Holley, Kendall school officials to meet July 18 to discuss shared services

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 21 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo by Kristina Gabalski – Rubie Maxwell, a Holley sixth grader, stands with Holley Elementary School Principal Karri Schiavone after receiving a Soaring to New Heights Award at the Holley Board of Education meeting Monday evening. Maxwell has volunteered as the Pre-K Safety Patrol Officer, helping students on and off the bus each day.  The students call her “Miss Rubie,” Schiavone said. “She takes time out of her day to help out. The Pre-K students love her.” Top Ten graduates of this year’s Senior Class were also recognized during the Soaring to New Heights portion of the meeting.

HOLLEY – School leaders from Holley and Kendall will meet July 18 to discuss shared services, including instruction, non-instruction and extra-curricular programs.

Robert D’Angelo, Holley school district superintendent, reported to the Holley Board of Education on Monday that he and School Board President Brenda Swanger met recently with Kendall School Superintendent Julie Christensen and Kendall School Board President Nadine Hanlon. They are planning the agenda for the July 18 work session between the two boards, administrations and teams.

Swanger said neither district wants to lose its identity, and D’Angelo emphasized he sees nothing but good coming from the effort.

“We want to share, not swallow each other up,” D’Angelo said.

The districts already share some programs. For example, Kendall students played on the Holley varsity baseball team this season after Kendall didn’t have enough players to field a team.

In other discussion at Monday’s meeting, Board of Education members say they have not yet made a decision regarding the number of teachers for next year’s third graders.

Several parents spoke during the public comment portion of Monday evening’s meeting, expressing concerns that the district might reduce the number of third grade teachers from four to three.

Two third grade teachers are leaving – the board accepted the resignation of one teacher and the retirement of another – but board members say they are not yet ready to make a decision about how they will proceed.

“We don’t have to decide until it’s absolutely necessary,” Board Vice President Robin Silvis said. “We have a lot to think about.”

Board member John Heise said if next year’s third grade was reduced to three teachers, it would be a way for the district to save money.

“The fund balance has gone down,” he said. “We’ve got to start saving somewhere.”

Swanger, the Board president, said she did not agree.

“We haven’t made a decision … it’s not going to be an easy decision,” she said. She and other Board members thanked parents for attending the meeting and making their feelings on the subject known.

Board members indicated they would likely make the decision in August. Incoming third graders will not have their teacher named on Fourth Quarter reports cards to be sent home on Wednesday.

Board members also approved the creation of an Interact Club, a community service club which will be sponsored by the Holley Rotary. A number of students are interested, and board member John Heise, a Holley Rotarian, said students would like to get going this summer on projects.

Heise said students have already begun looking into installing a “buddy bench” on the playground at the Elementary School as a potential first project.  The club would be open to students in grades 7-12.