Fulton school budget firming up; winter break renovations on track

By Ashley M. Casey

Voting on the Fulton City School District’s 2014-15 budget and electing three board of education members will be May 20 at the elementary schools, the school board announced at its Feb. 25 meeting.

A public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m. May 7 at the Junior High School.

The terms of board members Fred Cavalier, Barbara Hubbard and board president David Cordone expire June 30. The new terms would last from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2017. Lynch said it was too early to say if these members would be running again or if there would be any other contenders.

Another issue expected to appear on the ballot is the Fulton Public Library. Lynch said he and Cordone met with library representatives Feb. 10 to discuss increasing the amount of library tax the district collects and a possible charter change for the library.

“Currently, we collect $190,000,” Lynch said. “They are going to ask for an additional $100,000.”

The library also wants to change its charter from a municipal library to a school district public library.

“They are not part of the school district, although they are a public school district library,” Lynch said of the proposed change. “We have nothing to do with the library building (or) staff.”

Lynch said this arrangement is common, citing examples in Liverpool, Baldwinsville and Oswego.

The library will have to submit the proposition to the board by April 1, and will have to collect 200 signatures from qualified district voters by April 30.

February break renovations on track

Lynch told the board renovations begun during the February break at Fairgrieve and Volney elementary schools have gone according to schedule.

The renovations are part of the 2012 capital project

Asbestos abatement is continuing upstairs at Fairgrieve and the sixth-grade wing is closed.

Volney is on track for abatement and renovations outside the third-grade classrooms.

“The project is … moving along as it’s been planned,” Lynch said.

Another project that had to be moved up is the replacement of floor tiles in the social studies wing at G. Ray Bodley High School.

“We originally planned to do the work this summer,” Lynch said.

The floor tiles contain asbestos and are peeling up and coming loose.

Lynch said a solvent used to remove the loose tiles left a “quite pungent” citrus odor in the building, but changes in ventilation have reduced the odor.

Classes using the affected rooms have been relocated, and the tiles are expected to be replaced during April break.

GRB proposes college prep course

Bodley High School Principal Donna Parkhurst presented to the board a plan for a college readiness course in collaboration with Cayuga Community College.

The semester-long class, called “Cayuga 101: Foundations for College Success,” would be open to students in grades 10 through 12 and would teach time management, organization, study skills and other qualities needed to succeed in college.

“This past December, we sent three teachers to be trained (to teach this),” Parkhurst said. “They were so excited.”

Parkhurst said GRB could definitely offer two sections of the class, but would like to add a third. This would open the class to 150 students.

“Current enrollment has to drive what teachers we can pull,” she said. The school would redistribute class sizes in less busy departments, such as U.S. history and business, to free up teachers for the Cayuga course.

School board member Christine Plath, who teaches part-time at CCC, said she has met students who have taken similar courses before.

“Students say it is very helpful to them. Students that don’t have time management and study skills are lost and don’t know what to do,” she said.

Parkhurst said students would earn three college credit hours and the cost of the “On Course” textbook would be included in GRB’s budget.

Coming up

  • The eighth annual High School Art and Photography Invitational is on display in the Community Room at the Fulton Municipal Building (141 S. First St.) 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 1 (today), and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 2. It will showcase artwork from Fulton, Hannibal, Oswego and Phoenix schools.
  • The next school board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. March 11 at the Education Center (167 S. Fourth St.).
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