Local Matters

Community Sponsors

batavia city school district

July 2, 2020 - 3:34pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, batavia city school district.

The Batavia City School District is forming a Reopen Batavia Strong Task Force to be partly comprised of parents and students to assist in sharing information and formulating a plan going into the next school year.

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr., in a tweet on the district's website, wrote that "your input and participation in our reopening plans is vital."

Those interested in joining the committee are asked to send an email to [email protected] by Wednesday, July 8. The email should include the person's first and last name, best email address and phone number. 

Parents are asked to state where their children are enrolled and students are asked to identify their school and grade level for the 2020-21 school year.

The task force's first meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, July 10, likely in a virtual format.

Soler has indicated that three options are on the table at this point -- full in-person school attendance, a hybrid model of in-school and remote learning, and a 100-percent remote learning environment.

June 17, 2020 - 3:30pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, batavia city school district.

While expressing remorse in having to eliminate jobs, Anibal Soler Jr. today said he is excited over the public’s approval of the Batavia City School District 2020-21 budget and the capital project that will result in a new playground at Jackson Primary School.

The district’s first-year superintendent also said he is looking forward to a revised commencement event on Saturday, June 27 that will feature four or five outdoor mini-graduation ceremonies at Batavia High School on State Street.

“It’s a good outcome for us,” Soler said in regard to Tuesday’s absentee ballot tabulation on the $51.4 million spending plan that passed with 1,489 “yes” votes compared to 862 “no” votes. “We worked hard; it was a tough budget season. Obviously, we had to make some tough decisions.”

Soler said it was difficult laying people off, but admitted the district “had to right some things” in light of its – and the state’s – current financial situation.

“I appreciate the community for supporting our budget with a zero percent tax increase, which is important given the economic crisis caused by the pandemic,” he said. “And we still don’t know what the future will look like as people go back to work.”

Batavia’s budget could be subjected to cuts down the road since Gov. Andrew Cuomo has specified different measurement periods through the end of the year in regard to the state budget. Any revenue shortages incurred by New York State likely will result in reduced state aid to local governments and school districts.

Soler said he hopes for the passage of a federal stimulus package to provide funds to the states, but, if not, the district did include a “pandemic adjustment” line in its budget.

“We hope there’s no impact but we won’t know until the governor makes a decision on his budget,” he said.

Jackson Project Passes by 198 Votes

The superintendent said he is happy that Jackson Primary School will be getting an age-appropriate playground and restroom renovation after residents passed a capital project referendum by a 1,277 to 1,079 vote.

Funded by capital reserves, the $619,151 project will cost the district about $60,000 after state aid is appropriated – and it does not affect the tax levy.

“I’m excited that the kids got an age-appropriate playground as we continue to make Jackson Primary a premier primary school in our region,” Soler said.

He also said he was pleased that three current board of education members – Alice Ann Benedict, Barbara Bowman and Tanni Bromley – will be returning.

“To have consistency on the board always helps us as we continue to work together and implement the mission and vision of our district,” he said.

Soler also responded to questions about the abolished positions and layoffs, public comments criticizing changes in the reading program at the Middle School, and administration’s relationship with the Batavia Teachers Association.

Administrators to be Reassigned

He said that two administrative positions – coordinator of assessment & instructional services, and the other in technology -- were abolished and those two employees will be reassigned to fill two vacant assistant principal positions.

“That was a decision of the board to protect building level administrative positions versus district level – in terms of people who were at a higher level,” he said, noting that the district has two assistant principals at both the high school and middle school and one at both John Kennedy Elementary and Jackson Primary.

Soler did not disclose the names of the new assistant principals or where they would be assigned, only saying that the board of education is scheduled to approve the transfers at its June 22 meeting.

“We’re looking at making sure there are strong teams on every campus, and we may move our assistant principals across the four buildings to make sure we have a balance of talent, also gender, things of that nature,” he said. “There is a plan for reorganization that will be shared publicly once the board approves the assignments.”

Soler said that although the district abolished or eliminated about 33 positions, only about seven teachers were laid off after the district learned of retirements and resignations.

“And recently a special ed teacher told us they are moving out of state, so that will bring back one that was laid off,” he said. “We believe we will chip away, and hopefully, depending upon attrition and retirement and moves, potentially we will have nobody laid off at the end of the day.”

Changes in Approach to AIS Reading

Academic Intervention Services is a program for students challenged in reading and math. Soler said the district is modifying the way it delivers these services.

“Our elementary teachers have been doing the (AIS) math, so they’ll just pick up the reading,” he said, adding that New York State regulations allow for elementary teachers to provide instruction in AIS math and reading. “In the past, they had reading specialists. But we don’t necessarily need a reading-certified person to deliver AIS. An elementary certified teacher can deliver this to the kids.”

Soler said AIS is only for pupils who have been identified as needing additional support.

“We will be able to give kids what they need,” he said. “Yes, we changed our approach a bit but we believe we can still deliver high-quality programming. Plus, we protected all of our electives, which we know kids love – art, music, physical education, things of that nature.”

Lessons Learned During Budget Process

Soler acknowledged some missteps in dealing with the Batavia Teachers Association, which was asked (and refused) to take a pay freeze to avoid layoffs and, later on, voted against a proposal to change the start and end times of the school day.

“I think it was a tough process, and they didn’t know me and they still don’t necessarily know my approach or my focus,” he said. “So, I think that some things may have been miscommunicated given the fact that I came in January and the budget process started a month or so after that. In hindsight, I learned some lessons for myself on communication and trying to get the word out.”

He said he heard “a lot of negative feedback from people assuming that reading was eliminated.”

“We didn’t completely eliminate reading; we did reduce it,” he said. “And those were people who didn’t have 25 kids in their class, or 22 kids; they were supplemental supports.”

Soler said he hopes there isn’t any lingering animosity with the teachers’ union.

“I appreciate them even exploring the scheduling as an option of (cost) savings. That didn’t work out but we’ll continue to work through those conversations and maybe down the road we can re-explore that,” he said.

Graduation Under the Willow Tree

The governor’s mandate that graduations be limited to 150 people have quashed the district’s plan to have commencement at Van Detta Stadium.

“We have more than that graduating (165), so our high school principal, Mr. (Paul) Kessler, has developed a plan to kind of have smaller, micro-graduation ceremonies all on the same day,” Soler said.

