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Car vandalism in soccer furor costs district

Unsportsmanlike behavior cost Lackawanna High School its varsity and junior varsity soccer programs and the school district $2,434.

Wednesday night, the School Board voted to pay for repairs to a trustee's vehicle that was vandalized after the Nov. 15 meeting, when the board voted to suspend the programs. John Makeyenko's vehicle, which is highly recognizable in the community, incurred extensive scratches.

"I would like to apologize for Mr. Makeyenko's inconvenience," trustee Dennis Chudzik said. "He acted in the [public's] interest."

In that November meeting, the soccer programs were suspended for a year because of recurring incidents of abusive language and actions by the players.

In other business Wednesday, the board approved changes to the 2006-07 student calendar resulting from the loss of six school days during the October snowstorm. A minimum of 180 days of instruction are required under state law.

According to the state Education Department, even a governor's declaration of a state of emergency does not allow a district to drop below the 180 days.

Adding Monday, June 25, would take the district from 179 to 180 days, School Superintendent Paul G. Hashem told the board. Friday, Feb. 23, which falls during the Presidents Day recess week, has been reclaimed as an instructional day.

And Friday, May 25 -- which is a district holiday attached to Memorial Day weekend, would be reclaimed only if needed to maintain the 180-day minimum, Hashem said. Memorial Day itself is a legal holiday on which sessions cannot be scheduled, the law states.

"These actions will bring us to the mandatory 180 days, as well as add a small cushion of instructional days beyond," Hashem said. "If more snow days are needed, further adjustments will have to be made either during Presidents Week recess or spring recess, depending upon when any further closings occur."

The board also recognized the accomplishments of varsity cheerleaders who, under coach Nicole Parry, were undefeated in fall competitions and won the ECIC division championship for the first time in more than 10 years.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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