At a recent meeting of the Fredonia Central School Board of Education, a bidding process was scrapped, sharing of services with Westfield was finalized and other business in a busy time of year was conducted.
Bids for reconstruction of the natatorium wall and repairs to the pool were rejected after coming in higher than anticipated. When the school budget was approved by voters earlier in the year, a referendum to complete the project was also passed. At the time, DiFonzo explained the current problems with a hole in a brick wall and surface issues with the pool presented a safety problem and the project was mandated by the state. By approving the referendum, voters made it possible for the school to get state aid to help fund the project. However, in October, the board was surprised when bids came in much higher than estimated by the project engineering firm, R. W. Larson.
DiFonzo said a new request for proposals will be issued, but "with a different approach," by separating the poll reconstruction from the brick work outside. DiFonzo said, "We're hoping that by taking this two-pronged attack on the issue we'll solve the problem, and hopefully, some local contractors will be interested in the projects." DiFonzo added the new request for proposals being developed by R.W. Larson is at no cost to the school.
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
The Fredonia Central School District Board of Education rejected bids for the repair of the natatorium wall and pool resurfacing, a project approved by voters earlier in the year. The bidding process will begin using a different approach. Left to right, Superintendent Paul DiFonzo and board President Rosie Joy.
After being approved last month, a resolution for an indoor track sharing program with Westfield Academy and Central School (WACS) was adopted. The agreement is retroactive to Nov. 1. Sharing was proposed to the board at the beginning of the school year because two Westfield students wanted to participate in the program, which WACS does not provide.
"It is still just two students. ... The agreement we used has been used by other districts like Dunkirk and Silver Creek. We've just modified it to suit our purposes. ... (the Westfield superintendent) will sign the exact same agreement," DiFonzo said. Board Member Edith Byrnes asked for confirmation of terms discussed in the event the students from Westfield go on to compete outside the regular season. "Westfield will pay for any expenses if they go on to championship meets," DiFonzo replied.
The board also discussed a suggestion by the Health and Wellness Committee to hire a dietitian to analyze the school's cafeteria offerings and make recommendations. DiFonzo told the board it's a request by the committee, not mandated by the state, but could help the school continue to meet federal guidelines, which have recently changed. "It's not that there is anything wrong with anything (our cafeteria manager) is doing, but the idea is (a dietitian) would come in a consulting role and ... hopefully we can increase the nutritional value of our lunches," he said.
DiFonzo said the current cafeteria manager has also expressed interest in retiring, and said he believed "a new format could be put in place" through the help of a dietitian's assessment for future cafeteria staff.
Discussion centered on costs and length of service if a dietitian was hired. DiFonzo said he believed the rate would be roughly $25 per hour, "maybe more, maybe less," based on previous experiences with dietitians. Byrnes asked if the position would be in the teacher's union, and DiFonzo replied, "Only if the position was permanent," and added "We could set a specific number of hours" for the position. Business Administrator John Forbes advised the board the position "falls under professional services," and they would not need to meet civil service hiring requirements, such as advertising for the position. The board agreed to revisit the proposal at the December meeting.
During his report, Forbes told the board 93 percent of the tax levy had been collected to date. He explained that percentage is higher that previous years. He said a typical amount at this time is about 91 to 92 percent collected, despite what he described this year as a "slower process" of collection.
A resolution was approved to send three special education students from the district to Gustavus Adolphus School in Jamestown via First Student busing.
Forbes explained, "First Student already has a bus going with another student, so that's why we're getting such a good rate," which is $90 per day through June 21.
High School Principal Todd Crandall informed the board the newly created National Honor Society would induct around 35 students later in the week.
Numerous people were appointed to positions as part of a personnel resolution, and tenure was granted to Sarah Korzeniewski in the area of Elementary education. Korzeniewski is certified in childhood and early childhood education. She thanked the board for its decision, and said "I think I work with the best staff in the world."