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Board of Education

Batavia City Schools business admin retires, board approves replacement

By Joanne Beck
Scott Rozanski 

There likely won’t be much fanfare with the departure of Business Administrator Scott Rozanski from the city school district, despite his routine presence for two decades.

No surprise, Rozanski was the one to present the yearly budget and the potential financial trappings of bus purchases, school equipment and additional personnel.

More recently, with the dawning of social media, he was also the one to bear the brunt of retorts when stating possible tax rate increases. 

Rozanski has laid it all out with seemingly thoughtful patience, from the multi-page spending plan to myriad school repairs requiring board approval. Whether it was a clock and public address system or a high school roof that was blown apart by a windstorm, it was on Rozanski to explain the expense.

He was hired as Business Administrator in 2003, and as a key advisor to the superintendent, Rozanski oversaw the preparation and administration of the district’s annual operating and capital budgets, administration of internal business operations, audits, management of state aid, insurance, transportation, contract negotiations, and planning of capital construction projects.  

In a prepared statement, he said that it has been an honor and privilege to work for the Batavia City School District and that “I am grateful to have been able to assist our various superintendents and Boards of Education in meeting the educational and community needs in a fiscally responsible manner.”

“The Board has continually provided balance in offering increased opportunities and improvements to both the students and to the community in a cost-effective manner and often at times without increasing the local burden,” he said. “Personally, it has truly been both a deeply satisfying and rewarding aspect of my career, and I am pleased to have been a part of contributing to the many accomplishments. I will always cherish my time here, my Batavia CSD colleagues, and the fine people of Batavia.”

andrew lang
Andrew Lang

The board approved Andrew Lang as the new business administrator during its meeting Monday evening. Lang and his family sat in the audience during the meeting — mostly quiet except for one of his four young children apparently cheering Daddy on.

Most recently, Lang served as school business administrator for the Royalton-Hartland Central School District in Middleport. He is a graduate of Erie Community College and the State University of New York at Brockport, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree, his Master's in Educational Administration, and a Certificate of Advanced Study as a School Business Leader.

He thanked the board for the vote of confidence. He's a Batavia resident whose wife is a Batavia High School grad.

“I appreciate the board and the opportunity to serve with the BCSD team,” he said. “My kids will either attend or be attending.”

In a press release issued Monday evening, Superintendent Jason Smith said that Lang will be a “wonderful addition” to the school district’s leadership team, though he has big shoes to fill with the departure of Rozanski. 

Lang was hired on a three-year probationary term for a pro-rated salary of $102,750. 

Board members to grads: Feed your passion, reach for the stars, enjoy life

By Joanne Beck
Senior Aidan A. Anderson turns his tassle right to left commencing him and the Class of 2023 officially graduated
Aidan A. Anderson celebrates graduation Friday by turning his tassel at Van Detta Stadium.
Photo by Steve Ognibene.

With a name like Aidan A. Anderson, there was little doubt that the Batavia High School senior would not be first up to receive his diploma during Friday evening’s commencement ceremony at Van Detta Stadium. 

And his mom, school board member Korinne Anderson was going to be right there ready and waiting, maybe with some tissues in hand, for the big moment.

"As I hand my son his diploma tonight,  I am sure I will shed some tears.  He leaves Sunday for West Point Military Academy and is quickly onto his next adventure,” his proud mom said earlier Friday. “I will most certainly give out hugs, as being a parent in the district and a board member offers me this unique glimpse into their education experience. And I am most excited to see what they will go and do in this world.”

Anderson is a 1995 graduate of Le Roy High School. She recalled her own experience and “being so excited for the next step,” she said, which was going to college.

“Le Roy was small, which I loved,  but was definitely ready for the next step,” she said. 

Fellow board member Alice Ann Benedict is a Blue Devil alum, BHS Class of 1972. Her walk down memory lane was at the former Mancuso Theater on Main Street in downtown Batavia.

“Our commencement speaker was William H. Updike, a freelance artist. I remember walking down the aisle to the stage to receive my diploma and celebrating with my friends in the audience,” she said. “Our class of ‘72 celebrated its 50th class graduation last summer. Loads of laughs and remembrances. Of course, graduating brings a big change in seniors' lives. Friends move on to new adventures, many going to college, some going into military service and many getting jobs. I remember being sad that I wouldn’t be seeing many of my classmates after our graduation ceremony.

“My advice to the Class of 2023 is to pursue your passions. If you choose a path that feeds that passion, then you’ll always look forward to each day,” Benedict said. “Remember to save for your future, travel as much as possible, and keep your good friends a part of your lives.”

School Board President John Marucci’s graduation ceremony — “way back in 1983 from Maple Grove Jr/Sr. High School in Bemus Point” — was quick and painless, he said, of just 90 kids. They had some “great after-grad activities as well,” he added.

He wanted to wish the Class of 2023 all the best in their future endeavors, whether they were headed to college, the military or jumping head first into the workforce.

“I know you will ALL be successful with whatever you decide to do,” he said. “So always keep reaching for the stars, and never look back because your very bright future is straight ahead. Congratulations and best wishes!”

For board member Barbara Bowman, these Class of 2023 members have already dealt with surprise obstacles with aplomb, which has fortified them for the future, she said.

“The class of 2023 has displayed amazing resiliency as they have coped with the unexpected challenges the pandemic presented.  I would encourage them to never lose sight of their ability to be resilient, to roll with life’s punches, to set goals that are meaningful to them and along the way, to just enjoy life,” Bowman said. “I am incredibly proud, both of the Batavia School District and of the Class of 2023!”

SRO's duties include disturbances, criminal mischief, building relationships and prom

By Joanne Beck
SROs Borchert and Stevens
File Photo of Batavia City School District School Resource Officers Connor Borchert and Miah Stevens.

School Resource Officer Miah Stevens receives a lot of questions about what she does every day at Batavia City Schools, and the answer is simple, she says.

“We're just placed in the school. We do everything we would do on the road and more. We get to build relationships with students, we get to kind of act as counselors in certain situations,” she said during the school board’s meeting this week. “For our agreement with the schools, we go to the training from the state of New York Police Juvenile Officers Association. So we are members of this, and basically they just help us stay up to date on laws that change or any other information that we should need to know.”

She gave the presentation along with the latest addition, second SRO Connor Borchert, who began in September 2022.

"So the roles of an SRO wear many different hats, as you all may know, but typically, the goals of a well-defined SRO program include providing safe learning environments in our nation's schools providing valuable resources, school staff members, fostering positive relationships with youth, developing strategies to resolve problems affecting youth and protecting all students so that they can reach their fullest potential. This is right off of a national school resource officer website,” Borchert said.

