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Batavia Board of Education

May 21, 2022 - 3:08pm

Batavia City Schools' recent budget and board vote put candidates Chezeray Rolle, John Marucci and Korinne Anderson in place for a seat on the Board of Education, however Marucci and Anderson had a tied vote count of 346. Anderson has conceded the three-year term to Marucci and she will take the two-year term, Superintendent Jason Smith said

Rolle, with a top vote of 368, with take his seat with a three-year term.

May 7, 2022 - 7:15am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, Batavia Board of Education, notify.

It’s a small nuance, but a public meeting is different than a meeting in public.

And as such, each has a different protocol for those wishing to speak during the session.

Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith explained the difference during this week’s board meeting.

Board member Barbara Bowman had previously requested a discussion about the district’s policy to require people to sign up a week ahead of a meeting at which they would like to speak. A few people had hoped to speak during a recent meeting and were told it wasn’t allowable per district policy.

There’s a reason for that, Smith said. District officials may need some extra time to research the requested topic before the person addresses the board. That policy is for a meeting in public. A public hearing at the beginning of a meeting is conducted on a particular topic, and it allows for people to comment and/or ask questions during the hearing portion. Those speakers do not need to sign up a week ahead of time.

For a board meeting that is held in public, “there is no obligation to answer speakers,” Smith said, and he advised board members to not feel they should provide an answer on the spot, as the answer may not be fully known at that time, he said.

Bowman was more concerned about people who took the time to attend a meeting in order to speak.

“I think we should consistently acknowledge everyone who comes to speak,” she said.

Board member Jennifer Lendvay asked about speakers who do ask questions of the board. What happens if there is no immediate answer, she said.

“I think my track record is pretty good with (following up and) giving them an answer,” Smith said.

District Clerk Brittany Witkop confirmed that “our office gets a lot of calls” and also returns those calls with answers to residents' queries.

“I think acknowledgement is the most important piece,” Bowman said.

As for revising the current policy to sign up the week ahead of a regular Thursday meeting, Board President Alice Benedict didn’t think it should be done.

“I do know the attorney would advise us not to change our policy,” Benedict said.

May 6, 2022 - 8:15am

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School budgets are like teeter-totters, Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith says.

The old kids’ playground toy — that seated a person on each end and they’d push off when their feet hit the ground — is a balancing act. Likewise, school officials try to have a budget with no one end greatly outweighing the other, he said.

“We’re not just pulling pieces out of thin air,” he said during Thursday’s budget hearing at Batavia High School. “(It’s about) having school programs … and what our taxpayers can afford.”

Teeter totter process …
After board budget sessions and a meeting on April 21, the board adopted a proposed 2022-23 budget of $54.8, which is an increase of $2.7 million from the current year’s budget.

A tax levy of just under $20 million will mean a 1 percent tax increase, which Smith believes is a good deal considering all of the program offerings at BCSD, he said.

During his first few months as superintendent, Smith has heard “over and over” how many opportunities there are, from fishing and skating clubs to academic, athletic and other extracurricular activities, he said.

The district’s focus is mainly on getting kids caught up from prior “learning losses” due to the pandemic’s shutdowns and remote and hybrid education methods, he said. As for the offerings, many of them are not mandated by the State Education Department, including art, laptops, musicals, athletics, smaller class sizes, Community Schools, and even school counselors, he said.

Can anyone imagine school without these amenities, he said.

“These are the pieces we don’t have to have,” he said. “Pieces that really make our school our own school.”

Potential tax rate …
A 1 percent property tax increase would add 19 cents to the current tax rate of $19.23 per $1,000 assessed property value. Comparing apples to apples, the property tax for a home assessed at $100,000 would mean an increase of $19 a year. However, if that same property has been reassessed to $125,000, the yearly property tax would increase by $504.50 ($100,000 X $19.23 versus $125,000 X $19.42).

CLARIFICATION: Because of how tax levies actually determine the tax rate, the tax rate, with increased assessments, could actually go down.  For an explanation, see this story.

The district assessing changing enrollment numbers and the teacher-to-student ratio, he said, to be “conscientious” about the needs and expenses of the district. He emphasized that the district isn’t responsible for setting certain items that can upset taxpayers.

‘We don’t control assessments, we don’t control the tax rate,” he said. “We control the tax levy.”

Taxing entities within the district include the schools, city, library and Genesee County. There is a proposed $100,000 Capital Outlay project included in the budget, which would be reimbursed with about 90 cents for every dollar spent, he said.

What about a ‘no’ …
Smith did not mention, or answer the question from The Batavian previously, about what would happen if district residents should vote this budget down. As Benedict said in response to The Batavian’s question, “I am optimistic that our BCSD proposed budget will pass.”

“However, State Education law provides every school district with options if their budget is rejected,” she said after the meeting. “I am hopeful that this budget passes because it best supports the students of the district.”

The New York State School Boards Association lays out the protocol in case the voters reject a school budget. The school board can prepare and adopt a contingency budget or go to the voters again on June 21, the statewide uniform budget revote day.

If the voters have twice rejected a board-proposed budget for a given fiscal year – either the same budget or a second version – the law prohibits submitting a budget or other expenditure propositions to the voters a third time. The school board must then adopt a contingency budget for the upcoming fiscal year by July 1, NYSSBA states.

Boards may pass multiple resolutions to approve contingency budget appropriations, it states, for specific purposes until the board adopts the overall contingency budget. A contingency budget funds only teachers’ salaries and those items the board determines are “ordinary contingent expenses,” the association states.

Ordinary contingent expenses have been defined under law to include legal obligations; expenditures authorized explicitly by statute; and other items necessary to maintain the educational program, preserve property and ensure the health and safety of the students and staff.

Expenditures that do not constitute "ordinary contingent expenses" include new equipment, public use of school buildings and grounds, except where there is no cost to the district, nonessential maintenance, capital expenditures (except in an emergency) and consultant services to review district operations and make recommendations necessary for the creation of the budget.

The school vote is from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 17 at one of two sites, depending on what side of the city voters reside. For more information, go to: bataviacsd.org

Top photo: 2022 File photo of Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith. Photo by Howard Owens.

April 23, 2022 - 8:00am

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2022 File photo of Batavia City Schools Board President Alice Benedict. Photo by Howard Owens

 

After Thursday’s Batavia City Schools board meeting and budget vote, The Batavian emailed each board member for comment about the budget itself and/or the process, plus any additional comments anyone wanted to make.

Most board members have been quiet during public budget talks, including regular meetings in March and April and a budget workshop in March. Due to the enormous depth of a $54.8 million budget, The Batavian attempted to obtain remarks about it and any particular aspects of interest that the financial plan entailed. 

Board President Alice Benedict — who has been a reliable source for comments throughout these last few months of budget talks — said the board “has had several open discussions about the BCSD budget, including our budget workshop that was streamed on YouTube.” The Batavian viewed the YouTube video of the budget workshop for a second time to make sure that some board discussion wasn’t missed the first time. Benedict was the only consistent speaker throughout the nearly two-hour session, and in subsequent board meeting talks about the budget. 

Benedict was the only board member to respond to The Batavian’s email.

Board members are elected by district residents. The trustees who didn't respond to The Batavian's request for comment are John Marucci, Jennifer Lendvay, Barbara Bowman, Michelle Hume and Chezeray Rolle.

The city schools board “is acutely aware of our responsibility to the community,” Benedict said, “and we know the economic times could not warrant a large increase in school taxes.” The group asked Superintendent Jason Smith and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski to whittle the initial 2022-23 budget and 5.5 percent increase down to meet the tax cap of 1.62 percent. 

