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BOE Covers Lots of Ground at Year End Meeting

GreenacresRenderingThe Board had a lengthy end of year meeting on June 11, 2019 and made decisions on matters that had been discussed at length at previous meetings. Under discussion was Butler Field, environmental testing, facilities, an employment contract for the Superintendent and succession plans for the Board of Education.

Butler Field Lights

Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi presented a draft of a policy on the use of all district fields which includes a subsection about the use of the proposed lights at Butler Field. Also included was policy on the rental of fields, permits and fees.

Here is what the policy says about the use of the lights:

Lighted Contests:
1. Scarsdale Schools
i. Night contests at Butler Track & Field will be scheduled to begin no later than 7:00 p.m. Football games must be completed with field lights off by 10:00p.m. Other field sports games must be completed by 9:00 p.m. A maximum of fifteen (15) night contests shall be allowed per school year. Four (4) additional lighted contests will be allowed per school year if Scarsdale teams host home playoff contests. If on the afternoon of a scheduled night contest, another athletic contest must be scheduled for Butler Track & Field, lights may be used in the afternoon and continue into the evening. In such a case, this shall be counted as one event.

ii. ii. Twilight contests at Butler Track & Field are contests that begin in daylight and end after sundown. JV Field Hockey and JV Girls’ Lacrosse contests, which are scheduled directly after Varsity contests, will begin after a brief warm-up period. A maximum of sixteen (16) twilight contests per school year will be allowed. Four (4) additional twilight contests will be allowed per school year if the Section 1 schedule has an imbalance in home contests. Twilight contests will end no later than8:00 p.m.
iii. Four (4) additional twilight contests will be allowed per school year if the schedule provided by Section 1 produces an imbalance in home contests. All twilight contests will end no later than 8:00 p.m.

2. Community
i. A maximum of ten (10) night contests will be allowed including two-night contests within their respective season for Boys’ Soccer (fall), Girls’ Soccer(fall), Football (fall), Boys’ Lacrosse (spring), and Girls’ Lacrosse (spring).Community contests must be completed with field lights off by 8:00 pm on Sunday-Thursday and 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

3. If a contest is delayed because of injury, over time, or a significant public safety event and cannot be completed by its curfew time, the lights will be turned off no later than 30 minutes after the natural conclusion of the contest.

The policy also has provisions for the use of the amplified sound. It says:

Amplified Sound will be used only for Scarsdale School contests and only for:
i. a thirty (30) minute warm-up period prior to each contest
ii. Pre-game announcements and introductions;
iii. the National Anthem; and
iv. Game-time announcements.

During the discussion, Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi responded to a comment from Matt Conlan about Independent Sports Organization field usage and said an inclement weather practice plan would be worked on in advance and permits will be given to the ISO’s.

Lee Maude raised the question about using the sound system for game announcements during high school and ISO games. She said, the neighbors will hear the sound. Dr. Hagerman said that they needed to clarify the use of the amplified sound.

Chris Morin raised the issue of turning off the lights at 8 pm for practices.
He said, “We have heard from only a couple of neighbors who object to practice sound that they can hear and we have heard from many other neighbors who say this is not an issue and then we’ve heard from hundreds who want to use that field especially during the rainy season. So the 8 o’clock cutoff doesn’t seem realistic to me unless we want to guarantee total silence for two houses at the expense of hundreds of residents who live near shared community resources like the train, the Bronx River Parkway and the Hutch that have much higher decibel levels than kids practicing on a field can ever produce. … There are many sports like swimming and basketball go far later.”

Bill Natbony questioned the provision that only allows the Superintendent to approve exceptions. He said, “What if you are unavailable….What if you designate someone else in case you can’t be reached?”

Allison Singer said, “I would suggest that you change the word contest to 'events.' What if we wanted to have graduation under the lights?”

Nina Cannon said, ”I want to echo the comments about providing flexibility. To make a regulation that is too restrictive will not benefit our community.”

Dr. Hagerman responded, “This is a very expensive facility. We want to make sure it is used for its intended purpose.”

Pam Fuehrer said, “I understand the point about flexibility. But I also respect the willingness of Ray and Thomas to be conservative to respect the neighbor’s input. It is more than a handful of neighbors. To go from 7 night games to 15 and the potential for more … I think it’s a respectful approach.”

Chris Morin asked about the height of the proposed lights. Ray replied saying, “The four pole solution is 80 feet high.”

Donor Recognition Plan

SHSBrickThe Board then discussed the donor recognition plan which provides engraved pavers and pavers with non-slip bronze plaques for donations of $1,000 or more. The pavers would be set into a 10 X 50 foot walkway outside of the sports area with various size pavers depending on the donation. Other donors will be recognized on the Maroon and White website, in their Sports Journals and in the Scarsdale Inquirer.