The new arrangement is to have 30 or so seniors with their parents and some staff taking part in the smaller graduation ceremonies – in front of the high school under the willow tree that has been the backdrop of numerous commencement exercises in the past.

Soler said the first one will start at 11 a.m. Each ceremony will run for about 45 minutes and will be followed by a 30-minute intermission to allow for people to leave and the new group to enter. Each student will be allowed to invite a maximum of four family members and/or friends.

June 8, 2020 - 10:52am

Over the past couple weeks, Genesee County school districts -- like others throughout the state -- have been gearing up for Tuesday’s counting of paper ballots that will determine the outcome of 2020-21 budgets, propositions and board of education elections.

Now, per an executive order signed on Sunday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, it looks as though they’ll have to wait a bit longer.

The legislation extends the deadline for submitting school budget absentee ballots by mail through June 16, while retaining the requirement that ballots can be delivered by hand to school offices through 5 p.m. tomorrow.

“Obviously, it will delay our process by a week,” said Scott Rozanski, Batavia City School District business administrator. “Tentatively, we will begin to count on June 16 once mail is received.”

Rozanski said he has yet to receive specific guidance on the legislation, which also extends the deadline to submit absentee ballots for the Primary Election until June 23 -- the day of the election.

In a press release, Cuomo said “the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world, and while we are making great progress and the numbers keep going down, no New Yorker should have to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

Robert Schneider, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, said, in a press release, the delay muddles the school budget process even further.

“The executive order will likely cause confusion among voters in districts that did not face supply chain issues, thereby adding to what has been an extremely frustrating, costly and cumbersome board election and school budget vote process,” Schneider said.

Rozanski and John Fisgus, Oakfield-Alabama Central School superintendent, said they are ready to count their district’s ballots, and both are reporting a significant increase in voter participation.

“We received over 300 ballots a day for the first four days (since May 29) and now they're coming in at around 150 per day,” Rozanski said. “This will be the highest number of votes since I arrived in 2003. We have already exceeded the highest number, which was in 2012-13.”

Last year, about 550 votes were cast in Batavia.

At Oakfield-Alabama, Fisgus said that more than 700 ballots had been received as of last Friday – more than three times the number of voters in 2019.

As far as counting the ballots is concerned, both districts have their teams in place and will be forming an “assembly line” with different people assigned to specific tasks – opening the envelopes, distributing the ballots and counting the votes separately for the budget, other propositions and school board election.

They also said that guidelines are in place to ensure voter anonymity since the outside of the envelopes have to be signed in order to be considered. 

“(Starting at 5 p.m. on June 16) we will open the envelopes but the ballots will remain folded as not to see the information checked as it must remain anonymous and separated from the envelope,” Fisgus said.

He said the ballots will be placed in a secure lock box, and the two teams counting the ballots will be charged with tallying the budget votes, capital project vote, bus purchase and board member votes.

“Once all the legal ballots have been counted, the teams will come together for a final tally of the propositions and board candidates,” said.

Rozanski said the Batavia district is using a local vendor to assist in the process.

“We have partnered with ABS (Applied Business Systems) to have the mailed ballots delivered to them using their Business Reply Mail permit,” he said. “Each day we receive notification of the ballots received and an employee picks up the mail. In addition, ballots could still be dropped off at the Administrative wing at Batavia High School (by 5 p.m. tomorrow).”

To be eligible to vote, persons must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older, and be a resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior to June 9 – all in accordance with the provisions of section 5-106 of the Election Law.

-----------

Reigle to Run for Batavia Spot

The Batavia City School District has another candidate for the school board as John Reigle has thrown his hat into the ring as a write-in.

He joins incumbents Tanni Bromley and Barbara Bowman as well as recent appointee Alice Ann Benedict in the race for the three open board seats.

The two 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.

May 28, 2020 - 5:46pm

There will be no change in the daily schedule for students at the four Batavia City School District buildings.

“After thoughtful consideration and collaboration over the last six weeks, the members of the Batavia Teachers’ Association voted against a proposal to change the start and end times at all district buildings,” BTA President Mark Warren said following today's online voting by union members.

District administration had suggested the change during the 2020-21 budget process, maintaining that the proposed starting and ending times would save $200,000 in transportation costs. The outcome of the vote will not affect the passed budget.

With the “no” vote by the teachers, the school day will continue as follows:

-- Batavia High and Batavia Middle, 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

-- John Kennedy Elementary and Jackson Primary, 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The proposal called for BHS and BMS to be on 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. schedule, and for JK and Jackson to be on a 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. schedule.

Warren said he exit polls revealed two main concerns.

“The current research on sleep patterns and the school day for teenagers supports a later start time for secondary students, and concerns were also expressed over modifying the students’ schedule in the midst of all of the changes going on due to the pandemic,” Warren said.

He said the BTA’s goal moving forward is “to work collaboratively with district administration as we determine the best path to reopen the school buildings in the fall to ensure the safety of students and employees.”

Warren said all four building votes would have had to be favorable for the measure to pass, but indicated that it was rejected at all four schools.

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

May 5, 2020 - 8:11pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, batavia city school district.

The Batavia City School District Board of Education tonight postponed adopting the 2020-21 budget for two weeks in anticipation of receiving word from Albany on the amount of state aid it will receive.

Over the past few weeks, district officials have had to take drastic measures to close a $1.6 million budget gap, most notably the elimination of about 30 jobs across the district. They still were about $47,000 short of reaching what is a “negative” tax cap (minus .38 percent) before making some more changes earlier today.

Those adjustments determined the tenure status of five elementary teachers who also are certified to teach reading, at a cost of $130,382, and scaled back three BOCES programs – alternative education, Instructional Support Services and model schools -- resulting in a savings of $177,649.

This enabled the district to hit the desired target, which unfortunately has been a moving target. However, with the state aid situation in flux, further financial modifications may have to be made.

Subsequently, Business Administrator Scott Rozanski recommended that the board wait until news of additional state aid adjustments and call another meeting to adopt the $51.4 million budget on May 19, two days before the deadline.

Board President Patrick Burk, mindful that district residents and media were watching the proceedings, explained how the board has reached this point.

“The current budget shows the decrease in state aid … through the budget that has been proposed to the state, which is $453,327, on top of the flat expenditure from the governor’s budget, and we have had a couple of questions that can be explained a little bit further,” he said.

Burk said the board was informed that the district would be getting an increase of $800,000 in state aid, based on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first abstract of the budget.

