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Le Roy Central Schools

Le Roy voters approve $12.5 million in capital spending on facilities repairs and new sports field

By Howard B. Owens

Le Roy voters on Tuesday approved a $12.5 million capital improvement project that will fund facilities repairs and a new multipurpose sports field.

There were 517 residents who turned out for the vote, passing the measure 323 to 194.

Superintendent Merritt Holly said, "Thank you to all district residents who came out to vote."

Previously: Le Roy Central Schools reviewing $12.5 million capital project for facilities repairs, multipurpose sports field

School meals in Le Roy healthier while offering students more choices, school board learns

By Howard B. Owens
melissa saunders le roy
Melissa Saunders, Le Roy's school lunch manager, making a presentation to the Board of Education on Tuesday evening.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Variety, choice, quality ovens, a modern menu system, and health options are helping the Le Roy Central School District deliver nutritious and popular breakfasts and lunches to students, Melissa Saunders told the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Tuesday night.

Saunders is the district's school lunch manager.

During her presentation, she ticked off a number of accomplishments for the cafeteria staff during the current academic school year.

Among the accomplishments was a switch in online menu distribution from PDFs to a database-driven menu platform called Nutrislice.

"This has made my job a lot easier," Saunders said. "It's given me a lot more flexibility with the menu. It allows me to make real-time changes to the menu that everyone can see instantly."

The system allows her to store all the different food items that can go into making up a school day's breakfast and lunch menus as well as add products.  When compiling a menu, she can include nutritional information along with allergens.

"It's a really big project, adding all that information for every single product," Saunders said. "I mean, just tracking down nutrient analysis for some of these products is this challenging, but it's something we've been working on. It's something that we will continue to work on through the summer."

A board member asked if she makes a menu change is a notification sent to parents. She said there is no automatic notification, but if it's a significant change, she does send out a notification.

A new purchase this year is combi-ovens.

"They can add a precise amount of steam or a precise amount of browning to any food product," Saunders said. "My cooks love them. It has the capability of cooking with steam or cooking with heat, or cooking with a combination of steam and heat to get a precise moisture and browning on food products."

The ovens the district purchased, she said, were manufactured in Germany and are the #1 combi-ovens on the market.

Saunders has also been trying to serve students more fresh fruit, a program partially funded by the federal government.

"We've been really scaling back on the amount of canned fruit we use," Saunders said. "It still has a place within the menu. There's still some products that the kids really like, and we will continue to use, so it's not that I'm not going to use it or the goal is to never use it but to really ensure that the majority of what they're getting is fresh. The reason for that is that during the canning process, food loses its nutrients. We've been using for fresh fruit this year -- we've used strawberries, we've used cantaloupe, leeks, honeydew, melon, watermelon, kiwi, clementines, blueberries, pears, oranges, apples, bananas. We've been trying to give them a really good variety."

Saunders is also working on scaling back the number of food items that include whey protein as filler.

"It's in a huge amount of products to use across the board," Saunders said. "Personally, from my interest in nutrition, I feel like it would be an improvement to our program to use less of (whey protein filler). Again, just like with the canned products, we won't necessarily be able to completely get rid of it, but can use some cleaner products without whey protein fillers."

She said she is now buying products like chicken tenders, chicken nuggets, and popcorn chicken, that doesn't use whey protein fillers.  She's also found a nearby New York company that makes meatballs without whey protein filler. They're also allergen-free meatballs. 

"That's a focus for next year," She said. "We were awarded some money from a local food and school cooperative grant that's going to allow us to purchase some more New York foods. I can put it towards things like the meatballs."

For breakfast, the staff had been serving prepackaged meals, but during the recent National Breakfast Week, the staff went in a different direction.

"It didn't allow for a lot of choice," Saunder said. "So during National School Breakfast Week, we discontinued using those, and they now have a variety of different cereals, cereal bars, and little snack options that they can create their own breakfast bag."

The number of meals the district served increased when meals were free during the pandemic, Saunders noted, but the district is still serving more meals than it did before the pandemic. 

Districtwide participation in breakfast is up 45 percent over the 2018/19 school year, and participation is up seven percent for lunch.

The variety of choices for students, which always includes warm foods and things like yogurt and fresh fruit, is helping to drive meal participation, she said.

In April, The Batavian reported about issues the district was facing with unpaid meal bills for some families. Superintendent Merritt Holly told the school board that staff was trying to work with families to handle the topic in a sensitive manner.  The district at the time was owed $2,751.58 for meals that had not been paid for at the time they were served (the district has a policy of providing a meal to every student who wants one, requiring students who don't have any money with them to pay for it).

The Batavian's story promoted two people to come forward and offer to make donations toward paying the unpaid bills.  This evening after the school board's regular meeting, Holly said the district has yet to work out how best to accept those donations, and he isn't sure how much those people are planning to donate.  He doesn't know, he said, if the donations will cover all of the unpaid bills, which have likely gone up in the past month, he said.

Le Roy board approves $30.2 million spending plan for 2023/24

By Howard B. Owens

The proposed budget for the Le Roy Central School District for 2023/24 is $30,227,508 in expenditures, and if the district receives the amount of state aid it anticipates, there will be no need to increase the tax levy, according to Superintendent Merritt Holly.

The Board of Education approved the spending plan on Tuesday.   The final levy tally and tax rate will become available after state aid is approved and the district knows exactly how much property values have changed, which will be some time before voters are asked to approve the budget in May.

The district expects to spend nearly $10 million on professional and teacher salaries. That's an increase of $324,906 dollars.  The increase is mostly driven by negotiated salary increases.  Six teachers are being replaced. There will be two new positions in special education, a new half position in elementary literacy, and a half position less in music.

Salaries for K-3 teachers will increase by $61,478, up $27,576 for grades 4-8, and up by $50,266 for grades 7-12.

The superintendent's salary will increase by $6,000, to $179,542.

Salaries for principals and assistants are going down by $33,117 to a total of $387,206.

Fees paid to BOCES are based on prior year charges and the district will pay BOCES $2,612,766, which is $240,930 more than the prior year.

Support staff salaries are up $194,462 to a total of $3,203,908.

The cost of health care is increasing by $53,544 to more than $2.9 million.

Retirement costs are up $53,544 to more than $1.3 million.

Contributions to the capital fund will increase by $563,369 to $663,369.  Contributions to the capital fund pay for small building projects that are eligible for NYS building aid.

