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New board develops new outlook

by Marwa
Sat, Jul 16th 2011 04:40 pm

by Kathleen Duff

With the swearing-in of new officers Monday evening, the Grand Island Board of Education has taken on a different look and personality. District Clerk Janet Schuster administered oaths of office to David Goris as president and Tak Nobumoto as vice president.

After lengthy discussion on the yearly Board of Education appointments, by a 6-1 vote of the trustees approved the slate of 33 people/organizations to fill posts such as internal claims officer and district financial institution. (The complete list of  proposed appointments was published in the school board agenda in the July 8 edition of the Island Dispatch.)

The 6-1 vote came after a lengthy discussion, which ended  in an amended resolution to further discuss the appointment of Superintendent Robert Christmann as sexual harassment complaint officer and the law firms of Harter, Secrest & Emery and Goldstein, Ackerhalt & Pletcher as school attorneys. Trustee Joan Droit asked the board to consider appointing a female administrator for the complaint officer position. Tak Nobumoto questioned appointment of the attorneys without more information on their qualifications.

In other business, Nobumoto also proposed that the board consider  his draft of a  facility review committee charter, which would charge the members to have one chairman to help the members set an agenda for information-gathering on the district's building conditions.  The committee should have no decision-making power, added Droit, but should be proactive in gathering information useful in putting the next capital project referendum out to Grand Island residents. Nobumoto gave the board members and administrators copies of his draft charter for their later consideration.

Also related to building conditions, the board is looking at a study of the repeated flooding problems at the Veronica Connor Middle School office area. Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Loraine Ingrasci indicated that each cleanup of flooding costs several thousand dollars and that the district needs a permanent solution.

The board also heard remarks from Transportation Director Jack Burns, who talked about how having three K-5 buildings on the Island would impact transportation. He outlined the history of the school buildings in terms of their grade configurations when Charlotte Sidway School was the largest school on the Island. He included thoughts on how a K-5 Sidway would change attendance zones and how that would affect Kaegebein and Huth Road schools. While Burns did not advocate one grade configuration over another, he did tell trustees, "I just want you to be aware of the issues." Also related to transportation, Loraine Ingrasci told the board that district transportation passed its New York Department of Transportation bus safety inspection with a grade of 98 percent. Minor corrections had to be made on some of the district fleet.

In program news, Christmann reported that 29 high school students achieved grades of 100 percent on Regents exams.  He also said that this year's reduced summer school session has an enrollment of 59 students and that review classes for students who failed various Regents exams will be offered as well. He mentioned that Grand Island and Frontier Central Schools in Hamburg are the only suburban districts offering summer school this year.

In the Good News portion of the agenda, Kaegebein School Principal Mary Haggerty commended the Charles N. DeGlopper Veterens of Foreign Wars post for its participation in Flag Day at her school. She said the veterans are conscientious about teaching the students proper flag etiquette and respect.

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