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General Brown Board of Educations narrows down 2012-13 goals

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DEXTER — Four months into the 2012-13 school year, the General Brown Board of Education has a clearer picture of the direction in which it wants to head this school year.

Board members decided during a workshop Dec. 17 to keep the same goals they had during the 2011-12 school year, with a few minor changes, and member Daniel J. Dupee II suggested an additional focus on board self-evaluation.

Instead of jumping into a self-evaluation rubric, Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. suggested the remainder of this school year be spent developing that goal.

Throughout the 2012-13 school year, the board will start a committee and develop a policy to carry out the self-evaluation next school year. Members agreed it would make them more accountable for their actions and decisions.

That also aligns with another goal: to expand communication with the public.

Board members said a self-evaluation not only will keep the board on track for accomplishing goals and objectives, but also will make the board as a whole more transparent. That falls in line with yet another board goal: increasing communication and input from district residents.

“I’d like to be more open with the public and let them have more input, even for a simple dress code,” board member Jeffrey West said. “That’s the biggest thing I got calls on, but we don’t make that, the principals do.”

Mr. West said the district’s website has been a great tool for relaying any necessary information to district students, parents and taxpayers.

Other board goals include accomplishing strategic plan goals and continuing to assess the infrastructure needs and demographic trends of the district.

While a sub-goal of assessing infrastructure and demographic trends is to continue to seek out sharing of services with neighboring districts, Mr. Dupee asked whether shared services should be a separate goal.

Although the board collectively decided it was best to keep it as is, its members renewed their focus on shared services or possible merger options as school districts face tougher financial years ahead.

“A straight merger isn’t necessarily the most beneficial,” Mr. Vigliotti said. “It’s very complicated. Economic impact is important, too. The reality is districts are running out of money.”

He said there are both internal and external options for sharing services, whether agreements are made in-house with other schools or would require guidance from the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

“Right now we’re looking at food service, and sharing a director with another district,” he said. “We’re crunching numbers, and BOCES is crunching numbers. Those opportunities come around when people retire.”

Mr. Vigliotti said he would ask Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Jack J. Boak Jr. to attend a future General Brown Board of Education meeting to further discuss ideas with board members.

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