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Penn Yan school board 02/11/09

Meeting: Penn Yan Central School District board of education met for one and one quarter hours Feb. 11 followed by an executive session to discuss personnel matters lasting approximately 45 minutes.
Attendance: Board member Nancy Scher was excused. Members Judy Kirk and Debra Warren were absent. Seventeen members of the public were in the audience.
Action: Scheduled board of education meetings, March 11 and 25 for 2009-10 budget discussions.
• Accepted a Memorandum of Agreement with the Penn Yan Teachers Association regarding Retirement Incentive.
• Accepted a donation in the amount of $3,750 from Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant for the purchase of a SmartBoard to the PYA Equipment Social Studies.
Discussion without action: Orman outlined areas of budget reductions including a savings of approximately $50,000 on health insurance and change in the agreement with Keuka College for use of their field. Summer days for teachers, summer school and staff development reduced. Orman is hoping that layoffs can be avoided.  She said she has gone through the seniority list, a task she called, "Very emotional." She said, "We have tried to involve as many as possible. We don't want to cause panic." A cash incentive is being offered to eligible teachers who retire this year.
• The board discussed use of propane fueled buses for the district. VanWormer and board vice president Kathy Guenther agreed it might be good to wait a year or two to make a decision. She said, "If we are going to do something innovative, I'd rather it be in education." Guenther asked if it would be possible to lease a propane bus for a year. Board president Jeff Morehouse noted the additional expense of a fueling pad and fencing also should be considered. Bus company representatives will provide information on leasing.
• Interim district business administrator Rodger Lewis outlined the revenue side of the district budget as compared to the current school year's budget, noting the majority of reduction comes from the governor's deficit reduction, projected at $915,000 for the district. Lewis said state aid is important because it is a large portion of revenue. He said, "As we prepare the revenue side we have to assume the worst case scenario." Lewis also addressed the proposed federal stimulus package of $2 million over two years, cautioning, "Be very careful with these numbers."
• Athletic director Tobin Tansey outlined proposed reduction for sports teams due to the economy.  The first recommendation was a reduction of contests in all sports. Tansey said, "Every Varsity sport will be reduced by at least one or two games. This will cut down on travel and home site expenses." Modified sports would also experience changes. Penn Yan is expected to go independent next year. Tansey said the only change would be, "We will not compete for a league title." He told the board, "People in our immediate area want to play Penn Yan. This would provide fair and equitable competition."
• Academy students Carol Loan and Eric Multer spoke to the board about a proposal for a new organization at the high school; Gay and Straight Alliance. Loan outlined the purpose and mission of the group and stated the goals are, "To create a safe and caring environment for those who don't feel safe or accepted." She said the group would like to promote tolerance; a club where people can feel free. She said there are definitely students in the district who feel uncomfortable. Board member Michael VanWormer said his problem was, "Why are you just focused on sexual orientation if it is directed to everyone? Loan said it was one aspect the group feels has discrimination. Superintendent of Schools Ann Orman noted the students have many signatures on a petition for the group. Board member Anita Maroscher said that she had reviewed the petitions and about 10 percent of the student body had signed it.
Bids/Purchases over $1,000: None
Appointments/Resignations: Accepted the resignation of elementary teacher Jessica Spike, effective June 30.
Upcoming meetings: The next meeting of the board of education will be at 7 p.m. on March 4.

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