Middle School’s future to be studied

Gwen Chamberlain
Penn Yan Middle School

What does the future hold in store for the Penn Yan Middle School?

That will be the subject of a feasibility study by school district officials, and one of the first questions they will attempt to answer is if it makes sense to keep sixth grade students in the Penn Yan Elementary School building beginning in the 2012-13 school year.

The Penn Yan School Board of Education authorized Interim Superintendent Tom Cox and other district administrators to explore the issue further.

The board also authorized the administrative team to look into the feasibility of the seventh and eighth grades moving to the academy building.

“I think this might be an opportune time to use the expertise of the business people of the Penn Yan community,” said Cox.

He said there have been suggestions to involve business people from the community in examining alternatives for the middle school building.

He said the study may lead to selling the building or finding a way to use the space as a way to generate revenue.

Cox said a feasibility would respond to both the needs of the community and to enrollment trends. “For the next five to 10 years, it doesn’t look like there will be an influx of students,” he said.

Other business at the Feb. 16 board meeting included:

• FORUM: Cox and Assistant Superintendent for Business Doug Tomandl both said they were pleased with the turnout and the spirit of communication at the Feb. 15 public forum about the budget process. Another forum will be held at 3:30 p.m. March 2. Tomandl said he thought the forum went well and the public was very helpful. For additional information about the budget, see the related story on Page A1.

• DRIVER EDUCATION: The board authorized Cox to look into charging tuition for students to participate in driver education.

• K-9 DRILL: Cox reported that a drill for K-9 law enforcement units was held in the middle school and academy earlier in the day. The school buildings were locked down for 25 minutes while the dogs conducted an external search of student lockers. The dogs did not “alert” on any of the lockers he reported, and added that another drill will likely be held before the end of the school year. “It sends a clear message to the school staff and community that we are being diligent,” he said.

• TENURE: The board unanimously approved tenure for Timothy Scutt as teaching assistant effective May 13; Brian Cobb in English effective Sept. 1; Bobbie Dardano in English, effective Sept. 1; Jessica Furber in art, effective Sept. 1; Jill MacKerchar in physical education, effective Sept. 1; Rebecca Morse in elementary, effective Sept. 1; Amanda O’Neil in special education, effective Sept. 1; Ashley Tapscott in English, effective Sept. 1; Samantha Warren in elementary, effective Sept. 1; and Patty Queener in teaching assistant, effective Oct. 2.

• RECOGNITION: The board recognized agriculture teacher John Kriese for being named Educator of the Year by the New York Beef Producers Association.