Board President Refutes Claims Over Fischer’s Resignation

The Bemus Point Central School District Board of Education officially approved the resignation of Curt Fischer, former basketball and football coach, who took an abrupt leave of absence during the current basketball season.

John Novotny, board president, and Michael Mansfield, superintendent, referred back to their joint statement that was released at the time of Fischer’s resignation in January. Novotny did, however, address specific complaints that were sent to the district since that time. According to Novotny, those claims accused the administration of lying to the community, being pressured or influenced by parents or that the district didn’t take into consideration Fischer’s contributions to the athletic program. Novotny denied all accusations.

“We are saddened to see division in our community and we understand the sense of loss that some feel when a long and storied relationship ends,” Novotny said reading from a pre-written statement. “However, we see no benefit in assigning responsibility and targeting any particular person or persons believed to be responsible for Mr. Fischer’s decision. We take Mr. Fischer at his word and respect that he has made his decision that is in the best interest of he and his family.”

One person from the public addressed the board but, because the matter is a personnel issue, the board was limited in what they could say. One question pertained to who would now take over the football program next fall. Mansfield said the process for selecting a person for that position begins in March.

In other news, Mansfield gave a presentation on his current budget proposal for the 2018-19 school year. He said there is currently a $473,230 increase in expenditures and a $294,061 increase in revenue leaving a deficit of $179,169. Mansfield was confident that the administration would be able to bring the deficit down with low tax increases.

The board also looked at the 2018-19 school calendar, to much discussion. The board debated over using a split break vacation or a two week break vacation. The discussion ended with the board deciding to go with the split break vacation pending the approval at the next board meeting.

Prior to the board meeting, a brief public hearing was held to discuss tax information. The tax information involved a change to the aged income tax exemption limit in order the match the town of Ellery’s tax code. The motion was approved during the regular meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, a presentation by seventh- and sixth-grade students showcased work accomplished in TEAM and STEAM programs in the district. Later in the board meeting, Sonja DuBois, elementary school principal, briefed the board on the current STEAM program and noted that a STEAM Night will take place for parents and students to attend on March 1.