A unanimous vote Thursday adopted the proposed $54.8 million budget and 1 percent tax levy increase. Some posters on a social media site said the increase didn’t include recently raised assessments throughout the city, so “what’s the real increase?” they asked. 

The Batavian used a property assessed at $100,000 as an example, and that would mean a property tax increase of $19 from the prior year. However, if that home has just been assessed at $30,000 more than last year, that homeowner will see an increase of $601.60 in property taxes. ($100,000 at $19.23 per $1,000 compared to $130,000 at $19.42 per $1,000 assessed value.)

“We had previously had Budget Ambassadors, but the community, in the last few years, has not wanted to participate in the budget process. So we changed the process,” Benedict said. “It was successful this year, but the Board is more than willing to extend an invitation to the community to participate if that’s their interest.

“Five out of the last 10 years, the BCSD had no increase in the tax levy, but giving an exceptional and well-rounded education costs money, so we felt, at this time it was appropriate to ask for a slight increase,” she said.

A budget hearing has been set for 6 p.m. May 5 at Batavia High School, 260 State St., to be followed by a district vote on May 17. 

April 22, 2022 - 8:30am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, Batavia Board of Education, notify.

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Contrary to the district's yearly financial plan (See "Batavia City Schools board adopts $54.8 million ..."), the topic of naming parts of school buildings and property reaped a hearty discussion during Thursday's board meeting.

Board President Alice Benedict emphasized that she was against the practice of honoring a district employee or resident by naming something, such as a school auditorium, after a notable citizen. Her argument is not about recognizing someone's good works, she said, but about selectively putting one's name on a district fixture and potentially bypassing so many others who have also contributed to Batavia City Schools.

"I have expressed to all of you that I am not for naming buildings after community members," she said.  

At issue right now is a request to name the middle school auditorium after former music director Frank Owen. Apparently, prior conversations with board members indicated that some of them are for the move, and have received emails endorsing Owen for his contribution as the district's first music director. Benedict encouraged her fellow members to speak up about the opinions they expressed during talks outside of the public venue. 

Member Barbara Bowman related the request to previous namings, including Anderson Field and VanDetta Stadium. Music and art are not often given the attention they deserve, she said. Member Jennifer Lendvay was a school athlete and supported the naming of Anderson Field after a former teacher and coach, she said. 

The group opted to postpone a vote and allow for public input. A resident attended the meeting hoping to talk about the issue during the public portion of the meeting, however, those wanting to speak must fill out an online form and submit it by 1 p.m. the Friday prior to a Thursday board meeting. The Batavian had posted in a previous article that people can speak by signing up before the meeting begins, which is true for public hearings.

For the regular public comments portion of a meeting, prospective speakers need to sign up at:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScyKRcezlrZtf_o2bN8j7DyfLhYxYrDfGl3tYJyoeTJ87ZuKQ/viewform

Top photo: By Howard Owens. 2014 File Photo of the renovated baseball field at Batavia High School that was dedicated as Anderson Field after Coach Anderson.

 

March 19, 2022 - 5:51pm

1bba09b2-36b2-4e0e-afa7-276ea4a50067.pngBatavia High School Principal Paul Kesler

 

Batavia High School seniors are on the right path, Principal Paul Kesler says.

Kesler added a number along with his comment: 96. After having a graduation rate of 85 percent in 2011, fluctuating from 89 to 94 percent through 2020, seniors are at a 96 percent graduation rate, Kesler said. The increased percentage is proof that career initiatives and student attitudes are pushing kids on to greater success, he said.

“It’s a testimony of the work done in K through 12,” he said during this week’s board meeting. “We’re finding the right pathways.”

Some of those pathways include  early college opportunities with Genesee Community College and now Daemen College, which is new this year. Daemen hosted a cartooning class free of charge, with the school district paying for supplies. Students became engaged in the class, and it was a success in providing other possible avenues for them to pursue, he said.

A Leave to Learn program exposes students to various career possibilities, such as first responder, manufacturing, counseling and educational occupations. 

“Students are going to be able to select one of six buses, and on that date they’re going to have an opportunity to be with an adult and have an awesome work session,” he said.

The past two years have not only been frustrating for most, but have introduced socialization issues to district leaders, Kesler said. 

“It has caused us to realize that, not only as a district but as a nation, some of the focus needs to be on helping students be able to interact … our mental health is really important,” he said.

A post-graduation program — a Cornell University boot camp offered in collaboration with Genesee County Economic Development Center — will be available to seniors after they graduate. The camp is three days a week of concentrations in manufacturing jobs, Kesler said. Other improved partnerships include local dairy companies for hands-on learning and training, he said.

“We’re seeing more engagement of students,” he said, compared to when kids were remote due to COVID-19. 

May 2 will be “Decision Day” for graduating seniors to have the spotlight to announce their choices of college or career options. Fellow district students will be on hand to cheer them on, he said.
 

March 16, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, notify, City Schools, Batavia Board of Education.

A two-hour budget presentation that meant plenty of numbers, percentages and calculations for Batavia City Schools board Tuesday left board President Alice Benedict unsure it added up to a yes vote. 

Given a proposed tax levy increase of $315,716, or 1.62 percent, and uncertain enrollment projections, Benedict mused if an increase was really necessary.

“I’m wondering if our numbers are down, why are we adding more?” she said during the board’s first 2022-23 budget workshop in the district office conference room. “Once we get (additional teachers) into the district … are we at the right levels that we should be, enrollment versus teachers?”

Business Administrator Scott Rozanski had been laying out the $55 million budget for about 90 minutes, complete with a proposed $1.2 million increase in salaries for teachers, administrators and support staff. The increase supports new assistant principal and community schools coordinator salaries plus nine additional teachers. 

Benedict referred to a former board meeting guest who reviewed a report that included district enrollment projections. Although it wasn’t all bad news, the data told “a bitter tale,” consultant Paul Seversky had said. 

Genesee County births are still taking place, though at low numbers, more kids transferred to a private school — 174 in 2021 versus 137 in 2020 — and one out of 10 students leave the district within the school year, he said.

Increased expenses of nearly $3 million include additional personnel and bumping up bus purchases from 15 to 21 as a “worst-case scenario,” Rozanski said, as there has been a hike in numbers due to “foster care needing services.” 

This overall 1.62 percent tax levy increase would be within the state-mandated tax cap, he said. It translates to a tax rate increase of 31-cents per thousand assessed valuation, or an extra $27.90 for a home assessed at $90,000.

Benedict asked if the district buses 100 percent of its students now.

“No, we bus about 50 to 55 percent now,” he said. “We tentatively could bus 100 percent if we tier (the bus runs and students). We don’t have to transport everyone per State Education Department guidelines; for a small city school, it’s not mandated.”

He presented some of the district’s history and emphasized that remaining within the tax cap has saved taxpayers a cumulative $29.7 million over the last decade.

“Are you trying to convince me?” Benedict said, as Rozanski quickly replied: “No, I’’m not trying to convince you … it all plays into the big picture.”

“This tax levy increase is a wish list, and we as a board can say we don’t want any increase whatsoever,” she said. “I just don’t want to get to a point where we have more staffing than we need.”

Superintendent Jason Smith said that he and Rozanski have “identified some areas for reductions” and will provide them per the board’s directives. This is a preliminary budget and may be revised before a public vote in May. 

To view the session, go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmA08cTXyv4

 

February 19, 2022 - 12:07am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, notify, City Schools, Batavia Board of Education.

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With some $6,000 less money raised due to pandemic challenges, the 2022 senior class had to take their dream trips down a notch.

After slightly more lavish possibilities of visiting Boston or Cleveland, the class has put forth two options that better meet budget constraints, Batavia High School special education teacher Lorraine Gammack says.

