by Kathleen Duff
The Grand Island Board of Education considered a varied agenda Monday evening in the Veronica Connor Middle School Little Theater. Longer and more detailed meetings and public information forums will begin in earnest now that the 2012-13 budget process is under way.
School board President David Goris said that "This will be another tough budget year." Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann echoed the sentiment, elaborating that state aid, sales tax revenue and the property tax levy are always important in determining the final budget. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Loraine Ingrasci reminded the board that close to $1 million dollars of federal money will be missing this year. On the positive side, however, Ingrasci stated, "I feel Grand Island is in a better financial position than most of our neighboring districts."
In other money matters, the board unanimously approved a bond resolution to finance the $51 million capital improvement project approved by Grand Island voters on Dec. 20.
Regarding academics, all fall varsity sports teams qualified for the New York State Scholar Athlete designation. To qualify for this designation, the athletes must carry a grade average of 90 percent or higher. Additionally, the first quarter grades overall for Grand Island High School students improved over the same time in 2010.
Kudos went to business teacher Cheryl Chamberlain and her DECA students for their great showing in the regional competition. Eighty-six Grand Island students competed in the various business presentation categories, with 53 of those qualifying for the upcoming state finals. Chamberlain also oversees Casey's Corner, the high school store named for deceased trustee George Casey. Recently, proceeds from the student-run store went to the Neighbor to Neighbor fund. The business department will hold its annual high school job search program on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Holiday Inn Grand Island. Students will have the opportunity to meet with representatives of local businesses to practice their resume and interviewing skills.
Other board actions/discussions included:
•English Language Arts tests for grades 3 through 8 are re-scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, April 17 to19. April 20 to 24 will be for make-ups.
•Extra speed zone signs will be posted soon at all exits from the Ransom Road complex. The speed limit near the high school and middle school is posted at 25 miles per hour.
•The 2012 Relay For Life will be named in honor of Huth Road music teacher and cancer survivor Carol Horrigan.
•Trustees approved a motion to create a discount card called the "Golden Pass" for residents 60 years of age and older. The pass entitles seniors to lower ticket prices for musical and sporting events in the district.
•Theresa Mannarino was approved as long-term substitute for sixth grade social studies.