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Pembroke Central School District

April 18, 2022 - 8:00am


Editor's Note: The Batavian has reached out to all public school districts in Genesee County to check on how the budget season has been going so far. School district responses will be published as they are received.

While neither Oakfield-Alabama nor Pembroke school districts plan to eliminate any jobs, each would like to add at least one position, including a social worker and maintenance person, to the 2022-23 budget.

First up is Oakfield-Alabama Central School, which reports a tax levy “way under” the cap of 1.97 percent. With a proposed 2022-23 budget of $23,589,606, or a 10.45 percent increase, the district is looking at a 1.1 percent tax levy increase, Superintendent John Fisgus said.

Although expenses for this next year are “hard to manage and estimate at times,” the district has proposed adding three positions: one elementary school special education teacher, one maintenance worker and one guidance office secretary.

During the school board’s March 15 meeting, the need for a maintenance worker was reviewed and explained. There have been two grounds and one maintenance staff to tend to the district’s property, sports fields and building maintenance. The proposed additional position is “no reflection on staff,” Fisgus said, but is called for given the amount of work to be done. 

There are 70 acres to maintain and landscape, which gives each of the two grounds people 35 acres each. Adding a maintenance position would reduce that to about 23 acres each. Maintenance also does the winter snowplowing in addition to grooming the baseball and football fields and other outdoor areas, he said. This person would also serve as a backup for the existing staff. As it is, the district is down one grounds person, which will be replaced, he said.  

“I always thought the size of this district was small and rural, but wow, do we have land,” he said. “Especially with the capital project. We want to make sure our maintenance can keep up with the (work to be done). If someone called in … we’re very worried.”

The current staff has been doing “quite a bit of overtime” to get tasks done, Director of Facilities Jordan Yager said. “They’ve done an awesome job; they just can’t get to everything they need to get done.”

Hiring the additional position would cut down on overtime, he said. 

Good news for the district is a state aid boost of $1.5 million more or an 11 percent increase, Fisgus said. As for predicting future costs, “it's a guessing game when we don't know the outcome of the Governor's Budget,” he said. 

“With the increased costs of gasoline, electricity, and other utilities, we have to forecast out how much longer these increased expenses might continue,” he said. “The inflation rates along with the allowable levy growth factor play into our decision-making when calculating our expenditures.” 

Although revenues are up by $2,168,785 from this past year, he is concerned about Foundation Aid, which has tentatively reflected a decrease of about $100,000 from what the district expected, he said.

“That’s huge for a small rural school. We will need to wait and see what the Governor’s budget entails,” he said. “Our Board of Education is well informed to make the most appropriate and fiscally responsible decisions for our community. I praise their work and commitment to our students, staff, teachers, administrators, and school community. It also helps to have the best Business Adminstrator around to navigate these waters.”

This year’s budget ballot will include a proposition to add a student representative to the Board of Education in 2023. Fisgus is “excited for the opportunity” to have a student on the board, he said. Student ex-officios provide input and updates from the student community, and typically do not vote on district matters. 

“We will have a separate proposition on the ballot for our community to vote on this,” he said.

Pembroke Central School does not have a proposed budget as of yet, Superintendent Matthew Calderon said. District officials usually recommend a tax levy increase of about 2 percent, even though “there are times when the tax cap is far above that,” he said.

Since the tax cap formula includes a calculation for a capital outlay project, he is proceeding with caution before determining a tax levy and related increase or decrease.

“We are waiting for the state budget to pass to determine whether or not we can include a capital outlay project in the proposed budget. That decision will affect our final allowable tax cap and is to be determined,” he said. 

Total expenses are also to be determined, he said,given that “there are expenses that are out of our control.” Those expenses include the rising costs for utilities and health insurance, “which limits our capacity to expand programs for students.”

An increase in state aid, based on the governor’s initially proposed budget, was not enough to cover the district’s preliminary budget, Calderon said. That may mean some belt-tightening if necessary.

“We are prepared to reduce costs to eliminate any deficit,” he said. “And a few retirements may assist in doing that.”

Pembroke is looking at adding one social worker position to “better support the social-emotional needs of students, families and employees,” he said. There are no plans to eliminate any positions.

As for the budget process, there is one big, unanswered question.

“It is challenging to propose and finalize a school district budget when the state budget is late,” Calderon said. 

School budget votes are on May 17, and each school district will conduct a hearing/presentation at least one week prior to the vote. Oakfield-Alabama's hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 10  and Pembroke's hearing is at 6:30 p.m. May 10.

File photo: A new tennis court at Oakfield-Alabama is one of the items needing maintenance at the district, officials say. Photo by Howard Owens.

February 16, 2022 - 7:55am

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: https://www.pembrokecsd.org/page/board-of-education-home-page

April 9, 2021 - 2:05pm
Video Sponsor

For National Poetry Month, we asked several local school superintendents to read a poem for us. The first submission comes from Matthew Calderon, superintendent of Pembroke Central schools. He's reading "Sick" by Shel Silverstein.

February 22, 2021 - 12:55pm


The 2020 Art Schock Award presented by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation to a transportation supervisor for effective communication and leadership skills has the name of Donna Hackett on it but in the recipient’s eyes, it belongs to the entire Pembroke Central School District family.

Contacted today by The Batavian, Hackett’s first word was just that – Pembroke.

“Pembroke is an amazing place to let all of this happen,” she said. “They certainly support me in ways that are outstanding for a little district like we are. To me, this is a team award; one person can’t make anything happen.”