A school resource officer (SRO) is defined by that state site as “a carefully selected, specifically trained, and properly equipped law enforcement officer with sworn authority, trained in school-based law enforcement and crisis response and assigned by an employing law enforcement agency to work collaboratively with one or more schools using community-oriented policing concepts.”

So when Stevens is asked what she does, she explains that “we need to participate in the program,” no matter what program that may be. She and/or Borchert were at open houses, Careers and Candy, Shop with a Cop, Polar Plunge, family reading nights, Thanksgiving food drives, bike raffles, Golisano’s Hospital toy drive, Community Night Out, and Lion’s Club Day of Caring.

They were also at various sporting events and banquets, school dances, plays, musicals, the Mr. Batavia competition and graduation ceremonies.

“You know, we're definitely looking for more opportunities to get in the classroom, so the kids know our names and we know their names is truly helpful,” Stevens said. “Some of this is police jargon, it's what we would consider a call, you know, dealing with, we do a lot of community policing, assist, citizen can call for anything. We're doing lockouts for somebody in the parking lot to having somebody with a personal problem. But basically, we have a large range of different types of things we handle, like I said, pretty much anything that we would handle on  the road, if it involves the school in any way.

“You know, it just creates a partnership where now, if students get into an altercation outside of school, they are now coming into school and a lot of times those problems come with them. So it kind of gives the school another resource,” she said. “We get to be that liaison where they can say hey, we heard so and so I was involved in an incident … is there anything we should be on the lookout for and then I can either go back and either I'm getting an email from one of my co-workers or I'm going back and looking at the call log and reading the call and being able to say, okay, this is kind of what we should expect from this.”

Incidents handled or SRO involvements (no total numbers provided) in the 2022-2023 school year included:

  • Harassments
  • Disturbances
  • Suspicious Conditions
  • Mental Health Situations
  • Community Policing
  • Assist Citizen
  • Bus Issues
  • Fire Alarms (Intentional and Accidental)
  • Property Accidents
  • Larcenies
  • Courtesy Transports
  • Superintendent’s Hearings
  • Classroom Lessons
  • Check Welfare
  • Students and staff personal issues
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Home visits
  • 911 Hangup calls
  • Parking Complaints
  • Property Complaints
  • Sporting events
  • Lockdown/ Fire Drills
  • Mediations

Stevens said that adding a second SRO allowed for more feasible coverage of five schools, split up coverage for both officers, and allowed for more positive interactions with staff and students. Both officers will be working toward future goals of a DARE program and the I Love You Guys standard response protocol, which is to enhance proactive communication between the school district, police department and community.

“It's easier now to build relationships with the school community, we have a lot more positive interactions with staff and students, which is really the goal and that's really what we're looking for," she said. "You know, I've had so many more people come up to me this year, now that they're used to seeing my face and they're saying, Oh, my God, I'm so glad you're here today. And then when they get to see both of us and we're both walking around the football games, and we're both handling prom, you know, I had multiple parents come up to us the other night when we were at prom and say, I'm so thankful that you guys are gonna be here all night. Because it's just in this era. It's just, it's an easier solution.”

'More can always be done' to combat threats, superintendent says

By Joanne Beck
Jason Smith
Jason Smith
District Photo

A bomb threat about a school bus in Batavia and a threat to “shoot up a school,” causing a lockout in all Genesee County schools.

Both of those incidents happened in just the last three weeks, and although — thankfully — they were found not to be credible — both were threats of violence involving school children and personnel. Each one stemmed from a call within the City of Batavia, and subsequent investigations found the suspects to be juveniles.

Are they harmless pranks? Can anything with such violence attached — a bomb on a school bus and shooting up a school — be considered harmless? The Batavian reached out to Superintendent Jason Smith to find out what the city school district is doing proactively in light of these recent and potentially increasing threats.

Is the city school district treating students and school bus transportation any differently, any more cautiously, given this and other recent threats -- real or not -- against district students and/or personnel?
“We have a very trusting relationship with STA, our transportation provider, and will continue to rely on that relationship to keep our students safe,” Smith said. “We also have the same relationship with the Batavia Police Department, and this, again, is integral in our successful open, transparent, and real-time communication.

“We continue to remind the entire Batavia community to please report any suspicious behavior, as we appreciate the call received from this most recent threat found to be not credible.”

That call came from a local business that received a call from “what was believed to be a juvenile stating there was a bomb on a school bus” at a location in the City of Batavia, according to Batavia Police Tuesday.

The city school district hired an additional school resource officer this past year -- a cost of approximately $100,000 per officer for salary and benefits -- making it two officers for the district. At the time, shootings in other parts of the country, Texas being one, were named as reasons for bringing more security on board at the district. 

Are School Resource Officers being put to use in any different way given these threats -- Are they more visible? Going on bus rides with students? Are you having increased school assemblies, reminders, precautions within the district?
“Our SROs will be deployed when and where needed, which could include visibility as needed on our school buses,” Smith said. 

While these threats have so far been found to be false, how do you move forward and not treat them all with a "crying wolf" mentality so as not to overlook the one that might actually be real one day? 
“We will never treat a threat as ‘crying wolf,’ we will continue to rely on the experts at the Batavia Police Department to investigate these threats, and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, and our Code of Conduct will be followed,” Smith said.

The city school district has increased its number of counselors available for students, spurred by post-COVID funding and the perceived effects of pandemic protocols on student learning and emotional impacts.

Are you ramping up counseling to try and detect any troubled kids that might be on the edge of a really bad day? What do you look for? How do you react?
“We have an outstanding counseling team, and our Counseling Department Chairperson just updated the Board at our meeting on Monday night. We have a comprehensive counseling plan, a crisis intervention protocol, relationships with outside mental health providers and therapists, school social workers, etc., that all work as a team to provide support to our students and families,” he said. “Our reaction ranges from a variety of steps: calmly, immediately, swiftly, thoughtful, transparently, and/or communicative with relevant parties and stakeholders.

“Since mental health has gained more attention, yes, our counseling team and administration has indeed ramped up efforts to detect and respond to children in need.” 

Monday was Batavia’s Board of Education meeting, and Counseling Department Chair Sherry Crumity presented an update of how the department has been working with students and the various programs being integrated within all grade levels.

Sherry Crumity
Sherry Crumity
District Photo

“It’s been a busy year for counselors this year, but it’s been well worth it,” Crumity said.

Her material is based on a couple of components, including the American School Counselors Association, which provides a national model of school counseling programs to improve student outcomes.

