Schools may be out for the summer, but the Mamaroneck Board of Education is still hard at work. In a special meeting on Friday, June 26, the board passed an emergency resolution authorizing abatement of asbestos tiles in the McLain Auditorium at Mamaroneck High School. The planned work was part of the bond that failed in February but was not included in the May “bare bones” bond that was passed overwhelmingly by the community.
The board also hired a new assistant principal for Central School and provided for new supervision at the two Co-op Camps.
Summer Asbestos Abatement Deemed Necessary
Meryl Rubinstein, assistant superintendant for business operations, explained that in the last weeks of school, as the McLain Auditorium was being used by students and staff for a variety of purposes, a number of the old auditorium seats broke, resulting in more lifting of the asbestos floor tiles. “The actual tiles were cracking and not just lifting,” she said, and they became a health and safety hazard.
The problem exists throughout the auditorium, Ms. Rubinstein noted, and not just in a small area, so encapsulation of the tiles is not possible. The only alternative to abatement, she said, “would be to shut down McLain for the entire school year and not use it.”
After a brief discussion, the school board authorized removal of the asbestos tiles over the summer and replacement of the auditorium chairs, many of which are not expected to survive the process necessary to remove the asbestos. As required by law, the auditorium will become handicapped accessible after the repairs.
The cost is estimated at $460,ooo and will be funded through the 2008-2009 budget. Monies are available because electric costs were not as high as expected, increasing only 14% rather than the 45% projected. In addition, the district received additional revenues, including state aid payments from expenses incurred in past years and funds paid by other school districts for health services provided to out-of-district students attending Mamaroneck schools.
Because the repairs are being done as an emergency, the district is not required to go through the competitive bidding process that normally governs school contracts, Ms. Rubinstein explained. To assure competitive pricing, however, the district will choose auditorium seats from a company that previously has been awarded a state contract for those seats. Availability is also a consideration, she noted, as the district hopes to install the new flooring, carpeting and seats in the early part of the school year so the auditorium can be reopened.
Colors of the new seats and carpeting will be selected by the high school art department to complement the deep burgundy curtain in the auditorium.
New Assistant Principal Hired for Central School
Included in the board’s personnel agenda was the hiring of Joanne Hindley, the new assistant principal for Central School.
Ms. Hindley completed her undergraduate degree in elementary education at SUNY Plattsburgh and her graduate studies at Adelphi University and Manhattan College. She began her teaching experience at PS 138 in the Bronx and worked as a staff developer with the Teacher’s College Writing Project at Columbia University and as an independent literary consultant. She also was one of the founding faculty members of the Manhattan New School and authored the well-known professional book, In The Company of Children.
Ms. Hindley begins with the district on July 1, and there will be numerous opportunities for the Mamaroneck community to get to know her.
New Co-op Camp Administrator Planned
The board also approved an agreement providing for an administrator to set up and supervise the district’s Co-op Camps. Rather than having a teacher responsible for supervising the camps, as has been the case in past years, the decision was made to provide a stipend to an administrator who would stop by the camps regularly and be available by phone to help deal with medical issues or other potential problems. The school budget already included $5000 for this purpose at the Mamaroneck Avenue School camp, and an additional $2500 has been added now that the Hommocks Co-op Camp has been fully funded. It is expected that the administrative responsibilities may be shared this year between several district administrators.