By Jennifer Weber

The Springville-Griffith School Board met on Monday, May  9 at 7 p.m. The meeting opened with a public hearing presented by Superintendent Kim Moritz on the proposed three part school budget for the 2017-2018 school year of $36,841,911, which is a 2.34 percent decrease from last year’s budget.

The first part of the proposed 2017-2018 school budget is the Administrative component, which covers an Management of District (Board of Education, Superintendent and Business Administrator, Central Office Expenditures, Records Management, Technology and Data, Insurance, Capital Costs for BOCES, Supervision of Schools, Staff Development, and employee benefits related to the personnel costs. The proposed amount is $4,250,554.

The second and most significant part of the proposed 2017-2018 budget is the Program component, which covers the costs of regular and special education salaries for teachers, assistants, aides, substitute teachers, equipment, supplies, textbooks, extracurricular activities, transportation, tuition for BOCES, library staff, technology staff, library books, AV equipment and services, guidance staff, school nurses and physician, supplies and travel, coaching salaries, athletic equipment, officials fees, association fees and other supplies relating to interscholastic athletic programs and employee benefits related to the personnel costs. The proposed amount is $27,532,240.

The third part of the proposed 2017-2018 budget is the Capital component, which covers utilities, equipment, supplies, maintenance, building grounds and employee benefits related to personnel costs. The proposed amount is $5,059,117.

The main increases to the 2017-2018 budget are salaries and employee benefits, and the main decrease comes from a reduction in debt service and BOCES costs.

The School Budget Vote and Board Member Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Another public presentation was made by the K-6 Administrative Team on the pilot Reading Plan, implemented this past year. Two teachers from each grade level, K through 5, were involved with planning and creating this pilot program: Dawn Duerr (K), Lisa Braman (K), Jeanna Karb (1st), Suzanne Mercurio (1st), Holly Taylor (2nd), Summer Hess (2nd), Ashley Bauerlein (3rd), Heather Hohman (3rd), Jennifer Newhouse (4th), Kerri Voit (4th), Jon Chaddock (5th) and Stephanie Sullivan (5th).

The process for creating this pilot reading program (Reading Street, Journeys, Modules) included an initial meeting, training in series, periodic meetings and weekly reflection.

“These are instructional materials, these are not the teachers and the teaching, this is really about giving everybody the same materials so our children have a similar experience coming through each grade level,” stated Moritz. “What matters is it has the key components that we’re looking for and that it gives teachers the tools so they can do a better job with reading instruction.”

The team will present the reading program to the rest of the staff at a meeting next week and the Board will vote on the adoption of the program at the June Board meeting.

In other news, on Friday, May 5, Moritz met with an architect, a construction management firm, the head of building and grounds, a representative from the soil and conservation service and an additional person from a private company about concerns over land issues at Colden Elementary, which includes the erosion of the creek bed bank, which has lost approximately 100 feet of property in the last 10 years. Another concern is drainage problems in the back of the school by the playground area.

“It was not an encouraging day, said Moritz. “I’m very worried about this problem from the standpoint of what it’s going to cost us to fix.”

Very preliminary and initial estimates of repairs were mentioned of about $40-50,000, but after the tour on Friday, the problem appears to be much bigger than anticipated. Moritz stated that the team is on top of the issue, is employing the right people to work on it and believes it is not one that can wait. The next step involves setting up a stakeholders meeting that includes the Town of Colden and three private landowners that are also impacted by this problem.

Elementary School Principal Chris Scarpine reported that as of April 28, 93 students have signed up for kindergarten registration for the 2017-2018 school year, the largest number of students in the past six years.

Scarpine said, “It’s a big deal when you add in the average 3 percent increase in this number from April to August that gives us a possible 96 kids, which would be over 20 students in each current classroom.”

The District will be hiring an additional kindergarten teacher for the upcoming school year.

The next school board executive session meeting  will take place on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 8 p.m. At the high school. The next regular Board of Education meeting will be on Monday, June 12 at 7 p.m.