In its regular Board of Education meeting Monday evening, August 13, the Board authorized spending up to $100,000 in overtime construction costs to complete the new high school media center, administration offices, new cafeteria and science lab expansion in time for the first week of school.
Richard Lasselle, Assistant Superintendent for Business, requested the
increase in order to cope with a shortage of electricians on the high
school renovation, which has 21 days before students are expected to arrive.
Lasselle, speaking to WPCNR, assured WPCNR the high school would be ready
to serveallhigh school students by the first day of school, September
Lasselle said the contractor has been working 6 days a week to ready
the $28 million expansion. He said the authorization of $100,000 in overtime
expenditure was an effort to assure availability of electrical contractors,
whom Lasselle described as being in great demand around the county due
to the large number of construction projects throughout the region.
WPCNR spoke with a supervising contractor on site at the high school
last week who told us that he was anticipating the project being completed
by the third week in September at the earliest. Our source said that the
new cafeteria had all kitchen and serving facilities in place and interior
renovation installed, and that the electrical work which including wiring
air conditioning and ventilation systems (delivered and cranelifted onto
the building the last week in July) were about to be “hooked up.”
This on-site source reported that the electrical subcontractors were the
keys to getting the entire project student-ready by September.
On the science lab facilities, the contractor told us last week that
labtables and heavy counter furnishings were in place, and were awaiting
electrical, plumbing and gas hookups. He speculated that the science labs
would also be completed approximately about Setember 15 but stressed that
work was intensifying. He gave us this estimate the first week of August.
|NEW SCIENCE Labs being enclosed week of August 6.
Contractor reports labtables in and electrical work remains. Photo
The contractor also reported that work on the new media center was in
good shape, but that too was awaiting electrical wiring for technological
resources. He said that the school district had concentrated on the cafeteria
and science facilities, and that the new administrative offices and circular
media center section would be completed last.
|MEDIA CENTER and ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES under construction.
Media Center awaits wiring, is expected to open mid-September. New
Administrative offices in this section will be last to be opened.
High school brain-trust will continue in trailers. Photo by WPCNR.
A teacher interviewed by WPCNR at the beginning of August advised us
that she had been told that the administration offices would continue
to be in the temporary trailers through September because the new administrative
offices would be completed last in the construction sequence.
Lasselle, speaking to WPCNR after the Board of Education voted the overtime
funds, said that “I don’t want to make predictions, it’s still too
close to call, but we’re going to be ready for the kids.”
He said the new cafeteria, as of last Monday’s meeting, needed the electrical
work to be completed, and that the media probably would not be functioning
until about mid-September, when all books and materials and equipment
would be moved into the facility.
|New Cafeteria nears completion. Shown August 6, Cafeteria
is having air-conditioning, vents, electrical work installed and is
expected ready for service the first day of school. Photo by WPCNR.
However, Lasselle was optimistic. He emphasized that the construction
situation improves each day, and pointed out that once contractors left
a clean-up operation would be needed before the new facilities were ready
to be activated. He did say the new cafeteria was expected to be ready
for the first day of school and there would be room for all the students.
Asked if WPCNR could go on a walking tour of the construction this week,
Lasselle suggested that the time for the tour was when the new facilities
were opened officially.
The renovation of the high school lost 17 construction days at the beginning
of the project in the year 2000, due to union disputes that the nonunion
contractor, Tratoros Construction was not using enough union operators
on heavy earth-moving equipment and concrete pouring. This was resolved,
and there have been no work stoppages since August, 2000.
In other action —
The Board of Education approved a resolution going on record as opposing
a bill that Dr. Saul Yanofsky said which would direct the School Districts
across New York State authorize “unemployment compensation”
to “non-instructional 10-month employees, (not teachers) across the
Yanofsky said that the bill was sponsored by State Senator Nicholas Spano.
Yanofsky said this bill which apparently has widespread support in the
legislature could cost the City School District more than $500,000 a year
increased expenses because the School District is “self-supporting,
in terms of its unemployment compensation.”
The Personnel Office of the School District reported to WPCNR that 10-month
employees include “teaching assistants, cafeteria workers, and some
The Superintendent of Schools said “It (the bill) is disturbing,
because its purpose is not what unemployment compensation is all about.
People on these 10-month jobs take them because they only want 10-month
jobs. They want the summer free.”
Yanofsky expressed concern that teachers would desire the same unemployment
benefits in the future, creating the specter of a massive increase in
Yanofsky said he had written State Senators Suzi Oppenheimer, Nicholas
Spano, and Assemblypersons Amy Paulin and Naomi Matusow opposing the project,
but mentioned that Senator Spano is the actual bill sponsor.
“The bill is still alive in Albany,” Yanofsky reported. “The
tax PACS and business interests have not heard of it, and it is my understanding
that this (bill) is going to happen very quietly.”
WPCNR contacted Senator Spano’s office to find out exactly why this bill
is being sponsored in Albany, and exactly what it would do. The Senator’s
press secretary, Claire Wainwright, reported that the Senator is away,
and that she will be reporting back to WPCNR with more background on the
reasons behind this bill.
On Albany issues…
Dr. Yanofsky, in his remarks to the Board, expressed concern about the
impact of the Albany “bare bones” budget passed against Governor
Pataki’s wishes two weeks ago.
The budget he said, means that the District will not be getting state
aid they anticipated for BOCES, small cities and the disabled. “(These
cuts) will have a devastating affect across the state,” Yanofsky
He also said the legislators’ $4 billion in cuts would deny any possibility
of added funding for magnet schools. He also said Pre-K funding could
be affected, though the school district is planning to stay with the Pre-K
program this year.
New Director of Adult Education…
The district approved the appointment of Claudia Jarmillo to the position
of Director of Adult and Continuing Education replacing Anthony Morzello,
who is retiring.
Ms. Jarmillo was described by Dr. Yanofsky as having been found after
two “searches,” and that she had very impressive credentials
in curriculum development. She holds an Bachelor of Arts and Masters Degree
from St. John’s University.
Watch your mailbox for The Code of Conduct
For the green and tan Code of Conduct Summary. The flyer outlines the
27-page Code of Conduct approved by the School Board June 25, 2001. Versions
are available in both English and Spanish. All families of secondary school
students will receive the flyer with the school calendar in the next two
weeks. Assemblies will also be held in schools discussing the Code of
Anyone wishing the complete Code of Conduct may request it from the School
District in English or Spanish by calling 422-2039.