The Best-Laid Plans. . . often go awry.

This saying is adapted from “To a Mouse”, by Robert Burns and it clearly applies to our hiring process as outlined for our SES Principal position. Today is the closing date and I was astonished to receive only a few applications. I thought we’d gotten everything right: identified our process, invited participants on the interview committee, all set to go for 8/8 BOE Approval, communicated the process to our school community here. The best-laid plans, right?

As I studied the applications I started to think “why are our only applicants from Springville?” And why did we receive so many applications for SMS and SHS Principal and so few for this position? Which turned into the question asked of District Clerk Kathy Tucker, “are we sure the Buffalo News ran our ad as submitted?”

And here’s where it goes awry. The Buffalo News did not run our ad. They are now– our SES Principal position will be advertised in print and on their website for the next week at no additional charge to the district. This means we are moving our closing date to next Tuesday, July 26. 

So, Help Still Wanted, Amazing Principal Candidates Please Apply! And for our local candidates who applied, hang on–you’re in the mix.  The new interview process will be as follows:

Round #1 Screening Interviews: Wednesday, July 27, 2016, beginning at 8:00 am.

Round #2 with a Committee including a representative from each union and 3-4 SES teachers: Monday, August 1, 2016, beginning at 8:30 am.

Round #3 Final Interview with me and a BOE member from the Personnel Committee, Thursday, August 4, 2016, beginning at 8:30 am.

This should still afford us the time to have our new SES Principal selected and BOE appointed at our next BOE meeting on August 8, 2016.

Help Wanted: Amazing Principal Candidates Please Apply

With the movement of Kathy Townsend to our Principal for Special Programs position and Marcole Feuz to the Colden Elementary Principal position, we have posted and advertised for our K-5 Springville Elementary Principal position. What an incredible opportunity to work with an amazing faculty and staff with wonderful students and families! 

We are looking for a positive, enthusiastic, caring and dedicated building leader who wants the chance to make a difference in the lives of our children. Application files are due to me in the district office by July 18, 2016. I’m excited to review all of the applications.

Our process will include three rounds of interviews. The first round of interviews will be a screening interview in which we will interview as many of the candidates as we find are qualified and fit our criteria. This round is scheduled for Thursday, July 21, 2016 and will be with me, our directors, JoAnn DePue and Shelly Sarikey, and two representatives of our faculty.

Successful candidates from round #1 will be invited back to a committee interview in which every union is invited to send a volunteer, SES will have 3-4 teacher representatives, and the PTA will be invited to participate. Round #2 interviews will be scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, 2016.

From those round #2 committee interviews we will likely move two finalists on to a final round #3 interview with me and one BOE member from the Personnel Committee on August 1, 2016. We will then be happy to ask for BOE approval of our new SES Principal at our August 8, 2016 BOE meeting.

Announcing Our New Colden Elementary Principal

As sometimes happens, one change can lead to another. With our current Colden Elementary Principal, Mrs. Kathy Townsend, accepting a new position within the District  an opportunity at Colden Elementary opens.

I am delighted to announce that our current Springville Elementary Principal, Ms. Marcole Feuz, has accepted the Colden position! This move is a homecoming of sorts for Ms. Feuz, as she was raised in Colden and currently resides there with her husband. Previously an assistant principal in the SGI District for 3 years, Marcole has been the SES Principal since 2011.

In Marcole’s own words,

I am so proud of the work we have accomplished together at SES! The professional working relationships and relationships with our wonderful families have been incredible for me. We have focused on our students and taken SES “above and beyond” as we intended.

I am excited about the opportunity to return to Colden as the elementary principal, to work with what I know is an excellent faculty and staff, and to serve the families of the community I love so much.

While the planned changes bring someone new for every building in the district for the 2016-17 school year, I believe that we are at a tipping point as a District right now. We have the right people in the right positions and an administrative team who is committed to working together to make good decisions for the right reasons to move our district forward. Good things are happening Griffins!

Principal for Special Programs

The Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District is pleased to announce that Mrs. Kathy Townsend was appointed to the new position of principal for special programs at the 7/5/16 BOE meeting.

Mrs. Townsend has been the Colden Elementary Principal since July 2011 and has worked as an administrator in the district since 2007. Kathy’s position will be one of new program development and working to support programs throughout the district in collaboration with other administrators.  She brings a great deal of experience with a proven track record as someone who can get things done. New program development requires careful analysis, research and planning for successful implementation–these are all strengths of Mrs. Townsend.

