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North Collins School Board adds girls junior varsity soccer to the school’s fall lineup

NORTH COLLINS — The North Collins School Board approved adding girls junior varsity soccer to the fall schedule and advertising for a coach, as participation in the sport has risen.

During the board’s Aug. 13 meeting, Coach Tim Flanagan said that he would have to cut nearly half of the athletes’ seeking spots on the varsity team, due to the high level of interest. As it is, Flanagan said that he will automatically have to cut eight players from the modified squad (which has drawn 22 aspirants), because of a lack of uniforms.

There were no funds placed into this year’s district budget for the program. Board President Shannon Locking asked if there will be savings in hiring a substitute teacher for the year, to replace a senior instructor that was granted a one-year leave of absence. Superintendent Benjamin Halsey said that he thought there would be, but will investigate further. Funding of the program should be in place for the body’s next meeting.

Halsey also reported that, through a $100,000 grant secured by State Sen. Patrick Gallivan, North Collins, along with several other school districts, will have regular visits by members of the Erie County Sheriff’s Department as school resource officers.

Although not as regular as past programs, Halsey said the plan is to vary the times and days officers would be present in the school. The sheriff’s detail will also be supplemented with a continuation of the state troopers’ school liaison program, which finds officers from that agency visiting schools periodically.

In other matters:
– Halsey noted that the state is moving away from paper and toward testing via electronic devices. The superintendent said that an evaluation of the number of devices the district owns and the capabilities of its current network will have to be conducted. He will meet with an architect and the district’s buildings and grounds supervisor and technology director, to assess those capabilities and identify any modifications that may be required.

– The board approved filling a vacancy for a .7 high school math instructor position with Joshua Gabel.

Junior-Senior High Principal Annie Metcalf said that the position is budgeted for and necessary, especially in light of recent statewide test score drops and the expectations for improvement. She asked the board to keep the position this year and promised to evaluate its need for the next budget.

– Metcalf presented a report about her building and noted that more than $283,000 in scholarships was awarded to the class of 2013. There has been a large increase in the number of students and the college credits they are earning, in an Erie Community College. Last year, 60 students earned 210 credit hours, an increase from 14 students and 42 hours in the 2009 – 2010 school year.

– The principal noted the increase in students’ qualifying for reduced or free lunches, as well as increases in students’ academic performance, during the past several years.

– Stefan said that he was concerned that an honors math course had only nine students enrolled and wondered if more students could be added. Metcalf replied that the course covers two years of math in one and is rigorous for the students. A number of factors are considered, including teacher references and a review of students’ academic performances, going back to elementary school. Placing a student not prepared for such a course would only send them further behind, she said.

– Metcalf announced that a one-day “eagle energy day” of community service will take place on Oct. 11. Residents or nonprofit organizations can apply for work to be performed on their property, through forms that are available through the district’s website.

– Board Member Tammy Winter suggested that, in light of the funding concern about the newly-created girls JV soccer team, some type of sports-boosters organization be set up, to assist in obtaining money. Board Member Martin Niefergold echoed the idea and added that he has spoken with the athletic director, who is researching means of additional funding used by other districts.

– Niefergold also reported that the induction of the first members of the district’s sports hall of fame went well and an area at the school’s entrance has been chosen to display the commemorative plaques. He said that the biographies of the members show that they excelled not only in sports, but in other avenues of endeavor as well, and he said he hoped their lives would inspire current students to do the same.

The next North Collins School Board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 27.
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