The full plan can be viewed here.

Allison Singer thanked Maroon and White and said that the new policy is much more in line with board policies. She questioned the size of the two-foot by two-foot paver for donors of $200,000 or more. She also asked if these pavers were warrantied for foot usage. Chris Morin explained that the two-foot by two-foot banner was meant for Maroon and White. The board supported the donor recognition plan saying it was “tasteful” and “the way of the world.” Pam Feuhrer thanked Maroon and White for their flexibility and willingness to work with Ray Pappalardi. She said, “I think we came to an outstanding plan.”

Chris Morin asked what would happen in the case of a cost overrun. He said the answer should be in the memorandum of understanding. Dr. Hagerman and Scott Silberfein agreed. Bill Natbony asked about a provision to clarify responsibility for maintaining the paver walkway.

Chris Morin asked if anyone had considered using the Butler Field light posts to improve cell service at the schools. He suggested that Verizon would pay the district to install cell service on the poles. Dr. Hagerman said trenching would be used to allow wifi outside.

The Board agreed to approve the Memorandum of Understanding subject to several changes.

The Board also passed a resolution to adopt a Butler Field SEQRA resolution.

Environmental Testing Update

The District has agreed to a new environmental testing protocol and has retained a new firm, Louis Burger, to do the testing. The new protocol can be read here:$file/Scarsdale%20IAQ-Response%20Protocol.pdf

They company will do a full assessment of every building every year, including offices and classrooms, during the summer to establish a baseline. They will focus on mold and moisture. When problems arise, Burger will come within 24 hours and recommend remediation. The price for the assessment is $22,000 with additional fees for remediation.

Testing this spring found problems in four areas: The art egress area and classroom 24 at Edgewood School had mold, a humidifier was needed in the special education area at the high school and testing in the tech area at the high school revealed the need for a lead filter. All reports can be found here:

Facilities Update

The renovation of Greenacres Elementary School will start at the end of the month with the set up of the staging area across the street from the school. A communication plan is being established for teachers, parents and neighbors. The District plans to hold meetings with the neighborhood association in the fall and the spring to keep residents updated on the construction.

This summer, the Heathcote roof project will be done. New security vestibules and cameras will be installed at all elementary schools and new boilers will also be installed.

A bid to do water mitigation at Quaker Ridge, ADA updates at Heathcote and partition walls in both gyms at the middle school came in $400,000 over the $800,000 budget. This work will be repackaged and rebid.

The district is $300,000 under budget for the budget-funded projects. They will bid out elevator projects for the high school and the middle school in July.

Air Conditioning

The district is still discussing options for energy offset with Con Edison Solutions. They are considering solar panels and battery storage of energy which would require “trailer size battery stations.” They are also considering geothermal heat at Dean Field. However, all kids will have access to cooled spaces, with work to be done at Heathcote this summer.

Youth Services

Special Education Director Eric Rauschenbach reviewed the proposed Youth Service Project budget of $516,807, half of which is paid by the schools. For 2019-20 they will add a Drug and Alcohol Task Force coordinator at a total cost of $23,000. Pam Fuehrer expressed a concern about the district paying for personnel for community organizations. She said, “It reminds me of the Teen Center which was not a school entity.” Rauschenbach said a coordinated community response is needed to combat drug and alcohol use. Dr. Hagerman said that the proposed legalization of marijuana has changed the way kids think about drug use and “we need to redouble our efforts.” The budget can be reviewed here.

Five Year Contract for Superintendent Hagerman

The Board announced that they had signed a five-year employment contract with Dr. Hagerman for a salary of $347,000 for the 2019-20 school year. The contract includes provisions for vacation, leave, health, dental, life and disability insurance, retirement fund contributions and more along with $500 a month for a car. The entire agreement can be reviewed here.

Board Succession Plans

The Board considered their leadership for next year. Board President Scott Silberfein proposed that he continue to serve as Board President through January 2020 with Board Vice President Pam Fuehrer taking on the presidency in January to ensure continuity. Dr. Hagerman said there are additional areas of responsibility for all Board members.

Discussing the proposal, Lee Maude said that down the line Scott’s proposal might require a new Board member to take on a leadership role in their first term. In speaking to previous Board Presidents Lee said, “That’s not the best situation.” She said, ”In this situation someone will be President for two years.” Chris said, “The role of the President does not need to be expansive as what we make it.” He encouraged Scott and Pam to think creatively about how the rest of the Board can help. Bill Natbony said, “In past years the tradition had been for board members to serve six years which avoids this situation. Two years as President is an extremely long time. I urge you to look at this year and a half arrangement.”

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