School district, town and village earn thanks and praise for mutual aid during Tropical Storm Irene

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:17

    Team effort by all players ensures on-time school opening despite storm, flooding aftermath Warwick — Warwick Valley Schools Superintendent Dr. Raymond Bryant thanked William Schmidt of Warwick’s Department of Transportation at the school board’s regular meeting on Monday night. Crews cleared town roads - notably Colonial Road. Those efforts, Bryant noted, enabled school buses to safely pass and get students to school in time for opening day. Warwick Village Mayor Michael Newhard extended his thanks to Bryant and school district employees in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene: This was a “horrendous storm…(the likes of which that has) never, ever occurred before.” Newhard added that he needed the Middle School opened as a shelter, and worked with Bryant early to make it happen. The school was opened “within an hour” the morning of the storm - to shelter people, many of them elderly residents. Newhard presented a token of the village’s appreciation to Bryant and the board: A redbud sapling and a proclamation commending the School Board. Why a sapling? Because “the leaves are shaped like hearts - that day (Irene) was all about heart," the mayor said. Bryant thanked Dawn Russell, Steve Salvato, Ken VanEtten and Lois Radon - of the transportation, custodial and maintenance and food service departments - for “doing an incredible job during a hellacious week.” In other business Among the items to be discussed at the board’s upcoming work session will be the issue of Adequate Yearly Progress, as part of the annual Schools’ Report Card. Improvement is needed at the Middlet School where some special education children have fallen short on reading scores for two years in a row. Bryant suggested that those students should be counted separately when determining overall test scores. "The Middle School will be off needs improvement - that's a promise,"Bryant said. The board voted to move its monthly meetings up to begin at 7:00 p.m., instead of 7:30 p.m. The board tabled the 2011 Tax Warrant passed in August: according to Bryant, state software for STAR was incorrect, so the amount of school tax collected under STAR will have to be amended. Further, the town of Warwick has requested of the legislature to move back the tax deadline, to give farmers and other citizens affected by Hurricane Irene more time. A plan to lease the closed Pine Island Elementary School to Vision Church has been tabled for now, as the church wants more time to review the proposed lease agreement. The board is also considering leasing some space at PIE to be used by Orange County, since the County Center building is temporarily closed due to mold as a result of flooding in Irene’s aftermath Bryant planned to draft a letter on this matter to County Executive Ed Diana. The next regular monthly meeting Monday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m., at Sanfordville Elementary School.