“We don’t have a lot of money because of COVID,” Gammack said during this week’s school board meeting. “In a class budget, a senior class typically has $10,000 at this point. We’re just $50 shy of $4,000; that’s a big deficit.”

Class President Mackenzie Lavrey reviewed the two choices made by class vote after floating the suggested ideas for a trip to Boston ($700 a person) or Cleveland (just over $600 each). Both of those trips were deemed too expensive, Gammack said. She in turn thought that a three-day visit to Allegany State Park was a great one, given that she has taken students there before. 

Due to the vast expanse of property, Gammack wanted to have a bus that could take some kids to destination spots, such as Quaker Lake, once they were at the park, but that wasn’t feasible with the current budget, she said. 

Despite the shortage of funds — or perhaps because of them — a Connect Kids to Parks grant program could potentially pay for nearly everything, she said. The grant would cover everything from a Dumpster service to laser tag activity. The trip is tentatively slated for June 15, 16, and 17 at a park facility with two dormitory complexes, a classroom, picnic pavilion, and activities of swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and laser tag. 

The trip cost is “super affordable,” she said, at “$100 per student.”  The grant is in progress, she said. There would be one chaperone for every eight students and meals will be on a creative budget, such as the beach party dinner one evening with district personnel doing some of the cooking. 

One caveat so far is that the facilities have a limit of 34 boys and 33 girls for the class of 164 students, with 38 girls and 10 boys being signed up so far, she said.

Dormitories are large and could accommodate both boys and girls in one building if necessary. 

“The dorms have an east and a west end,” she said. “We could make it work.”

The board gave preliminary approval for the trip, and a second one-day excursion to Conesus Lake, tentatively set for June 6. 

Other approvals included:

  • A 2020 capital project to expand outdoor amenities at Jackson Primary School by knocking down 245 Liberty St., a former bakery donated to the district in 2017. The plan is to create additional parking and green spaces, and a pedestrian walkway adjacent to Jackson Primary School.
  • A resolution that supports the state Senate bill S7600 regarding cyberbullying. This amended bill establishes that “any person who knowingly engages in a repeated course of cyberbullying of a minor is guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by a period of imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both.” (See related article, "City schools trustees back proposed cyberbullying law.")
  • The purchase of portable two-way radios as part of public safety communications in school buildings. The price to buy the radios from Saia Communications Inc. is $41,277.22.
  • A proposed baseball trip to Florida. (See related article, "Spring baseball trip a go for Batavia City Schools’ athletes.")
  • A revised emergency roof repair plan from Campus Construction Management and the proposed bid from Spring Sheet Metal and Roofing, LLC for Batavia High School.

Top photo: From Allegany State Park website

February 18, 2022 - 8:30am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, Batavia Board of Education.

c63aab05-4479-47d2-9732-f9c814a3a4a6.pngHousing shortages, homeschooling, COVID-19 and private institutions all play a part in enrollment projections for Batavia City School District, Paul Seversky says. 

An overall decline of nearly 5 percent from 2016 to now isn’t all bad, the SES Study Team consultant said during Thursday’s school board meeting.

“There’s some good news for how that 4.9 percent comes about,” he said. “Grades seven to 12 has had a minor decrease compared to K to six. That’s not good news because they’ll become your seven to 12 kids. Your real good news is your K to one enrollment. Your youngest students increased over the past four years.”

After analyzing school enrollment and grade size, number of births, local demographics, real estate trends and potential growth factors such as new business, Seversky reviewed the ups and downs of future projections. 

Batavia’s district had 75 children being homeschooled in 2020, up nearly 30 students from 2019. He found the silver lining in that with a drop to 52 kids in 2021. 

“What does that say? It says well, COVID was the factor why you had that jump likely in 2020. More households had their children attending school in 2021,” he said. 

A conclusion wasn’t so clear with the increase of students leaving the district for a private school, he said. In 2020 there were 137 departures to private school in grades nine through 12, versus 174 in 2021.

“That’s something you may want to look at,” he said. “You may want to have a communication strategy with current non-public families.”

One out of 10 students, or 10 percent, leave the district within the school year, he said, which is a challenge for teachers and district teams. The district is responsible for every student — those that move into and out of the district — and each one’s education, he said. 

“How can we mitigate that kind of change?” he said. “Those early years are critical for children. You may want to look at why they move during the school year.”

All totaled, the data “tells a bitter tale,” he said. He referred to a New York Times article stating that between 2019 and 2020, there was a “7.5 percent decrease” of births nationally, though Genesee County’s numbers have remained stable, he said. 

“What’s happened in the past six years, you’ve had small, small, but still growth, in live births,” he said. “Taking Genesee County in whole, this is outstanding news. Families are having kids in Batavia.”

What that potentially means is more future students entering the city school district, he said. After talking to real estate agent Lynn Bezon he realized that the local housing market has been steady, leaving few — a total of eight — homes up for sale in Batavia. If “empty nesters” were to downsize, their larger homes could be put on the market for growing families, he said. 

Offering conservative to optimistic predictions, he said it was possible to gain some 20 students in grades kindergarten through one over the next five years. Given the overall decline in the state, “that’s actually pretty good,” he said, despite a small class in each of grades nine through 12 during the next 10 years. 

“My goal is to help you use this as a tool to help your planning,” he said.

The SES Study Team focuses its work on “customized studies that deal with identifying opportunities to provide quality educational programs more effectively and in a cost-effective manner,” according to the company website. Seversky’s contract with Batavia is through June. 
 

Top photo: Paul Seversky of SES Study Team. 

January 12, 2022 - 10:57pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, Batavia Board of Education.



Junior and senior Varsity athletes can plan to resume Batavia City Schools’ annual tradition down south after the school board’s votes of approval Tuesday. 

Batavia Middle School physical education teacher and coach James Patric waxed a bit nostalgic during his presentation to the board. For at least 15 years, school athletes had taken a trip to Florida for an extensive training experience, he said.


“The feedback I get back from everybody is it’s an awesome trip,” Patric said to board members in the Batavia High School library. “They practice their skills … enjoy the good weather, they enjoy the camaraderie. It’s positive feedback.”


Once COVID-19 reared its unrelenting head, the trip was cancelled the past two years due to related restrictions, he said. He has done the legwork: research about where to go, how best to get there and what and who to take. 

“We’re here today proposing to go to Fort Pierce, Florida,” he said alongside Mike Bromley, director of health, physical education and athletics. “We haven’t stopped doing fundrasing since 2019; we have a considerable amount of money that we can contribute toward the trip.”

Patric has been working with Vincent “Vinny” Carlesi, president and director of operations at the Florida Coast Spring Training camp. Batting cages and well-groomed fields await eager athletes wanting to get in some focused practice. Carlesi is also a former professional baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates and a major league scout with the New York Yankees. He provides trusted guidance for how to have a successful trip, Patric said. 

It would be an estimated $800 to $900 per student, and Patric is confident that students can raise that through continued fundraising efforts. He checked into airfare, and the price tag of at least $700 a person was “not fair to ask,” he said. Air travel also didn’t have any security, which was a “risky” investment, he said, versus bus fare that is refundable. 

An alternative is ground transportation that will accommodate the junior and senior Varsity teams on a 56-passenger bus. With just over 30 people planning to attend, that will allow for space to social distance during travel, Patric said. 

The trip –– tentatively slated for early April –– would also include student tours, hotel accommodations, one scheduled stop for a driver switch, and testing participants for COVID-19 before they board the bus.

“Hopefully, all test negative and we can all go on the trip,” he said.  

Board member Alice Benedict questioned the ratio of only three chaperones for 25 kids. Patric explained that there are three paid chaperones, plus coaches and assistant coaches. Benedict agreed that six chaperones for 25 kids seemed much more reasonable. 

