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West Valley Central School Board stays away from budget reserves

¿CÓMO ESTÁS? — West Valley Spanish teacher (Spanish countries and cultures) Kim Lewis, left, and senior student Aamina Haykal present their research of Venezuelan traditions. Photo by Justin Graham.
WEST VALLEY — West Valley Central School Business Official Anne O’Brien reported, during the April 15 WVCS Board meeting, that the school has received the New York state comptroller’s audit.

“Risk assessment will be made for the gathering of additional information,” O’Brien said. Additional areas of testing will be held in June, for an internal audit, to assess any areas of the budget which were not tested, in the past, according to the business official. Conclusions of the findings will be drawn, after the audit committee meeting.

O’Brien announced that the 2013-14 tax levy will be $3,253,939. The interfund transfer of debt services for 2013-14 was listed at $65,000 and the total state aid is approximately $4,456,000.

O’Brien said that the largest area of increase came from the gap elimination adjustment. The school’s budget will also be reduced, for future projections of retirements, but Board Member Michael Frascella said, “Retirements should be scheduled, in a certain time frame, so we don’t have speculations.”

The 2013-14 tax levy increase remained at 2 percent, and the budget increase was announced to be 2.09 percent, or $180,143. O’Brien noted, “We are always looking for ways to create savings.”

Superintendent Eric Lawton said that the board and district were “fortunate not to use our reserves, at this point.”

In another matter, Spanish teacher Kim Lewis and senior student Aamina Haykal gave a presentation about the Spanish countries and cultures class.

Lewis proposed creating four semester electives, to replace the former Spanish 4 and 5 classes. “We created four separate classes, so that we would continue to offer two credits in Spanish, beyond a Regents level,” she said. This in turn, “gave flexibility to our scheduling,” according to Lewis.

Students would choose three or four countries to study, per semester, and create a blog of their research, while also commenting on other classmates’ blogs.

At the conclusion of their studies, the students would report their findings, to the class.

Haykal presented a slide show, about Venezuelan culture and society. “Joropo is the featured music of the country, as well as gaita and jazz,” the student said. “They watch many of the same movies as Americans. Dress and style is very important, there. They have mandatory school uniforms, for students, and many famous museums, including the Fine Arts Museum.”

In other board matters:
– Lawton said that the fire inspection report, after a March 13 inspection, was reviewed and made available. “We appear in good shape, as all requirements of this report were met,” he added.

– High School Principal Daniel Amodeo said, about recent surveys the school has received, “It may seem more plausible to have five early release days, instead of 10.”

– Regarding parent-teacher conferences, attendee Mary Fleischman said, “The one day in use of conferencing is not adequate enough; two days was more sufficient.”

– Leanne Pfeffer was appointed as a substitute bus driver, provided she meets federal, state and local requirements.

– The resignation notices of teacher Deborah Fenn and instructor Leesa Easton, effective June 30, were received.

– Vincent Venitelli, Meaghen Venitelli and Connie Jo Kazmierczak were appointed chaperones for the band trip to Washington, D.C., April 19 – 21.

– The donation of an acoustic guitar and case, for use in the school’s music program, was accepted.

– The annual dinner meeting of the West Valley Central Alumni Association will be held July 6 from 5 – 9:30 p.m., in the school’s cafeteria and kitchen.

The next West Valley Central School Board of Education meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on April 23.
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