By Rich Place
The West Valley School Board of Education on Monday voted by a 4-2 tally to approve Eric Lawton to continue to serve as the district’s superintendent for the next three years.
The board met for an hour in executive session prior to the vote, which appoints Lawton to serve as superintendent through June 30, 2021.
School board members Dawn Samborski and Timothy Ploetz voted against the resolution. The board has been operating since mid-December without a seventh member following the resignation of Brad Frank due to military obligations.
There was no discussion held about the matter following the executive session other than the resolution being read by school board president Stephen Kowalski. Ploetz said on Tuesday he voted against the measure because the board has yet to review its evaluation performed six months ago with Lawton.
“We did an evaluation and we haven’t reviewed it,” he said. “I was all set for a one-year extension to see how he did on our new process for evaluations.”
Samborski could not be reached by press time on Tuesday to comment on the matter.
Lawton, a Springville resident, has served as West Valley superintendent since 2012. He previously served as a technology teacher at Pembroke and Iroquois and as a principal at Holland and Cassadaga Valley.
IN OTHER BUSINESS at the meeting, Lawton said he received a draft earlier on Monday of the results of a pre-annexation study by Dr. William Silky of Castallo & Silky LLC but had yet to review them by the board meeting.
He said he plans to have Silky present to the school board in April and, from there, determine which direction the board wishes to proceed. There could be subsequent presentations with the Ellicottville and Springville-Griffith Institute school boards if the West Valley board desires, Lawton said.
Castallo & Silky LLC has been working with the West Valley school district since last autumn on the pre-annexation study.
School business official Ann O’Brien, fresh off a trip from Albany from a meeting with leaders of the New York State Association of School Business Officials about the state budget, presented to the board on Monday the instructional aspect of the budget, which had little surprises.
“We haven’t increased any staffing, so what you’d have here for the most part is … increases due to contractual agreements,” she said.
O’Brien also explained the recently calculated tax levy limit, which is 4.65 percent or $3.14 million.
“That does not necessarily mean that is what we are going to be doing for our budget,” she said, noting the actual tax levy for the upcoming school budget is yet to be determined.
The board approved a resolution to include the purchase of a 22-passenger school bus at a cost not to exceed $55,732 as part of its annual budget vote. The bus would replace bus No. 90, a 2009 model with over 70,000 miles on it, O’Brien said. It fits with the district’s bus replacement schedule, she said.
“One of the issues with this particular bus … is the body is starting to get thin on it,” O’Brien said. “Once that happens and we start making the repairs on it we are going to be spending quite a bit of money to do that because that is something we’ll have to have sent out.”
The board also approved a High School Fun Night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 26 and a Community Service Day for May 4. It also approved a new West Valley Art Club for the high school grade levels.
The next meeting of the West Valley School Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 17 in the school library.