Tag Archive | "tom gleeson"

Whalers Struggling

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Whaler catcher Stuart Levy tags out a Southampton baserunner trying to make it home during the Southampton Breakers vs. the Sag Harbor Whalers Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game at Mashashimuet Park on Sunday, 7/1/12.

Whaler catcher Stuart Levy tags out a Southampton baserunner trying to make it home during the Southampton Breakers vs. the Sag Harbor Whalers Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game at Mashashimuet Park on Sunday, 7/1/12.



By Mike Pintauro

Faced with the threat of inclement weather, the Whalers hosted a double header at Mashashimuet Park on Wednesday. Starting early on our nation’s birthday, the Whalers played two games against the Shelter Island Bucks, winning their first game 2-1, but dropping their second 4-3.

The Whalers had only four hits during the first game, which came sporadically from inning to inning. That’s more than can be said about the Bucks, however, who were held scoreless until the seventh inning by a masterful pitching performance by Whalers newcomer Brandon McClane. McClane was perfect through five innings, hurling seven strikeouts and only one walk in six innings pitched.

The only two hits from the Bucks came in the top of the seventh inning. McClane was pulled from the game and did not pitch the seventh inning, and was instead replaced by Collin Dinges. Dinges finished off the Bucks, but allowed one run on two hits in a game that looked certain to be shutout.

Down one run with only one inning left in the truncated ball game, it seemed the Whalers’ stellar pitching performance was all for nothing; but after a walk from Jake Kingsley and a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Keaton Flint, they had the tying run on second with two outs. John Hennessy was up at bat, and like most other Whalers during the game, he did little from behind the plate. Nevertheless, it was his two-run homerun over the right field fence that snagged the victory for the Whalers, in spectacular walk-off fashion.

Wednesday’s second game was a different story from the beginning. After loading the bases with the first three batters, Whalers pitcher Jason Freeman gave up an RBI double to Geo Saba, scoring two runs. Saba would score himself later in the inning, bringing the first inning run total by the Bucks to four. Down four runs from the get-go, the Whalers knew they had to play catch up, but despite dishing out nine hits in the game, they were only able to score three runs.

Whalers infielder John Hennessey, fresh off a two-run homerun, was 2-for-3 on the day, with one run coming in the bottom of the third. Down two in the last inning, infielder Charlie Curl led off with a strong solo homerun, but it was too little too late. Grant Shambley reached base with a single to left field, but was the first out of a game-ending double play, hit by Dennis Mitchell.

This was the second double header of the week for the Whalers. On Saturday, June 30, the Whalers hosted the Riverhead Tomcats in a back-to-back showdown, but lost both games of the day 3-2 and 4-0. Jim Duff was on the mound for the first game, throwing a solid six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out four. The Whalers were held to six hits in the game, scoring their only two runs in a desperate seventh inning struggle to find the win.

In their second game against the Tomcats, the Whalers were held scoreless, slapping only five hits in the game. Whalers pitcher Will Marcal pitched a strong outing, striking out six, with only two earned runs. However, he allowed nine hits in his four inning outing, and after being down early in the game, the Whalers were unable to get any offense moving.

On Sunday, the Whalers faced the fifth place Southampton Breakers, and came away with a 7-6 win.

With a tough loss against the North Fork Ospreys last Thursday, the Whalers have continued to struggle this season, and are now six games back from the first place Riverhead Tomcats. Regardless, Whalers pitching and hitting are holding up well, bringing games close and competitive.

Scores came out to enjoy the double header, but there was more on the agenda than just baseball. Whalers General Manager Tom Gleeson invited local residents Joanne Lyles and Jim Theinert as ceremonial guests, where they simultaneously threw the first pitch in honor of their sons, Jordan Haerter and Joseph Theinert, respectively, both who died in the service of their country. The crowd welcomed the two, and offered their cheers to the memory of the two fallen servicemen.