This includes areas of academic performance, attendance, threats, and suicide; disciplinary measures; creating regular assessments to “keep our fingers on the pulse of student needs,” and to boil much of it down: “going back to the basics of learning,” Crumity said.

“The last report we got from them on a state level and through the Counseling Association is that mental health needs in schools are up 52 percent. And that's why we see so much increased funding. So counselors’ roles are definitely changing. We're collaborating more now than the teacher, with outside agencies to help us with different things,” Crumity said. “You're definitely playing a more critical role in social-emotional learning. With COVID, we sort of increased it. But I think now we're kind of really seeing the impacts of students returning to school. So counselors have definitely stepped up to the plate, and sort of navigated whether it's small counseling, large group counseling, individual counseling, meeting with parents more on a regular basis, and definitely expanding our social-emotional activities throughout the building.

“Other counselor roles, definitely, you know, academic achievement strategies, we're working with expanding different academic interventions throughout our buildings for their enrichment activities, activities for students who may have had that gap in learning during COVID,” she said.

Increased programs have meant wellness activities, holiday theme weeks, kindness month, spirit weeks, mix it up days — during which kids will sit with others they don’t typically socialize with during lunchtime to try and avoid the clique atmosphere — student/parent newsletters, peace circles and family nights.

There are four goals, with the first one focusing on social-emotional learning, positive behavior and intervention systems, having alternatives to suspensions to keep kids in school, bullying prevention and inviting student/parent/teacher feedback, according to Crumity’s materials.

Attendance is such an important factor in educational success, that there are three tiers for absenteeism: encouraging better attendance and explaining the importance of why students need to be in school; the second tier is designed to remove any barriers that may be keeping kids home and out of school; and the third is a more intense strategy for those that miss at least 20 percent or more school during the year and it has been found they benefit from a stronger level of support, she said.

“We like to promote healthy relevant teaching models,” she said. “And we're just looking at how to fine-tune the action plan and report more efficiently so that we can see on a regular basis if it's working, and if it's not working.”

Do you feel you're doing everything possible, or does more still need to be done
“Until the threats stop, more always needs to be done,” Smith said. “We continue to need and rely on the support of families, community agencies, law enforcement, and our BCSD staff, and I will personally continue to provide information and updates to our community, families and staff in a timely and transparent manner.”

Sutton hired as director of educational technology at BCSD

By Press Release

Press Release:

Brian Sutton
Brian Sutton
Submitted Photo

Upon recommendation from Superintendent Jason Smith, the Batavia City School District Board of Education approved the appointment of Brian Sutton Monday as the Director of Educational Technology, effective July 1, 2023.

“Brian Sutton has been a respected and impressive leader in the Batavia City School District for many years,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. “What set Brian apart for this position is his clear and compelling vision for the role both operationally and instructionally. I look forward to seeing how he transforms BCSD with his enthusiasm for education and technology.”

Mr. Sutton has served as the Principal of John Kennedy Intermediate since 2020. He previously served as Assistant Principal at Batavia Middle School and as Technology Coach in the Hilton Central School District prior to arriving in Batavia.

“I have had the distinct honor and privilege of working in leadership roles at both John Kennedy Intermediate and Batavia Middle School, where I was able to share my passion for infusing technology into instruction and preparing students with 21st-century skills. I’m thrilled to step into the district-wide role of Director of Educational Technology as I believe there are tremendous opportunities to take our district to new heights of innovation and provide new and exciting learning opportunities for staff, students, and the community,” said Brian Sutton.  

“It is critical we prepare students for our ever-changing society through teaching, computer science, and digital fluency learning standards. I am dedicated to turning over every stone to ensure that, under my leadership, our district continues to progress in both the technological and instructional aspects of education,” said Sutton. 

After a 2022 Comptroller Audit and subsequent independent Technology Department Functional Review in the fall of 2022, Jason Smith, BCSD leadership, and the Board of Education determined that hiring a Director of Educational Technology was a top priority to meet the needs of the district. Following Mr. Sutton’s appointment, he will work with the leadership team to follow up on additional items outlined in the audit and review, including equipment inventory, the re-formation of the Instructional Technology Committee, additional staff and student training, and the implementation of an overall technology curriculum.

“The Board of Education and Jason Smith took the findings of both the Comptroller Audit and resulting Technology Review and made immediate steps towards prioritizing IT needs across the district,” said John Marucci, Board of Education President. “The Director of Educational Technology is a much-needed position on our leadership team, and Brian is a wonderful choice to fill the role. He’s been an exceptional leader at John Kennedy and BMS, and I know he’ll bring his stellar work ethic to the position.”

Mr. Sutton will remain as Principal of John Kennedy Intermediate through June 30. Jason Smith and the BCSD leadership team will immediately begin the search process to name a replacement. 

Photo submitted by Batavia City Schools.

New facilities director hired at Batavia City Schools

By Press Release

Press Release:

chad bliss
Chad Bliss
Submitted photo

On Monday, upon recommendation from Superintendent Jason Smith, the Batavia City School District Board of Education approved the appointment of Chad Bliss as Director of Facilities III, effective June 16, 2023.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Chad Bliss as our new Director of Facilities. Chad brings more than 20 years of leadership and management experience and has a thorough understanding of the scope of operations involved in managing the facilities of a public school system. We look forward to tapping his expertise in all areas, including safety and access systems, energy management, special events, facilities, education, and athletics, as well as his knowledge of New York State codes and regulations,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. 

Mr. Bliss currently serves as the Director of Facilities for the Eden Central School District, and has served as a Construction Manager for Campus Construction Management, a firm that specializes in K-12 capital construction projects. 

“I look forward to working with the BCSD facilities team to ensure our community members take pride in the safety, cleanliness, and appearance of our buildings and grounds,” said Chad Bliss. “I am eager to get started, and I am genuinely excited to become part of the Blue Devils family.” 

“We have a BMS capital project on the horizon, which is outlined in this year’s proposed 2023-24 budget, as well as ongoing tasks to wrap up the 2020 Vision Project, including our Energy Performance Contract. It’s essential that we have dedicated leadership in place to execute these projects, and we’re confident that Chad’s project management, communication, and strategic planning skills will lead us toward success,” said Scott Rozanski, BCSD Business Administrator.

Photo submitted by Batavia City Schools.

School trips on tap for BCSD board meeting

By Joanne Beck


Just as Americans across the country are eager to hit the road for post-COVID travel, Batavia City Schools staff has wanderlust in mind for student trips.

From a chorus trip to New York City and a student excursion to see the inner workings of Washington, D.C., to a competitive journey in an effort to secure a hockey championship in Albany, the trips will be up for review during the board’s meeting next week.

