Looking dapper in his bow tie, Bruce the therapy dog officially met with members of the Jamestown Public Schools Board this week.
The meeting seems to have gone well.
Bruce has been approved for use as a therapy dog to help and support high school students.
“I know other schools have had therapy dogs, and I know Bush School had one,” said Board Vice Chairman Patrick Slagle. “My son goes to Bush School, and my daughter too, and seeing how it affects the kids and the interactions that these service dogs and animals have had with these students – it’s wonderful. It’s a good thing thank you for agreeing to provide it to us.
Sue Mead, Bruce’s owner and school psychologist, said the district would not incur any costs for the dog’s use. Mead said Bruce went through rigorous two-year training to become a therapy dog, which she thankfully funded.
Bruce passed the Canine Good Citizen test and was certified by Therapy Dogs United in Erie, PA.
Mead said Bruce would gradually build his attendance at school, starting with a few hours at a time. The current plan is to have him work with students who need support and reassurance throughout the day, as well as students with special needs.
Board Chairman Paul Abbott also thanked Bruce’s owner Sue Mead. He added that there are sometimes “special climates” at board meetings and wondered if Bruce might be able to attend those meetings, prompting a chuckle from the crowd.
After the resolution was presented, Abbott asked if anyone opposed it.
“No one votes against dogs” he said.
In other news, Northside Midget Football reps spoke to state school board members about the Persell and Washington college grounds. Northside coach Brian Bigelow, fundraiser Missy Paterniti and city council member Randy Daversa asked the council to consider improvements that could be made in each area, either through fundraising, community efforts part of the team, using ARPA funding from the city, or through improvements the school could fund.
“We touch hundreds of lives a year,” said Bigelow. “We all carry on this long tradition of Jamestown Red Raider football. I wanted to draw the council’s attention and perhaps some improvements we could make to some school facilities by all means.
Paterniti distributed some photographs taken recently of the Persell field after a storm.
“Football is a good sport where you want to get dirty and you want to get dirty, but it was dangerous,” Paterniti said.
After the meeting, Superintendent Kevin Whitaker noted that using city funding to improve the school district’s football fields could be tricky.
“Even though we’re in town, technically it’s not city property,” said Whitaker. “There are different rules and regulations from the state and the state Department of Education that dictate how and who and the process to deal with this stuff. Usually, when it comes to schools, there is a lot of paperwork, bureaucracy, and levels of public education through which you have to get approvals. We’re going to have to figure out how to navigate it to see what we can do to help our community. »
Whitaker also discussed the new $5 million capital reserve fund approved by the board. He said the district doesn’t have a specific goal in mind yet, but the district wants to make sure the fund is in place to ensure that capital expenditures won’t affect the tax rate of taxpayers in the future.
“While we have money that we can put into, if you want, a savings account for capital expenditures that are definitely going to come up, whether it’s roofing or HVAC…we want to be able to pay these issues without having to go to the taxpayers and raise their taxes,” he said.