Landslide Victory For Sag Harbor Budget, Incumbents Reelected

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Above: School Board Candidate Tom Gleeson (top, far left) waits to hear the results of Tuesday’s election.

By Claire Walla

Coming as no surprise to the small crowd gathered in the Pierson Middle/High School gymnasium Tuesday, May 15, the Sag Harbor School District’s proposed $34,182,256 million budget passed by a landslide, with 892 votes for the budget versus only 420 against.

Similarly, Proposition #2, which will allow the district to spend up to $575,000 for the purchase of six new buses, passed with a similar margin: 851 to 432.

“I’m very pleased the budget passed,” District Superintendent Dr. John Gratto commented after the results were read. “And I’m pleased the bus proposition passed.”

This year’s election garnered 1,377 total votes, a drop of 264 from last year.

The 2012-2013 budget represents a spending increase of $956,172 over this year’s operating budget. But, more importantly, is represents a tax-levy increase of only 1.94 percent, which means it successfully falls below the two-percent tax cap imposed by New York State for the first time this year.

The real nail-biter this year was the race for school board, which had three candidates vying for two open seats. In the end, incumbents Gregg Schiavoni and Walter Wilcoxen each managed to secure another three-years on the board, putting Schiavoni in his second term and Wilcoxen in his third.

“The vote on the board is a testament to the trust the community has in the job this board has done,” Dr. Gratto noted.

When the votes had all been tallied, Schiavoni was the clear victor with 1,039 total votes. Wilcoxen came in second with 795 and Gleeson was a not-too-distant third with 576 votes.

Many in the gymnasium that night congratulated Gleeson on a hard-fought campaign.

“It’s tough to beat the incumbents,” Gleeson said after having walked over to congratulate Schiavoni on his win. (Wilcoxen had a work conflict and was unable to make it to the gymnasium before doors closed at 9 p.m.)

“It was a good learning experience,” he added. “I just hope the board continues to improve education. The kids are what’s most important.”

With his youngest daughter — who stood by his side as results were read — graduating from Pierson this year, Gleeson said his loss wouldn’t mean he would vanish from the district.

“I’ll try to stay involved as much as possible,” he declared.

In the wake of his win, Schiavoni — flanked by his two young sons — smiled as he talked about his plans for the upcoming year.

“What’s next will be keeping track of IB [the International Baccalaureate program], making sure it’s implemented correctly, and keeping track of the Pre-K program,” he said. “Going forward, we just have to keep the ball rolling.”

In an interview the day after the vote, Wilcoxen said he was excited to find he had been elected for a third term.

“We have a lot of challenges, like trying to understand how we can deal with each other more effectively [as a board],” he said.  “That seems to be number one on the list.”

But, he added that supporting IB and continuing to find ways to make the school’s finances more transparent will be key issues in the coming year.

After congratulating candidates, both board members Theresa Samot and Chris Tice said they were very pleased to hear the election results for the budget this year.

“The margin the vote passed by was really great,” Samot exclaimed, as Tice noted it was nearly 2:1. “The administration put a lot of hard work into the budget.”

Board member Sandi Kruel concurred with this sentiment, and applauded voters for passing Proposition #2.

And to her fellow board members about to begin their new three-year terms, she added, “Congratulations.”

Meet the Candidates Debate, Sag Harbor

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The race for two seats on the Sag Harbor School Board has three contestants: the veteran, the local and the experienced newcomer. All candidates met inside the Pierson auditorium last Thursday, May 3 for the annual “Meet the Candidates” debate run by the Sag Harbor Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and moderated by Bryan Boyhan, publisher of The Sag Harbor Express.

The incumbents include former School Board President Walter Wilcoxen, who is running for this third term, and Gregg Schiavoni, who was born and raised in Sag Harbor and is vying for his second. Newcomer Tom Gleeson, who moved to the area seven years ago and currently works part-time in admissions at Vaughn College in Queens, is making his first run for a seat on the board.