She then thanked administration for being receptive to bus garage needs.

“Our little Pembroke bus garage is such a team. The principals support us, the athletic director supports us. Everybody works together. And our drivers are amazing, caring hearts. It’s a districtwide award, I truly believe that,” she said.

NYAPT representatives Peter Lawrence, of Fairport, and David Dwyer, of Geneseo, traveled to Pembroke Superintendent Matthew Calderon’s office on Jan. 29 for the virtual presentation, which can be seen on YouTube. The award was formally announced last Friday.

All of the bus transportation employees lined the superintendent’s office – wearing face coverings and social distancing -- to witness the presentation.

Lawrence shared information about Hackett, who has served as transportation supervisor for the past 17 of her 30 years at the school, as well as comments submitted by Pembroke staff members who supported her.

He credited her for participating in the school bus rodeo and organizing a poster contest, for leadership positions with the Pembroke Volunteer Fire Department and at her church, plus her involvement with the American Red Cross. She also served on the New York State Bus Customer Advisory Panel for years in an effort to improve bus safety.

One of Hackett’s colleagues emphasized the numerous qualities that she brings to work every day -- sincere enthusiasm, integrity, communication skills, loyalty, decisiveness, managerial skills, empowerment and encouragement.

Others spoke of her ability as a mentor and desire to make things as efficient as possible.

In an emotional tribute, Calderon’s remarks focused on Hackett’s leadership and her role in keeping Pembroke students in the classroom.

“The governing authorities would tell us that it’s not essential for our kids to be in school every day. And by extension, they would say that school bus drivers are not essential,” he said. “This year, Pembroke is proving how essential it is for kids to be in school every day – and the day starts with the bus drivers and they’re led by you.”

“I want to thank you for your leadership and I am super optimistic that we will go through the 2020-21 school year without ever having to close. I believe that, and it all has to do with you and your fleet. You are super, super deserving of this award.”

Hackett said she is proud that Pembroke has been open full time through COVID-19, adding that she has “learned and shared a lot of information through NYAPT to make this happen.”

“We want Pembroke to stay open and we’re doing all that we need to do," she said. "Honestly, I have had no illness of my drivers this whole time, since September. Everyone has been here every day, just doing it." 

She said the staff consists of two mechanics, four bus monitors and 27 drivers with a fleet of 29 vehicles. Things have been busier lately since interscholastic sports and field trips are back on the schedule.

“It’s kind of extra because we’re running jayvees separately from varsity,” she said. “We’re not putting too many people together at once, so it makes for a little extra work but the kids are going back to their sports and that’s exciting.”

Hackett recalled starting as a substitute bus driver in 1990.

“I just fell in love with school bus transportation. As a bus driver, that wasn’t something I had planned on doing, but my landlady at the time was a bus driver and suggested it to me. It was perfect for our family,” she said.

“I had a newborn daughter. I thought that I could be the working mom and just couldn’t do it, so I became a bus driver, and that was phenomenal. Falling in love with all of these kids here. And when the supervisor position came open, I took that.”

She said her bachelor’s degree in Accounting Management has helped her in her job.

“It worked really well as we were able to revamp our district and then to learn the industry. NYAPT was absolutely instrumental in Pembroke being up on all their rules and regulations, and best practices. They gave me the tools to make Pembroke as amazing as it is.”

Calderon mentioned that Hackett has served as a NYAPT officer, providing important input into developing numerous state-level goals and objectives.

“She keeps us informed about important changes to the law, needed advocacy and best practices. Her efforts have resulted in our having the safest (and best looking) fleet of buses in our region!,” he said. “Her cost-effective systems have saved us time and money in maintenance costs. She advocates for students, for drivers and mechanics alike.”

A Pembroke High graduate, she and her husband, Bruce, live in East Pembroke. They have two daughters -- Jes Montroy, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) teacher at Pembroke High, and Kate Miller, an engineer at Moog Inc. in East Aurora -- and a grandson, Oakley, a first-grader at Pembroke Primary School.

Established in 1983, the award is named after Art Schock, a longtime transportation supervisor at Sweet Home Central School who served as the organization’s fourth president in 1980. He passed away in December of that year.

Dwyer said recipients of this award demonstrate traits such as dedication, compassion, leadership, innovation and the ability to communicate – characteristics embodied by Schock that helped build and advance the mission of NYAPT.

Photo: Donna Hackett displays her award from the NYS Association for Pupil Transportation in front of the adoring eyes of her Pembroke Central School District bus garage employees. Submitted photo.

February 19, 2021 - 8:39am

Pembroke Central School District residents Thursday overwhelmingly approved a $1.69-million multifaceted capital project for repairs and renovation of the bus garage at the Intermediate School at 58 Alleghany Road (Route 77) in Corfu.

The work is being funded by state aid and $400,000 from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund, and will have no impact on the local property tax rate, according to Superintendent Matthew Calderon.

The vote was 139 in favor and 35 against.

Improvements to the bus garage include replacing: the bus lift; fuel island; interior lighting; windows in the lift bay; offices and drivers’ area; entry doors; and overhead door operators.

Additional work involves adding electrical power on three light poles, repairing building electrical ground, repointing brick, splitting the heat system to provide greater efficiency, and installing screen wall/wind screens and parts storage shelving.

The district's board of education has scheduled another capital project proposition for May to address Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and Building Condition Survey issues, Calderon said, noting that the spring proposal also will not result in an increase to the taxpayer.