Le Roy principal expects new Laude System to be challenging and obtainable for students

By Howard B. Owens

In the Le Roy Central School District, any student who wants to put forth the effort to graduate Summa Cum Laude, regardless of their academic or career interest, will have that opportunity, said David Russell, principal of the Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School, after the Board of Education approved a change to the Laude System at Tuesday's meeting.

"You can map that out with this system from your eighth-grade year," Russell told The Batavian after the meeting. "You just sit down with your counselor, and you say my goal is to be Summa because again, as I said in the previous meeting, maybe this means the world to you, right? Truthfully, maybe it does, and maybe it means nothing to you. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Either way, it gives you a chance to just compete against yourself."

The district changed from a Top 10 student achievement ranking system to a Laude System in 2018, but the Laude System replaced by the board on Tuesday should make it easier for students' parents to understand if they're on a path to graduation with distinction -- Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude.

Under the 2018 system, each year, administrators had to decide which courses were worth two points and which were only worth one.

This created some problems, Russell said.  It caused rifts between departments -- why was this course worth two credits and another course worth only one? And because each year, there are courses added and dropped, students and parents had to be informed each year of the changes, and whether a student was acquiring enough credits to achieve a Laude recognition had to be hand calculated.  The transcript for each student had to be counted against which courses were listed with which values in a particular year.

The big switch under the plan approved Tuesday is that a student need only look at his or her transcript and add up all the classes that provide credit toward graduation.  Every class with credit -- whether Advance Placement or Regents -- is weighted the same.   There's no worry about classes going away, new classes being added, or course credit values changing.

If that makes it sound easier for students to graduate with distinction, it's not, Russell said, because in order to get enough credits to graduate Summa Cum Laude -- currently 32 -- you will need to fill your schedule with credit-producing classes. To get that many credits, there simply aren't enough school hours in the day to allow a student to sit in study hall, and if you're going to get that many credits, you can't avoid more challenging classes, no matter what your career path or area of interest.

"It naturally pushes you towards challenging classes because in order to fill your schedule, there's only so many intro-level courses you want to take, right?" Russell said. "It's still going to mean something to get to Summa Cum Laude. I'm saying, in order to get to Summa, if you're going to fill your schedule every year, it's going to naturally push you to the higher levels."

That applies equally to students who are trying to get into top science and engineering universities, students on a skills and trade track, as well as students who are potential art, music, and athletics majors -- they all have a chance to achieve Summa Cum Laude, or one of the other Laude tiers without, first, competing for the top GPA in their class, and second, taking classes that are of less interest to them personally just because they are worth more credits.

"Now, there's nothing preventing you (from graduating Laude) because you're not worried about competing for the top 10 in a class that might be loaded with complete scholars," Russell said. "Then, you might say, 'I have no shot at ever getting there. So what's the point?' No, I'm competing against myself. And whatever matters to me, now I can build it into my schedule."

The maximum possible score for a student from 8th grade to 12th would be 36 total credits with a 100 GPA. To achieve Summa Cum Laude, a student would need at least 32 credits and a 95 GPA.  Magna Cum Laude would be 30 credits and a 90 GPA.  Cum Laude would be 28 total credits and an 85 GPA.

Cum Laude is Latin for "with distinction."  Magna Cum Laude means "with great distinction," and Summa Cum Laude means "with highest distinction."

The Class of 2023 will be the last class to graduate under the Top 10 system.  The classes of 2024, 2025 and 2026 are under the Laude system but will be eligible to move up to a higher Laude if they qualify for a higher Laude under the proposed revisions. The Class of 2027 would be the first class to graduate under this new Laude system.

The board approved the policy change on a 6-1 vote, with Trustee William MacKenzie voting no.

MacKenzie expressed concern that members of the Class of 2024 will find it more difficult to achieve Summa because of course restrictions during the COVID-19 years. 

"My biggest concern is just any student getting slighted," MacKenzie said. "I know of several who possibly could. So it's just how I feel."

Superintendent Merrit Holly said before the vote that what the board was being asked to approve was a policy -- primarily that change from weighted credits to a transcript-based count of credit-worthy classes -- and there was flexibility based on circumstances for each class to adjust credit totals.

Both Holly and Russell indicated there is room to consider changes for the Class of 2024, but there was no commitment by the administration or the board to make any immediate changes.

Russell said he hasn't spoken to the same families MacKenzie may be concerned about but that he believes there is still the opportunity, without making changes to the credit count, for any member who has been focused on achieving Summa to still do so.  Those students will need to make sure they fill their course schedule with the classes that help them reach that goal.

Also, members of the Class of 2024 have a chance to reach Summa either under the system approved in 2018, or the one approved Tuesday -- whichever one is most favorable to them in terms of credits or points.

"If there's a student who has a study hall going into their senior year, and they're a credit shy of Summa, then my contention would be, you still have an opportunity to reach Summa, that would be my response," Russell said. "If you have a student who's a credit or credit and a half shy of Summa, and they have more than one study hall their senior year, again, you have an opportunity to get to Summa. It might be more challenging, but again, that's part of what Laude is. It should mean something to get to Summa."


Photo: File photo of Principal David Russell. Photo by Howard Owens.

Proposed Laude system in Le Roy aimed at encouraging higher student achievement

By Howard B. Owens

In 2018, Le Roy started phasing out the traditional ranking of top students based on GPA, instituting instead a system that would also take into account challenging coursework.

A senior could no longer skate by on easy electives or study hall to preserve a high GPA.  In the new system, students would need to acquire points in Advance Placement classes, for example, to achieve Summa Cum Laude.

High School Principal David Russell, who was hired after the 2018 revisions, introduced modifications to the Laude System to the Board of Education at its last meeting that would further encourage students to aim for high achievement instead of competing with classmates.

"We want to push students to make sure they're pushing themselves," Russell said.

The proposed revisions would be based on the total number of credits a student takes and a cumulative GPA.  Each course would be valued the same as the number of credits the course is worth on a transcript. Students taking AP courses and CTE courses that have college credit would continue to receive an additional five points added to their average for that course. 

The maximum possible score would be 36 total credits with a 100 GPA. To achieve Summa Cum Laude, a student would need at least 32 credits and a 95 GPA.  Magna Cum Laude would be 30 credits and a 90 GPA.  Cum Laude would be 28 total credits and an 85 GPA.

Cum Laude is Latin for "with distinction."  Magna Cum Laude means "with great distinction," and Summa Cum Laude means "with highest distinction."