Though Schiavoni was not present at the debate Thursday night, he was contacted by The Express via phone and asked the same set of questions posed to Wilcoxen and Gleeson during the debate. Like his opponents, he was given no more than two minutes for each answer.

How do you see the International Baccalaureate (IB) program changing the school?


Wilcoxen: It will allow a greater rigor to be introduced [to the district]. The stress that [IB] puts on the communication pieces—oral and verbal—is something I think we’re lacking in our curriculum currently.


Gleeson: Most people know that I was not in favor of the IB program. But, if elected, I would make sure we implement it in the best way possible. I agree with Walter that writing is very important in society. Yes, we need to improve writing here.


Schiavoni: I think it’s going to change two things: I think it’s going to change the education of the students for the better, and I also think it’s going to better teachers’ instruction. Teachers who go for IB training will be able to use that for professional development. From what I’ve heard, this training is the best training for teachers. Let’s say in a year or two IB doesn’t pan out, teachers will be so advanced it will even benefit [the school] should we go back to AP.


The proposed school budget for the 2012-2013 school year succeeded in coming under the state-mandated two-percent tax cap, but that may prove more difficult going forward. What decisions do you see the district having to make in the coming year to meet the cap again?

Wilcoxen: The problem in our future is labor costs. Seventy percent of our budget is labor-related. Next year we’re going to have a choice. I think it’s going to be up to the staff and the board renegotiating contracts. I see no other way around it, other than cutting staff.


Gleeson: You’re going to have to look at labor costs, and that includes the superintendent on down. Our superintendent’s salary is high. I thought that when we brought him in from upstate. I think that you have to look at every possible cut without affecting education. One of the things we’re going to have to look at is the cost of books and technology.


Wilcoxen: The superintendent’s salary… while it’s high, if you look at the hourly cost of what he’s produced, it’s not that high. In order to get good, quality work you need to pay people to come here. Dr. Gratto has more than made up for his salary by what he’s saved us.


Schiavoni: It’s the battle we always have. We have to look at program: what’s available, what do students want, what do they not want? We have to ask the students and the community. I think the other thing is we have to be prepared to look one, two, three years down the line.



There has been considerable conversation about the school’s wellness policy. Do you believe the existing policy is too strict? Should students be given the opportunity to purchase products that include such items as high-fructose corn syrup?


Wilcoxen: I think the Wellness Policy is very good the way it is. I would like to see the education piece added to it. We all grew up on high-fructose corn syrup… I would say that if children want to bring in things that aren’t on our Wellness Policy, they’re free to do that. But the higher goal has to be to educate our kids to be healthier than we are.


Gleeson: I have to look at [the Wellness Policy] more carefully. What’s happening now is there’s so much research going on about how food affects people. We have to create a mindset in the students [that allows them] to make the proper choices. The other question I have about this is, how is it affecting our funding down at the cafeteria? Is this drawing students away?


Schiavoni: I don’t believe it is too strict. I don’t see the value in teaching that high-fructose corn syrup is bad for you and then promoting it. The Wellness Policy has language that states the school should move toward developing a menu that doesn’t include those things.


Should the school district take a greater role in ensuring students eat healthier?


Wilcoxen:  In the Curriculum Committee, we’ve discussed this.  We’ve requested the administration look into programs where students might integrate growing and making food… we haven’t gotten very far.

But, the school’s responsibility to feed children I don’t think is paramount.  We’re not an under-privileged community.


Gleeson:  We continue to try to educate the students through all classes, not only health classes. One of the things I find funny is that we’re removing high-fructose corn syrup, but one of the biggest allergies out there is peanut butter.  We’re removing one thing, and yet that’s still out there… I’m not sure how that fits into the guidelines.


Schiavoni: The school should take a greater role in giving the students healthy options.  Students can bring in whatever they want from home; but, it’s our responsibility to do everything in our power to offer healthy choices that reflect the Wellness Policy.


