At its May 11 meeting, the Mamaroneck School Board selected “virgin rubber” as infill for the high school’s new artificial turf field and considered whether and how to charge fees for using school facilities. But most of the evening was filled with warm and witty accolades celebrating the 46 teachers, teaching assistants and administrators who were granted tenure this year.
Stories included anecdotes about Viking costumes, crêpes, and a teaching assistant described as “supercalifragilistic” by her students. The audience learned of a librarian with an undergraduate degree in metal smithing, and a teacher who visited the Hommocks office as a sales rep for a book company and ended up applying for a teaching job there.
Attendees included babies, children, parents and even a service dog who took a shine to Assistant Superintendent Annie Ward. It was a happy evening.
Two assistant superintendents received tenure: Anthony Minotti (student support services, personnel and administration); and Meryl Rubinstein (business operations). Central School Principal Carol Houseknecht also received tenure, accompanied by cheers from her office staff.
Fifty staff members had been eligible for tenure this year. One candidate not on the list was Jennifer Rosenzweig, the Mamaroneck High School English teacher whose students had been advocating for her tenure since they learned she had not been recommended by her principal.
Additional tenure appointments are listed below.
Reliable Rubber Chosen Over Innovative Infill
The board also heard results of research by Ms. Rubinstein, Athletic Director Bari Suman, and fields consultant Bill Aniskovich on infill for the turf field to be installed at Mamaroneck High School. Of the two options under consideration, the EPDM virgin rubber infill, they found, had been in use far longer than organic coconut and cork, which has been applied to fields only since 2007. In addition, users of the organic infill reported difficulties with installation, migration of infill, and even growth of baby maple trees.
“We unanimously are recommending the EPDM material,” concluded Ms. Rubinstein. Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried concurred.
Bids are due in on May 18.
No Decision on Facilities Fees
Board member Nancy Pierson reminded her colleagues of prior research looking into data on 16,000 hours of use of district facilities by 66 different organizations, most of which are youth-based, resident and not-for-profit. She also briefed the board on conversations with groups who might be affected by the imposition of a new fee to use facilities, such as gymnasiums, sports fields and auditoriums.
The issues are complicated, Ms. Pierson noted. Before devoting the time to carefully examine the ramifications of different fee structures, she recommended that the board first decide if they were in favor of setting a fee schedule. If not, there would be no point in moving ahead, she said.
If board members did want to set fees – an approach she favored – she recommended they include this topic as part of their annual goals setting process in July.
Also to be considered is who should set the policy. Ms. Pierson recommended a task force consisting of staff (likely Ms. Rubinstein), board members and community members, including both facility users and non-users. “I don’t think we can do this work sitting at the board table,” she concluded.
Finally, Ms. Pierson noted that the fall, when the new turf field will come online, would be a logical time to impose at least a nominal fee for use of that facility. After a brief discussion, the board determined that it would examine the larger issue of fees in its summer goal setting discussion, but asked Dr. Fried to go ahead and prepare a recommendation for fees for the turf field.
Department Goals and the Budget Vote on May 18
On May 18 at 6:30 pm, the board will hear from Hommocks and MHS department chairs on their progress towards their goals. The board will adjourn at 9 pm to hear the results of the school budget and board election.
Voters are being asked to weigh in on the $122 million budget for 2010-2011, which comes with a 1.22% increase over last year and a 2.08% tax rate increase, the smallest in more than 40 years.
Results of the online poll conducted by the Gazette last month suggest that the vote could be very close: during the entire three week polling period, the vote remained closely divided between “Yes” and “No” — although supporters ended up with a slight edge.
If the vote were today, how would you vote on Mamaroneck’s school budget? As of April 7, the budget is $122M, up 1.22% from last year; the tax increase is 2.08%.
The school budget vote will take place at area elementary schools on Tuesday, May 18. Polls will be open from 7 am to 9 pm. Anyone who has voted in any local election in the past four years is eligible to vote. Voter registration closes at 4 pm on Thursday, April 13. Absentee ballots can be obtained in the superintendent’s office. Contact the district clerk at 220-3007 for more information.