The Class of 2023 will be the last class to graduate under the Top 10 system.  The classes of 2024, 2025 and 2026 are under the Laude system but will be eligible to move up to a higher Laude if they qualify for a higher Laude under the proposed revisions. If the revisions are approved, the Class of 2027 would be the first class to graduate under this new Laude system.

The goal of the Laude system is to give every student who makes the effort, regardless of life or career goals -- whether in a STEM field, the arts, or athletics -- to graduate with a Laude distinction.  Every pathway, Russell explained, gives students who work hard to achieve distinction for the effort.

"One of our fundamental pillars as a public school is to create opportunities for whatever pathway students take on, we're helping prepare them for whatever future they want to go into," Russell said.

The Laude system, Superintendent Merritt Holly noted, is the antidote for "senioritis."

"When we look at the class rank, what we're in right now, that one ends at the end of the first semester," Holly said. "So in January, the Top 10 is really set and done at that point. One of the things you'll hear from the committee and our teachers always is 'senioritis' sets in. As Dave mentioned, what I like about this is it can run all the way up to the end of the school year."

The class rank system does require some hand calculation, Holly said, which is why the class rank is set after the first system.  And Russell noted that the class rank is made public, which encourages students to compete against each other.

In the Laude system, only the student, his or her parents, and school counselors will know if a student is headed toward a Laude tier.  There is no competition.

"That (competition) can really be unhealthy at times," Russell said.

The rank system also produces the graduation speakers -- the valedictorian and salutatorian.  In the new system, students can nominate themselves or others to speak at graduation.  School administrators will review those nominations to ensure those truly worthy of speaking will be given the opportunity to be selected as class speakers in a vote of their peers.

The Board of Education will vote at its April 11 meeting on whether or not to accept the proposed revisions.

Photo: Principal David Russell. Photo by Howard Owens.

Le Roy schools grappling with unpaid student meal bills

By Howard B. Owens

By policy, every student in the Le Roy Central School District has an opportunity to be served a lunch or breakfast every school day that is healthy and meets established nutritional guidelines.

If they can't pay for it, there's no shame.

These two policies sometimes contradict each other. In circumstances where a child isn't eligible for a free or reduced-price meal but doesn't have any money -- even if they haven't paid for previous meals -- they get served if they step into the meal line.  No staff member is allowed to remind a student of past-due bills.  That's the district's "no shaming" policy.

However, the district is now in the red on unpaid meal bills this school year to the tune of $2,751.58, Superintendent Merritt Holly informed the Board of Education at this past week's meeting.

Currently, staff members are contacting families with unpaid bills.  If a family reports back, "geez, we're really going through a rough time right now," the parents are encouraged to apply for the free or reduced-priced meal program.

"Many times, family situations change," Holly said. "Our job is to help families and bring them in through it."

There are families who aren't paying the bill but don't qualify for the program, so they're expected to pay their past bills. 

"Right now, there's no conversation or take anybody in small claims court are doing those type of things," Holly said. "We're trying to generate, 'Hey, are you aware?' Then if we can, we will work out a payment plan for those families. Sometimes, they're not aware that their child has racked up that bill."

If a parent or guardian doesn't want to keep running up the tab, they can inform the school in writing not to serve a meal to their children.

Even for students not getting free or reduced-priced meals, breakfast and lunch in the cafeterias on each campus are inexpensive. 

At the elementary school, breakfast is $1.70.  At the middle/high school, it is $1.75.  Lunch is $2.25 to $2.40.

Holly said the district tries to be as nice as it can be about approaching parents with bills for unpaid meals, but even so, they've had at least one parent indicate she was offended by the debit letter.

The district has been helped at times by community members making donations to pay meal balances for families, Holly said.

The current no-shaming policy was approved by the Board of Education in 2022 and prohibits students from being stigmatized while in line to get a meal, and students can't be required to wear wristbands, hand stamps or other identification to indicate they have an unpaid meal bill. 

Parents are supposed to be notified when a student has reached five unpaid meals and informed they can apply for the free or reduced-price meal program.

Any student from a home receiving government food assistance or aid for needy families automatically qualifies for the free or reduced-price program.  Other families may qualify but must submit an application and be approved by the district.

The district also has a policy that states, "The Le Roy Central School District wishes to establish a school environment that promotes wellness awareness and is conducive to healthy eating and physical activity for all." The policy is aligned with state and federal guidelines.

Overwhelming feedback, roster numbers mean no Knights football merger

By Joanne Beck

Le Roy families got word this week that either solidified their hopes of remaining the Oatkan Knights football team or dashed visions of becoming a merged super team of three school districts.

Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly sent a letter home Wednesday to student athletes and families revealing the final decision about pursuing a football program merger with Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen.

After outlining the actions taken thus far, including a meeting with all concerned and taking feedback and questions from students and family members, Holly provided the answer that apparently most wanted to hear.

“After reviewing enrollment data, projected roster numbers, the rationale for combined teams, and student-athlete/parent feedback, the Le Roy Central School District Board of Education has decided to not merge for the upcoming 2023 Fall Football Season with Caledonia-Mumford and Byron-Bergen Central Schools,” he said. “There will not be a vote to merge at the board meeting on February 28, 2023.”

He thanked the district community — board members, coaches, students, parents — for being open and willing to listen to reasons for considering a merger.

“On rare occasions, we see schools merge to help grow existing programs,” he said. “A merger to grow existing programs becomes a hard sell to student-athletes and parents because the outcome is unpredictable. Change is not easy and giving up traditions can be even harder.”

There are many questions that arise with such a proposition, he said, and students weren’t short on them. They asked about playing time, why a merger when they already had three levels, what happens to senior night and homecoming, who will be coaching, to name a few.

The mission of the Le Roy Central School District is to provide an exceptional, high quality educational environment where all learners are empowered to succeed, Holly said. 

Reasons for a potential merger included filling the roster and avoiding injuries by overplaying and over practicing student athletes. The rationale now for not merging after taking all feedback and research into consideration is:

  1. With the projected roster numbers for the Fall 2023 Season, Le Roy CSD can run three levels of 11-man football (modified, JV, and varsity). With that being said, we feel that a merger, as outlined in the Section V Combined Teams Application, does not meet the current rationale/criteria for Le Roy CSD. 
  2. The current merger model in regards to percentages for Classes C (40%) and D (30%) sunsets next year. With no committee recommendation or decision yet from NYSPHSAA on what model may be adopted, it makes sense to wait for this decision to better understand the placement (classification) of merged schools in the future. 
  3. ​The feedback from Le Roy student-athletes and parents was overwhelming against a merger. 

