WELLS - The Wells Central School District Board of Education has decided to sue a neighboring property owner.
The BOE alleges “land owned by the school district has been modified and trees have been taken down without the permission of the school district.”
The board has hired the legal firm of Girvin and Ferlazzo, Albany, to commence an action against Gary Bureau Contractor LLC, Gary Bureau Logging LLC and Gary and Donna Bureau.
The board wants a court to order Gary Bureau to stop removing trees and gravel from the portion of school property that runs behind Jim and Nancy Lewis’s property. It also wants monetary damages.
Gary and Donna Bureau said they don’t know anything about a lawsuit. Donna Bureau explained, “When the school’s surveyor came to our place [several years ago] and said we were over the line I couldn’t believe it.“We talked with [former school Superintendent] John Zeis about resolving it and were under the impression there was going to be some solution. We never heard back.
“I am shocked they did not come to us about this before going this route. No one has talked to us.
“Now it’s going to cost the school district money, it’s going to cost us money, when it could have easily been resolved; we would have been glad to work it out.”
When the BOE met Feb. 6 it took one action to cut the preliminary budget and considered several others.
It considered non-resident tuition, but intends to keep it the same at $7,000. It also considered the salaries of employees not covered by a bargaining unit, but no decision was made.
One thing it did decide is to reconfigure the Business Office to save $9,574 next school year.
Ray Preusser CPA, a firm in Claverack that helps WCS with its business office functions, will take on more work for the district, including work previously done by State Aid Planning for $4,000 a year.
Preusser’s fee will go from $25,000 to $36,000 but the school will still save over $9,500 next year. Martha Brown will stay as a per diem district treasurer, working eight hours a week.
The BOE discussed other options for savings, including staff reductions, but nothing was decided.
Superintendent Thomas Sincavage is following up on the board’s request to look into increasing student and staff safety by installing new doors, locks, cameras and a system whereby visitors can be admitted only by being “buzzed in.”
The district has previously worked with Mosaic Architects for building projects. Sincavage has met with a representative of that firm, Marty Weber, to discuss possible items for consideration.
Weber will get back to WCS with an idea of cost. The state has said it will give 10 percent more in state funding for safety-related projects.
Editor’s Note: This article is primarily based on draft minutes of the Wells Central School District Board of Education meeting of Feb. 6, 2013 as provided by Secretary to the Superintendent Kathleen Towers.