Another board question was about the virus: is there a plan for how to handle testing and isolation protocols while on the trip?

There is a hospital close by in case anyone needs to get tested or treated for illness, Patric said. Rooms at the hotel, a Comfort Inn, would be blocked off to allow for a positive COVID-19 case to quarantine, he said. The bus company has put up a plexiglass shield in the bus to protect healthy passengers from anyone who may be infected. 
Another option will be for parents that have also traveled to the Florida site drive students home. All of that would take “a lot of communication” with district officials, he said. 

Board member John Reigle pointed to the activity of doing things with kids.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. 

In other board news, newly hired Superintendent Jason Smith thanked the board, students and faculty for the “very warm welcome” he received in the form of hugs, cards, songs and a tour of each of the four city schools. He thanked Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping for helping to make a “very smooth transition to this district,” Smith said.

More tests, revised protocols ...

The district expects to receive more COVID-19 test kits for an ongoing “test-to-stay” initiative for students. Quite simply, if someone tests positive for the coronavirus, it’s time to go home and isolate per health department guidelines. If the test is negative, students may remain in school. Updated procedures now include being able to test asymptomatic and unvaccinated students who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

This is for people in school. Household exposures are not eligible for this program at this time, per New York State.

The following protocol will be implemented at Batavia City Schools, with support and approval from the Genesee County Department of Health:

  • The school nurse will test the exposed student.
  • If the student tests positive, we will send the student home, report the positive test, and require the student to isolate for five (5) days. The student may return to school as long as they are asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) at the end of the period of isolation. 
  • If the student tests negative and as long as they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, they may continue to attend school but will be required to: 
  • Quarantine from all other activities outside of the regular school day for five (5) days (athletics, after-school clubs, etc.)
  • The school nurse will test the student again six (6) days after the initial test.

Quarantine and isolation protocols include:

The isolation period for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be five days as long as the individual is asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) at the end of the period of isolation. Quarantine periods for individuals exposed to COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Unvaccinated: Five days 
  • Fully vaccinated, eligible for a booster, but not yet boosted: Five days 
  • Fully vaccinated and boosted, or not yet eligible for a booster: Zero days. 

Should symptoms appear, be sure to quarantine and seek testing. If you have any questions about the new protocols, contact your child’s school nurse at 585-343-2480.

Batavia High School: Nancy Haitz – [email protected] Ext. 2004

Batavia Middle School: Jennifer Caudill – [email protected] Ext. 3003

John Kennedy Intermediate: Cheryl Wagner – [email protected] Ext. 5001

Jackson Primary: Theresa Pellegrino – [email protected] Ext. 4001

Community forum, musical role ...

Smith will be the featured guest for an online community forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. 40 questions had been submitted by Tuesday and he and colleagues will be answering those during the streamed event, he said. For more information, go to: https://www.bataviacsd.org/article/618522

The superintendent, a 1990 BHS graduate, will also be playing “a mean second trombone” during an upcoming BHS Alumni Jazz Ensemble at 2 p.m. on Jan. 23. Serving as a fundraiser for the BHS  Scholastic Winter Guard, the concert includes other district notables BHS Principal Paul Kesler on trumpet, and music teachers Sean Williams, Collin Murtaugh, and Stuart Mclean in the ensemble. Additional BHS alumni, including Paul Spiotta, Brandon Luce, Jackie McLean, Matt Holota, Harold McJury, Frank Panepento, Joshua Pacino, Quentin Branciforte, Mark Hoerbelt, Ross Chua, Mary Murphy, Jason Mapes and Bob Pastecki. 

Tickets for the concert are $10 for adults and $5 for students, and may be purchased at the door. Money raised from this event will defray the cost of winter guard trips in March and April. This will be the Scholastic Winter Guard’s first appearance at the WGI National Championships. 
 

Top photo: Batavia Middle School physical education teacher James Patric. BCSD staff photo.

January 8, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, COVID-19, Batavia Board of Education.

Although the year is new, an old acquaintance is tagging along and costing Batavia City School District more money to deal with its effects. 

Yes, COVID-19 is on next week’s Board of Education meeting agenda. The board is expected to review a bid from Enviro-Mist for portable medical-grade airborne disinfection control devices. According to the company’s website, Enviro-Mist is “a high-level disinfecting and sterilizing firm recognized as a leader in our industry.”

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Batavia High School’s library, 260 State St.

Other financial business includes a vote to approve $8,500 to Campus Construction Management for construction management services and $43,000 to SEI Design Group Architect Services, both related to the emergency repair of the BHS roof. Estimated winds of up to 76 miles per hour damaged the roof on Dec. 11, 2021, and the board is being asked to approve a two-phase repair of $28,000 and $15,000.

Other votes include:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding with each business administrator, executive director of staff development and operations, executive director of curriculum and instruction; the Batavia Teachers’ Association for a Schedule D stipend; and Genesee Community College for the TRIO Upward Bound College Preparation Program.
  • To accept a bid of $94,400 from Kircher Construction Inc. for the window repair and replacement at BHS as part of a 2021-22 capital outlay project.

The agenda also includes time for the public to be heard (sign up before the meeting), and presentations from John Kennedy School Principal Brian Sutton; Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Mike Bromley and Batavia Middle School physical education teacher James Patric; Business Administrator Scott Rozanski; and new Superintendent Jason Smith. 

Board meetings are typically on the third Thursday of every month, however, scheduling conflicts caused a shift for the board and district staff to meet on Tuesday. Meetings will resume the regular Thursday schedule in February, District Clerk Brittany Witkop said. 

Every meeting is live-streamed via YouTube at:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8JI99xyBJt1sG  

December 17, 2021 - 8:00am

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A severe wind storm. Damage to the high school roof.  A COVID-19 pandemic. Student upheaval about not feeling safe from bullying.

For Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping, it was six months of doing business as needed at Batavia City School District.

For Board of Education President Alice Benedict, it was impressive to watch the district leader in action, she said.

“I’ve been a board member for a number of years and been a part of having other superintendents. I have never met a calmer person  in my life, with some of the things that have gone on in this school district in the last few months,” Benedict said during Bischoping’s last official meeting Thursday at Batavia High School. “And I totally appreciate it, and I give you a lot of respect for all of the information you have given us, and the leadership. And it’s very nice knowing you.”

The board is sad to see him go, she said, but also happy to have a new permanent superintendent. The board later approved a reorganizational appointment for incoming leader Jason Smith to take on the role of superintendent and chief emergency officer Jan. 3 of next year.

”I just wanted to say a big thank you to Mr. Bischoping; this will be his last board meeting before a new superintendent comes on board,” Benedict said. 

For one of his last pieces of administrative duty, Bischoping briefed the board about recent wind damage sustained to the high school roof this past weekend. Extensive damage forced the temporary closure of the auditorium beneath it, and a three-pronged approach has been recommended for the roof’s repair, Bischoping said. 

First up is to make sure the building is watertight and immediate damage is being take care of. Work will also include covering up any holes, to the tune of “probably close to 6,000 blocks holding the roof piece down now,” he said.

The second part involves some replacement hoods that will allow dampers to work, he said. That in turn enables outside air to be brought in so the auditorium can be used.

“We’re hoping to be able to do that in the next few weeks,” he said.  

The actual repair is the third prong, which will need an estimate of cost. A section of roofing is about 20 years old, he said, and a portion of it is no longer up to code. So the repair will include removing all insulation beneath the roof and replacing it with new insulation material. Replacement insurance may cover a piece of that work, with state aid filling in the gap, he said.

As for the immediate response to the damage caused by winds up to 75 miles per hour, Bischoping credited the maintenance staff for doing “a great job.”