“Since then … state aid is actually minus $453,327 as opposed to a plus $800,000,” he said. “On top of that, we were working with an unknown tax cap that, rightly or wrongly, the assumption in the past has at least given us some leeway in letting us raise some increase in taxation, although in our past years, it’s been relatively modest.”

He added that by the time the district’s tax cap was determined, the board “realized we were at a negative tax cap, and there goes some revenue that could possibly have been raised through the tax cap – and we ended up with a minus between $7,500 and $8,000 tax cap.”

Burk said he expects further state aid reductions that will affect the 2019-20 district budget – the first of the state’s four specified “measurement periods” is set for this month – but has not received word if any current year reductions would carry over to 2020-21. Any cuts in 2019-20 state aid would have to be made up by tapping into reserves, he said.

After that, Burk recommended that the board push the budget adoption meeting to May 19 “so we can know what the reduction will be for the current year and whether or not that is going to impact the 2020-21 year.”

His suggestion was accepted by the board.

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. said he agreed with the decision, adding that conversations are taking place with state education officials this week, which leads him to believe actual monetary amounts will be revealed soon.

He also mentioned the “political posturing” that is going on between the governor and President Trump in regard to the possibility of a federal stimulus bill to support states and localities.

“The hope is that we get something, but I just want everyone to be reminded that when the new budget was proposed, there was already a pandemic adjustment line in there that literally washed itself out … if we do get a bailout, I don’t necessarily think it will help us, I hope it will,” Soler said. “But I think they already have preplanned a lot of this stuff and we’re caught in some of that political posturing that goes on.”

In other developments:

-- The board tabled decisions on a $618,000 capital project to construct an age-appropriate playground at Jackson Primary School and a singular $100,000 capital outlay project at either Jackson, Batavia High School or Batavia Middle School.

Burk said that the current playground at Jackson is for intermediate or elementary pupils, not primary, and that capital project funds can't be transferred into the general fund.

Rozanski said that the capital outlay proposal comes with a 90 percent aid appropriation, reducing the district’s final cost to $10,000. He also noted that the capital outlay program, in its fifth year, identifies one location and is completed by a general contractor.

Eventually, the board will decide on one of these three options:

-- Jackson Primary: New restroom in the gymnasium;
-- Batavia High: New stage floor and new clocks;
-- Batavia Middle: Exterior doors and landscaping.

-- The board did approve taking $55,720 from the district’s repair reserve fund (which was at $173,782) to replace the gymnasium floor at the high school, a move that followed a public hearing at which no public comments were submitted.

Rozanski said the work will level the gym floor and eliminate the “dead spots.”

-- Burk said the budget vote and school board election will be done totally by a mail-in ballot, with postage paid envelopes to be mailed to district residents after May 19th and before June 9th.

Burk said it will cost $1.16 for every ballot – possibly as much as $32,000 total – since law prohibits electronic balloting. He said that the Richmond Memorial Library ballots will be included with the school’s ballots.

The board meeting took place via videoconference on the board’s website YouTube channel -- www.bataviacsd.org.

May 1, 2020 - 12:31pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, batavia city school district.

New York State schools are officially closed for the remainder of the academic year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.

Despite the news that students won’t populate school buildings, the educational process and plans for a meaningful commencement experience continue.

“We’ll stay the course and hope that we'll get better guidance from the governor in the coming weeks,” said Anibal Soler Jr., Batavia City School District superintendent, moments after the governor’s announcement.

Distance learning will remain in place, while a decision on summer school is expected to come at the end of May.

Soler said his district will continue to provide meals, remote instruction to those who have internet access and dropping off packets of school work for those who don’t.

“We have to graduate kids and we have to provide grades; we still have those expectations regardless of traditional brick and mortar, coming-to-the-building experiences,” he said. “We will continue to try to keep our kids motivated and excited about school even though it’s such a weird time for everybody.”

Commencement was supposed to be on June 27, and Soler is holding out hope that Batavia’s seniors will “get a ceremony that they deserve.”

“I think time is in our favor here. Hopefully by then we’ll have some guidance on what we’re supposed to do, such as keeping everybody six feet apart,” he said.

He said having the ceremony at Van Detta Stadium, even if it’s late in the summer, would work well.

“We want to do it right and make sure people are protected and healthy as much as possible,” he said.

May 1, 2020 - 9:50am

The Batavia Teachers’ Association has postponed a vote on a proposal to modify the school day at the four Batavia City School District buildings.

BTA President Mark Warren on Thursday night said that the vote – actually four separate votes by those who work at Batavia High, Batavia Middle, John Kennedy Intermediate and Jackson Primary schools – will not take place today as originally planned.

“We want to work out some of the wrinkles and provide answers to the questions that some of our members have before voting,” Warren said. “We haven’t set a new date yet, but it will not be before the next Board of Education meeting on May 5th.”

School Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. raised the possibility of changing the school day schedules earlier this week as a cost-cutting measure as the district maneuvers to close what once was a $1.6 million budget gap.

Soler said that $200,000 in transportation costs would be achieved by the following:

-- Putting Batavia High and Batavia Middle on a 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. schedule. Currently, the schedule at those two schools is 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

-- Putting John Kennedy and Jackson on a 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. schedule. Currently, the schedule at those two schools is 8:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

This would enable the district to use fewer buses across the four schools, a tiered approach that also would give every student in the district the opportunity to ride a bus if they so desired, Soler said.

On Tuesday night, the Board of Education authorized the cutting of 30 positions to slash more than $1.5 million in expenses.

A favorable vote on the school day schedule – in all likelihood all four buildings would have to pass it -- would enable the district to wash away a $47,000 budget shortfall and meet the state-mandated property tax cap, thus avoiding a 60-percent plus one supermajority vote of the public to pass the budget.

Contacted this morning, BOE President Pat Burk said he hadn’t heard about the vote postponement, but didn’t think that would affect the board’s plan to vote on the budget on Tuesday.

“Actually, we have been looking at areas other than personnel to find another $47,000 to cut,” Burk said. “The vote to change the school day schedule, if passed, would provide extra funding that we likely will need down the road not knowing what is going to happen with state aid.”

Burk said he thinks changing the schedules could help attendance, since all students would be able to get a ride to school, and have little impact upon extracurricular afterschool activities such as sports and music.

April 29, 2020 - 1:50pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, batavia city school district.