“The Le Roy Central School District would like to thank Caledonia-Mumford and Byron- Bergen Central Schools for their willingness to engage in a meaningful discussion on a potential football merger,” he said. 

File Photo of Le Roy Knights during a winning game.

Le Roy Central School considers merger with Cal-Mum/B-B

By Joanne Beck

Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly asked students and parents to consider a few things during his talk this week about a potential merger of the district’s football program.

First, he didn’t want their immediate feedback, but, rather, he wanted the stats and details he was to provide to marinate for a while before they shared their comments and concerns. The deadline for feedback is Feb. 13.

Second, a merger doesn’t signal a “superpower” team of those earlier days of the game, he said. It’s not Le Roy football in the 1980s, 90s and early to mid-2000s, when enrollment numbers and participation were of a different nature, he said, and “the game of football” has drastically changed over the past 45 years.”

That isn’t what this proposition is about.

“This is about long-term sustainability in the sport of football,” he said.

Third, what is a potential merger with Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen about?

There’s a rationale — the method behind the madness, so to speak — for considering a merger, Holly said. One issue is the safety factor: Eighth and tenth graders wouldn’t have to play to fill rosters of the junior and varsity levels, and students wouldn't be required to be on the field more than necessary.

“Imagine if we could have some balance in practice and playtime,” he said.

Student-athletes wouldn’t be overplayed, which would reduce the risk of injuries, he said, during times of, for example, athletes playing both sides of the ball.

“You have to be very careful,” he said. “You have to worry more about injuries in practice. When it comes to accountability, when you have no one else in that position to play, it becomes an issue.”

A merger could mean sustainability. A roster would be maintained at three levels, modified, JV and Varsity, with a continuous foundation of youth programs being built. Plus, the other two school districts “have a need and want to be part of this relationship and one (B-B swim team) we have already partnered with,” he said.

Not to be left out of the equation was perhaps Holly’s biggest influential statistic: a decreased enrollment of more than 500 students in 2022-2023 from 1987 figures. He called it a “staggering” slide, though also later noted that numbers seemed to be slightly on the uptick. He did so with caution.

“We could end the presentation right now and say the numbers are coming back, but there’s more,” he said.

Much of the issue was about future roster sizes, the safety of students and the ability to be competitive.

“Sometimes we’re doing our students a disservice,” Holly said. “Sports is one of the best ways to have healthy competition.”

Other districts may decide to merge at some point, and this could be Le Roy’s moment to do so, but it’s up to the school community to decide, he said. Feedback is due by Feb. 13, and the school board is to vote on Feb. 28.

If it’s yes for the merger, that would mean splitting home games, operating costs amongst the school districts, sharing homecoming and senior nights at the home game district, each district paying its own insurance costs, uniforms purchased from a stockpile, and other details to be worked out, he said.

“We’d be looking at a whole new process,” he said. “There’d be a three-year commitment with a 30-day opt-out clause.”

If the merger is a no, Le Roy moves forward with a football program.

“We need to get feedback from you. This is just an initial conversation,” Holly said.

To view the entire presentation, go HERE.

2022 File Photo of Le Roy Oatkan Knights versus Attica by Howard Owens.

Le Roy school district facing unexpected expense of repairing Woodward Memorial Library elevator

By Howard B. Owens

The elevator at the Woodward Memorial Library in Le Roy is out of service, and the school district is expecting some costly repairs.

While the library operates on its own budget, the district owns the library building and is responsible for its maintenance.

Superintendent Merritt Holly gave the Board of Education a heads up at this past week's meeting and will come back at a future meeting with details on cost.

"Obviously, we will be out of compliance with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) if we don't do it," Holly said.

District Finance Director Brian Foeller explained that because the elevator is seldom used, the oil in the hydraulic system dries out.  If the elevator were used 100 times a day, everything would stay well lubricated, but with dry oil, metal rubs against metal and then shavings begin to impede movement.

The current elevator was installed in 1995 and is inspected annually -- also a significant expense -- but it hasn't been fully serviced before.

"So it comes down to -- we have to evaluate what's the most efficient way to get this done without having more issues with it but also knowing what the full cost is," Holly said.

Students in Le Roy picking up STEAM with broad range of opportunities

By Howard B. Owens

Students at Le Roy Schools are getting broad exposure to STEAM skills and trades (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), STEAM teacher Luke Weaver told the Board of Education on Tuesday during a meeting.

Rube Goldberg Machines, computer coding, food sciences, robotics and drones, and environmental sciences are all getting covered with one class or another, Weaver said.

Superintendent Merritt Holly emphasized what Weaver illustrated during his introduction of Weaver to the board.

"We offer STEAM Club," Holly said. "We offer things in the library. We offer things in the summer. The kids have a ton of opportunities, so there's no like, I'll try this and then I don't care about it again for another year. It's a really a continuing program, which I think is really powerful."

Currently, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders are working on Rube Goldberg Machines and they're excited by the projects, he said.

For those who might not be familiar with a Rube Goldberg Machine, Weaver explained that it is an "unbelievably complicated machine to do an unbelievably simple task. So you would build something with pulleys, levers, catapults, dominoes knocking each other over to do something you could easily do by yourself."

(For an entertaining example of a Rube Goldberg Machine, see the music video below.)

He said when he first introduced the concept to students, they looked at him like he was crazy.

"They went from that mindset to kids coming in in the morning, before homeroom, coming in and start working because they want that extra half hour to work on their project, which is just awesome."

There are 46 students currently enrolled in a coding class. They're starting with blocks of code that fit together to make a working program.

"I've got two kids who are already done," Weaver said. "That is fascinating to me, to see kids who've never done this before, pick this up and be so cohesive going through the process."

The block program will move the students into coding languages commonly used in the business world, such as Python and C++, Weaver said.

The programming experience also moves the students into working in robotics and with drones.

Already this year the school has held a Manufacturing Day, which included a field trip to visit Orcon, Bonduelle, and U.S. Gypsum.

"The kids had an opportunity to see different careers and how many different types of jobs that can happen in one place, which I think is mind-blowing," Weaver said. "I mean, you had electrical engineers, you had manufacturing people, you had artists, anything you could think of at all of these different plants."

The stop at Bonduelle in Oakfield was interesting because spinach was being delivered from a farm owned by one of the student's father.

"So we got to like watch that and see how they go through that whole freeze-drying process and things like that," Weaver said.