Following are the responsibilities Mrs. Townsend is assuming within this position and the expected timeline for implementation:

  1. Development of an in district program for in-school- suspension, out-of-school suspension and an alternative education program. (2016-17 and beyond) I anticipate an in district ISS/OSS program will be in place within the 2016-17 school year while an alternative education program will take more time to develop.
  2. Coordination of the K-12 AIS Program (2016-17) including interim formative assessments, grade level data team meetings with building principals, and AIMSweb testing three times annually.
  3. Universal Pre-Kindergarten (2017-18 and beyond) Currently only 60 SGI students receive UPK through our collaboration with the Early Bird Learning Center. We are interested in the  expansion of this program to serve more of our children. There are multiple funding streams for UPK. We are excited to have a dedicated administrator who can apply for funding, research, plan and implement programs for our children in these critical years of their development and learning.
  4. Conduct unannounced teacher evaluations as an independent observer district wide. (2016-17)
  5. Oversight and supervision of home/school tutoring of students on medical leave or due to suspensions. This will include hiring tutors with BOE approval, working with the families/tutors for scheduling, tutoring logs and timesheets. (2016-17)
  6. Home School Liaison working with our Homeschool families to review Individualized Home Instruction Plans and quarterly reports. (2016-17)
  7. Development and implementation of Green Ribbon School initiatives. (2016-17 and beyond)
  8. District Homeless Liaison. (2016-17)
  9. District Safety Committee Chairperson including the development, maintenance and oversight of the district Safety Committee and safety plans. (2016-17)
  10. District Wellness Committee Chairperson including annual review of the district’s wellness policy and committee meetings as necessary. (2016-17)

The above are duties and responsibilities, primarily #s 1-3, that require a dedicated administrator to make happen to our fullest advantage as a District. They are needs within the District that we have identified we have not previously focused on sufficiently. I am excited to work with Mrs. Townsend as she makes a significant difference for the children of the SGI school district through this position. Congratulations Mrs. Townsend! 

Comparative Analysis with Average Cost To Taxpayer

At tonight’s Reorganizational BOE meeting, we will be presenting a proposed capital project that has been previewed through a series of posts over the past week. This is the seventh and last in the series.

Today we look at a comparative analysis of the new proposed scope of work to the December 2015 proposed scope, including the average cost to the taxpayer.

In the December 2015 informational newsletter for a Capital Project Referendum that taxpayers received, readers may recall that the total project was $38,722,000. This included proposed work of $1,772,000 at Colden Elementary, $5,804,000 at Springville Elementary, $8,552,000 at Springville Middle, $21,583,000 at Springville High, and $1,061,000 in the District Office and other buildings.

December 2015 Failed Project Cost to the Taxpayer

December 2015 Failed Project Cost to the Taxpayer

Also shown in the December 2015 Project newsletter was this average cost to the taxpayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The total proposed scope of work the SGI BOE will review this evening is $26,891,000, plus $1,334,000 planned for capitalized interest bringing the total project to $28,225,000. This includes proposed work of $1,552,000 at Colden Elementary, $6,527,000 at Springville Elementary, $9,517,000 at Springville Middle, $8,631,000 at Springville High, and $664,000 in the District Office and other buildings.

The average cost to the taxpayer for this new potential scope of work is significantly lower as you can see in the chart below, prepared for us by our financial advisory firm, Bernard P. Donegan, Inc. We’ve maximized how much of the project is aidable (only about 85% of the work at SHS would have been aidable in the December 2015 Project), we’ve included the capitalized interest in the project and we’ve scaled the project back to the work we need to do to take care of our school buildings and grounds.

Capitalized Interest allows School Districts to offset the interest expense during the construction phase of a project to minimize local impact prior to building aid commencing. Since building aid will not flow until the final cost reports are filed with SED the District will have debt service payments due without any revenue sources to offset this expense. By including Capitalized Interest in the authorization the District is able to maintain a level local share throughout the project including years in which building aid is not being received.

Average Cost to Taxpayer, Potential Capital Project

Average Cost to Taxpayer, Potential Capital Project

District Office and Remaining Buildings

This is the sixth in a series of posts about the capital project needs of the Springville school district. In this series, I am describing the proposed scope of work in each of our buildings. Today we focus on needs at the District Office, Concession Stand, Greenhouse and Press Box.

The District offices do not receive state aid in the way that our school buildings do (79.3%). Therefore, I have removed all but two (2) items from the sixteen (16) items proposed in December 2015. All that remains are the replacement of the roof and installation of heat trace tape to scupper drains, totaling $343,000.

There is work required at the Concession Stand and that remains the same as the scope brought before the public in December, totaling $15,000. We are not proposing any work at the Transportation Building, the Field House Building or the Colden Elementary Tractor Garage.

Our Pressbox needs to be replaced with a new code compliant Pressbox. And our Green House, which was to be demolished in the December 2015 project and yet provides instructional space for our FFA coursework, will need to have the hot water heating boiler replaced, an installation of a backflow preventor on incoming water service, replacement of older electrical equipment and devices and replacement of exterior doors and windows. The work on the Pressbox totals $176,000 and the Green House totals $130,000. If you’re thinking you could build a home for $176,000, please know that’s exactly what our Facilities Committee said and the plan moving forward will be to work to decrease that number to the extent possible.