Drugs on school campuses are a problem nationally, and there are those that believe Sag Harbor is no different. Do we have a problem with drugs on our campuses, and was the school overreacting when it approved bringing in drug-sniffing dogs?

Gleeson: I’m still looking into this issue. Schools differ. The problems at East Hampton and Ross may be different than ours. As far as the drug-sniffing dogs, it puts a bad taste in my mouth. Are we not doing a good job administrationally so that drugs are coming into our schools? We have to have more forums about it. We’ve seen some about the dogs, but I’d like to see more research.


Wilcoxen: The dogs are not the issue. The dogs are just one small piece of an attempt to address what we see as an increasing drug problem… we’re starting to see it in the middle school. The school board has actually asked the administration to incorporate greater resources in providing a coordinator for all programs that deal with substance abuse. It hasn’t been done; but, I can assure you that, if elected, if will be on the summer goals list.


Schiavoni: I don’t think we have a problem. I think we do have correct procedures in place should there be an event. As far as the dogs, if we don’t have a problem now and they’re just one more tool, then I’m all for it. The dogs are not targeting a student or a group of students; they’re not in there because we have a problem, they’re in there as one more [preventative] tool. I don’t think the school overreacted, I think it’s just one more step we’re taking to be proactive.


Board members have talked about the importance of involving more community members in discussions about the school and its campuses.  How do you plan to improve communication between the school and the community?


Wilcoxen: Six years ago we seemed to have a lack of communication or understanding with the public.  We spent two years opening up the process, [adding two public input portions during board meetings]—that seemed to help a lot—and we paid attention to answering questions right away.


I think the community can be part of the school to whatever degree they want.  The school board is open to participation; it has to be respective, non-accusatory and follow the norms of decent communication.  We’ve had ad hoc committees in the past, but people only seem to get involved if there’s a touchstone issue.


Gleeson: I think community outreach is vital.  This is everyone in the community’s school.  We have a tremendous resource in the community and sometimes we don’t use it as well [as we should].  That’s one of the nice things, as I said before, about my schedule.  I have time to sit and talk to community members, to find out what their needs are.


Schiavoni: The school does a good job of communicating with the community through email blasts, posting notices online and The Express, through paper mailings… We form community groups when we have an event that may affect the community as a whole.  The bigger problem is how do we get community members more involved?  I can’t force someone to go to a board meeting.


Negotiating with the unions has been contentious in the past. What will you do differently this year to ensure a successful bargaining process?


Gleeson: I think the process needs to start early. Part of the problem is the state mandates…. We need to have those mandates relaxed. I look at it so differently because when I started teaching, we didn’t make a lot so our benefits package was so important. But, the pendulum has swung. We also want to make sure we get the best quality teachers. The issue is a thorny one.


Wilcoxen: Teachers are so important, but the control the school has over how things get taught… once a teacher has tenure, it’s almost impossible to remove that teacher.


Gleeson: We have to look at the contract, look at how many periods a day teachers are teaching. Maybe we can increase the workload. We have to look at health insurance costs and what their actual salary is when we take benefits; we have to look carefully at how they fit in with society. The issue of tenure has been kicked around for years. Can you get rid of a bad teacher? Yes, but it takes time and energy. We forget that teachers give recommendations for tenure. We have to make sure no one’s getting tenure that doesn’t deserve it.


Wilcoxen: I don’t know [how to ensure effective communication with the teachers’ union], but we’re going to have to start investigating it. To go that long without having a sane conversation is incredible. We have to be very honest and show people what [teachers’ benefits] are actually costing.


Schiavoni: I think the process has to begin earlier, and there has to be constant communication between the administrators, the board and the union. We’ll send our proposal, they’ll send theirs; we’ll look at it, but there’s no immediate talk. I think there has to be a set time frame; if we can keep moving forward, keep discussions going, it will move discussions much quicker.


The following are questions from the community, as posed to Walter Wilcoxen and Tom Gleeson during last Thursday’s debate.