An area of expansion for the program that Weaver is working on is aquaponics, he said. 

"Aquaponics is basically a huge fish tank that is fully cyclical," Weaver said. "The plants provide the nutrients for the fish and the fish provide nutrients for the plants. You don't have to clean the fish tank. You can grow vegetables, or fruit and grow flowers. They actually have huge systems where people grow or raise tilapia and actually have harvestable fish. We're going to take baby steps and start with a goldfish that are at my house, bring those in. But we're just trying to pull in other kids that might not have that engineering mindset, they might not only want to be tech-savvy, but they might like some natural science stuff."

Weaver also went through some of the entry-level STEAM projects being introduced at Wolcott Street School.

 "It's fun," Weaver said. "I love this stuff. I love seeing their faces just confused and excited at the same time. That's exactly what you're looking for."

Photo: Luke Weaver. Photo by Howard Owens.

Clock is ticking as Le Roy's first day of school approaches and work remains to be done

By Howard B. Owens

It's coming down to the wire at Wolcott Street School, as several items in the district's $12.1 million capital improvement project are not yet completed and students are set to return in less than a week.

Superintendent Merritt Holly isn't too worried about all of the important things to be done before students return on Wednesday. Although he can pick up the phone for a contractor, he's not ready to pick up a hammer himself, he said.

"It would be worse for everybody," he told the Board of Education during Monday's meeting.

The contractor has had to deal with a shortage of workers, Holly said. For example, there's been one guy to lay all the tile in the remodeled bathrooms next to the gym.

"When you have one laborer doing tile, what more can you do?" Holly said. "Probably they'll tell you how lucky, you got one laborer. He was darn good at laying tile but he's one person."

The main thing with the bathrooms is having the partitions in place, and nobody expects a problem with completing that task on time. But even so, with one bathroom ready to go, that's all that is needed for the first day of school, he said.

The gym floor has been stripped and refinished but needs to be sealed before the first modified volleyball practice next week.

There are ceiling tiles to be put in place and general clean-up to finish yet, as well.

"Now we're down to four cleaning days left before kids are in the building, inside of classrooms," Holly said. "It's the responsibility the contractor to clean, and then we come in, check it to make sure it's up to standards, and then we finish it off."

As for the parking lot, it was supposed to be resurfaced on Monday. 

"They were here today and were ready to go," Holly said. "Then the rain came and they were gone."

Before the parking lot is ready, it needs to be resurfaced and striped.  The backup plan is to have staff park on the grass off Stanley Place.

As for how the contractors feel about the looming deadline, "they're saying they're not stressed at all," Holly said.

Top photo: Superintendent Merritt Holly and some members of the Board of Education in the hallway outside the Wolcott Street School gym explaining that eventually a mural will be painted along the wall that will tell the story of schools in Le Roy, starting with a one-room school house.

Photos by Howard Owens.

One of the bathrooms next to the gym has partitions in place.

The other one doesn't. Yet.

One of the gym equipment storage rooms on the second floor of the gym wing of the building.

The refinished gym floor still needs to be sealed.

The tile is down in one of the locker rooms on the second floor of the gym wing.

In the hallway outside the Memorial Auditorium, a new TV monitor will share school information and student accomplishments. 

Le Roy announces appointment of new Jr/Sr High School assistant principal

By Press Release

Press release:

On Tuesday, July 12, 2022, the Le Roy Board of Education unanimously approved Matt Davis as the new Jr/Sr High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director. Mr. Davis will start officially on Monday, August 1, 2022.

Mr. Davis is currently a physical education teacher at Brockport Central School District, a position he has held since 2007. During the 2021 summer, Mr. Davis also gained valuable experience at Monroe 2 BOCES as a Regional Summer School Vice Principal. Since 2018 at Brockport Middle and High School, Mr. Davis has served as a substitute assistant principal and completed his internship with the Director of Physical Education, Health, and Athletics in 2021.

“Throughout the search process, it was evident that Mr. Davis had a bold vision for both our academic and athletic programs. He values teamwork, and cares above all about the success and development of his students, teachers, and staff,” said Merritt Holly, Superintendent of Schools. “Mr. Davis’ coaching experience in both boys and girls varsity sports (soccer and baseball) at Brockport Central Schools was viewed as a huge plus by our committee. We look forward to Mr. Davis leading our Knights as we continue to provide high-level extra-curricular offerings for all students.”

Mr. Davis earned both a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and a Master of Science in Athletic Administration from SUNY Brockport. Along with his physical education certification, Mr. Davis also holds New York State certifications as a School Building and School District Leader.

  • The district posted the position on May 11, 2022, and 17 candidates applied.
  • First-round interviews with six applicants were held on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
  • An 11-member committee consisting of teachers, parents, administration, and board members
  • narrowed the field to two finalists.
  • Second-round interviews took place on Tuesday, June 28, and Tuesday, July 5, 2022.
  • A final interview with the superintendent was conducted on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

Mr. Davis will have the opportunity to transition into his new role with Dr. David Russell and Mrs. Lynda Lowe (who will be retiring in November 2022). The district would also like to thank Mrs. Beth Luckey, who has been interim athletic director since October 2022. 

New sidewalk at Woodward Memorial Library expected to be safer, completed by mid-July

By Howard B. Owens

The walkway leading from Wolcott Street to the Woodward Memorial Library in Le Roy may look like a mess now, but things will be a whole lot better in about a month, according to Le Roy Central Schools Superintendent Merritt Holly.

As part of a $12.1 million capital improvement plan approved by voters, the district is investing $186,349 in a new sidewalk for the library.

The old sidewalk was no longer up to safety standards.  The new sidewalk will not only be more attractive but its safety enhancements will include a snowmelt system.

"This (system) will eliminate the use of salts and/or other de-icing materials and physical damage from our tractors removing snow," Holly said. "Furthermore, when our maintenance crew leaves at the end of the school day, and the library remains open in the evening, the sidewalks will stay clear of snow and ice.  We have also added a small slope change to the sidewalk as you walk up to the library using the sidewalk."

 Holly said the district expects the sidewalk project to be completed before July 13.

Photos by Howard Owens

As part of the project, a main power line for Woodward Memorial Library and the Wolcott building was replaced, hence the big hole in front of the library during construction

Le Roy voters asked to select three trustees from four candidates, vote on budget

By Howard B. Owens

Four people are each vying for one of three trustee seats on Le Roy Central School's Board of Education during Tuesday's school budget vote.

