Monday, April 30, 2012

Dance the Night Away

My wife and I had the pleasure of chaperoning our 18th Junior Prom together on Saturday night at Driver's Village. When we chaperoned our first prom we were still dating and I was student teaching. Times sure have changed! We had a great time, and our students were well behaved, polite, and fun to be around. I would dare to say that I feel (but certainly don't look) younger every time I leave the Prom or Ball. Thanks to our chaperones, our staff organizers, the Camillus Police, our administrators, and the students for a "Starry Night in Paris". The Senior Ball is coming up on May 11, and I better make sure my tux still fits!

We had a lot of things going on last week including our first large budget presentation and the second to last redistricting meeting. Not much has changed regarding the budget for next year from what you have previously read. The tax levy is below the "tax cap" for West Genesee, there are no additions or deletions to the budget, and we are spending less than we are taking in. Our next presentations will be held this Tuesday in the high school large group instruction room at 7:00 p.m. and on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in the high school library. I should provide Tee-shirts to those who attend all three meetings. I have appreciated all of the students who have attended the meetings. Yes, attending our meetings is a class requirement, but I had follow-up conversations with students that attended as many are going to be voting for the first time and they want to be sure to understand all of the details. Kudos.

Our redistricting meetings have been very well attended. We are at the point where the "rubber is hitting the road" so to speak. With that comes the emotions that we all feel when we might have to make a change. My biggest personal "change" emotion came last year when due to budget reductions we had to eliminate Latin and my oldest son lost his opportunity to complete a second language requirement (distance learning did not fit in his schedule). He had to change his schedule, course of study, and it quite possibly could have altered his future plans based on what he wants to do "when he grows up" (although I tell him to NEVER grow up). The reduction was ultimately my call, and the change was made because it impacted the fewest number of students and allowed us to keep other opportunities for a greater number of students long term. Separating the personal from the professional can be difficult at times, but it is vital.

I feel the same way about redistricting. Due to an environment of declining enrollment, we must move forward to provide equal opportunities to all of our elementary and middle school students. This means some students are going to have to move and families are going to be impacted. If you have been following the work of the committee and the consultants, you will see that they have worked through several different scenarios and are beginning to focus in on solutions that impact the fewest number of families relative to the entire District. Ultimately, the Board of Education will have the option to choose none of the possible scenarios or one of the scenarios presented. Things may get personal as this process winds down, but I think we all need to remember that acting on what will ultimately frame our long term District health will benefit the whole.

I would like to thank John Petosa and his group Last year they raised enough money to allow the District to provide a full array of modified sports during this school year, and we are in the same situation again for next year. They are planning a Run/Walk for June 3 at the high school as their main fund raiser. You can register online at the address mentioned above and I think it will be a great event. At the conclusion of the Run/Walk there will be a faculty softball game that is rumored to be umpired by Alec Baldwin if all works out. This group is not-for-profit, has OUR students in mind, and can use our support to donate to the Board of Education. These donations will allow us to offer the full schedule of modified sports to be played again next year.

Lastly, May 2 is our Staff Appreciation Day. The District used to pick a day for each group, but if we truly consider ourselves to be a family as we do it is appropriate to recognize ALL on the same day. This also includes our volunteers and Board of Education. As you have read and watched over the past two years, our staff have really worked hard to make sure that we make it through this economic hiccup intact and stronger than before. They have over-delivered.  Please take a moment to thank them if you get a chance.

Have a great week!