Fulton Junior High receives $500,000 grant

By Ashley M. Casey

Fulton Junior High School has received a $500,000 grant from the NYS Community Schools initiative to provide certain social, health and academic services to students and community members.

Oswego County Opportunities and the Oswego County Department of Social Services will partner with the junior high for the program.

Director of Student Support Programs Geri Geitner unveiled the tentative plan for the Community Schools grant at the Jan. 14 school board meeting.

The grant will help create an extended learning program for students in grades five through eight, opportunities for immunization and wellness clinics, and other social services available to the community.

It also includes a partial restoration of Runaway and Homeless Youth Services.

“Because of funding reallocations within the state, the two full-time (positions) went down to a half-time,” Geitner said. “We wrote in the grant to restore that to one full-time position.”

The district will spend the first six months of 2014 in a mandatory planning period for the project implementation.

Officials will determine what educational and community services will be available through the junior high and recruiting staff for the various services, which will begin July 1, 2014.

“Are there services that will be provided to parents as well (as students)?” asked board President David Cordone.

Geitner said the program would not be “just student-focused.” Some of OCO’s and DSS’s services will be “co-located” within the junior high.

Board member Christine Plath asked if the program will focus only on at-risk student populations.

“It will include all students, but the initial focus is on at-risk students,” Geitner said. “(The program will) remediate barriers to learning and set goals.”

Geitner added while the grant estimated a number of 80 target students, “there is no limit to the number of students that can access this.”

Space, funding and regulatory limits will help determine what specific health services will be provided, though Geitner said the district is looking into vaccination clinics and wellness screenings.

“We could have covered a wall with what we would like to have, but we had to cut down and prioritize,” said Betsy Conners, executive director of instruction and assessment.

OCO helped the district write the 60-plus pages grant request in a period of about nine days. DSS is providing additional funding.

“It really helps us refine our focus so we can apply for more grants in the future,” Geitner said.

Superintendent Bill Lynch thanked OCO and DSS representatives who attended the board meeting for the “very strong, collaborative partnership” among the school district and those agencies.

“It’s very gratifying to have these partnerships,” Lynch said.

Update on Volney, Fairgrieve
renovations

As part of the capital project approved by district voters in 2012, major overhauls are coming to Fairgrieve and Volney elementary schools.

Director of Facilities, Operations and Transportation Jerry Seguin told the board updates to electrical and data wiring as well as asbestos abatement will begin in both buildings during the February recess.

Contractors will work double shifts Feb. 14-23 to finish as much of the project as possible while school is out of session.

Contractors’ bids are expected next week, and the schools will send letters home to parents informing them of the work being done.

Ceiling tiles will be removed to replace wiring, so some asbestos removal and aesthetic work will be done as well.

The district is hiring separate contractors for each building.

“If they run into a problem in one building, it won’t affect the other building,” Lynch said after the board meeting.

Three sixth-grade classrooms on the second floor of Fairgrieve will be temporarily moved for the abatement and renovation process, some of which will take the rest of the year.

Other classrooms will be displaced after the break until the end of the year.

“Once school starts, electrical contractors can come in during the second shift to do the wiring,” Seguin said.

“No one will be working during instructional hours,” Lynch assured the board.

Contractors will work 4:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. after school and double shifts on days when school is not in session, excluding weekends, to finish the project by June. By then, the yet-to-be-approved 2014-2015 capital project is expected to have begun.

Coming up

A public forum with three board members and the superintendent will be held from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Jan. 25, in Room 130 of G. Ray Bodley High School. Coffee will be served.

The next school board meeting will be held 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Junior High School.

The public hearing regarding the upcoming 2014-2015 capital project vote will be held 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Lanigan Elementary School Media Center.

Voting for the capital project will take place 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 4 at all elementary schools, as per the school board election and budget voting patterns.

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