Capital Project: Important Dates and Information

PUBLIC HEARING AND INFORMATION MEETING:
Tuesday, September 20, 7 pm
Springville-GI High School, Library Media Center

VOTER REGISTRATION:
Thursday September 22, 12pm – 8pm
Polling District #1: Collins Center Fire Hall
Polling District #2: Colden Elementary School
Polling District #3: Springville-GI High School, Main Lobby

CAPITAL PROJECT REFERENDUM VOTE:
Tuesday, September 27, 10am – 9pm
Polling District #1: Collins Center Fire Hall
Polling District #2: Colden Elementary School
Polling District #3: Springville-GI High School, Main Lobby

Additional Information Sources:

• District Clerk

Phone: (716) 592-3230

Email: ktucker@springvillegi.org

On the Web:

• District Web Site
Visit www.springvillegi.org and click “Capital Project”

• Superintendent’s Message
Visit www.springvillegi.org and click “Superintendent Message”
or visit www.kimberlymoritz.com

• Twitter
Visit www.twitter.com/kimberlymoritz and click “Follow”

Voter Information
For additional assistance or information on voter eligibility, voter registration, or absentee ballots, contact the District Clerk at 592-3230 or via email at ktucker@springvillegi.org.

Voter Eligibility:
You may vote on September 27, 2016 without pre-registration if you are a registered voter with the school district. You are a registered voter with the school district if you have voted in at least one school vote since January 1, 2012. You are also eligible to vote if you are a registered voter with the Erie or Cattaraugus counties Boards of Election and meet the residency requirements. You must vote at the polling location you are assigned to, which is based upon the location of your residence and which voting district your residence is part of. A map of voting districts is available on the district website.

Voter Registration:
If you are currently not eligible to vote on September 27, you must register on September 22 at the polling location you are assigned to, which is based upon the location of your residence and which voting district your residence is a part of. In order to register to vote, a person must be:
• A citizen of the United States
• Eighteen (18) years of age or older; and
• a resident within the District for a period of thirty (30) days prior to the meeting at which he/she offers to vote.

Please bring photo I.D. that verifies your age and residence (i.e. driver’s license).

Absentee Ballots:
If you are unable to appear to vote in person on the day of the school district capital project vote, you may request an Application for Absentee Ballot from the District Clerk or download a copy from the District web site. Once your completed and signed application is received by the District Clerk and veri-fied that the claimant is entitled to vote, ballots will be mailed to the applicant(s).

Please note that Applications for Absentee Ballots must be received by the District Clerk at least 7 days before the vote (by Tuesday, September 20) if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, or the day be-fore the vote (September 26) if the ballot is to be delivered personally to the voter.

Capital Project: FAQ

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on the Capital Project.

Q. Why do we need this Capital Project?
A. Last year, an engineering and architectural evaluation was conducted on the condition of the school facilities. This evaluation identified and prioritized several issues primarily related to health and safety, preservation of buildings, energy efficiency and site improvements. The Board is now proposing to address those facilities necessities identified in the most cost efficient manner — a Capital Project — where the District can take advantage of obtaining State Building Aid to offset construction costs that would otherwise be funded by the local taxpayers.

Q. What has changed from the last project vote that was held in December 2015?
A. In December 2015, a $38.7 million project was defeated by the community. Since that time, the District has solicited feedback from voters and community representatives to gather the public’s opinions on the scope of the project and where the District could improve. That input was very seriously considered and has caused the District to re-evaluate its needs vs. wants. Now, the Board of Education has approved a narrowed scope of work and a project based primarily on #1 priorities and critical needs. The new Capital Project has been reduced to $27,795,000.

Q. Why come back to the voters so soon?
A. Much of the project’s scope includes critical items that have reached the end of their useful life, such as roofs, heating/ventilating units, pavement, flooring, etc. The District couldn’t afford to wait. We have to address these items in the most cost-effective way possible — through a capital project — where the State will support the District with 70% of the construction in Building Aid.

