Board discusses future of Westfield school district

WESTFIELD – The Westfield Board of Education Monday night highlighted what the school will be trying to achieve this year, and it does not involve merging.

A second vote on the merger is not a priority at this time. Board members wanted to know why the school wasn’t going with the merger at Monday night’s meeting.

“People in the community are confused,” board member Roger Jopek said. “They hear what a great place we have here and don’t like the merger. If we have something good here then why merge.”

“We reached out to the districts and Brocton was the only one who answered,” board member Brenda Backus said. “The results we sent out says the community wants this to be over. It wouldn’t be favorable to keep this up. We spent too much time on it. We made huge strides here. We need to focus on our own house and own family and get more students to come here. Let’s put the merger to rest.”

President Steve Cockram addressed the reasons why merger was on the table in the first place.

“When we first looked into it we felt like drastic measures needed to be taken,” he said. “Since then things have been reduced. We don’t feel forced to do the merger now.”

Board member Marie Edwards feels the community should have concrete reasons as to why the school will not merge.

“I still think sharing is important,” she said. “We spent a lot of money on unsuccessful mergers.”

In other matters, Deanne Manzella was appointed the new board of education member, replacing Jeff Greabell, who resigned in July.

“She keeps the interests of the district and students at heart,” Cockram said.

The board announced it will focus its attention on four goals for this school year: student development, finances, communication and climate.

The board also adopted the Strategic Planning Committee’s recommendations for the next three school years.

Renold Inc., a design and technology company, plans to speak with the students, and mentor a program to help children learn what jobs it has to offer.