New Dunkirk board of education members sworn in

A familiar face was sworn back in at the Dunkirk Board of Education’s reorganizational meeting Wednesday night at the administrative building of the school.

Bridget Majka previously served on the board from 2006 until 2012. At Wednesday evening’s meeting, she officially filled a vacant seat on the board as a result of the resignation of Roosevelt Haynes last year. The seat’s term is set to expire in one year.

“I’m not necessarily new and I’ve learned a lot from the six years I previously served on the board,” Majka said. “I hope to bring some of that back to the table and just to continue on the road that we’re on. We’ve really been moving forward in the district since (Superintendent Gary) Cerne has been here and it’s really been a great experience so far.”

Also during the meeting, Kenneth Kozlowski and Linda Guy were sworn in for their continuing terms on the board, which are set to expire in three years. Kozlowski will continue his role as school board president and Guy will continue to serve as board clerk.

William Thiel was also sworn in for his term as district treasurer. He was also named purchasing agent for the district during the meeting.

Melissa Rodriguez was sworn in as the new student member of the board, as well. Rodriguez fills the seat vacated by Christina Aviles, who graduated last month.

In other news at the meeting, Superintendent Gary Cerne announced a referendum vote is scheduled for Dec. 3 for Phase IV of the school’s capital project.

While many details of the plan still have yet to get hashed out, Cerne said he wants the public to be aware of the upcoming vote.

“We are just getting going with this phase of the project right now,” he said. “The main part of this plan is to create an access road from Marauder Drive to the back parking lot. Also included are renovations to the softball, baseball and soccer fields and miscellaneous fixes in the high school office to tie up some loose ends. We will have exact dollar amounts for all of this in the fall.”

In a report on attendance data in the district, Cerne announced that school day absences from chronic offenders went down in the past school year from 1,782 in 2011 to 761.

“We’re doing more with meetings, with the counselors, lot more letters, lot more phone calls, parent involvement, those types of things that are really starting to set in,” he said. “That’s something we continually have to keep after and not let it slip up.”

Cerne also noted that out of the total number of students within the district, 469 of them transferred in and out and moved internally among the schools. He cited families in the area frequently relocate and then come back in the spring, which is why the number of transfer students in and out of the school is so high. This can cause a bit of a burden on the teaching staff, he noted.

“The transient situation is a difficult one for us,” Cerne said.

During the resolutions portion of the meeting, several positions were filled within the district, including a head custodian, a temporary English teacher, two temporary English as a second language teachers and a middle school technology teacher.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the large group instruction meeting of the administrative building.

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