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Surplus adds a year to North Collins School's long-term plan

NORTH COLLINS — During its Aug. 27 meeting, the North Collins School Board receive the news that it was 4 percent over the state-allowed fund balance, at the end of this past school year.

Upon the recommendation of Superintendent Benjamin Halsey, the board split the $266,550 overage into equal portions and placed the funds in the bus and vehicle reserve and the repair reserve.

The new money in the vehicle reserve did not last long, as the board also approved releasing $220,000 from that line to pay for voter-approved transportation vehicles.

Halsey told the board that placing the monies in the two accounts left them much more readily available for use and said that this “adds a year to the current five-year plan of using reserves to balance budgets.” The board and superintendent released their goals for the year, with the two documents’ mirroring each other.

Among the highlights were goals to achieve a 100 percent graduation rate for seniors’ entering this fall and a 5 percent growth of student performance on state assessments.

The board said it would submit budgets capable of funding students’ success, but also evaluate each decision it makes that involves the expenditure of funds and take into account potential savings or increased revenues possible.

Another goal expressed by both was to enhance the technology capabilities of the district and increase the communication between the district and students, parents and the community, through greater use of social media.

Halsey reported that Wendel Architects of Rochester has been inspecting the district’s buildings and will put together a complete list of proposed upgrades and modifications. He said that the firm is doing the survey free of charge, but added that he expects it to submit a complete report with estimated expenses to the board, in the near future.

The board approved a newly-negotiated contract with Elementary Principal John Cataldo, through 2016.

Cataldo was on hand to report about his building and also updated the board about plans for the coming year.

The school will drop the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills testing program that parents have been used to receiving and bringing in a new program called Standardized Testing and Reporting.

Cataldo said that the update will give the school a greater number of check points, to gauge student performance.

There will also be two new additions to the online, at-home program, called “Study Island.” Students in kindergarten – sixth grade will also have access to “Education City” and “Reading Eggs,” which is geared for kindergarten – third grade.

In other board business:
– The appointments of Mark Skurzewski as a .5 special education teacher and Dana Learn as a long-term substitute were approved. Learn will fill the vacancy left, as fourth grade instructor Maria DeFeo is on a board-approved, one-year, unpaid leave of absence to teach in Abu Dhabi.

– Pamela Wilson was appointed as a permanent, part time clerk typist. She had been brought in on a temporary basis, to assist with heightened screening of visitors and provide assistance with attendance recording, last year.

– The board approved the appointment of Robyn Turner as coach for the newly-created girls junior varsity soccer team. Turner had been functioning as an assistant for the varsity squad.

– The board accepted the resignation of Scott Gill as girls varsity basketball coach.

The next board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 in the high school.

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