Share this article

print logo


Questions about teaching-certification requirements and other issues led the Olean City School Board to table a proposed YMCA swimming pool management contract Tuesday night in a 5-4 vote.

Under the proposal, about $96,000 worth of lifeguard, instruction and pool-maintenance services would be provided in the $56,389 contract, saving the district about $40,000 in the pool's first year of service. But several board members said they would vote against the proposal unless some issues were clarified, citing fears that a controversy may erupt as the district moves toward budget preparation.

Board member Diane Balaban, who supported tabling the contract question, pointed out that state law prohibits the employment of noncertified teachers and said construction of the facility was based on having certified instructors for swimming courses. She asked if a physical education elective described in the contract could be applied toward graduation requirements.

Superintendent Ralph Kerr said the high school swim courses to be provided by YMCA staffers were intended as noncredit electives.

"Then why have a pool if the YMCA is not able to give credit?" she asked.

Board member Marcia Pancio, who also voted to table the item, reported on a follow-up investigation of constituents' complaints about the frequency of YMCA staff turnover.

"There were nine aquatic directors in a 10-year period and two or three lifeguards constantly -- they were not the same people," Pancio said.

Ira Katzenstein, who voted against tabling the proposal, said it sets a precedent for contracting instruction, and the district still has seven months to train teachers and staff in the pool maintenance and instructional tasks needed.

He also objected to the use of construction funds for pool maintenance and said the public believes a community group will be given pool use at no cost in the event the district is forced into accepting a contingency budget in the 2001-02 school year.

Board President Michele E. Hoffman asked to view a presentation on in-house pool operation that was given to a board committee by district Athletic Director Don Scholla but not summarized in recommendations favoring YMCA management.

"I thought we had the only data. In light of the fact that it was not seen or analyzed, I don't feel comfortable until all of it is available," she said.

Gerald E. Zimmerman, who opposed tabling the matter, said he fears that rejecting the YMCA's offer would eliminate savings on the tax rate, in turn leading to a negative budget vote and forcing cuts in academic funding.

There are no comments - be the first to comment