Relative wants school to honor Curtiss legacy
HAMMONDSPORT—Some relatives of Glenn H. Curtiss want the former Curtiss memorial school building to be used for educational purposes and to honor Curtiss’s memory.
Cheryl Hudson Curtiss, Rushville resident who is married to a cousin of historic aviator Glenn H. Curtiss, was at the Wednesday, Jan. 18, board meeting. She said the Hammondsport school board should hold off on any decisions about the sale because Curtiss’s family was just recently notified. She said she was also there representing her children (one son and two daughters).
Curtiss said she learned about the sale about a month ago when Simon Sananas, one of two current developers interested in the building, contacted her about grant possibilities to turn the school building into an art center and museum.
She also pointed out that the original deed from Glenn Curtiss’s wife to the district for the piece of property says to use the land for educational purposes.
“I’d like to see (the building) used historically,” said Curtiss.
She said the deed states early experiments were done on the land given to the school. She added Glenn Curtiss was an important historical figure to the village and to aviation. She said Miami renovated and reopened a mansion owned by Glenn Curtiss.
“I don’t understand why Hammondsport can’t do this,” she said, adding the district could have looked for grants.
Curtiss added that Sananas’s proposal would include educational purposes. The board is also considering a second offer from developer Jim Keena, who wants to turn the school into apartments.
In addressing Curtiss’s comments, Superintendent Kyle Bower said the district needs to first announce that it will make a decision to either accept or reject any offers at a future date. The board will then do that at a later meeting. He said the board will be discussing the sale at the Wednesday, Jan. 25, meeting and could make the announcement then. Bower added that the Glenn Curtiss Memorial School is a name that applies to the grades that went to school in the building. He said the building up for sale is no longer the Curtiss school because the fourth to six grade levels and the Curtiss school name have moved to the Main Street campus.
Board member Frank Curran addressed the deed, explaining the board has spoken with attorneys about the sale. He said former Curtiss school property is made up of six parcels, including the one deeded by Glenn Curtiss’s wife. He explained the building itself is not on that property. Curran added the deed does say the property is for educational purposes, but attorneys have told the board this does not restrict them in selling the property.
Addressing why the Curtiss family was not contacted about the sale, board member Chris Kolodziejczak said this has been in the news for around five years. Bower added the Curtiss museum board knew about the sale and was involved in the closing ceremony. Kolodziejczak said she doesn’t know why Curtiss’s relatives didn’t know about the sale.
In other business:
• Bower gave a report on finances and the budget. He said Hammondsport will be getting less state aid under the current formula because the village is considered moderately wealthy. He said this means the district is expected to raise funds through taxes, which is restricted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s maximum allowable tax cap formula.
• The board recognized National Honor Society members Jacob Albright, Matthew Bussman, Cody Clemens, Michaela Kinney, Michael Quade, Susan Sincerbox and Jade Annabel, and advisors Barb Demmin and Belinda Trickey. Elementary student Reese Bailey and teachers Joelle Webster and Tara Simons were also honored.
• The 2011-12 internal audit risk assessment and three year plan was accepted.
• The board approved a GST BOCES Cooperative Health Supply Bid for 2012-13.
• The following retirements were accepted: Cindy Stocking, Carlene Igras, John Webster, Linda French and Gloria Stone.
There is a special school board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 5:30 p.m. The next regular school board meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m.