WESTFIELD - Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education members intend to be prepared once bidders for a merger study begin to submit their proposals.
School board members resolved Monday, July 9 during their regular board meeting time to create a board committee to review the requests for proposals of potential bidders, communicate the information to the rest of the board and, by majority, approve a bidder.
Addressing those chosen to serve on the committee - Roger Jopek, Jeff Greabell and Ed LeBarron, Jr. - fellow school board member Marie Edwards asked, "As board members, can we come up with questions so that you know what we have in mind? It may give you some idea of what we're looking for."
Photo by Ann Belcher
Westfield Academy and Central School Superintendent David Davison, left, is sworn in by newly elected Board of Education President Jeff Greabell during the reorganizational meeting on Monday, July 9.
District Business Manager Al Holbrook added to that, explaining during the previous merger attempt, BOCES held control of the request for proposal process and a merger committee was non-existent.
"BOCES ran the RFP process and came up with the candidates," Holbrook said. "Then the board president, superintendent and business officials met with them to do the interviews, and BOCES basically controlled the process."
"I think we need to be fully armed with what we want to know, and we don't want to just walk in cold," Greabell, who was sworn in Monday as the school board's new president, said. "That whole scenario, when you're not told anything, just sets things off on the wrong foot. We need to be prepared and do a good job of communicating, so that no one thinks that any part of this process is being swept under the rug."
Board members were asked to prepare two questions and submit them to Superintendent David Davison. The RFP's were due to Davison's office by Monday, July 16. Davison added while the timetable is still flexible, it's hoped a contract will be awarded to the successful bidder in mid August.
"My questions for a potential bidder would be based on their pros and cons from their previous consolidations processes, and what they have learned from any failures along the way," he added.
There are at least 10 potential firms that could be submitting bids.
"There are some ongoing consolidation processes across New York State right now," Davison said. "It may just depend on who's (what firms) involved in those, or who's looking for a contract. Some maybe full and already tied into consolidation processes."
In other matters, Steve Cockram was re-elected to serve as board vice president on Monday. Both he and Greabell were given their oaths by Holbrook, as was Davison for his official swearing in as school superintendent.
Elected board members also sworn in Monday were: Brenda Backus; Marie Edwards; Jeff Greabell; Roger Jopek; and Ed LeBarron, Jr.
Appointments were made, as follows: Mary Beth Pagano to District Treasurer; Alan Holbrook to District Clerk; Tina Winslow as the recorder of board meeting minutes; Donna Sanderson to School Tax Collector; Timothy Smith to Deputy Tax Collector; Donald F. Brautigam, M.D. as school physician; Jeff Swiatek of Hodgson Russ, LLP as school attorney; Michael Corey, CPA as school district auditor for 2012-13; Mary Beth Pagano to Central Treasurer; Ivana Hite as Comptroller for the Extra Classroom Fund for 2012/13; Amy Brinkley as Sexual Harassment Complaint Officer; Alan Holbrook as Records Management Officer; and Randy Graham as Insurance Advisor for 2012-13.
During their reorganization meeting, board members also resolved to select the Westfield branch of HSBC Bank, soon to be operating as Community Bank, the Westfield office of Key Bank and J.P. Morgan of Buffalo to be designated depositories of the school. The board also resolved that tax collections are to be done at the Westfield Town Office from Sept. 10 through Oct. 12.
The school's concussion policy was also adopted, as were a two-year agreement with the instructional support staff for 2012-2014 and a five-year contract with Jamestown Community College's Connections Program Aug. 1 to July 31, 2017.
High School Principal Ivana Hite reported a successful commencement to round out the school year with Westfield's 175th graduation of 71 students this year. Over $40,000 were given out in awards to Westfield students at the school's honor night, added Hite.
"Our students are just so blessed by the generous support of organizations in this community, and every year, more people come in wanting to give," she said.
Hite reported this year's graduating class included 29 students obtaining Regent's diplomas, 20 with Advanced Regent's, and 15 with Advanced Regent's with Honors. Sixty-one members of the senior class will be pursuing higher education, two will enter the armed services and eight will be entering the workforce.
The board will meet again for a regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 13 at 7 p.m.