DUNKIRK: District needs new attitude

What led to the swift decision to sever ties with Dunkirk schools Superintendent Dr. James Tracy on Thursday evening? Was the Board of Education upset about the decision to not close school on a January day that every other county district was not open? Did the board not approve of the lack of compassion by the administration after a 15-year-old student was fatally stabbed in May?

It could have been any number of reasons, but there is no question about one thing: Dunkirk schools need a new attitude and someone who can provide that for the future. The current state of the district is one that appears to lack direction.

This is not be the first time the school has been in turmoil. Before Gary Cerne took the superintendent position in 2007 — and led a robust era of building projects, including the turf field — something always seemed to be wrong in the past, whether it be public discontent over teacher contracts or regularly defeated budgets by voters.

Dunkirk, like many small-city schools across upstate, consistently faces challenges. It has a diverse student population with many of its attendees living below the poverty level. That impacts a learning environment.

Even with those obstacles, there’s still lots of success behind those school doors. It needs to be trumpeted — and in the face of the community. That job has to be made a priority by a new administration and leader.

It may sound easy enough, but it is a handful.