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Alexander Central Schools

April 25, 2022 - 8:00am

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John Marucci would have loved to have had a 0 percent tax increase, falling in line with the district’s last two years, but student needs prevailed, he says.

“Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get there,” he said this past weekend in response to The Batavian’s questions to the board. “I’m very happy that (Superintendent Jason Smith and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski) were able to get us to 1 percent. The BCSD BOE and administration have saved Batavia city property owners $25 to $30 million over the past seven to 10 years.”

Those savings, according to Rozanski, were calculated based on small or no tax rate increases over the last decade. 

Marucci and fellow board members Barbara Bowman and Jennifer Lendvay were not able to respond to questions before the weekend, they said, and those answers are being provided here. 

Additional teaching positions are federally funded with stimulus funds, Marucci said, and will “help to address the students with a learning loss due to Covid over the past couple of years.” This budget was not easy, he said. 

“And a lot of hours were put in by all to get it to where we are now,” he said. “I think it’s a good budget for the students and taxpayers.”

That “learning loss” is at the top of the other two board members’ concerns as well. Transitioning out of a pandemic has meant discovering how hybrid and remote learning affected students during the last two years, Lendvay said.

“A vast number of our students in the elementary and intermediate level are receiving assistance in literacy, math and reading,” she said. “We are fortunate to be able to utilize federal funds to focus directly on this issue. While the kids are back in the swing of ‘normal’ school again, it was important to maintain the programs that the students want to take advantage of.”

Those programs include extracurricular activities, athletics, arts, drama, music, Advanced Placement and ACE and academic, special education and counseling support services, she said. All of these offerings are being maintained within the current budget she said. 

Bowman spoke not only a board member but as a counselor “who oftentimes works with marginalized people within our district.” Intervention and literacy are important pieces of addressing student losses in learning, she said, and she is very supportive of using federal Covid relief funds “to help all our students catch up and move forward.”

“I worked hard at this process and was grateful to reduce overall tax increase to 1%, keeping it under the state tax cap,” Bowman said. 

Lendvay emphasized that the budget decision was not made lightly.

“We understand the financial challenges the community and taxpayers are facing during this time and worked diligently to get our figure well below the 1.62% tax cap,” she said. “Looking at the past 10 years we have been able to adjust to a 0% tax cap half of the time; unfortunately with the rising cost in utilities and health insurance, we did not see that as an obtainable figure for this budget.”

“It is important to understand that while this is education, it is still a business, and sometimes businesses are forced to make tough financial decisions,” she said. “This is the decision of the BOE and again, I stand behind it completely.” 

To recap the board’s vote at this month’s recent meeting, it was to approve the $54,802,593 budget for 2022-23. That was an increase of $2,705,932 from the current budget or a 5.194 percent increase. That includes a tax levy of $19,688,898, which is an increase of $1.94 million, or a 1 percent property tax increase. The board unanimously approved/adopted the budget. It will go up for a public vote by district residents on May 17.

 The levy put the district under the tax cap of 1.62 percent by $120,776, Superintendent Jason Smith said. Expenses reflect the signs of inflation and increased utility and medical insurance costs, he said.

Up to four new positions are “100 percent federally funded” through stimulus funds, he said, and two other positions have been added due to increased enrollment. Those stimulus funds are designated to specifically address the learning loss of students as a result of the reduced time in school from 2020 through 2021, he said.  

“The District is currently engaged in a formal study to determine future staffing needs based on enrollment trends,” Smith said. “While our students were on a hybrid program last year, we are still in the process of addressing learning loss and making sure our students are on pace with essential math and literacy skills.  We appreciate the additional federal funds that have allowed us to provide additional and needed support for our students.”

There was an additional $2.08 million in state aid for this next year’s budget, however, overall revenues are flat, he said. The appropriated fund balance received a one-time boost of $520,800 from the stimulus funds.

City schools board members and administration staff worked on the budget for the past several months, which has resulted in this proposed $54.8 million budget, “that we are pleased to present to our community for review,” he said. 

“This budget closely aligns to our mission, vision, and core beliefs of the Batavia City School District and preserves all existing programs while recognizing the ongoing financial challenges,” he said. “In addition, we are using our federal funds (COVID relief) to address learning loss in our students, focusing on intervention and literacy at the elementary grade level.”

He listed several program components that will remain “firmly in place,” including: 

● All extracurricular activities and athletics
● Advanced Placement and dual GCC enrollment courses
● Music, arts, and drama
● Counseling services
● Academic supports
● Special Education services
● School safety, including our School Resource Officer
● Gifted and Talented programs (ACE)

“The Board of Education and I fully embrace our important roles as financial stewards, along with the importance of balancing an exceptional and well-rounded educational program with the needed support from our community,” he said. “This budget is a community partnership, with the tax levy under our allowable cap, as it has been for the past several years.”  

In other school news, Tim Batzel, Alexander Central School’s business administrator, also addressed the issue of “learning loss” due to the remote, off-campus learning that students faced during the last two years of a pandemic. 

“The goal is to continue addressing learning loss, and the social and emotional impacts caused by pandemic to all students,” Batzel said in response to The Batavian's questions.

Alexander’s proposed 2022-23 budget is $19,404,099, which is a 1.18 percent increase from the current budget. This includes a 0 percent tax levy increase, which falls below the 2.26 percent tax cap. The district’s revenues increased by 3.98 percent and there are no additional or eliminated positions in the budget, he said. 

All school budget votes are on May 17. 

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2022 File photos of Jennifer Lendvay, top, and Superintendent Jason Smith during a Batavia City Schools Board of Education meeting. Photos by Howard Owens.

November 10, 2021 - 9:14am

Senior co-captain Emma Hill was the difference Tuesday night as the Fillmore Lady Eagles turned back the Alexander Lady Trojans in four sets in Section V Class D girls volleyball crossover competition at Pavilion High School.

Fillmore’s 25-19, 25-23, 24-26, 25-22 victory puts the Allegany County team into the Class D title match against undefeated Pavilion at 6 p.m. Thursday at Caledonia-Mumford High School.

“(Hill) was spectacular,” said Alexander Coach Marcia Hirsch this morning, speaking of the 6-foot-1 middle hitter who was the Class D3 tournament MVP. “I don’t have the stats in front of me but she had a lot of kills (scoring hits), and we just couldn’t stop her.”

Hirsch said her squad wasn’t at the top its game, but battled back from early deficits in the sets to stay in the match. In Alexander’s third set win, sophomore Alyssa Kramer served the last five points as the Lady Trojans rallied from a 24-21 deficit.

Kramer and senior co-captain Sam Sawyer led the way for Alexander, which finishes at 19-4 after capturing the school’s first sectional championship in 42 years.

Despite the loss, Hirsch said she’s pleased with the team’s progress.

“I'm really happy with where we are,” she said. “I think it takes some time. We haven't won the title for so long that kids almost didn’t know what they would be playing for afterwards. But now they experienced it and, hopefully, we can do it again soon.”

She said it would have been great to advance, but the team achieved its primary goal of winning the Class D1 title.

“Our goal was to get that (Section V) block and I think after that it was kind of like, ‘Oh, we're still playing,’” she said.

Kramer will be back next season as will juniors Julia Yax and Melanie Pohl and sophomore Riley Powell.

“And we’ve got some good jayvee players ready to move up,” Hirsch said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I think we’ll be alright.”

