By Greg Klein
---- — New security systems at both Cooperstown schools, construction on Walnut Street and ending the gap elimination were top agenda items at the CCS Board of Education meeting on March 20.
It was a calm, quiet meeting unlike the past two where the district nickname overwhelmed all normal business. Only six spectators attended the meeting, a big reduction from the 100-plus at the February meeting and the 30-plus at the special meeting earlier in the month where the board voted to retire the name Redskins.
The new security systems are on the front doors to both the elementary and middle/high schools. They were paid for by donations to the school system. The system at the middle/high school is working and the elementary system should be working within a couple of weeks.
“The doorway work is complete and in both buildings the buzz-in system is complete,” Superintendent C.J. Hebert said. “We are still waiting for some hardware for the elementary school building.”
Construction on Walnut Street was scheduled to begin on March 25 and is scheduled to take two to three months. Originally the work had been set for last fall; however, Hebert said, the school system asked the village to delay the work so that it did not coincide with the start of the school year.
The work is being done on the water and sewer lines as well as the street surface. The initial phase of the construction will not affect Linden Avenue or the middle/high school, but it will affect the elementary school, according to school officials. It will take place on Walnut from Delaware to Linden. Traffic will be limited to local residents, school buses and school personnel.
Hebert said the village might allow one-way traffic during peak school traffic hours. However, both he and village officials are encouraging parents to plan for a change in school routines. Students who can ride a bus are encouraged to do so. School officials are suggesting the corner of Delaware and Walnut as a logical drop-off spot. Traffic should be able to make a left onto Walnut from Delaware; a right turn will not be possible during the early phase of construction.
Hebert said the district is encouraging parents and residents to begin contacting Assemblyman William Magee and State Sen. James Seward about the school budget and the need to end the gap elimination adjustment. The GEA is a reduction in school aid by the state to reduce the state deficit. School officials in Milford and Cherry Valley-Springfield have also spoken out about the need to end the GEA.
“Not all advocacy is considered equal. Getting rid of this is far more beneficial for Cooperstown,” Hebert said. “We’ve come up with some templates for letters and put them on the website. We encourage everyone to send them and feel free to modify them as you like.”
The only news about the change in nicknames came out of the public relations committee. Priorities for the new nickname are keeping a historical connection, a community connection and a student connection, according to committee chairwoman Jean Schifano. The deadline to submit replacement nicknames was March 22.
In other school news, the board voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement to borrow buses from the CV-S school system. CCS has already been occasionally borrowing CV-S buses for field trips; however, the official resolution is intended to protect CV-S in case of an accident or other damage to the buses.
CCS Secondary Principal Michael Cring also told the board that he has submitted a proposal to Oneonta High School to share transportation for the May Quiz Team trip to Washington, D.C., and is awaiting approval from the Oneonta school system.
“We’re hoping to save Oneonta and ourselves some money on the trip,” Cring said.
The board also approved a school trip for the 2013-14 school year to Germany and Austria. The trip is run through the program World Strides and will be chaperoned by CCS teacher Jennifer Pindar.