Weekly Feature



2017-10-11 / Local News

Amherst School Board unveils new library media center at Windermere Boulevard

Funds came from former teacher
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter


Anthony Panella Anthony Panella Lorraine Meinke must have been smiling down from heaven during the Oct. 3 Amherst School Board meeting.

Meinke, who taught in the Amherst Central School District for 35 years at the Eggert Road and Windermere Boulevard schools, died May 23, 2016, and left Windermere a $40,000 bequest, which has been used to make improvements to the building’s library media center.

“We want to thank Lorraine Meinke for her incredible gift,” said Julie Flanagan, Windermere’s intermediate education center principal. “We hope she is smiling and will be pleased because this will surely benefit so many children.”

Chad Moser, Windermere’s librarian, with assistance from students Declan Goldhawk, Sienna Tripp and Lauren Errington, gave the board a tour of the new library media center.

Improvements to the media center include new carpet, paint, furniture and three new visual display areas that allow for technology integration for classes or community meetings.

The library also has a designated space for iPad stations, so groups of four students can be plugged into the same visuals and a green screen to record videos.

“We do a great job using our technology to consume information, but we wanted there to be a space to create information,” Moser said. “The chairs and tables are all facing each other, so [students] can be working on group projects at the same time.”

“A library is the heart of a school,” said Mary Lavin, Windermere’s early childhood principal. “It’s where kids come to be inspired and create. We are so excited to have a library that will inspire and allow them to collaborate and learn like none other.”

“The task was to benefit the children of Windermere, and I think we hit the nail on the head with what we have done here,” Superintendent Anthony Panella said. “The Alumni Foundation was critical to our success.”

Windermere meant a lot to Meinke. Sue Clark, a teacher assistant who taught for five years with Meinke, said every time they saw each other at church on Sundays, Meinke always asked her, “How’s Windermere?”

“This is a wonderful legacy she has left for us,” Clark said.

In another matter, the School Board approved a draft of the independent auditor’s management report for the fiscal year ending June 30, pending any material changes.

Carl Widmer, senior manager from Drescher and Malecki, the company that conducted the independent audit, gave the district an unmodified opinion, meaning all of the financial statements were in accordance with all requirements.

Widmer said revenues, at $56.1 million, exceeded spending, at $54.1 million, for the 2016-17 school year, which, along with a $1.3 million general fund transfer for a special aid fund and a capital project, resulted in an increase of $676,000 to the district’s surplus.

In comparison, the district’s spending was $1.5 million less than revenues for the 2015-16 school year. Approximately $1.3 million was used as seed money for an upcoming capital project.

The district helped replenish the surplus and reserves through a building-wide spending freeze that began in November 2016.

The only deficiency Widmer found in the audit report was that some extracurricular programs were being operated below sixth grade, which violated a compliance issue the state Education Department requires.

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