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 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."
District Business Manager Al Holbrook added to that, explaining that 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. Then the board president, superintendent and business officials met with them to do the interviews, and BOCES basically controlled the process," stated Holbrook.
Greabell, who was sworn in at the last school board meeting as the board's new president, added, "I think we need to be fully armed with what we want to know, and we don't want to just walk in cold.
"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 are due to Davison's office by today, July 16. Davison added while the timetable is still flexible, it's hoped that 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, it may just depend on who's (what firms) involved in those, or who's looking for a contract. Some may be full and already tied into consolidation processes," concluded Davison.