Bemus Point Vote Is Tonight

ELLERY – When the polls close at 8:30 tonight, the results will reveal the fate of a $16.5 million capital project proposal by the Bemus Point Central School District.

On Monday, the district held a regular board of education meeting in which the final in a series of public hearings on the project was presented to community members. According to Michael Mansfield, superintendent, the presentation was the last thing the district had left to do before turning the outcome of the project into the hands of its taxpaying community.

“The capital project is set to be voted on,” Mansfield said following the meeting. “We’re just hoping that the weather cooperates, and we’ll know (tonight) how it turns out.”

The two-phase, $16.4 million proposal looks to address renovations, upgrades and modifications in several areas at Maple Grove, Bemus Point Elementary and the bus garage. It aims to address these needs within three categories at each building: health and safety, maintenance, and renovations.

As several months of project planning has ground to a halt, Mansfield said the board now needs to address other district matters as 2014 rapidly approaches. One area that needs immediate attention, he said, is the district’s shared services agreements, specifically in regard to athletics.

“Sports deadlines are coming, especially football,” Mansfield said. “What we’re doing on our end, because focus on the capital project has been so prominent, is collect data in terms of projected numbers, parental input and talking with coaches. Our plan is to form a committee that includes a couple of board members, myself and administration, and have a parent information night shortly after the (holiday) break to lay out our options and get some parent feedback.”

Mansfield said the parent information meeting needs to be held within the first two weeks of January as decisions must be made by the conclusion of the district’s Jan. 13 board meeting.

“We want to have that parent meeting so everybody has a chance to give their input, and then we can make a decision,” he said.

Though the official deadline to declare combined fall sports agreements is Jan. 8, Mansfield said the district has been granted an extension through its Jan. 13 meeting due to the short amount of time that was requested.

Another area that will receive attention is the establishment of a tuition policy for families living outside the district. Mansfield said the district is exploring the idea of forming another committee to work out the details of those agreements for the 2014-15 school year.

“We’re looking at possibly having a tuition policy for students who live outside our district but want to pay tuition to come here,” Mansfield said. “That would be regarding the tuition rates and how people apply, because you want to make sure you have certain things in place so you don’t hit the district with heavy costs. There has to be some protection there.”