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Massena Central Board of Education makes appointments during reorganizational meeting

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MASSENA - The Massena Central School Board of Education made their official appointments during this week’s reorganizational meeting with only one question from a board member.

Newcomer Paul A. Haggett, attending his first meeting as board member, questioned the need for four separate attorneys.

The board unanimously appointed the Law Firm of Pease and Gustafson; the Law Firm of Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett and Reitz; the Law Firm of Guercio and Guercio; and the Law Firm of Frank W. Miller as school attorneys for the 2014-15 school year.

Board President John R. Boyce explained that each firm offered services related to specific issues. The Law Firm of Pease and Gustafson, for example, assists the district with Persons In Need of Supervisions (PINS) cases, representing the district in court in those cases. They have also been involved in selling school property, such as the former Louisville Elementary School, in the past.

The Law Firm of Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett and Reitz, on the other hand, specializes in education law and assists the district in those matters, Mr. Boyce said. The district works with Marc Reitz, one of the firm’s attorneys, on those cases.

The Law Firm of Guercio and Guercio had been working with the district since 2013, assisting them with Native American grants.

Board members had agreed last month to continue working with Kathy A. Ahearn from the law firm for another year. Ms. Ahearn also serves as legal counsel for the Salmon River Central School District, giving her a familiarity with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and area schools. The firm has worked with the Title VII Native American Grant Program and also works with the attorney for the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe to develop grant programs.

Board members this week also agreed to retain the Law Firm of Frank W. Miller for the 2014-15 school year. Mr. Miller had served as a long-time school attorney, but Mr. Boyce said his time with the district was winding down.

“There’s a singular issue that’s not yet been resolved” that still requires Mr. Miller’s services, Mr. Boyce said.

Among other actions taken by the board this week was an increase in lunch prices as recommended by Interim Superintendent William H. Flynn. Effective for the 2014-15 school year, lunch prices for grades kindergarten through eight will increase from $1.85 to $1.95, while the price for grades nine through 12 will increase from $1.95 to $2.05.

Board members also accepted a $200 donation from the Massena Music Friends “to make up for a small discrepancy in the purchase price for one of the instruments we provided funding for in May,” according to a letter from Mr. Haggett, who was then serving as president of the group.

He has since resigned the position to take a seat on the board of education.

“This additional grant will allow a better quality tuba to be purchased for the elementary band program; one Mr. (Kendrick) Beckstead recommends over the model we had originally intended,” Mr. Haggett said.

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