Cincinnatus BOE listens to coaches’ concerns; gets prepared for school year

Cincinnatus Central School District. (Photo Source: Chelsea Horak of The Cortland Voice).

The Cincinnatus Central School Board of Education (BOE) recently met to listen to the public and prepare for the upcoming school year.

The next Cincinnatus BOE meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Aug 18 in the school library.

Coaches’ Concerns

During the public comment portion of the meeting, long-time coaches Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Brown voiced their concerns about the process of selecting students to be “tested up” if their athletic skills and other factors qualify them. The coaches, who run the soccer and modified programs, expressed that they suddenly felt left out of the process, in sharp contrast to previous years, creating confusion and concern for the upcoming athletic seasons. The Browns have a combined nearly 40 years of experience coaching at Cincinnatus, and the lack of transparency has left them questioning how they are valued at the district.

The BOE responded that the procedure that is being followed is not new per se, but that they were adhering to its guidelines more strictly than in previous years, citing several changes in athletic directors over the last decade as one reason for a lack of consistency in recent years. The procedure ensures that a student’s social and emotional development are also at the appropriate level to move up to the next athletic tier, where they would likely be interacting with students slightly older than themselves. 

Mr. Brown agreed to meet with Superintendent Todd Freeman to go over the policy in detail, and both coaches left the meeting following the public comment portion. The BOE expressed regret over the communication regarding the changes to the process, and was resolved to make corrections to current and future rollouts in policy and procedure changes. 

Looking Ahead

There have been several updates to prepare for the upcoming school year, including the rollout of the district’s new website, which includes a language conversion option to increase access.  Printing of the school calendars is being finalized, and they will be mailed to parents soon. Any changes to the calendar will be available online throughout the year.

The BOE approved several items, including the renewal of agreements with BOCES regarding classroom use and with Cincinnatus Fire District for use of a field. Also on the agenda were approval of personnel such as a school counselor and social worker after the resignation of two counselors at the end of last year. The board also discussed the effectiveness of the dental program at the school, and expressed interest in seeing it continue. 

The BOE also discussed ways the district could encourage an inclusive culture within the schools, pointing out that even the posters used in the halls could be a tool to ensure everyone’s interests are being represented and included. 

Freeman reported that the crew working on the capital project is on track to complete updates needed by the start of the school year. This means that floors will be finished, but some counters will be temporary while work continues. However, the counters in question are in tech spaces, and equipment can still be in place for school activities. Repairing the wood floors rather than replacing them has saved both time and money while beautifying the school, as has the concrete patching on the stairs. The BOE also discussed ways to improve safety as updates are made to the student parking entrance and crosswalk, with possible options being to move the crosswalk and add additional signage.