by Kathleen Duff
At its regular meeting Monday evening at Huth Road School, the Grand Island Board of Education heard two reports of district financial news.
The first pertained to the rate at which the district may borrow money. Director of Business and Finance Joe Giarrizzo has secured a rate of 0.74 percent, which can save the district $200,000 over two years on borrowing the district did in 2004. This rate, Giarrizzo said, is also important to the district's upcoming multi-million dollar capital project.
The second pertained to the status of the Annual Professional Performance Review for teachers. Across New York state, 700 districts must submit plans to the State Education Department for approval by Jan. 13, 2013. Districts will forfeit all state aid increases for the next school year if they miss that deadline. For Grand Island, $535,000 could be in jeopardy. Interim Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann said that administrators, board trustees and the Grand Island teachers union are currently working on their plan for submission to the state. Christmann stressed the importance of the deadline and also commended teachers for their work on the plan.
In academic news, Christmann reported that Business First ranked the Grand Island Central Schools as No. 29 in Upstate New York.
Also, the Parent Portal is opening Nov. 13 posting of the 10-week high school grades. To date, 130 parents have signed up for this on-line access to information about their children.
Additionally, trustees heard a report from sophomores who attended the Agrawal Leadership conference in Washington, D.C. The students indicated that the workshops helped them clarify their own political views and that the program overall was very helpful in improving their writing skills. While the student trip was chaperoned by business teacher Cheryl Chamberlain, no teachers from participating schools were allowed in the workshops. The Agrawal Leadership Conference is funded by the Irene E. Agrawal Foundation and is part of a program which aims to develop student leaders at the high school level.