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Community Update February 16, 2024

Dear NCS Community:

I hope this message finds you well as we approach the February vacation.  The past few months have been incredibly busy; it is hard to believe our winter sports seasons are winding down.  We wish our athletes the best of luck during the sectional season.  We also look forward to our HS musical "Matilda," which will take place in March at the Bristol Valley Theater.  Dates and times can be accessed below via the NCS district calendar:

Last week, Kris Saucke, NES elementary principal, announced to staff her intentions to retire at the end of the school year after 36 dedicated years of service in education.  Ms. Saucke has worked at NCS for 18 years, and as NES principal for the past 12 years.  Ms. Saucke has played a key role in making NES the wonderful learning environment that it is and she has been a devoted advocate for the success of all students and staff members.  Her experience, passion, and commitment will be greatly missed.  I know the community will join the NCS staff in wishing Ms. Saucke all the best in her future endeavors.

In the weeks ahead, the district will begin a comprehensive process to select the next NES principal.  Know that it will be multi-faceted and ensure that a broad group of stakeholders will take part in the process.  Our hope would be to identify a successful candidate later this spring so as to allow a smooth transition in leadership.  I will keep the community updated on that process over the next few months.

From a budget perspective, the district has been working hard to be responsive to the initial budget run shared by Governor Hochul last month.  As you may recall, this budget proposal includes significant reductions in foundation aid for many districts in our state and region, with Naples being no exception.  Much advocacy has taken place with local legislators to encourage the governor to restore expected aids; I am grateful for their advocacy as having a foundation aid formula that is predictable, understandable, and equitable is of the utmost importance for all school districts.  We hope to learn more about potential shifts in aid in the weeks ahead as we continue work on finalizing the 24-25 school budget.

Despite these challenges, NCS has planned wisely and much work has been done to close the budget gap created by this initial state budget proposal.  We are confident that NCS will be able to continue all programming for students and it is unlikely we would need to lay off staff.  This is good news during a tough time, but also a reminder that as a district, we need to continue our commitment to being fiscally responsible during times of economic challenge, declining enrollment across the state, and of course the unpredictability of state foundation aid.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Full Day UPK at NCS Beginning Next Year

As many of you are aware, Naples CSD has offered a half-day UPK program for a number of years.  This program has afforded our youngest student’s opportunities to get a head start with both academic as well as social/emotional development.  Over the past school year, NCS has been studying the merits of expanding our UPK program to a full day model.  After much consideration, we have made the decision to make the shift to full day UPK beginning in the fall of 2024.

This decision was made after many conversations, significant research, and of course the fact that NCS has heard from many families that a full day program would be advantageous.  We believe that a transition to a full day program will provide students with a sound head start as they begin to develop the skills necessary to meet learning standards, including social/emotional and behavioral attributes that directly connect to student learning.  This program eliminates the need for mid-day transportation for families, and as such expands work opportunities for parents.  In addition, this shift has been incentivized by NYS; offering this level of programming provides our district with slight funding increases which are welcome during these challenging budget times.

As you consider participation in full day UPK for your child, see below some important information

  • Age requirements: child must be 4 years of age on or before December 1, 2024
  • We hope to offer one full day UPK with up to 18 students, 1 teacher and 1 paraprofessional
  • Families who are interested in registering their child for full day UPK should contact the NES Main Office at 585-374-7952 by April 8th.

Should you know of any NCS families with young children who are not yet enrolled in school, please feel free to share this message with them as they begin the planning process for their children going forward.  Should you have any questions, please reach out to Kris Saucke, NES Principal at 585-374-7951.


Kevin Swartz

NCS Superintendent