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General Brown BOE to consider conference cost

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DEXTER — A year ago, the General Brown Central School District board discussed allowing its members to go to one conference, and receive other training online. Now, the board must consider how many members, if any, it wants to send to the New York State School Boards Association conference in Rochester this fall, as the district’s fiscal situation is so dire it may become financially insolvent in just over one year. The registration fee is $460 per person.

“It’s quite expensive,” Superintendent Cammy J. Morrison said. “If we want to divide and conquer, one or two people could go. I’m hopeful, since Boak will be going from BOCES, he’ll come back with information as well,” referring to Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Jack J. Boak.

District Treasurer Lisa K. Smith said that with mileage, lodging and food expenses, the total rises to about $1,000 per person. With six people on the board now, board members agreed during their monthly meeting Monday that spending a total of $6,000 on a conference was not feasible. Throughout the 2013-14 budget planning process, members had decided to reduce spending by $1 million.

The question district administrators and board members had is that, although they agree knowledge and information gained during the conference would be worth the cost, should the board spend that much money on just one conference? The consensus Monday was that the answer is no.

“If it comes down to it, I’d like to attend anyway,” said board member Sandy Y. Klindt, who said she wouldn’t ask for reimbursement. “I do think there’s good information.”

Topics of the 94th annual conference, to be held Oct. 24 to 26, include technology, student achievement, school law and employee relations, health, safety and school climate, finance and facilities, emerging educational trends and timely debate, cultural awareness and diversity, community relations and school improvement and board governance.

The board didn’t make a final decision Monday, and will reconsider the idea during its September meeting.

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