-Oneida BOCES policy service, were on hand to discuss district policies. Pellew recommended the board adopt the mandated policies as soon as possible.
    Tangorra reported on the formation of new bargaining units for the new district. While the administrators’ unit is shaping up well, he said, the teachers and non-instructional groups will take longer to come together.
    Mohawk interim Superintendent Gene Beirne reported on the work of several of the transition teams that were formed shortly after the merger vote. He praised team members for their work and highlighted some of the recommendations. The athletic committee emphasized the need for new uniforms and transportation for practices and events. The transportation committee recommended the appointment of a transportation supervisor to oversee bus routes and deal with personnel issues. The committee also recommended that any students who live in areas where they cannot safely walk be bused to and from school.
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