He also thanked the board for its work and assistance, and credited the district community for its role in his return after a prior interim stint. 

"There are great people in this district which made it very easy to come back here," he said. "This is a challenging time for school districts and for most entities, and I think we’re entering uncharted territory. This has made rookies of us all. I look forward to the work that Mr. Smith will be doing with your district and the things that will be happening at Batavia City School District." 

Top photo: Batavia City Schools Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping conducts business during his last official Board of Education meeting Thursday at Batavia High School. Photo by Howard Owens


 

November 12, 2021 - 2:32pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, superintendent, Batavia Board of Education.

A newly hired superintendent is expected to be approved by the Batavia City School District’s Board of Education during a special meeting next week.

The meeting has been set for 6 p.m. Monday at the Batavia High School library, 260 State St., Batavia.       

A brief meeting agenda lists the board vote about a contract agreement between the new superintendent and the city school district. Two interviews whittled down four potential candidates to two, followed by more discussion, Board President Alice Benedict said.

“And we came to a decision,” she said to The Batavian Friday. “Genesee Valley BOCES Superintendet Kevin MacDonald led us through the confidential search. Nothing will be released until the person’s home school district is notified.”

Part of the process included participation of district personnel and the community, she said. They were part of an audio interview with the candidates and provided feedback about what they wanted to see in the district’s next superintendent. 

The appointment is to be announced on Monday, followed by an official vote on the new superintendent's contract, Benedict said. The contract is to begin on Jan. 3, 2022.

June 6, 2013 - 5:36pm
posted by Gretchen DiFante in Batavia Board of Education, teacher, Batavia teacher.

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

by Gretchen DiFante, mother of five and school board member

Background

     As a parent who has 13 years separating the birth of my first child from my fifth, I have witnessed, firsthand, the dramatic changes in our our schools and in the job of our teachers. When I spent time in my eldest child’s first grade classroom 15 years ago, the biggest social problems were around kids not having coats or socks in the winter. Today, we see more and more parents who are truly expecting our schools to raise their kids. As a parent myself, I admit that my expectations of a teacher’s role in the life of my children has remained the same, while I falter more in the areas of follow up for everything from sending in snacks and permission slips to monitoring television and homework like I should. In other words, I AM doing a worse job in detail management as a parent, but I am expecting my kids’ teachers to increasingly make up any slack for me. 

     As a society, we send teachers students who have little to no respect for authority at home or anywhere, and we expect our teachers to integrate these kids successfully into the classroom with no impact on their ability to teach. It seems we expect EVERYONE to matriculate into the same classrooms together and expect the teachers to manage all of the issues presented to them on a daily basis. In addition, we expect teachers to completely change the way they teach to meet common core standards, and we are increasing teacher accountability measures based on, in my opinion, a flawed system (APPR).

      Rather than try to describe my perspective on the classroom and why I think teachers need our collective support now more than ever, I have prepared a story. I refer to the story as “fictional” as it is not based on the words of any one teacher in Batavia nor anywhere else; rather it is written by me -- one parent who also happens to be a school board member. The story reflects my observations in classrooms in recent years (my five children have attended every school in Batavia including Robert Morris, Jackson, John Kennedy, St. Joseph’s, Batavia Middle School, Batavia High School and Notre Dame High School -- so I mean every school). The story focuses on the challenges of a teacher in an elementary classroom in 2013. I write the story from the elementary level, because what happens in the lives of the youngest of our students impacts those same students as they move through school and on into society. Whether teacher, parent, grandparent or friends of schools, I welcome your feedback and observations.

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

     I am an elementary school teacher in a rural district in Western New York. I became a teacher, because I wanted to do my part to contribute to society in the most powerful way I could imagine. Our children ARE our future. It is absolutely important that they read, write and perform mathematics. However, it is equally important that they gain the abilities to listen and show respect to others, to think about actions before they act, to appropriately contribute to social groups and to develop healthy value systems to which they stay grounded and use to guide positive decision-making for the rest of their lives. These are my goals, and when I went into teaching 21 years ago, it was fun to see my vision for each student come alive in the course of a single school year.

     It is much harder to see that vision realized today, and it is certainly not as much fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job -- and on most days I love my students; but the job of teaching has completely changed over the past two decades -- and particularly in the last five years. I stay awake many more nights to strategize how I can have an impact on a single kid when my students are the product of a society that has seen the family unit torn apart. My kids‘ parents are overworked and over-scheduled, and in many cases they are struggling to make ends meet. My students are spending three to five hours a day in front of phone, video, television and computer screens and very little time interacting socially. I constantly wonder if I’m doing all I can to make a difference. I network with other teachers, take advantage of personal and career development opportunities and devour the latest research in my field, hoping to improve my teaching and my impact. Here is an introduction to my class:

      I have 21 active students - half of them qualify for free or reduced meals, and six of them have individualized education programs or IEPs. Two of my students with IEPs have significant behavioral issues that require a great deal of my attention. In addition, I have another student who, I believe, would greatly benefit from an IEP as I believe he has both emotional disorders and cognitive challenges; however, his parents are adamantly against testing of any kind. This breaks my heart, because I know this child would benefit from his parent’s acknowledgment of his barriers to learning and growth. Acknowledgement would allow me to work with our counselor and the parents to help this student in simple, yet powerful ways. I have two students with food allergies and one student who, due to frequent illness, has missed 15 days of school so far this year. I have two students I have placed in every accelerated pull out program available in an attempt to keep them challenged, as it is clear to me that they are broadly gifted academically. I also have three students who display moderate and specific talent for mathematics, and I want to nurture that in all three of them. In fact, by the third week of school, I had identified talents in all of my 21 students that I wanted to nurture throughout the school year.

Now that you know my class, here is a snapshot from our day together:

     It is a late Tuesday morning, and it’s time for desk work. Today our desk work relates to President’s Day. We have been learning about government and the role of the executive branch, and I am excited to see the connections many of my students are making to the history we have learned and to the way government operates today. We have a packet that I will review with the group, and then the students will complete the packets individually. Snack time occurs during desk work, and each student who has a snack is eating at their desk. Three students forgot their snack, so I dig in my desk to find my stash of saltine crackers. The students need a healthy snack at this time of day, and parents are asked to supply one daily. My students are eating their usual combination of full sugar “fruit” snacks, cookies, muffins and crackers. As I pull the slides up to review the assignment on our SmartBoard, Tommy and Seth begin an altercation around which one is using the other one’s pencil. Laura is complaining that Ethan is rocking back in his chair and making her desk shake. Casey cries out that Melanie has brought peanut butter crackers -- I must intervene right away as one of my students has a severe peanut allergy. I remove the snack and dig back into my cracker stash. I make a mental note to send that parent a note, and I redirect each student back to the packet review. Sarah raises her hand and begins asking a question. As Sarah begins to speak, Joel imitates Sarah’s broken and unclear speech. Joel has made great strides this year in being sensitive to the feelings of others (one of my personal goals for him), and I am surprised at his choice. I need to put a stop to his behavior and at the same time draw attention away from Sarah whose difficulties with speech make it challenging for her in any social situation. Sarah really should be showing much more progress, but I understand from the speech therapist that Sarah’s guardian has been unable to do the daily speech exercises necessary for Sarah’s improvement. Therefore, Sarah is limited to the therapy the school can provide, and I’m beginning to worry if she will ever make progress. I finally finish the packet review, and as students begin independent work, I run over to redirect Ellie back to her separate spot where, according to her IEP, she needs to be to complete all individual work. Ellie excels at individual work when she can be free from distraction. As I’m working with Ellie, the conflict between Seth and Tommy escalates; and on my way to handle it, I am met by two students who have individual questions -- I will have to wait to help them, because Seth is clearly on his way to having one of his explosive episodes. Through trial and error and great advice from our school counselor, I have learned how to intervene to help control Seth’s explosions. However, if I intervene even a moment too late, the explosion can not be tamed. I am too late -- Seth is out of control, and I will have to call someone to help me. I hate to have to escalate this up the chain of command again, because I don’t want to be perceived as being unable to control my classroom (a real concern for all the teachers in our district and teachers everywhere). But, I just couldn’t get to Seth in time. Thank goodness -- our classroom aide has just arrived (We get her for only 60 minutes today, because we have had to cut back so much in aide hours). Since the aide is here, I can bring Seth to the principal’s office myself. 