The winner of tomorrow night’s match between Fillmore, 13-6, and the Lady Gophers, 23-0, will move into the Far West Regionals against Chautauqua Lake of Section VI at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Le Roy High School.

November 8, 2021 - 3:16pm

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With a victory on Tuesday night against Fillmore, the Section V Class D1 champion Alexander Lady Trojans will have an opportunity to face Genesee Region foe Pavilion for a second time this season – and this time there will be a trip to the Far West Regionals at stake.

Alexander Coach Marcia Hirsch, who reached the 1984 sectional finals as a player (her name then was Marcia Brown), said she is hoping to get another chance at knocking off the undefeated Lady Gophers in the Class D playoffs.

“Yeah, we played them once earlier this year, and they kind of beat up on us pretty good,” Hirsch said. “So, the girls would love another chance to play them because they didn't think they played very well that night.”

The loss to Pavilion during the regular season was one of only three defeats in 22 matches for the Lady Trojans, who upended top-seeded Letchworth in four sets on Friday night for the school’s first sectional crown since 1979.

Friday’s win puts Alexander into the three-team Class D playoff round to determine the Section V entry in the Far West Regionals at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Le Roy High School.  Chautauqua Lake is the Section VI representative.

The playoff format is as follows:

  • Alexander vs. Fillmore (Class D3 champion) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Pavilion High School;
  • The winner of that game vs. Pavilion on Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Caledonia-Mumford High School.

Hirsch, in her 17th year as coach, said she is proud of the way this season’s team was able to come together in light of losing five key seniors from the 2020 squad. Four juniors from that team have stepped up significantly this year as Hirsch had to juggle the lineup quite a bit.

“My seniors have been awesome all year,” she said, crediting the consistent play of outside hitter Sam Sawyer, setter Adeline Kautz, libero (back row “rover”) Courtney Schum and middle hitter Norah Crawford. Sawyer, Kautz and Crawford are co-captains.

Other key contributors are sophomores Alyssa Kramer and Riley Powell, and juniors Julia Yax and Mel Pohl.

Hirsch said she has had to “do a lot of maneuvering around (with the lineup)” as only two players have stayed with their same position.

“I think the key to our success was how good Adeline came around as a setter,” she offered. “We lost our setter last year and Adeline didn't really get the opportunity to set, so this year she was awesome all year and ended up being a (league) all-star.

“Another big thing is just our coverage; it’s hard (for the opposition) to get anything to hit the floor. So, that’s been a positive for us.”

The girls return to practice today in preparation for tomorrow’s match against Fillmore, which defeated Houghton Academy in five sets in the Class D3 finals.

“I haven’t seen them since Friday so I hope they enjoyed it (time off) and are ready to get back to work,” said Hirsch, who is supported by assistant coach Abbie Kelly and jayvee coach Alycia Yax.

Submitted photo: Front from left, Melanie Pohl, Alyssa Kramer, Maia Saile, Norah Crawford, Makayla Raines; back, Coach Marcia Hirsch, Julia Yax, Samantha Sawyer, Riley Powell, Courtney Schum, Adeline Kautz, Holly Bykowski, Jayvee Coach Alycia Yax.

June 2, 2021 - 3:54pm

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riley_wall_1.jpgAn Alexander Central School eighth-grader’s design promoting agriculture and the people who work to get crops from the field to the table received the most votes in the Genesee County Flag Contest conducted by the county planning department.

Riley Wall, (photo at left), a student in Karen LaDuke’s art class, created a flag that shows a healthy ear of corn supported by two different color hands in a tapestry of blue sky and green fields.

Her entry edged out four other finalists in the children’s contest that had citizens vote on the Genesee 2050 website in March and April.

Riley, 13, said she participated in the project as a class after it was suggested by her teacher.

"I think I came up with the design just because I knew that as a county we are very toward agriculture and being part of a community. So, that's why I included a piece of corn and the diversity of it," she said.

She said it took her one or two days to complete the work, with the design in her initial thought process continuing through the finished product.

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said Riley’s flag is worthy in that it recognizes the value of farming, Genesee County’s No. 1 industry.

“It represents our agricultural base and symbolizes the importance of farmers, local food and also the diversity of our farming community,” he said.

The winning flag will be flown on June 14 – Flag Day – at the Genesee County Courts Facility as the county flag for a day, Oltramari said.

“We’re still finalizing plans but it looks like there will be a commendation -- with the flag flying at the Courts Facility Building -- and a ceremony outside, either before or after the legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting,” he said, adding that Riley and her family will be invited to attend.

Riley said she is looking forward to the event.

"I think this will be a really good experience for me," she said, adding that the outcome of the contest has inspired to take art more seriously. "When I was younger, I used to draw a lot. Now, I don't draw as much but I think that since I did this thing, I think I'm going to start getting more into it."

Oltramari said he is working with a flag company to make sure it is ready by June 14.

As far as the adult contest to determine the new county flag is concerned, Oltramari said he is waiting on the legislature, which is taking a close look at the five designs deemed as finalists.

Oltramari said his research indicates that all New York State counties, except for Livingston, have the county seal on their flags. He said the reason for that is because if it didn’t have the county seal, people wouldn’t be able to identify it.

May 12, 2021 - 5:31pm
posted by Press Release in Alexander Central Schools, news, School Board Election.

Press release:

The Alexander United Teachers, through the unanimous vote of the duly elected leaders, endorses Josselyn Borowiec for the Alexander Central School District Board of Education.

She is a dedicated, long-standing member of our school community with the leadership ability to guide the board through these uncertain times and represent the interests of students, families, and educators.

May 3, 2021 - 12:40pm

Press release:

In April, the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) Chapter announced the names of 40 career and technical student inductees. These students met the rigorous criteria set forth by this national organization.

The minimum grade-point average for acceptance is a 3.0. Students are also selected based upon credit hours completed, attendance, volunteer service, and membership in other student organizations.

Due to COVID-19 event attendance restrictions, this ceremony will held be during the school day later in May. 

The 2021 Batavia Career and Technical Education Center NTHS Inductees

​Alexander Central School District

  • Norah Crawford, Metal Trades
  • Allision Kelly, Cosmetology
  • Julia Lennon, Cosmetology
  • Courtney Seymour, Criminal Justice
  • Brayden Woods, Building Trades

Attica Central School District

  • Hope Bell, Building Trades
  • Samantha Cordier, Criminal Justice
  • Matthew Parkhurst, Metal Trades
  • Olivia Rudolph, Criminal Justice
  • Katie Stockschlaeder, Health Dimensions
  • Brooke Whitton, Building Trades

Batavia Central School District

  • Jack Bruggman, Graphic Arts
  • Liliana Espinoza, Culinary Arts
  • Alaina Every, Cosmetology
  • KayLeigh Mayeu, Criminal Justice
  • Alannah Penkszyk, Animal Science
  • Robin Scroger, Animal Science
  • Kurstin Smith, Graphic Arts
  • Skarlette Tellier-Wilcox, Cosmetology

Byron-Bergen Central School District

  • Aleigha Shallenberger, Graphic Arts

Caledonia-Mumford Central School District

  • Lillias Bell, Metal Trades
  • Molly Ryan, Health Dimensions
  • Jayden Thompson, Diesel Mechanics

Le Roy Central School District

  • David Gracie, Auto Trades: Collision, Custom and Restoration
  • MaKayla Grant, Criminal Justice
  • Adam Risewick, Electro-Mechanical Trades
  • Taeya Starkey, Diesel Mechanics
  • Garrett Talbot, Building Trades
  • Zach Vanderhoof, Electro-Mechanical Trades

Oakfield-Alabama Central School District

  • Zachary Bradt, Graphic Arts

Pavilion Central School District

  • Ayrianna Hurlburt, Health Dimensions
  • Nikolai Hutchings, Animal Science
  • Savanna Kenyon, Diesel Mechanics
  • Toby Stappenbeck, Building Trades 
  • Alanso True, Building Trades
  • Alexa Wolcott, Culinary Arts

Pembroke Central School District

  • Alex Lamb, Building Trades
  • Ashley Pfalzer, Cosmetology
  • Tia Stone, Criminal Justice
  • Riley Yager, Graphic Arts
April 16, 2021 - 3:00pm

A statement from Kevin MacDonald, search consultant and GV BOCES district superintendent, regarding the Alexander CSD superintendent search:

"The recent Alexander Central School District Superintendent Search was a confidential search, and therefore, the names of the semifinalists were not released.

