Ontario Town Board Monday, April 9, 2012
by Monica Deyo
Zoning Map Proposed Changes Public Hearing held
A Public Hearing to consider proposed changes to the official Town of Ontario Zoning map was held on Monday. Mr. Ruffell explained there are two parcels currently zoned in the Adult Entertainment/Industrial (AE/I) District, 6355 and 6349 Lakeside Road. They are used as residences and are proposed to be rezoned to Residential 2 (R2) District, consistent with their actual use. This will make it easier to finance the properties, encourage investment in the properties and help to preserve their continued use as residences. Three parcels fronting on Route 104 are proposed to be rezoned from the Urban Residential (UR) District to the Business (B) District, 964, 976 and 994 Route 104. This change would be consistent with the business use of properties Monday, April 2, 2012
Building Goals Discussed
The regular meeting of the Marion BOE was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Board President Bob Estochen; Penny Shaw was excused from the meeting. Officers of the Elementary School Student Council were on hand to explain the various projects undertaken by the 18 Council members – fun days once a month, decorations within the school, operation of the school store, a 5K run to raise funds for playground improvements, Veterans’ Appreciation Day, etc. President Estochen thanked them for their services, and reminded them to not be afraid to get involved.
A presentation was given on Building Goals for 2011/2012, and it was explained that there needs to be a focus on instruction within the classroom and interventions outsidethe classroom in order to reach the goals. One outcome goal is that student achievement scores on middle level and high school state assessments will show improvement towardsthe goal of a 90% passing rate. Any student that is at risk of failing a course and/or state assessments will receive interventions addressing individual learning needs. Teaching Assistant Amy Bennett discussed approaches to these students and explained the Early Opportunity Program. There were 9 students in the first year; it works by having the students “buy into the program”. Students must believe they can succeed, and they are given organizational skills in small groups – no more than 5 in each to keep it personal. In the 2009-10 year, there were 11 students participating; in 2010-11, 19 students, and in 2011-12, 13 students. The EOP results are as follows for the years 2008 – 2012: Still successfully in program and/or school – 51.35%, Set to graduate this year – 18.92%, Transferred – 35.14%, Dropped out – 10.81% , GED – 2.70%.
Science teacher Kyle Kellerhouse explained the benchmarks for the program, which give a good idea of how students are progressing towards reaching their potential. Old state tests are given every 10 weeks to augment the instruction. As a result, the teachers are using the data to impact the success of the goals. Some of the barriers are: the work is too hard, there is a lack of motivation, attention issues, homework and project completion outside of school, social and/or family issues, and apathy towards school. Mr. Kellerhouse pointed out that he has a record of every student who has taken his tests for the last 7 years, which provides information to modify the overall course. Some areas are inherently suitable for sharing among teachers; it is not an isolation process. Data is more easily obtained now because BOCES compiles it for the school. 96% of the Special Education students passed the Biology final.
Reports to the BOE included long-range studies of regional schools, the possibility of moving grades 5 & 6 to the high school, or even all grades in the high school, due to declining enrollment. It was stressed that no decision has been made – these are simply topics of consideration. Marion is not looking to build any new structures; once a building is closed, however, it is next to impossible to re-open it, even after 10 years or more.
Utica Mutual Insurance Company has presented Marion with a citation for safety in the schools; this is the 7th year Marion has received this award, which includes a $500 stipend. The award is designated to be at the Titanium level, which is the highest possible honor.
Asst. Superintendent Jeff Casper shared information on the bus run transition. Some community members have expressed concern about the sidewalks in the hamlet, which has apparently created some apprehension among some parents. As soon as he is confident that the new bus schedule will not change, it will be published so that everyone is well- informed of the changes.
Financial Director Jake Reimer reported that the fund balance is higher than anticipated, mainly due to the mild winter weather. The additional funds will be used for elec-tronic upgrades to keep pace with the changing technology. At this time, the 2012-2013 budget proposal is tentatively $17,300,000.
– Consent Agenda – The Board accepted the resignations of John Lanzone, Night Custodian, effective 5/31/12, and Lisa Cavallaro, Food Service Helper. In addition, the BOEapproved the hiring of Robert Plouse as a school bus driver. Future agenda items include continuing dialogue on the value of the early dismissal practice every Wednesday.
The Board moved at 9:30 p.m. to go into executive session to discuss Non-Union benefits and pending litigation. The next regularly-scheduled meeting is on Monday, April 16th.