Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 09 April 2010 00:00
At the last Herricks School Board meeting the board voted on a proposed budget of $97,373,105 with an increase of 3.8 percent. The budget will be voted on by residents on May 18.
The administration, led by Herricks Superintendent for Business Helen Costigan and Superintendent, Dr. Jack Bierwirth went to great lengths to hold the budget down with very few increases in a very tough financial year that had to include the MTA tax.
Newly elected Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar, who is also a Herricks school board trustee said, “I would just like to announce my position regarding my school board seat. After a lengthy discussion with family and friends, I decided that I made a commitment when I took on this seat to complete the term. In order to complete the term I will have to run this year and I have decided to do that.
“Some people question how can I do two jobs since I have committed to being a full-time mayor in Williston Park. However, my fellow board members have full-time jobs elsewhere and I don’t see them having a problem, so I feel the same way.
“Further, I don’t see any conflict of interest, so I will go forward seeking another term.”
Assistant superintendent for instruction, Dr. Deirdre Hayes announced that the history team received nine of 12 projects submitted won awards and six of those will be moving on to the state level. She said, “This represents 22 out of 32 students going on to state competition and Herricks will have the largest contingent at the state level. There are 459 statewide competing and Herricks will have 22 of those.
“Four winners of the DECA competition going on to the international competition.”
Both Herricks school board president Richard Buckley and trustee Peter Grisafi praised the latest high school musical production of Carousel stating it was magnificent.
Board vice president Christine Turner said that she and trustee Dr. Sanjay Jain attended the scholarship dinner which she said must have been a success due to the number of those in attendance.
Superintendent Bierwirth announced that there are a number of building projects going forward.
He said, “We will have windows going in around the district in the three elementary schools. However, not in the Middle School. Actually, we will have posters up in those schools outlining just what the projects would be in those schools since it has been so long since these projects have been approved.
“This is the model of the window. It is aluminum and we are going with sliders since we won’t have a problem with ballasts and we will use this model throughout. Then around Labor Day when we get paid for all the other projects we will know exactly how much money we have left, we will decide how many windows we can install and we will spend every nickel we have left to replace as many windows as we can afford.
“They were measuring the windows at the two gyms at the high school and we are getting different materials than we used in the elementary schools. What you see on the outside will essentially be the same, the only difference is the frame should be made out of aluminum instead of fiberglass. The windows should happen this summer, but it’s possible that the high school gyms could get done before the end of school and now that we have white lights and some natural light which would be very nice for the kids taking the final exams and they won’t have to sit under that weird orange stuff . Frankly, I don’t know how they took exams under those orange lights.”
Bierwirth continued, “Other projects. The track was painted today. The “lake was not part of the deal” Just to remind everybody, we put covers on the drains of the drywells so that the dirt wouldn’t go into the drywells during the winter.
“The second part of this is that all of the drywells have been connected and they are now connected to the storm sewer, so the overflow will go out.
“The lines of the track have been done, the numbers and lanes have all been completed.
“Further, the roof at the Herricks Community Center is finished. You can’t see it from the front, but you can see it from Moore Street. It is nice and solid and has no leaks.
“Last, but not least they have started to work on the front of the community center pulling out the mortar and a fair number of bricks came out, so they were loose and they will be doing the columns. Many people have said why not just paint the columns, but if you look closely you would see that painting would not help anymore. They needed to be fixed.
“We are on track to have all the work finished by Labor Day. They are going to work on air conditioning in the community center auditorium.”
The school board president then announced that applications for school board trustee are now available in the office of the district clerk.
There was a presentation on projects paid for by the stimulus fund on tracking students who are not doing as well as they should be and finding out why.
To that end, that brought back a former teacher Cindy Scavelli. She said she is looking at the academic performance of approximately 31 students in grades 9 through 12 who have failed three or more subjects.
Scavelli said, “A large number of them are in the 9th grade. The information that I am collecting is their standardized tests and any special education records. I have been looking at their family history and looked at all the outside services that might be available. Plus, I have been able to sit in with high school principal Jane Modoono as she interviewed the students, I have also interviewed the teachers and guidance counselors who work with these students.
“Further, I am looking at every aspect of their lives at Herricks and do they take advantage of what is available to them. The last part is to take some of these indicators and apply them at earlier ages, perhaps in the 6th grade level. The goal then would be to intervene at an earlier time.”
She said, “She is looking forward to continuing the study and then issuing a report at the end of the study.”
Karen DeMara then went into great detail about how communication is so important in the skills program. Then Ilene Soloman explained how she was able to bring in consultants with the help of the stimulus money who, with their suggestions, have made a huge impact on the district.
All three teachers have done much to help the students since they have been hired, it was stated.
The next Herricks Board meeting will be held on April 8 at the community center and it will be a regular meeting.