Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 3, 2013

Niagara-Wheatfield officials ready to tackle challenges

Niagara Gazette — Niagara-Wheatfield, which opens its doors to students for the start of a new school year this morning, has seen better days. Even its new superintendent recognizes the struggles everyone in the district faces.

It's why Lynn Marie Fusco is looking for answers from the best available place. She's asking the people.

In her greeting written on the district's webpage, Fusco asks viewers — presumably parents and students — to answer three pressing questions relating to the future of the district. Ranging from determining pressing needs this upcoming year to identifying the aspects parents want to see remain no matter what, the survey is designed to inform the new superintendent about the situation she walked into when she accepted the job this past spring.

"It takes a lot of communication to fix this," she said. "We're getting a better grasp of what (problems exist). The next question is 'How?' That's easy, because everyone wants to tell you."

The district webpage is available by visiting www.nwcsd.k12.ny.us

As she's identifying the solutions people want to see, she said she needs to continue dealing with challenges of the real world she faces. Over the last three years, money has become the district's enemy, through questionable accounting practices exposed by a pair of external audits and an unfriendly state budget holding promised funding in Albany.

So using the information parents and students submit to her is going to present her with new issues, as the wants and desires need to be scaled back to meet the means of providing education.

Still, she's remaining positive in her first year in Bergholz.

"Designing the how has to be a collaborative effort," she said. "How do we preserve the things people say are valuable and how do we address the concerns? That's going to be a significant challenge. I don't want to minimize what we're facing, but I do want to maximize what people are sharing in order to move the district forward."

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