Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
On the good side, it looks as though Paul will finally get seated in Dryden.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
PAUL: How’s it going in Ithaca?
ITHACA SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: Fine! We just got another $150K from Lifton. Didn’t ask for it, don’t need it, but hey! We’ll find a way to spend it.
PAUL: Really? When my wife asked for $30K for Dryden Pre-K a while ago, she was told there were no earmarks available. She had to go begging Seward, who finally came through with the money.
ISBM: What can I tell you? We didn’t even have to ask. $150K! I guess for you guys in Newfield, that would be—three teaching positions! (Laughs.)
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
There are 37 BOCES in New York State. All but 9 of the state's 721 districts belong to one. Our little TST-BOCES is among the smallest, serving 9 districts in all—Candor, Dryden, George Junior Republic, Groton, Ithaca, Lansing, Newfield, South Seneca,and Trumansburg. Most of those districts cross-contract services with OCM BOCES or GST BOCES, because those larger BOCES provide services that TST cannot, much as a larger school district provides courses and opportunities that a small district cannot.
TST serves over 900 students and 500 adult students and employs around 400 staff. It has been around since 1949, when its services comprised a shared dental hygienist and a teacher of driver's ed. It would certainly be a hardship if the Smith School (exceptional ed) or Career & Tech were to close, but any merger would be likely to maintain the Ithaca campus, because sending students to a different BOCES would mean bus rides of an hour or more. GST, which serves 21 school districts, has campuses in Painted Post and Elmira. OCM has satellites in Cortland and Liverpool in addition to the main campus in Syracuse.
There have been mergers of BOCES in the past (Onondaga + Cortland-Madison = OCM, serving 24 districts; Saratoga-Warren + Washington-Warren-Hamilton-Essex = WSWHE, serving 31 districts), but as far as I can tell, no more than four in the last 20 years, with GST being the most recent. The process seems to be that the state asks the local superintendents how they feel about a merger. I don't think anyone came to the districts from Albany to check things out. Nobody contacted the board (although I think they would have received a fairly unanimous "don't close us" response). In fact, State Ed has been so decimated in past years that I doubt there was anyone available to do a serious study.
Whatever the process turned out to be, and it is a mystery, the word came down this week: TST is to remain intact. That means that the search for a new District Superintendent can go forward—in itself a challenge, since the state's salary cap on DSs places them at lower salaries than many school superintendents who might apply. Plus OCM is looking for a DS at the same time. More to come, I'm sure....