Share this article

print logo

Two board votes needed to OK conference day

A proposal for an additional Superintendent's Conference Day in the Springville-Griffith School District was approved by the School Board on Tuesday night, but only after the move was sent to the School Board for a second vote following an executive session.

Superintendent Paul Connelly asked for the conference day on May 25, saying the district had no snow days this school year and would easily exceed the state mandate of 180 student days.

More importantly, he said, the time was needed for teacher's to address requirements that are due by July 1; if not, the district risks losing $219,000 in aid. He anticipated that a portion of the day would also be used for teachers to work on aligning curriculum for the Common Core initiative.

The School Board, however, was reluctant to grant the proposed conference day on several grounds. Board member Janine Caimano thought that students shouldn't miss a day of instruction time for teacher training. Stephen Schunk agreed, saying even if it would cost more to bring staff in during the summer to accomplish the work, it would be worth it so that students wouldn't lose "face time" with their teachers.

School Board Vice President Delia Bonenberger said she also was frustrated with the district's aid being held hostage to the completion of requirements, but she noted, "I support it because I know it needs to be done."

Board member Jeremiah Kane opposed the move on philosophical grounds.

"I am not going to advocate anything that supports this massive federal takeover of our curriculum," he said in reference to the core curriculum.

The first vote defeated the measure by a split tally of 3-3. Board member Joan Kelly was absent.

The second vote, which approved the proposed conference day 4-2, followed an executive session in which Connelly said he stressed the importance of getting the work done.

Kane ended up being the swing vote. Earlier in the board meeting, he had acknowledged that having teachers meet during the summer would be a costly alternative and not fiscally responsible.