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March 22, 2000

SMOKE DETECTORS  OUT ē NEW BLEACHERS IN ē SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO PUT BOND BACK UP

by Stewart Lilker

 -- 7:30 p.m. Freeport School District Board Room. The Freeport Board of Education voted to put their recently defeated 40 million dollar school bond back in front of the voters on May 16th. As previously promised, the Board removed "health, safety and maintenance" items from the bond, deciding to put these items into the Districtís operating budgets during the next three years. Included in the revised plan are new bleachers for the high school. Removed from the Boardís plan are the updating of smoke and fire detection systems in the Districtís school buildings. Board President Grover explained that if the revised plan was not passed, the Board would be forced to lease or purchase portables to accommodate the space needs of the students and go to split sessions in the High School. Regarding the financing of the Districtís building plans, Mr. Grover said, "We can either bond it or pay for it up front." The Boardís "Revised Plan" plan will cost the residents 35.6 million dollars plus interest, if approved. Go to Revised Bond

The agenda for the eveningís meeting gave no indication that the bond was going to be voted upon. No announcement was made to the community. The Districtís web site was silent regarding the resubmission of the revised bond, as was the so called official Village web site. While there was a short period of public comment, there were only three members of the public at the meeting, not including a number of students. Your reporter had recently asked the Board to seek community input before voting to resubmit the bond. Board President Grover had categorically rejected that request. In an effort to curtail any extended discussion of their "Revised Plan," District Clerk, Mary Bediako, left the meeting to secure the Districtís stop watch. The Boardís unofficial time keeper, John Muscara, kept time, making sure none of three community attendees or the students spoke for more than five minutes. Confirmed sources claim that the District told Newsday that they [the Board] were going to seek community input before voting to resubmit their "Revised Plan" to the residents.

During the discussion part of the meeting, Board President Grover responding to a studentís question about class size at the high school claimed, "We have remedial classes because the classes are too big." Public relations wizard and Republican operative Warren Brath, appearing at a Board meeting for the first time in three years, asked a couple of questions about the boilers. FNYN asked Mr. Brath the reason for his unexpected appearance. Mr. Brath had no comment. Answering a question about portables, Mr. Grover explained, "Portables arenít aidable. They cost seventy-five to 80 percent of permanent construction." The Board was also questioned regarding the lack of any planning for a full day kindergarten program at the Columbus pre-k and k center. Neither the Board nor the Superintendent addressed this important issue. During the bond discussion, former Freeport resident, Police Chief Woodward joined the meeting. At the conclusion of the bond discussion, the Board resolved, without change, to put their "Revised Plan" on the ballot at the annual meeting in May.

Dr. Mary Bediako then present the proposed 2000/2001 additions to the District staffing. Go to Article.

The meeting was adjourned into executive session to discuss a particular matter of personnel a 9p.m. Chief Woodward left the meeting forty-five minutes later. At 11:00 p.m. to Board concluded their business and the Superintendent and District Clerk left the meeting as did Mr. Grover. President Grover was reminded by FNYN that he had to adjourn the meeting in public. He went back into the Board room and asked for a motion to adjourn. The clerk did not record the resolution, the adjournment or who voted, as she had previously left the Board room.

 

 

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