June 16, 2020 - 10:37pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Pembroke Central School District.

Voting on Pembroke Central School's $23,679,522 budget, proposition and board of education election:

Proposition #1 – Budget
Yes – 952
No – 543

Proposition #2 – Purchase of school buses
Yes – 893
No – 601

School Board – Unexpired Term
Daniel Lang – 1,311
School Board – Five-Year Term
Heather Wood – 1,258

Corfu Public Library Board
Kimberly Harlach
Julie Hengenius
Kristie Miller

June 13, 2020 - 2:37pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Greg Kinal, Pembroke Central School District.





Greg Kinal vividly recalls the first time he set foot on the Pembroke Central High School grounds in the weeks leading up to the 1970-71 school year.

“I remember the first day I came here,” Kinal said earlier today, reflecting upon a teaching career in Dragon country that has reached the 50-year mark and shows no signs of ending. “You see that large sign (on the front of the main entrance). Well, the old sign was, and I’m not kidding, maybe this big (using his hand to show that the letters were maybe eight inches high) and made of steel.”

Kinal said he drove from his Elma home to his interview – the first time he had ever been to Genesee County – but wasn’t sure if he was in the right place.

“I didn’t know if this was the school. So, I pulled into the driveway and I remember squinting, looking at the sign, and then I saw Pembroke, and then I parked and went in for my interview,” he said. “And I remember distinctly the interview.”

He said he was hired by "Prof" Lane, the superintendent, and Mr. Choate.

“They called him Prof Lane and there was a reason – you didn’t talk back to Prof Lane,” he said. "And technology-wise, they gave me a piece of chalk and a chalkboard. Plus, I also got a paddle, and they told me to use it. Of course, times have changed since then.”

Yes, teaching has changed significantly over five decades, but Kinal’s classroom savvy and flair have set a standard of excellence that is valued by his colleagues, administrators, parents, grandparents and former students.

The community celebrated Kinal’s long and productive career today with a 50-vehicle parade that started at Pembroke Town Park and ended a short distance later at the school where he and his family waited to show their appreciation. The caravan was led by a Genesee County Sheriff’s patrol car and included a Village of Corfu police car driven by Officer David Drozdiel (in photo above with Kinal).

“This is unbelievable to me,” said Kinal, 72, who has taught eighth-grade Social Studies at Pembroke for all these years and now also teaches a 12th-grade Sociology class. “I think there are many deserving teachers in Genesee County and me being singled out, it’s very humbling to me.”

Kinal, a well-known expert of history who speaks frequently at events throughout Western New York, said his energy level hasn’t waned; in fact, he’s as enthusiastic as ever.

“They didn’t clinically diagnose me as ADHD*, but I’m convinced because I can’t sit still,” he said. “And I got to tell you, just to be home teaching virtually, I’m out of my mind. I need to be in these halls, I need to be walking and I thank God that I have this affliction because I’m just as crazy as my eighth-graders. I think the day that I’m not (full of energy) maybe it’s time (to retire). But not yet.”

He said he’s “in love” with the spirit exhibited by eighth-graders and is looking forward to continuing his annual practice of taking students to a field trip to Washington, D.C.

“We’re going on our 49th trip in June and a week later, the 50th, because I had to cancel this year,” he said. “The community is so good here and I would never leave.”

Alan Miano and Laurie Rudolph, who helped organize the parade, both graduated from Pembroke in 1980 and both gushed with admiration of their former teacher.

“Greg is the type of teacher that will take the underachiever -- the unruly students that all the other teachers are having problems with and he brings them in,” Miano said. “And he’ll take them to Washington, which he’s done for 50 years. A lot of other teachers think he’s crazy and would say, ‘How can you take that kid on a field trip for three days? I wouldn’t want him for three minutes?’ You know what, he’s never had a problem.”

When it was mentioned that he must have changed a lot of young lives for the better, Miano pointed to himself.

“I’m one of them,” he said. “If it was up to the other teachers, they would have never let me go on the trip. I was one of those unruly students, and then I ended up going into teaching.”

Miano also taught Social Studies at Pembroke, retiring last June after a nearly 34-year career.

“When I retired, I was begging Greg to retire because I felt like a quitter, because Greg was still going strong,” Miano said, calling Greg a mix of Cal Ripken, Yoda and Dr. Phil.

“You can go to him with your problems. He’s a phenomenal teacher. If you walk into his classroom, the kids are just drawn in and he never has any discipline problems. Simply put, he’s the best,” he said.

Rudolph, a teaching assistant who used to work with Kinal, said she rallied the community together through “Fans of Greg Kinal” Facebook page, also crediting Ron Funke, Gary Diegelman, Ed Gutowski and her daughter, Debbie Bonn, for assisting.

“Greg's not retiring, but we didn’t want 50 years to pass by without honoring him,” she said. “He probably will never retire, so this is like his retirement/celebration.”

She said that Kinal has impacted thousands of lives in the school district.

“I, my children, my grandchildren – we all were taught by Greg. He is a mentor, a supporter and a nurturer and he means a lot to all of the people in our community.”

Kinal’s wife, Jackie, and children, Tracy, Scott and Marty also attended the celebration. He and his wife have four grandchildren, including Drew Monti, a popular harness horse racing driver at Batavia Downs.

Oh, and getting back to that old sign on the school building.

“Years ago, when they were making the new sign, I said to the custodians, ‘What are you going to do with the old sign?’ Kinal offered. “They said it’s trash. Well, I’ve got it and it’s in my garage. I repainted it black and mounted it in my garage … and I see it every day.”

*Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

June 5, 2020 - 9:16am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Pembroke Central School District.

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

At the Pembroke Central School District, Daniel Lang is running for a one-year unexpired term and Heather Wood is running for a new five-year term.

The questions are as follows:

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

2 -- Are teachers in your district compensated adequately?

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

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

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


1 -- I am in full support of this year’s school budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The District Board and Administrative staff have reviewed all options and strategically planned accordingly with the interest of keeping the Pembroke district moving in the right direction. With this budget encompassing a zero percent tax increase for our residents, we will still be able to continue to provide the absolute best for our students, teachers and district.

2 -- I feel as though the teachers in our district are compensated adequately and have justified the importance of going above and beyond expectations, especially during the recent, trying times that we all have been experiencing.

3 -- Yes, schools should reopen in the fall, and I feel it is vital for the students to return and feel safe in doing so. It will be critical to assure that the buildings and transportation remain sanitary and follow guidelines set by the governing bodies. I feel that there is value in the teacher/student interaction which helps aid in the learning process through individualized communication, and social interaction which cannot be grasped through distance learning. The relationship built with that of a dedicated teacher is irreplaceable and should continue moving forward.

4 -- Yes, I am satisfied with the way the district responds to parents and concerns. With that being said, I also feel that we should be continually looking for new and better ways to be communicating with parents. Complacency breeds mediocrity and steals potential. We all have the ability to improve and use mistakes or difficulties as a way to learn and enhance our current methods. This area of the district is no exception to that. As we work together as a team, the district and parents, we will continue to grow and understand each other in new and exciting ways.

5 -- When I read, I like to dive into books that provide encouragement, hope and answers for real life situations. If I were to choose two books that I have read that fit in this category, they would be When Life Is Hard by James MacDonald, and Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.


1 -- My fellow Board members and I all approved of the 2020-21 budget which is being presented to the community. Our Superintendent and School Accountant have worked diligently to lead the charge in bringing us possible scenarios during a time when aid at the State Level was being questioned on what seemed like a daily basis. Collectively we were of the mindset to not put any additional burdens on the community during the uncertain times we are currently facing and were pleased to present a 0 percent tax levy increase. It is always a hard decision when discussing what areas to cut from, but rest assured the needs of the student are always first and foremost in our minds. We will continue to be the very best District we can be no matter what the numbers say and invite the community to contact the District Offices if they have questions moving forward.

2 -- Addressing the question if I feel that teachers are compensated adequately, I would say that it’s not a simple answer. We need to look at the community we live in and remember that higher pay will be reflected in higher taxes. Recently, we did make changes on our starting pay for teachers to bring them more in line with the Genesee Region. That being said, we will continue to provide top notch teachers to our students because that is what we are mandated to do.

3 -- I am both hopeful and optimistic that schools will indeed reopen in the Fall and I do advocate for this. Will things look different moving forward? Yes, most definitely as we all implement new State guidelines that will need to be respectful to our students, staff, parents and administration. We need to be mindful of what will work and what will not work for OUR District. While it is true that Pembroke has done a fantastic job in transitioning our students to online learning these past few months – it in no way should be seen as a permanent replacement for educating our youth and I am quite frankly, offended by anyone who says such things. Students need teachers just as much as teachers need the students. A school is a living, breathing institution and all the connections that are made within its walls are priceless.

4 -- Pertaining to the COVID situation - I feel Pembroke has done a remarkable job communicating the educational materials to the students and their parents. From our Superintendent, building Principals, and teachers – they all got the word out on a weekly basis (sometimes daily) keeping everyone informed of what was going on pertaining to finishing the year out strongly and what the expectations were for each student. This was all new to everyone and it was important that we all worked together in this endeavor. I do know for example, that some families in the community have reached out to our Superintendent for clarification on end of the year grading. He responded and made the policies clear as to what would be required to finish the year strong. In regards to things other than the COVID situation – finishing up my fifth year on the Board, I honestly feel we do a good job as a District addressing the communities concerns, however – that being said – our Board meetings are advertised and the public is ALWAYS welcome to contact our District Clerk if there’s something specific that is on their mind that they’d like to bring to the Board. Some questions can simply be answered from the Superintendent or by him directing the parent/community member to the appropriate administration before it gets to the Board level. If our community has questions, it is a Board member’s job to try our best to address the concerns.

5 -- I can name many books that have influenced me, but there are two that stand out – and to the readers they may seem quite simplistic but to me they mean the world. I read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White when I was about 10 and it both sparked my passion for reading then and now. Looking back through the adult eyes it just amazes me of the pure innocence of childhood and how doing the right thing matters. Next would be The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – it reminds me of the importance of relationships/connections and how what you do has a domino effect on everything else that happens in the world. This is how I look at schools – relationships and being a good person mean something just as much as the grades do.

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.


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.



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


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.



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


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


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


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


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.


April 9, 2020 - 1:59pm

Press release:

Pembroke Central School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

Now in its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the designation, Pembroke CSD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music programs, Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

This award recognizes that Pembroke CSD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music.

ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.  

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music.

After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well.

Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children that in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.

Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, click here.

March 19, 2020 - 5:52pm

Press release:

COVID-19 Response Update – March 19, 2020

In response to the March 14, 2020 Declaration of a State of Emergency by the Genesee County Department of Health (DOH) and the DOH recommendation that all schools close immediately and until further notice; in response to guidance documents received from the NYS Education Department (NYSED); and in response to the Governor’s Executive Orders No. 202.4 and NO. 202.5; the Pembroke Central School District closed for students starting on March 15, 2020 and engaged its employees in necessary planning.