It’s set for 6 p.m. Monday in the Superintendent’s Conference Room at the high school, 260 State St., Batavia.

Teacher Melanie Case is proposing that the Mixed and Treble Chorus take a two-day trip in April 2023. This will give students an opportunity “to perform in a major city, to see a professional musical on Broadway and also to view major historical landmarks, providing a connection with the eighth grade social studies immigration unit,” her supporting materials state.

If approved, the students will not only see the Statue of Liberty, but also perform a cappella style (though still pending), and walk to see the 9/11 Memorial, have dinner at Margaritaville and watch a live theater performance. An estimated cost of about $420 per student is based on a minimum of 40 people registered with First Choice Educational Tours.

A Close-Up trip is proposed by Alex Veltz for six days in Washington, D.C. in March 2023. This program has given students “an in-depth look at the U.S. government and current issues" since it was formed in 1971, according to the supplemental material. Not merely a sight-seeing tour, this program offers learning experiences, workshops, interactive discussions and presentations.

Cost per student is $2,200, with Genesee Valley BOCES paying 60 percent, and students responsible for about $1,000 each,  materials state.

Coaches Marc Staley and John Kirkwood are pitching a trip for the Albany Academy Holiday Tournament. This two-day trip is for Batavia Notre Dame hockey team (United) to play a game on each of the two days, and hopefully ending as a tournament winner.

There will be "no cost for the school with bussing or hotel expenses," organizers said. 

Student fundraisers have begun to offset expenses, including sponsorships, community discount cards and restaurant donations.

Appointments, work change orders and contracts fill most of the remaining agenda.

File Photo of a United hockey player earlier this year, by Howard Owens.

What's old is new again: Robert Morris back in action for fall

By Joanne Beck


City school board members went back to school Monday evening.

They took a tour of the work-in-progress at Robert Morris — closed a decade ago as an elementary site — which will now be operating in full force this year for pre-school and universal pre-kindergarten students after a $225,000 investment so far.

“Pre-school numbers have almost doubled,” Superintendent Jason Smith said during a presentation before the tour. “We had a hard time finding programs to service these students.”

A Little History
District officials decided to close Robert Morris Elementary School in 2012 after it was deemed a savings measure and more efficient to consolidate and students and teachers at to Jackson Primary and John Kennedy Intermediate. The building was used either for district needs (public relations, information technology), or rented out to various organizations, including BOCES, a daycare, 56 Harvester Center, and Arc.

Pre-school numbers began to rise, and the need for space rose with them, Smith said. That resulted in rethinking the use of Robert Morris. After receiving comments that Jackson Primary was getting pretty tight due to increased enrollments, the district bumped up first grade’s eight sections to 10, which then created a need for additional space at Jackson. Four UPK sections are therefore being moved to Robert Morris.

Current Times
Using state funding and grant monies, the new offerings have shifted the physical and philosophical layout of Robert Morris at the corner of Union Street and Richmond Avenue. As Trisha Finnigan, executive director of staff development and operations, said, “we’re using every nook and cranny” of the three-floor building to make the best use of all areas.


The main entrance will be on the east side of the school next to the parking lot, and children will exit on the opposite side at a bus loop. Classrooms are being reconfigured, including a former library, and Community Schools hours will align with the presence of security aides.

There will be five classes to support a total of 64 students in preschool for preschoolers with disabilities who will receive services in a self-contained setting and an integrated classroom with general education students. These students can be three years old for the entire school year and require more intensive interventions through special education.

Board member Alice Benedict asked Finnigan if they’ve considered labeling it something other than preschool since it is so similar to UPK ages.

“We try to be very cognizant of calling it a special education program because there are those two school classrooms also that have general education students, so we don't want people to think that they'd be getting something different than other classrooms,” Finnigan said. “And we'd like to be inclusive when we talk about what we're doing. So it is kind of nice to know that they're not just here alone. Right? They may have been if we hadn’t done this.”


A UPK grant of $672,719 funds up to 112 students — 72 full-day and 40 half-day slots. The district has a waiting list for parents that want full days for their children, and “we are applying for an expansion grant that would convert half-day slots to a full-day slot,” Smith said.

The district is working with Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties to support the regional need for preschool students, and there are 28 enrolled in special education at Robert Morris.

A current Student Transition And Recovery (STAR) program has been moved to the third floor, and the cafeteria has been reopened and prepped to provide meals in classrooms and cafeteria style, Smith said. There has been deep cleaning of the kitchen and cafeteria space, a review of the status of equipment and electrical/plumbing infrastructures, and purchases or upgrades of necessary equipment and supplies.

New staff includes four UPK, seven preschool teachers and 11 teacher aides, plus related service providers for occupational, speech and physical therapies; school resource officer, nurse, administrative, custodial and security aide support. The board approved those new positions during Monday’s regular meeting as part of a long list of additional staff for elementary, middle and high schools.

Security aides, many of whom are retired police officers, are throughout the district for extra safety measures, Smith said. They will provide 15 hours a week at Robert Morris, plus the presence of a school resource officer.

Cost of Change
To date, the district has spent $225,000 to get RM up and running, Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said.

Within that total:

  • $93,000 will be funded by a UPK grant for classroom furniture and interactive boards;
  • $20,000 to be funded by a School Lunch Fund for a dishwasher, garbage disposal, refrigerator and various carts; and
  • $112,000 from the General Fund for carpeting, cabling, a copier, classroom furniture, desks, chairs, intercom, dehumidifier, public address system and emergency lighting upgrades. 

Registration has been moved from the Robert Morris site to the high school administrative wing to reduce foot traffic, and an administrative office will be available on site near the UPK entrance.

Other work performed has included upgraded cabling, interactive boards, cleaning out storage areas, and transferring viable furniture from Jackson to Robert Morris. Walls have been patched, painted and/or repaired in class and bathrooms, carpeting has been replaced, air and asbestos tests conducted in the basement and library, a new intercom and telephone lines installed, and assorted repairs made to vents, plumbing fixtures, and electrical components and new water lines added as needed.

The first day of school is Sept. 7 for all students.







Top photo: City school board member Alice Benedict, left, Superintendent Jason Smith, and board members John Reigle, Jenn Lendvay and Korinne Anderson begin their tour at the east entrance of Robert Morris Monday evening. Trisha Finnigan, executive director of staff development and operations, walks the group through several pre-school and UPK classrooms, and an integrated services room for occupational, speech and physical therapy, shown, as Board President John Marucci takes a peek over a makeshift wall. Photos by Joanne Beck.


