Discipline and mergers highlight school board meeting

By Doug LaRocque

The topics of discipline and mergers consumed the majority of the time in what was otherwise a routine meeting of the Granville School Board on Monday, Jan. 8. Athletic Director and Dean of Students Justin Nassivera spoke on both these topics.

He told the board members that student referrals for discipline this school year to date have dramatically increased, from 389 in the previous year to 669 this year. He noted that 24 students make up about 60% of these referrals. The majority of the infractions involve cutting class, insubordination and unexcused absence from school.

Nassivera attributed a good part of the increase to “more eyes on the students, particularly in the hallways.” That comes in part from the presence this year of a hallway monitor. That new position, coupled with the school resource officer and Nassivera’s presence whenever possible, has allowed the administration to keep a sharper eye on student behavior.

An enhanced sports merger

The Granville and Whitehall Cross Country athletes have run together as one team for six years. In the fall of 2024, Hartford will join the mix.

The decision to add a third school was not without opposition. During public comment, a parent of a Granville student expressed her dismay with the proposed merger, and all mergers, saying she believes it does not support the student athletes and was afraid it would bump the team up in classification, making it “harder for our students to compete.”

Nassivera said that possibility was thoroughly vetted before any merger talks went forward, and assured all present the addition of the Hartford runners would not affect the team’s Class C designation.

He noted the addition of Hartford would mean three to six more participants. He also said all three schools agreed Granville, as the largest member of the merger and centrally located between the three, would be the program’s administrator.

Unlike most sports, cross country is a combination of individual results, and Nassivera said most often, the runners practice at their home school and only on certain occasions have a joint practice. That, when it occurs, will be in Granville.

It’s third and long for football

The Granville and Whitehall football programs have been merged for two years now and the board was asked at the meeting to approve a third year of combined team play.

Nassivera indicated that Whitehall was in complete agreement, with both programs hoping for more success in the coming season. The team started the 2023 campaign strong, with three straight wins after an opening game loss, but then fell on hard times as they came up against some of the larger schools in the league. The team also had several games that required a good amount of travel time.

When the presentations were done, both mergers were approved, with board Vice President Shirley Kunen objecting to the cross-county motion.

Other News

The contract with the Village of Granville to provide a crossing guard between the Jr./Sr. High School and the Elementary School was approved. The two entities battled over who was responsible for several months before a compromise was reached.

The board approved a field trip for the girls’ basketball team to the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse to take in a basketball game on a highly ranked collegiate level. Noting previous trips for the girls had been a dry affair, the board directed the administration to make sure there were sufficient bottles of water on this trip.

Kristi Sheeran, who works in early childhood education, and Amy Baker, one of the district’s social workers, were granted tenure.

School Superintendent Tom McGurl is stepping down as the Trap Club advisor and is being replaced by Richard Vladyka.