Sunday, January 27, 2019

Capital Project Update...

As you may know, our team that has been working on the capital project plans (architect, construction management, and financial advisors) made a visit recently to the State Education Department (SED) to discuss our thoughts and plans relative to the project. Unfortunately, the meeting did not go as well as anyone would have hoped for, in large part due to the SED representatives not being prepared. Despite the district working for several months to prepare to information and documents for them, and having delivered the information a month prior to the meeting; the SED staff had not taken the time to review the information that had been provided. While we were not able to receive the information from SED that we were hoping to obtain, we were able to learn a lot about the process, expectations, and determine a better strategy to maximize our needs. While the group at SED was understanding of the need to improve Staley, and agreed that most likely a new building was needed; they were not convinced that a full building was needed. Their philosophy is always to aid as little as possible, which is common sense. Our job is to get as much aided as possible. So, they are working on the data relative to class sizes throughout the district and determining if we should move students from Staley into other buildings to minimize the cost of a new building. From the SED standpoint, the average k-6 class size should be between 25-30 students. Along with this, our team has decided to research an alternative plan for Staley which would still provide a new structure for the students, however would be located at the site of the current Clough building. We will develop a plan to be able to compare the concepts to determine what is most sensible for our community. Beyond the Staley site, the only other information that came from the meeting is that SED will not fund any improvements to the current athletic site on Turin Rd. because the complex is not attached to a school. The formulas and regulations are complicated, but essentially, aid is driven by the number of students in a building combined with a series of designations for room types, etc. With no students permanently at the site, there is zero dollars assigned to it. Therefor, if we want to keep it there, it would be 100% community paid for. If we move the complex to RFA, it can be covered 100% by what is known as the maximum cost allowance for a given school. In the end, now that we know their game, we can develop a game plan that both allows our students and community to have the best/state of the art facilities, while meeting the requirements of SED to maximize aid for the tax base. With all of this planning going on, we have also decided to not hold a referendum vote this spring because we do not feel that the voters will have enough detailed information to make an informed decision. In the coming weeks, we will be developing further ideas, returning to SED, and presenting information to the Board and in the community. As the plan develops, we will continue to welcome conversations from the community. The anticipated vote timeframe is currently set for December of 2019. 

Go Red For Women

On the first Friday of every February, which is designated as American Heart Month, the nation comes together, igniting a wave of red from coast to coast. From landmarks to news anchors and neighborhoods to online communities; this annual groundswell unites millions of people for a common goal: the eradication of heart disease and stroke. Friday, February 1 marks the kick off event of this National movement; Go Red For Women! Please join me in supporting this great cause by wearing RED on Friday, February 1!!

Rhapsody Collegiate A Cappella Showcase

On Saturday, February 2, Rome Free Academy's Rhapsody will be hosting their annual Collegiate A Cappella Showcase. Beginning at 7:00 p.m., come on out to RFA to enjoy an evening of amazing music. With collegiate groups from across the Northeast in participation, including our very own Rhapsody, it is a night of music sure to entertain!! For more information, please contact the RFA music department.

American Heart Association Run/Walk

On Saturday, February 9th, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, the American Heart Association will be hosting their 17th annual walk/run event at Rome Free Academy. The indoor walk also includes an outdoor run! Besides the walk/run, they will be holding a Heath Expo and several “Sydney’s Circle” events taking place in the gym. The American Heart Association has been very active in the Mohawk Valley and in Rome, providing support for many many people over the years. Let's get behind this fantastic cause and show our support. Registration opens at 8:00 a.m. For more information or to register your team for the walk/run, please visit  

Pre-K Registration 

Registration for the 3-year-old and 4-year-old 2019-2020 pre-K programs will be held from March 4 through March 8 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day. An evening registration event is also available on Wednesday, March 6, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, including required documentation for registration please follow this link:                  PRE-K REGISTRATION INFORMATION

BOCES Family Welcome Center

The BOCES Consortium of Continuing Education (BCCE) has received a federal grant to create a Literacy Zone in the City of Rome and operate a Family Welcome Center at its Rome ACCESS Site. It is the third Literacy Zone that BCCE operates. Literacy Zones are reform initiative intended to help close the achievement gap in communities with high rates of poverty and low levels of literacy. Literacy Zone providers offer or coordinate services to help address literacy deficits in their designated community, including high school equivalency preparation, family literacy support, English as a Second Language programs, workforce development program, interagency connections, transition support for veterans, out-of-school youth and adults leaving incarceration settings, and support for senior citizens, individuals with disabilities and families living in poverty. A calendar with a schedule of community presentations is on the wall at RAS and most students have been attending most of the events, Sebastian said. Topics have included smoke detectors in the home, parenting support groups, healthy relationships, flu shots, properly using car seats, nutrition, transportation, financial literacy and a variety of other issues. For more information, please follow this link: BOCES FAMILY WELCOME CENTER