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NEW SUPERINTENDENT PLANS TO EMPHASIZE 'RUMOR CONTROL'

"Rumor control" is one of Paul J. Grekalski's priorities as he begins his tenure as Orchard Park's school superintendent.

He is building what he calls a "school community involvement team" to bring together members of the clergy, town officials, senior citizens, taxpayer group members, a teacher and the student government president, among others.

Town Police Chief Samuel M. McCune said he welcomes any chance for Orchard Park leaders to talk.

"It's always good to get together and do some things," he said.

The chief also noted that a few established groups already enable school and community members to talk about common problems. They include the so-called tri-board through which school, village and town leaders meet quarterly.

Grekalski says his group will talk about "the three E's: efficiency, economy and effectiveness" of the schools. He also has a secondary goal.

"The subtheme is rumor control: what is factual, what are your perceptions, and what is the truth," he said.

The last several months have been tumultuous in Orchard Park, with the administration and some School Board members often butting heads.

At times, James T. Crean, the former board president, and then-Superintendent Charles L. Stoddart came up with drastically different numbers for the same budget lines and tax rate estimates. Crean did not like the way the district was run -- and the people running it did not like his criticism.

Grekalski says he hopes to end the animosity -- and the conflicting sources of information.

"Let's come out with the 'one voice' theory," he said, and added that he and Joseph F. Bieron, board president, will be the district spokesmen.

While most everyone seems to agree that time had come to relieve polarization in Orchard Park, Grekalski's "one voice" approach doesn't necessarily sit well with everyone.

"I think anybody can say whatever they want at any time," said Crean, who is still a board member. "Isn't that an inherent right?"

e-mail: mpasciak@buffnews.com

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