Batavia City School Board President Patrick Burk described having to cut 30 staff positions as “incredibly sad” and said he hopes that New York State doesn't inflict any more pain upon the district.

On Tuesday night, by a vote of 4-1, the Board of Education cut 30 full-time positions and one half-time position to produce personnel cost savings of $1,586,513 -- and move the district within $47,000 of complying with the state mandated tax cap.

Burk, Barbara Bowman, Shawna Murphy and John Marucci voted in favor of the reductions while Tanni Bromley voted against the measure. Peter Cecere was absent.

“Today, in reflecting on it, it is just incredibly sad that we have to look at ways to bring the services needed within our school community by not having some of the people that have provided those needs,” Burk said. “And it affects people in several areas. The cuts were across the board."

The positions to be cut are as follows:

-- Two district administrators;
-- One treasurer;
-- One secretary;
-- One Grade 7-12 math teacher;
-- A second school resource officer;
-- Two special education teachers;
-- One clerk-typist;
-- Five reading teachers across the district;
-- Five elementary teachers;
-- One maintenance worker;
-- Ten teaching aides (most long-term substitutes);
-- One half-time music teacher.

Burk: 'The best we can do considering' ...

“For me to have to do something that there’s no other answer to was, and is, probably the saddest thing,” Burk said. “We had to do this one other time, reducing staff when gap elimination aid started, but I think it’s hard when everything in the world right now is so uncertain, and to keep everybody employed to the end of the school year is the best that we can do considering the situation.”

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. said the positions marked for deletion were decided in a previous executive session, with last night’s action “getting us pretty close to where we need to go to (toward balancing the 2020-21 budget).”

By eliminating these positions, the district’s proposed budget increases by $999,440 (1.98 percent) and the tax levy climbs by only $39,905 (0.2 percent), Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said.

But since the district is in a “negative tax cap situation,” it needs to come up with another $47,000 to meet the cap and avoid a 60-percent plus one supermajority vote of the public to pass the budget.

Soler said about $200,000 in transportation budget savings can be achieved by modifying the school day schedules at the district’s four locations.

Soler proposes changing school hours

His plan, which needs support from the Batavia Teachers’ Association, would put Batavia High School and Batavia Middle School on a 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. schedule, and John Kennedy Intermediate School and Jackson Primary School on a 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. schedule. By doing this, the district would be able to use fewer buses across the four schools, thus saving money.

Soler said that every student in the district would be able to ride a bus, calling it a "huge win." He said that he expects the teachers’ union to vote on the proposal this Friday.

The superintendent said he is wary of more state cuts to school aid, offering that another 20 percent reduction would result in a $6 million shortfall and “would decimate us.” He is hopeful that it would be much less than that, if at all.

“We’re at a good spot with the budget but I’m still concerned about what is coming (from Gov. Andrew Cuomo),” he said. “There was talk about this being an opportunity to reimagine schools. I really don’t know what that means with all the contractual obligations (that we have).”

Burk said the board plans to adopt a budget on May 5, but may have to convene earlier depending upon news out of Albany.

More state aid cuts down the line?

“I’m concerned that we may have more adjustments at the state level. If federal money doesn’t come through, districts could be cut by 20 percent,” he said. “There could be reductions in the current 2019-20 school aid formula that will result in further reduction. I’m hoping that we have enough left over from a couple of areas to cover those reductions.”

As far as who will be laid off, Burk said decisions are based on longevity, with the school board and the unions coming to an agreement on employees’ service time.

“The way the system works is that we announce the positions and then the bargaining units are given the sheets to determine if their records of longevity match our records of longevity. Once those are merged and both parties agree (then individual employees will be notified),” he said. “If there’s a position being cut in a specific area or tenure, the person who has been here the shortest time is cut.”

He said that the teacher aide positions were long-term substitutes “who would have been gone at the end of the (school year) anyway and then repositioned as needed starting in September.”

Burk said three points come to mind when looking at the current budget scenario:

“The three things that are probably the most disturbing are that instead of an increase in aid that originally was proposed by the governor …, we’re actually getting a slight decrease; that our tax cap because of the economy and building, and so forth, which is far too confusing, has actually ended up being a negative number; and that while we knew we had some increases going into next year, we didn’t really know to what extent the retirement and health insurance total number would be.”

Burk, who has led the board for many years, said a major problem with the entire process is that the school district has to present a budget in May without knowing what the local tax dollars or the actual state aid figures will be until September.

Benedict voted in as new board member

In other action, the board voted unanimously in favor of Alice Ann Benedict filling a vacant spot on the board.

Benedict previously served on the school board for 10 years, including three as president.

“Alice Ann is a real solid person, she’s from the community – a Batavia graduate – and when the vacancy occurred she expressed interest,” Burk said. “We need as many minds and as many thinking people on this process from now until whenever it ends up being as possible.”

Burk said Benedict will serve until there is another election, with the date unknown at this time.

April 8, 2020 - 3:42pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, batavia city school district, covid-19.

Batavia City School District leaders are making plans for a graduation ceremony, even in the unfortunate event that students are unable to return to the classroom.soler.png

That’s the latest word from Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr., a couple days after he received news that June Regents exams were cancelled and nearly a month into a prolonged “recess” caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“We’re looking at a couple of different options … and whenever it happens, we will give our kids the graduation ceremony they all rightly deserve,” said Soler, who was hired in January.

Currently, graduation is scheduled for June 27 at Genesee Community College but that could change depending upon the status of mandated social distancing.

“If we get clearance, we’ll have it there,” he said. “If not (and it has to be postponed) we’re thinking about a summer graduation – maybe on school grounds or at Van Detta Stadium. We definitely want to celebrate our kids.”

Soler said he agreed with the state Education Department’s decision to forgo the Regents exams.

“I think it’s good. It was tough decision but it was made in favor of our students,” he said. “We have guidance now of what the rest of the school year will look like. It’s a weight lifted off the kids’ shoulders.”

The superintendent said that remote learning continues at the various grade levels through Google classroom, with students equipped with Chromebooks.

“We’ve been a one-to-one district for a couple years now, but what was a supplemental thing now has moved to a primary (position),” he said. “With kids not dependent upon an exam to graduate, they can get their course credit by getting those assignments in.”

He said he hopes that students will be able to come back to school – “maybe June 1st,” he said – and spoke of school’s role in students’ “social and emotional well-being.”

