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Letter from Board President - Susan Murphy

Writing this in August is a shock knowing that September is only 4 weeks away!  But that said, Welcome to Fall, and to a new school year.

My name is Sue Greenfield Murphy, this year’s School Board President. Let me introduce myself to you.  I am a native of Skaneateles, grew up on a farm, and am a 1980 graduate of Skaneateles School.  Three generations of my family have been through the Skaneateles School system and my two sons, David and Matthew, and several Greenfield/Card nieces and nephews who are currently enrolled now make generation number four! My mother, Barb Greenfield, was the school nurse for many years in the Middle and Waterman schools.  I graduated from Mohawk Valley Community College with A.A.S. degree.  I started work in Syracuse for the Onondaga County Association and worked there for 17 years.  When an opportunity became available at the Town of Skaneateles Community Center, I took that job to be closer to my two sons. From there I moved into the Parks Departments position as Parks Manager and have been working for the Town of the last 17 years. I am entering my sixth year on the school board.  You probably see me at the Farmers Market, working in Austin Park, serving as Play Day Coordinator, or walking my dog around the Village.

So enough about of me!  Let me tell you what the Board of Education has been working on over the last several months.  First, we have Project 2021 vote coming in November which we will ask the community for approval of a $36million capital project which will impact each of the buildings on our campus and at the transportation center on the western side of the village. I am sure that you have seen articles and pictures of our deteriorating school conditions.   We have worked diligently to attend to these areas. Anyone who owns a home can understand the constant maintenance that is involved.  Each year,   depending on budget, certain areas get updated/repaired.  And as the years go on, there is a time where you just have to bite the bullet and put on that new roof that you’ve been putting off, install new windows, gut a room, or put on that much anticipated addition.  Yes, I hear you saying…with low enrollment why are we spending taxpayer’s money on these buildings? We should start closing buildings and bank the money! I totally understand and I get it.  I understand the sticker shock, too, of a $36million dollar project. With that said, there has been an upswing in enrollment - not earth shaking, but an upswing that wasn’t predicted.  Last summer, for example, we enrolled an additional 46 students and already this summer we have enrolled an additional 30 students with the majority of August still to go! This is in addition to the additional kindergarten class that we have already added for next year.   I am just going to touch on a few topics and explain more in a week or two with other updates and explanations. 

In future articles, I or other board members will be updating the public on what exactly is being done in Project 2021 and why we are doing it, and why we are doing it now.  For now, suffice it to say that there are still classrooms, locker rooms, gymnasiums, and systems that have not changed since I was in school 37 years ago! Given the deteriorated conditions, the changes in education, and changes in the needs of our children over the years, it is time to make the necessary renovations.

Before closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dedicated and devoted Strategic Planning Committee who is made up of community members who have help guide us along with putting this project together.  They have asked us the tough questions; they had us do our homework to make sure if there weren’t better options available elsewhere; they had us think out of the box and looking down the road 15 – 20 years.

In the near future, Ken Slentz, our district superintendent, will be setting up tours for the public to go through the school so that you have a firsthand look at what will be updated or repaired. 

If you have any questions, please contact Ken Slentz or Joe Butler, building project coordinator,  at 291-2221.

Again, Welcome Fall! But summer isn’t over just yet- so enjoy it while you can.
Susan G. Murphy
Board of Education
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Kenneth G. Slentz
45 East Elizabeth Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152