YARD is Good for This Year

Posted on 26 May 2011

By Claire Walla

After meeting with representatives of the Youth Advocacy Resource Development (YARD) program, Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Dr. John Gratto announced that the two parties had come to a decision.

“We agreed that the YARD summer beach program would remain under the auspices of the school district for 2011,” he said.

The school board has agreed to operate the program and the district will still essentially “own” the summer beach program this year.

However, Dr. Gratto continued to say that going forward the school board expressed an interest in detaching the summer beach program from the school’s list of responsibilities. The program could remain in operation, in this case, if it were to become a separate entity entirely (YARD is currently under the school’s insurance policy); or, Dr. Gratto added, “perhaps it could be run by Southampton Town.”

“It’s not a done-deal, per se,” school board president Walter Wilcoxen added.  From here on out, the future of YARD and it’s dependence on the school will be based “on the will of the board.”

School board member Dan Hartnett added that YARD was created at a time when “it was a completely different era,” before districts were subjected to such strict financial controls and annual audits.  “The question now is: how can we look at the needs of the kids and still be served in an era of accountability.”

He continued, “I’m happy that we’ve reached a decision to look at the beach program this year, because it is a beloved program.  And certainly there is time between now and next year to look at ways to administer and supervise it in a way that doesn’t harm the school.”

In other news…

To address the ways in which technology has changed the nature of communication, the board of education will revise board policy to take into account new ways of distributing information, i.e. texting and tweeting… yes, even Facebook.

“This is an important topic,” said school board member Dan Hartnett. He explained that there is a Sunshine Law in New York State, which prevents a board of elected officials from meeting in private when a majority of members is present.  Understandably, this notion is complicated when it comes to today’s swift back and forth of snippets of information.

“We should ask that all broadcast emails be copied to the [district] clerk, so that [all information] can be accessible to the public,” said school board president Walter Wilcoxen.

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