All Pembroke students K-12 were provided hard copy learning materials, Chromebooks, and access to online learning platforms. Families enrolled in the Free and Reduced Meals program, as well as additional families experiencing financial hardship while school is closed, have been provided the opportunity to receive free breakfasts and lunches to cover Monday through Friday.

The District is doing its due diligence to identify and secure childcare services for Pembroke parents who work in the health care field.

The Superintendent and Board of Education expresses heartfelt gratitude to the following:

  • To Students: Thank you for your resiliency and your flexibility.
  • To Parents: Thank you for your cooperation and trust. Thank you to those of you who offered to help however you could.

  • To Support Staff: Thank you for your willingness to jump right in to help the teachers and administration so many ways.

  • To Teachers and other PTF members: Thank you for preparing meaningful learning activities in short order and setting up our students for continued success.

  • To Cafeteria Staff: Thank you for meeting essential needs for those most in need through your food service.

  • To the Transportation Department: Thank you for delivery learning materials and being ready to roll when called upon.

  • To Administration, District Office Staff, Union Representatives and our SRO: Thank you for your leadership and the hours you invested this past weekend and each night after school hours.

  • To Kevin MacDonald and the Genesee Valley Superintendents: Thank you for your collaboration and guidance. We know the people in your organizations are responding the same way as ours.

    Despite all the current challenges, we will get through this together. All Pembroke updates are posted on the District website.

January 17, 2020 - 12:52pm

Unified Vision 2020 -- the proposed capital improvement plan for Pembroke Central School District -- was "soundly defeated" by the majority of those who voted on it yesterday, according to Superintendent Matthew Calderón.

There were two propositions for consideration, with Prop. 1 having to pass in order for the second one to be viable. There were 1,543 voters who cast ballots in the high school library on them and they both failed.

The cost estimate for Prop. 1 was $38,505,000 and for Prop. 2 it was $10,915,000.

Proposition 1 had 196 "Yes" votes and 1,340 "No" votes, and seven blank ballots were turned in.

Proposition 2 had 249 "Yes" votes and 1,283 "No" votes and 11 blank ballots were turned in.

"We will analyze the results of the exit poll survey and decide what our next steps are after that," Calderón wrote in an email to The Batavian.

The huge thumbs down came despite three years of public input, planning and meetings that involved more than 1,000 people and stakeholder groups as well as 17 design concepts.

Prop. 1 called for: consolidating students into two buildings, with the reconfiguration of grades in each school -- UPK-5, 6-8, 9-12 -- and a clear separation between the middle school and the high school; building a separate gymnasium for the high school; expanding spectator seating space in the existing pool area; improvement to celebration space for performing arts; making facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and up to mandated health and safety standards; replacing the bus fuel tank and adding an in-ground vehicle lift at the bus garage.​

Prop. 2 would've created an improved and expanded pool for use by students as well as the public, plus storage space and seating.

The total price tag of $49,420,000 was to be paid for with $4.9 million from the district's capital reserve and 17-year State Aid funding bonds.

For homeowners with Basic STAR, the combined cost for Prop. 1 and Prop. 2 for a home assessed at $150,000 would have been $386 a year, and $262 for homeowners with Senior STAR.

If only Prop. 1 passed -- since Prop. 2 was only passable by voters if OK'd Prop. 1 -- the cost for homeowners with property assessed at $150,000 would have been $251 annually with Basic STAR, and $170 annually with Senior STAR.

The School Tax Relief (STAR) program provides eligible homeowners in New York State whose annual income is less than $500,000 with relief on their property taxes (you receive a check in the mail from the State's Tax Department to apply to your school taxes).

Early on, the "overwhelming consensus" in the district was to consolidate three school campuses into one -- at an estimated cost of $120 million, an expensive option that was deemed unfeasible.

According to the school board, building maintenance and restoration items that were included in the proposed project are still necessary but will now have to be done "without the benefit of state financial aid."

Large asset preservation work "will need to be funded within the district's annual budget process, with local taxpayers bearing the full cost" and as a result of the mandated upgrades, envisioned improvements to the academic program, which also require funding, will have to "be postponed," according to the school board.

January 13, 2020 - 3:15pm

After three years of planning involving more than 1,000 people and stakeholder groups, voters in the Pembroke Central School District will decide Thursday (Jan. 16) on comprehensive plans for capital improvements called "Unified Vision 2020."

Voting will take place from noon until 9 p.m. in the Jr./Sr. High School Library, located at 8750 Alleghany Road (routes 5 and 77), Corfu.

There will be two propositions on Thursday's ballot and Prop. 1 must pass in order for Prop. 2 to pass.

The proposal aims to:

  • Transform the intermediate school building into an elementary school for grade Universal Pre-K through five;
  • Develop a middle school model for grades six through eight that is distinctly separate from the high school, yet under the same roof;
  • Use the primary school building as both a community center and offices of the Pembroke Central School District;
  • Improve access to gymnasiums and the swimming pool for both students and community members;
  • Expand "celebration space" for high school performing arts while creating a multipurpose space;
  • Enhance access per the Americans with Disabilities Act, a civil rights law enacted 30 years ago;
  • Reconstruct aging facilities (per the 2015 mandatory Building Condition Survey);
  • And rectify potential future health and safety issues (such as the fuel tank at the bus garage).