Q. What if the vote doesn’t pass?
A. A capital project assures that the District will receive their share of State Building Aid for capital improvements. If the vote does not pass, the critical work would then have to be paid for through the school district’s general fund, with 100% of the associated costs passed on to local taxpayers. Payment of the construction would also have to be made immediately instead of spreading the costs out over a number of years.

Q. When will the work take place?
A. After final design and the State Education Department’s approvals, it is anticipated that construction would start in 2018 with substantial completion in late 2019.

Q. Where can I get more information regarding the project?
A. The District has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, September 20. There will be a capital project presentation and an open forum for questions. The district newsletter, The Bulletin, included pages 9-12 on the capital project. In addition, information can be found on the District’s website (www.springvillegi.org) and social media outlets. Please also feel free to visit Superintendent Kimberly Moritz’ blog at www.kimberlymoritz.com.

Investing In Our Facilities

Dear District Resident:

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, you will have an opportunity to vote on a capital project that is designed to address critical facilities work in each of our buildings. The project items come directly from a needs assessment that the State Education Department requires our District complete every five years to be sure we are planning for and maintaining the district’s assets.

We presented most of the work detailed in a capital project newsletter last December. However, that project included $12 million of additional work, including a significant addition to the high school to house a new gymnasium. We received a lot of constructive feedback when that project was voted down. Over the past several months we have continued to listen, meeting with various representatives from the community. Based on your input and much planning we are proposing a project that is much more narrow in scope and focuses on our critical needs.

This project includes the replacement of many items home and business owners will understand are a part of maintaining a property: rooftops, heating and ventilation units, pavement, curbing and sidewalks, updated fire alarm systems, and flooring. We also must replace our track surface and are therefore expanding the track to a full 8 lane track, an improvement that’s smart to do now.

This project does NOT include a new HS gym, office relocations, renovation of the existing media center, or replacement of the athletic field lighting system. There is more work to be done in our schools, there always will be—that’s part of the responsibility of owning and maintaining school buildings. We have been extremely cognizant of the cost to the taxpayer of the work we’ve included in this project scope.

All work will be paid for using a combination of state aid funding, cash from the capital project reserve established by our taxpayers, and the local tax share. The amount of this project that is eligible for state aid has been maximized and our current debt from previous projects has been carefully considered to result in a proposed project of $27,795,000, including $1,301,000 in capitalized interest. This means, for example, that for a $100,000 “full/equalized value” home, a resident with Senior/STAR would pay an additional $7 per year, a primary resident with STAR would pay $13 per year, and a non-STAR resident would pay $19 per year.

By contrast, the $38,772,000 project presented and defeated by the voters in December 2015 would have cost the same taxpayer up to an additional $47.87 annually. The December 2015 Project did not include the capitalized interest we’ve included for this project, therefore we’ve reduced the scope of work from the December project by $12,278,000.

We know how much pride this community has in SGI. Capital projects like this one help to keep our facilities in good working order and improve the conditions under which our children learn and thrive. We need and appreciate your support. We encourage you to learn more at the Public Hearing on September 20 and to vote on September 27, 2016.

Thank you,

Kimberly Moritz, Superintendent and Allison Duwe, BOE President

The UPK Lottery–it’s NOT Universal

We need our state senators and assembly members to support fully funding UPK in every district in ways commensurate with the rest of our K-12 school system.

What’s it called when everyone in a system agrees about something and yet nothing seems to change or is done about it? In public education, an example of this problem is Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) funding.

Universal PreK is a movement within the American education system to make access to preschool education available to all families, similar to the way kindergarten is available to all 5- and 6-year-olds.

Except it’s not universal or available to all families. Most districts who offer UPK have a lottery system in which they randomly pull names of children within the district up to the number of spots provided for in the grant funding the individual district has applied for and received.

Then the families who are lucky enough to be awarded the spots have to be able to get the child to and from the half day UPK and figure out child care for the other half of the day. If I’m a working mom out of the district, how do I make that work?

We send out letters to sixty families every year that tell them that their child has been awarded a spot in our UPK program that is run through a private provider in Springville, the Early Bird ChildCare Center.  Pat Marcello, along with her daughter Colleen, have done a wonderful job of providing both UPK and child care services to the families of Springville since 1975.

