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WACS hiring brought to question at recent meeting

August 18, 2016
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

A woman who was passed over for a teaching position at Westfield Academy and Central School attended the Board of Education's regular Monday Aug 8 to question the district's decision.

Tiffany Travis, told the board that she "recently poured my heart, soul and wisdom into obtaining one of the two Elementary Education Teaching vacancies" at Westfield. She asked board members: "How are the two candidates chosen for the position more highly qualified than me? "How are they a better fit for the children at Westfield?"

Travis reviewed her education and experience as a tenured teacher with more than 10 years experience. She graduated from Wheelock College in Boston and holds professional certification in four areas. She said she has taught all grade levels as well as special education and several specialty areas.

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Photo by David Prenatt
Tiffany Travis addressed the WACS board of education about her recent application to the district.

Travis said she believed she had been chosen for one of the positions after WACS Superintendent David Davison contacted her current employer, Silver Creek Central School. She said he had told her he would only contact them if he was planning on choosing her for the position.

Travis said that she contacted Davison about not being chosen and was only told that the applicants who got the job were "a better fit for Westfield."

Travis' remarks came as part of the "public comment" section on the agenda. As such, the board does not respond to any remarks during the meeting. Davison said later he could not comment on Travis' remarks since they involved personnel.

In other business, Davison updated the board on the capital facilities project. While much of the work interior work seems unfinished, it is actually very near to completion, he said. Work on asbestos abatement in the elementary wing is still underway, he said.

"Every day there are challenges," Davison said. "It's a domino effect. A lot of things depend on the abatement." Once the asbestos removal is complete, however, the rest of the work will fall quickly into place, he said.

WACS director of Facilities Lou Golando told board members that 95% to 98% of the exterior lighting is up and running and most of the interior lighting is completed.

He added that rooms will soon be put back together to be ready for the opening of school.

School business official Anthony Montoro raised the matter of the school's Food Service Manager, Patty Benton's departure. He noted her expertise in both management and food service. "We will be looking at other options, such as shared services, when she leaves," he said.

Davison told board members that single building school districts are now required to submit a district plan and a building level plan for school safety. He said the district intends to file an appeal so that only one school safety plan will be required from WACS.

Davison also said that there will be several capital project change orders presented at the next board meeting. "We will be taking back some credits for some work that is not being done," he said. He noted that tile abatement was not necessary in some of the rooms.

Davison said there was a need for some extra tasks, which require change orders, such as excavation of soil before new pavement can be put down; suspended ceilings in some stairwells; and a supply line for the bottle filling station for sports teams.

Davison also informed board members that there is a meeting scheduled at the Alternative Education Center on Wednesday, August 10, regarding shared transportation services among districts. He said this will include a discussion of transportation to the LoGuidice Center.

Board members approved the Code of Conduct/Elementary Handbook. Superintendent David Davison said that most changes have been made to clarify a few issues. Secondary school principal Ivana Hite added that the definition of hazing has been added to the handbook.

Secondary Principal Hite spoke about the district's use of Apex Learning over the summer. She said the program is designed for students who did not pass a required course or have moved into the district. She said Apex Learning, which allows a student to retake a course, helps keep kids on track for graduation. "So far, it's going very well," said Hite. "Apex will be used throughout the school year, as well, for credit recovery," Hite added.

Alternative Education instructor Robert Dyment will be in charge of Apex Learning during the year. He told board members that he thinks the program is valuable for students. "We'll probably add a few things during the school year," said Dyment.



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