Minutes of the October 8th, 2014 meeting of

The 19th Ward Community Association Schools Committee

Attendees: John Boutet, John Laing, Deb Leary, Jay Ross, Dan Ross

Approval of September minutes


Spelling Bee - Deb Leary

Deb has met twice with the fraternity brothers and are working through the schedule that was laid out last spring.

Deb has purchased the Scripp’s list of official words, and these will be circulated to the five schools next week. The annual cost of $130 was approved by the committee and could come out of the funding from RACF. The spelling bee will be held Saturday, April 18 at U of R. Practice sessions at the Arnett library will run from 10 to 11 on Saturday mornings beginning in January.

School 16 renovation

John, John and Dan met with Superintendent Vargas and Michael Schmidt Wednesday, September 17. We talked about our priorities for making school 16 a community school. School 16 is in the front of the queue for phase II spending (out of a total of 22 buildings) but even at that ground breaking is not expected until the fall of 2017. We plan to meet with them again in December. One of the requests the superintendent had was for us to look at the suburban schools and see if there are lessons to be learned in terms of the culture of the school, and can we work to make those a reality at 16 from re-opening. Jay has experience with the Brighton schools as a grandparent, and offered the following differences: lots of children’s art all over the building, all students take music, school plays, nice nurse’s office, and teachers do not complain about their students with students, parents or volunteers within earshot. John L was to contact former co-workers concerning Webster schools, Deb was going to compare her grandchildren’s experience at Buffalo area schools, and John B reminded us that the superintendent had suggested that we tour school 28.

We were given data tables and maps of the catchment area for school 16. The present one is large (most of the 19th ward) and includes 1623 preK-6 students. We were invited to submit other boundaries for analysis and we discussed a number of options.

Some other issues that were raised include: assure that teachers (specialty ones in particular) are involved in reviewing the plans; specialty classrooms should be centrally located (as with the nurses office and any social services facility), a community meeting room which can be accessed separately from the rest of the building should be a part of the design.

Volunteer Progress

School 44 has 2 new volunteers from FREE who are in the process of getting assignments. John B volunteered to be the volunteer co-coordinator for school 44.

New Business

John B announced that Ralph Spezio will be at the SW Education committee meeting Wednesday, March 15 at 6 pm at the Gandhi center which will provide us the opportunity to ask about the process for establishing a community school.

John B attended a meeting of the Construction Council (Mayor Richard’s committee) that was deliberating change orders to present jobs, and there was nothing about school 16.

Minutes submitted by John Laing

Next Meeting Wednesday, November 12th at 7 pm in the 19th ward association office.

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