SHERMAN - The Sherman Central School Board of Education unanimously approved promoting district principal, Kaine Kelly, to the position of district superintendent effective Aug. 4, at its Thursday, Feb. 9 meeting.
Kelly was selected after a one-hour executive session to replace Thomas Schmidt who officially announced his retirement at the board's January meeting.
"Sherman is an amazing school. To have the opportunity to promote the district and continue to lead it is exciting," Kelly said. "I really think it is one of the hidden gems in New York when you consider what this district achieves with the poverty level of the area. The families here really support their kids' education."
Sherman Central School Principal Kaine Kelly was recently approved by the Board of Education as the superintendent for SCS effective Aug. 4.
Kelly noted he has worked closely with Superintendent Schmidt through the years.
"With us as the only two administrators in the district, I have been lucky enough to have worked closely with Mr. Schmidt on everything in the past six years," he said. "Tom and I have had a common vision that I will continue to build upon,"
Schmidt was also pleased with the appointment.
"It's a great transition to have Mr. Kelly take over," he said. "It gives us time to find an excellent kindergarten through twelfth grade principal to replace him."
Kelly also said he feels confident about working with the Sherman school board. The board recognizes that these are "trying economic times" and has always espoused a strategy of "doing more with less,"
"The really nice thing is that I'll be working with a progressive school board that, while it recognizes the economic situation and watches the finances, is student oriented and puts the needs of the kids first," Kelly said. "We have similar values and view that we can continue to pursue together."
Superintendent Schmidt also indicated the board was well pleased with its choice, trusting Kelly would continue to lead the district in the "positive direction" it has been going.
"They know Mr. Kelly and how he works," he said. "They have a known commodity and they feel good with him."
The Sherman Central School District is in phase one of a three-part building project that will continue through the summer. Kelly noted he and Schmidt have worked together on this project so he is confident it will reach completion even during the transitional period.
"Knowing Tom was going to leave (Schmidt's resignation had been discussed for several months), I made sure I was even more involved with the project than usual," Kelly said.
In a related matter, the board accepted Schmidt's recommendation to reject the bids the district has received for phase two of the project. In this phase, work on the corridors would have begun over spring break and continued during second-shift hours for the duration of the school year.
Schmidt said the bids came in higher than had been budgeted for the work. When contacted, several of the bidders said the time frame of the project being so close and the extra cost of second shift work made it impossible to bid lower.
Instead the board decided to merge phase two with phase three, which will take place during the summer and allow potential bidders to offer a better price. Several of the bidders are large enough to complete both phases before school resumes in September, Schmidt said.
In another personnel matter, the district hired Chelsea Winchester for a two-year probational period as the new guidance counselor, effective March 5. Schmidt noted the selection came from a "strong field" of 25 applicants. Winchester currently works at the Erie 2 BOCES Ashville Center.
The board also approved several budgetary expense projections for the coming year. In the area of teaching, district treasurer Kimberly Oehlbeck reported the cost of textbooks would increase $8,000, but the district would receive state aid for this. Special Education services are expected to rise more than $15,000, primarily because the district has enrolled two students who will be sent to Clymer Central School District for special services.
"We don't have classes here that fit these students' needs," Schmidt said, noting that Sherman also provides special needs classes for students from other districts. "Panama (Central School District) sends students to us because we have classes that fit their bill."
Also, Board Of Cooperative Educational Services costs in special services were expected to increase $38,000.
Occupational Education services will see a decrease of 3 percent, Oehlbeck reported. Library costs are expected to rise 2 percent, largely because of printing and computer costs, as well as $16,500 that has been allocated for a computer technician from BOCES who will work at the school one day a week.
Guidance costs are expected to decrease because one of the districts two guidance counselors is new. Health services are expected to increase because of state mandates.
"These mandates kill us," Schmidt said. "Think of how many times we say, 'This is set by law and it's unfunded.'"
Health insurance will see a 2.6 percent increase. However, Schmidt noted this is extremely low because the district belongs to a particularly strong insurance group.
"I expected to hear about 9 percent," he said. "Two percent was a great relief."
In other matters, the board passed a resolution to purchase two International school buses from Leonard Bus Sales. One is a regular 65-passenger bus. Another can seat 65 passengers, but has the capability to have seats taken out to serve as a wheelchair bus.
The board also unanimously cast its vote for member Gary DeLellis to serve on the state BOCES board.
The meeting date for April has been changed to coincide with the component date for the final BOCES election. The board will meet at 5:30 p.m., on Tuesday, April 17.
The Sherman Central School Board of Education normally meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m., in Room 118 of Sherman Central School and will next meet on March 14.