Even if you’re not in education a simple google search “Does early intervention make a difference?” will result in 109,000,000 links to articles supporting early childhood education. The research is abundant and rich.

We KNOW, we have ALWAYS known, that early childhood education makes a huge difference in the lives of our children. I would argue it can be the most significant year of a child’s formal school life in which we can make enormous gains in learning and capacity that will impact the child for life.  

The accomplishment of which I am most proud in my career as a school leader is the implementation of full day UPK in Randolph for our neediest students. All I did was say “yes” to Dr. Mary Rockey when she asked if she could start a SCIS (special class in an integrated setting) pre-kindergarten classroom for the children of that district. Mary rightfully advocated that bringing in our neediest children and connecting them to our providers at an earlier age would help us make important gains at a crucial time in brain development. That small rural school district now supports two SCIS classrooms and UPK half day for the other families who choose to participate. The growth I personally saw children make, through early intervention, was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. And I did nothing as a leader but say yes to an administrator with an idea. Because it’s a special education program, the funding was rich and the local share was supported by the Randolph BOE members who also saw the importance of early intervention.

And yet we still have a competitive grant structure that leads to inadequate and uneven funding gained IF a school district has someone equipped at filing for a competitive grant OR wants to pay an outside entity to do so AND which grant funding they go after AND if they meet the criteria for the award.

We need our state senators and assembly members to support fully funding UPK in every district as they fund the rest of our K-12 school systems. Governor Cuomo heralds how much he’s done to support UPK to great applause in his state of the state address each year.  I wonder if it’s actually a great way for Governor Cuomo to over-estimate his expenditures, saying that he’s dedicating a huge amount of money to UPK that doesn’t end up being awarded. I don’t pretend to understand his reasons for heralding the importance of UPK and then continuing an unfair, uneven and inequitable means of funding it.

We also need local districts to make decisions when budgeting to support early intervention through full day true UNIVERSAL pre-kindergarten for every family who chooses to send their children to our programs and we need to provide transportation. We have to push for fully funded UPK for all 4 year olds.  How do we not when we know that this is perhaps the most critical year in a child’s learning?

Slowing Down Change

Change, real systemic change, in public education. When we’ve had BIG CHANGE, we’ve pushed back and said that it didn’t work because of rushed implementation or uneven implementation or a failure to prepare adequately or a lack of resources. Maybe it’s because I’m in the last decade of my career, but I’m becoming impatient. I want to make a significant difference in the lives of our students. I want their learning experiences to be tailored to who they are as learners not who we were when I attended school in the seventies.

It takes FOREVER for something to change in public education. I worry that we are now slowing down the implementation of any NYS initiative because of the push back of the past five years.  And I worry that we’re not really “preparing” for these changes. From my perspective it just seems to mean being given more time before we “have to do something”.  Are we preparing or putting off?

Take computer based testing as an example.

The NYS Education Department has been preparing us for computer based assessments for a couple of years now. And districts are looking at piloting “computer based” assessments between now and 2020; some have started already. Why the slow roll out? To allow districts to prepare for it.

When we talk about computer based assessments in our district, we’re talking about using technology to support learning through adaptive testing and diagnostic instruction that’s tailored for every child’s learning path. A significant tool for teachers to better understand individual students. It’s like using the coolest apps on your smart phone to do things better, faster, more efficiently, more personalized.

When the state is talking about computer based assessments for the NYS tests, they’re talking about replacing the paper/pencil assessments with something that’s on a computer. This won’t transform learning for a child, it will still be a summative check and it will be a tool, much as it is now, to see how we’re doing as a system as compared to other school systems. It’s like using your smart phone to make a phone call.

That ^^^^ is not enough. The argument is that we have to implement this substitution of paper/pencil tests so that we’re ready to use adaptive testing. Cripe. I’ll be dead by the time we get to adaptive testing and personalizing learning through diagnostic instruction for every child in this state.