The two candidates with the most votes will be elected to the two three-year terms that are open, and the candidate to come in third will fill the remaining two years on the other available seat.

The four candidates are Peter W. Loftus, Randa Williams, Jason Karcher, and Rachael Greene.

Also on the ballot is the district's $27,708,988 spending plan.  Voters are being asked to approve a $10,663,025 tax levy.  In-district property owners in Pavilion, Bergen, and Caledonia are looking at a projected tax rate of $19. Property owners in the Town of Le Roy pay the same rate they did this year, $24.14. For further explanation of the tax rates and budget, see The Batavian's previous coverage: Le Roy trustees support $66,000 tax levy increase, still lowering tax rate for property owners with assessment adjustments

During the May 10 school board meeting, the four candidates were given time to introduce themselves:

Peter W. Loftus
Loftus has served on the school district board for six years and is seeking a third term.  He is married to Tammy and they have two children.   

He is an engineering manager at RL Kistler Inc.

"Kistler places a real high value on their employees giving back to the community and providing service wherever they can," Loftus said. "This has allowed me a lot of flexibility to get out of work when I need to, to get back here for any committee meeting, interview negotiations, anything like that that takes place in the normal working hours. My work is really understanding about that and provides me with that opportunity."

He said he learned two things when he first started on the school board. 

"The first thing that I learned is that it's just a massive operation," he said. "The running of this district is all the fast-moving parts. Everything's changing all the time. People are leaving. It's a natural path for people to come and go. So you're always filling slots. It's just the way it is.

"And the other thing that I learned -- and this is the biggie -- that they care; the education, and the life preparation of every student in this district, is what drives everybody here."

Six years ago, when he showed up at the Jr./Sr high school to participate in his own children's educations, he picked up a positive vibe just walking around the hallways. Loftus said, and he decided he wanted to be a part of it, so he decided to run for a seat on the board.

"Now, I do understand a lot of the challenges, and there are many things we need to do to be better," Loftus said. "It's not just a happy place where that vibe is going all the time. There are underlying issues. There are things that we need to improve."

And Loftus wants to help guide that improvement, he said, and his experience will prove to be an asset.

"My six years on the board equips me with some experience and some tools to be a more effective, more impactful board member," Loftus said. "I really look forward to putting that experience to use in a third term."

Randa Williams
Williams, a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother of Le Roy students, started her involvement with the Le Roy Central School District when her daughter entered kindergarten in 1976. She served on the PTSO and helped get the first playground built, and then a second.

She's been involved with Girl Scouts for 66 years.

"I think that the most important thing is to be involved in your community," Williams said. "I think that's what brought me here."

She thinks more people should get involved with their local schools.

"In a case like this, if you're involved, you know what's going on in your school. And it's very important what's going on here," she said.

Williams said she is excited to get more involved with the district through a seat on the school board.

"I'm very interested in what's going on and I would like to be involved in it," she said.

Jason Karcher
Part of what brought Karcher to Le Roy is that he married a young lady from the community and they both wanted a place with a strong sense of community and family.

The Buffalo native arrived four years ago and immediately got involved.  He joined the Le Roy Rotary Club and is now set to become president-elect in July. He's also been involved with the PTSO.

"One of the big things for me was about (finding) some place that I could actually dig in, get my hands dirty, and be a part of something that was larger than myself," Karcher said. "When we made the decision, it wasn't a foregone conclusion about where we would go, but it presented itself really quickly that, with family here, and with all the opportunities that are available here, to be able to come back here and (get involved)."

He and his wife Shannon have a daughter and it was his daughter's love of softball that got him even more involved in the community. 

"About two years ago, we had a huge opportunity where there was going to be no softball, there's gonna be no community of girls softball," he said. "That was a big thing for our daughter to make sure that ( girls softball) could continue on. So Shanna and I jumped in and we formed a 501(C)(3) and got it off the ground, and in two years. Now we have over 100 girls playing softball again here in the community, which we think is fantastic, and we're really excited about it."

The level of involvement led to Karcher being appointed to a vacant seat on the school board.

He works for Apple as an employee relations specialist.

"For me, it's about involvement," he said. "One of the things I would call out is, this is our budget meeting, this is where people could come in and actually get to know our candidates. And this is what we have to write (motion it the largely empty auditorium). And I'll call out, why aren't there more people here? That bothers me. So that's one of the big things, if ever voted on to the school board, is wanting to make a commitment that we need more people here."

Rachael Greene

Greene enters the race with more than two decades of experience in education. She started her career as a teacher in her hometown of Warsaw before becoming a principal in Mount Morris.  She was an instructional coordinator for BOCES (a position her husband, Peter, now holds) before becoming superintendent of the Stanley G. Falk School, which is a NYS-approved special day school that provides educational programming for students aged five to 21 who have special learning, social, and emotional needs.

"We have 600 students," Greene said. "We're the largest special education school in New York State -- seven locations and (there are) 44 different districts that we collaborate with. So when I think about what I could bring to the board, I think there's some insight and perspective in the fact that I've been able to sit in many of your positions within the district, not this district, specifically, but in a school system, and understand the roles that each of you plays to make decisions on what's best for kids. But also the perspective of being able to say, wow, you know, 44 districts, what are they doing with this?"

She said she wouldn't see her role as another superintendent in the district, a role Merrit Holly currently fills. 

"I think there's some value in being a thought partner at the table with the board," said Greene, a life-long resident of Le Roy. "In my experience, the other piece I think I would bring to the board is I'm a huge advocate for underrepresented students. When I look at our community of Le Roy and youth, and look at where we were 20 years ago, our poverty levels amongst our families and our students coming through our doors hovered around 10 percent. That trend line has done nothing but grow, where we are at almost 40 percent of our students that come into our school buildings living in poverty every day."

The Greenes have three children going to Le Roy schools, including Andrew, a ninth-grader who attended the meeting with his mother.

"I have a lot of confidence that he also will be in some form of leadership because he's class president, and now president of the Junior Honor Society," she said. "So I'm super proud of that. I think it's important for me as a parent to also model that when you're passionate about something, you want to have a seat at the table. So I'm super proud. He's here to support me."

 Greene said she would serve to support educators and see that both instructors and students -- especially those coming from poor families -- get what they need to succeed.