     When I return to the classroom, Giselle is telling our aide that she doesn’t have to sit in her seat and do her work, because she can’t tell her what to do -- she isn’t the teacher. “Oh, my little Giselle.” She has no more respect for me as an authority figure than she does the aide. At times, I have worked successfully with Giselle to help her understand the importance of respecting authority, but it is difficult. She has so much potential -- but it is obvious when I observe her with her father and grandmother, that respect for authority is not something that is encouraged at home. Whoops -- two students have made their way over to Ellie’s desk, and I need to redirect.  First I stop by the desks of the two students who had questions -- one figured the answer out on his own and the other obviously lost interest and hasn’t worked on the assignment at all. She is one of my gifted students, and if she doesn’t feel challenged, she simply gives up and usually starts “drama.” I have a folder of extra assignments to give her, and I go retrieve an assignment from that folder -- her eyes light up, and she is focused and ready to work; but alas, independent work time is over, and it’s time for the students to line up for art. I estimate that less than half the class completed the independent work assignment. Its completion will be given as homework, and based on patterns this year, I expect less than half of those students to complete the homework. 

     I will have a half hour to prepare for the math block; however I have four students who have not turned in permission slips to ride the bus to the field trip next week, and I don’t want to see them left out. Two are students who are isolated naturally, and my individual goals for them include helping them to develop healthy self esteem. It must feel terrible to be the only one who doesn’t turn in a permission slip and has to miss a field trip. It can’t be good for the self esteem of a student with healthy social interaction -- and certainly not good for one who trends toward isolation. I don’t want to see these kids become easy targets for bullies in the future -- but that is where they are headed. The deadline for permission slips is today, and I really need to track down their parents. I also need to finish up the notes for the individual student learning objectives as part of our state mandated Annual Performance Plan Review or APPR. I am in support of a program that will help demonstrate my quality as a teacher; however I am confused as to how my students’ scores on any test is a complete reflection of the quality of my teaching. How can I be held accountable for the test performance of a student who needs to be separated for work in my busy classroom, and despite my best and continuous efforts is unable to work with the freedom from distraction she needs to be successful? How can I be held accountable for the test performance of a student who, due to continuous behavioral issues, has to spend significant time removed from the teaching environment? How can I be held accountable for the test performance of a student whose own parents refuse to get him the cognitive and emotional help he needs? How can I be held accountable for the test performance of a student like Alec, who although still eligible to remain in school, hasn’t been in attendance enough for me to provide the extra help he needs? I know that’s only four students, but that’s 20 percent of my class. If 20 percent of my students don’t meet performance standards on the state tests, it will be impossible for me to achieve a rating of highly effective on my APPR score. If I don’t achieve the highest rating, will parents want me to teach their kids? I can’t imagine, after all these positive and rewarding years as a teacher, becoming the teacher no parent wants their kid to have! If parents don’t want me to teach their kids, how can I make a difference in these little lives in which I see so much potential? I have to put these thoughts out of my mind and go get in touch with those parents. Like all my colleagues, I have hours of additional paperwork for the mandated APPR and common core standards. When exactly am I supposed to get all this paperwork done? Well I will have some extra time at my son’s baseball game tonight...

March 8, 2013 - 12:17pm

The Batavia City School District’s May vote will include decisions on two Board of Education seats, as those held by Patrick Burk and Steve Mountain are ending.

The available seats are for three-year terms (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016).

Petitions for those interested in pursuing a Board seat will be available on March 12, 2013, at the District’s administrative offices, located at Batavia High School (260 State St.). They must be returned to the Business Office at the District’s administrative offices in Batavia High by April 24 before 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21 is voting day with polls open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

February 27, 2013 - 11:22am
posted by Kathie Scott in City Schools, Batavia Board of Education.

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Feb. 26 include news and updates about the following: 

  • Preliminary Budget Update
  • Legislative Updates & Promoting Local Involvement
  • Capital Improvement Proposal Approved

 

Preliminary Budget Update

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey and Business Administrator Scott Rozanski have met with the Budget Ambassadors and are reviewing the ambassadors’ budget surveys. Those suggestions and comments will be brought into consideration as work on the Proposed Budget for the 2013-2014 school year continues.

Before the process began, the board of education had directed Dailey and Rozanski to contain any budget increases to no more than a 2 percent. Preliminary figures presented by Dailey indicate that a “rollover” budget -- one that maintains but does not add any new expenditures - would result in a 4.26-percent increase to the budget and a consequent 6.11-percent increase in the tax levy.

Furthermore, the superintendent noted that the calculation for our district’s Property Tax Cap Levy* equals a limit to a 5.51-percent increase (*As has been widely reported, the Property Tax Cap Levy, popularly called “the 2-percent tax cap,” is actually calculated by using the state’s eight-step formula, then adding items that the state has identified as exempt from the restriction. If a district’s proposed budget falls at or below this calculated limit, passage of its budget requires 50 percent voter approval. If a proposal exceeds the calculated limit, passage requires 60 percent voter approval. )

In order to get to a flat 2 percent tax levy increase, nearly $750,000 needs to be reduced from the preliminary budget, or, to close the gap between the 2 percent goal and the allowable threshold, nearly $638,000 needs to be cut.

Dailey and Rozanski will continue to process the ambassadors’ comments as well as all the updated figures for such things as retirements and state aid and will report to the board as progress is made toward the final budget proposal.

Legislative Updates & Promoting Local Involvement

Superintendent Dailey reported that the Genesee Valley School Boards Association Advocacy Forum and Legislative Breakfast was well attended by regional school officials and students, including several from our district.

Discussion with the legislators who were present centered on: reducing the state mandates that financially cripple districts; eliminating the GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment which was instituted to help close the State budget deficit by taking back some of the education aid that had been promised to districts); educating voters about the aid formula that continues to provide funding for high-wealth/low-need districts, despite the increasingly high needs of low-wealth districts in meeting basic education requirements; and encouraging residents to contact their representatives including the governor to let their elected officials know the critical impact of their decisions and aid distribution.

Dailey commended BHS student and Student Ex-officio Board Member Kaitlin Logsdon for speaking to the legislators about how the loss of state aid has impacted the lives of students in our district.

Dailey, in the midst of discussion about the legislative impact on education, highlighted a few opportunities for board and community members to get more involved:

  • Have staff, administrators and board members, as representatives of the school district, continue to take advantage of opportunities to meet with our elected officials. The Legislative Breakfast was one such opportunity. While in Albany this coming Tuesday, Dailey is scheduled to meet with Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Senator Michael Ranzenhoffer at which time he will discuss the impact of the GEA on our community and students. He would gladly take any notes or postcards from residents, students and staff and hand deliver them.
  • Attend the Statewide School Finance Consortium’s education rally featuring Rick Timbs, Ph.D, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium and a leading voice in the fight for fair and equitable education aid. This gathering will be similar to one held in the Albany area in January titled, "Your Public Schools in Fiscal Peril: Running Out of Time and Options," which served as both an educational session and advocacy rally. Our regional rally will be held at Geneseo Central School District on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. (Note: The board voted to attend the rally in place of a board of education special meeting that was originally scheduled for that evening. They will be encouraging parents, students and other community members to help them provide strong representation from our district.)
  • Write, and encourage other community members to mail letters and postcards, to legislators urging them to restore aid and to distribute aid equitably so that students in our district receive the same educational opportunities as other students in the state. Actual mail is more effective than e-mails.
  • For more background on the Statewide School Finance Consortium and the financial crisis facing schools, visit the SSFC Web site: http://www.statewideonline.org/

Capital Improvement Proposal Accepted

The board voted to accept the proposed $3,841,000 capital improvement project and will bring it to the voters in May.

