PALMYRA — The Palmyra-Macedon school board has approved a $6.3 million short-term facility-improvement capital project that will go before voters on Dec. 19.
The project is planned to be completed without raising any additional local taxes, using $1.7 million in capital reserves and state building aid to fund the improvements and renovations.
Ralph Brongo, assistant superintendent for business, said that 85 percent of the funding will be used to replace the high school roof and add drainage systems.
“The roof covers 3.7 acres,” Brongo said at the board’s Oct. 22 meeting. “People ask me why such a big number — that’s why. We have more roof (area) at the high school than we have land at the Primary School.” The three other schools will get updates in their security and fire-alarm systems and new fire-suppression systems in their kitchens.
Ryan Pacatte, the assistant superintendent for instruction, detailed statistical listings from the Buffalo Business First publication that rank 429 school districts in upstate New York and specifically in the Rochester area.
In terms of academic achievement, Pal-Mac was ranked 151st in the state in 2012 and 133rd this past June. In the 67 school districts in the Rochester area, Pal-Mac was 30th last year and 26th this summer. The ranking takes into consideration third through eighth grade test results, graduation rates, including the number of the each type of diploma, and Regents testing results.
Pal-Mac was ranked fourth in the Rochester area (tied with Red Creek) in the “Achievement Index,” a measure that includes socioeconomic climate, eligibility for free and reduced-cost lunches, combined wealth ratio (income and property).
In the “Administrative Efficiency” category, the district was again fourth-ranked in the area. The ranking considers cost of programs, per-pupil spending, student/administrator ratio and debt service. In Achievement and Efficiency, Pal-Mac was tops in Wayne County schools, Pacatte said.
Class trip change
Officers from the Class of 2015 came to the board asking for permission to change the scheduling of the senior trip from the spring of 2015 to the fall of 2014, and to okay the destination as Disney World. Ordinarily, the class would be making such a presentation for a spring trip in the same school year.
The reasons given for the early approval and trip date: “to create a bond for the rest of our senior year,” “the dates don’t interfere with sports or testing,” “at that time of year, the trip will be more affordable,” and “at that time of year, Disney World will be less crowded and we can see more of it.”
“Great reasons,” commented Board Member Bill Toomey.
Then the board was shown a video made by students Josh Nagle and Justin Kino, interspersing scenes of Disney World with seniors-to-be saying why they wanted to go on the trip.
Page 2 of 2 - “Go — have fun,” urged Board Member Don Miller.
Board Member Beth Grier-Leva told the group she was “glad everyone took the time to think about moving the trip to the fall to enjoy your classmates for the rest of the year.”
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Board President Sharon Lang, who also suggested that the group needn’t come back next year to make another presentation unless the venue changes. The board approved the trip and the season for it unanimously.
Raise the flag
From the audience, resident Jim Byron made a suggestion to the board. “One of the highlights of my youth was to raise the flag in the morning,” he said. “I drove by and saw an adult doing that this morning.” He suggested the school district return the honor to the student body.
“That’s a great idea,” said Lang.