Managing one school district is a difficult enough task by itself. Add a second school district through a merger, and now the task becomes even harder.
The elected school board of the merger between Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school districts can fortunately tell a story of success when hard work and cooperation come together. In the first year of this new merger, an impressive number of accomplishments were achieved.
Below are some, not all, of the most important:
- Successfully oversaw the merger of two former school districts with a focus on the students.
- Established open and public committee meetings.
- Planned board agendas by way of committee meeting recommendations.
- Plan to bring our students "home" for a high school alternative education program.
- Began plans for a freshman academy to begin the next school year.
- Re-established a summer school program in both former districts.
- Planned for 17 new high school courses for the upcoming academic year.
- Planned for an additional reading support for the elementary schools.
- Planned for full-time psychologist.
- Maintained the total tax levy at 0 percent the first year and proposed a 1 percent tax decrease next year.
- Began plans to establish long-range planning for curriculum and instruction.
- Revised, introduced and eliminated certain policies.
- Conducted a complete policy audit.
- Advertised requests for proposals for architects. Plan to appoint an architect, to take advantage of the 98 percent aid reimbursement.
- Created board goals that focus on education, communication, staff and community relations.
- Established a fiscally sound plan that reserves $500,000 annually that will be used when incentive/merger aid dissipates.
- Continue to work with the unions to cease disparate benefits between the two former districts while maintaining financial stability.
- Adjusted the public meeting agendas to make the meetings more efficient.
- Continue to work with a dedicated staff to ensure safe working conditions.
- Successfully negotiated an amicable agreement with the former superintendent.
- Selected an interim superintendent.
This list shows not only what is accomplished when people work together for the betterment of a district, it is also a predictor of the great things yet to come. Each and every year when school board members show good leadership, make educated decisions, and show willingness to listen and find the compromise, great results will come.
Thank you to everyone in the OESJ school district community for your support and for your help to achieve wonderful accomplishments.
CYNTHIA BREH and WILLIAM LINTS
Members of the Oppenheim-Ephratah-
St. Johnsville Central School District
Board of Education