"Stakeholders provided input as to the qualifications, characteristics and qualities that they thought the next Superintendent should possess. These stakeholder input sessions were held virtually via Zoom.

"The Board of Education evaluated all of the search applicants, interviewed the semifinalists, and made the final candidate decision based up the input provided by the stakeholders.

"For clarification, the stakeholders were not involved in the interview process. We apologize for any confusion."

Previously: Jared Taft named Alexander superintendent

April 16, 2021 - 10:10am
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               Jake Taft

Press release:

The Alexander Central School District’s Board of Education has selected Jared ("Jake") D. Taft as the district’s next Superintendent of Schools. He expected to begin pending successful contract negotiations.

“Coming to Alexander Central as the Elementary Principal and then interim Superintendent has a great deal of nostalgia for me," Taft said. "This school district feels like home. Our school colors are the same as my childhood elementary school where my mom was also a teacher. My first childhood school experiences were in a school nearly identical to Alexander Elementary School.

“I am profoundly grateful, honored, and excited to serve as Alexander’s next Superintendent of Schools. I’m confident that we can tackle the important work ahead of us as we continue to navigate the new normal stemming from the pandemic. But I am sure Alexander has all of the sweat equity, grace and toughness to be successful, strong and even better than before."

“The Board of Education would like to thank the other finalists for their interest shown in this position," said Brian Paris, Alexander Central School District’s Board President. "This was an extremely difficult decision as all of the candidates are highly qualified individuals.

"We truly value the input received from the various stakeholders who met with the candidates to help us make a final decision. The board is confident that Jake Taft will lead our district through the issues we face in our region. With his leadership, we will work together to continue to deliver the best education possible for our students.” 

Taft currently serves as the interim superintendent of Alexander Central Schools, a role he has held since September 2020. Previously, from 2019-2020, he served as principal of Alexander Elementary School.

Taft began his career in education in 2000 as a teacher at Roy H. Mann Intermediate School in Brooklyn. He has served in principal roles at the Royalton-Hartland, Lackawanna, and Lewiston-Porter Central School Districts.

In each of these districts, he focused on developing positive, collaborative, and productive relationships to cultivate a culture of teaching, learning and caring for all.

Some of his 20-year career highlights include: evaluating and implementing the annual School Improvement Plan at Royalton-Hartland Middle School; supervising and coordinating the P-Tech Grant Program at Lackawanna High School; and providing instructional leadership to Professional Learning Communities to advance student learning at Lewiston-Porter High School. In 2015, Taft was awarded the Trocaire College Reflections Award for P-Tech. 

Taft earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and a Master of Science in Elementary Education from Niagara University. He also earned a Master of Science in School Administration and Supervision from Touro College. He is completing coursework for his Doctorate of Education.

He holds New York State permanent certifications in Elementary Education, and Special Education, and as a School District Administrator and Supervisor.

Kevin MacDonald, District Superintendent of the Genesee Valley BOCES, acted as the search consultant and noted that the search process was a true collaboration between the Board of Education and stakeholders.*

**************************************************************

*Clarification statement by Kevin MacDonald stating that stakeholders were not involved in the superintendent search interview process.

February 17, 2021 - 2:00pm

Press release:

Alexander High School students are encouraged to apply by March 2 for a scholarship from Alexander Dollars for Scholars, an affiliate of the national organization, Scholarship America.

This organization was formerly known as Alexander Community Organization for Renewable and New Scholarships (A.C.O.R.N.S.), which was formed in January 1996 by a group of volunteers in order to invest in the futures of ACS graduates. In 2007 the name was changed to Alexander Dollars for Scholars.

Over the past 25 years, 602 applicants from Alexander Central School District have received a total of $295,360 in scholarships for college or post high school training programs. These scholarships have recognized excellence in academics, athletics, community service, extracurricular activities, music, positive character traits, technical capabilities and overcoming obstacles.

In June 2020 at the virtual Senior Awards Ceremony, 29 applicants were awarded 38 different scholarships totaling $23,550. These recipients turn in a printout of their fall grades and a spring schedule to the Counseling Center at ACS in order to have their scholarship funds mailed to their school.

Current seniors may go to the Students/Parents tab on this website to fill out their profile/application by March 2.

All of the Alexander Dollars for Scholars scholarships are funded by donations from the community, graduating classes, alumni from as early as the Class of 1954, staff, retired staff, memorials and tributes.

A list of current scholarships may be found under the News and Events tab on the above website where there is a Donate Now button.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, donations are tax deductible in keeping with IRS parameters.

For information about organizing a new scholarship, contact may be made via email at:  [email protected] or by mail:  Alexander Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 296, Alexander, NY  14005.   

December 10, 2020 - 10:55am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Alexander Central Schools.

Update 12:35 p.m. with comments from Interim Superintendent Jared Taft:

"This has been almost a year in the planning process with the board (of education) ... and we feel that we have put together a responsible project with zero tax implication," Taft said, adding that is a scaled down version of a similar proposal that was defeated in late 2018.

See the body of the story for Taft's comments on specifics of the project.

---------------

Alexander Central School District voters on Wednesday passed a capital project proposition that authorizes construction, reconstruction and equipping of school buildings and facilities, including elementary school building reconstruction and demolition and the replacement of the existing transportation facility.

The vote was 113 in favor and 90 against.

According to information on the district’s website, the project is expected to cost up to $15 million, with $11,830,000 of that amount (79 percent) to be covered by state aid. The remaining $3,170,000 cost is to be covered by district’s capital reserve and current funds.

Specifics of the project are as follows:

Classroom Modernization and Accessibility – Renovation of select classrooms at the elementary school, new accessible toilet rooms, and minor renovations at the high school, including Freezer and Agriculture/Science, Technologoy, Engineering and Math classroom.

Taft said work at the elementary school consists of taking care of the water problems in the basement and with the gymnasium floor, making enhancements to the scanner system at the entrance and redesigning the stairway for safety purposes.

Transportation Facility – Construction of a new transportation building and fuel island, and realignment of traffic areas.

Taft said water damage also is an issue with the transportation building, which he said is well beyond its useful life. He said the project calls for a "modest bus garage" with two bays (one with a lift), along with a training room, storage space and break room.

Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety – Reconfiguration of the roadway, traffic calming design, sidewalk connection through the campus, and construction of a barrier to separate buses and cars.

Taft said the parking lot will be reconfigured to make it "tremendously safer" -- including curbing and islands and a bus turnaround. He also said that upon completion, pedestrians will be able to walk continously on the sideway from the elementary building to the main road.