Soler also said he is pleased that the district has been able to keep kids fed during the coronavirus shutdown.

“As of Monday, we’ve provided 30,000 meals – breakfast and lunch – to the community,” he said, noting that meals are available for pick up from 9 to 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at both Jackson Primary School and John Kennedy Elementary School.

February 13, 2020 - 11:54am

Press release:

The Batavia City School District winter guard will host its 20th annual Fantastic Vision winter guard competition on Saturday, Feb. 15, in the Batavia High School gymnasium. Performances begin at 5:15 p.m.

Winter guard performances consist of choreographed dance moves that typically incorporate flags or prop rifles.

This competition will include 18 guards from Western New York and Canada, ranging in skill and age level. It will include two senior guards, four guards in the cadet class that includes Batavia’s junior varsity guard, and three in the Scholastic-A level, to which Batavia’s varsity winter guard was recently elevated. Other guards from this region include two from Medina and two from Gates Chili.

In addition, the Batavia Winter Guards and Boosters in conjunction with the District’s music department,will open the competition with a brief ceremony to honor Batavia’s athletic director, Michael Bromley, for his continued support throughout the 20 years. During his tenure, the Batavia guards grew from one team in the Regional A class to two teams – one junior varsity cadet guard, and one varsity guard that won the Northeast color guard circuit last year and moved up from the A1 class to the Scholastic A class.

Admission for adults is $7, for seniors 65 and older is $6, and for children under 5 is free.

December 20, 2019 - 12:20pm

Press release:

Many of the Batavia City School District’s current prekindergarten students will have the option to switch to a full-day program beginning this January. The tentative starting date for the full-day option is Jan. 28. Like the current half-day program, there is no cost to families. 

The Batavia school district, along with only 25 others in New York State, was awarded State funding to expand the prekindergarten program. Prior to applying to be considered for the funding, Molly Corey, Ed.D., the District’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, surveyed parents of the current 112 prekindergarten students and found that interest in a full-day option was very high, but not unanimous.

With that parental directive in mind, she applied for the grant and secured funding for 72 full-time slots, or four full-time classes, while still allowing for the half-day option for remaining students.

Three of the full-day classes will be housed at Jackson Primary School, and one will be provided by a community-based organization that is yet to be determined. If more than 72 of the current preschool students apply for full time, a lottery system will be used to place them. No new prekindergarten students will be registered at this time.

An important meeting for parents of current students will be held at Jackson Primary right after the schools’ winter break, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, to provide more details about the expanding program and the changes that it will entail. Two meeting times have been set in an effort to reach all parents: 12 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. If a parent cannot make either meeting, they are encouraged to call Corey’s office for an alternate meeting time (343-2480, ext. 1003).

The meeting will include more information about locations and teachers; information about the overall transition, as well as accommodating new aspects of the school day such as lunch time, rest time, and play time; a sample schedule for the school day; and time for responding to parents’ questions.

December 19, 2019 - 12:20pm

Submitted photos and press release:

 Le Roy Central School has won the 2019 Play to Get Fit Challenge hosted by the Health and Physical Education department at Genesee Community College!

The Get Fit Challenge effort began in 2011 to motivate third-, fourth- and fifth-graders in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties to get more active. The Challenge is designed to draw students' attention to just how many minutes they spend engaged in physical activity outside of school.

Throughout the five-week program, participating students record their active minutes -- time spent walking, biking, running, skating, swimming, playing a sport, playing tag, playing on a swing set and other active, creative games. (Video games designed for fitness utilizing Wii, Xbox Kinect or other similar gaming systems are not active minutes eligible.)

Recorded minutes are then totaled and an average active minute count is calculated based on the number of students enrolled in third, fourth and fifth grades in each school.

This year, Le Roy Central School generated an impressive 2,831 average active minutes -- beating even their winning count from 2018. The school was awarded the 2019 winning plaque and each student received a certificate recognizing their participation and effort.

In each participating school district the program also recognizes the three most active students:

  • Le Roy -- 1st Lyla Jones; 2nd Jacob Kochmanski; 3rd Abigail Valdes
  • Batavia -- 1st Ryan Bigsby, 2nd Jonah Arroyo; 3rd Dominic Darch
  • Warsaw -- 1st Delaney Baker; 2nd Kinsley Baker; 3rd Jaiden Fries
  • York -- 1st Briana Parsons; 2nd Brody Pangrazio; 3rd Charlie Cuozzo
  • Pavilion -- 1st Ella Brian; 2nd Peyton Gay and Colton Brian; 3rd Jessie Brian
  • Perry -- 1st Reagan Moroz; 2nd Aubrey McCowen; 3rd Tysen Deaton

The three most active participants (based on total minutes recorded) in the region this year were:

  • Ryan Bigsby, of Batavia, with 11,122 minutes
  • Reagan Moroz, of Perry, with 8,620 minutes
  • Aubrey McCowen, of Perry, with 5,540 minutes

"The Play to Get Fit Challenge encourages kids to lead an active lifestyle in a way they can see and understand," said Becky Dziekan, GCC's director of Health and Physical Education. "Each year, the participating school districts see proof that the program works! Congratulations to LeRoy and all of the students who worked hard to be active and enjoy the program."

The Health and Physical Education program at Genesee Community College offers several areas of study related to health, fitness and coaching. The Sports Management Studies transfer degree programs or Associate of Science (A.S.) includes foundations in sports facility management, accounting, marketing and more. The Fitness and Recreation Management Applied Associate of Science degree (A.A.S.) offers a Personal Trainer concentration and the opportunity to earn the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) credential through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a certified personal trainer. In addition, GCC offers an A.A.S in Physical Education Studies in which students have the opportunity to earn a coaching certificate for NYS non-Certified Physical Education Teachers.

The spring semester starts Jan. 13, so there is still time to register! GCC has more than 80 introductory courses available, including Beginning Personal Fitness (PED259), which teaches basic fitness training and conditioning techniques to help anyone make active choices. The full spring semester course schedule is available here.

Top photo: Le Roy Central School Physical Education (PE) teacher Michelle Sherman; GCC Director of Health and PE Rebecca Dziekan; Le Roy Central School Physical Education (PE) teachers Brian Herdlein and Mike Humphrey; (in front) 1st Place -- Lyla Jones; 2nd Place Jacob Kochmanski (missing from the photo --  3rd Place -- Abigail Valdes).

