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Funds gone for summer program

WATKINS GLEN (8/3/16)--Could this be the last year for the summer recreation program in Clute Park? Watkins Glen school board member Mark Franzese addressed the issue at the Monday, Aug. 1, board of education meeting, noting the last grant fund for the program just ended. Superintendent Tom Phillips said the program should take around $34,000 in total to have in place for next year.
"If you would like that program to continue, please get in touch with your local municipality," Franzese said. "I know Tom has reached out to them. I don't think there is much interest in continuing that program, so unfortunately, unless adults step up and come up with solutions, we are not going to have a summer rec program next year."
Franzese said the program has been very successful, adding it has around 120 kids involved. Phillips said the district was unsuccessful in getting an extended day grant. He said they did get a community schools grant for one year, but added it is not enough money to subsidize the Clute Park program.
Phillips said they are working on a proposal to submit to Watkins Glen.
"I believe we can, through the summer school, we could provide some coordination of services where we could provide a coordinator and let them use our equipment, and they would have to pay the counselors and supervisors. We are willing to work with them, we just need to put in place the proposal, I believe we are going to do that early fall."
Phillips also mentioned each individual municipality has their own summer rec programs, and it would make more sense to collaborate on a single program in some way. Board member Keith Caslin highlighted the importance of the program, noting without summer rec, kids would be roaming the streets in the summer. He said this can help keep children out of trouble, and that the district needs to look at all options.
In other business:
• The board held a discussion about the number of students in the district's kindergarten and universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) classes. Phillips said there is usually a mid-August rush of parents who sign their kids up late, so the final student numbers are not set yet. Elementary Principal Rebecca Trank said if she was the teacher, she would like to have "mid to upper teens" of students in her class, adding as the numbers develop, she will look at reassigning teachers to keep class sizes manageable.
• The board heard a presentation from Hunt Engineering in regards to their building condition survey. The representative went over the survey, which he described as an interactive plan to maintain the school's facilities. The board must now look at what projects they would like to do and prioritize them so they could possibly be addressed in the school's next capital project.

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