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SCHOOL BOARD OKS CONTRACT WITH YMCA TO PROVIDE POOL SERVICES AND LIFEGUARDS

The Olean City School Board has decided on a collaboration that will require the Olean Family YMCA to provide lifeguards and some pool management services as a cost-saving move.

The board voted Monday night to award a one-year contract to the YMCA that is estimated to cost about $30,000 during the 2005-06 school year, ending the organization's management arrangement that has cost the district about $72,000 each year.

Beginning July 1, the district will begin paying for pool lifeguard services at $15 per hour and occasional pool maintenance or mechanical assistance at $25 per hour.

To adhere to state Education Department regulations, the district will hire an aquatics director for swim instruction, with school maintenance staff performing routine pool operations.

The YMCA certified lifeguards will provide about 2,000 hours of work each year, assisting in instruction and continuing their current duties of cleaning the deck area, entry mats and entry doors as needed.

"The main concern was over the fact that the school district was not in compliance" with state regulations, said Superintendent Mark Ward and Barb Sweitzer, the YMCA's executive director, in a joint written statement issued after the meeting.

"The district cannot contract with a private entity for these types of services. That is why the district has decided to hire a physical education teacher who will also serve as the aquatics director."

In the statement, Ward thanked the YMCA for the past three years of "outstanding" pool management and for promoting a "positive relationship," noting the new collaboration is in the best interest of the community. Sweitzer added that her organization promises to provide the same quality services as in the past.

After the board meeting, Ward pointed out that few residents take advantage of the current 5 a.m. public swim time. The new arrangement will increase use by allowing one evening of dedicated community swim time and some Saturday hours when high school teams are not using it for competition.

The board rejected a YMCA pool operations bid that would have cost $59,000 and backed away from full in-house operations that could have exceeded an estimated cost of $87,000.

The board also voted to create seven custodial and grounds maintenance positions as part of a plan to reorganize the Building Department, which now employs 11 workers. Candidates for the new positions will be required to take civil service exams in the near future. Ward said the current positions will be eliminated before the new hires are on board.

The move will save about $100,000 in the 2005-06 school year and an additional $167,000 in the 2006-07 year, he said.

The board also voted to accept the Cattaraugus-Allegany-Erie-Wyoming Board of Cooperative Educational Services administrative budget and cast a ballot for BOCES board candidates Delores Ackerman, Clifton Morris, Thomas Rowe and Myrna Reynolds.

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