Do you support the two-percent tax cap?


Wilcoxen:  I support it.  I don’t like the way it’s done, but I support it.  There has to be some way to let people know that the increasing rate of taxes is important.  I also see no other way to bring the unions to the table and be responsive.


Gleeson:  I support the concept.  I think in today’s society two percent may be more difficult as we move forward because of the lack of funding for certain mandates.


How can we improve middle school academics?


Gleeson:  If there’s more articulation between elementary and middle school, I think that will help as we meet the common core mandate.


Wilcoxen: I agree, I think the common core is a good effort by the state to help us out.  But, one of the things that’s going to help the middle school is IB.  We’re first saying, what do we want our children to be like when they graduate?  Now, what do we have to do for middle schoolers and high schoolers to get there?


What does the board do with a bad teacher?


Wilcoxen: One of the most important things with the school board is we don’t determine what a bad teacher is.  There is a process that has been changed, it’s going to be easier to discipline a teacher, but we also have to understand that teachers have the same problems that the rest of us have. We need freedom and trust to help them. I would like to see the union step up.


Gleeson: It’s really an administrator’s job to monitor their teachers.  What’s the tool that determines what we should be doing?  Do we have a teacher-mentoring program?  What is the administrator doing to improve the teaching in the school?  What assistance are we giving?  Some teachers should not be teaching because they don’t like kids.  We need to monitor and mentor the other ones.


Do you think health benefits for staff should be reformed?

Gleeson:  I need to look at [benefits] more carefully.  I’m sure it needs to be improved, but I can’t answer specifically.


Wilcoxen:  We have to change the medical insurance system.  The union agreed that we were allowed to offer an alternative health plan, which had a lot of wellness parts to it… there was basically no interest because everyone has Empire, it’s what they know.  [Benefits] are going to have to be repaired everywhere, or the United States is going to go broke.


Gleeson: This is a nation-wide issue.  I had surgery and thank God I had Empire, otherwise it would have cost $300,000.


How can we continue to attract more students from other districts?

Wilcoxen: The immediate answer is IB.  We will have quite a few people interested in that.


Gleeson: I think quality programs, whether it’s IB or AP, doesn’t matter.  [My family] chose to come to Sag Harbor because of the quality of the art program.  We also do great programs outside the classroom, like robotics, and if we continue to do things that are quality programs we’ll attract more people.


Three Run For Two Open Seats on the Sag Harbor School Board

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By Claire Walla

There are two open seats on the Sag Harbor School Board this year, and current board members Walter Wilcoxen and Gregg Schiavoni are vying to keep them. However, a third contender has stepped in, making this election much more of a race.

Sag Harbor resident Tom Gleeson has been part of the Sag Harbor School District for the past five years. And this year, with his youngest daughter about to graduate from Pierson High School, he’s decided to make a run for the school board.

“Some people had asked me about running,” he said. “I come at things from a different perspective than some of the people on the school board now.”

Gleeson has a long history with the public school system, having been involved with every grade from kindergarten to 12th during his 33-year career, teaching history and philosophy, as well as physical education.

“For me, the most important part of education was always the kids,” he said.

While he’s not inclined to focus on any one issue just yet, saying that if he joins the board his first priority will be to learn the process, one issue Gleeson’s paid attention to in the past year is curriculum development.

It’s no secret that Gleeson was staunchly opposed to the International Baccalaureate (IB) program this year and last, when the board was still discussing the idea of bringing it into the district. Instead, he believed the district should have focused on developing a school-wide curriculum for all grade levels.

This is where he, Wilcoxen and Schiavoni differ.

“I basically want to continue supporting IB, make sure it gets instituted and gets a lot of support,” said Wilcoxen, former school board president who is running for his third term on the board.

Though the school board formally approved the district’s IB application this winter, Wilcoxen said implementing the program in the fall will require a lot of effort school-wide.

“I feel like the job’s not done,” he added.

