Medina wants to continue shared services with Lyndonville schools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 February 2015 at 12:00 am

File photo – Medina and Lyndonville teamed up last year for the production of “Into the Woods.” Here, The Wolf (Christian Hahn) is attempting to lure Little Red Riding Hood (Regan Stacey) into being eaten in the woods.

MEDINA – School district leaders at Medina want to continue a shared service partnership with Lyndonville, and possibly add to the effort.

Lyndonville’s Board of Education approved a two-year extension of the partnership on Monday and Medina’s Board of Education expects to extend the two-year contract on Feb. 24.

Medina officials discussed the program on Tuesday night, saying it has given more students opportunities by strengthening sports, drama and the marching band.

The program is in its third year and allows Lyndonville students to play on Medina’s boys soccer and football teams, and be a part of the marching band and track and field programs. Medina students are welcome to be part of Lyndonville’s musical program.

“Collaboration will be important for these districts to keep moving forward,” said Chris Keller, Medina BOE president.

Photo by Tom Rivers – Medina Board of Education President Chris Keller, right, and Board Vice President David Sevenski see a partnership with Lyndonville Central School, where the districts share some extracurricular programs, as a success.

Both districts have seen enrollments drop significantly in the past decade. Some programs would struggle to find enough students to field competitive teams.

Medina would like to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the shared services. For example, Medina students have to find their own transportation to Lyndonville for rehearsals and shows. The Medina Board of Education wants to look at the costs of providing school transportation for those students to see if that would remove a barrier to student participation and result in more kids in drama.

Medina also wants to look at adding a second drama production during the year, with the second one perhaps offered at Medina school.

If a second show isn’t added, Medina BOE members would like to host some of the productions in the future.

Medina eliminated its drama program after a budget crisis in 2010-11, when the district cut about 30 positions and many programs. But the district is in a better financial position now, board members said.

Keller and Board Vie President David Sevenski urged the board to approve the two-year extension of the shared service contract, allowing Lyndonville to host the musicals if there is only one production. Sevenski said the Lyndonville Board of Education took some heat from the public and continued to honor the agreement, despite pleas to pull Lyndonville boys out of the soccer team with Medina.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina/Lyndonville players celebrate after claiming the Niagara-Orleans title with a victory over Roy-Hart last Oct. 16.

“Maybe we give a little,” Sevenski said. “They went to bat to protect that agreement.”

Board member Wendi Pencille didn’t see why it was out of line to talk about rotating the site for the musical productions.

“If the tables were reversed and four out of five things were in Lyndonville, we’d want that one thing,” Keller responded.

He thinks a solution might be adding a second production to be staged at Medina, and that show could perhaps be a service learning project with proceeds to go to a local charity.

Board member William Keppler said Lyndonville should also be invited to be part of Medina’s swimming program.

Neither district charges each other for students that participate in programs in the other districts.

Keller is pleased with how well the arrangement has gone. He said shrinking rural schools need to do more partnering with neighboring districts – sharing programs and resources – for students to have the opportunities available at bigger suburban districts.

The local districts also could find themselves in a financial crisis again if the state reduces aid.

“We don’t really know what the future holds,” Keller said. “The governor is introducing a lot of uncertainty in our budget process.”