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Ripley fitness room gets upgrade

RIPLEY — “The fitness room is up and running,” Ripley Central School board of education members learned from Superintendent William Caldwell at their recent school board meeting.

The RCS fitness room, which is supervised by town volunteers and gives town residents the opportunity to work out free of charge, had equipment “which was beyond repair,” Caldwell said.

Last May, Caldwell told the board that the district’s budget included money for new fitness center equipment. He said the cost of the new equipment was reflected in the increase of $35,000 in the area of community service.

Caldwell noted that grants cover much of the new fitness equipment, which includes new bikes and treadmills. “The bikes are pretty awesome, the handle bars turn and the incline changes,” he said. “The treadmills are a little bigger and fancier.”

Caldwell invited members of the board to view the fitness room and look over the new bikes and treadmills after the meeting. “The community will be happy to have all the equipment working again,” he said.

In other business, board president Paul McCutcheon told board members that Caldwell and Chautauqua Lake Central School Superintendent Benjamin Spitzer offered a presentation on “Tuition of Students between Chautauqua Lake and Ripley Central: A Collaboration” at the Chautauqua School Boards’ Association meeting on December 16.

McCutcheon said that board members Shaun Waters and Robert Bentley were present at the event. “The meeting/presentation was very well attended,” Caldwell said. “There were seven tables and most of them were full,” Waters added.

Caldwell told the board that Spitzer presided over the presentation because he was involved in it from the beginning. “The goal of the presentation was to tell districts what worked, what some of the pitfalls are, what exactly we are doing, why we did it and why we are still doing it,” Caldwell said.

While residents of Chautauqua County often know what is happening throughout the county, not all districts are aware of the collaboration between Ripley and Chautauqua Lake, McCutcheon said. “I think it’s great exposure for a lot of the small districts that we have here,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t an easy transition, but in the end, it has gone very well.”

In a related matter, Caldwell reminded board members that the initial agreement with Chautauqua Lake was a 5-year agreement, which the districts renew for one year at a time. “I learned that if we did a longer agreement, it would require the public to vote on it,” he said.

In other business, Principal Micah Oldham told the board that student-led conferences were held on December 5 and 6, and he found the students to be very confident about the meetings. “The kids said it was no big deal, they’ve been doing it for some time,” he said.

Oldham also reported that Jean Hurst from EL Education was at RCS on December 16 and 17. “Every single teacher is where they need to be, so we have no worries or stress about pacing, which is a big change from last year,” he said. “She was very impressed with our progress.”

Oldham told board members that the school choir performed “all over the place.” They presented at the Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club meeting, the district’s senior citizen breakfast and the senior citizen breakfast at the Baptist church.

In another matter, Caldwell asked Board of Education members to approve a contract for child care in the RCS building with the Westfield YWCA. “They approached us about coming here,” Caldwell said. “They would be here from 7 in the morning until 6 in the evening.”

Caldwell told the board that they would be offering an income-based program. He also noted that the YWCA does not provide care when school is not in session. He said the program has existed in Westfield for about 20 years and has been well received. The board subsequently approved the contract.

Board members also accepted the external audit report, and approved a resolution establishing a standard work day for hourly employees and a standard work day for appointed officials. They also approved the appointment of Daniel Kondrick as a teaching assistant.

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