RIPLEY - Although a regional high school is not a possibility right now, members of the Ripley Central School District seem to be open for middle and high school students to attend elsewhere.
School board President Robert Bentley reported a year-end exit poll among the community asked if students in grades seven through 12 should be tuitioned to Chautauqua Lake High School if they chose. Voting yes were 127 respondents while 95 voted no.
"I think we have a direction from the community and I feel good about that," he said.
Photo by David Prenatt
Allen and Justine Mellors addressed the Ripley Central School Board of Education about their daughter’s experience as the first student to take advantage of an inter-municipal agreement allowing a student to attend classes their own school does not offer.
Tuitioning students to Chautauqua Lake would be a possible option for the future in the event the Ripley School District would no longer be able to function independently.
Bentley also reported on a recent round table discussion where administrators, parents and students from the four schools were invited to take part in with state legislators Young, New York State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and New York State Senator and Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan (R,C,IP - Suffolk County) regarding education in this area.
Ripley ninth grader Ryliegh Hawkins, eighth grader Kira Mellors and seventh grader Analise Mellors spoke to the legislators at the round table discussion. Bentley said the Ripley students represented the school well.
"I have never been so proud of three Ripley kids in my life," he said. "I went there with a lot of things to say and these three said them better than I ever could."
Ripley Principal Lauren Ormsby said the variety of people who took part in the discussion provided the legislators with a clear view of the challenges faced by Ripley and the other schools.
"We brought a group of good people and I think we gave them a really well-rounded perspective," she said.
In other matters, Allen and Justine Mellors, parents of Ripley student Analise Mellors, spoke to the board about their daughter's experience of taking classes at Chautauqua Lake Central School this past year. Analise was the first student to take advantage of an inter-municipal agreement between Ripley, Chautauqua, Brocton and Westfield allowing a student to attend classes their own school does not offer.
Justine Mellors stated the program gave her daughter the challenges she would not have been able to receive in Ripley.
"Analise has had a wonderful year," she said. "With only so many opportunities that our community can offer, we have to combine resources."
Allen Mellors stated the only downfall to the program was a transportation issue which prevented Analise from taking Spanish classes at Chautauqua because she could not get there in time.
Principal Ormsby said she believes the program will expand in the years to come.
"We tried it with one student. Our next step in the fall - if the regional high school does not work out - could be sending a larger group," she said.
Superintendent Krause said the superintendents of the school districts would negotiate a tuition rate if the program expands. She expressed hope Ripley could work with Chautauqua Lake school to provide buses to an open house night so parents could go with their children to see what is available.
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