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Lack of public involvement takes point at school board meeting

by jmaloni
Fri, Nov 14th 2014 05:00 pm

by Autumn Evans

Disappointment over poor attendance at public meetings was something both the Niagara-Wheatfield school board and district residents agreed upon at the board's regular meeting, held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5.

Before making any comments to the board, Sanborn resident RoseMary Warren addressed online viewers to urge them to attend meetings in person.

"I'm very disappointed in ... people who do not come to these meetings," she said. "When I see someone in the post office lobby, and they complain about taxes, I say to them, one: did you vote? If they say no, I say, 'don't talk to me any more.'

"Two: do you attend meetings? If they say 'no, I'm too busy and this and that,' don't talk to me. I don't want to hear any complaints. You've got to start coming to meetings."

Warren said she knew it could be difficult for parents to make it to meetings, but suggested they make their voices heard in other ways, by writing letters to newspapers or calling in to radio shows.

Board member Darren Sneed expressed similar sentiments, saying, "I would also like to say that the audience for some reason is getting smaller, maybe it's online that's getting bigger and stuff like that, but here is where we find the information."

Referring to Warren's earlier comments, he joked, "I'll still talk to you, but I'd prefer it if you come to a meeting."

In other school board news:

•Town of Niagara resident Mike Morawski questioned the N-W varsity football team's decision to forfeit its last playoff matches.

"To hear that our team didn't participate just did not sit well with me," he said. "One of the reasons that bothers me the most is, we have 10 to 15 teams in the district right now that are struggling for their existence, just to take part in competing out there.

"They're doing everything they can to just be a viable part of the district, and you have a team that just says, 'Eh, we don't want to play?' I don't understand it, I don't like it."

•Board member Gina Terbot congratulated the participants of the Niagara Wheatfield Sports Alliance's 5K Run, held Saturday, Nov. 1, which the group hopes to make into an annual event. There were more than 100 runners, including nine girls from the soccer team who ran with their coach.

"I want to say publicly, to all my student volunteers: they rocked the trail," Terbot said. "They were incredible. They sat out there in the snow, in the rain, with their arrows, cheering everybody on, making sure that we had everyone directed the right way, and those kids were amazing."

•School Business Administrator Allison Brady reported the cost of Blue Cross Blue Shield's Medicaid plans offered to district retirees increased by about $200. This was presented as an informational item, and the board had no control over the price change.

•The board set its annual school walkthrough for 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 1.

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