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The Telegram
  • Fleming resigns from Mohawk school board

  • Mohawk Central School Board of Education President James Fleming announced resignation from the board during Tuesday night’s meeting.

    Fleming, who works as a network engineer for the city of Utica Bankruptcy Court, will take on the new role of acting network engineer for bankruptcy court, district court and probation in Utica.

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  • Mohawk Central School Board of Education President James Fleming announced resignation from the board during Tuesday night’s meeting.
    Fleming, who works as a network engineer for the city of Utica Bankruptcy Court, will take on the new role of acting network engineer for bankruptcy court, district court and probation in Utica.
    He said the position is a cost savings measure that will last for the year and could extend on.
    “This is a difficult decision to make and I’ve enjoyed my time spent on the board of education, but due to a more demanding work schedule I have to take my focus elsewhere,” said Fleming.
    He added he is invested in the proposed merger of the Ilion and Mohawk school districts and that his last meeting as a member of the Mohawk school board will be on Feb. 25.
    The vote on whether to merge the two districts will take place on Feb. 12.
    “James Fleming has always looked for the interest of the students and this district has been very fortunate to have had him as a board member,” said board member John Pickett.
    “We appreciate the dedication you have given to all the students, faculty and staff, as well as to the entire district,” said interim Superintendent of Schools Gene Beirne.
    During public participation, a school merger question regarding teacher cuts caused some concern.
    The two-district merger study states teachers will not be cut from the schools, however, teachers can bid on teaching positions based upon seniority, according to the study.
    “If an entire school is shutting down, how is it that we will be able to keep all the current teachers,” asked board member Lori Sementilli, referencing the planned closure of Remington Elementary School in Ilion if the merger is approved by voters in each district on Feb. 12.
    “The positions could be saved by taking the smaller classes and shifting the teachers around based on their certifications,” said Fleming. “Right now we’re basing the two-district merger on a roadmap taken from the original four-district merger and re-created by the two school superintendents. Everything really depends on the new board of education if the merger vote is passed. The board could choose to use the plan, but if they feel it isn’t right everything could change. Right now it’s too early in the process to know the exact details of the merger plan.”
    “We’re pretty confident no cuts will have to be made to the two districts’ teachers, but we’re still at the early phases and nothing has been assigned,” said Beirne, adding public forums on the proposed merger will take place on Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Jarvis Junior-Senior High School in Mohawk and on Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of Ilion Junior-Senior High School.
    Page 2 of 2 - During the board’s discussion of financial reports, district Business Manager Ken Long gave an update for the 2013 - 2014 budget. “Overall, the entire budget is going to see an increase in contributions to the New York State Retirement System and health insurance,” he said.
    For teachers, the retirement system is expected to have an increase ranging from 31 to 39 1/2 percent. Other employees with a retirement plan should expect an 11 percent increase, he said.
    Health insurance could also increase from seven to 7 1/2 percent, added Long.
    Long said these numbers are based upon an educated guess and nothing is set in stone since it is months away from the budget vote.
    In other business, the board recognized the girls’ soccer and field hockey teams with the New York State Public Health School Athletic Association’s Team Athlete Award. The award is given to any team that has a grade point average above 90 percent for a designated number of team members. Both teams had 12 members. The girls’ soccer and field hockey teams achieved the distinction with grade point averages of 92.716 and 94.192, respectively. The girls, along with their coaches, were honored with a certificate and a scholar athlete pin from New York state.

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