Weekly Feature

2005-11-23 / Education

Debt service schedules discussed by board

Amherst Schools
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

The Amherst Central School District will soon be allowed to borrow approximately $6 million for capital construction projects without a tax impact.

Mark Whyle, the district’s director of administrative services, said at the Nov. 15 Board of Education meeting that the district is retiring debt in 2006-07 that would allow a $5,655,000 bond issue with zero impact on the tax levy.

“If the board chose to break even, we could issue a $5.6 million bond,” said Whyle. “If the board says, ‘well there are a few more projects that we’d like to work with, if you added those two numbers together ($5,655,000 plus $8,961,000) for example, you’ve got 14.6 million dollars in this case and the impact on this in 07-08 would be 1 percent from the tax levy.”

Superintendent Dennis Ford told the board he thinks it would be a good idea at the December 6 meeting that they take a look at the 5-year picture for any potential projects or initiatives, whether tax-payer or district personnel driven, and put a timeframe on the possibility of collaborative ventures.

“The power of our bonding is beneficial and it might be time that certain collaborative ventures be considered before the fact as opposed to after the fact,” said Ford.

 Kids Vote WNY was another success in the district, said Community Relations Coordinator Ellen Marshall.

“I found that each of our schools did some interesting and really kind of innovative things,” said Marshall.

Marshall said Smallwood Drive Elementary fifth graders addressed to their younger classmates why people vote, who is running, and how do political parties work through puppet shows, starring a donkey and elephant.

Student council elections were held at Windermere Elementary’s Intermediate house. Marshall said posters were hung up and every third, fourth, and fifth grader was able to listen to campaign speeches written by those running for office, then vote.

Marshall said different aspects of voting such as voter apathy, propaganda used in a campaign, and the electoral college were taught at the middle school In a mock district vote on Election Day, Susan Grelick won Amherst Town Supervisor and Shelly Schratz, Daniel Ward, and Guy Marlette were named to the Amherst Town Board. Thomas Loughran was voted to the Erie County Legislature.

 Deputy Superintendent Paul Wietig had many positive things to say about a recent early childhood education presentation held at Windermere.

The program was a Pre-K and kindergarten orientation for parents on best practices in reading and how to help children, Wietig said, and was the largest turnout (over 100 people) for the effort.

“The parents had praises for what (Early Childhood Center Principal) Mary (Lavin) had done for Pre-K and K kids,” said Wietig.

Lavin and AIS teacher Kristy Collins ran the event. Pre-K and K teachers were in attendance as well as families already in the program. Walk-ins who are going to register also showed up, said Wietig.

“That was a good PR move,” said Wietig. “It was also nice to see all of the parents who are presently in either of those programs to support Mary.”

Wietig also said Lavin set up a room for babysitting so parents could focus on the evening.

 Michael Nerney, a nationally known expert and presenter on the topic of adolescent drug and alcohol abuse, will present from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Williamsville North High School. Wietig said between 20-30 Amherst parents are invited to attend.

Topics will include exploring practical intervention policies, the underlying reasons for the increase in substance abuse, and signs and symptoms of at-risk behavior. Parents interested should contact Amherst High School principal JoAnn Balazs. Wietig is looking to have Nerney return in February.

 Daniel Lewis, Windermere Principal of the school’s Intermediate Education Center, was recently selected to serve on the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education Program Reviews at the University at Buffalo. Lewis has been asked to join the group’s committee.

 Ford read a letter from Susan Sheehan, Director of Food Services, thanking the board for purchasing the district’s first dairy vending machine. As of Nov. 15, 2,244 items were sold in 21 school days, equaling over 100 sales a day.

e-mail: pnagy@beenews.com

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