Music program ends at Marathon CSD; school district wins million-dollar grant

(Photo via Marathon Central School District).

The Marathon Central School District Board of Education (BOE) met recently to discuss recent events and achievements at the school.

Marathon BOE’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Junior-Senior High School library.

Music Teachers Resign

Although the agenda item discussing the resignation of both Appleby music teachers – essentially ending the elementary music program – was moved to executive session, the information is available on the public BoardDocs site, and the issue came up during public discussion. First-year music teacher Lauri Hall was the first to resign, effective as of Oct. 18. The resignation of Richard “Tony” DeLousia came later, and will be effective Nov. 29.

Fifth grade teacher Valerie Widdall used her time during the public comment portion of the meeting to address how the sudden turn of events has affected students.

“To describe our fifth graders as bummed about a music program ending is an understatement,” Widdalll said. “Watching these kids return their instruments with slumped shoulders was hard to stomach.”

Widdall went on to describe an interaction with one student who had been particularly quiet that day, but turned to her with a question, “ ‘Is Ms. Hall leaving because the parents are bullying her?’” the student asked. She answered the question with a question, “Would you want to work here if you were treated the way Ms. Hall was treated? (The student) answered ‘No’.” 

According to Widdall, the actions of three families who were vocal about their intolerance of Ms. Hall has left 400 students without a music program and denied the majority of families in Marathon who are “welcoming” the opportunity to have their students get a full education. 

The exact reasons for the resignations were not explicitly stated, and it could not be confirmed if they were directly related.

PTO Disbanded

The BOE meeting marked another ending when the Marathon Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) made an impromptu announcement that it would be disbanding. During the Policy Review of 3250, which defines the goal of the PTO and encourages people to join, members were invited to comment on the change. A lack of volunteers was cited as the reason for the end of the organization, but it was voiced that there was a hope it may be revived in the future with additional interest. 

Million Dollar Bus Grant

Marathon applied for and won an EPA grant in the amount of $1,185,000 towards the purchase of three new electric buses. The funds include a total of $60,000 for charging infrastructure to go along with the vehicles. 

It is mandatory for all districts to begin transitioning to electric vehicles by 2027, ahead of the New York State regulations mandating that all new vehicles purchased be electric by 2035. The funds are a huge win for the district, but more will be needed to convert the entire fleet. The board will continue to look into additional funding options.

Agriculture Program to Get Laser

The board recognized the receipt of a $500 donation to the Agriculture Program from Visions Federal Credit Union. Program advisor Crystal Aukema applied for the funding through the Visions Loves Educators program, and plans to use the funds to purchase a laser engraver.

Student Earns National Recognition

Local equestrian and Marathon student Sarena Eaton (Class of 2025) recently traveled to Oklahoma City, Okla. to compete in the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show. Eaton, whose favorite horse breed is the Morgan, was named the national champion for 14-to-15 year-olds at the competition. The BOE invited Eaton to the meeting to recognize her achievement and hear about her experience.

Marathon High School student Sarena Eaton (middle) was honored at the recent Marathon Board of Education meeting for her achievements at the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma City, Okla. (Photo Source: Chelsea Horak of The Cortland Voice).

Community Calendar

Nov. 17 – Senior Citizen Thanksgiving Dinner, 4-7 p.m. in the H.S. cafeteria

Nov. 18 – Appleby Awards; Life of Olympian Dodgeball Tournament, 7 p.m.

Nov. 21 – Band Citrus Fruit Sale

Dec. 3 – Life of Olympian Bottle & Can Drive, 8-11 a.m.

Dec. 5-9 – Santa's Secret Shop at Appleby; SADD Holiday Food Drive 

Dec. 7 – BOE Meeting, 7 p.m. 

Dec. 8 – Appleby Holiday Concert, 6 p.m.