by Kathleen Duff
At its Monday evening meeting, the Grand Island Board of Education discussed several options for a new transportation center (bus garage) to service area students.
The five possible sites include 18-plus acres on Whitehaven Road, behind the water tower. This site seems to be at the top of the list for consideration. The board had set aside $800,000 from the district's capital reserve fund for the project, which has been talked about for a few years.
Board members are looking favorably toward a site, which could also house the district's buildings and grounds facility. They have eliminated the possibility of using property near Grand Island High School and Veronica E. Connor Middle School as being too heavily trafficked during arrival and dismissal times.
In other news, Superintendent Robert Christmann said that the district's ability to raise the local tax levy will be capped at 3.2 percent instead of an earlier figure of 3.61 percent. The tax levy is the school budget amount minus all other sources of revenue for the schools. The district is challenged again this year by a large gap ($6,809,456) between possible revenues and a projected budget of more than $54 million. The board will adopt a 2012-13 budget by March 30 for public vote in May.
In the Superintendent's Report, Christmann updated the board on the interview process for the positions of director of curriculum and instruction (Dr. Karen Karmazin's former position), director of business and finance (Loraine Ingrasci to retire in March) and assistant principal at the high school (Jerry Parisi became principal of the middle school.) Christmann said that Karmazin's position has two finalists and is close to being filled, while a committee of staff and members of the public will interview three finalists for assistant principal this week.
The board approved the following items:
•Acceptance of a $500 gift from the University at Buffalo to Huth Road School for students' participation in a research study.
•Acceptance of a donation of books and maps from Barbara Brown to Kaegebein School.
•Acceptance of a donation of bulletin boards from ASI Signage Innovations.
And in "Good News," Board President David Goris recognized students Donald Brant and Michael Avery as regional Auto Tech winners who will go to New York City for the national championships. Christmann recognized the DeRubes family for their efforts in cleaning up the town's graffiti. Ingrasci told the board that the Western New York Education Service Council will give Transportation Director Jack Burns an Award for Excellence on March 15.
The board also discussed dropping the community education fee of $20 for the hall walking class. Trustee Joan Droit suggested that walkers would need to sign in and out of the high school/middle school.