This post concludes the review of the proposed scope of work in all of our school buildings. Tomorrow I will review the costs to the taxpayer as evaluated by our financial advisors.

Springville Elementary School, Capital Project Needs

This is the fifth in a series of posts about the capital project needs of the Springville school district. In this series, I am describing the proposed scope of work in each of our buildings. Today we focus on one of our elementary schools, Springville Elementary School.

The most pressing need in our district currently exists at SES and it was not in the December 2015 proposed project. The 1998 portion of our roof at SES is failing. We have brought in the architect, construction management firm, and roofing experts and all have said they have not previously seen a rooftop fail like this one. And of course, it is out of the warranty period. If we do not pass this project, we will have to find a way to pay for the repairs to this roof which total $968,000 from our local budget. That’s not a ploy to get this project passed, it’s simply the reality of a problem that we face. In the meantime, we are taking care of the rooftop with a stop gap measure and hoping for a mild winter in the 2016-17 school year.

This proposed scope also includes new items as follows: replace/enlarge unit ventilator louvers at south wing classrooms including abatement to new code requirements ($71,000) and replace piping in the south wing/modify pumps due to new code requirements ($56,000). Replacing pavement, curbing and sidewalks is again urgently needed for this school and is the most significant expense.

Removed from the December 2015 proposed project scope is the relocation of the main office area closer to the front entrance to increase security and relocate existing adjacent offices and Nurse’s office ($825,000). If you’ve been following along with this entire series of posts, you can see by now that I’m recommending the removal of all of these office relocations for security purposes. It is my opinion that the moves are hugely expensive, require building new offices when those that we have are adequate, and give us a false sense of security. There is no fail safe security measure—the best security measures we can possibly implement are those that require frequent drills so that everyone in the system knows the best way to behave in an emergency, how to think on their feet and how to follow the protocols put into place by building and district safety plans.

Also removed from the scope is the installation of new carbon dioxide detection systems ($25,000)—we did this in house in our buildings—and the replacement of the exterior wall located at the overhang. That work has to be done under an immediate emergency project and I expect the work to be completed soon.

The total bond estimate of work to be completed at Springville Elementary is $6,527,000.

We will be reviewing the proposed project in detail at our July 5 meeting, for the BOE’s consideration. Please contact me with any questions, concerns or feedback. Thank you.

Next Up in Our Capital Project Series, Colden Elementary

This is the fourth in a series of posts about the capital project needs of the Springville school district. In this series, I am describing the proposed scope of work in each of our buildings. Today we focus on one of our elementary schools, Colden Elementary School.

Before continuing let me first address something that’s come up from many sources, in many different ways since my arrival in March 2016. I recognize that our enrollment has been declining and we cannot continue to think of ourselves as a 2200 student district when we are in fact an 1800-1900 student district. We will likely face many difficult decisions in the following years as we consider if we should continue to operate all of our current school buildings and if we should continue to employ at our current staffing levels. The BOE will be charged with having those difficult discussions and I will do my very best to make sure that they have solid, factual information before them. We will be transparent, invite the public in for those difficult conversations and move forward with the best interest of ALL of our students and families in mind. It won’t be easy and I have no idea what the outcome will be, but I believe we need to stop taking sides on the subject and instead evaluate all of the information possible. We don’t even know yet if it will in fact save the district money as so many outside of Colden believe—or that it’s a better option than SES for our SGI children living in Colden as so many inside Colden believe–let’s figure the answers to those questions out and then have the discussion.

Having said that, we cannot afford to stop taking care of our buildings as we tackle these difficult decisions. The work that I am proposing be done in all of our buildings needs to be done to take care of what we have, for now and for any future proposed use.

The total bond estimate of work to be completed at Colden Elementary is $1,552,000. The proposed scope of work includes replacing pavement and miscellaneous sidewalks, re-roofing the original schoolhouse, replacing a kitchen exhaust hood that currently does not meet code, installing air conditioning in data closets, and replacing a hardwired Fire Alarm system with a new addressable Fire Alarm system.

A significant need that must be taken care of is the replacement of all carpeting with new vinyl flooring in the entire building including the main office area at a cost of $473,000. We have conducted two thorough air quality studies in Colden due to health concerns and complaints. While both studies, from two independent companies revealed that the air quality at CES is acceptable and is not a risk to our staff and students—we cannot ignore that this old carpeting may be contributing to the complaints.

