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Hammondsport school meeting 12/17

Meeting: The Hammondsport Central school board met for two hours and 15 minutes, Dec. 17.

Attendance: The full board and school officials were present, plus an audience of 43.

Discussion Without Action: Numerous residents, spanning some 75 years in age, objected to a sign posted December 15 prohibiting the traditional sledding and snowboarding on the Curtiss School hill.  Board members stated that this was in accord with long-standing (though not enforced) policy.  Paul Powell of Lawley Services made a presentation on the exposures and the limits of liability facing the district, and members of the board.  Members stated that they are trying to come up with evenhanded measures that keep facilities available to the public, protect the district's interests, and treat all groups alike.  Superintendent Kyle Bower said that he would form a review group of interested community members and report back to the board within a couple of months.  Board president James Zimar said he would "go out on a limb" and say that sledding and snowboarding would be allowed at Curtiss School.

• Bower announced that while WETM had reported the governor's 2009-2010 budget proposal as cutting 3.5 million dollars in state aid from Hammondsport, the actual figure was $377,000.  This, he said, would be the largest percentage cut (around 10 percent) in Steuben County.  According to Bower the state considers the district able to cope with such a cut based on the high property value within the district, but pointed out that HCS falls below the statewide average in personal income, and has a 20% child poverty rate.

The superintendent pointed out that if next year's district budget were to freeze everything except the contracted half-million dollars in increased payroll, along with suffering the projected state aid cut, the tax levy would have to increase by about 12 percent.  Any substantial cuts, he added, would have to come from activities, programs, or salaries and benefits.  "Schools are going to look very different four or five years from now," Bower said, also pointing out that the governor and the commissioner of education have asked that the two of them be given power to consolidate districts on their own.

• Superintendent Bower reported that the district social worker is now seeing 22 students.

Bids/purchases over $1,000: $7850 plus expenses not to exceed $500 to Transportation Advisory Services to review expenditures and operations in transportation.

Appointments/resignations: The following people were appointed; Theresa L. Stopka, senior accounting clerk, $36,000; Pam Bergstresser and Allyson Capurso, on-call K-6 substitute teachers, $80/day; Laura Binkowski, extension of long-term substitution; Jude Plautkis, grant of tenure; Jessica Lawrence, general auditor (paid by BOCES); Milt VonHagn, Patty Eckel, Deb Drain, volunteer ski club chaperones; J.T. Drum, volunteer cheerleading coach; Charlie Eckel, Bob Kolo, Ken Cornish, volunteer boys' modified basketball coaches.

Upcoming board meetings:  The next regular school board will be Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.


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