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Monday, April 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm

City Schools superintendent addresses opt-out issue on Common Core tests

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools, common core, education, schools

Open letter from Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City Schools:

We are writing today to share your district’s perspective on the New York State Assessments in grades 3-8 that will be taking place April 14-16 and April 22-24, 2015.

Pursuant to New York State Education Department (NYSED) Regulations and subsequent guidance, all students in public and charter schools in Grades 3-8 are required to take all State assessments administered for their grade level, in accordance with both Federal and State laws. NYSED has made clear that, with very limited exceptions (such as with regard to certain students with disabilities), “there is no provision in the statute or regulation that allow parents to opt their children out of State Assessments.” Further, all public schools in New York State are mandated by NYSED to require all students in attendance in school or in attendance on the assessment days or make-up days, to take the assessment scheduled for that day.

Batavia joins many other districts in calling for an end to using these assessments in the administrator and teacher evaluation process. We believe that great teaching is not always reflected in the results of any single assessment. We also believe that state assessments are just one indicator that can help us analyze student growth and school performance. As far as the opt out/refusal movement that has taken place this spring, we would like to share how having your child refuse the test could impact BCSD through these four points:

1. We do not use the assessment results to punish or terminate teachers. Rather, we work collaboratively with the BOE, administrators and teacher union to ensure that we keep perspective over this one piece of data for student achievement. It is not used in BCSD to hurt our administrators, teachers or students.

2. The assessment data allows us to analyze and reflect on Batavia’s curriculum and instruction practices while also comparing our students to other students across the state with similar population demographics. In general, we do very well compared to other small city school districts with populations like BCSD.

3. We are a Focus District. We were identified in the summer of 2012 for a subgroup of students at Robert Morris in 2009-10 that struggled with the NYS assessments. We were told it would be a three year process of working with NYSED to improve incrementally each year. Since Robert Morris was closing due to the consolidation, we were required to have the school with the largest population of that subgroup take its place. Thus, the Middle School became our Focus School. We have had to submit education improvement plans for both the District and Middle School each year that must then be approved by NYSED. Thus far, we have shown incremental growth each year. If we do not make our participation rate of 95% on the exams, we potentially could lose more local control for our district. We have regularly made this participation target. This year we are in jeopardy of not reaching our participation rate due to the number of refusals being submitted by parents. Two or more years of not making the participation goal could lead to us being deemed a Priority District which would have even more ramifications than being a Focus District.

4. If our participation rate dips below 95% we can also potentially lose a portion or the entire Title I federal grant, which impacts 26 teaching positions and professional development opportunities for our staff. It would be the equivalent of losing funding for 12 full-time teaching positions.

We hope this information is helpful and thank you for providing us with outstanding children to work, learn and grow with every day. Take Care of BCSD!

Christopher J. Dailey, Superintendent of Schools

Molly Corey, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

Law and Order: Drug charges follow traffic stop in Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, crime, pembroke, Stafford

Jacqueline Raj Garrett, 36, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and uninspected motor vehicle. Garrett was stopped at 5:37 p.m. Sunday on Main Road, Stafford, by Deputy Michael Lute. Garrett was jailed on $100 cash bail. A passenger, Aaron D. Swimline, 29, of Tinkham Road, Darien, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Jeanette Higgins, 39, of 23 Holland Ave., Batavia, is charged with two felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st, and one count of petit larceny. Higgins is accused of submitting forms to DSS that didn't disclose cash child support payments. Higgins allegedly received $208 in food stamp payments in February and March for which she wasn't entitled. Higgins was arrested by a Sheriff's deputy following an investigation by DSS.

Adrionna S. Ellison, 18, of Rochester, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Ellison was reportedly ordered to leave College Village property and not return. A security officer later allegedly found her hiding under a bed in one of the apartments. She was arrested by State Police and issued an appearance ticket.

Lydia Grossi-Young, 45, of Hopkins Road, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Grossi-Young was alleged involved in a domestic incident at 2 p.m. Sunday in Batavia.

Daniel Paul Molina, 35, of West Broad Street, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, unlicensed operator and driving a vehicle without proper stop lights. Molina was stopped at 6:47 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Molina allegedly has more than 10 prior driver license suspensions. Molina was jailed on $5,000 bail.

A 16-year-old resident of County Route 53, Arkport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was a passenger in a vehicle stopped at 6:06 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona, and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Jaime Lynn Killinger, 38, of West Taft Road, Le Roy, was arrested on warrants stemming from a DWI charge and a charge of driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Killinger was arrested by the Irondequoit Police Department and turned over to the Sheriff's Office and jailed on $500 bail.

Eric Robert Root, 18, of West Avenue, Spencerport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and speeding. Root was stopped at 6:54 p.m. Friday on Parkview Drive, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Kyle Timothy Johnson, 25, of Park Avenue, Waterport, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Johnson was arrested at 1:52 a.m. Friday on West Main Street, Le Roy, by Deputy Joseph Corona, after allegedly being found in possession of a hypodermic instrument he was not legally allowed to possess.

