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Frontier asked to keep training site operating

HAMBURG — The July 8 meeting of the Frontier Central School Board featured current and former cross country and track athletes pleading with district officials to not remove a training regiment site at Chestnut Ridge Park.

Seven current students and Frontier High graduates spoke about the benefits of regular team training sessions for track and cross country squads held at Chestnut Ridge.

Patrick Boyle, who was elected board president during Tuesday's re-organization meeting, stated that the Chestnut Ridge training site was a casualty of budget cuts to transportation, as part of 2014-15 fiscal crunching. Formulating a plan to save the school's use of the park facility was said to require a booster club effort for raising funds to support such a venture, as it would not fiscally be in district officials’ hands.

Dr. Bret Apthorpe, who was officially sworn in during the meeting, to assume his district superintendent duties, said Frontier Director of Athletics & Health, Physical Education and Recreation Richard Gray is working with cross country and track coaches on formulating an alternative plan, moving forward.

“We're committed to working something out,” Apthorpe said. “I commend those who came out tonight to speak in support of [Chestnut Ridge training].”

Several athletes spoke of the strenuous but productive training techniques at the ridge, which included progressive walking up and down the sledding hills. Such challenges were stated as developing physical and mental toughness for team members.

“Chestnut Ridge represents a home for us,” said 2014 Frontier High graduate Samantha Curtis. “The [track and cross country] teams had consistently high GPAs. Please look into further consideration [for saving the training site program].”

Fellow 2014 Frontier graduate Sydney Bova added that the training regiment and overall program helped improve dietary habits. Another runner stated that the training “makes us strong in body and mind,” helping Frontier reach top-10 status in Western New York running.

School Board Member Thomas Best Jr. also commended the athletes for speaking at the meeting.

“Thank you for spending your summer night here and advocating for your sport.” said Best.

Boyle was elected president of the board for 2014-15 by a vote of 4-3, with Board Members Martin Lalka, Janet Plarr and Best casting “no” votes. Board Members Lynn Szalkowski, Davis Podkulski and Larry Albert, as well as Boyle, voted in favor of the measure.

Albert was elected vice president by a unanimous, 7-0 vote.

Also at that meeting, various updates to the district's Code of Conduct were made. Assistant Superintendent Dr, Mary Ann Costello noted that the student dress code will now include prohibiting students wearing pajama pants, specifically, as well as “stocking feet” or “barefoot” appearances. Additionally, muscle shirts are being prohibited. Mardi gras beads, once not allowed, are no longer prohibited, due to their possible status as being relevant to certain individuals’ culture.

E-cigarettes and vapor-related products were added to the list of prohibited substances/items. Taking photographs in any pool environment will also be forbidden. When Plarr asked what is done with confiscated items, it was noted that they are disposed of, in an appropriate manner.

In other board matters:

– The resignation of School Business Manager Richard Calipari, who had served in his title for two years, was announced for family reasons. Boyle said the district is looking to fill this position as soon as possible, potentially through contractual services with Erie 1 BOCES.

– The board approved a resolution to return KaraLe Brese from the Preferred Eligibility List to a full-time position in the Special Education tenure area.

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