Dundee plans graduation; looks at sports
DUNDEE--District officials expressed hope that graduating seniors in the Dundee Central school district will be able to have a somewhat traditional, though limited, graduation ceremony during the virtual meeting Thursday, May 14.
District Superintendent Kelly Houck expressed optimism students will be able to have a live, and in-person graduation ceremony on June 25 as opposed to one held virtually.
"I've been working with the department of health for the graduation plan, and I was able to create plan A, B and C," Houck said. "Plan A is easy, we won't get it, traditional. But I am going to ask for it. Again, we are not getting it. Plan B, and I think Plan B is doable, is a traditional graduation ceremony but modified to meet social distancing and mask guidelines," Houck said.
Along with social distancing and masks, Houck said any live ceremony would have to have controlled density, meaning not all administrators, board members and family members and friends would be able to attend.
Houck went on to say that while Plan B was approved, it is still dependent on Gov. Andrew Cuomo altering already in place COVID-19 regulations that limit social gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.
"We are hopeful and to be able to give that to our kids I expressed how important that was for us and (the department of health) said don't cancel anything, they said they felt we met that criteria," Houck said.
During the meeting, Houck also painted a dire financial reality for the district as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and said that some hard work was in store for the board.
"We want to be fiscally responsible to our community but don't want programming affected," Houck stated. "We'll know in the next two weeks or so (what the state shortfall will be). (It is projected that) over four years (there will be a statewide shortfall of) $60 billion and that money has to come from somewhere. We need to be savvy, be mindful of everything and every portion of the budget. It will take a lot of work to get through this."
Locally, Houck informed the board Bradford Central School District was now interested in merging athletic programs despite the fact they had rejected the idea roughly three years prior.
"So they realized what we presented a few years ago is what they need now," Houck said. "This presents an opportunity for us and for kids by not just sending kids to another district but also hosting teams jointly."
She added that the merging teams from both districts would happen on a case-by-case basis and would need to be analyzed and voted upon annually. The decision to merge athletics with Bradford would not interfere with the already in place agreement to merge the Dundee and Penn Yan football teams.
"We want to be a good partner and they do as well," Houck said.
Roughly 2500 absentee ballots were sent out to residents for the board of education vote where four people are running for three available seats.
"I want to make sure that the public knows that the only way to vote on the school budget and the school board positions is through an absentee ballot," Houck mentioned.
With Dundee set to enter into Phase One of reopening with the rest of the Finger Lakes region, Houck said she anticipated 12-month workers will begin to report in June. For students, Houck said the last instructional packets for the year have been delivered and the current expectation is that the last day of school will be mid-June.