Jeffrey R. Rabey, Ph.D.
Superintendent Depew Union Free School District
5201 S. Transit Road
Depew, NY 14043
Phone: (716) 686-5105
Fax: (716) 686-5101
Secretary to the Superintendent: Jessica Neischel
Phone: (716) 686-5104
June 15, 2021 Announcement
Please read the letter from Dr. Rabey on his retirement after 30 years in education and 12 years as the Depew Superintendent of Schools. He plans to retire on June 30, 2022 and a smooth transition for the next superintendent.
May 2021 Message
As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of the last fourteen months, it is encouraging to see students back in our schools; in greater numbers and for more days during the week. I think that we can all agree that we have been through a lot together and as a school-community, I truly believe that it has made us stronger! Collectively, we have successfully navigated through an unprecedented pandemic that entailed feeding children, securing one-to-one devices for instruction, designing and delivering different learning models, performing safety checks on children and their families, providing COVID-19 testing and vaccination opportunities, as well as providing childcare for working parents/guardians. Without the support of one another, we would not be where we are at today.
With that being said, we still have work to do and need to prepare to shift our focus on summer and the myriad of opportunities to address the learning losses of our children. We have prepared by more than doubling our summer school budget and staffing and have invited twice as many students to summer school than we have in the past. We are also, once again bringing back our popular Wellcats Summer Camp Program and this year it will be housed on our main campus.
For the fall of 2021, we targeted six (6) Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions to specifically work toward addressing learning loss and focusing on Social and Emotional Learning. In fact, in the 2021-2022 fiscal plan, we identified two (2) FTEs for Literacy Support, two (2) FTEs for Numeracy Support, one (1) FTE for a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher and one (1) FTE for a Kindergarten-5th grade Social and Emotional Learning Support School Counselor. With these added supports, our goal will now be to attend to our students who have been impacted by the Pandemic Achievement Gap.
In reviewing the 2021-2022 fiscal plan, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Depew School-Community for once again supporting the District’s budget. On Tuesday, May 18th the community residents came out and approved the plan by a 74% margin. Although, we had the lowest turnout ever for a school budget vote, 225 residents voted yes on our $47,267,774 plan. In addition, we had 243 supporters for the $674,760 purchase of four (4) 66-passenger buses with Wi-Fi and two (2) 48-passenger buses with Wi-Fi. The District will now surplus six (6) vehicles with over 459,061 miles.
As we look beyond 2021 and toward a brighter future, we have begun to plan for our next major Capital Project. Since 2011, the Depew Union Free School District has consistently reviewed its facilities and their mechanical systems through a Building Conditions Survey, which is used to develop a future plan for facility improvements. The District utilizes a Facility Improvement Team (FIT) that meets with our architect to review the future plans and information collected during the Building Conditions Survey.
The Team then begins to look at the systems that require repair and/or replacement as well as the academic program needs of the District, in order to develop items for a potential capital project. The Depew-School Community's input is always vital for the Facility Improvement Team (FIT) to consider in its decision making process. With that in mind, we are once again using Thoughtexchange, so everyone has a chance to share their perspectives and understand what’s most important to the school-community.
Once we have the results, we will convene the Facilities Improvement Team (F.I.T.) multiple times over the summer to design the project, which will be based on the input from the School-Community, coupled with the remaining items left on our 5-Year Facilities Study list. Once the project is sketched out, we will make a presentation to the Board of Education in August/September of 2021. Once the project is finalized, the Board of Education will take action on it in September/October of 2021.
We would then put it up for a School-Community vote in November/December 2021. This timeline would then allow us to package the project to be sent to NYSED in early 2022 with a potential approval in the fall of 2022. We can then take advantage, as we have in the past, of bidding the project in January of 2023. Bidding in January has always been very favorable for us, as we have come out under budget each time by approximately $1.5 million.
The Depew-School Community's input is always vital for the Facility Improvement Team (FIT) to consider in its decision making process. As previously mentioned, we are once again using Thoughtexchange, so everyone has a chance to share their perspectives and understand what is most important to the school-community.
We ask: As the Depew Union Free School District enters into the planning phase of its next major Capital Project, what do you believe should be some of the highest priorities for the District? Please join us in submitting your feedback in a new Thoughtexchange, which can be found on our website at www.depewschools.org and in your email. Please share as many thoughts as possible, and we will use your responses to inform our decision making process.
The Thoughtexchange will be open until Friday, June 4th at 5:00pm.
Dr. Jeffrey Rabey
Superintendent of School
Depew Union Free School District