Categorized | Page 1, Schools

Sag Harbor School Board Plans Public Meetings to Pitch November Bond Referendum

Posted on 18 September 2013

By Tessa Raebeck

At the first of many presentations planned for the 2013/2014 school year on the Sag Harbor School District’s capital improvement propositions, Dr. Carl Bonuso, interim superintendent for the school district, outlined the upcoming bond referendum at Monday night’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

“What we would like to do is to reflect upon what we need to do from this point on to provide instructional resources and instructional delivery suitable to the 21st century,” said Dr. Bonuso. “We have in the past done that via the annual budget, that is no longer an option.”

Drafted by the Educational Facilities Planning Committee (EFPC), a group of administrators, board members, parents, teachers and community members, the recommendations consist of two propositions, which will be voted on separately.

At an estimated cost of $7,357,132, Proposition 1 will address facilities preservation and renovations, building code compliance and ADA compliance, health and safety issues and energy conservation improvements.

Proposed projects include renovations to the Pierson Middle/High School auditorium, expansion of the Pierson kitchen and the restoration and reconfiguration of the parking lots at both Pierson and the Sag Harbor Elementary School.

Proposition 2, which would cost the district $1,620,000, aims to install a synthetic turf field with a two-lane walking track at Pierson for the daily use of physical education classes, after-school sports and community members. According to the district, its construction would result in approximately $50,000 in maintenance savings annually.

In order to engage the community in a discussion about the recommended projects, the BOE will host two bond fairs in the Pierson gymnasium on Wednesday, October 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, October 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. Members of the EFPC will present on the bond propositions at the September 30 and October 15 school board meetings. The bond referendum vote will take place on Wednesday November 13.

Also on Monday night, Sag Harbor parent Allison Scanlon questioned a potential decision to fund three goalie coach positions for Pierson’s field hockey, women’s soccer and men’s soccer teams.

“We still have some real needs that need to be addressed for our students,” said Scanlon. “How can that be a priority?”

Scanlon pointed to gaps in the foreign language department, summer school and reading intervention — programs she feels should be addressed first.

“You have to make some hard choices,” Scanlon said on Tuesday. “For me, it’s obvious where we need to put our money and it’s in areas that have to do with the academics, not in something like adding goalie coaches.”

According to Theresa Samot, president of the board, the positions were tabled pending further analysis and will be discussed at the September 30 board meeting.

Scanlon also voiced concern over what she considers a lack of communication between the board and the public on committee involvement, in particular on the Shared Decision Making Committee.

“I was just disappointed,” she said Tuesday morning. “These are leadership teams where parents and community members are able to be a part of it and they’re supposed to be involved in making some critical decisions about the district.”

“I think we need to clarify the process to get the word out to anyone who’s interested,” said Samot.

In other school news, consultant Katherine Mitchell, hired by the school district to provide services on developing and implementing a comprehensive program on preventing drug and alcohol abuse, presented on the family component of prevention.

“It would be helpful for parents to have more information about drug and alcohol abuse in general and to put it in the context of what’s going on in our community and on Long Island,” said Mitchell.

Other news raised at Monday’s meeting:

  • Members of the board will participate in an educational retreat with a representative from the New York State School Boards Association on October 10 in the Pierson Library.

  • Parents interested in learning about students’ schedules for the upcoming year are invited to attend curriculum nights at the elementary school at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and at Pierson on September 24 at 6:45 p.m.

  • The board is seeking community members interested in serving on the Audit Committee, Nutrition/Wellness, Health and Safety Committee, Wall of Honor Committee and the Communications Committee. All interested parties should send their letters of intent to Mary Adamczyk, the district clerk, at madamczyk@sagharborschools.org by September 27, 2013.
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