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Getting ready for back-to-school

TRI-COUNTY AREA—It is now crunch time for the area schools to get ready for students. The first day of school this year is Tuesday, Sept. 8.
In addition to the continued work at Penn Yan Academy, the district also had a small administration realignment. Superintendent Ann Orman said the high school principal will now be David Pullen and the middle school principal will be Rebecca Perrault. She added that overall, there is also very few new staff.
Concerning the high school construction, Orman said the construction will not delay the start of school.
The biggest changes for Dundee include seven new teachers; two in the elementary and five in the junior/senior high. Superintendent Nancy Zimar added that there are several new elective classes for junior and senior high students to take. She said that parents may also view students’ grades online through the Pass system. Parents can sign up for it at the school.
For Hammondsport, this school year is the first concerning the consolidation of the two campuses. The fourth graders will have class in the Main Street campus, instead of Curtiss Elementary. Superintendent Kyle Bower said that the fourth grade classrooms are all set up and the lockers have been installed. Other work he said would be done by the first day of school is the Excel sidewalk project at the Main Street campus.
Another change for Hammondsport will be the price of meals going up. Bower said that breakfast, for all grades will go from $1 to $1.10. Kindergarten to grade three lunch will now cost $1.50. Lunch for grades four to 12 will now cost $1.75. He added that Michelle Sincerbox is also the elementary principal and director of special education.
Watkins Glen staff will remain the same. Clerk Sharon Clark said that there are no new staff this year. She added that no staff retired, stating that is unusual.
Clark also mentioned a few small changes for the district. One is an automated attendant telephone system in operation by Oct. 1. She said that anyone who calls any of the schools would be directed to the automated system to direct calls. New York state grades three to eight testing has changed. English language arts testing will be April 26 to 28 and math testing will be May 5 to 7. Another difference will be that parents can check and add to a students’ lunch balance online at PaySchools. It is accessible at
Odessa-Montour had a shift in staff. Sara Fontana is the new B.C. Cate Principal. Greg Conlon took over at the middle/high school when Andy Morrow left.
As the school year progresses, though, O-M will be waiting to hear back from the state education department about the capital project. Hunt Engineers had told the board in June that if the state approves the plan by December, work could possibly start in April or May.
All of the school districts in the area are also working with the county health departments to get to get voluntary H1N1 influenza (swine flu) vaccinations for the fall. Deborah Minor, deputy director of Yates County Public Health, said they are speaking with Penn Yan and Dundee about possible options. She said it was her understanding the Center for Disease Control (CDC) obtained the swine flu vaccinations. Minor explained if given out at schools, it would be free.
She said that one thing the health departments are waiting for is testing by pharmaceutical companies to be completed. Minor explained that dosage is still being figured out.
Gov. David Paterson’s office has also announced Friday, Aug. 28 that the area school districts would be getting American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. According to his office Penn Yan will get $384,087. Dundee is scheduled to get $314,829 and Hammondsport will get $85,595. The amount for Watkins Glen is $111,172.  O-M will get $109,913. Frame said O-M would use the funds to preserve jobs.
“It offsets the lack of an increase in state aid,” he said.

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