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Newly elected Maryvale School Board President Grace Bodkin announced Monday that she and Russell Carveth, the board's vice president, will attend the state School Boards Association Presidents Academy on School Board Leadership Aug. 8-10 on Long Island.

Her plan was questioned by one board member, but no attempt was made to prevent attendance by both board officers.

"In the 17 years I've been associated with school boards, it's been my experience that only the board president attends this conference," said board member Richard Augustine, the outgoing president.

"We just adopted a contingency budget; we're supposed to be watching things like the money we spend on attending conferences, and you're looking at spending $1,000 here," Augustine told Ms. Bodkin.

Asked why she wanted Carveth to accompany her, Ms. Bodkin said: "If I get sick or get in an accident, we need someone in my spot. I'm going through a training process here. During these first stages, I think we should be trained properly."

The cost of attending the conference is $150 per person. That figure does not include travel and lodging expenses, which would be paid by the district.

In other business, Augustine was chosen to head the district's Curriculum Committee; Eugene Ciminelli, the Issues and Trends Committee; Michael DiGiacomo, the Legislative and Finance Committee; and Carveth and Ms. Bodkin, the Community Education Committee. DiGiacomo also will serve as legislative liaison to the state School Boards Association.

Also, the board approved a one-year contract with Laidlaw Transit Inc.

Basic transportation will cost the district $599,084. Transportation for the disabled will cost $277,659, and transportation for field trips and athletic events totals $40,787.

School Superintendent Gary Brader said the district recently received a check for $157,000 from the Marriott Corp. through the district's food service management contract with the company.

Brader explained that, under the agreement, Marriott purchases the food and runs the program and takes a predetermined cut along with an incremental percentage. The district receives anything above that final figure.

"We are only permitted to use this money for cafeteria-related purchases," Brader said. "But if we need a new refrigerator or new tables and chairs, we don't have to pull the money out of the general fund, which ultimately saves the taxpayers money."

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