Batavia to establish a 'United' modified hockey program

By Joanne Beck


Marc Staley and John Kirkwood, representing Notre Dame and Batavia high schools, respectively, made a pitch — or more accurately, a shot attempt — Monday to the city school board to establish a modified hockey team.

After noticing the number of younger students not qualified for Varsity or Junior Varsity teams, the coaches agreed that there would be enough students for a modified program, they said.

"And we can incorporate these kids already into our summer lifting program into the platform app, and also in our GroupMe app, in which we communicate with them … just to really let the kids know like, even though they're not necessarily in the program right now, that we're aware of them, we want to help start developing them,” Staley said. “And we've seen just tremendous participation from seventh and eighth graders all summer long. Now, I know they're a little younger, they don't have summer jobs and stuff like that, like some of the older kids do. But the numbers really would support a modified program.”

They had originally tallied 16 players and then found two more, a goaltender and a girl hockey player, which lends well to prep for the fastest growing collegiate sport in the country, he said, of women’s hockey.

A fee of $1,800 to cover games and referees would amount to about $100 per athlete, Staley said, not including transportation. A modified program would not compete with youth hockey, though it does “bump up against spring season,” he said.

“We don’t think it’s going to cause much of a problem with schedules,” he said.

Modified teams have one color, and this one would likely be either royal blue or white. The cost of those would be covered by the hockey boosters, he said.

There are 14 modified teams that play in Buffalo, and none in Rochester, he said. There would need to be some practices before they go and play, he said, so “there would be some expense there … less than $1,000.”

Notre Dame would share the cost, and “everything is broken down by kid,” Staley said. Eighth-graders are eligible to try out for junior varsity, however, they must pass a fitness test to do so, Kirkwood said.

“And we don't want to get in a situation where we have an eighth grader who either doesn't pass the test or may not be ready physically for the physicality of a JV team. So to have this option softens the level of effort kids who may not make the JV as an eighth grader but may be a great player,” he said. “So we're trying to mirror some of the most successful programs that are here and saying is this something that we can offer? The only other additional expense would be, maybe before these kids are all going to be in shape, they're going to just play a full hockey season. And they're going to be I think excited to come together for like a little mini-season.”

There are no more league fees, Staley said, which saves thousands of dollars, and “we run a gate now,” which should total $10,000 of admission coming into the program. They have fundraisers for those “soft goods” of gloves, shells and similar needed accessories, and have emphasized the idea of community service, Staley said. Of the 41 kids in Varsity and Junior Varsity, 28 worked at least three hours each at the annual Crossroads garage sale, loading and unloading merchandise.

“I’m a firm believer that, (and tells the kids) if you want the community to come to your games, you better get out there,” he said.

This past year students put in a collective 400 hours of service, “and counting,” he said. He and Kirkwood, a city school district teacher, have challenged the kids to reach 1,000 hours next year. It goes hand-in-hand with playing sports, which would be enhanced by a modified team, he said.

“We think this will be a great step in the right direction, and really give these young kids something to get excited about,” he said.

In his written proposal to the board, Staley offered to be coach of the "United Mod Squad" program without any compensation, as he feels it is part of his role as head coach of the United hockey program. Modified games would be played at Harbor Centre in Buffalo, and go from March 6 through April 23, 2023.

The puck apparently slid into the net. Board members John Marucci, Alice Benedict, Jean Lendvay, Barbara Bowman, Chezeray Rolle, John Reigle, and Korinne Anderson unanimously approved the request.

Photo: John Kirkwood, left, and Marc Staley present their plan to establish a modified hockey program for Batavia City Schools and Notre Dame High School. Photo by Joanne Beck.

Former City Schools board president clears air about 'making assumptions'

By Joanne Beck

Following her assumption that city school district residents may be holding the board responsible for a state audit citing missing equipment and unnecessary spending, former Board of Education President Alice Benedict wanted to clear the air Monday.

While she reads district policies, she may not read every policy, Benedict said, but more to the point, she thought the district was on top of equipment inventories and related service fees.

“I thought the district was keeping track … and then we found out that it wasn’t,” Benedict said during the board’s meeting at Batavia High School. “I think there are some things in the district that we are making assumptions about. It was assumptions I made that it was being taken care of.”

Superintendent Jason Smith had previously issued a press release listing the state

Comptroller's findings, including nearly 300 pieces of technology equipment that were missing or otherwise unaccounted for, and a related $17,000 service fee paid for those items. 

She didn’t want any one board member to feel it was his or her fault, Benedict said.

Board President John Marucci, along with Smith, answered questions from The Batavian that were published earlier Monday. Marucci pointed to his comments in that article about feeling disappointed in the findings and encouraged by Smith's response.

“I was not happy with it at all,” Marucci said.

He also said that he has the “utmost faith” in Smith and district staff to take the appropriate corrective measures to stop this type of thing from happening again.

Smith said that systems are in place and that by working with a third-party consultant, the district is developing a plan of action to remedy those procedures that either were not in place or fell through the cracks, especially during personnel changeovers and COVID protocols.

The consultant — Webster-Szanyi law firm — was selected out of five proposals at a net cost of $8,753.13 to the district after BOCES aid was deducted. The Batavian submitted a question to Smith about the total aid received.

The law firm is providing the district with two educational consultants who specialize in school technology service reviews, Smith said. Work has already begun, and is to be finished by January, he said.

Here is the prior announcement about the audit from Smith.

Some new titles, faces and a position for Genesee County school districts

By Joanne Beck

July is the time for reorganization, and that means newly elected board leaders — and one new position — for some of the eight public school districts in Genesee County. These changes are in effect from July 1 to June 30, 2023.

Alexander Central School: Brian Paris will continue as president, and Molly Grimes, sworn in for her second five-year term, was elected vice president, Superintendent Jared Taft said.

For more information about the Board of Education, go to: Alexander 

Batavia City School District: John Marucci went from vice president to president, and John Reigle was elected as vice president during the board’s meeting on July 7. Newly elected member Korinne Anderson will fill the vacancy left by Michelle Hume.

For more information about the city’s Board of Education, go to Batavia  

Byron-Bergen Central School:  According to the district’s website, Debra List is president and Yvonne Ace-Wagoner, vice president.

For more information about the board, go to Byron-Bergen 

Elba Central School: Michael Riner was elected as president and Travis Torrey as vice president, said District Clerk Donna Harris.

New board member Mercy Caparco filled a vacancy left by longtime board member Michael Augello, who had served 10 years on the board as a member and president.

For more information about the board, go to Elba   

Le Roy Central School: Superintendent Merritt Holly reported that Jackie Whiting was elected as president and Rich Lawrence for vice president.

