Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 17 December 2010 00:00
The Gribbin Elementary School gymnasium was filled with proud families and community members Monday night as the top 20 high school students for the class of 2011 were given special recognition by the Board of Education at the public meeting.
All of the students present were given a certificate of commendation recognizing their outstanding academic achievement and had the opportunity to be congratulated by each member of the board after high school principal Dr. Joseph Hinton announced the name of each individual. Trustee Frank Bouza was absent from the meeting.
“We are very pleased to commend the top 20 students of the class of 2011 for their outstanding academic achievement,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Laria said.
After each student received a certificate and photographs were taken, the official meeting commenced. The board adopted the second reading of a working from home policy and the second reading of a policy regarding the status of high school seniors.
In the new business section of the agenda, the board accepted a donation of $500 from the Norah Lessne Trust in memory of Sid Lessne and Greg Lessne.
Glenn Howard of the Chamber of Commerce said, “When I knew Sid Lessne years ago, he was a wonderful member of the Chamber and of the community. It’s good to see his name again; I’m very impressed to see him recognized. Thank you.”
Additionally, the board approved a transfer of funds in the amount of $34,783.56 from the Thayer boiler project fund to the high school locker room fund, as there was an excess amount from the boiler project. The board also approved the payment of tax certiorari claims in excess of $1 million.
In Dr. Laria’s Points of Pride section, he congratulated the staff of Finley Middle School for winning the 2011 Met-Life Foundation NASSP Breakthrough Schools Award, and commended the fall athletes who had an outstanding season as well as the students and staff involved in the production of the fall play.
He then went on to make a point that, although the holiday season is currently upon us, January is right around the corner; and with the new year comes the urgency of budget discussions.
“In January we will hit the ground running with budget meetings,” he said, as he outlined the projected schedule, including public budget workshops during the month of March, an adoption of the budget on April 11, 2011, and the vote on May 17, 2011.
“We will focus on budget development guidelines, which are outlined on the website, and we will balance education soundness with fiscal economy, separate our needs from our wants, have the courage to say no to what we want so we have the capacity to say yes to what we need and focus on the greatest good for the greatest number,” Dr. Laria stated.
He went on to discuss the financial burdens and deficits of the national and state economies, stressing the importance of remembering that the district’s economy is part of the bigger picture.
“We are facing a perfect storm in what can be considered a financial tsunami. We have enormous challenges ahead and are ready to face them as we move forward,” Dr. Laria said.
Trustee Joel Sunshine wanted to clarify a statement he made at the previous meeting regarding the Fine Arts Committee, saying he meant that the funding was lacking, not the talent. He said they are accepting applications from community members to be a part of the committee, which will analyze the current state of the Fine Arts department, determine what it should aspire to be and figure out how to pay for it. He said the intent of the committee is to act as an advocate for the programs.
Glenn Howard said he thought the formation of this committee was a “great idea” since fine arts programs “teach children to think outside the box.”
Mr. Howard also mentioned that the New York State Regents exams – which are being looked at from the state level – are only good in New York State, as other state schools do not recognize the scores, but will look at a student’s GPA and SAT or ACT scores instead. “One of the most forgotten resources are the students themselves; they can learn to the test but if you ask them if they are really learning, they will tell you ‘no’,” he said.
Local business owner Richard Smith said, “Now is the time to revisit some of the decisions of past years and try to reassign monetary allegations to determine what is needed now versus what was wanted then.”