Garfield Elementary School Closes to Launch Outdoor Learning Center | News, Sports, Jobs


WELLSVILLE – Garfield Elementary School has almost enough money to finally begin building the Outdoor Learning Center thanks to a recent donation from a couple.

At the Wellsville school board meeting on Monday, the board voted to accept a donation of $ 6,000 from the couple, who they said asked to be allowed to remain anonymous.

Principal Lisa Ferguson said they were predicted to need at least $ 15,000 and with the latest donation they now have $ 14,600.

“Everyone in our building is excited” Ferguson said. “(They) have always been big supporters of this neighborhood.”

The hope is that the garden, which will be located on a previously unused property across from the school, will have plants in the ground this spring. Additionally, Ferguson said there was someone donating time and labor to build picnic tables for the garden. High school art students will team up with Grade 3 students to paint them.

Students will also be invited to participate in a sign design competition, where one of their designs will be turned into a sign by Campbell Signs for the Outdoor Learning Center.

“So the children have ownership of the project, which is wonderful” Ferguson said.

Students will participate in planting in the raised beds provided for the area and have the chance to learn with a hands-on science program and the skills to grow their own food and plants.

Board members and Superintendent Richard Bereschik also took the opportunity to thank the couple for the continued support of the school district.

It was also noted that the district has to thank Bill Ricciardulli, for securing a grant which enabled the school to obtain 450 brand new Chromebooks for students. Bereschik said Ricciardulli is also working on a project to help the school upgrade the entire security camera system.

In other matters:

– The council continues to clean up financial matters following a recovery finding in October released by State Auditor Keith Faber’s office regarding insurance coverage and insurance premiums paid by district employees.

Although unrelated to insurance finances, at Monday’s meeting, the board approved the transfer of funds from permanent improvements to the general fund to cover an athletics payment made on July 28, 2020, which should have come from permanent improvements but was in fact taken from the general fund. This payment was made after the period that was verified.

It was further noted that council members may be permitted to apply for health and life insurance through district insurance plans at the council member’s expense, but it must be announced at a regular meeting when ‘they intend to do so.

– During Monday’s meeting, Treasurer Nancy Francis told board members she didn’t think the expected money from the Southfield Energy plant would start coming in until next year. The natural gas-to-electricity plant is currently operational north of Wellsville.

– The board of directors authorized Bereschik to hire staff between meetings and accept resignations between meetings, approved the agreement with ACCESS for the district’s broadband internet services and approved three coaches – Jalen DeSarro, basketball -7th grade men’s ball; Nate Ketchum, Jr. High Struggle; and Bobby Simms, wrestling volunteer – as well as a substitute teacher Kayla Bowyer.

– The next meeting of the school board is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on February 14.

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