An overview of the proposal was presented at the previous (Feb.12) board of education meeting by Jerry Young of Young and Wright Architectural. The proposal will be presented to interested community groups upon request. Please contact the Superintendent’s Office (343-2480, ext. 1000) if interested in scheduling a presentation.

Main components of that presentation (as posted with the BOE Highlights from Feb.12) included the following:

The major components of the $3,841,000 proposed project include work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000), VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($548,000), Batavia High School ($406,000), Jackson Primary ($621,000), John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000), Batavia Middle School ($80,000), and Robert Morris ($39,000). Most of the items outlined and pictured by Young in his presentation addressed building deterioration or legal compliance issues.

Work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000) would include slate roof shingle replacement, flat roof replacement, masonry restoration on the original building, window and door replacements on the original building and addition, site work (including sidewalks, roadway, and parking), and interior improvements such as carpet and emergency lights.

Work at VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($548,000) addresses both gender-based discrimination targeted by Title IX of the federal Educational Amendments Act of 1972 as well as discrimination based on disabilities as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The scope of work includes improvements to the girls’ softball field (dugouts, scoreboard and fence) as well as improving or creating handicapped access to the bathrooms, the concession stand, the ramps to stadium seating, and handicapped seating.

Work at Batavia High School ($ 406,000) includes site work for additional parking and a sidewalk to Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, HVAC upgrades, energy-efficient lighting and a motorized curtain in the gym, new hot water heaters and gas meters, and some security improvements.

Work at Jackson Primary ($621,000) includes site improvements for the playground and parent drop-off, masonry restoration on the chimney and corners of the building, window replacement on the second floor, bathroom installation in the kindergarten wing, and some security improvements.

Work at John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000) includes window replacement on the original building, masonry restoration, energy-efficient lighting improvements in the gym, and some security improvements.

Work at Batavia Middle School ($80,000) includes a new hot water heater, air conditioning in the cafeteria, masonry restoration on the chimney, and energy-efficient lighting improvements in the gym.

Work at Robert Morris Elementary ($39,000) includes the replacement of a sanitary line in a crawlspace.

Plans for financing the project include the use of the Capital Reserve Fund for non-aided projects such as Richmond Memorial Library and VanDetta Stadium. For the remainder of the project, the Selected Building Aid ratio for 2012-2013 is 0.799 (or 0.201 local cost) for school buildings. In addition, other financing options such as Public Library Construction Grants and State Historic Preservation Funding will be pursued for the library projects. Grant applications, however, may only be made after the public approves a project.

February 18, 2013 - 8:52am
posted by Kathie Scott in batavia, City Schools, Batavia Board of Education.

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Feb. 12, include news and updates about the following:

• Capital Improvement Proposal

• Blue Devil Update

• Staff and Staff Development

• Board Members Earn Awards 

Capital Improvement Proposal

Jerry Young, of Young and Wright Architectural, presented an overview of the potential capital improvement project that our Buildings and Grounds Committee began discussing in May 2012. Recommendations for this project came out of a state-mandated Building Conditions Survey in September 2010, as well as subsequent reviews of building conditions. The presentation to the Batavia school board will be followed by presentations to the Budget Ambassadors, to school parent-teacher organizations, and to community groups upon request. The board will review the proposal and, if approved by them, it will go up for community vote in May.

Major components of the $3,841,000 proposed project include work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000), VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($548,000), Batavia High School ($406,000), Jackson Primary ($621,000), John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000), Batavia Middle School ($80,000), and Robert Morris ($39,000). Most of the items outlined and pictured by Young in his presentation addressed building deterioration or legal compliance issues.

Work at Richmond Memorial Library ($1,590,000) would include slate roof shingle replacement, flat roof replacement, masonry restoration on the original building, window and door replacements on the original building and addition, site work (including sidewalks, roadway and parking), and interior improvements such as carpet and emergency lights.

Work at VanDetta Stadium/Batavia High ($ 548,000) addresses both gender-based discrimination targeted by Title IX of the federal Educational Amendments Act of 1972 as well as discrimination based on disabilities as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The scope of work includes improvements to the girls’ softball field (dugouts, scoreboard and fence) as well as improving or creating handicapped access to the bathrooms, the concession stand, the ramps to stadium seating, and handicapped seating.

Work at Batavia High School ($ 406,000) includes sitework for additional parking and a sidewalk to Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, HVAC upgrades, energy-efficient lighting and a motorized curtain in the gym, new hot water heaters and gas meters, and some security improvements.

Work at Jackson Primary ($621,000) includes site improvements for the playground and parent drop-off, masonry restoration on the chimney and corners of the building, window replacement on the second floor, bathroom installation in the kindergarten wing, and some security improvements.

Work at John Kennedy Intermediate ($557,000) includes window replacement on original building, masonry restoration, energy-efficient lighting improvements in gym, and some security improvements.

Work at Batavia Middle School ($80,000) includes a new hot water heater, air conditioning in the cafeteria, masonry restoration on the chimney, and energy-efficient lighting improvements in the gym.

Work at Robert Morris Elementary ($39,000) includes the replacement of a sanitary line in a crawl space.

Plans for financing the project include the use of the Capital Reserve Fund for non-aided projects such as Richmond Memorial Library and VanDetta Stadium. For the remainder of the project, the Selected Building Aid ratio for 2012-2013 is 0.799 (or 0.201 local cost) for school buildings. In addition, other financing options such as Public Library Construction Grants and State Historic Preservation Funding will be pursued for the library projects. Grant applications, however, may only be made after the public approves a project.

For more information, or to schedule a presentation, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 343-2480, ext. 1000.

Blue Devil Update

Director of Health, Physical Education, and Interscholastic Athletics Michael Bromley provided an update on the Batavia Blue Devils, noting that overall, the district offers nearly 15 sport programs making up 30-35 teams over the course of a school year for both boys and for girls. In 1999, only 39 percent of students participated in at least one sport, whereas last year, 54 percent did. In fact, over the past four years, an average of 54-57 percent of all students in grades 7-12 participated in at least one sport, and many of those individuals participated in multiple sports.

The 2012-2013 school year is off to another promising start for athletics: 383 students participated in one of the fall sports, eight of the 10 teams earned recognition by the NYSPHSAA (New York State Public High School Athletic Association) as being Scholar Athlete teams for having a composite GPA (grade-point average) of 90 or above, nine students were named to Monroe County Public School Athletic Conference First Teams for their sports and 13 more were named to Second Teams, the cheerleading squad won second in sectionals, the volleyball team was a sectional finalist, and gymnastics had one state competitor.

Staff and Staff Development

Reporting on the district’s progress in working with the University of Rochester Warner School of Education's Outreach Center to explore and discuss best ways to implement the new Common Core Standards for math, Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey noted that the middle school math teachers recently completed their sessions and have been utilizing many of the ideas discussed. High school math teachers now have begun their sessions, focusing on algebra and the Common Core Standards. In March, our elementary math teachers will take their turn in working in partnership with the U of R.