October 21, 2020 - 6:17pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Alexander Central Schools, BOCES.

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The Alexander Central School District Board of Education will be conducting a superintendent job search to replace Catherine Huber, Ph.D., who has accepted the position of district superintendent of the ONC (Otsego Northern Catskills) Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Grand Gorge, a hamlet in the Town of Roxbury in Delaware County.

Board President Brian Paris this afternoon confirmed that Huber has left the Genesee County school after nearly four years as its chief administrative officer. While stating that a search for a permanent replacement is about to begin, he did not provide a timetable or any other details.

The Batavian found out about Huber's departure earlier today when an email sent to her about a different matter bounced back with an automated message from her indicating that she has taken the position at ONC BOCES.

An online search of her name brought up accounts of her new appointment in Downstate news outlets and on the ONC BOCES website back in August. The Alexander Board of Education, however, has not issued a media release about Huber’s resignation, new position and/or accomplishments at the Genesee County school.

Paris said minutes from a meeting in August or September “contain notification that the board approved the resignation of Dr. Huber."

A search of the board’s meeting minutes on the district website revealed one line from the Sept. 9 meeting:

Appointment of Interim Superintendent -- Jared Taft Interim Superintendent.

Taft previously was the elementary school principal.

According to a story dated Aug, 20 and updated on Sept. 2 in The Cooperstown Crier, Huber will begin (has begun) work Oct. 1, pending successful contract negotiations and formal appointment to the position, according to a media release. She will replace Nicholas Savin, who announced his retirement in April.

In a media release cited by the newspaper, Huber said, “I am honored and grateful to be selected as the next ONC BOCES District Superintendent. I look forward to working with the Board of Education, our staff, and our component districts to achieve our collective goals.”

She was hired as the superintendent in Alexander in December 2016.

Paris congratulated Huber on her new appointment, describing her as “an extremely intelligent and well-credentialed individual who did a fantastic job at Alexander, which is indicative of the fact that she has been elevated to one of only 37 (district superintendent) positions in New York State.”

“And I think it speaks well for Alexander that she was promoted, technically, within this system to, quite frankly, a very sought-after position within the New York State educational program,” he said. “We’re sad to see her go, but I know that this was a really good situation for her.”

Per the ONC BOCES website posting:

Dr. Huber earned her undergraduate degree in English from Ithaca College, and her graduate work at Canisius College resulted in Master’s degrees in English Education and in Educational Leadership. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership at D’Youville College.

Dr. Huber was selected as one of 25 female superintendents from across the country to participate as a member of the 2018 AASA National Women’s Leadership Consortium. Dr. Huber twice received the D’Youville College Doctoral Program Leadership Award and she was named Regional Administrator of the Year by the Empire State Supervisors and Administrators Association in 2011.

In addition to her work in K-12 public education, Dr. Huber has higher education administration experience in addition to her current work as an adjunct lecturer in the SUNY Brockport Educational Administration program.

Photo: File photo.

September 21, 2020 - 10:17am

The Office of the New York State Comptroller is recommending that the Alexander Central School District and Board of Education take several corrective measures after an audit issued on Sept. 11 revealed that the district did not follow “applicable statutes” when allocating reserve funds and overestimated appropriations from 2015-16 through 2018-19.

According to the state report, district officials generally agreed with the Comptroller’s findings and recommendations and indicated they have initiated or planned to initiate corrective action.

The Comptroller’s office conducted the audit to determine whether the board and district officials properly used and managed fund balance and reserves.

Its key findings of the audit performed for the period July 1, 2015 through Feb. 21, 2020 show:

  • While the Board and District officials used $3.1 million in excess reserve funds as a financing source for a capital project, they did not do so in accordance with applicable statutes;
  • Appropriations were overestimated by a total of $7 million from 2015-16 through 2018-19;
  • An average of $500,000 of fund balance was appropriated each year, but was not used to finance operations. When unused appropriated fund balance is added back, surplus fund balance exceeded the limit each year by $345,000 to $611,000, or 2 to 3 percentage points.

As a result, the Comptroller’s office put forth four recommendations:

  • Develop and adopt budgets that include realistic estimates for appropriations and the amount of fund balance that will be used to fund operations;
  • Discontinue the practice of appropriating fund balance that is not needed or used to fund operations;
  • Use reserves in accordance with legal requirements;
  • Ensure that financing plans for capital projects are properly documented in the Board’s minutes.

This is the second time the state Comptroller's office found issues with the district's budgeting process as an audit issued on Feb. 19, 2017 for the period of July 1, 2010 through Aug. 4, 2015 pointed to similar issues:

  • District officials consistently overestimated expenditures during the last five fiscal years, which generated approximately $2.4 million in operating surpluses and appropriated an average of approximately $670,000 in fund balance annually, which was not needed to fund operations due to operating surpluses;
  • District officials used approximately $2.5 million of fund balance to fund seven reserves that totaled approximately $5 million. Three of these reserve funds are overfunded.

The key recommendations at that time were to develop realistic estimates of expenditures and the use of fund balance in the annual budget, and to use the excess amounts in reserve funds in a manner that benefits district taxpayers.

In response to the latest audit report, a letter to the Comptroller’s Office dated July 14, 2020, from Superintendent Catherine Huber, Ed.D., and Board President Brian Paris indicated that the “current public health landscape (COVID-19 pandemic) and the financial impact on school districts as well as the uncertain nature of school funding makes a response to the Comptroller’s audit particularly challenging.”

They wrote that the district “consistently has taken a conservative approach to budgeting “and that “these practices have served our taxpayers well …”

The letter indicates that district will act, effective July 14, to meet the audit’s recommendations, including monitoring fund balances, and developing realistic budget estimates by using zero-based budgeting – specifically stating that the 2020-21 budget salary estimates have been calculated as actual.

“The district is currently using Appropriated Reserved Fund Balance to balance the current budget,” according to the letter, which states that Huber and Business Administrator Tim Batzel will be responsible for the implementation of the recommended changes.

The Alexander Central School District serves the towns of Alexander, Batavia, Bethany and Darien in Genesee County and the towns of Attica, Bennington and Middlebury in Wyoming County.

It has a five-member board of education that is responsible for managing and controlling the district’s financial and educational affairs, the superintendent is responsible for the district’s day-to-day management under the Board’s direction and the business administrator maintains financial records.

According to the latest report, enrollment is at 826, with 162 employees, and 2019-20 appropriations totaled $18.2 million.

July 31, 2020 - 1:40pm

Genesee County central school districts have sent their reopening proposals to the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and to the New York State Education Department.

It must be noted that the governor ultimately will determine whether or not schools may reopen. He is expected to announce his decision sometime next week.

Complete reopening plans can be found on the schools’ websites. All plans must comply with guidelines set forth by the state Education Department, Center for Disease Control, Genesee County Health Department and the governor’s executive orders.

The Batavian posted the Batavia City School District’s hybrid reopening plan on Tuesday.

ALEXANDER

Superintendent Catherine Huber said the district is proposing a hybrid reopening plan, based on the building capacity and in alignment with the aforementioned guidelines.

It includes designating Wednesdays as a virtual day for all students “to allow us to engage in scheduled deep cleaning on a weekly basis in addition to our regular daily cleaning routine.”