From Batavia City School District, from left: Amanda Cook, 2nd Place -- Jonah Arroyo; 1st Place -- Ryan Bigsby*, 3rd Place -- Dominic Darch; (back row) PE teacher James Patric, GCC director of Health and PE Rebecca Dziekan.

*Ryan was the most active participant in the region this year with 11,122 active minutes.

December 4, 2019 - 1:38pm

Photo of Batavia City Police Officer Jason Davis, the city school district's new school resource officer.

Submitted photos and information from the Batavia City School District:

At the Batavia City School District Board of Education meeting on Tuesday evening, trustees welcomed Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis as the District’s new school resource officer (SRO).

Officer Davis assumed his new duties on Nov. 28. He will continue the SRO work in all city schools to ensure student and staff safety as well as in building strong positive relationships between the BPD and students.

With 23 years of police experience, 20 of which have been in Batavia, Officer Davis will be a valuable resource for the District.

Board President Patrick Burk also presented four Certificates of Appreciation at the meeting.

Lisa Whitehead -- Certificate of Appreciation

Nominated by Lynn Dobbertin:

"Lisa goes above and beyond her duties every day and makes herself useful in every situation. In addition to being a classroom aide, she rides the bus home with students each day, she runs the John Kennedy School Post Office and the John Kennedy TVFCU Bank. Both before school programs allow students to participate in real life jobs and the students love being part of the clubs.

"Lisa buys snacks for the students in the classrooms that she works in so that kids are not without a snack at snack time. She is very thorough when working with students. Her expectations for student work and behavior are high. She is highly respected by both students and staff as a result."

Seana Murphy -- Certificate of Appreciation

Nominated by Dr. Cook and Mrs. Krumpek

"Seana is an important and valuable part of our support team at John Kennedy. She is always going above and beyond to support our students, families, and staff. She can often be found throughout the day with students, faculty, and parents working through questions or planning for student success.

"Her 'out of the box' thinking enables us to come up with creative interventions for students leading to increased achievement and success in the classroom. Mrs. Murphy also coordinates our Check-in, Check-out program for many of our at-risk students.

"Her students love her and value the time she spends with them. She is extremely organized, phenomenal at collaborating and communicating her ideas and extremely dedicated to our students. We are blessed to have her as part of our John Kennedy family."

Barb Roba -- Certificate of Appreciation

Nominated by Dr. Cook and Mrs. Krumpek

"Barb is an important and valuable part of our support team at John Kennedy. She helps with building-wide initiatives and sits on several committees where she advocates for the needs of our students and families. Mrs. Roba goes above and beyond to support our students and help them integrate skills for coping, emotional regulation, and problem solving.

"She seeks ways to improve the services we offer to students to better meet their needs. This year she is piloting a Social Emotional Learning Curriculum with some of our fourth-grade classes and is the counselor for our new Primary Project program for our second-graders.

"She is dedicated to the school and more often than not gives up her lunch, plan and after school time to help faculty or students with any concerns they have. The relationships she builds with students, staff and families are priceless. She is truly loved and respected at JK and we are honored to have her as part of our John Kennedy family."

John Dehm -- Certificate of Appreciation

Nominated by Dr. Cook and Mrs. Krumpek

"John Dehm is an outstanding faculty member. John is an important and valuable part of our support team at John Kennedy. He goes above and beyond to build relationships with our students and families.

"He has taught many of our kids valuable social skills like making eye contact and giving strong, firm handshakes. He is a patient and kind person who never says no to the many things that are asked of him each day. He is truly loved and respected by all and has become a staple in our building.

"John does an amazing job making sure our building, students, and staff are safe and feel safe. He is truly dedicated to our JK family and we are excited and honored to have him on our JK team."

November 13, 2019 - 11:12am

Press release:

The Batavia City School District’s Board of Education (BOE) has named three finalists for the district’s next superintendent. 

Patrick Burk, Batavia City School District’s Board president, said he is pleased with the high-quality candidate pool and enthused about the potential the three finalists have to offer. 

“Selecting the best superintendent for Batavia City Schools is the Board’s top priority,” Burk said. “The BOE has narrowed the search to three finalists. We look forward to the next round of interviews where the finalists meet with our stakeholder groups.”

The three finalists are Jason Smith, Joleen Dimitroff, and Anibal Soler Jr.

Jason Smith

Smith is the superintendent of Lyndonville Central Schools, located in Lyndonville. As superintendent, Smith supervises more than 100 staff and faculty members, and a student body of more than 648.

He’s led extensive curriculum work in math and English Language Arts with full alignment to the Common Core which resulted in a near 100-percent increase in math scores from 2013 to 2014. Smith implemented APPR requirements with alignment to the Framework for Teaching and Leadership standards and provided on-going administrator professional development to ensure consistency and calibration of teacher observations.

Smith has 18 years of educational leadership experience including serving as the assistant principal of the Albion Middle School in Albion, and elementary and high school principal at the Elba Central School District. Smith began his career in education in 1994 as a Social Studies teacher at Albion Central Schools.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Geneseo, a master’s degree and a Certificate of Advance Study in Educational Administration from The College at Brockport. He holds a certification as a New York State School Administrator.

Joleen Dimitroff

Dimitroff is the principal of Glendale Elementary School in the Sweet Home Central School District, which is located in Tonawanda. Dimitroff has served the Sweet Home Central School District since 2006 where she’s also served as principal of Sweet Home High School. She also served as primary school principal/Special Education director for the Akron Central School District in Akron.

As principal, her leadership and professional experiences includes the adoption of 12 new Niagara University Accredited Course as well as establishing an International Honors Academy for grades 9 and 10. She also designed a building-wide Professional Learning Community Framework. During her tenure as director of Special Education at Akron Central Schools, she supervised the Committee on Preschool Special Education protocols and procedures. 

Dimitroff began her career in education in 1989 as a special education teacher for the Binghamton City School District. She holds a Bachelor of Science from SUNY Fredonia, a master’s degree from SUNY Binghamton and a School District Administrator Certificate in Educational Administration from Canisius College. She also holds a New York School District Administrator Certificate.

Anibal Soler Jr.

Soler Jr. is the associate superintendent of Strategic Alignment and Innovation for the Buffalo Public Schools, New York State’s second-largest school district, a position he has held since 2018. In this role, he oversees four areas: Adult Education; district Athletics; the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative; and district school improvement strategy known as Strong Community Schools, which encompasses 11,000 students and 21 schools across the City of Buffalo.