For more information about the board, go to Le Roy

Oakfield-Alabama Central School: Justin Staebell remains as president and Jackie Yunker Davis as vice president, Superintendent John Fisgus said.

There is a bit of news for the district’s board, though, he said. A new position was approved as part of the budget vote in May.

“For the first time in Oakfield-Alabama, we do have a student ex-officio board member that sits on our board as a student body representative,” Fisgus said. “His name is Aiden Warner, and he will be going into his senior year here.”

For more information about the board, go to Oakfield-Alabama 

Pavilion Central School: According to the district’s website, Marirose Ethington was elected president and Jeff Finch as vice president.

For more information about the board, go to Pavilion  

Pembroke Central School: John Cima was re-elected as president and Ed Levinstein as vice president, Superintendent Matthew Calderon said.

For more information about the board, go to Pembroke


Honesty and transparency are goals for new Batavia school board president

By Joanne Beck

John Marucci has a message for his district citizens.

He is an open book, he says. And the newly elected Batavia City Schools board president intends to lead the board with a commitment to “honesty and transparency.” That means don’t be afraid to contact him when necessary.


“Please reach out to me should you have any questions or concerns. I’m here to assist the members of the district in any way I can,” he said to The Batavian. “I’ve lived in Batavia for eight years and absolutely love this community. I look forward to serving you in this new capacity.”

What do you see as priorities for the board president?
My priorities as BCSD Board of Education president include ensuring that Superintendent (Jason) Smith and our school administration have everything they need to successfully execute the programs and initiatives outlined in our recently passed budget,” Marucci said. “I’m proud to work alongside my fellow BOE members, who are very committed to supporting the BCSD and doing what's best for our students, staff and community.”

Marucci was recently sworn into his new role, which officially began July 1. Each board term runs through June 30 of the following year. This is Marucci’s second three-year term, and it expires in 2025. He will be coming in as the board leader with prior experience as the vice president for a year. As 2022 progresses onward toward 2023, he looks forward to working through the budget process and planning for the future, he said.

He’s also excited to be able “to work in a closer capacity with Superintendent Smith,” he said, adding that he thinks Smith was a “fantastic hire” who is going to do great things for the city school district.

“I think he's done a phenomenal job during his first few months with us and I can't wait to see what he does in the future,” Marucci said.

What goals would you like to set for the board and its role with the district for this next year?
“The BCSD BOE actually sets our goals collectively each fall,” he said. “We have an upcoming retreat planned where we'll all come together a


nd collaborate on what we hope to prioritize for the upcoming school year.”

Marucci has been a resident of Batavia since July of 2014. Three of his children are Batavia High School graduates and a son is in the Class of 2025 at the school. Marucci has served on the Batavia Bulldawgs Board and as a coach for seven years. He is a recipient of the Jim Ellegate Memorial Award by The Niagara / Orleans Football Association for “The Love  of the Game and More Importantly The Love of Children." He previously served as the head coach for the BCSD Modified Wrestling Team and also assisted in coaching Batavia Little Devils Youth Wrestling Club. 

Giving credit where it's due
Aside from his own personal and professional goals, Marucci wants to thank former board President Alice Ann Benedict for her leadership during the last two years. Being a veteran board member who also served on the board for several years before this stint, Benedict provided an education for other members, he said.

“She is a seasoned member of the Board of Education, and I certainly learned a lot about being president by sitting beside her. I was always impressed with how she ran meetings, how professional she was, and (how) she presented herself and the district,” he said. “I’m extremely happy that she has another year with us on her current term, where she'll continue to be able to contribute her knowledge and passion for education and the district.” 


Benedict’s term is up on June 30, 2023. Member John Reigle, whose term is up in 2024, was voted in as vice president during the group’s recent reorganizational meeting. 

Reigle was appointed to the board in August 2020 to fill a vacancy.  He and his wife, Ashlee, have three children – one who graduated in 2020, another who attends BHS, and one who attends John Kennedy Intermediate.

A lifelong Batavia resident, he earned a football scholarship to South Dakota Tech upon his graduation from BHS, and he played there for three years, studying business before returning home. He is currently the manager of Timebuyer Auto Sales and has remained active in youth sports as a founding member and commissioner of the Batavia Bulldawgs Youth Football and Cheer program. 

Reigle believes that, with his relationships with the district families, teachers, and faculty members, that "I will contribute towards the continued success of our district both academically as well as with our extracurricular activities such as athletics, arts, and music," he said. 

Batavia City Schools board approves optional mask policy

By Joanne Beck

Batavia City School District's Board of Education met early this morning to take a vote on making face masks optional per New York State Governor Kathy Hochul's decision to rescind the mask mandate earlier this week.

In just under three minutes, a resolution citing that "The Governor of the State of New York and the Commissioner of Health declared that face coverings are no longer mandated to be universally worn in school buildings in New York State effective March 2, 2022" was approved. The vote received a unanimous yes by board members John Reigle, Barbara Bowman, Jennifer Lendvay, Chezeray Rolle and John Marucci.

The only item of business conducted during the meeting was the vote "regarding modification of COVID-19 measures." 

The meeting is available on YouTube at:


Pembroke board cancels regular meeting, schedules a special one for this week

By Joanne Beck

Pembroke Central School’s regular board meeting on Feb. 22 has been canceled, however, an impromptu meeting has been scheduled for this week, Superintendent Matthew Calderon says.

The original meeting was scheduled during the board’s reorganizational session this past July. It was more recently deemed unnecessary due to no “pressing business," Calderon said to The Batavian on Monday.

An Unexpected “more pressing issue" arose, he said Tuesday, prompting a special board meeting to be set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the district office, corner of routes 5 and 77. 

“Basically, we recently had a bid opening for our ADA/BCS capital project, and the board needs to award the bids sooner than later in order to start the project on time,” Calderon said. “That is the main reason for the meeting, and we will also approve a few other items.”

The capital project stems from Americans with Disabilities Act and Building Conditions Survey (ADA/BCS) issues. A meeting agenda is to be posted on the district’s website by Wednesday, he said.

For more information, go to:

O-A Board of Education sets emergency meeting to prepare for mandate expiration

By Joanne Beck

As a state mask mandate for schools creeps toward its Feb. 21 expiration date, at least one Genesee County school plans to be officially armed.

Oakfield-Alabama Central School has set an emergency Board of Education meeting this week to vote on a resolution regarding masks in schools. The meeting is at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Junior-Senior High School, 7001 Lewiston Road. 

