Brocton BOE addresses low test scores

By GREG FOX

OBSERVER Staff Writer

BROCTON – As part of a recent Brocton Board of Education meeting, Superintendent John Hertlein spoke briefly about the standardized test scores students received this past year as part of the new state curriculum, the Common Core.

“These scores should not scare people. They are benchmarks for the Common Core and we needed a starting place and when the state of New York averages a 31 percent passing rate, obviously everyone is in the same boat we are,” he said. “I’m not so concerned about the numbers as I am the plan in making those numbers better next year, which will be outlined in our second September meeting. I don’t want anybody to be deflated, especially the staff and teachers. We just have to figure out what they want and how to have our kids do better.”

In the subject area of English, the percentage of Brocton students in grades 3 through 8 that scored either above-average or proficient were 18.2, 48.8, 23.2, 18.2, 27.1 and 42.5 percent, respectively. In the subject of Math, those numbers were 27.2, 39, 4.8, 6, 12.8 and 15 percent, respectively.

Also during the meeting, Middle/High School Principal Jason Delcamp and Elementary Principal Sandra Olson were granted tenure, both effective Aug. 31.

The board also approved a new elementary classroom and elementary teacher, Kimberly Tiberio, to drive down the student-teacher ratio for the upcoming school year.

Business Executive Betty DeLand also updated the board on tax information. Due to the assessments and equalization rates remaining constant in the towns of Portland, Pomfret and Stockton, there will be no change in tax rates and the tax levy set to be collected from when voters approved the budget in May.

Property owners within the district will be able to pay their taxes from Sept. 10 to Oct. 10 without penalty. A 2 percent penalty will be added from Oct. 11 until Nov. 13.

Jeffrey Nagle, an engineer with Sandberg Kessler Architecture and Engineering, also spoke to the board regarding problems with the domestic hot water heater, which either needs to be repaired or replaced.

“What was put into the (EXCEL Capital Project) was to just check the heater out, basically, and do a little cleaning,” he said. “When it got time to do that, we noticed a large stain under one of the water heater burners. We pulled it and the heat exchanger was coated with scale and has basically failed.”

Scale is a buildup of minerals and dissolved solids formed on heated metal, causing hot spots and eventual failure.

Nagle said repairing (which he recommended as the better option) would cost about $21,000 while installing a more efficient unit would cost about $36,500. The school would still be supplied with hot water while the system is repaired since the other water heater would still be online.

The board will take action regarding that issue at the next meeting after it has had time to review both options.

As part of another resolution, a number of change orders for the capital project were approved. Those change orders included safety cameras and an intercom for the elementary school lobby, four new sanitary pipes, holes drilled for electric and air, monitoring stations for security cameras and a credit for electric changes in the fitness room, among other items.

With the credit, the total cost of the change orders is about $22,500.

A significant amount of money is still left over as part of the budget for the capital project, so taxpayers will not have to pick up the cost of the approved change orders.

The board also decided to table a motion to approve a tentative collective bargaining agreement between the school district and the Brocton Central School Secretarial Association. The issue will be referred back to committee for further review and discussion.

It was also announced that the Brocton-Portland Midget Football group would be paying for lighting during its home games. That rate, which the board approved, will be $10.08 for every 1.5 hours.

The next regular board meeting is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the board room.

Comments may be sent to gfox@observertoday.com