Feb 13, 2008 Deb Oonk Uncategorized
The Baldwinsville Board of Education heard several presentations at the Monday meeting held Feb. 11. The presentations included the results of a survey done by a local research group, proposals for the 2008-09 budgets for the athletics and special education departments, and a proposal by Superintendent Jeanne Dangle for a potential capital project.
The district had commissioned Research & Marketing Strategies, a Baldwinsville business, to conduct a survey on residents’ perception of the school district. President Mark Dengler and Senior Research Associate George Kuhn of RMS were on hand Monday night to inform the board of the results. The company used a telephone survey to contact just over 400 residents of the district and asked them several questions about schools, needs of the district and their voting habits in district referendums.
Overall, Dengler said the school district was seen to be a very valuable asset to the community. He said 82 percent of people who were surveyed either said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the district. The company used a scale to equate these responses to a satisfaction grade of “A-” for the district.
“We do this type of research among many school districts, and Baldwinsville fared very well. An A- is on the high end,” Dengler said. “You should be proud of that.”
The results of the survey will be used to help the board communicate better with the public and to prioritize projects for the district.
Athletic budget proposal
Bruce Quimby, athletic director for the district, made a proposal for the budgets for the intramural and Friend-to-Friend programs, physical education and athletics for the 2008-09 academic year. The overall budget is proposed to increase from $987,362 this year to $1,040,091. All of the increases in this budget is due to a raise in coaches’ salaries, both through contractual raises for existing coaches and for the hiring of a new coach for the formation of a JV boys’ volleyball team.
Quimby also suggested the board consider the possibility of forming a girls’ ice hockey team. The idea would be to combine with the West Genesee school district to form a team. Quimby said it was common to combine with another school when sports are being introduced in order to share costs. Eventually, the program should hopefully grow enough that Baldwinsville could have its own team. If a girl’s ice hockey team is formed during the 2008-09 school year, it would raise the budget by about $10,000.
Special education budget
The proposed special education budget for 2008-09 was presented by Robert Harris, director of special education. This budget proposed an increase to $2,970,367, most of which is from factors beyond the control of the district, Harris said.
New legislation that will be in effect for next academic year is part of the reason for the increase. Students who live in the Baldwinsville Central School District but attend a private or parochial school in another district will now receive special education services in the district where they attend school. The other district will then bill Baldwinsville for the services. Previously, students in this situation still received special education services in Baldwinsville or from a Baldwinsville employee.
Another reason for the budget increase is the increase of both cost and number of special education students attending BOCES programs and summer school.
Superintendent Jeanne Dangle made a presentation on a potential capital project to close the meeting. She said the project was formed by the district’s facilities committee around the results of the RMS survey and what residents indicated they thought the schools needed.
“(The facilities committee) prioritized based on need and put in everything we thought we absolutely need right now,” Dangle said.
The majority of the aspects of the proposed capital project focus on renovations. All schools in the district are up for some rewiring of their technology network to make the technology faster and more efficient. Many schools are also proposed to get heating and ventilation upgrades. In some cases, the district will be replacing original parts that have been operational since the schools were built. For example, Reynolds Elementary has had the same boiler since it was constructed in 1966, Dangle said.
Other proposed renovations include replacing the gym partitions at Baker High School and Durgee Junior High School. Baker is also in need of a new gym roof and new entrances.
Many of the schools could also be getting security upgrades. A security station would be placed at the Baker and Reynolds entrances. The main offices at both McNamara and Palmer elementary schools would be moved so they are closer to the front entrances of those schools. Dangle said that the district had received a grant for security at Van Buren and Elden elementary schools, along with Baker and Durgee to a lesser extent, so those works were not included in the proposed capital budget.
The final piece of the capital proposal was to build a new concession stand with restrooms for Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. The current concession stand has no hot water running to it, and the only available bathrooms are portable toilets.
Altogether, the capital project would cost an estimated $21,485,000. Board President Kevin Bernstein stressed that this project would have no impact on taxes collected by the district, as all but the stadium project would be eligible for state aid. The district also has some capital reserves to pull from.
The capital project proposal will most likely go to voters in the district in December. The board wants time to ensure the public is thoroughly educated about the project, and the district cannot have the use of the voting machines until 30 days after the upcoming presidential elections in November.