If Proposition 1 is approved, it would consolidate students into two buildings, with the reconfiguration of grades in each school -- UPK-5, 6-8, 9-12 -- and a clear separation between the middle school and the high school. It would also allow the contruction of a separate gymnasium for the high school, expansion of spectator seating space in the existing pool area, improvement to celebration space for performing arts, replacement of the bus fuel tank and the addition of an in-ground vehicle lift at the bus garage.

Total cost: $38,505,000

If Proposition 1 is passed, then and only then can Proposition 2 be approved. It would allow for the reconstruction and expansion of a new pool for use by students as well as the public, plus storage space and seating.

Total cost: $10,915,000

Total costs for Prop. 1 and Prop. 2 are estimated to be $49,420,000 -- paid for with $4.9 million from the district's capital reserve and 17-year State Aid funding bonds, if approved by voters.

For homeowners with Basic STAR, the combined cost for Prop. 1 and Prop. 2 for a home assessed at $150,000 would be $386 a year, and $262 for homeowners with Senior STAR.

If only Prop. 1 is passed -- again Prop. 2 is only passable by voters if Prop. 1 is OK'd -- the cost for homeowners with property assessed at $150,000 would be $251 annually with Basic STAR, and $170 annually with Senior STAR.

The School Tax Relief (STAR) program provides eligible homeowners in New York State whose annual income is less than $500,000 with relief on their property taxes (you receive a check in the mail from the State's Tax Department to apply to your school taxes).

If voters pass Unified Vision 2020, it is expected that the State Department of Education would approve the project by summer 2021 and the bulk of work would start that fall.

Thursday's vote culminates a lengthy and at times contentious process, which included early on an "overwhelming consensus" to consolidate three school campuses into one. But with a price tag of more than $120M, that option was deemed unfeasible. Seventeen design concepts and countless meetings later, Unified Vision 2020 emerged as the most doable option.

If voters do not approve Prop. 1 and Prop. 2, or just Prop. 1 by itself, "building maintenance and restoration items included in the project would still be necessary but would have to be done without the benefit of state financial aid."

Therefore, "large asset preservation work would need to be funded within the district's annual budget process, with local taxpayers bearing the full cost. ... In addition, the academic program's improvements that are envisioned would be postponed," according to an information pamphlet mailed to voters by the district Board of Education.

Qualified residents of the Pembroke Central School District can obtain and use absentee ballots. At this point in time, completed absentee ballots would have to be hand delivered by 5 p.m. Thursday to the district office. For more information, call District Clerk Sandra Lang at (585) 599-4525, ext. 1950.

For more information on plans for capital improvements in Pembroke Central School District, including pie charts and additional details, click here.

May 7, 2019 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pembroke Central School District, pembroke, news, notify.


Not too many 18-year-olds run for elective office and even fewer decide to challenge their dad's bid for reelection but that's just what Samantha Ianni plans to do in the May 21 Pembroke Central School District Board of Trustees election.

Dad, Art Ianni, facing reelection for the first time after a single five-year term, is fine with it. Though he really doesn't want to lose.

"I have a lot of respect for my daughter and her decision making has always been pretty good so I'm going to stick behind her," Ianni said. "At the same token, over the five years, I've developed a lot of relationships with people on the board. So, through my experience and knowledge, I think that I can finish."

That sounds like a challenge, he's told.

"At age 55,I might know a few more people than my daughter. But again, it'll be interesting to see what she brings."

For Sam, being young is an advantage, she said. She's only a year removed from high school and will be a student herself throughout her entire term, if elected, first as an undergrad in education at the University at Buffalo and then working on her master's in education.

She also thinks that while her classmates are pretty tied up with their own studies and possibly in college out of the area, the students who were just a year or two ahead of her might be around and they might be eager to come out and support her candidacy.

Sam was the student ex-officio member of the school board a year ago and in January one of her former teachers, Alexis Langheier, suggested to Sam that she run for the seat.

"I was talking to her about how school was going and everything and she brought it up to me," Sam said. "She was like, 'I think this could be a really cool opportunity for you. You would learn a lot. I think that you also have a lot to offer the board.' "

Art was bemused when Sam first mentioned the idea to him but quickly decided it was a good thing for her and the community.

"Well, after I laughed a little bit I said, 'You know, I'm happy that one of the products of the school, any student, would want to be that involved in their community and want to come back is a wonderful thing,'" Art said. "That's what we do as a school board. That's what we try to accomplish. It's cool that it's my daughter but any 18-year old who would run against me I would be very proud of."

There is only one seat open in this election and Art and Sam aren't the only candidates. There's also Jeanna Clark. (Strassburg before her recent marriage). 

The natural question for Art is whether having Sam on the ballot might split any potential vote against him but he said he doesn't think Sam running helps him. She could bring in her own voters.

"I'd like to think that my experience on that board will push me all the way through," Art said. "Sam may bring in another 50 voters, which may not be the whole scale but it'll be close. Yeah, it'll be close. It'll be heartbreaking either way. Someone's losing whether it's myself whether it's Sam whether it's the other one obviously someone is losing. So, yeah, I'll feel bad but not for long."

June 5, 2018 - 1:28pm

Press release:

As part of the $2 billion Smart School Bond Act that was approved by voters in 2014, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that both Pembroke and Oakfield-Alabama Central school districts will be receiving funding to make technology and security upgrades in their schools.

