OLEAN – The city School Board is looking for ways to interest more people in running for election to seats on the board.
“We have found that people are not willing to run for the School Board,” Colleen Taggerty, district superintendent, said. “Our board president, Michael Martello, will be taking some ideas to the Operations Committee to try to figure out why we have such a low participation.”
Martello introduced the possibility of changing the number of monthly meetings of the board from two to one, decreasing the number of board members from nine to seven and reducing the term of office from five years to three at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
“We are looking at a couple questions surrounding the participation on the board,” Taggerty said. “Are terms too long now? Are people happy with the direction we are taking the district? We are trying to find out the reason for people not wanting to be a part of the education process.”
The changes were not acted upon at the meeting, as they will be heading to the Operations Committee for discussion, she said.
If they do reach recommendations to change any of the proposed areas, a vote of the district would have to be held at the next budget vote, in May. A similar move was made by neighboring Salamanca city schools in August.
School Board members in the Olean District are not paid.
If a special or emergency meeting were needed, should the district go with the single meeting a month, a meeting could be called with 24 hours’ notice, Taggerty said. She also said the move would mean the district superintendent would have the ability to act on vacancies, hiring and filling positions as they come up between meetings.
Another move was made to figure out how to get more parental participation in the process, Taggerty said. District elementary and reading teacher Jennifer Kless will be on special assignment for the school year, working closely with the district information officer, Jennifer Mahar, to build ideas and paths to more, and better, parental involvement in the education process, Taggerty said.
“Jennifer has been working as a teacher on special assignment for us before,” Taggerty said. “This time, she will be helping to find ways to get that parental involvement to help out with the Focus School designation we have received.”
Focus schools are identified by the state Education Department as districts and schools that have not met state-set targets on testing. The development of this plan will have Kless on special assignment until July 2014.
In other news, the members of the board voted to add a fifth kindergarten class to East View Elementary School. Kaitlyn Speta will teach the newly created class to aid in reducing kindergarten sizes at the school.