“We’re waiting on a final determination about whether it will be extended or lifted,” Superintendent John Fisgus said to The Batavian Monday. “There’s a lot of advocacy out there …we want some type of end goal in preparation for the possibility for the mandate to be lifted. Our board wants to be proactive. When and if it’s lifted, we will be prepared when it's lifted. Masking will be optional.”

At the beginning of this year, the choice for masking was “split down the middle,” Fisgus said. That has shifted.

“An overwhelming majority want it to be a personal choice,” he said. “I’m not advocating for masks; I’m advocating for personal choice. In the last month or so there’s been a huge movement to lift the mandate and let people decide on their own.” 

The board's resolution reads, in part: “The Board of Education seeks to allow parents and students the freedom to choose whether to wear a mask indoors on school property or on a school bus.” It will give the superintendent the executive power necessary to implement protocols and procedures which allow parents and students the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a mask within and on school property. 

This move also includes the authority to modify school protocols “if the need arises due to future health concerns, emergency situations and/or necessary means for the health and safety of students and school staff alike.”

Oakfield-Alabama was one of eight Genesee County public school districts to sign a letter for New York State Governor Kathy Hochul requesting that each district be granted authority to create and enforce its own COVID-19 rules, rather than being told what to do by the state. 

Batavia City Schools Superintendent Jason Smith sent the letter on behalf of Alexander, Byron-Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield-Alabama, Pavilion, and Pembroke school districts. Although there’s been a strong focus on whether or not to wear masks, the letter did not have that emphasis, Smith said. 

“It’s not just about masks, it’s how schools are run,” he said. “I’d say for every 10 emails, at least eight are for local control about the masks, and are strongly opposed to the mask mandate. We’re engaged in conversations, and listening to the parents and to the medical folks. We’ll be ready when the time comes to have a plan.”

The state mandate is set to expire on Feb. 21. Batavia’s Board of Education meeting may be a venue for further discussions, Smith said. It’s set for 6 p.m. Feb. 17 at Batavia High School’s library, 260 State St., Batavia. 

In other school news, Le Roy Central and Pembroke Central school districts have board meetings this week. Le Roy’s meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Wolcott Street Elementary School memorial auditorium and includes a budget presentation for the 2022-23 school year.

Likewise, Pembroke’s agenda includes a budget presentation for its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Jr/Sr High School Library Media Center, routes 5 and 77 in Corfu.

BHS principal and student share new ways to make students feel heard at Batavia City School District

By Joanne Beck


Batavia High School senior and school board student representative Kylie Tatarka prepared board members Thursday that there were both positive and negative items in her monthly report. 

The positive was that many school activities — high school football games, boy and girl swim teams, a production of Sherlock Holmes — “have been very successful,” Tatarka said. 

“And now, due to the pamphlet,” she said during the board’s December meeting at BHS. “Students have expressed a lack of safety due to that situation, which was addressed by our administration.”

That “situation” was two weeks ago, when some students, who were frustrated by what they believed was inaction to bullying by the district, created written materials and began to organize a walk-out. Social media buzzed with comments as the school ended up closing for a day following the perceptions of threats of violence and after the distribution of those materials. The district closed Dec. 3 after reports of threats of violence at buildings in the district began circulating on social media.

On the plus side, high school counselors visited classrooms to understand how students have been feeling, Tatarka said, and how the district could potentially make them feel safer. 

“This process went well, where many kids said they finally felt heard by this administration,” she said. “Students go through a lot of stress, especially right now, and we need adults to help go through this together. Communication and trust is key.”

As a senior with little time left in school before graduation, Tatarka still looks forward to seeing a change, she said, “especially for my friends, my peers and my own sibling who goes to school with me.” She was also speaking up for those younger classmates that will remain in school behind her. 

“So I urge you all to think about students first,” she said.

High School Principal Paul Kesler reiterated the student ex-officio's remarks about how counselors went into each social studies class to give all students an opportunity to express their feelings, thoughts and concerns. 

“Their struggle right now is real, they’re feeling a sense of loss in many ways, our staff is feeling that also,” Kesler said. “This is a good time to get some feedback on that.”

There were positive and negative comments, and suggestions  to be followed up on next year, he said. Bullying specifically wasn’t the hot topic, he said, whereas the effects of COVID-19 and the related distancing policy this past year seemed to have a bigger impact on students, he said. 

“A lot of feedback came back in terms of student’s mental health. I have seen that mental health needs have increased. Students have felt the loss of activities, like not having traditional school dances,” he said, listing some of the students’ suggestions. “They talked about public affirmation of the great things that they’re doing; publicize those on announcements more. They want more classroom meetings. It’s important to hear from marginalized students.” 

Another suggestion, indicative of youth’s technological savvy, was to create a check-in sheet with a bar code so that students can remain anonymous while reaching out for help and/or to share concerns about someone else. The feedback so far was a good start, Kesler said, and counselors will be revisiting with students in a similar way in late January.

“All in all, I’m really proud of our students,” he said. “They’ve been really resilient in difficult situations.”

While on the topic of student safety, Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping referred to a TikTok message that has been circulating nationally.  The Federal Bureau of Investigations and law enforcement concluded that any such threat is unfounded, he said. City police are aware of the post and will monitor the situation, he said.

The popular site TikTok has suggested that school shootings are to take place in a nationwide TikTok school threat challenge on Friday, apparently titled National Shoot Up Your School Day.

The post encourages students to make threats of violence against their school. Some districts are reportedly taking heavier precautions, such as Scotia-Glenville Central School and West Genesee in Syracuse.

Top photo: Batavia High School Principal Paul Kesler reviews the steps taken so far to connect with students, hear them out and develop a list of potential remedies for the void left by COVID-19 protocols. Photo by Howard Owens

Genesee Valley School Boards Association holds meeting for potential trustees on March 20, must RSVP

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Are you interested in running for a seat on your local school board? The Genesee Valley School Boards Association (GVSBA) is holding an informational meeting for potential school board candidates at 7 p.m. on March 20.

The meeting will be held at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, 80 Munson St. in Le Roy.

This meeting will help you understand the steps that you must take to be included in the election, and what you can expect as a board member.

The meeting will also include panel discussions, featuring Patrick Burk, executive director of the GVSBA; other panelists are a newer board of education member, a veteran member, as well as a school superintendent.

The program will be a comprehensive look at what is required to run for election, some basic education law and the roles and responsibilities of a board of education member.  

This is an excellent way for a community member to become involved with the educational program in their home town,” Burk said.

Local school boards are comprised of five, seven or nine members, depending on the school district, and terms are either three or five years. Commitment, time and skills as well as required training and programs will also be discussed.

Refreshments will be served. Registration is required; please contact Burk or Sandra Lee James at (585) 344-7537.