“Technology is ever-changing and that means the way our students learn must be ever-changing and adaptable as well," Hawley said. "The whole idea behind the Smart Schools Investments was to provide a higher quality of education for our students and bring every classroom up to par with the digital age of tablets, laptop computers, whiteboards and high-speed wireless Internet access.”

In addition to technology and Internet capabilities, a portion of the funding will be allotted to high-tech security upgrades.

Hawley wrote Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie earlier this year asking for $50,000 per school statewide to hire armed resource officers. Furthermore, he recently introduced legislation that would make it easier for school districts to hire armed security personnel.

“The safety and security of our students is preeminent and I am glad some of this funding will go toward technological security upgrades,” Hawley said. “Our students, teachers and faculty deserve to feel safe and protected from the moment they step inside a school and that starts with taking a proactive approach.”

May 14, 2018 - 7:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Pembroke Central School District, news, schools, education.

The Batavian emailed candidate questions to all 17 candidates in Genesee County's eight school districts that are holding elections on Tuesday. Only four returned completed questionnaires.  

This is the response from John Cima, the candidate lone in the Pembroke Central School District.

1. What is your position on your school district’s proposed budget for 2018-19? What parts do you support? What parts would you change if you could?

The Board voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget and we collectively support every part of it. We have had many discussions during the school year where we analyze budget items as a corporate body and made decisions based on that data. All board members are heard and we talk through any sticking points and concerns to reach consensus as a group. The proposed budget being presented to voters is one that all board members support without reservation. 

2. Are teachers in your district compensated adequately?

Collectively, I believe if you ask our teachers, they will tell you that Pembroke is a special place to work! As long as I have been serving on the Board we have looked at the District as a school district of opportunity for both students and staff. Being a rural school district we sometimes find ourselves having to do more with fewer resources than wealthier districts. Our teachers have risen to the occasion with creativity and a strong resolve. Our Board, I believe has done the same. While our teachers are not compensated as much as our neighbors in Erie County, we have worked hard to offer competitive salaries, and we are extremely pleased with the academic and extra-curricular achievements they have accomplished with our students.

3. Parents are more nervous than ever about school safety. Is your district’s communication to parents about school safety policies and procedures adequate? Should parents and the community be informed when a student makes a threat of violence against the school?

Safety and security are paramount and communication to parents is ongoing. When threats of violence occur, our school officials work closely with local law enforcement to determine the best course of action, including communications to parents, on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances.

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

Yes. I hope that parents trust in the policies the Board has put in place to ensure open lines of communication when they have a complaint or concern. Sometimes parents are just looking for direction. I believe our Board has developed a policy that allows for open and honest dialog along with a proper chain of command. In most cases, this has led to the de-escalation of situations and rational solutions being agreed upon by all parties.

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

I have read a lot of books and it would be too difficult to choose which two have influenced me the most. However, if you were to ask me why I wish to continue serving on the Pembroke Board of Education I will tell you that I have been influenced by a school district and community that is open to exploring OPPORTUNITY. Our students deserve the best that we can provide when it comes to their respective educations. Our role as a school board is to set policy that ensures that this happens in the most cost-effective, efficient, resourceful, and creative way as possible. 

April 24, 2015 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, pembroke, Pembroke Central School District.

Press release:

Pembroke High School has made The Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High School List, published online this past Sunday.

Unlike Business First’s rankings, which consider a variety of factors in determining Western New York’s top schools, The Washington Post publishes a list of their top schools based on one factor, healthy Advanced Placement participation. If the number of students taking Advanced Placement tests is greater than the number of graduating seniors, the school makes the list.

Pembroke High School was able to meet the challenge by having 86 test takers last May with graduation for 67 seniors, an accomplishment that places Pembroke in the top 10 percent of all 22,000 high schools across America.

“We continue to embrace high expectations, and we do not shy away from challenging our students to the fullest,” stated Superintendent Matt Calderón. “We believe Pembroke students are fully capable to meet increased rigor in a variety of areas, and we are fortunate to have strong partnerships with parents and a community that also embraces that vision.

"When the NYS Commissioner of Education visited our District, it was our students that told him they wanted more rigorous and demanding coursework because they want to be prepared for life beyond high school; and they know the AP curriculum will give them a good taste of what their future holds in regard to college-level courses and career expectations.”

Ten years ago, Pembroke offered only two AP courses, Biology and Calculus AB, taken advantage of by 17 students. Now Pembroke offers AP English Literature, Psychology, Studio Art, U.S. History, World History, and Environmental Science. Music History and Physics were added for 2014-15 with a handful of students taking AP Computer Science through an online grant. For students who perform well on the AP exams, many colleges and universities offer college credit.

“No doubt, it is a lot of hard work but very rewarding when filling out that college application and vying for your school of choice. It can also be rewarding when entering college with 18 credits under your belt. That $546 investment translates to about $10,000 in savings at many of the colleges our students typically attend,” reported senior high school counselor and AP coordinator Toby Beahan.

According to high school Principal Keith Palmer, “If students want to challenge themselves, we try to provide the opportunities. We regularly work on developing an expectation with our students that a demanding and rigorous course load will be the best route in preparing for both college and career, especially during one’s senior year. And fortunately, we have talented teachers that are able to meet the challenge.”

Add to the mix student course-interest surveys, weighted grading for students who take on the challenge, recognition for students who score well, quality training for teachers, and you end up with healthy student participation in a quality AP program.

