RIPLEY - Ripley Central School board of education agreed Thursday to begin gathering information for a possible building project to fix the school roof.
Superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby asked the board for support to begin looking into the feasibility of such a project. "The ballast room over the west hallway leaks in several places and there is also a leak in the gymnasium," she said.
Ormsby said there could be up to $2.9 million in EXCEL funds that could be used for the project if it qualifies. EXCEL (Expanding our Children's Education and Learning) funds come from a statewide project to improve the educational environment in New York Schools. Projects must fall into one or more of the following criteria - education technology, health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity/school expansion or energy (conservation) construction - to qualify.
Photo by David Prenatt
Ripley Central School math teacher Lisa Stonefoot was recognized by the board of education Thursday for becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. She is one of only three teachers in the district and 1,600 statewide to achieve this status
Ormsby said she received an e-mail from the state department of education noting that these EXCEL funds were available to Ripley, but were not guaranteed to be available permanently. "In other words, if you don't use it, you may lose it," she said.
Ormsby said the recent thaw and melting of snow illustrated how much the roof is need of repair. During a recent wrestling tournament, there were six garbage cans in the hallway catching the drips and maintenance had to continually mop the floor around them, she said.
Board member Michael Boll agreed that situation was serious. "I was here for that tournament and it was bad. There were 13 school districts here. It was embarrassing," he said.
Part of the project would also be to replace a boiler that dates back to 1968, Ormsby said.
Board president Robert Bentley noted that the project is only at the information gathering stage. "We are telling the public that we are looking at this and don't know where it will lead," he said.
In other business, board members learned that the district has been allocated $242,000 in state aid, but will probably not receive nearly that much. District business manager Louann Bahgat told the board that due to bond refunding, the district would probably receive as much as $72,000 less than that amount.
Board member who attended the Chautauqua County School Board meeting on January 16 had also learned this news from speaker David Little, who serves as a lobbyist in Albany for the school districts in the county. Little told those attending that the funding would not be less than last year, but would "not be as good as it sounds," Bentley reported.
The board recognized Ripley Math teacher Lisa Stonefoot, who has officially achieved the status of a National Board Certified Teacher. She is one of three teachers in Ripley and only 1,600 in the state to achieve this level.
Stonefoot credited the support and guidance she received from Ormsby in achieving the certification. "I think until you're in the midst of it, you don't realize how much work it will be," she said. "Dr. Ormsby has been my number one cheerleader. I could not have done it without her encouragement," she said.
The process was one of great reflection, Stonefoot said. "It really makes you look critically at what you are teaching; why you are teaching; how you are teaching; and how you are affecting your students."
In an ongoing educational experience, Ormsby delivered a short presentation about Common Core standards to the board. The standards are consistent "benchmarks for learning," she said. Until now, each state has set its own standards which created a lot of disparity between requirements for graduation. The Common Core program aims to create "anchor standards" that each child must know to graduate, she said.
The standards should not be confused with common core modules, Ormsby said. The modules are curriculum that the state develops to teach the standards.
Each grade level is responsible for how it teaches the standards, Ormsby said. "Teachers need to know what students need to know before they leave their grade in order to succeed," she said.
In another matter, Bentley noted that construction is set of begin Monday upon the renovation needed to allow the town of Ripley to move its offices to the school building.
The board will meet again on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the school library.