  • Prekindergarten through fifth grade – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in school.
  • BOCES CTE – Monday and Tuesday at BOCES, Thursday and Friday in school.
  • Sixth through eighth grade – Monday and Tuesday in school, Thursday and Friday virtual.
  • Ninth through 12th grade – Monday and Tuesday virtual, Thursday and Friday in school.
  • Special education/English language learning – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in school.

BYRON-BERGEN

Superintendent Mickey Edwards released the B-B plan, which (like Alexander’s plan) divides students into five groups – one with 100-percent in-school learning, three with a combination of in-school and remote learning and one with 100-percent remote learning.

  • Universal Prekindergarten through fifth grade (elementary school) – All students in school.
  • Cohort 1, sixth through 12th grade – Students with last name A-L – Monday and Tuesday in school; Wednesday through Friday remote learning.
  • Cohort 2, sixth through 12th grade – Students with last name M-Z, Monday through Wednesday remote learning; Thursday and Friday in school.
  • Cohort 3, sixth through 12th grade students with special considerations – Every day except Wednesday in school.
  • Virtual Cohort, K-12th grade – 100-percent remote learning for students whose parents have opted not to send their children back to school.

ELBA

Superintendent Ned Dale said his committee “collectively agreed that the safest plan would be to have 50 percent of the students come every other day.”

He said the goal is to review the wellness of our students and staff on Oct. 1 and then every two weeks after that to increase capacity.

Two groups of students, Maroon and White, have been established based on last names to “allow them to sit on the bus together, possibly sit at a cafeteria table together, as social distancing is not required with members of the same household.”

Dale said that a 50-percent model will allow students to not wear a mask when they are seated in the classroom. He also noted that districts are required to accommodate students and families that choose to do distance learning and that students with special needs may be required to attend more often.

LE ROY

Superintendent Merritt Holly advised that the district has formulated a hybrid plan model, dividing the students from kindergarten to 12th grade into two groups – Team Jell-O, which will be in school on Monday and Tuesday, and Team Oatka, which will be in school on Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday has been set aside as a full remote or virtual learning day for all students.

  • Team Jell-O – Monday and Tuesday in school; Wednesday through Friday, remote learning.
  • Team Oatka -- Thursday and Friday in school; Monday through Wednesday, remote learning.

“This allows us to have half our student population (in school) on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday,” he said, adding that if parents don't feel comfortable sending their child back to school, the district is offering remote learning five days a week.

He said parents can choose one option for their child, either in-person instruction on two days, remote three days OR full remote five days.

The reopening plan is divided into the following categories as recommended by the state Education Department and Department of Health -- communications, operations, health & safety, transportation, food service, facilities/building procedures, academics/schedule, social emotional learning, athletics/extracurriculars.

OAKFIELD-ALABAMA

Superintendent John Fisgus said the plan is to have 100-percent in-person learning and teaching for the fall.

The start of classes is delayed until Sept. 11 for extra training and guidance for staff. Fisgus said that this is made possible by utilizing two additional superintendent conference days at the beginning of the year.

“We are in a lucky spot that we can social distance our students while in the classrooms so students can remove their masks during instruction time,” he reported.

The O-A reopening plan is divided into seven categories – communications, operations, health/safety protocols, building procedures, academics, athletics, social/emotional supports.

PAVILION

Superintendent Kenneth Ellison said the school’s reopening committee hasn’t reached a final decision on which of the three options submitted to the state – in-school, remote learning or a mix of the two – will be set into motion at the outset of the school year.

“We will continue to work on what school will look like in September once Governor Cuomo makes his final decision on school reopening on August 7th,” he said. “Despite the scope of the state Education Department document, we still have many logistics to sort out to strike the balance between offering a program that is both educationally strong and meets the numerous health and safety requirements dictated by the state.

Ellison noted that the state Education Department defines these plans as “living documents” so changes will be made as new information becomes available.

PEMBROKE

Superintendent Matthew Calderon reported that the district is giving all K-12 parents the option for 100-percent online/remote learning or in-person learning, with the district set to send parents a summary of the details in an automated message before the plan is posted to its website.

He issued the following information:

  • Students who participate in 100-percent online/remote learning must commit to do so at least on a quarterly basis, and will use the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag to participate in lessons and receive information about learning expectations.
  • Students who participate in-person will follow a normal schedule. Teachers will use the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag to enhance the learning experience for students who attend in person. The district will rearrange classroom spaces and use clear desk shields to maximize social distancing and reduce the need to wear masks.
  • By using the Google Classroom Suite and ClassTag, the district will be prepared to quickly transition to a hybrid/alternating-day schedule and/or 100-percent online/remote learning for all, if needed. In such cases, students with disabilities and students with extenuating circumstances would be prioritized to continue with in-person learning to the fullest extent possible, if permitted.
June 16, 2020 - 9:08pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Alexander Central Schools.

Voting on Alexander Central School's $18,540,258 budget and board of education election:

Proposition #1 – Budget
Yes – 611
No – 306

School Board (One spot open)
Christopher Mullen – 511
Diane Steel – 350
Write-in candidate – 10

June 1, 2020 - 9:34am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Alexander Central Schools.

The Batavian has reached out to school board candidates in Genesee County to get their answers to five questions prior to voting on June 9.

Candidates for a spot on the Alexander Central School District Board of Education (in alphabetical order) are Christopher Mullen and Diane Steel.

One position is up for election for a term of five years commencing July 1, 2020 and expiring on June 30, 2025 to succeed Richard Guarino, whose term expires on June 30, 2020.

The questions are as follows:

1 -- What is your position on your school district’s proposed budget for 2020-21? What parts do you support? What parts would you change if you could?

2 -- Are teachers in your district compensated adequately?

3 -- With what we know now about COVID-19, should schools reopen in the fall?

4 -- Are you satisfied that your district responds to parents’ complaints and concerns in a way that ensures the parents know they have been heard?

5 -- What two books published since The Enlightenment have influenced you the most?

CHRISTOPHER MULLEN

1 -- I am supportive of the 2020-21 school budget and am thankful that the district worked together to develop a 0-percent tax levy increase for this school year. I support the overall structure of the administrative team not taking pay increases this year and setting the tone for fiscal responsibility. I also support all the extracurricular programs that are offered and supported by the district community. I would like a better understanding of the planning and structure of the budget before I could honestly have an opinion about what should be changed.

2 -- I believe that based on the geographic area and the size of the school that teachers are compensated fairly. I also believe that the community strongly supports the teachers and the work they do for the kids of the district.

3 -- Schools should open if we are able to accurately and safely follow the distancing guidelines and other recommendations that support keeping the kids and staff from spreading the virus. This will require a collaborative effort on everyone's part to get kids back to school in the fall. Faculty, students and parents all want school to reopen and be able to reunite again, however, we need to continue to make sure we are responsible and wise how we move forward with this process.

4 -- I believe this is an area that we could continue to develop and improve.

5 -- I had 3. Stepping Up A Call to Courageous Manhood, Dennis Rainey; Quiet Strength, Tony Dungy; Simplify. ten practices to unclutter your soul, Bill Hybels.

DIANE STEEL

1 -- Our District’s 2020-21 total budget is very similar to the 2019-20 total budget. During these uncertain times, while we are experiencing record high employment and reduced wages, taxpayers are most concerned with tax increases. Parents are most concerned about keeping programs and services. I believe this budget strikes a balance for both. I agree that both of these concerns are equally important and maintaining them both should be the focus. I believe we all should be concerned about filling the deficit, if the Governor goes through with his threat to cut funding to schools. This could have a catastrophic effect on future budgets and I look forward to using my financial background, problem solving skills and advocacy for parents, teachers and the community to develop future budgets.

