by Alex Muto
The Niagara-Wheatfield Board of Education meeting was off to an appreciative start last week with a reception honoring the 2011 and 2012 district retirees.
Board members, retirees, and supportive residents, friends, and families gathered for punch, cookies, and celebration. Interim Superintendent James Knowles introduced each retiree and thanked them for their commitment to the district.
Following an executive session, the board allowed residents to take the floor. Most notably, several parents expressed concerns about buses not transporting senior high school students to more than one location in the case of duplicate households. Attendees explained that, in the past, the district allowed buses to transport students to more than one household, and other districts continue this practice. Knowles initially responded that law prohibits dropping students off at more than one house.
"What we are allowed to do is drop a child off at one house," Knowles said.
Niagara-Wheatfield parent Michael Bauer argued that the law does not prohibit the district from transporting children to more than one household, but does not require it.
"The law doesn't say you can't," he responded. "It just says that you don't have to."
Later, during new business section, Board President Steve Sabo suggested that busing should be provided to all tax-paying households.
"In these situations, we have two families paying taxes in the district for their children," explained Sabo. "They are both paying taxes, and for the simple convenience, they should be able to have busing."
Other board members agreed so long as the school district had information about what house children should be transported to at what time. The policy was not brought into motion during the meeting, but in the future, the bus policy will be reviewed.
In a review of old business, Board Member Richard Sirianni raised a motion to approve the credit union funding a 60-foot roadway between the credit union office and campus road. Addressing safety issues with the current exit's left turn onto Route 31, Sirianni relayed that "sometimes there are road issues on Route 31 and different emergencies. The road gives the district a safer emergency exit on the east side of the campus."
District Director of Facilities and Operations Delbert Ambrosia supported this undertaking, asserting, "in the past, we have had issues with the current roadway in front of the school being blocked, so this would give us an exit on the other side."
Sabo said that the motion could be voted on and passed, but would have to be reviewed by legal counsel before official enactment. The motion was passed unanimously.
In other issues, all personnel issues and staff placement motions were passed. Sabo announced that the school board will now provide time for a second public forum at the end of meetings so that attendees may comment on the meeting's topics.
Additionally, members unanimously passed a motion to move forward the fall non-league sports games funding deadline settled in the Aug. 1 meeting.
Knowles announced that high school Vice Principal Amanda Bennett resigned to take a position in a new district, and wished her the best in her new career endeavor.
The meeting ended as it began, with board members expressing their gratitude to retirees and wishing them a happy retirement.
•First day of school in the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District will be Wednesday, Sept. 5.