We’ve been using adaptive testing and diagnostic instruction in the districts I’ve worked in since 2011. There are likely districts that have done so far longer than we have. It’s the right way to use assessments and technology, in formative ways throughout the school year to improve our instruction for every child. We have the ability to do things well, to target the expenditures in our school budgets in the right ways. We can use technology and curriculum (like Dreambox and iReady and PEG Writing and Zulama and check out the product reviews at EdSurge for hundreds more ) to redefine learning.

We are going to work hard to be sure that our students in Springville are using technology and assessments in ways that transform their learning. Not just as a substitute.

Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura developed the SAMR model over a decade ago.   And in NYS we’re just getting to the first level, substitution, in 2020.  That’s the best we can do?

Preferred Building Substitute Teachers Needed

Every year we employ preferred “building” substitute teachers. A preferred building substitute teacher teaches on a daily, itinerant basis when students are in attendance. What a great opportunity for someone who’s recently graduated or hasn’t yet obtained a teaching position!

If you are a NYSED certified teacher and would be interested in a position in which you substitute every day in one of our buildings (the same building every day),  please submit your application to the Personnel Clerk, SGI CSD, 307 Newman Street, Springville, New York 14141. Complete the application for instructional personnel, available under the Employment Opportunities link at www.springvillegi.org. The salary is $110 per day for our preferred building subs which is higher than our daily substitute certified teacher rate of $95/$90 daily substitute non-certified teacher substitute rate.

Applications are due as soon as possible and we will work to have our preferred building substitutes identified for BOE consideration at the Monday, September 12 BOE meeting.

We accept regular substitute applications for all positions throughout the school year. Please consider applying to substitute at SGI!

Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District is an equal opportunity employer.

Upcoming Communication from SGI

Residents will soon be receiving a “Save the Date” postcard in the mail with important dates regarding our upcoming September 27, 2016 Capital Project Vote. The public hearing will be September 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm in the HS Library.

You can also expect our school calendar, which was beautifully created by District Clerk Kathy Tucker, in the mail as soon as this weekend or next week. An electronic copy of this calendar will also be linked on the district website.

Our district newsletter, The Bulletin, will be delivered to residents soon after school begins. The Bulletin includes a four page insert with information on the finalized capital project proposal. I will also post the components of that insert here for residents who prefer to read their news on line.

Good communication is important to us. We want to listen as well as we are sharing information. Remember that we are available via email, for a phone conversation or a visit–I can be reached at 592-3230. Hope to see everyone at our many events this fall!

 

Announcing Our New Springville Elementary Principal

At the August 8, 2016 BOE meeting, we were pleased to appoint Mr. Christopher Scarpine as the new SES Principal. Mr. Scarpine has been the Middle School Assistant Principal for the Lake Shore Evans-Brant CSD since April, 2014. Prior to that he was an SES classroom teacher of grades 3, 4, and 5 from 2005-2014. Chris brings a great set of leadership skills to his principalship and we can’t wait for him to get started!

We are hopeful that Mr. Scarpine can begin prior to the start of the school year but must also be respectful of the needs of his current district. On August 15, 2016, Ms. Marcole Feuz and Mrs. Kathy Townsend will transition to their new roles as Colden Elementary Principal and Principal for Special Programs. To help facilitate a successful transition for all, Ms. Rochelle Sarikey, Director of Special Education who is located in SES, has offered to lead SES for the weeks in between principals. Thank you Ms. Sarikey!

We are delighted to welcome Chris Scarpine back to SGI as the Springville Elementary School Principal! Congratulations Mr. Scarpine.

The Return of the SGI Newsletter, the Bulletin

We are excited to bring back the Bulletin, our SGI newsletter! Given this week’s unfortunate closure of our local newspaper, the Springville Journal, it’s fortuitous that we have been planning this for the last few months.

Attention all SGI employees: If you have an article of interest to our school community that you would like to see published in our district newsletter, please submit the article and applicable photos to Laurie Pfeffer in our district office. You can email Laurie at lpfeffer@springvillegi.org.

We are planning seven issues to be published and mailed during the 2016-17 school year. The deadline for our first issue is August 5, 2016.