Friday, March 20, 2009

Moving Right Along

It took me until I was probably in my early thirties to recognize that my playing days are over in just about every sport except maybe golf. It was then that I realized that sports, fine arts, and State Fair Expo's are as much about taking our minds off of our real lives as they are about winners, losers, and Sham Wow's. With this in mind, I promise you that while I did fill out an NCAA bracket and will be following the Orange to an NCAA Championship (hopefully), I will still be doing my work!

Since my last post we have had another whirlwind of activity. Spring sports are in full swing, it was still light out when I left a concert the other night, and I am seeing award nights on my calendar and that can only mean one thing; a snap of your fingers until the end of the school year.

Thanks to those who attended my first budget presentation. I am always nervous until I say the first word and then it kind of flows from there. A copy of the presentation is on our website at and I am also going to have a "movie" of the presentation uploaded as well, as soon as I figure out a way to keep my forehead from shining on camera.

To give you a very brief synopsis, the worst case scenario (and I always work in worst case scenarios) will be a .46% budget increase, a 2.15% Tax Levy, and a 1.7% tax rate. What this means is that if you have a home valued at $100,000 in the Town of Camillus you will pay $24.98 more that you paid in school taxes this year. Again, please view the whole presentation and in about 10 minutes you will know all of the details behind the numbers.

We are also extremely proud of our high school Academic Decathlon students. They placed second in the state behind an established Cazenovia club. Our students also brought home 22 medals! Way to go.

All for now. Enjoy your weekend.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Pretty Cool Day

Today was one of those days that was really enjoyable. It started off with honoring staff from Split Rock and Onondaga Road schools for achieving 25 or 30 years of service to the District. It was wonderful watching the support and congratulations they received from their peers.

From there it was off to West Genesee Middle School to be a part of a surprise award "ceremony" for Rick Chapman, one of our science teachers. He was one of 24 teachers in the country to be awarded the opportunity to attend the Advanced Space Camp, an experience backed by Honeywell Corporation. Here is a link to an article about the the opportunity and the event this morning:

From there it was off to put the finishing touches on the budget. We were able to factor in the affects of the stimulus bill and create a tax levy of 2.15%, a tentative tax rate of 1.7%, and begin to have discussions about how to best incorporate field trips back into the budget for next year. If the Government does what is says it is going to do we should be able to "feather" the stimulus money out over the next two to three years and keep our tax levy low and our offerings and staff intact.

From there is was out to Camillus Middle School to observe a student teacher. I have always offered to observe student teachers because they could be job candidates in the future so it is nice to have an idea of what their skills really are before they leave the district. In the particular lesson I observed I learned that many of our Middle School students are aware of the effects of drugs and alcohol and know to stay away from them. This is also good news.

Lastly, I got to celebrate 25 and 30 year anniversaries with staff at Camillus Middle School. Again this was a great time and I was really happy at all of the support that our honorees received.

All in all I would call today very full and refreshing!


Monday, March 2, 2009

The "Volcano" is Alive and Well

I learned some great things last week. For starters, at the Camillus Middle School Science Fair I learned that Honey Nut Cheerios are better for me to eat for quick energy than granola bars. I also learned that some of the less expensive finger nail polishes and make-up are actually better quality than some of the more expensive brands. I also learned that the students put a lot of time into preparing for this event. As I circulated and watched the judges challenge each contestant it was clear that the participants knew their projects from the inside out; including welding, which is exactly what one student did themselves in order to complete their project.

At Split Rock there were many great projects as well and I was glad to see that the erupting volcano is alive and well. It is such as sense of normalcy to see a vinegar and baking soda plaster of Paris volcano in an Elementary gym. There were many quality experiments and it was great to see exploration of some of the "green" technologies that are making their way into our every-day lives.

On Sunday our Varsity Hockey team played Baldwinsville for the Sectional Championship and were able to pull it out in exciting fashion. It still is difficult for me to get over how calm and collected our students are when under stress to perform. I can tell you that the crowd was stressed for them!

March is the time for the Math assessment in grades 3-8 and it is also the time to really put the finishing touches on the budget and prepare to present the information to the public. This is a stressful time for me as well and especially this year because it is the first time I will have an opportunity to relay my personal interpretation of the budget to all of our taxpayers. As soon as the budget presentation is complete it will be located on our school website for your review. I am also hopeful to have a video presentation of the budget on the website as well in case you are not able to attend one of the many presentations.

One thing that will be different in the presentation will be a significant reduction in the number of pictures. Previous presentations contained many pictures of students and staff working within the buildings and I can assure you that nothing has changed in that department. However, in order for us to make our presentations available to the public via the Internet, etc... we have had to shorten the presentation. The presentation you will see will focus on our accomplishments, expenditures, revenues, tax rate and levy information. We are including more student and staff pictures on a regular basis on our website, as well as our new 2009-2010 school calendar to help make up for the lack of pictures in the budget presentation.

Today I get to help honor staff and faculty at the High School who have worked in the District for 25, 30, and 35 years; what an honor!