"I can tell you that our teachers in this district and our staff work so hard to do what's best for kids every day," Greene said. "So, as a board member, I'd want to think about what can we do, not just instructionally, but structurally to provide for what every kid needs in this district. Because the sad part is that two-thirds of those 40 percent don't pass the state exams. That tells me that there's a big gap there and it's our obligation, my duty, I would feel as the board member, and all of ours, to really look at what can we do to break down those barriers for kids every day."

Photos by Howard Owens.

After a lull in new COVID cases, Le Roy, like county, has seen more positive tests

By Howard B. Owens

When the mask mandate was first lifted for students in public schools, the number of COVID cases reported amount the Le Roy Central Schools population was low to non-existent, Superintendent Merritt Holly told school board members at Tuesday's meeting.

But like the rest of the community, case numbers have been rising, he said.

"It's just something that is just hanging here as we get into the spring," Holly said. "I think as you've seen, flu numbers are still up. The two haven't gone away. We had a good stretch where we went a couple of weeks with no cases at all and since we've come back from break, we've had three or four (cases), five on a day. So they're up a little bit from where we were."

What Le Roy is seeing in cases mirrors what is being reported in the county as a whole, though in the past week, the number of new cases has leveled off.

There were 283 new cases reported in Genesee County for the week ending May 10, which is down slightly from the 286 cases reported the week before.

As for flu, there were 14 cases reported in Genesee County in the last week of April, according to the state's flu tracker web site.  There were 19 flu cases reported the week before and five the week before that.


Le Roy trustees support $66,000 tax levy increase, still lowering tax rate for property owners with assessment adjustments

By Howard B. Owens

Le Roy Central School District is planning to increase the tax levy by $66,000 after calculating how much state aid the district can expect to help cover its $27,708,988 spending plan.

The good news for residents of Stafford, who this year reportedly saw a substantial increase in their property assessments, is that if the numbers hold, their property tax rate for public education will go down about $2.37 per $1,000 of assessed value. The anticipated rate is $19.80. That's 13 cents more than it would have been had the Board of Education decided to balance the budget with reserves rather than increase the levy.

Property owners in the district in Pavilion, Bergen, and Caledonia are also looking at a projected tax rate of $19.

However, property owners in the Town of Le Roy pay the same rate they did this year, $24.14. 

State law requires that all property owners in a district share the burden of education equally so a formula will be applied to Le Roy's tax rate to make it equitable.  

Business Administrator Brian Foeller presented anticipated revenue numbers to board members at a Monday afternoon meeting and then all members of the board participated in a discussion about the tax levy before reaching a consensus decision (no motion nor vote was required) to raise the levy by $66,000.

These are all estimates because final assessment numbers will not be available until July, which will affect the total tax levy.

The tax levy is the total amount of revenue raised through property taxes.  The tax rate is the amount per thousand of assessed value that property owners are billed to pay into the levy.

Board President Jacalyn Whiting (top photo) said she was confused by the Town's decision to forego assessment adjustments this year given the state's required equalization rate and that the town must eventually get assessments up to 100 percent of fair market value.

"How is this going to make things better?" Whiting said.

The spending plan is covered by $16,135,963 in state aid, $10,663,025 tax levy, and $910,000 in local revenues.

Local revenues are:

  • Fund Balance carried forward
  • Late taxpayer penalties
  • Out of district tuition paid by other schools
  • Interest earnings of investments
  • Medicaid
  • BOCES Refund

Budget increases include:

  • Professional support and staff salaries, $364,963
  • Special Education out-of-district tuition, $282,000
  • Staff health insurance, $150,721 (a 12.5 percent increase)
  • Grounds/facilities equipment, $81,000
  • Debt payment on existing loans, $56,611

The district is adding one full-time equivalent position, replacing a part-time BOCES employee due to an increase in BOCES attendance. 

A part-time BOCES speech therapist position is being eliminated. There is also a reduction in spending on COVID-19 supplies and several retirements, with not all positions being replaced.

"We've done our part to try and keep this in mind with rising costs," said Superintendent Merritt Holly. "It's tough. These are not easy decisions."

 Whiting agreed, saying the district has done the best it can to control costs.

"This is hard, because I feel we've done a really good job, even adding $66,000 to the levy to bring it to $2 lower per $1,000," Whiting said. "But the assessment part is out of our control. By the same token, you know, we have to balance out here, too."

One thing helping the district this year is the state increased the amount of state aid, a portion called Foundation Aid, to offset shortages to the district in previous years. The increase is only temporary and the district cannot count on it in the future.

Trustee Jason Karcher expressed concern that without a levy increase, the district will face a steeper hill to climb at some point.

"That's gonna be a shock to the system when, and we don't necessarily know when, that would happen," he said. "That's lovely."

Trustee William MacKenzie agreed.

"Eventually the Foundation Aid is going to go away," he said. "It's going to happen."

Trustee Denise Duthe said she believes the district has a history of being responsible for taxpayers' money.

"I think has always done a good job of keeping things basically straight or just a little bit up, not these kinds of wild gyrations," Duthe said. "Everything costs a little bit more. Keep in mind that we want to be as fiscally responsible as we can but we also don't want to do a giant jump next year."

The budget public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium.

The vote on the budget and candidates for trustees will be on May 17.

There are four candidates for three open seats.  There are two three-year terms and one two-year term open.  The candidates are  Peter W. Loftus (Incumbent), Randa Williams, Jason Karcher, and Rachael Greene.

Photos by Howard Owens

PUBLIC NOTICE: Le Roy school district to hold hearings on code of conduct and safety plan

By Legal Notices


NOTICE TO RESIDENTS A Public Hearing to present information on the revised District Code of Conduct and District Safety Plan will be held on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium. The District Safety Plan is open for public comment from April 19, 2022, to May 18, 2022. Public comments may be made in the District Office or by attending the Public Hearing.

Le Roy Central's 2022-2023 on budget for trustees meeting on Tuesday

By Howard B. Owens

Administrators with the Le Roy Central School District have been working on the 2022-2023 budget for weeks and are currently proposing $27,708,988 in expenditures, an increase of $839,701 from the 2021-2022 budget, or a 3.13% increase.

Superintendent Merritt Holly said officials still need to compare revenue numbers to help finalize the budget.

School districts do not yet know how much state aid they will receive, which is a significant portion of every district's revenue. Without that number, officials cannot say what the anticipated tax levy will be and what that will mean for the tax rate on property owners in the district.

Under the property tax cap, the district can increase the levy by 2.39 percent.   

The school board will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the auditorium of Wolcott School.