GVEP curriculum coordinator Jolene Dettman returned from a Network Team Training Institute in Albany which focused on Common Core Learning Standards, and Superintendent Dailey noted that she will share information from the institute with the district’s Instructional Leadership Team as they prepare for the staff development day scheduled in March.

Also through GVEP, Superintendent Dailey announced that the district has been invited to join a school district “cluster” with representatives from Pavilion, Caledonia-Mumford, York, and Wyoming school districts for the 013-14 school year. The cluster will enable participating districts to pool resources for professional development and the implementation of the Common Core.

Board Members Earn Excellence Awards

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey presented board members Patrick Burk and Amy Barone each with a NYSSBA (New York State School Boards Association) Leadership in Governance Award for earning 150 points through NYSSBA leadership development. The school board U Recognition Program acknowledges the extensive time and effort required of school board members who continually strive to expand their knowledge and skills for better board governance. NYSSBA members earn credits, or points, for participating in school board U training opportunities and earn awards for earning a substantial number of credits.

January 9, 2013 - 2:00pm

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Jan. 8 include news and updates about the following: 

  • Security and Safety Procedures Review
  • Focus Update
  • Kindergarten Registration Begins Feb. 4
  • Curriculum Coordinator Hired
  • Budget Ambassadors Appointed
  • Richmond Memorial Library Updates Goals
  • Financial Summary Report

Security and Safety Procedures Reviewed

Superintendent of Schools Chris Dailey announced that an “Emergency Go Home Early Drill” will be held on Feb. 5 as part of the required State Safety Plan. All students will be released at 1:15 p.m. and off of school grounds by 1:30 p.m.

The BOE Safety Committee Chair Amy Barone reported that the committee met in December with Batavia City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch to review and discuss school safety. In addition to providing the district’s internal safety plan to the police department, the group discussed more police presence on school property (including both an increase in patrolling the grounds as well as having officers come inside buildings during extracurricular activities), police access to school buildings in a lock-down situation, the possibility of funding safety officer positions at schools, an increase in number and type of safety drills, and modifications to existing safety equipment and building design to increase safety functionality.

Election Day, which has been highlighted as a safety concern due to the schools being open to all voters on a day when children are present, was also discussed with proposals ranging from moving the election site off school grounds to scheduling a Superintendent’s Conference Day on voting days so that students would not be in the buildings.

Focus District Update

With two of his training sessions in Albany completed and another coming up in March, Superintendent Dailey reported that the district continues to move forward with meeting state requirements and criteria for the school improvement plan that identifies areas of need as well as programs and activities to help increase student achievement.

As one of the state’s requirements for the evaluation process is to work with non-district educational experts, Dailey noted that the district is fortunate to be working with Steve Uebbing, Ed.D., and Sandra Quinones, Ed.D., from the University of Rochester. They will meet with district administration and staff to help increase understanding of the six tenets of the state’s diagnostic process as well as to facilitate preparation for the state’s visits to the district and the middle school. The visit will take place in June.

In addition, bids are going out to approved vendors for the creation of surveys to solicit feedback from students, staff and parents. Overall, Dailey said, the process in very extensive and the district continues to make progress.

As noted at previous board meetings, the district did not meet New York State’s proficiency benchmarks in the 2010-2011 school year for one subgroup of students. As a result, it has been identified by the NYS Education Department as a Focus District, which is required to choose at least one school on which to focus efforts toward improvement for this subgroup.

Because the middle school has the greatest number of students in the specified subgroup, it was chosen as the Focus School. The district has assembled a school improvement committee to develop and implement a plan that identifies areas of need as well as programs and activities to help increase student achievement.

It’s important to note that the data used for the determination dates back to the 2010-2011 school year and if data from 2011-2012 had been used, the district would have made the target cut points. So while the district is responsible for following an approved Comprehensive Improvement Plan, many of the strategies and plans are already under way and yielding positive results.

Kindergarten Registration Begins Feb. 4

Superintendent Dailey announced that kindergarten registration for the 2013-2014 school year will take place Feb. 4-8 at Jackson Primary School in the multipurpose room.

Children who will be 5 years old on or before Dec. 1, 2013 are eligible to attend kindergarten in the fall. To register, parents are asked to go to Jackson primary on one of the designated school days between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and bring with them proof of residency such as a current utility bill or formal lease agreement, as well as the child’s birth certificate, Social Security card, and complete record of immunizations. Please note that no child can be registered without the required documentation.

Parents of new first-grade pupils are also asked to register their child in the same time frame and with the same documentation.


Jackson Primary School is located at 411 S. Jackson St. The office phone number is 343-2480, ext. 4000.

Curriculum Coordinator Hired

Superintendent Dailey announced that Curriculum Coordinator Jolene Dettman will begin work on Jan. 18. The position is shared with Pavilion Central School District. She comes from Monroe 2 where she developed expertise in the Common Core and in curriculum development.

Budget Ambassadors Appointed

Sherri Bartz, Rodney Brinkman, Frank DeMare, Jacquie Fowler, Michael Grammatico, Jay Gsell, Jill Halpin, Lynn Heintz, Patti Johnson, Cheryl Kowalik, Jason Molino, Marcia Riley, Durin Rogers, Richard Seymour, and Danielle Torcello applied and were appointed to be Budget Ambassadors for the 2013-2014 district budget proposal.

Ambassadors are residents of the district who volunteer and commit to serve on a committee which meets for two (2) two and a half (2.5) hour evening sessions. Ambassadors review the preliminary budget as developed by the administration (within parameters established by the Board of Education) and recommend to the board any modification(s) they would like to see. Their recommendations, while highly valued, are advisory rather than binding as the board develops the Proposed Budget to be brought to the voters. In addition, ambassadors agree to explain their work to any interested individual in the community.

Richmond Memorial Library Updates Goals

In addition to continuing to build on its previous goals related to space utilization, technology usage, working with the business community, and fiscal responsibility, the Richmond Memorial Library Board has approved goals for 2013-2017. Library Director Diana Wyrwa presented the revised mission statement and outlined the four goals.

The updated mission statement is “Richmond Memorial Library continually provides access to physical and virtual resources and services that meet the educational, informational, and recreational needs of its diverse community in a safe and comfortable environment.”

The four goals are:

1.      Engage diverse populations with specific library programs and services.

2.      Provide multifaceted resources and assistance for all ages to continue learning throughout their lives.

3.      Act as a central source for information about and support of the wide variety of programs, services, and activities available to Batavia residents.

4.      Provide ongoing economic stability for the library.

In addition, Wyrwa announced that, in 2014, the library will celebrate being open for 125 years. Plans are being made now to commemorate that event.

Financial Summary Report

Business Administrator Scott Rozanski reported on the November 2012 revenue and expenses for the district, reviewing them in comparison to the November 2011 figures.  

Overall, the recorded revenues in the year-to-year comparison were fairly consistent, with an increase of $467,000 or slightly less than 2 percent. The most significant increases were recorded in Real Property Tax Levy and in state and federal aid. Real Property Tax Levy, which is counted as revenue when levied rather than when actually received, showed an increase of $355,000. State and federal aid showed an increase of $311,000, largely due to the state making its customary TRS (Teacher Retirement System) payments which the district is obliged to record as income.

Decreases in the “miscellaneous” category of $153,000 were largely due to BOCES refunds for both unused billed expenses as well as an increase in their state aid. In addition, the Non-property Tax Items category (utility tax) was down slightly more than $86,000. The utility tax, as has often been reported, experiences regular fluctuations and has been trending lower than last year.

Expenses were up by approximately $93,000 or slightly less than 1 percent, which was less than expected and primarily due to timing of payments in transportation.

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