Sunday, January 23, 2011

Big Week

Last week was pretty tough, to be quite honest. As a leader I am looked upon to be the rock of the organization, the person with all of the answers, and the person that other people look to when they do not know what to do.  The true test of a leader is if you can survive a bombardment of negativity from every angle that you can think of and still come out on the other side making positive and correct decisions without taking on anything more than a scratch. I have many years of experience doing this, but when you can physically hear your own head working and everything else is quiet, you know that you have reached the limit.

I am glad that we had strategic planning last week. It was a way to watch stakeholders from various areas of our school community come together and figure out how we will stay on top after resources and opportunities dwindle. I am pleased with the results, and I think you as community members will be also. At our Board of Education meeting on February 2 our group leader Deb Geiss will talk about the Strategic Plan and it will then be placed on our web site.

This is a BIG week coming up. I cannot imagine being the Governor right now preparing to publish his budget for next year. It is highly anticipated to be the most devastating budget in New York State history. I cannot wait. We have done our homework at West Genesee. We know what we need to do, and we have put the pieces in place to do them. We just need our number from the Governor, and we will have a preliminary budget built in about three to four days. Our first swipe at necessary reductions will be revealed, and we will begin to march toward the end of the year. January is my least favorite month, and this January has taken the cake!

Around this time of the year I get asked how cold it needs to be to close or delay school. First, it would be rare to delay school due to cold temperatures. Even two hours in this part of the country is not enough time to raise the temperature, and in some cases the temperature even goes down as the day progresses. We do not have a specific Board policy related to cold weather, but as a long-standing practice I have always considered closing if the regular temperature hits five below with no windchill and twenty-five below with the windchill. From what I have read, next week might produce a couple of days that will get us near those benchmarks, but then again I cancelled evening activities last Friday after being told that there was big lake effect snow coming only to see a few flakes. Weatherman is definitely my next career.

As part of our budget plan, we are going to reduce the number of paper Communicators to about four (plus the budget issue).  This move will save us about $18K. We are going to replace the other Communicators with an E-blast to still get information out to you, just cheaper and faster. I am very, very excited at the initial layouts and structure of the E-blast. We will continue to develop it and let you know how you can begin to receive your electronic newsletter as soon as we are ready to release it.

Have a great week. Keep your chins up whereever you are and remember that difficult times bring about innovation, change, and advancement!