Jason L. Cramer Sr., 30, of Water Street, Attica, is charged with burglary, 3rd, petit larceny and criminal mischief, 4th. The arrest stems from an alleged incident reported Nov. 6 at a residence on Liberty Street, Batavia. Cramer was jailed without bail.

Andrew L. Kosiorek, 43, of Wood Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Kosiorek allegedly failed to comply with terms of Drug Treatment Court and was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Mark W. Grabowski, 57, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from an unreasonable noise charge.

Monday, April 13, 2015 at 9:40 am

Photos: Stan's opens new showroom

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Stan's Harley-Davidson

Stan's Harley-Davidson held an open house Saturday to celebrate the opening of its new, expanded showroom. As part of the ceremonies, Lt. Colonel Ulises Miranda III from Early College International High School, Army JROTC Battalion, presented Daryl Horzempa and Debbie Parks of Stan's an award for their commitment to veterans.

Presentation of Colors

Jon DelVecchio, of Street Skills, was on hand to discuss motorcycle rider safety.

Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Crash with injuries at Wortendyke and West Main Street

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at West Main Street Road and Wortendyke Road. East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Collins honors district winners of Congressional Art Contest

post by James Burns in batavia, art, chris collins, GCC

The 2015 Congressional Art Competition winner and honorable mentions were announced today at Genesee Community College in the Roz Steiner gallery.

The competition was open to high school students to enter their visual art. Oil paintings, photographs, works in pencil, paints, pastels and mixed media where hung in the gallery. All created by our very own, very talented, local high school artists. 

The Roz Steiner Gallery at GCC was filled with happy visitors admiring classical and modem works. The gallery had the look and excitement of an opening at MoMA in Manhattan.  The exhibit runs in the gallery April 23 through May 18. If you are at all interested in art you should try and see this impressive exhibit. 

Rep. Chris Collins was on hand to announce winners and congratulate all the students involved. But before the award announcement, Collins also took time to personally and privately tour the exhibit and admire the truly impressive works.

UPDATE: Here are the winners:

Winner -  Mallory Showalter, Clarence High School
1st runner up – Kazuki Kanehira, Clarence High School
Honorable mention – Danielle Saeva, Clarence High School
Honorable mention – Cheyenne Ernst, Batavia High School

During his opening comments Representative Collins renewed his support of the Arts in schools.

The winner’s work will be exhibited with the winners from all of the rest of the congressional districts at the U.S. Capitol for a year. For more information on the Congressional Art Competition please visit: http://www.house.gov/content/educate/art_competition/

To see more picture go to: http://jimburns.org/p694578929#h41e007ef

Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 7:58 am

GGLDC unveils 'Innovation Zone'

post by James Burns in batavia, GCEDC, Innovation Zone, MedTech Park

Officials unveiled the Innovation Zone at MedTech Park in Batavia yesterday. The Innovation Zone is designed to attract high-tech entrepreneurs and start-ups. To help start-ups it will provide working space and free Wi-Fi as well as programing and business services for a $200 a month fee.

A total of $50,000 for the Innovation Zone was provide by the National Grid’s CleanTech Incubation Program. The project was run by the GGLDC (Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp.), which is the real-estate arm of the GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center).

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

City School budget advances with no tax increase and three added teaching positions

post by Jess Wheeler in batavia, City Schools, education, schools

The return of three teaching positions and the lack of a tax increase highlight a 2015-16 budget proposal for Batavia City schools following this week's budget meeting. 

The reinstated teaching positions include a science teacher and a social studies teacher, both at the middle school level. The third position is for a districtwide music teacher.

There are students on a waiting list to take music classes.

The preliminary budget released in January projected a .55-percent increase in the tax levy, but with new state aid numbers that increase was zeroed out.

“The governor has always given budget projections,” Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said. “This year, he did not. So we used the budget numbers from the current year. When the state budget was finalized, we saw an increase of about $427,000. We used that to reduce the tax levy to 0 percent.”

The $427,000 will be coming in New York State Aid.

The proposed budget includes an increase in mileage for transportation at John Kennedy Intermediate School.

“I think the Board has sensed the needs of the taxpayer and has done even better than the governor projected,” Rozanski said.

The board meets again April 14 to finalize the budget proposal.

The public vote is May 19. The election will include the budget, transportation and three open seats on the school board.

Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Make reservations for annual 'birthday' party for Batavia Peace Garden

post by Billie Owens in announcements, batavia

From Carol Grasso:

Hi everyone, May 9th we are having a Birthday Party for the Aunnal Dinner for the Peace Garden.  Former Miss Teen New York State Corin Stellakis will be our guest speaker this year. The dinner is at Terry Hills Restarant 5:00pm cocktails and dinner at 6:00pm. $25.00 per ticket. Please call if you would like to go.585-343-1027. We are honoring Kathy Jasinski, Rob Borroughs, Kelly Rapone,and Potters Lumber Yard,( Mary Dix). Hope to see you there. Mark your calendars!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm

A 366-acre area in Batavia designated as 'brownfield opportunity area'

The governor's office announced the designation of 12 brownfield opportunity areas today, including one in Batavia. Here's a portion of the press release. We've included the top overview portion of the press release and the section about Batavia.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the designation of 12 brownfield opportunity areas in economically challenged communities across New York State. The Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program helps local communities establish revitalization strategies that return dormant and blighted areas into productive areas to spur economic development. This designation is based upon plans of varying focus that reflect local conditions, and projects receiving this designation are given priority status for grants and additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credit incentives.

“By designating these sites as brownfield opportunity areas, we are helping to reimagine their potential as vibrant parts of the surrounding communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This distinction allows us to put their rehabilitation on the fast-track with additional state resources, and that means new development, jobs and opportunities in the future. This is another way that our administration is joining with local partners to revitalize blighted areas across the state, and I look forward to seeing their transformation continue in the days to come.”

Prior to their designation, these communities received planning grants financed through New York’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program to complete a nomination that set forth revitalization strategies and promoted sound redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality within the affected areas. The Department of State accepted the nominations for these BOAs and has determined they meet the necessary requirements and criteria for designation. Developers, property owners and others with projects and properties located within a designated BOA will be eligible to access additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax incentives and receive priority and preference for State grants to develop projects aimed at transforming dormant and blighted areas in their communities and putting them back into productive use.

Brownfields Reform and State Superfund
Separate from the sites receiving BOA designation today, the 2015-16 State Budget extends the Brownfields Cleanup Program for 10 years, and includes important reforms to protect taxpayers and promote brownfield redevelopment, particularly Upstate. The Budget also includes a new $100 million appropriation and extends the State Superfund cleanup program for ten years. The Superfund has been instrumental in identifying, investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites throughout the State.

Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said: “These designations will serve as tremendous environmental and economic development engines for communities in need of public and private investment. The added incentives will afford these communities great opportunities for new housing development, businesses and job creation, and overall beautification.” The Secretary of State is charged with the designation of BOAs after a community planning process.

Val Washington, president, New Partners for Community Revitalization, said: "From Buffalo to the Bronx, from Wyandanch on Long Island to Lewis County in the North Country, New York's BOA Program is showing its worth. Uniquely, it brings community and municipal leaders together to develop plans to revitalize neighborhoods impacted by multiple brownfields. We applaud and support Governor Cuomo's important announcement today, and appreciate his leadership in increasing state government support for developers who will work in these designated areas."

...

Batavia Opportunity Area, Genesee County -- This consists of a 366-acre area characterized by an estimated 75 potential brownfield sites located within the Batavia Central Corridor. The primary community revitalization objectives include: cleaning up and redeveloping underutilized, vacant and brownfield properties with appropriate uses; stabilizing existing neighborhoods; and continuing the revitalization of the Downtown Business District. A $266,508 BOA Program grant financed planning activities.

City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino said: “We would like to thank the Department of State for providing the funding and guidance to complete Batavia’s Batavia Opportunity Area plan. The Batavia BOA has been an overwhelming success and we have already seen significant developer interest in our brownfield sites. To date we have already received more than $2 million in grant funding for TEP, NY Main Street and CDBG applications that advance recommendations in the Plan.”

Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Steve Pike explains why he dug up urn with father's ashes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

WATCH: Stephen Pike, the 18-year-old accused of digging up his father's grave, explains why he did it.Read more HERE: http://spr.ly/61894Zt5

Posted by 13 WHAM ABC on Thursday, April 9, 2015

From The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM.

Steve Pike, the 18-year-old Perry resident charged with aggravated cemetery desecration, explained today why he dug up his father's urn at St. Joseph Cemetery.

I get it," Pike said. "They might have saw disrespect, but he's my father. I think the urn is right under only about that deep under. I never even thought I would be as close to my dad as I was. I got his jacket. I got his Coca-Cola stuff. I got all this stuff, but you know you want closure." 

Pike's father died in 2006. 

"I can't find anybody. Nobody really gets it. So I went over to the cemetery and I just grabbed a shovel. Little, not a big shovel. Just lifted up the dirt, put up the grass, and I found it and I kind of just broke down emotionally right there, and I'm like, 'Wow, Dad,'" he said. "I never thought I would be that close to my dad. I can't hug him. If his body was under there and not his ashes, I'm not going to dig up his body."

Pike turned himself in today. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

UPDATE: Here's a link to 13WHAM's full story where Pike explains further that he didn't learn who his biological father was until after his father died.

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