The other issue Wilcoxen said he’d like to focus on is negotiating new teacher contracts.

“We need to come up with a new dynamic with the community,” he said. “I’d like everybody to be educated [on teachers’ salaries and benefits] so that we can discuss this from a place of knowledge, not this argumentative dynamic.”

Schiavoni, who was elected in the heat of teacher negotiations, agreed that the teachers’ contract discussions were crippling for the board.

“That took up an enormous amount of time,” he said. “It was a big stumbling block in terms of what we’ve been able to offer students.”

Schiavoni continued to say that his main impetus for running for his second term stems from the fact that the board has gained a lot of momentum since teachers’ contracts were finally settled.

Both he and Wilcoxen pointed to the board’s resolution to allow Pierson to move ahead with the IB program, as well as the implementation of a Pre-K program as very positive steps for the district.

“I feel like I owe it to the district to stay on,” said Schiavoni who currently has two kids in the district, both of them at Sag Harbor Elementary School.

Wilcoxen sent two children through the district, the younger of the two is just now finishing up college.

Gleeson retired from the public school system before moving to Sag Harbor and now works in the college admissions office at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in East Elmhurst, N.Y. He also consults with students here in Sag Harbor on the college admissions process.

“I think Gregg [Schiavoni] and Walter [Wilcoxen] have done a very nice job,” Gleeson said of his opponents. “But, sometimes there’s a need for a new voice.”

Hamptons Collegiate Baseball: League Expanding

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by Andrew Rudansky

It was announced last week that Hamptons Collegiate Baseball (HCB), a division of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League (ACBL), was to undergo an expansion, letting at least one new team join the five team division.

The Center Moriches Battlecats are the newest expansion team to join the HCB in this planned growth. The Battlecats will join the Sag Harbor Whalers, Southampton Breakers, Riverhead Tomcats, North Fork Ospreys and defending champs Westhampton Aviators in the upcoming 2012 season.

Formerly a member of the FABL College Wood Bat Division, the Battlecats officially announced the switch to the HCB on November 18 through an online press release. In the same press release it was announced that new team manager Bill Batewell will take the helm of the Battlecats in their first year.

According to Sag Harbor Whaler’s co-general manager Tom Gleeson the decision to add new expansion teams was made in early September by the new HCB President Brett Mauser and the league’s general managers.

Mauser recently replaced the former president and founder of the HCB, Rusty Leaver, and it was this changing at the executive level which allowed for the expansion. Gleeson said that Leaver was against the inclusion of any expansion teams into the HCB, and without the change the expansions would have been doubtful.

“Personally, we were big proponents of having the Battlecats enter the league,” said Gleeson on behalf of his co-general manager Sandi Kruel. “I think it is going to be very positive for the league.”

Last year the Whaler’s finished fourth in the division with a .500 record of 20-20, however they were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the first seed Aviators. Now with the field even more crowded, the Whalers hopes for the HCB title become even slimmer. Gleeson said he was unconcerned with the increased competition.

“The whole idea of our league is great competition,” said Gleeson. “We are excited about the Battlecats joining because they are a very good baseball organization and frankly they make [the HCB] name better.”

The biggest hurdle for the Battlecats to deal with as an organization is the issue of player housing. As members of the FABL, the Battlecats previously only fielded local Long Island players; however a hallmark of the HCB is their ability to draw talent from top schools around the country. Their entrance into the HCB will force the Center Moriches team to now provide housing through host families in order to accommodate boarding players.

In an effort to bridge the teams on the north and south forks, plans are well underway on Shelter Island to create a seventh, completely new team to also compete in the HBC 2012 season.

The yet unnamed team is to be set up under general managers David Gurney and Mike Dunning. Currently the proposed Shelter Island team is seeking approval from the Shelter Island School District to use their baseball diamond as a home field.

“I think they already have a pretty good organization in place,” said Gleeson, who said once they get the okay from the district they will most likely be fast tracked into the league.

