Penn Yan school considers federal stimulus impact
PENN YAN--According to financial figures provided by the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer, Penn Yan Superintendent Howard Dennis informed school board members, March 17, the district could receive roughly $4.5 million from the federal $1.9 trillion stimulus package. While quoting the $4.5 million figure, Dennis said it would be wise to remain cautious regarding that amount, as there are still some unknowns that could affect the final total.
"I don't know how it will be spread out or (if any amount) will be offset by state dollars or adjusted," Dennis said. "We are one of the larger amounts that we saw on the list in the region because every district got a different amount. Some got $400,000 others $4 million. So we will see how that plays out."
Regarding COVID-19, Dennis said the district staff has done a great job of keeping everyone safe which has resulted in another influx of distance learning students returning to in-person learning.
"So busses are back to capacity, but it's nice to have students want to come back," Dennis mentioned. "It's a great problem to have and we will work through it."
Dennis added he has heard from many district families that as soon as a specific family member is vaccinated they intend to send their children back to in-person learning.
"I have had a lot of those conversations," Dennis stated.
While it has required a lot of work, Athletic Director Jonathan MacKerchar said the response from students has made the effort to restart athletics worth it regardless of wins and losses. With basketball, wrestling and bowling wrapped up, football, cheerleading and volleyball seasons are currently underway.
"Regardless of how the records are, (to see the level) our teams are performing at right now, it has just been an amazing experience to see these kids have the opportunity to play these sports," said MacKerchar. "A couple of months ago we didn't know if this was possible. It's a credit to coaches and to the students who are doing everything they need to do to stay safe... (I am) very proud of them."
To make room for volleyball, football and cheerleading, traditional spring sports will start later on April 19, meaning the spring season will last into June instead of the usual May.
"Knock on wood, so far so good... (and) things have been going really well with the Penn Yan/Dundee football and cheerleading mergers," MacKerchar said.
While pre-COVID merger plans had Penn Yan and Dundee splitting home games at each school's fields, the early spring make-up season has made use of the turf field in Penn Yan. Penn Yan's field has also now hosted neutral site games including Marcus Whitman vs. Bath and Midlakes vs. Geneva.
"John has done a great job trying to balance almost three full seasons into a very short period of time so he will sleep when summer comes," Dennis said.
With an upcoming school vote Tuesday, May 18, the board voted on the propositions that will appear on the ballot. Among them is Proposition 4, which seeks to reduce the number of board of education members from nine to seven. Candidates seeking to run in the election need to have the petitions to the clerk by 5:00 p.m., Monday, April 19. Twenty-five qualified voter signatures are required to submit the petition.