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Grand Island schools eye savings

Updated: 05/28/08 7:16 AM

The Grand Island School Board plans to get a jump, and possibly lower prices, on a capital renovation project it plans to put to a public vote early next year.

By consolidating scoping, committee review, design and board approval into a streamlined process before the referendum next February, bids can go out to contractors before they are booked for the year, avoiding higher prices, according to the project’s design and management consultants.

No dollar amounts have been attached to the project, and designers are finishing work on surveys and benchmark work. Superintendent Robert Christmann said specifics on the project size and goals would likely be available in June, with board approval expected in January.

“We think that overall, the district should be in a position to have a referendum vote in February of next year,” said Roland

A. Coleman II, associate principal at Cannon Design.

Rather than using district and public committees to form ideas for what could be expanded and improved, Cannon Design and construction manager LP Ciminelli will present committees with lists and concepts for review and refinement. That leaves fewer design specifics to be pinned down after a vote, Coleman said, making earlier bids on the project possible.

Christmann said committees that are looking at prekindergarten expansion and transportation issues also will help shape the project’s final scope.

In another matter, the board unanimously approved a total of five adjustments to staffing and class distribution for the 2008-09 school year.

A total reduction of one full-time position, or a combination of equivalent part-timers, will be made in the district’s math departments, while Spanish language will drop two classes, and music and art reduced one class each across the district. Technology instruction will add another class, due to an upsurge in enrollment, Christmann said.

Christmann also announced that every team at Grand Island High School has been awarded the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Team Scholar Athlete award, as each team had a group grade point average of 90 or higher. Among state high schools, Christmann said, only a handful have every team receive the award.

“Everybody, from coaches to parents to students and teachers, pulled together, and we have achieved something that is extremely rare,” he said. “I think it’s a reflection of how important it is to be considered academically excellent in this district.”