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Chautauqua Striders helps mentor, tutor in district

Chautauqua Striders, a not-for-profit organization founded 30 years ago in Chautauqua County, now is active within the Fredonia Central School District.

The Fredonia Board of Education Tuesday learned about the Jamestown-based program, which provides one-to-one mentoring and tutoring for students of all ages at no cost to their families. It also encourages participation in track and field through USA Track and Field youth programs for athletes between ages 14 and 18. More than 275 athletes participate annually.

Michele Starwalt of the Striders said the organization now works with approximately 1,400 students countywide. It coordinates 22 tutoring programs.

Mentors, she said, are volunteers from the community who assist individual students in achieving academic, career and personal goals. After-school tutors are hired to assist individual students in working toward academic goals. For more information about the program or to get involved, visit

In other business at Tuesday's meeting:

Business Administrator John Forbes said he will have the first draft of the district's 2012-13 budget at the board's next meeting, set for 6 p.m. Feb. 14 in Room 636 at the high school.

The board voted to increase the annual income eligibility for a senior citizen tax exemption from $16,000 to $17,000, the same rate as the Village of Fredonia.

District Superintendent Paul DiFonzo said he is hopeful the district will have an updated teacher evaluation tool in place by the end of the school year. He said he is working with the Fredonia Teachers Association on its development.

Judy Oakes, cafeteria manager, was praised by Forbes for the "fine financial job" she is doing.

The board approved the probationary appointment of Amy Gavazzi to the position of guidance counselor.