Gleeson reported that in addition to the inclusion of Center Moriches and Shelter Island there is plenty of support in the league to allow for a third expansion team for the 2012 season, bringing the total to eight teams.

“A community really has to reach out to us,” said Gleeson about the possibility of an eighth team.

Elsewhere in the ACBL other expansion teams have popped up for the 2012 season. The Kaiser Division has added the Long Island Storm this offseason, while the Wolff Division has added the Allentown Raiders and the Trenton Generals.

The 2012 HCB season, with however many teams that will be in contention, is slated to begin with player recruiting and selections in March. The games, free and open to the public, will begin in early June.

For more information about Hamptons Collegiate Baseball, visit their website at www.hamptonsbaseball.org.

IB Program Approved for 2012-2013 School Year

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By Claire Walla


In a unanimous vote held on Wednesday, November 2, the Sag Harbor Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution that would allow the school district to implement the International Baccalaureate (IB) program for the 2012-2013 school year. Board member Theresa Samot was absent.

Though Pierson High School is still waiting to hear from the IB board as to whether or not it will officially be accepted by the IB board — Pierson only recently submitted the final segment of its IB application — for many, the board’s decision is a significant one.

“This has been five years in the making,” said board member Chris Tice, who pointed to the fact that Pierson administrators, led by Principal Jeff Nichols, have spent years learning about the program.

“There has been extensive research done on it,” she continued, and for those still unsure about what IB is or how it will affect their child, she added, “I urge you to ask questions and to learn about it.”

Before submitting her “yes” vote, board member Sandi Kruel made sure to address the issue of this year’s tenth grade students, which she said has been a source of contention among those for and against the program. She asked one more time for Nichols to clarify what options would be available for those tenth grade students who qualify for honors classes but are not yet ready to delve into IB.

“I just need to go on record as saying that this is a big concern for those parents,” she said.

Nichols reiterated that Advanced Placement (AP) classes would be eliminated to three offerings by 2015, but emphasized that they would be phased out gradually, meaning next year’s tenth graders would still be able to take a course load with up to seven AP classes by the time they graduate.

School Superintendent John Gratto said, in reference to Kruel’s comments, that he felt “a lot of apprehension in the air” at a recent parent meeting about IB.

“I do commend Jeff [Nichols] for the work that he’s done [in researching IB], and I would say that indeed the students will be prepared [for IB],” Gratto said. “But, I do agree with Sandi [Kruel]’s comments, too. We need to make sure we educate people well enough to take away that apprehension.”

Parent Tom Gleeson, who has been outspoken in his opposition to the IB program, said in an interview that he is still worried the school is investing in a program that is costly, but doesn’t necessarily improve the schools’ curriculums district-wide. (The program would cost about $10,200 annually — the cost of an IB coordinator, which could be up to $60,000, will be absorbed by Principal Nichols and Assistant Principal Gary Kalish for the first few years while the IB program is still relatively small.)

“I’m of the mindset that when you have something that’s going well,” he said in reference to the school’s current AP program, “then you should try to make it better, rather than bring in another program and derail it. We’re just not philosophically on the same page.”

In the midst of last Wednesday’s meetings, Tice said she knew there were still parents who were skeptical of the program.

In an effort to reach out to them, she said, “I would ask you to keep an open mind. This is a program that can only succeed if the participants are willing participants. The intent is good, and I ask that you evaluate it for what it is, not for what you might have heard.”

In other news…

Board members revisited a proposed bond measure that would cost a grand total of $7,220,345 for repairs to both buildings, an updated kitchen, a storage closet in the elementary school gym, updates to two school parking lots, as well as two separate propositions that would give Pierson a synthetic athletic field and provide stadium lighting. The turf is expected to cost up to $1.6 million, while the lighting will total about $675,000.

While the bond will be put to the community for a vote, the board has still to decide what elements of the proposed bond measure to include. School board members will revisit the issue at an upcoming meeting.