WEST VALLEY — A West Valley school board meeting was held on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m., during which the proposed capital project was discussed.
Board Member Michael Frascella noted that, “Any topics the board feels [are] pertinent for open discussion can be directed during the board correspondence session. We will try to have at least one topic for each board correspondence, and I expect this to be a genuine conversation, where everyone shall be entitled to their opinions.”
Jerry Young, of Young and Wright Architectural firm, discussed the review of capital improvement plans that were announced in the special meeting, held on Dec. 30.
Young focused on items that were deemed “unsatisfactory.
“By the state’s definition, unsatisfactory means something that is beyond its usable life,” said Young. He also focused on “life safety.
“This term could be considered a leaking roof or structural deficiencies, as defined by New York state,” he explained.
Young said that he believed that rescue windows are an item that should be defined as life safety, and felt as though this area should be addressed, because of inoperable movement.
He added, “Exit signage in the bus garage could be upgraded. There is current signage, but it’s not the proper code. Stage rigging has also been a concern, throughout other school districts; this is an area that is commonly overlooked or untested.
“Construction costs are current-year costs, based on units and square footage,” he explained.
“Budget costs are inclusive of escalation; if a referendum is passed, any building projects are initiated, two years out. Costs in the Buffalo area have increased, in the last two years, more that it had in the previous three years. Incidental costs are defined as architectural and engineering fees, clerk of works salary, legal services, general administrative costs, insurance, furniture and equipment. New York state has substantially cut back aided costs for furniture and equipment.”
Board Member Dennis McCauley asked whether or not items of life safety should be addressed, when an insurance provider does his or her annual survey. Young confirmed that, but added, “There is no strong definition provided for ‘life safety,’ and the subject is open to interpretation.”
Bill Sloand, of the building and grounds department added, “Some of the repair items are over the top, when considering what the school can afford.”
“Asbestos is considered after we consider a project,” added Young.
Sloand said, “The buildings are 95 percent free of asbestos.”
Major areas of concern are tile floors, or areas underneath carpets, where tile floor exists.
“We will adjust the project’s costs based on the board’s priorities; asbestos costs will be adjusted, based on the project scope,” said Young.
Engineers also brought up emergency lighting in classrooms for deaf students. Young told the board that the school does not currently have such a feature; however, West Valley was in compliance when the code was initiated.
Superintendent Eric Lawton addressed the condition of the school’s bleachers.
Athletic Director April Preston replied, “There have been issues of people falling, in the winter time; they’re not in the best shape. They’re not very stable, when walking on them.”
Preston suggested a hand railing in the center, rather than a side railing.
Lawton addressed the condition of the athletic track and the proposition for the track to be resurfaced.
“It needs to be done,” she said. “Resurfacing is supposed to be done every 10 years, but we’re nearly at 13 years, right now. I believe the cost will be higher, if we wait to resurface.”
Principal Dan Amodeo said, “We are participating in Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. There are roughly 23 states which are part of the PARCC consortium. The testing window is from March 24th-April 11th.”
Business Official Ann O’Brien announced that the first draft of the budget will be released on Jan. 27.
Michael Ball was appointed to the position of District Treasurer, effective Dec. 31, 2013. The annual salary is $44,900 and benefits are in accordance with the working agreement and employment conditions for the confidential staff. Fingerprint clearance was completed and filed.
The minimum wage was approved to be the hourly rate of pay for substitute monitors, substitute teacher aides and substitute clerical staff.
Other hourly rates were stated as follows: A minimum wage plus $.25 for substitute cleaners; $20 for substitute nurses, $19.06 for substitute bus driver drive time and $13.32 for substitute bus driver down time. The per diem rate for non-certified teacher assistants is $60 and the per diem rate for certified teacher assistants is $75.
The College Connection Agreement was amended with Jamestown Community College. JCC will be proposing online course offerings with New York state partners in the College Connection Program on a pilot basis, in the spring of 2014; if West Valley Central School participates, the amendment would be necessary.
The next regular board meeting will be held Jan. 27 at 7p.m. at the school’s library conference room and media center.