2 -- Alexander has great educators. However, over the past few years, many teachers and staff members have left the district. This is of great concern to me. Teachers teach because they love what they do, so why don’t they want to do it in Alexander? I would recommend the implement of a forum where teachers and staff feel they have a voice. It is important to engage all stakeholders to best move our district forward.

3 -- I would support schools reopening this fall. What I have learned from COVID-19, is that people, our students need in-person interaction with others. Distance learning puts an undue hardship on our families, parents, teachers and staff. Our district does not have the infrastructure in place to make this happen long term. Our children need to interact with their peers and with their teachers. The role the school environment plays on the lives of the student goes far beyond academics. Our kids need and thrive on a routine that the school day provides. Athletics provide for team building and physical activity. Students are influenced by their relationships with their teachers and other students. Schools play a big role in the type of adults our youth become. All this being said, safety of students and staff should be a priority.

4 -- My biggest concern moving forward is that the District effectively communicate with students and parents. It should not be a guessing game. Parents should not be made to feel bad when asking for information. We should respond upon receipt of the first request and should acknowledge all correspondence. The communication on continuing education during this COVID-19 was poor at best. I personally had to send multiple emails to advocate for my daughter’s education. Most of all, it is appalling to me that if you attempt to contact the Board of Education, your elected officials, that the superintendent, is the only one to acknowledge or respond. To me that is completely unacceptable. If elected to the Board of Education, I will respond to each and every email I receive. I may not have the information you need, but I can assure you I will get it! As a parent and taxpayer, the lack of dignity and respect shown by the superintendent, administration and Board of Education to the students, teachers, staff, parents and this community has been my most recent desire to make a difference. I’m not afraid to ask the difficult questions and advocate for what this community needs and wants. I can no longer just sit by and watch the school be destroyed. Being a community of legacy graduates, what really saddens me is that so many of the recent graduates and the Class of 2020 can’t wait to get out of Alexander schools. That is a red flag and a really loud statement for me to take action. “Do nothing, get nothing.”

5 – No response.

May 26, 2020 - 1:12pm
posted by Jeanne Walton in Alexander Central Schools, news, education, COVID-19.

alexanderhs2020.jpg

In an attempt to uphold senior year traditions for their grads, Alexander Central School (ACS) officials and community members have put some wheels under their feet.

Literally, they have taken their show on the road!

In keeping with the academic year timeline, in mid-May, Shannon Whitcombe, MS/HS principal, Jason Jacobs, assistant principal, representatives from the Guidance department, and School Resource Officer Deputy Meyer, boarded a bus with Director of Transportation Shea Shreiber at the helm. They headed down the road to congratulate their Top 10 Seniors.

The group visited all their homes, presenting them with congratulations -- complete with placement certificates, numbered party hats and Silly String -- to help make this milestone a bit more memorable for each one.

Next up came a trip to visit every senior in the Class of 2020.

High school moms Lisa Lyons and Diane Steel made it their mission over the past couple of weeks to go above and beyond for this special class, and last Sunday was the crowning glory.

After successfully adopting out all of the school seniors to eager community members, overflowing gift baskets were collected for the teens. The gifts were organized, a route was mapped, a trailer loaded.  

With the help of local emergency personnel and vehicles, a convoy took to the road on the afternoon of Sunday, May 17 to create a unique moment in time for each and every senior from this small community.  

In nine hours of travel over 90 miles with 63 stops, the community lavished every 2020 ACS grad with a bevy of gifts and personalized messages.

The trip carried with it the spirit and energy of a graduation ceremony, with excitement generated by a parade of six trucks, emergency lights and sounds, and a drop for each grown kid that felt like a delivery from Santa himself!

"There’s been a great outpouring from the community, and we are so thankful,” Lyons said.

But of course, there are more traditions…a senior awards banquet, a parade and the rite of passage that is commencement.  

As for the awards banquet—maybe there won't be a literal trip for this one. One possibility in lieu of it, is fashioning a video tour down memory lane, capturing highlights for those seniors who will be honored with special scholarships and departmental awards.

The last day of school usually brings with it a parade for staff and students to travel across the campus for one final farewell.

Organizers certainly don’t want the seniors to miss out on this and are hoping that they can pull it off by having many students drive in the parade themselves. With this, they are coming up with alternatives to ensure that this district tradition takes place while respecting social-distancing guidelines.

They are confident that they will sort it out! 

The culmination of their learning to date -- graduation -- may not be possible to have on campus with social distancing. But it may be possible to have an event that approximates the real thing if everyone travels to the Silver Lake Drive-in.  

A special stage is being built at the drive-in by Perry High School. It will to accommodate interested schools and offer options for giving speeches and presenting diplomas individually— traditional elements that many school officials are excited about.

ACS representatives will likely make the decision about the commencement venue near June 1 when updates on pandemic-related reopening are released from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.

The school and community are obviously willing to journey to great lengths to make things special for a class like no other in our world history because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has no doubt been a very trying year for staff, students, parents and administration, as these graduates have traveled a road not taken before.

Many feel the benefit will be obvious in the end.

“It’s about the legacy they leave, when I think of how unique and special it is for the Class of 2020, they will always be remembered," Whitcombe said. "They are the first to learn from home, the first to graduate differently.

"It’s something no one will ever forget. And I’ve known them since they were 4 feet tall, they are a really special group of kids. They are resilient, if anyone can handle this, they can!”

Below, submitted photo.

May 20, 2020 - 1:42pm

As Genesee County school districts gear up for 2020-21 budget voting and school board elections, The Batavian is providing the following capsule summaries to keep residents informed about key dates, propositions and candidates.

Per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order, all school districts in New York State will hold annual budget voting and board elections on June 9 through absentee balloting.

Absentee ballots will be mailed to eligible voters and must be returned to the district offices by 5 p.m. on June 9 or they will not be considered or counted – no exceptions.

It is essential to remember that additional state aid cuts could be coming and would affect districts’ budgets going forward.

Details about the schools’ budgets and candidates as well as contact information can be found on their respective websites.

ALEXANDER CENTRAL

Budget by the numbers -- The proposed budget is $18,540,258, an increase of $315,497 from the 2019-20 plan, with no increase in the tax levy. The budget (virtual) hearing is set for 7 p.m. on May 26 via Zoom using the log-in details posted on the district website, and will be available for viewing on the website’s BOE link starting on May 27.

School board election – One position is up for election for a term of five years commencing July 1, 2020 and expiring on June 30, 2025 to succeed Richard Guarino, whose term expires on June 30, 2020. Candidates are Christopher Mullen and Diane Steel.

Websitewww.alexandercsd.org

BATAVIA CITY SCHOOLS

Budget by the numbers – The board approved a $51,470,725 spending plan with cuts in staffing and other items but no property tax increase. The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on June 2.

Additional propositions – Richmond Memorial Library trustee voting, with Kristi Evans the only candidate at this time for a five-year term starting on July 1, 2020. As two seats are open, the other will be filled via the write-in candidate process. Jackson Primary playground, a $618,000 capital project to construct an age-appropriate playground at Jackson Primary School.

