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Schools look at shared services

The Fredonia, Dunkirk, Silver Creek and Forestville school districts are joining together to study how they might save money by sharing services through the State Shared Municipal Services Incentive Grant Program, it was learned at Tuesday night's Fredonia Board of Education meeting.

Richard Rodriguez, Dunkirk's superintendent of schools, is writing the grant with input from the other school districts.

Possible shared services include equipment, sports facilities and administration. Fredonia Superintendent Paul DiFonzo is Fredonia's lead applicant contact person for the grant.

The districts are requesting a grant of $40,000, including a 10 percent share of $4,000 evenly split among the districts to come from each district's general fund.

In other business:

* Julie Sherrick Garvey, currently director of special education, will become the new administrator of grants management and professional development, effective Jan. 2. Her annual salary will stay the same at $83,000.

* DiFonzo will hire an architect this spring to estimate the cost of revamping and updating the district's outdoor sports facilities, including the Orange Bowl football field adjacent to Wheelock Elementary School.

Part of the estimate will determine what it would cost to move the football field to district property behind the East Main Street campus. Board members asked the public to comment on the new plan for outdoor sports fields.

DiFonzo hopes the district could pay for renovations with state grant money. Officials say the current facilities need better safety features, parking, restroom facilities, field drainage, field grass quality and a new press box.

* The district is weighing the pros and cons of establishing a National Honor Society.

* DiFonzo said he received a petition from students and some faculty members asking that the musket once held by the school hillbilly mascot be put back into the mascot's hands. He said he would not recommend that this be done. The board asked that students might consider creating a new hillbilly design or a new mascot entirely.

The next Board of Education meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 9 in the high school library.

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