Superintendent Benjamin Halsey informed the North Collins School Board at its April 23 meeting that dates for community outreach to explain the new budget have been set prior to the May 19 public hearing on the document. The board will visit the North Collins Senior Citizens on May 1 at 11 a.m. followed by stops at the May 7 Village Board meeting, May 8 Town Board meeting, an optional staff presentation at the high school on May 9 and at the North Collins Elementary School PTA meeting on May 13. The last venue will also be a meet the candidate night. Halsey reported that only one candidate has submitted petitions for a seat on the board, Tammy Winter. Current board member Richard Foster, has decided not to seek reelection. “After over 40 years in education, I’ve decided that’s enough,” Foster said.
Tech Instructor Kevin Manchester displayed results of a recent effort by his students to create custom made pens for American service people stationed overseas. Manchester learned about the project through a national woodworking organization whose mission is to provide one such pen to every service member. Manchester said, “When I read about it and thought about all the students I have seen graduate from North Collins over the past 25 years, and how many entered the military, I had to think, wouldn’t it be cool if some North Collins Alumnus somewhere got a pen from North Collins.”
Five students participating in program joined Manchester and displayed the 19 pens they had hand crafted using their lunch and study hall periods to do so. Each is unique having been turned by the students. Each also has the first name of the student creator and North Collins embossed on their barrels. Manchester stated that knowledge of the program came late in the school year and made it difficult to allocate department funds towards the purchase of kits. He was able to utilize a dormant Tech Club account to acquire the necessary innards of the pens.
Elementary Principal John Cataldo reported that the month has been fairly well dominated by testing at all grade levels. In a bright spot, the spring season has also brought the start of field trip season.
Jr.-Sr. High Principal Annie Metcalf also reported on testing recently completed by the 7th and 8th graders. She was grateful for the use of the Congregational Church facilities across the street that allowed testing to be done without bells and class change distractions. She also reported that Social Studies teacher Jason Lyons has been accepted as an Education Specialist by the State Education Dept. He joins fellow faculty member Thomas Bittner who has served in that capacity for several years. Additionally, Bittner was named as one of only 25 teachers nationwide to be selected for a three-week trip to Istanbul, Turkey this year. The stipend will give Bittner the chance to study the 3,000 year history of the area and its role in both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The trip is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In other business the board:
• Added Sue Flaherty as a co-advisor along with Dawn Blidy for the SADD club.
• Approved the permanent appointment of David Johnson as part-time cleaner.
• Approved transportation requests from students attending various private schools in the area as well as transportation for students attending regular and BOCES summer school programs in North Collins this summer.
• Approved the appointment of Jonathan Feniello as unpaid assistant for the Boys Baseball program.