This Strong Community Schools effort has moved persistently struggling or failing schools to good-standing rating by the New York State Education Department. From 2016 until 2018, Soler Jr., was the principal of North Park Academy, an elementary school in the Buffalo Public School District. In this role, he led a staff of more than 50 and 250 students and supervised all instructional and operational aspects of this Pre-K through 8 community school.

From 2009-2016, Soler Jr. was the principal of East High School, the largest comprehensive high school in the Rochester City School District with between 1,500 to 2,000 students and a staff of almost 250. Through his leadership, the school was removed from New York State Education Department’s Persistently Dangerous list in 2011.

Soler Jr. serves as an adjunct professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. He began teaching in 2000 as an Art teacher at Thomas Middle School in the Rochester City School District. 

Soler Jr. holds a Bachelor of Science from Daemen College, a master’s degree from Nazareth College and Certification in School Administrator  and School District Administration from St. John Fisher College. He holds a certification as a New York State School Administrator and New York State School Administration Supervisor. He is currently enrolled in the doctorate program in Educational Leadership at the University of Rochester.

The BOE will conduct the final round of interviews with the three candidates on Nov. 18, 19 and 20 at the Batavia City School District.

Smith is set to visit on Nov. 18; Dimitroff on Nov. 19; and Soler Jr. on Nov. 20. During each candidate’s district visit, a community meet-and-greet will be held from 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. in the library at Batavia High School.

The anticipated start date for the new Superintendent is no later than Feb. 3.

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, who is acting as search consultant, said the Board has developed and implemented a process that will help determine the best candidate.

“This is a thorough process that the board and stakeholders undertake,” MacDonald said. “Finalists will visit at the district, and go through another round of interviews. The process concludes with the Board meeting to make a final decision.”

*******

The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

August 24, 2019 - 10:58am

Press release:

The Batavia City School District Foundation Inc. is reminding the local community about their Engraved Brick Campaign at VanDetta Stadium at Woodward FieldOrders need to be received by Saturday, Sept. 1 in order to be installed this Fall. All others will be installed the following years.

The bricks will be located in front of the weight room and will be a “River Red” color. Each brick is $100 (including engraving). All engravings will be approved by the BCSD Foundation Inc.

Each brick will be 7¾ x 4 x 1¾ inch and on each brick there will be a maximum of 14 characters per line with a maximum of three lines. A character is any letter, space or punctuation mark.

Order forms are available on the BCSD Foundation Inc. website here or at the Batavia City School District’s Instructional Services’ office at 260 State St., Batavia.  

If you have any questions, please contact the BCSD Foundation Inc. at [email protected] bataviacsd.org or Julia Rogers at 343-2480, ext. 1010.

July 2, 2019 - 1:09pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, batavia city school district, education, news.

Scott Bischoping, interim superintendent of Batavia City School District, was welcomed by trustees at the Board of Education Reorganizational Meeting this morning.

Bischoping previously served as deputy superintendent at Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES. Bischoping will step into the interim role as former Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey becomes the superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District.

In the interim, consultants and Board of Education members will conduct a six-month search for the best candidate for the permanent superintendent appointment.

In other action, the board:

  • Reappointed Pat Burk as board president for the 2019-20 academic year;
  • Swore in Pete Cecere for his three-year board term and reappointed Cecere as vice president;
  • Received their board committee and building assignments for the 2019-20 school year.

The next BCSD Board of Education meeting is at 6:30 p.m. July 16 in the BOE Conference Room.

June 24, 2019 - 10:21pm

The Batavia City Council tonight agreed to consider a proposed five-year agreement to provide School Resource Officer services to the Batavia City School District -- something Police Chief Shawn Heubusch believes is long overdue.

Heubusch elaborated on a recent memo he sent to Council about the Memorandum of Understanding that he and City School District Superintendent Christopher Dailey developed, with the hope of the board’s approval at its next Business meeting on July 8.

Tonight’s meeting was a combination Conference and Business meeting at City Hall Council Chambers and set the stage for a pair of public hearings for the July 8 meeting – one to support a NYS Office of Community Renewal Community Development Block Grant requested by Genesee Dental and the other to advance $25,000 in funds earmarked for Dwyer Stadium repairs a year earlier than originally appropriated.

On the subject of an SRO for Batavia, Heubusch said he was a bit puzzled as to why the largest district in Genesee County was the only one not to have a designated officer.

“Yes, it does surprise me a little bit. In speaking with Sheriff (William) Sheron over at the county, our actual agreement kind of mirrors what they’re doing with their different school districts so it only makes sense,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of calls for service at the school, just because there’s a large population in the City when school is in session. It is a little surprising that we haven’t had an SRO until this time, but it is much needed.”

In his memo, Heubusch outlined numerous benefits to having an SRO for Batavia schools, including: student/faculty safety, of course; along with enforcement; relationship building and communication with law enforcement; counseling services; tackling issues involving substance abuse and peer pressure; conflict resolution; and crisis training and response.

The chief said he has applied for grants and tried to fund the position through the budget process, but has been unsuccessful.

“So this year, the superintendent and I sat down and put our heads together and came up with a pretty good Memorandum of Agreement/Understanding, I believe, where the school district and the City share the cost of the school resource officer proportionately,” he said.

Heubusch said the MOU calls for the school district to pay 83 percent of the cost of an entry-level police officer and the City to pay 17 percent. That 83/17 split would remain the same for the life of the contract.

“It stays with that percentage throughout the life of the agreement (five years), so it kind of guarantees some longevity to the program,” he said. “The hopes would be that in five years or four years we renegotiate that contract, come up with another contract that will take us out another five years.”

The agreement starts with one SRO in year one, but increases to two in year two, and three in year three, Heubusch said.

“The idea is to get the three school resource officers for the district – one being assigned to the high school, one being assigned to the middle school and the third one floating between the elementary and parochial school,” he said.

Since the SRO would be a City Police Department officer, he or she could be recalled by the Chief if needed.

“As the agreement calls for, if there is an emergency situation and we need to recall that officer for whatever it may be – our staffing is short or we have a major incident – there is some notification that takes place with the school district, but we’d be able to recall that officer in an emergency situation,” Heubusch said.

