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School district to revisit new attendance policy

— In response to this and similar comments from the board, Schnabl said the policy is that students must be in their homeroom by 7:58 a.m., and three minutes late is still three minutes late. He said that if the school changed the homeroom time to 8:01 a.m. then some students still would come in at 8:04 a.m.

Dubik asked what the core problem was on this issue: is it student tardiness or the student and parent unhappiness at the tardy student not being allowed to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities?

“This goes to my comment last month: are we an educational institution or an athletic institution?” Schnabl said.

Because of the number of parental concerns and complaints, the board tasked Schnabl to review the attendance policy, discuss it again with the different stakeholder groups in the district and report back to the board in May with any revised policy recommendations.

“Certainly the numbers reflect a positive change in student attendance and tardiness, but we’re always open to look at new ways to address issues,” Dubik said after the meeting.

Also at the meeting:

—Dubik, reporting for assistant superintendent for finance William Furling who was absent, said the school district’s possible budget deficit for the 2013-14 year is not as large as previously projected. Initial budget figures showed a gap of $650,000 that the district would need to somehow fill, and administrators have been considering alternatives to make up the amount. Recently tabulated savings in utilities costs, as well as three recently-announced staff retirements have lessened the budget gap to $460,000, Dubik said. The district also is waiting to hear more information about state school funding decisions, as well as the impact of an upcoming district bond refinancing, to get a better idea of further budget implications, he said. The board of education held a public budget forum on Monday, March 4, at which these issues were discussed. The meeting occurred after press time, but full coverage will be posted on the Cazenovia Republican website and in next week’s issue.

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