Weekly Feature

2013-09-18 / Front Page

Fund restores some programs, falls short of goal for all


The Clarence Schools Enrichment Foundation made its second donation to the Clarence Central School District during the Board of Education meeting on Monday night, restoring 10 extracurricular clubs and one athletic program.

(See editorial on page four)

CSEF President Vic Martucci was in attendance for the presentation of almost $33,000 and made it clear how proud he was of the community for helping restore many programs following the failure to pass the initial school budget in May. The first donation made in August of about $39,000 restored a handful of fall athletic programs and clubs.

“We’ve raised roughly $85,000 to date,” Martucci said. “We’re a little over 50 percent of the money needed to restore everything — all of the extracurricular clubs and the athletic teams that were cut. We have a long way to go, and anything [the board] could do in getting the word out would go a long way to help.”

Despite the fund’s ability to raise such a large amount of money in the past eight weeks, it was a shortfall. CSEF had hoped to donate a check of more than $70,000 this time around to reinstate all of the extracurricular clubs that were axed. Knowing that funding for the eliminated winter sports programs will need to be procured soon, the foundation chose the following specific programs to fund with Phase 2 monies:

At Clarence High School, Drama Club, Future Business Leaders, Future Teachers Club, Rifle Club, Orchestra Club and Stage Band were restored. At Clarence Middle School, Chess Club, Show Choir, Stage Band and Vocal Ensemble Pop Chorus will return. The lone athletic club restored was girls intramurals at the middle school.

What was notable was the long list of clubs and activities that the fund fell short of restoring. They include Art Partners, Environmental Club, Garden Club, History Club, Interact Club, Media Club, Reach Out Club and Scholastic Bowl Varsity Club at the high school. At the middle school, Art Club, Assets Committee, Clarence Service Club, Drama Art/Stage Crew, Drama/ Dance Workshop, Home and Careers Club and Quiz Bowl Strategic Games Club did not receive funding either.

The marching bands at both the middle and high schools were also a top priority of the fund, but they were also left off the restoration list.

Martucci attributed the fund’s early success to its current difficulties.

“We still have a long road to hoe,” he said. “A lot of times you’re a victim of your own success. We have been successful early on, but we need to keep our momentum going so we can restore all of the clubs and the athletic teams that were cut.”

To try and restart the fund’s momentum, a homecoming carnival has been planned from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 5, at Clarence High School. CSEF will be providing entertainment to all district students and families on the “Fun Run” field between the snack shack and tennis courts.

A student art sale, fall goods sale and food and beverage sale will be held to help raise money for the foundation. Anyone interested in donating or assisting with the carnival is encouraged to visit www.clarenceschoolfund.org.

The Board of Education also received an annual update on its special education services at the meeting.

According to Mary Ellen Colling, director of special education, Clarence graduates 81 percent of its special education students in four years. The state threshold is 53 percent. That graduation rate increased to 86 percent when stretched an additional fifth year.

“Overall, almost 65 percent of our students that graduate are headed to a two-year, four-year college experience or vocational school,” Colling said. “Sixteen percent are headed into employment, 18 percent are headed to some time of adult services and 1 percent have other plans such as the military.”

The next Board of Education meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, at Ledgeview Elementary, 5150 Old Goodrich Road.

email: sjagord@beenews.com

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