School board election – Incumbents Barbara Bowman and Tanni Bromley along with recent appointee Alice Ann Benedict are running for three board seats. The candidates receiving the most votes will serve from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023, while the third-place candidate’s term will be June 9, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

Website – www.bataviacsd.org

BYRON-BERGEN CENTRAL

Budget by the numbers – The board adopted a proposed budget of $24,599,800, including a tax levy of $9,024,961 – an increase in the property tax rate of 1.99 percent. The public hearing on the budget is set for 5 p.m. on May 28, and will be recorded and placed on the district website.

Additional propositionsBus purchase, proposal is for two 70-passenger school buses at a maximum cost of $246,000, with 90 percent covered by state aid. The tax income is estimated at $2 per year on a house assessed at $100,000, according to Superintendent Mickey Edwards.

School board election – Three people are running for two open trustee positions – incumbents Tammy Menzie and Amy Phillips and challenger Lynn Smith. The terms are for three years, beginning on July 1.

Websitewww.bbschools.org

ELBA CENTRAL

Budget by the numbers – The board is meeting tonight via Zoom to consider the $10,269,322 spending plan that calls for a slight tax increase that equates to an increase of $39 for the entire year based on a house assessed at $150,000. The public hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. on May 27, also via Zoom.

Additional propositionRe-establish a vehicle and transportation reserve and school bus purchase. Superintendent Ned Dale reporting that the district wishes use existing reserve funds to purchase a 65-passenger bus and a 24-passenger bus with a handicap lift.

School board election – Incumbent Michael Riner is the only slated candidate for his seat, which expires this year.

Website www.elbacsd.org

LE ROY CENTRAL

Budget by the numbers – The board approved a $26,334,488 budget that includes a 1.99 percent property tax increase (which is below the district’s tax cap of 2.8 percent) and does not add new positions or programs. The budget hearing presentation will be posted on the district's website at www.leroycsd.org on June 2.

School board election – Incumbents Richard Lawrence and Jacalyn Whiting are running for the two three-year terms.

Website – www.leroycsd.org

OAKFIELD-ALABAMA CENTRAL

Budget by the numbers – The board approved a $21,123,746 budget, up 1.4 percent from last year, with a zero percent property tax increase. Superintendent John Fisgus reported that the budget preserves all educational programs and extracurricular activities, adding that tiered plans are in place if the state makes additional cuts in aid. The public hearing on the budget is set for 10 a.m. on June 1 and will be considered “adjourned” as it will be conducted remotely.

Additional propositions – Capital improvement project, $15.3 million, with no impact upon taxpayers. Major goals of the project include safety/security measures, code and handicap accessible updates, building repairs, infrastructure upgrades and landscaping. School bus purchase, $135,000, to be financed.

School board election – Five candidates are running for three open positions – Jackie Yunker Davis, Daniel N. Groth, Douglas Russo, Shanda Spink and Pete Zeliff. The candidate receiving the most votes will begin serving on June 10 with the term ending on June 30, 2023. The terms of the two candidates with the second and third most votes will be July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023.

Website – www.oahornets.org

PAVILION CENTRAL

Budget by the numbers – The board adopted a $17,684,182 budget with no change in the tax levy and no major changes beyond contractual increases and expected costs related to the coronavirus. The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 26 via Zoom. Links will be provided in the district newsletter and on our web page once they are created. 

Additional propositions – Change of board of education term, with the proposal calling for making all seven seats five-year terms – an increase of two years from the current term.

School board election -- Incumbents Margaret Gaston and Callin Ayers-Tillotson are running for re-election.

Website – www.pavilioncsd.org

PEMBROKE CENTRAL

Budget by the numbers – The board adopted a $23,679,522 budget with a zero percent tax levy increase and no property tax increase. The budget hearing will be held remotely on May 26, and the adjourned budget hearing will be available to view on the district website BoardDocs link beginning on May 27. The district's Dragon Tales publication will be mailed next week with all the details.

Additional propositions – Purchase of buses, with no impact upon taxes.

School board election – Dan Lang is running for a one-year unexpired term and Heather Wood is running for a new five-year term. Additionally, an election to fill three seats on the Corfu Public Library is scheduled. Kristie Miller, Julie Hengenius and Tony Kutter are up for election for three-year terms.

Websitewww.pembrokecsd.org

November 7, 2019 - 5:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alexander Central Schools, The Little Mermaid, news.

Submitted photos and information from Kate M. Schrodt​.

The Alexander Central School Drama Club will present its production of "The Little Mermaid" this weekend!

Shows are Saturday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium, located at 3314 Buffalo St. in Alexander.

It's a show you don't want to miss! Get your tickets today here. Prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students/seniors (60+)/veterans.

Tickets at the door cost $11 for adults and $9 for students/seniors (60+)/veterans.

"The Little Mermaid" is the name of a Disney animated musical romantic fastasy film produced in 1989.

It's about a 16-year-old mermaid princess named Ariel in the kingdom of Atlantica, a fantasy kingdom in the Atlantic Ocean. She is fascinated by the human world above. With her best friend Flounder, Ariel collects human artifacts in her grotto and often goes to the surface of the ocean to visit Scuttle visit, a seagull who offers very inaccurate knowledge of human culture. She ignores the warnings of her father King Triton, the ruler of Atlantica, and Sebastian, a crab who serves as Triton's adviser and court composer, that contact between merpeople and humans is forbidden. ...

"The Little Mermaid" is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

  • The show is directed by Kate Schrodt.
  • Production manager: Hunter Doran
  • Vocal director:  Mark Hoerbelt
  • Costumes by: Loretta Stratton
  • Conductor: Rachel Clark
  • Choreographer: Mary Loliger
  • Sound: Trinity Reynolds
  • Set design/builders: George Liaros, Jeff Houseknecht and Ethan Schrodt

Here's the Cast List:

ARIEL -- Erin Hess
PILOT -- Evan Whitmore
PRINCE ERIC -- Nolan Quackenbush
GRIMSBY -- Shawn Calmes
FLOUNDER -- Paige Bryant
SCUTTLE -- Paige Sikorski
WINDWARD -- Emma Ferraro
LEEWARD -- Kylie Shillea
SEBASTIAN -- Ethan Stroud
KING TRITON -- Nathaniel Luker
AQUATA -- Jasmine Wessel
ANDRINA -- Emma Cline
ARISTA -- Leanne Dolph
ATINA -- Julia Francis
ADELLA -- Alyssa Lafferty
ALLANA -- Aubrey Hamm
FLOTSAM -- Morgan Burns
JETSAM -- Holly Ulrich
URSULA -- Lydia Daley
CHEF LOUIS -- Kylie Shillea
ENSEMBLE: Kathryn McClellan, Patience Thomas, Brittany Johnson, Kylee McClellan, Emma Hollands, Olivia Burkhardt, Brooke Harman, Angelina Luker, Kristen Thompson, Stuart Ulrich, Riley Wall, Corey Hanlin, Bryanna Snyder, Kasey Smith.

May 1, 2019 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, news, Alexander Central Schools.

Photo and press release from GCC:

At its annual conference last month, the New York State Mathematics Association of Two Year Colleges (NYSMATYC) recognized the Math League Competition winners.

This year, the top individual score was earned by Alexander Central School District and Genesee Community College student Nicholas D. Allen!

Allen has been an Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) program student since middle school. The ACE program at GCC has granted him access to college level courses and credit while still attending high school.

With his hard work and dedication, Allen will graduate from GCC with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems and an Associate in Science degree in Liberal Arts & Science with a concentration in Physics, several weeks before earning his high school diploma.

