By Lisa Rice
Warwick Valley High School Principal Marguerite Fusco was recognized by Superintendent Dr. David Leach at the Nov. 5 School Board meeting for receiving the Above and Beyond award from the High School PTSA. Leach read excerpts from two letters, the first sent by parents of a member of the Class of 2020.
“Thank you for going above and beyond for our 2020 graduates,” he read. “You were instrumental in implementing celebrations for our seniors. The pandemic robbed them of traditional graduation, however you and your team helped create unique, memorable and safe ceremonies our children will never forget. Our children will never forget you advocated to bring our seniors together for the drive-in commencement ceremony, you were a proponent for having an in-person graduation day at the high school and kept us up to date with plans and alternate plans leading up to the events.”
“Principal Fusco, while ensuring that the Warwick Valley High School Class of 2020 got the graduation they deserved, you undertook the initially overwhelming and now enormously successful task of planning for remote learning and hybrid school models for our high school students,” he read from a letter from the High School PTSA. “In your first year as principal, you not only exceeded all of our expectations, you went above and beyond for the entire Warwick Valley High School community. For these reasons and more, you were easily chosen to receive the Warwick Valley High School PTSA Above and Beyond award.”
After a round of applause and congratulations from the school board, Dr. Leach continued with his own sentiments. He said, “You know we’re very appreciative of you and your leadership, and I’ll just add that I really admire your humility and your focus on the well-being of the students.”
“I would like to say thank you,” commented Fusco. “I am honored to have been given the award and I could not have done it without the support of my colleagues, my superintendent, my board and everyone else who was involved in all those big decisions last spring and also the reopening of school.”
Leach Identifies Markers to Start Budget
Update on state budget: three events start the new state budget cycle for schools. The first one is to take a look at the estimate by the teachers retirement system of the employer contribution rate of next year. It is estimated that the contribution to be paid in the fall of 2022 will be in the range of 9-½- 10 percent of payroll. This will be monitored during the budget process.
The second is the state education department’s release of the Nov. 15 school aid database, which provides the first estimates of the cost of school aid for the year ahead as existing formulas continue and provides updated estimates for aid due to school districts in the current year.
The third marker would be the division of budgets mid-year update to the state financial plan so by law the division of the budget in New York State is required to publish quarterly updates on state finances, which include projects on spending and revenue. While the last report was grim due to the financial impact of COVID-19, there was some positive news from the Division of Budgets; personal income was higher than expected due in part to a better than expected performance on Wall Street and a lower than expected loss of wages. According to Leach, the outlook is still a little blurry on what state aid will be available without a Federal stimulus.
Student Liaison Congratulated
Board President Sharon Davis congratulated student liaison, Simone Sullivan for qualifying as one of 16,000 National Merit Semi-Finalists having achieved one of the highest PSAT scores in New York State. She will advance to the finals, where she will compete to become one of the National Merit Scholarship recipients.
Sullivan then reported that the High School had a busy October, beginning with Spirit Week. The Student Senate raised over $600 during Breast Cancer Awareness Week, which they donated to the Pink Fund, which provides resources for non-medical living expenses for breast cancer patients undergoing current treatment.
Up-To-Date COVID19 Report Card
Due to the constantly evolving developments of COVID-19 in the community, the monthly board meeting reports may not be up to date at the time of publication. The best source for the most up to date public information is the New York State Report Card on schools. The report can be found at https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/.
Next Board Meeting
The next meeting of the Warwick Valley Central School Board will be held on Thurs., Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. and will be available for remote viewing.
Warwick Valley High School Principal Marguerite Fusco