by Kathleen Duff
Pedestrian and school bus safety on Ransom Road by Grand Island High School and Veronica E. Connor Middle School remains a topic of concern for the Grand Island Board of Education.
Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann reported during Monday's board meeting that he stood across the street from the complex early one morning last week and said that the situation is even worse than he thought.
"I'm really concerned," Christmann said, noting excessive speed in the posted 25 mph zone. In addition, cars pass walking students and other vehicles on the shoulder. "A lot of tickets have been written for drivers on the side of the road," he said, elaborating that the tickets have been issued to adult drivers. A police presence in marked and unmarked cars will continue in the area with tickets to be issued to violators of the passing and speed regulations.
In other business, Christmann told cross country and track parents that a temporary replacement for coach Don Sauer would run the programs until a permanent replacement could be hired. Sauer was suspended from his coaching job and then resigned last week because of involvement in an undisclosed matter.
Additionally, Christmann told trustees that the district's bullying committee will present to the board on Nov. 21. He said bullying is a problem that goes on every day in the schools in the form of comments, texting and emails. Addressing government class students present at the school board meeting, Christmann said, "Let us know what is going on. ... We don't always see, and we can't stop it if we can't know about it."
Regarding sex offender notification guidelines, the superintendent said the New York State Assembly has passed legislation on to the State Senate that would require school districts to mail parents notification of offenders moving into the district. Christmann said that this, if passed, would be an expensive "unfunded mandate" from the state. Information on the whereabouts of local sex offenders is always available on the district website by clicking on "Community Information." Christmann says he thinks the notification is really a law enforcement issue, but the schools will comply if the bill passes the State Senate.
Cannon Design architects reported $9.6 million of incidentals could be included in the possible $51 million-plus proposed capital project to go before Grand Island residents in the fall. Incidental costs include items such as architectural and legal fees, blueprints costs, and temporary utilities. The capital project planning committee continues to meet regularly to prioritize building and program needs to be included in the proposed project.
Also relating to the capital project, Trustee Emily Ciraolo reported that the district's on-line communications survey showed that people like to receive information, such as capital project progress, through their local print and online newspapers. Ciraolo said the district will be placing an informational insert into the Islandwide Dispatch on Friday, Oct. 14. Christmann thanked the Dispatch for the opportunity to place his "Superintendent's Perspective" column into the newspaper on a weekly basis.
Miscellaneous good news included:
•The Grand Island Swim Club held a very successful fundraiser, with the monies going to a handicapped lift for the high school pool. Christmann remarked, "This is a (state) requirement ... and a huge help to the school district."
•New York State School Board Recognition Week is Oct. 31 through Nov. 4.