Volunteers Sought for Foundation to Support Batavia City School District

By Kathie Scott

   The Batavia City School District Board of Education is forming a committee to establish a foundation to support the District and is looking for interested community members to serve on it.  In particular, the Board would like to encourage participation by individuals with experience in the areas of finance, endowment, not-for-profit, fund-raising, banking, education, or public school law .
   If interested, please contact the Superintendent's office at 343-2480 ext 1000.

School tax rate decreases, other highlights from Batavia City School District Board of Education Meeting

By Kathie Scott

Highlights from the Batavia City School District (BCSD) Board of Education meeting on Sept. 17 include the following:

  • Tax rate adjusted ~ Decreases to lowest level in 10-plus years           
  • Reminder: Re-register for Basic STAR exemption by Dec. 31
  • District goals outlined
  • BOE president’s report
  • Superintendent elected to Board
  • Auditors review financial statements
  • BHS Homecoming in full swing

Tax rate adjusted ~ decreases to lowest level in 10-plus years

As a result of savings realized from the consolidation of schools, as well as some reevaluation and reassessment of properties, homeowners will see a 3.95--percent reduction in the school tax rate, or a $0.91 decrease per $1000 of assessed property value (to $22.14 per $1,000 of assessed property value). This is the lowest tax rate for the District in more than 10 years.

Reminder: Re-register for Basic STAR exemption by Dec. 31

Bill Smist of the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) explained the new legislation that requires all homeowners who receive the Basic STAR exemption to register with the Tax Department by Dec. 31 in order to receive the exemption in 2014 and beyond. The legislation is an attempt to eliminate any inappropriate exemptions.

The requirement to re-register does not affect those seniors who receive the Enhanced STAR exemption. The process for Enhanced STAR has not changed.

Homeowners currently enrolled in Basic STAR have likely received notification of the requirement. That letter of notification included instructions and information to complete the process, but residents are able to register even without the letter. Smist emphasized that registration is both easy and quick. It can be done online at by clicking on the tab, “Register for STAR.” It can also be done via phone: 518-457-2036, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To register, residents will need their STAR code (included in the notification letter or available through the “STAR code lookup” link on the DTF Web site or through their phone assistance) and the names and Social Security numbers of all owners of the property and their spouses. Registrants will also be asked to confirm that the property is the primary residence of one of its owners (married couples with multiple residences may only claim one STAR exemption), that the combined income of the owners and spouses who reside at the property does not exceed $500,000 annually, and that no resident owner received a residency-based tax benefit from another state.

More information is available on the Web site or by calling the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance: or 518-457-2036.

District goals

For the complete presentation by Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey, please click on this link (or copy into your browser): .

Included here is a brief overview:

In introducing the District Goals for 2013-2014, Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey noted the District’s commitment, as articulated in the Mission and Vision statements, to empowering students to achieve their maximum potential and developing students who are able to successfully meet life’s challenges. He also emphasized the priority for continually improving the number of graduates who are college and career ready.

The four goals include: (1) close learning gaps UPK-12; (2) implement the second year of District Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans; (3) be fiscally sound; and (4) improve communication.

Steps to close learning gaps include such measures as implementing improvement plans aligned with the new Common Core Learning Standards; monitoring, reviewing, and adjusting strategies and programs; and providing and developing the resources and professional development needed for academic growth. The continuation of implementing APPR plans calls for utilizing the process as fully as possible for improving instruction, with the goal of having all teachers and principals rated as Effective/Highly Effective by Sept. 1, 2014.

In its aim to continue fiscal responsibility, the District will work toward creating a budget for 2014-2015 that is at or below the allowable tax cap while maintaining programs, managing the Capital Improvement Project, seeking revenue sources as well as more shared services, and advocating for our district at the local, regional and state level.

Communication goals include improving and increasing use of the Web site, Facebook, automated calling system, building and District newsletters, and local media; increasing meetings with community groups; adding Twitter accounts for each school building and video streaming the Board of Education meetings.

In addition, Superintendent Dailey touched on the Three-Year Vision which expands on the listed goals for improved academics and finances.

In closing, he noted that he believes the Batavia City School District will continue to lead, not follow, our region in success and achievements.

BOE president’s report

BOE President Patrick Burk outlined a number of goals to be considered for adoption by the Board. He and the superintendent will work together to bring a set of proposals to the Board for review, and he requested that all Board members forward any ideas they have to him.

Burk also noted that there has been high turnover of Board of Education members throughout the Genesee Valley region. The number of new board members in Western New York may be a challenge as Board members, administrators, and other concerned community residents continue to advocate, as a region, for such things as adequate funding for our students’ education.

In its continued efforts for championing local concerns, the Genesee Valley School Board Association is hosting a dinner meeting on Sept. 26 to bring together advocates of rural school districts. For more information about the dinner, contact Jim Thompson at 344-7947 or

Superintendent elected to Board

Superintendent Dailey has been elected to the New York State Association of Small City School Districts, which will provide another platform which can be utilized to advocate for our district.

Auditors review financial statements

Audit Committee Chair Phil Ricci reported that the committee met with the auditors to review financial statements from the last fiscal year. Noting that the auditors had few and minor comments, he commended Business Administrator Scott Rozanski and District Treasurer Sally Sanford, particularly in the progress regarding Medicaid and Student Activities reports, where neither had any problematic findings.

BHS Homecoming in full swing

Student Ex-officio Board Member Samir Jain updated the Board members on high school events, including activities for Homecoming Week, Sept. 16-21. (See listing on the District Web site:

Superintendent Dailey noted that tickets are still available through the Athletics Office for the annual Athletic Hall of Fame dinner to be held at Terry Hills on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Q & A with Batavia School Board candidates

By Daniel Crofts

The Batavia City School District Board of Education will have its budget vote and member election on Tuesday, May 15. The candidates for election/reelection have shared their views in a series of interviews with The Batavian. Click the names of the candidates below to read the interviews.

There are five candidates running, including three incumbents -- Phil Ricci, Gary Stich and Gail Stevens -- and two newcomers -- Gretchen DiFante and Dennis Warner.

Warner declined our request for an interview.

Phil Ricci interview

Gary Stich interview

Gretchen DiFante interview

Gail Stevens interview

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. at Batavia's John Kennedy Elementary School, at 166 Vine St., for school district residents who live north of Route 5, and Batavia High School, at 260 State St., for those who live south of Route 5.

For more information on the budget, see the May 1 article, Batavia district pitches budget with a nearly 2-percent increase in the tax levy.

For some specifics on the background of each candidate, see their short biographies on the district Web site.

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