The NYSMATYC competition consists of two timed exams consisting of 20 mathematical questions each – once in the Fall and once in the Spring. The top five scores from each college are combined to form the college’s team score for each competition. Then, the Fall and Spring exam scores for both individuals and teams are combined to crown the academic year’s champion college and individual.

Prizes for the competition often include mathematical software generously donated by the Math League sponsors and mathematical and scientific journals and magazines.

This year, more than 500 of the best math students from 27 different SUNY and CUNY two year colleges took the exams. The collective team of Genesee Community College students took a remarkable sixth place in the competition, for the second consecutive year.

Allan’s outstanding score this year continues the tradition of excellence seen in GCC’s math students, including the 2018 competition where three GCC students received $1,200 in scholarships for their scores.

These successes are the result of GCC’s unique combination of quality faculty members, a supportive and effective Math Department and its high-tech resources and equipment. When bright and talented students are subjected to the student-focused environment GCC has created, they consistently earn merit-based scholarships and awards at the NYSMATYC competitions.

“When competing against much larger institutions, GCC’s smaller class sizes and therefore more accessible faculty members are a significant advantage to our students,” Christopher Kemp, associate professor, director of GCC’s Mathematics and Engineering Science Division and NYSMATYC president said.

“An advantage that results in unparalleled levels of commitment to our students, and in-turn, impressive student development and achievement."

NYSMATYC formed the Mathematics League for NYS Two-Year Colleges in 1980 to provide a challenge and foster interest in mathematics. The league has also generated a nearly 40-year long friendly competition between two-year colleges across the state.

Genesee Community College offers an associate degree in Mathematics, and the ACE program gives students the opportunity to earn significant college credits while still in high school. For more information on the ACE program, contact GCC at (585) 345-6801, or via email at [email protected].

Additional information about the NYSMATYC is available at http://www.nysmatyc.org/.

Top photo from left: Professor Christopher Kemp, Nicholas D. Allen, and Professor Philip Pickering.

November 29, 2018 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander Central Schools, news, Alexander, schools, education, notify.

alexandercapexbus2018.jpg

alexanderbeckycapex2018.jpg
Becky Cokelet, SEI Design Group

A $12.6 million capital improvement proposal for the Alexander Central School District truly is a collaborative effort by members of the local community, Superintendent Catherine Huber, Ed.D., told residents at a community forum Wednesday night.

"The committee worked tirelessly for several months and really came up with a plan that represents the voices of the community," Huber said. "The work was nothing but true collaboration and this plan really does represent the voices of our community."

The plan calls for a new bus garage, four upgraded classrooms in the elementary school building, and lights for the football field.

There are some in the community, including Toby Wade, who had a lot to say at the forum, who suspect the lights for football is a sort of bribe of the community to get approval for the bus garage.

"There is a perception out there by some people, and I admit, I'm one of them, who think you are just throwing them a bone so you can get the rest of the stuff you want," Wade said. 

Huber said the football lights were included because lights on the football field are a long-standing request of the community. She said it was one of the first things brought up to her by community members when she joined the district two years ago. The need for a new bus garage and dealing with the classroom situation is driving the need for a capital project, and that creates an opportunity to wrap in lights for the football field.

"We feel like this plan is not a matter of throwing a bone to anybody," Huber said. 

The state requires school districts to do a facilities review every five years and identify potential issues that need to be addressed. To comply with that requirement, Huber said, the district formed a committee -- any member of the community was able to participate -- and committee members toured the entire district property.

"When we came back from our site tour, almost everybody in that room knew what our priorities should be," Huber said. "When we toured the transportation facility, we realized what dire straits that transportation facility is in. We had no idea what condition the classrooms were in on the garden level but flooding was happening there regularly. The transportation facility and the elementary school building, we knew we had to do something about that. That was our jumping off point."

The current bus garage is beyond repair, Huber said. Bricks are deteriorating, there are other structural problems, and modern buses don't fit in it well.

There is also a persistent complaint about the safety of the current location. The current configuration means buses must back up into both car and pedestrian traffic areas.

Another long-standing request from the community, Huber said, is for a sidewalk connecting the high school with the elementary school in order to improve safety.

The proposed new transportation facility would eliminate indoor parking for buses (a configuration the state would not fund), create bays for bus maintenance, and a second floor for offices for transportation staff.

The transportation facility would be on a raised elevation, creating separation from pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk next to the football field.

Huber said the district decided to build a new transportation hub at the present location of the bus garage because there was no other available space on school district property and with declining enrollment, it made no sense for the district to acquire off-campus property for buses.

"We looked at several locations on campus and everywhere we ran into issues -- slops, water flows, traffic," Huber said. "It's a very complicated space."

Becky Cokelet, project consultant, from SEI Design Group, explained the situation with the elementary school classrooms.

There is a problem with flooding in the lower southwest area of the building because of soil conditions and that has caused damage to the building. 

The plan also calls for eliminating the bathrooms in each classroom and converting those to storage closets. Two new multi-stall bathrooms will be added where there is currently a classroom. 

The classrooms will be updated with modern fixtures and features and module desk units purchased. There will also be new lockers installed in the hallway.

Funding for the $12.6 million projects will come from a variety of sources:

  • $1.9 million from capital reserves;
  • $750,000 from other reserves;
  • and, 79 percent funded by state aid.

There will be no tax increase in either the near-term nor the long-term related to the project, Financial Director Tim Batzel said.

The district will be required to take out a 15-year bond on the classroom renovations and a 30-year bond for the new building but there will be no increase in the tax levy as a result.

The bonds will be repaid over the years by reimbursements from the state, not out of district funds (after the allocated reserves are spent).

While the statutory language of the ballot measure voters are being asked to approve Monday discusses using tax levy funds to pay for the project, that is language required by state law. In reality, Batzel, future tax levy money will not be used for the project. The expense of the project is completely covered by existing reserves and state aid.

If voters approve the project, Cokelet and her SEI colleagues will need until June 2019 to draw up architectural plans, then state officials will need to approve those plans -- a process that takes several months -- so construction won't begin before 2020 and then will take 10 to 12 months to complete.

Toby Wade said it seemed like there were a lot of unanswered questions about project details, particularly around the design of a retaining wall that he and others thought could present a safety issue.

Huber assured the audience that there is no way the district would approve plans that didn't adequately address safety issues.

As for the lack of detailed design plans, Cokelet said the stages of development are driven by state regulation. First comes the assessment, then a preliminary plan, which requires state approval, and then that plan is presented to the school board for approval. After the board approves it, it is brought to district voters for consideration.

It's only after voters approve it that architects can begin to actually design the buildings and infrastructure of the project.

Wade said that process is a problem because the district voters have been burned before.

"The year 2000 building project was a complete failure," Wade said. "We had to go through lawsuits and it was a huge disservice to people. I can respect that you're trying to do what is needed, but a lot of people in the community aren't going to trust that you're doing your due diligence and trust that it's all going to turn out right."

Cokelet didn't deny the previous project had numerous problems but she said she wasn't involved in the 2000 project, nor was her company.

"I'm ashamed on a professional level, on behalf of my profession, how that firm represented (and) handled that project, but thankfully that firm is out of business," Cokelet said.

However, the district won't be able to maintain the garage much longer. Soon the state will require it be replaced.

"I understand this requires faith and trust but I hope you will look at our most recent projects and I hope you see the great work that was done on limited budgets," Cokelet said.

Voters in the Alexander Central School District can vote on the capital improvement project at the school on Monday (Dec. 3) from noon to 8 p.m.

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