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Skaneateles BOE elects officers, plans for new capital project proposal

The new incarnation of the Skaneateles Board of Education at their July 2 meeting. From left: Geralyn Huba, Evan Dreyfuss, Vice President Thomas Lambdin, President Kathryn Carlson, Interim Superintendent of Schools Judy Pastel, Sue Benjamin, Sue Murphy, Margaret Usdansky Niebuhr.

The new incarnation of the Skaneateles Board of Education at their July 2 meeting. From left: Geralyn Huba, Evan Dreyfuss, Vice President Thomas Lambdin, President Kathryn Carlson, Interim Superintendent of Schools Judy Pastel, Sue Benjamin, Sue Murphy, Margaret Usdansky Niebuhr. Joe Genco

The previous estimate was a “worst-case scenario” architect Michael Harris, said.

“We are hopeful that when we conduct the tests they might show us that our assumptions have overestimated the true cost,” Harris said.

To rehabilitate the current structure, the least expensive option that the board had for addressing the concerns with the gymnasium, pilings would have to be put into the ground underneath the foundation, though it is unknown how many would be needed until the survey work is done, he said.

The board also authorized their architects to draw up plans for the new roofs for the buildings. Since the plans and the subsequent state approval required to begin work take time, this measure would prepare the district to begin work as early as late spring 2014 if a referendum is passed for the project in the fall. The work will only become more costly the longer it is deferred, Pastel said.

The plans will cost the district $37,500. Both expenses will be paid for out of the general fund, since the district is not allowed to bond for or spend any money on a building project until it has received public approval Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Dale Bates said.

In other business

The board voted to approve four half days to be added to the 2013-14 calendar for the purposes of staff development. One of the board’s long-term goals is to do more staff development, and this will afford them that opportunity, Pastel said.

These days will be used to focus on vertical integration between teachers in different grades and changes needed to meet the criteria of the Common Core Learning Standards which all public schools in New York State are converting to as of the 2013-14 school year, Pastel said.

The exact days have yet to be determined, but students will come to school for half a day then sent home and the rest of the day will be for staff development. The schedules will be adjusted too so that students will not miss the same classes each time a half-day occurs, Pastel said.

Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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