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Letter from the Superintendent - Returning to School

May 26, 2020

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s), Faculty and Staff:

I am heartened to note that last week marked the first official “reopening” within New York State under the governor’s Phase 1 rules. Even though schools are in the last phase, Phase 4, we cannot get to that phase without the other three phases happening first and we are now (finally) making progress in that regard. Another reason I find this news encouraging is that as things are reopened, families will start to have some “out of the house” opportunities as they are desperately needed. I have included several specific Afton updates below.

End of the School Year: Due to continuity of instruction continuing over Good Friday and spring break, the school year will be ending ahead of what was previously scheduled and published in the district calendar. The last day for continuity of instruction (the last day of the 2019/2020 school year), will be Wednesday, June 17th, 2020.

“Operation Recognition” has been initiated at the high school for our seniors with an aim to create and host specific activities to honor the Afton Senior Class of 2020. Just today, seniors were surprised with gift bags and cheers of congratulations from the Senior Spirit Club. Our seniors have been featured on “Spotlight on Afton” and bus drivers and teachers have crafted beautiful videos with encouragement and heartfelt messages, Afton Proud 2020 Seniors. Handwritten notes from principal and teachers have been sent and a “We Our Seniors 2020” banner was placed on the front of the school. Senior portrait shout outs were placed on the athletic field. Thank you to the Afton Community for your dedication in making great things happen for our seniors.

Cancelled events at the High School, Middle School and Elementary School: Each building communicated specific plans to all parents and students last week regarding end-of-the-year events, end-of-the-year grading details, and how and when parents and students may retrieve student belongings. If you have questions or need more details, please contact your child’s teacher or principal.

Summer School: We have guidance from the governor regarding summer school. He has indicated there will be no in-person classes for summer school, only remote distance learning. Secondary “Regional” Summer School will be hosted by the DCMO BOCES and is expected to be entirely online. The District will be notifying parents when the plan for Special Education and Regional Summer School is finalized.
Board Meetings & Budget Vote: Every district resident should have received an informational postcard last week. If you were not already aware, the vote will take place this year entirely by absentee ballot. The Annual Meeting and Budget Vote will be on June 9, 2020. Absentee ballots have been mailed to households in the district with instructions on how to request additional ballots if you are an eligible voter of the District. To be counted, all absentee voters’ ballots must be received in the ACSD Office of the District Clerk by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the vote. The Budget/Capital Project Newsletter will be mailed to you this week. It is my intent that this information will be valuable in providing information to you when making your voting decision. The Budget Hearing will be held remotely on Monday, June 1, and streamed live on our website at www.aftoncsd.org. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Federal Budget Update: The House of Representatives voted yes on a next round COVID-19 stimulus bill named the “Heroes Act”. While it does appear to contain funds, which would go to New York and, more specifically, to Afton, the bill is gargantuan ($3,000,000,000,000) and contains several controversial partisan items. This is already causing a political stir and makes it unlikely the bill will be approved by the Senate. My hope is that there will be negotiations as to the content of the bill and that, eventually, it will pass in some form that contains funding for New York and, in particular, for NY State school districts like Afton.

Yours in Education,
Timothy J. McNamara Superintendent of Schools

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