Brother and sister team in Le Roy creates peer-to-peer tutoring program that is raising grades

By Howard B. Owens

Watching fellow students learn and grow because of the help you've given them and the friendship you've shown them is one of the most satisfying things in life, Evelyn Babcock told trustees of the Le Roy Central School District on Monday night. 

She recalled her interaction with one boy she tutored through a program called Knights Academic Access Program that she co-founded with her twin brother Brett Babcock.

"'I don't like it (school),'" she recalled a boy telling her.  "It's boring."  She added, exacerbated, "Oh, eighth-grade boys," eliciting laughter from the board, then she continued, "It's rewarding watching someone go from 19 in social studies to a 91 ... he was like ‘hey, this kind of isn’t that bad.’

"So to watch that drive sparked again, to see that drive and motivation and understanding organizational skills and understanding not just the academic portion but understanding optimism and attitude and energy and things like that that go into it, and watching a light go off in their eyes, is one of the most rewarding experiences I could ever say I had yet so far in high school."

Brett and Evelyn are highly motivated students.  They both have scholarships for Ohio State.  Evelyn is set on attending Ohio. She's even named her car "Scarlett" (one of the school's colors -- "I'm a bit obsessed," she told the board). But she doesn't know what she will major in.  She has "10,000 interests," she said.  Brett is a little less sure about Ohio but he's set on entering pre-med and becoming a doctor. 

With that degree of motivation, they found the options available for programs to help them meet their community service requirements were less than satisfying.

"My brother and I were looking for a way to give back going beyond painting rocks or chalk art on sidewalks," Evelyn told the board. "It’s pretty and all but our time is very valuable to us because we don’t have much of it and we're always busy so we wanted to put as much efficiency into our time as possible. We started contacting things like Big Brother/BigSister programs and trying to find a way and we were contacting everyone and there was no response, no results, so we were like, you know what, we’re going to start our own program.  Why not just start something?"

Sophomores at the time, it was the start of the pandemic.  It might be surprising that such motivated students felt they were falling behind academically.  

They thought if that was happening to them, what about students who were already doing poorly in school?  So they decided to start a peer-to-peer tutoring program. 

The twins contacted every person they knew, from administrators to fellow students, to try and get a tutoring program going.

Of course, the school supported it.  They cite former principal Tim McArdle especially for helping get the fledgling program off the ground, but say also Kelly Ronan, Austin Dwyer, and Jen Bertrand were supportive as well.

The reason the program has been successful, Brett told the board, is because it's student-run and there is a strong emphasis on tutors and the younger students building a friendship.

"It's not just tutoring," Brett said. "It's about having friends and having mentors."

"If we just made a tutoring program where you show up after school and you don't want to go to tutor but you're spending 45 minutes after school, I don't think it would be as successful, he said.  "We both preach, get a kid, stick with them, build a foundation, because it will be rewarding when you see them succeed in school but also see them laugh."

There are about 20 other student tutors and currently about 20 students being tutored.  And some of those tutors are ready to lead the program next year, Brett said, explaining that he's not worried about it going away after he and his sister graduate.

Not everyone who wants to be a tutor gets to be a tutor, Evelyn said.  There have been some sophomores who have applied to become tutors but they need to display both academic success and maturity. 

If sophomores are accepted, they tutor students younger than those typically assigned to juniors and seniors so that the tutor can maintain a level of separation and authority.

"The level of maturity needs to be there because you are impacting somebody’s life greatly, so we don’t want to be like, ‘hey, I want to be a tutor.’ No. That’s not how it’s going to work," Evelyn said.

Some students just need help at the end of a marking period.  Others need help all year.  Either way, the program is making a difference, the siblings said.

"We even get messages from their parents saying how it’s not just in school but at home, you can see their confidence rise due to they believe in themselves," Brett said. "They have a little bit more self-confidence because they see their grades rising and they can say, ‘I can actually do this.”  It’s so rewarding and it really shows how just a little step — this isn’t a huge program but for some people it is.  if you can save one person and help them grow as a person I would consider that win."

The board members were duly impressed.

"What you’re doing is awesome," said Trustee Rich Lawrence.  "You're planting seeds and those seeds are going to grow."

Vice President Denise Duthe said, "We're so so proud of you. The fact that you saw or thought that this was going to be something that people needed, and putting hours and hours into it is just outstanding."

The plaudits were followed by a round of applause from board members and administrators. 

Top photo: Brett and Evelyn Babcock present their tutoring initiative to Le Roy Central School Board during a meeting on Tuesday.

Le Roy trustees approve David Russell as new principal for Jr/Sr high, starts April 25

By Press Release

Press release:

On Tuesday, March 22, 2022, the Le Roy Board of Education unanimously approved Dr. David Russell as the new Jr/Sr High School Principal. Dr. Russell will start officially on Monday, April 25, 2022.

Dr. Russell is currently the assistant principal at the Cosgrove (Spencerport) Middle School, a position he has held since 2019. Previously he was the principal of the Western Wayne Summer Academy, a Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES program. Dr. Russell was also a special education teacher at Sodus Central School District and the True North Rochester Preparatory Charter School.

“We are very excited to bring Dr. Russell’s energy and passion to collaborate with our students, teachers, and parents,” said Merritt Holly, Superintendent of Schools. “He is a strong instructional leader who has consistently made positive connections with all stakeholders in his previous experiences. We look forward to Dr. Russell’s leadership as we continue to follow our vision to cultivate a world-class community of learners who exceed core local, state, national, and international standards.”

The mission of the Le Roy Central School District is to provide an exceptional, high-quality educational environment where all learners are empowered to succeed.

Dr. Russell earned a Bachelor of Arts, History, Adolescent Education from SUNY Geneseo, a Master of Education from Roberts Wesleyan College, and a Doctor of Education from the University of Rochester. Along with his special education certification, Dr. Russell also holds New York State certifications as a School Building and School District Leader.

The district posted the position on February 2, 2022, and 17 candidates applied. First-round interviews with four applicants were held on Friday, March 11, 2022. A 15-member committee consisting of students, teachers, parents, administration, and board members narrowed the field to two finalists. Second-round interviews with the administrative team took place on Thursday, March 17, 2022. A final interview with the superintendent was conducted on Friday, March 18, 2022.

Dr. Russell takes over for Mr. Tim McArdle, who left on Friday, February 4, 2022, to take an assistant principal position at Caledonia-Mumford Central School District. The district would like to sincerely thank Mrs. Beth Patton, who has been interim principal since Monday, February 7, 2022. 

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