Bemus Point Eyes Upgraded Facilities, Curriculum

The Bemus Point Central School Board of Education discussed possible upgrades to its athletic facility and adding more online courses through Florida Virtual, an online curriculum provider, for certain classes. Additionally, John Novotny, board president, officially resigned from the board due to work conflicts. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

BEMUS POINT — The Bemus Point Central School District will look to upgrade its facilities and its curriculum.

Members of the school board were given presentations Monday on expanding its use of Florida Virtual, an online curriculum provider, and on potentially upgrading its athletic complex.

Accompanied by student presenters, Superintendent Michael Mansfield told the board of the potential for upgrading the athletic complex’s lighting, grass field and track.

The district is only beginning the process to look into the upgrades. Additionally, the district will look at the possibility of using the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to raise money. Some of the project’s costs can be aided by the state, but Mansfield said there is a cap to how much can be received. Members from the community foundation were present Monday at the meeting.

Mansfield stressed that any funding of upgrades for the athletic complex would need community approval through a voter referendum.

Carrie Yohe, director of student programs, presented the board — with assistance from Mansfield and Principal Julie Verdonik — about expanding its use of its online coursework to the middle school. Grades sixth through eighth social studies courses will be offered through the online platform in a blended classroom. Blended classrooms are a combination of teachers and online components letting students utilize aspects of the physical classroom and the virtual one.

Mansfield said the addition of a more online-oriented curriculum is to increase its course availability. The use of online courses has increased the district’s ability to offer 13 Advanced Placement classes at Maple Grove High School. He said in 2013, the district may have had one AP course available.

In other news, the board approved the resignation of John Novotny, board president. Mansfield said Novotny had a conflict of work that requires travel. Barry Swanson, board vice president, was appointed as the new board president. Brian Walen was appointed as the new vice president.

“He did a great job,” Mansfield said of Novotny. “He was a great board member. He did a lot for the district. Life has changed, his son has graduated and it was just time.”

The board has several options on how to fill the current board vacancy. If someone is appointed after applications are fielded, that appointee will finish the remaining two years of Novotny’s term. Novotny began on the board in 2012.