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Education

Batavia School Board approves $1.5 million in capital improvements

BATAVIA – The Batavia School Board on Tuesday approved a $1.5 million capital improvement and staffing plan, but not before hearing several voices of concern.

School board members voted 7-0 in favor of approving the plan, which is for Batavia School District 101’s 2014-15 school year. Before the vote, discussion focused heavily on the addition of staffing.

The plan includes the hiring of three instructional coaches for teacher professional development and implementation of technology, one additional elementary assistant principal and four additional employees in program support.

Chris Virelli, a Hoover-Wood Elementary School parent, was one of a couple people to speak to the board during the beginning of the regular monthly meeting. He opposed hiring additional coaches.

“Strive to spend less than the approved annual levy increase,” Virelli said to board members. “Prove to your constituents that you are not just a rubber stamp for the administration.”

Parent Debbie Rempert spoke on behalf of about 15 other Alice Gustafson Elementary School parents who came to the board meeting. The parents there are concerned about class sizes at their school and question why more teachers can’t be hired at the elementary level instead of the instructional coaches.

There is actually a surplus of elementary teachers, but the district has decided to keep them, said Steve Pearce, assistant superintendent of human resources, during the meeting.

Pearce and other district officials talked about the benefits of having more dedicated instructional coaches for teachers and assistant principals.

The $1.5 million cost for the plan is an increase of $400,000 from the previous year, said Kris Monn, the district’s assistant superintendent of finance.

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