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Gowanda plans to reduce board meeting schedule

Photo via Screenshot The Gowanda Board of Education will meet less regularly than usual next year, as its regular meeting schedule will reduce to one meeting per month, with additional meetings set on an as-needed basis.

GOWANDA — The Gowanda Board of Education will meet less regularly than usual next year.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Anderson proposed a lighter schedule for the Board for next year, with one regular meeting each month, along with select dates for a second meeting when necessary. The District will also have the ability to call a special meeting, if needed.

Anderson brought the idea forward after observing several other school districts in western New York reducing their regular meetings from twice a month to once. The Southwestern Central School District, of similar size to Gowanda, recently made the move to one regular monthly meeting.

Board of Education President Max Graham called the proposal “something to definitely take a shot at.” He stated the Board could always readjust if issues arise, but that the Board’s purpose is to provide “general oversight” of the District.

Board of Education member Mark Nephew expressed hesitancy, fearing that a change would lead to “less opportunity for dialogue” between members of the Board and District administration. Nephew also expressed a fear of losing touch with all levels of the District with less frequent meetings.

Board of Education Vice President Dollene Christopher, an outgoing member of the Board, stated she does not believe Nephew’s concerns “can’t be remedied” by the Board. “I think it really comes down to training, to keep notes and keep track of what you would like to discuss,” Christopher said.

District Clerk Kathy Ferneza also urged the Board to attempt a condensed schedule. She stated a belief that more candidates would be interested in serving on the Board if the obligations for meeting dates were condensed.

The Board will move forward with a lighter schedule for next school year.

At its most recent meeting, the District accepted the resignation for the purpose of retirement from Carol Weinheimer, Teaching Assistant. Weinheimer also expressed a desire to serve as a substitute or volunteer with the District following her retirement, and thanked the District and the Board of Education for her time shared with colleagues and students.

The District also accepted the resignation of Cleaner Shelley Erwin, Substitute Cleaner/Custodian Robert Robinson, and Substitute Teacher/Teaching Assistant Lilith Barone. Michelle Stearns was terminated from the role of Food Service Helper. Noah Geiger was appointed as a seasonal Grounds Helper for the summer, effective May 23 through Aug. 23.

The Board also approved an agreement between the District and Title VI Indian Education Program Staff, beginning July 1, through June 30, 2028. The Board also approved the appointment of Seneca Nation of Indians Johnson O’Malley contracted staff member Felicia Gage as a Teaching Assistant.

The District also approved the transfer of $100,000 from its General Fund to its Capital Fund to cover the District’s 2023-24 Capital Outlay Project. The District is still on schedule for its emergency repair of the pool to conclude in time for next school year. Minor improvements to the District’s track surface are also set to begin in early June, and a new sign at Hillis Field is also anticipated to be installed by graduation this June.

Donations were also approved to benefit the Gowanda Girls Lacrosse Team in the total amount of $4,016, with $3,516 coming from a fundraiser. The District also accepted a $2,000 donation from the Gowanda Free Methodist Church to benefit the Class of 2029. Christopher offered thanks for all of the donations upon approval by the Board. Anderson later added, “I want to thank everybody in the community for their continued support, as evidenced by the numerous donations and gestures.”

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