Indian Lake Central School
The possible cuts of teacher assistant positions was discussed at the April 17 Indian Lake Central School Board of Education meeting.
Jane Hinckley addressed the Board regarding the open consideration of the termination of teacher assistants. She made the points that teacher assistants are the most flexible members of the faculty, are professionally certified, are able to help across areas of study and often work with the most challenging of students.
“Given the present day rigors,” Hinckley said, “there is actually an increase in demand for them.”
The point was made that their absence will result in lower test scores.
School Board President Jon Voorhees responded by making the point that such considerations are not undertaken lightly and that the value of these professionals is absolutely recognized. Voorhees went on to highlight that next year’s enrollment will be 140 students, revenues will be flat and expenditures will be on the rise.
“We have made no decision yet,” said Voorhees, “but given these realities, the issue remains on the table. We are faced with many unpleasant decisions with the way budgets are based. We need to adapt to the times or face having our existence as a district threatened.”
Board Vice President David Harrington made the point that these realities make it necessary to look at staffing and scheduling for all positions and not just focus on teacher assistants.
Hinckley closed her appeal to the Board by saying that the objective is to hopefully make the decision process “more of a conversation than a directive.”
Black Fly Challenge
During the meeting, Indian Lake Activities Coordinator Vonnie Liddle and organizers of the Black Fly Challenge asked the School Board if they could use the school grounds and facilities for the finish of this year’s race on June 9. The finish line of the race is to be at the Indian Lake Central School. The use of the school lawn, parking lot, gym (in the case of inclement weather) lockers and showers was discussed in detail. These uses were afforded in the past, as the race switches start and finish each year between Indian Lake and Inlet.
The point was made that the race was good for the towns of Indian Lake and Inlet, attracting competitors and fans who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s, with disposable income and fostering future visits to camp, snowmobile, kayak and hike.
In the consideration of the approval, the Board focused on two issues.
First and foremost, the school and is a “no tolerance zone” for alcohol and drugs. This prohibits the possession and consumption of beer anywhere within the school or on its grounds. The race representatives assured the Board that arrangements had been made with the adjacent Catholic Church to have a double fenced area to which the sale and consumption of beer will be confined, thus keeping beer off the grounds of the school. Emphasis was also placed on the fact that there will be no outward promotion of the availability of beer or would there be any beer sponsor for the race.
Secondly, the issue of using lockers, showers and gym were addressed, centering on the possibility of injury to competitors due to biking footwear on the school floors and damage to the floors from same. The board was assured by the custodial staff of the school and race officials that there was no history of such injury or damage during past use for the Black Fly Challenge.
The Board approved the use of the school and grounds for the 2012 race with the caveat that the event needed to be supervised closely and the understanding that any problems with alcohol on the grounds, injury to competitors or damage to school property would put approval for use in future years in serious jeopardy.
Students Alyssa Cuthbert and Richard Carrow directed the board’s attention to the upcoming Envirothon in which the school will have two teams of five students each competing at the county level.
The emphasis of their presentation, however, was that if one of the teams wins the one-day county competition, members should be allowed to compete at the two-day state level competition. Both competitions take place on school days and thus represent lost class time for the participating juniors and seniors on the team.
A pending decision is to allow the participation at the county level, but even if one of the teams wins the county competition, they would not be allowed to participate at the state level due to loss of two days class time a during a critical regents preparation period.
Voorhees voiced his discomfort with the concept of not letting a winning team at the county level go on to compete for the state honors and what such a decision does to the team members who are working hard at winning the county level while knowing that they have no chance of moving on in the competition.
Board members decided to reconvene on the decision at a later date.
Among other business, the Board was given an overview of the Senior Trip to Washington D.C. and Baltimore, took up the issue of tuition and host stipends for the foreign student program, viewed a video of the preparation of sleds by student teams for the cardboard sled races on the town ski hill during Winterfest, and were presented with a future opportunity by Bill Murphy to participate in programming targeted toward helping “students at risk” using additional state funding.