BROCTON - The Save Our School representatives returned to the Brocton School Board Thursday, this time with an olive branch in hand.
Spokesman Doug Walter said SOS members worked together to seek answers, ask questions and raise awareness about the major issues regarding the proposed merger between Brocton and Fredonia Central Schools.
"Now that the (Brocton) community has spoken loudly about the merger, (it was soundly defeated by the Brocton voters) we have refocused our energies and reorganized our group," Walter said. Our new group has shifted its vision and its name, we are now known as Support Our Students and School."
He went on to say the new organization has one mission - to work with the school and community to create a plan with solutions that will help the district thrive.
Walter said the organization realizes the school and the board of education must look at ways to stretch funds to meet the needs of the district.
He said the fact that the school board and the administration have failed to implement a long-term financial plan and vision for Brocton has hindered its growth.
This inaction, Walter said, has caught up the taxpayers in a volatile situation.
"We want what is best for our school and in a gesture of cooperation and in the hope the board of education and administration is willing to make decisions that will quickly get Brocton back on track, our group presented them with a long list of cost saving ideas," he said.
This was done at the last board meeting.
The board and the administration was asked to look at these suggestions/recommendations and respond to them.
"We are eager to hear these responses," Walter said.
They got several Thursday night.
Regarding the suggestion that Brocton share services with other school districts, Superintendent Jack Skahill displayed a list of these services Brocton is already involved in with other schools.
"We have been involved with Chautauqua Lake, Ripley, Westfield and Sherman School Districts in a number of shared services area," he said.
The fact that the district's director of special education Sandra Olson also held the title of assistant principal position held also was questioned by the SOSS group.
Skahill explained that the majority of Ms. Olson's work is with special education and she serves as principal only when he and high school principal Steven Keefe are out of the building.
"She receives no extra pay for her principal's duties," he said.
Mike Felsman said the SOSS group was willing to do anything to help the district.
"We know Brocton and other school districts are struggling with budgets this year and I suggest the community get involved in developing solutions," he said.
Skahill said the Brocton School Board will be holding a budget workshop at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25 and that the community was invited to attend.
Wendy Palmer asked if the community representatives have been chosen for the committee that will be involved in the selection of a new superintendent.
Superintendent Skahill is retiring at the end of this school year.
Board president Rodney Geiben said the school board has no involvement with this committee selection.
"You need to call BOCES Superintendent Robert Guiffreda with questions about this," he said.