Staff receives board’s encouragement

WELLSVILLE – The Wellsville Board of Education met on Monday evening, offering words of thanks and encouragement to staff members for role in preparing for a new school year with big changes.

In their closing comments, members thanked Wellsville OAPSE President Ed Swogger for the efforts of his membership, as well as buildings and grounds supervisor Joe Traina, in adapting to the changes that will come with the first day of classes Aug. 27. Although it was not elaborated upon, they were certainly referring to preparations for housing seventh- and eighth-grade students at the high school this coming year, which has caused misgivings in some corners of the district.

As part of the cost-cutting plan, fifth- and sixth-grade students will remain at Daw Middle School, with Superintendent Richard Bereschik taking on the duties of principal in lieu of John Foley, who was laid off earlier in the year.

“I know it’s been tough, and I realize that,” said board member Ed Bauer. “But you know what? Even though you’re a little bit skeptical, I’m betting on you guys.”

Board President Karen Dash echoed Bauer’s encouraging comments, acknowledging the hard work of district faculty and staff and expressing faith that the plan will be successfully implemented. “I know where your hearts are. It’s here, in this district, with our kids. I know you’ll do your very, very best.”

New district treasurer Eva Elliott attended her first meeting in an official capacity Monday evening, having been approved for the position at a special meeting of the board on July 20 to replace outgoing treasurer Coleen Wickham. Elliott delivered her fiscal report for the month of July, with a carryover balance of $2,970,364.13 from June. Against income of $545,634.48 and spending of $780,775.90, Wellsville will begin the new school year with a total balance of $2,735,222.71.

The meeting consisted mainly of housekeeping matters in preparation for the start of classes on Aug. 27. These included renewal of a service agreement with the Village of Wellsville to employ personnel from the village police department to serve as resource officers three days per week at district schools. Officers Shawn Bloor and Marsha Eisenhart will continue to serve in the capacity, to the approval of board members. “They know our kids, and they work well with them,” Dash said.

Approved coaches for the district’s football programs, including Dennis Bowers, Derrick Spann, Joe Carr and Richard Sloan as high-school varsity assistant, and Bruce Harris and James Thirtyacre as junior high coaches.

A list of 15 individuals was accepted by the board to serve as substitute teachers in the district. When presenting the list, Dash made mention of it being “very small as compared to other years,” though not substantially down from the 20 substitutes employed by the Wellsville Schools for 2012-13. Bereschik stated that it, like other changes in the district, is a matter of tightening budgets common to other local districts. “We’re feeling the same crunch that a lot of people are,” he said.

“It just seems so small compared to other years…but we’ll get by,” Dash added.

In other news:

* Tom Brophey said that he had recently met with state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, who expressed his interest in visiting the area and meeting with the board, district employees and parents whenever he is invited to do so.

* The district accepted and thanked Pat Ready for her donation of a baby grand piano to the district for music classes and recitals.