Grand Island Board of Education: District trying to resolve $1.5 million shortfallby jmaloni
Superintendent search narrowed down to two
by Kathleen Duff
Administrators at the Grand Island School District are working toward resolving an estimated shortfall of $1,499.344 by the second week in April.
At the Feb. 25 Board of Education meeting, Assistant Superintendent for School Business Services Joe Giarrizzo told trustees that even though the district is able to recoup 72.1 percent of school expenses from the state and that revenues are up a bit, "Expenses are skyrocketing. We are falling behind." While the district does have money in a reserve savings account, expenses are such that more and more reserve is used each year to close budget gaps.
In board action, a proposition was approved that will go on the local ballot in May. At the recommendation of Jack Burns, director of transportation, it calls for a no-tax impact expenditure of $641,860. Broken down, those dollars, if approved, will purchase four 64-passenger buses ($511,060) and two wheelchair buses ($130,800). Tom Rachow, supervisor of buildings and grounds, recommended a maintenance truck proposition, not to exceed $68,000, to purchase two 2014 Ford F250 trucks with plows. Buses and maintenance vehicles are on a regular replacement schedule.
In other news, the acting president of the board, Paul Krull, reported that the district is close to hiring a permanent superintendent of schools with two candidates remaining to be interviewed by the board. They are Susan Frey, assistant superintendent of Depew schools, and Dr. Teresa Lawrence of the Clarence school district. Krull indicated that a decision will be made over the next two to three weeks.
The new superintendent will begin July 1. Interim Superintendent of Schools Paul Hashem took the place of retired Superintendent Robert Christmann in January.
In the "Good News" portion of the meeting, Kaegebein Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Susan Scrabacz was nominated by one of her students for WGRZ-TV's "Teacher of the Week" award. Trustees also approved a new after-school activity - the Technology Aviation Club. The students would work with the Niagara Sunday Flyers to learn basics of aeronautics and the design, building and testing of radio-controlled model airplanes.