The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

December 20, 2012

Schools expanding shared services

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — The Medina and Lyndonville school districts will continue and expand a partnership that has allowed students to participate in athletic and performing arts program that would not otherwise be available at their schools.

Following the lead of their colleagues in Lyndonville, Medina’s Board of Education unanimously approved tacking two years unto the schools’ original agreement, which has allowed Medina students to participate in Lyndonville’s drama program.

The partnership will grow next year, with additional combined teams for both boys and girls’ cross country; which joins football and boy’s soccer as shared sports. Lyndonville students will continue to be able to participate in the Mustang Marching Band.

Discussions between administrators, principals and athletic directors from both schools will continue to meet regularly, Medina Superintendent Jeff Evoy said, with other additions to the inter-scholastic sharing potentially being added before the next school year.

The most promising possibility is that the schools could soon be able to offer more courses to students, like AP science classes. Evoy said that the schools will need to make changes to class scheduling before that level of cooperation could be enacted.

The potential benefits of sharing services with neighboring districts weighed heavily on the board Tuesday, as a proposal to bring back an information services/audio-visual services director position was tabled after board members questioned whether that too could be shared with other districts.

School Business Administrator Sharon Zacher has requested the district move to add an in-district position, which she said would give the district a reliable technical presence in coming years as Medina continues to make technological improvements and computer-based standardized testing becomes the norm. The costs of a hire would be slightly higher due to costs of the position being less reimbursable from the state.

Medina currently contracts with Orleans/Niagara BOCES for it’s informational technology services. Zacher said those shared specialists were a major force in updating the district’s technology over the summer, but their time is also needed at O/N BOCES’ nine other schools.

“We need a good, reliable person on-staff,” Board Vice-President Chris Keller, the board’s resident tech guru, said. “(When the computer-based testing happens) everyone is going to need this person at the same time.”

A majority opinion voiced Tuesday was that an alternate to bringing on a Medina-only official should be considered. One suggestion was sharing the position with Lyndonville or Royalton-Hartland.

“I’m still worried about where the money would come from,” Board member John McCarthy said. “I would like to see if we can share this first. We do need it.”

Board President Carol Heiligenthaler said the board will be presented with a “full menu” of options next month.

• The school board gave Zacher the go-ahead to pursue establishing a bus purchase reserve fund, which she said would save the district from borrowing the purchase cost of new buses.

The creation of the new fund would need to be approved by voters before a proposition to fund it could be voted on. According to Zacher, the new fund could be initially filled using existing reserve funds.

• A moment of silence was held Tuesday for the students and school staff that perished in a mass-shooting Friday in Connecticut. Evoy said that the district has reviewed its emergency management and security plans in the wake of the tragedy.

Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.