BROCTON - At Thursday night's meeting of the Brocton Board of Education, Board President Susan Hardy read a letter from Roberta Coniglio, the president of the Fredonia Board of Education. Coniglio was inviting the Brocton board to a joint meeting with the Fredonia board.
Coniglio's letter cited the challenges facing the districts throughout New York State - "uncertain funding from New York State, an eroding tax base, increased fixed costs, declining population and student enrollment, and numerous and often unfunded state and federal mandates."
The letter continued, "We don't have the same school mascot or colors, but we do both want the very best for our students. ... We know that two districts working together would be stronger than either district working alone. ... We would like to invite your board to have a joint meeting to revisit a reorganization study with our board."
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
The Brocton Board of Education is not ready to meet with Fredonia to discuss combining the two districts.
After reading the letter, Hardy asked for comments from the other board members.
David Hazelton stated, "I have no particular problem in meeting with them, but I think our plate is pretty full at the moment - trying to get a budget going and with the Asset group (school districts Ripley, Westfield Chautauqua Lake and Brocton)."
During the course of the discussion, it was suggested that the board no longer look east for reorganization, but rather west.
Board Vice President Rodney Geiben vehemently disagreed stating, "I can't see Westfield having anything of value to offer us at all. They have financial problems; they have administrative problems."
Through discussion the board seemed to come to the conclusion that they cannot shut out any option.
Hardy summarized the feeling of the board that she answer the letter that "the Brocton board appreciated the invitation, but were currently involved with its budget, and wished to postpone any meeting for a few months."
Board member Camile Belcher said, "I have one request. Before the letter is mailed, I would like the board to review it." Hardy agreed.
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