Gowanda school board provides answers to resident’s questions

GOWANDA – A resident received answers to questions she brought up during a previous board meeting. Resident Janet Vogtli asked the Gowanda Board of Education questions concerning the transportation department and consolidation of services.

Superintendent Charles Rinaldi prepared a report for Vogtli and read the report at a recent board meeting. On the topic of transportation, Rinaldi said the district has consolidated bus routes over the past several school years. Starting in the school year 2010-2011 there were 19 bus routes and the district is currently down to 14 routes. Each consolidated run has saved the district $34,000, according to Rinaldi. If the district were to consolidate bus routes any further, students would be on the bus for more than 90 minutes at a time. Bus routes currently are under 60 minutes.

“Unless you want children on the bus for 90 minutes, you can’t (pick up) more children,” Rinaldi said.

The transportation de-partment is also using transportation software which was recommended by a state audit. The software is causing some troubles, however. The software cannot let the district put in information about students who are siblings and it takes many hours to master.

Board member Mark Nephew said the district was recommended the software program but did not stand up to the state to say no. He admitted the district may have made a mistake. Board member Susan Flaherty said the program was a waste of time but at least the purchase was aidable. The software was a net cost of about $900 to the district.

“If I could have known buying into this program (wouldn’t work), I wouldn’t have done it,” Flaherty said.

Rinaldi then discussed the sharing of services. He said he has reached out to neighboring school districts including Lake Shore, Eden and North Collins but no district has shown interest. Rinaldi has also attended meetings at Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School to discuss sharing services but nothing came out of those meetings.

The district also re-searched the option for a third party to contract out bus or food services. Rinaldi said since the district is in such a rural setting, to contract out would be too expensive for bus service. Since there is new federal regulations for nutrition, contracting out for food service may be difficult. Rinaldi said the district is applying for grants and contracting out food service for revenue.

School events such as prom and National Honor Society dinners, the district is catering in-house through the food service program to create revenue.

Vogtli said she along, with the rest of the community, wants the district to be accountable.

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