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Carthage Central creating forums to promote community ideas

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WEST CARTHAGE — Carthage Central School District wants to hear what area residents have to say about making their community a better place.

At the Board of Education meeting Monday, members approved having forums for locals — ranging from administrators to students to local businesses — to share ideas.

Administrative intern Todd J. Burker described the Committee of Continued Improvement as a concept similar to Technology, Entertainment, Design conferences, which allow business leaders, professors and other inspiring minds to get on stage to share an idea they are passionate about. The talks range from speeches from life coaches to attempts to persuade an audience that texting does not mean the death of spelling and good grammar — all under 18 minutes.

The difference is that these talks will focus on Carthage’s school and community. The time limit will be 30 minutes, and it would not carry the exorbitant price tag for which TED conferences are notorious.

“If you can sit in a room with a group of students and can come up with plausible solutions for gender equality, you should be able to do that with a community,” Mr. Burker said.

Carthage Central held an open public forum in mid-June to promote discussion between the community and the school district. The board scheduled the next one for 6 p.m. Sept. 18 at the middle school, to keep the conversation going and try to gain trust from area residents.

Mr. Burker wants to make these discussions more frequent, but also wants them to be more focused on specific ideas. He is trying to get his forums — which could replace the current ones — to take place monthly and wants the first to be next month. “It may be ambitious, but I’m hoping it can happen,” he said.

His own suggestion was to address the district’s food waste and creation of on-site compost for local farmers and gardeners. He said removing waste costs the district $8,500, which he wants to see slashed.

“We need to get people with ideas, people motivated to do things,” he said. “It would make it a better place.”

In other business:

n The board approved Amy M. Marrocco’s retirement. The district business manager’s retirement date is effective September 2014.

n Board President Barbara A. Lofink said there now will be two opportunities for the public to address the board: after the meeting starts and before executive session or adjournment.

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