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Pioneer School District committees will be forming this fall for residents to offer their suggestions on issues ranging from district facilities to student program needs.

Superintendent Jeff Bowen has proposed starting a committee to begin looking at the state of district facilities, which include a high school, middle school and elementary buildings in Arcade and Delevan.

"We need to reach out and engage the community," Bowen said.

He said a facilities condition survey has just been completed. The results of this survey will be provided to district architects Gordon Jones from Williamsville, who district leaders said will then prioritize objectives in long- and short-range facilities plans.

Building needs and conditions also have become a recent concern for residents. During last week's School Board session Bill Connelly, a Pioneer High School math teacher and Pioneer Faculty Association union representative, spoke on behalf of fellow teachers about what they perceive as overcrowding in high school classrooms.

Bowen said such concerns will be addressed in the coming budget year.

School officials said Connelly's comments were intended to highlight the challenges some of the high school teachers and departments are facing with increased enrollments, varied class sizes and teaching loads.

Jeff Petrus, district business administrator, said he wants to establish a district Health and Safety Committee.

School officials said the group's current efforts are aimed at developing a job description for the committee, which also will consist of students, staff members and parents.

The committee is mandated by state Project SAVE legislation, and will be involved in the annual review of district and building-level safety plans. The state legislation is meant to promote safer schools.

According to Bowen, the district's comprehensive district education plan (CDEP) also is set to be reviewed and revamped, with activity to begin by the first of the year. A group of staff and residents will be formed to study the plan.

Bowen said he also is starting monthly meetings with Pioneer students to get their feedback and perspective on the district.

School officials said an additional group of 10 to 15 people will be formed to disseminate district school news to the public.

Residents interested in joining the groups can call 492-9304.

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