“The intent is to make sure that officer is present (in the school) as much as possible – 100 percent of the time, quite honestly, (from September through June) in the school district to do the job that they’re there to do. I don’t foresee us having to recall that officer on a regular occasion.”

City Manager Martin Moore reported to Council that the SRO would have a vehicle, adding to the department’s inventory.

Council unanimously moved the proposal to the July 8th Business meeting.

In other action, Council approved a National Night Out event for 6-8 p.m. Aug. 8 at City Church at St. Anthony’s on Liberty Street. Part of a community-building campaign that promotes police/community partnerships and neighborhood relationships, it is free to the public. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Watch for more coverage of tonight's City Council meeting on Tuesday.

June 19, 2019 - 12:49pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, batavia city school district, news, education.

As the school year comes to a close for Batavia students, administrators await new beginnings. Batavia City School District named Scott Bischoping its interim superintendent as Superintendent Christopher Dailey transitions to Greece Chili next month.

Dailey was appointed as the superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District in April. BSCD announced that from July 1, 2019, to Jan. 1, 2020, Bischoping, the deputy superintendent of Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES, will step into Dailey’s role.

Bischoping began his career in education more than three decades ago as a teacher at Livonia Central School District. He most recently served in an advisory role to the superintendent of BOCES in Newark. The Board of Education expressed its confidence in the leadership and experience Bischoping will bring to this position.

In the interim, Board of Education members and consultants will conduct a six-month search to determine the best candidate for the permanent appointment.

Dailey was awarded the BCSD Foundation Apple Award at the board meeting Tuesday in recognition of his support for students and families since he began as superintendent in 2013. Parents thanked Dailey for his involvement in the lives of their students and wished him luck at his new school district.

During his last board meeting at Batavia, Dailey spoke about his gratitude to the Board of Education, the community and faculty and staff for the opportunity to make BCSD a top place to work.

“We’ve accomplished so much together,” Dailey said. “When our 2020 Vision Capital project is finished in the fall, we’ll have state-of-the-art facilities that our community can be proud of. We’ll carry on our vision of continuing to lead, not follow, in our region.

“On a personal note, I have thoroughly enjoyed my 11 years at Batavia, starting as a high school principal, then deputy superintendent and eventually superintendent for the last six and a half years. I’d like to think that I have exemplified our ideal of ‘Take Care of BCSD.’ ”

Dailey congratulates Bischoping and trusts that the search committee will find a new superintendent who will continue the work being done in the district.

Board President Patrick Burke, who described Dailey as a “cheerleader” for staff, responded, “You have never, ever disappointed me in any way, shape or form … You’ve done an exemplary job for our students, all students, no matter what.

“You’ll be going to a bigger school district with other challenges and other students … You’ll have to make sure [staff members] take care of Gates Chili Central School District as well as you’ve taken care of the Batavia City School District. You’ll be really missed here.”

June 5, 2019 - 4:58pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia city school district, education, news.

The Batavia City School District Board of Education addressed concerns about the new Latin graduation system and provided more information about how students can qualify for laude designations at its Tuesday meeting.

High School Principal Paul Kesler and Counselor Kelly Garner presented information on class ranking.

They recently received input from families about the district’s implementation of a Latin graduation system. Based on the responses, there is overwhelming support among parents for this college-style honor system.

The Latin system will begin with the Class of 2023. Instead of announcing a valedictorian or salutatorian, the top students in the graduating class will earn designations of: cum laude -- "with distinction"; magna cum laude -- "with great distinction"; and summa cum laude -- "with highest distinction."

These are determined by students’ cumulative grade-point averages and the number of Advanced Placement and dual-enrollment college classes students take.

On Tuesday, Garner answered families’ questions about whether students in Genesee Valley Educational Partnership programs were eligible for the higher-level designations.

She said although GVEP students spend a portion of their school days at alternate locations, their schedules also allow them to enroll in AP and college classes at the high school campus.

In addition, Garner said that since those students already receive college credits through their technical education studies, they can easily apply those credits toward the Latin-style honors.

Therefore, students with nontraditional schedules can enjoy the benefits of their hard work and dedication to academics.

Kesler said, “I know that our staff is really looking forward to possibly going with this so we can honor more students moving forward.”

Board members praised the new class ranking system because more students will gain recognition for their achievements without an overly competitive learning environment.

Later in the meeting, Marco Morascio provided updates on the 2020 Vision Capital Project, which is 47-percent complete with 40 issues recorded.

Change orders total $345,000, and more than $1 million remains in the contingency budget.

The presentation included progress reports for VanDetta Stadium, Robert Morris and Richmond Memorial Library. Renovations are occurring district-wide in classrooms, restrooms, lockers, auditoriums, storage areas and more.

Afterward, Business Administrator Scott Rozanski spoke about the district’s financial summary reports.

In comparison to April 2018, revenue has decreased by $805,000 due to a drop in state and federal aid and the property tax levy, as well as debt service and miscellaneous spending. Rozanski said expenditures are down $672,000 from last year due to savings on employee benefits and bond interest payments.

In his nutritional services update, Rozanski said the district is exceeding 15-percent growth from lunch sales and has profited $11,000 overall. Meals per labor hour are lower than anticipated at the high school and John Kennedy Elementary School, and a la carte sales are down $23,000. In order to offset those costs, the Administration Office is working to adjust food inventory.

“It’s a good thing because our students aren’t buying all of the a la carte items,” Rozanski said. “However, it is negatively affecting the financial operations by that amount. But, our students are getting a full meal and not needing to buy that extra food.”

The board’s agenda also highlighted a contract between the City of Batavia Youth Bureau and the school district.

According to an inter-municipal agreement, the district will occupy the youth bureau’s former location at 12 MacArthur Drive in Batavia starting Sept. 1 of this year until Aug. 31, 2024. The district intends to use the 2,000-square-foot facility as an office or storage space.

The document also provided more details about the district’s transportation service to Teen City at St. Anthony’s A City Church. During the 2019–20 academic year, the district will cover costs associated with busing students ages 9–16 from John Kennedy and the middle and high schools to Teen City. The district will offer one late bus to Teen City that runs daily from 3:15 to 3:30 p.m.

A goal of the new Teen City location is to prepare students to excel in their academics at the high school level. In the agreement, the youth bureau said the transportation provided by the district is “a great collaboration with the school district and demonstrates their investment to the success of Teen City.”

The next BCSD Board of Education meeting will occur at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 in the District Administration Conference Room.

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button