Removed from the scope of the December 2015 proposed project at Colden includes installing new carbon dioxide detection system ($19,000), installing a new secured Vestibule to increase security to allow direct entry into Main Office Area ($120,000) and installing ventilation at kitchen, offices, special education area and miscellaneous areas ($139,000).

We will be reviewing the proposed project in detail at our July 5 meeting, for the BOE’s consideration. Please contact me with any questions, concerns or feedback. Thank you.

Proposed Capital Project, Scope of Work for SMS

This is the third in a series of posts about the capital project needs of the Springville school district. In this series, I am describing the proposed scope of work in each of our buildings. Today we focus on our Middle School.

There are far fewer changes to the scope of work at the Springville Middle School than those described in yesterday’s post about the High School. On Tuesday, July 5 at the reorganizational meeting of the Board of Education, I will present the results of the work done with our architects, our construction management firm, SGI staff and a facilities committee including members of our community.

The BOE will consider a proposed project that includes the removal of the following SMS items from the December 2015 project that was put before the taxpayers.

  1. Install new carbon dioxide detection system. ($38,000)
  2. Relocate Main Office area closer to the front entrance to increase security and relocate existing Science classroom. ($600,000)

The only addition to the scope of work planned for SMS, our newest district building, is to replace (4) standard drinking fountains with new ADA drinking fountains at a bond estimate cost of $28,000.

Community members may recall that the most significant work at SMS includes replacing pavement, sidewalks, curbing—which we sorely need. Our buildings and grounds department has done an excellent job of patching and making due, but our pavement, sidewalks and curbing are in dire need of replacement. Also significant are the replacement of the entire roof including roof drains and replacing (14) roof top Multizone heating and ventilation units. It was thought in the last project that we could make due with repair of these units in preparation for a capital project down the line but our new projected construction date will indicate these units are at the end of their useful life and replacement cannot be put off for a future phase of construction.

The total bond estimate of work to be completed at SMS is $9,517,000. Again I will be reviewing the proposed project in detail at our July 5 meeting, for the BOE’s consideration. Please contact me with any questions, concerns or feedback. Thank you.

Springville High School, Proposal for the BOE’s Consideration

This is the second in a series of posts about the capital project needs of the Springville school district. I will be describing the proposed scope of work in each of our buildings, today is focused on the High School.

The big question first, what was removed from the scope of work proposed to the voters in December 2015 for SHS?

1. Install new Addition which includes a new gymnasium, bleachers, Boy’s and Girl’s locker rooms, Fitness room, public toilet rooms, renovations of existing shop area to allow access to the new addition and renovate existing Fitness room into new Ag. Shop classroom. New indoor track located at ground level around Basketball court. ($11,000,000)

2. Renovate existing Gymnasium for new Media Center. ($1,700,000)

3. Renovate existing Media Center for new Board room and Multi-purpose room. ($750,000)

4. Upgrade electrical service (required for new gym addition OR Air conditioning of all classrooms) ($340,000)

5. Install new carbon dioxide detection system. ($32,000)

6. Install backflow preventor at Ice machine. ($2,000)

7. Install vacuum breaker at 2 mop sinks. ($2,000)

8. Install trap wrapping at all ADA sinks. ($2,000)

9. Replace Athletic field lighting system. ($630,000)

The remainder of the scope is much the same as it was in December 2015, with a few additions bringing the total proposed bond estimate to $8,631,000 for SHS.

Bond estimates include the cost of the work and the incidental (soft) costs–architect, construction management, legal and financial consultant fees, furniture, fixture, equipment and site costs. The bond estimate also includes contingent fees to cover the possibility that costs may go up by the time we go to bid. Whatever amount is approved by the public for this project is the maximum we will be permitted to spend.

Second, what was added that voters did NOT see in the December 2015 project as presented to the voters?

As we will continue to use our current gym, we need to refinish the wood floors at an estimated bond cost of $71,000 and renovate the athletic locker rooms in the basement which is estimated at $318,000. Because we will continue to occupy the spaces in the basement for locker rooms, we are required to install a new ADA elevator to the basement at a cost of $424,000. This is a most aggravating required expense and I have argued several points about this that our architects are discussing with NYSED so there is a remote chance, fingers crossed, that this may be an expense we can eliminate.

And the last addition from the December 2015 proposed project is to the track. While that December project did include removing the rubber track surface, installing new pavement and a urethane track surface, it didn’t include the expansion of our 6 lane track to an 8 lane track; removing and replacing existing perimeter fencing. Our track program has grown every year with a large number of our students participating. Because we’re replacing the track, if we’re ever going to widen it to 8 lanes, now is the time–at a bond estimate of $332,000.

This series of posts will continue all week leading up to the presentation to the SGI BOE for their consideration on Tuesday, July 5 in the HS Media Center at 7:00. Please contact me with any questions, concerns or feedback. Thank you.