For more information about The Washington Post’s best high schools, visit http://apps.washingtonpost.com/local/highschoolchallenge/

March 23, 2011 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, pembroke, soccer, Pembroke Central School District.

Adding boys soccer to Pembroke High School's fall sports line-up needs more study -- that was the request of a couple of speakers at Tuesday's school board meeting and the decision of the board.

The board will appoint up to 16 people to a new committee to study the issue. The committee will include coaches, parents and students representing interests in not only soccer, but football, volleyball and cross-country.

The primary concern of those opposed to adding soccer is that it will detract from, if not lead to the elimination of, other sports.

Elizabeth Gabbey said if Pembroke was a Class A sport, she would fully support adding soccer and even be at all the games, but with declining enrollment in Pembroke, a Class C program, she fears even the football program could die if competing for athletes and support with soccer.

 "Are we willing to risk our football program or our volleyball program by adding a fourth sport?" she asked. "If we lose our football program, what will happen to football cheerleaders? This is an impact that not is just adding a team."

She added that boys who play soccer have club teams they can join, which still provide a path to college sports, but that's not an option open to football players.

One of the football coaches, and a teacher at Pembroke, spoke against the way the issue has been handled to this point, implying that soccer supporters were trying to push through the program without giving opposition voices a chance to raise concerns.

"I also wish to express the opinions of the thousands of concerned and unpretentious residents of this community who chose not to provoke others to bias the democratic decision making here at Pembroke with an intimidating show of force," Matthew Peterson said.

"I simply wish to have this statement read aloud to illustrate on record that many others disagree with both the means and the ends of adding an additional fall boys' sports program, and I choose to do so without the media hoopla and disruptions that surely accompany the throngs of people incited to be here tonight."

Peterson also took issue with the idea that soccer playing boys don't have an option at the high-school level in Pembroke.

"The most misunderstood idea centered on soccer is that students here greatly desire to play soccer and are being denied," Peterson said. "That assumption is entirely false! Soccer does exist here and students do have the opportunity to play from ages 5 to 19 in the spring season through PYA.

"The argument and the hidden agenda is to add another soccer team to compete in the fall, funded by the school district, and competing with and drawing from a dwindling student population. Let us not lose sight of the reality that soccer already exists at Pembroke."

(Read Peterson's full statement here)

Scott Birkby said he's coached both football and soccer in the district for years and knows pretty much all the boys who play either football, soccer or both, and when this issue came up, he surveyed the players to see if a boys soccer team in the fall would hurt football.

"I don't have proof," Birkby said. "I don't have the boys signatures, but I can say from my research, the net impact for the short term would be a total of only three players."

Birkby suspects volleyball might be the sport eventually phased out, which may happen anyway because of declining enrollment and the lack of nearby teams from similarly size schools. 

He said the team must often travel two and three hours for matches against larger schools.

"It's not a very successful program," he said.

Tina Curtis (dark hair in the middle of the top photo) and Rene Birkby, parents who have been leading the effort to reinstate soccer, said they were taken aback by the opposition.

Curtis said the soccer-supporting group is ready to do what it takes to ensure the program is not a financial drain on the district.

"These boys are not asking for fancy new equipment or jerseys," Curtis said. "They’re willing to donate soccer balls and wear old uniforms. They’re only desire is to play soccer and represent their school. We are willing to work with the district to raise the funds to offset this program."

Superintendent Gary Mix (inset photo) applauded the parents for thoroughly and honestly studying the issue and the students for showing leadership in bringing it forward. But he said, inevitably, somebody is going to be disappointed by whatever decision is reached.

"Any direction we go from this point forward is going to be a challenge," he said.

The district is facing a number of difficulties with declining enrollment and state budget cuts.  

Only a small minority of schools of Pembroke's size can run successful programs in all of its sports, and success is important, he said.

"It's easy for us as adults to believe that the important thing is not winning or losing, but rather students having fun," Mix said. "That's true to an extent, but a big part of the fun is experiencing success."

October 23, 2009 - 8:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Pembroke Central School District.

Officials of the Pembroke Central School district announced on the district Web site this morning that a student died late Thursday afternoon (pdf).

The notification informs parents that tests for influenza came back negative and that the Genesee County Health Department determined it was safe for children to attend school today.

Counselors are available for students who need to talk about their friend's passing.

No further details were given.

Superintendent Gary Mix is currently meeting with district staff and not immediately available for comment.

UPDATE 10:36 a.m.: Superintendent Gary Mix just issued a written statement to the media, but included no new information apart from the prior statement.  It says, "It is out of respect for the family of our student that we cannot release any additional information at this time."

UPDATE 10:59 a.m.: Randy Garney, interim health director for Genesee County, said he can't legally release any information. A source tells me the death occurred in Erie County.  A woman I spoke to at the Erie Couny Health Department said that department isn't likely to release any information, and that nobody would even be able to return my call until late this afternoon.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: A spokesman for the Erie County Health Department just called. He referred me back to Gensee County, saying that even though the death occurred in Erie County, "it's Genesee County public health case."

UPDATE 3:10 p.m.: Gary Mix just released this statement: "As an update, in our most recent consultation with the Genesee County Health Department and the New York State Department of Health, the District has been informed that the cause of death for the Pembroke Central School student is still to be determined."

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: I e-mailed Randy Garney asking for more information.  Here is his response: "This is a pending investigation.  Due to HIPPA Act, by Federal Law, I can not share any patient medical information.  However I will tell you that the NYSDOH or the GCHD has never ruled out influenza as a cause. "

Full announcement after the jump:

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