Tuesday's meeting of the Jamestown Public School's Board of Education saw the swearing in of several different board members and district officials. Two new members, Daniel Johnson and Patrick Slagle, were among the first to pledge.
Slagle admitted being slightly overwhelmed during his first meeting. "It's a little nerve-wracking being new," he said. He remains enthusiastic about his future on the board, however. "I was born and raised here, and I've always wanted to give back to the community," said Slagle. "A great way to do that is to be a part of the board."
Daniel Kathman, superintendent, also swore an oath of office. Joe DiMaio was nominated for board president and Laurel Lucas for vice president, and the two were subsequently sworn into office.
DiMaio expressed his loyalty to Jamestown after accepting the position. "Once a Red Raider, always a Red Raider," said the president. Speaking about the potential difficulty of leading a school board, DiMaio said, "It's tough to run a school district. We don't always have to agree, but we do have to come to an agreement."
Following the induction of the new officers, the board resolved the SEQRA act, which determined that the repurposing and reuse of the R.R. Roberts Elementary School will not have a significant effect on the environment. The committee then indicated its approval of the new Board Member Academy attendance, which dictates that new board members Johnson and Slagle attend a two-day governance and fiscal oversight training seminar. Additionally, two new textbooks were approved for use within the JPS curriculum.
Following the conclusion of the public meeting, the board retired into executive session to discuss "particular personnel."
Slagle had a few thoughts about ways the board could improve.
"I'd like to increase communication. Especially with all the technology out there today, I think we can really accomplish that," he said. Slagle went on to lament the lack of public attendance at board meetings, saying that with lack of public opinion, "It's just us trying to make the decisions for the city."
Kathman revealed more details about the approval of the newly negotiated teacher's contract announced last week. "Some describe 'no change to the salary schedule' as a 'freeze,' but I think that leads the public astray," Kathman explained. "What we did in 95 percent of cases was we took the existing salarly schedule and applied it to next year with no additional money applied to that schedule." Existing steps remained in place, but no additional dollars were added to those steps.
After the meeting, when asked about the current and forthcoming financial situations, Dimaio commented, "We've just got to work hard."