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BOE Holds Annual Reorganization Meeting

School Construction Projects on Schedule

The Garden City Board of Education recently held their annual Reorganization Meeting for the year 2010 at the Central Administration building. Colleen Foley was sworn in as school board president and Barbara Trapasso was sworn in as school board vice president. During a regularly scheduled meeting that followed, agenda items included updates on the recent bond referendum projects and elimination of the 15-student minimum for low-enrollment classes.

The board announced that Eileen Vota will be the principal of Stratford School. Vota is currently assistant principal of Saw Mill Road Elementary School in the North Bellmore School District and was previously assistant principal and special education coordinator of the Bethpage School District. After being approved by the board at a June meeting, Gina Christel was also named the new director of guidance.

In his superintendent’s report, Dr. Feirsen began his remarks by congratulating the class of 2010 for their accomplishments and expressed his appreciation for the recent commencement ceremony. He also reported that Garden City will be designated as a Scholar Athlete School of Distinction for the fifth time. In order to receive the honor, every member of the varsity teams must have a GPA over 90. He also said the middle school art program was recognized for the second year in a row for outstanding achievement in visual arts. As a final capstone to an amazing year in athletics, he also acknowledged the Girl’s Track Team for its performance at the New Balance Nationals.

Dr. Feirsen also discussed state aid allocations for school districts as the state revises its budget. “No decision has been reached yet. We don’t know what our school aid figures are going to be. I caution against getting too optimistic,” he explained.

The board also approved running a small amount of high school sections with enrollments under 15 for high school AP or World Class languages. The classes to be included are: AP Computer Science, AP Physics, AP French, French 4R and 4H, High School Spanish 1, AP Spanish, German 4R and 4H, German, Latin 3R and 3H, AP Latin and AP Music Theory. “It speaks to what we talked about during the budget season of … trying to provide and maintain the robust curriculum and opportunity to challenge all our students,” he said. This will also enable students to  maintain their sequence of classes.

The architect and construction manager from BBS Architects and Engineers updated the board on the status of bond referendum projects that are in progress at the middle school and high school. It was reported that nearly a quarter of the high school roof replacement project is complete. Several sections of the roof have already been ripped off and replaced. According to the construction manager, workers began at 5:30 a.m. but the village had requested that work should begin at 8 a.m. “We are on schedule,” the construction manager said, adding “if the weather holds up, we’ll be in good shape.”

During a period of citizens’ comments, resident Ellen Subramaniam asked if the board would consider hiring administrators with backgrounds in science and math. Dr. Feirsen said that the board considers the candidate that is the best overall fit for the position. “There aren’t that many elementary administrators that have a background specifically in math and science. Why? Because the dominant thing that someone does is teach literacy,” he said. He also pointed out that the district recently hired Hemlock School Principal Audrey Bellovin, who has a very strong background in math and science.

Subramaniam also said that she wanted to raise some topics that others did not raise during the budget season. She remarked that while the results in the high school are very impressive in test scores, she hoped the board will continue to look at areas that could be improved beginning at the elementary and middle school levels.