Written by Matthew Ern Saturday, 27 April 2013 00:00
The Herricks School District passed the new BOCES Administrative Budget for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year at a Board of Education meeting Wednesday, April 17. The BOCES (budget was set at $19,686,115, a 2 percent increase from last year.
The new budget saw many costs remaining fairly consistent with the previous years. Most categories only saw minor fluctuations with the biggest increase coming in fringe benefits (11.9 percent). The biggest decrease was in equipment costs (-23.6 percent).
The board also approved the property tax report card for the 2013-14 school year. Total proposed spending for the year would see an increase of 3.19 percent.
At the start of the meeting the board, recognized four faculty members with certificates for responding to a recent fire at Herricks High School.
“They prevented a potential major disaster,” said board President Christine Turner. “They’re the heroes of Herricks.”
A student in one of the boy’s bathrooms allegedly started the fire. Parent Vera Lopez expressed worries about safety.
“I’m concerned about his mental state when he returns to school. If people bully him, if he lit fire once will he do it again?”
The board would not comment on the student’s punishment or when he might return to school.
“I must maintain confidentiality,” explained Dr. John E. Bierwirth, Superintendent of Schools. “First and foremost we consider the safety of our students and the faculty,” Turner added, addressing the safety concerns.
Several different donations and gifts were accepted at the meeting. The Herricks Korean Community donated $3,500 for the purchase of student agenda books for the high school. The Herricks High School Parent Teacher Student Association also awarded the board a grant of $1,000 to purchase an air conditioning unit for the school.
A final gift of two new $1,000 scholarships was approved from the Herricks Community Fund. The scholarships would be awarded to “deserving graduating students who have given their time and talents to community service, have high academic achievements, good moral characters, and show a sense of responsibility.”
Other pieces of business discussed included a new Language Immersion program proposed for first graders, in addition to similar programs already in place for older students. It would potentially be made up of two sections totaling between 48-52 students.
Spots in the program would be determined by a random, open lottery. However, students with an older sibling already enrolled in the program would be given preferential treatment when en rolling in the new class.
A new Allergen Safe Environment Policy was introduced but won’t be passed until after a second reading at the May 9 board meeting. The new policy stresses vigilance and acknowledges there’s no such thing as an “allergen free” environment.
Faculty, teachers, and coaches will all need to know about any possible allergies and have an open line of communication with family health care providers.
“We have to be co nscious and affect people’s behavior,” said Bierwirth. “We cannot be complacent.”