Vestal Schools

Sports Report: SU, NASCAR, and Sect. 4 basketball

The Syracuse men’s basketball team is back in action Saturday hosting NC State for their final home game of the regular season. Pregame coverage will begin on WEBO at 1pm.

After a thrilling Daytona 500, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is in Atlanta for a race on Sunday that will be heard live on WEBO. Coverage begins at 12pm.

The Binghamton girls and Horseheads boys won Section 4 Class AA Championships last night at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. Both teams beat Elmira in the finals. The Class A Championship games are tonight at the Arena, with Vestal and Maine-Endwell girls playing at 6 and the boys teams from Union-Endicott and Johnson City playing at 7:45. We will have live updates from both games on the WEBO Facebook page and Twitter account. The Class B and C finals will be played tomorrow.

Thirty eight wrestlers from Section 4 are competing in the state championships this weekend in Albany. Preliminaries started this morning.

Vestal Students Receive Art Awards

Several Vestal High School students have been notified that they will be receiving awards for their artwork as part of the Scholastic Art Awards. Samantha Cooper, Kristen Garrison, Emma Pierre, and Brielle Sarkaisian will all be receiving the highest possible regional award for their art, the Gold Key Award. Their artwork will now be moving on to the national stage of the competition in New York City in April.

Charges Still Possible in Tioga Hills Incident

The Tioga County District Attorney’s office has not yet decided whether a Tioga Hills Elementary School teacher will be charged in connection with the abuse of a student, that according to New York State Police yesterday. This information comes one day after Vestal Central School District Superintendent Mark LaRoach sent a letter home to parents of students who attend the elementary school addressing the allegations. In that letter, LaRoach said “Based upon this investigation, the Tioga County District Attorney’s Office has established that the accusations were unfounded and the teacher was exonerated.” State Trooper Nathan Riegal said yesterday that he reached out to the district attorney’s office, and was told that two misdemeanor charges are still possible against the teacher, and that a decision had not yet been reached.

State Police Investigate Abuse Allegations at Tioga Hills Elementary

New York State Police say they have completed an investigation into allegations that a teacher seriously injured a student at Tioga Hills Elementary. The New York State Police Child Abuse hotline was contacted on March 18, a day after the alleged incident. The mother of the 10-year-old took him to the hospital after he complained of shoulder pain.

Vestal school district officials declined to comment on the allegations, and directed questions to state police. Yesterday, state police said the decision on whether to pursue criminal charges is in the hands of the Tioga County District Attorney. Troopers said there were two possible misdemeanor charges. Later yesterday afternoon, the Vestal School District sent a letter home to parents. The letter, signed by superintendent Mark LaRoach, said the Tioga County District Attorney’s office determined the accusations were unfounded, and that the teacher has been exonerated. The boy’s mother has taken to social media to express her outrage and post a picture of her son’s injury.

Vestal BOE Approves Teacher Contract

The Vestal Board of Education on Tuesday night unanimously approved a new contract agreement with the Vestal Teachers’ Association, their first new deal in
five years. The teachers’ union contract had not been renewed since the end of the last agreement, which covered 2009 through 2012. Since then, the teachers
have been working under the terms of the deal reached in 2009. The new agreement is effective through 2017. The 300-member teachers association approved the contract Monday night. Details would be released at a later date. Negotiations between the teachers and the school district had been taking place for much of the past two years. The teachers’ association brought in a mediator to work with both parties.

Lockheed Martin Donates $150,000 to BOCES Program

Lockheed Martin has donated $150,000 to Broome-Tioga BOCES as they look to start a science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, hub. The STEM Hub of the Eastern Southern Tier will be created as part of BOCES’ School to Careers Partnership, which will fund the development of teaching and learning activities for teachers and students in the STEM fields. BOCES also hopes that the hub will generate more interest among students in the region in the science and math fields, while also being able to equip students with the necessary skills that businesses in the field desire. Lockheed Martin hopes that the funding will allow for the hub to succeed, and in doing so, create a pipeline of future employees for companies including the defense contractor. Broome-Tioga BOCES has fifteen component districts, including Owego-Apalachin, Newark Valley, and Tioga Center.

Vestal Schools Under Fire Following Audit

The Vestal Central School District has come under fire after the latest audit by the New York State Comptroller’s Office. According to the comptroller, the Vestal district has been overtaxing and misleading its residents for the past five years. The report says that the board of education failed to develop reasonable budgets from the years 2008 through 2013 and adopted budgets that spent more money than necessary. The district has defended itself by saying that the budgets had to be adopted due to unfunded state mandates and the state’s imposed 2 percent tax cap.

Vestal School District Budget Vote Set For May 20th

The current budget in the Vestal School District calls for a small increase to the tax levy. The Vestal Board of Education approved a $74 million spending plan on Tuesday. The plan calls for an increase to the tax levy of about 2.85 percent, which is within the district’s tax cap. Officials say that if the spending plan is approved as it currently stands, there will be no cuts to jobs and no reductions in programs in the district. The public vote on the budget will be held on May 20th.