With the public having voted in December to okay borrowing up to $8.75 million for school repairs and a new green initiative, the Greenport Board of Education has given Superintendent Michael Comanda the go-ahead to raise the money and set a construction schedule.
The decision came in a unanimous vote at the board’s meeting on Jan. 19, a rainy night, when several rows of seats in the auditorium had to be cordoned off because of leaks in the roof.
The school will be getting a new roof, as well as repairs to the auditorium, new boilers and windows and a number of other improvements throughout the building, which dates from 1932. The green initiative will include installation of solar panels on part of the roof and a wind turbine at the northwest corner of the school’s ballfield.
While board members are still weighing a request from some Greenport residents that they be allowed to use campus athletic facilities during the school day, the board has another issue to contemplate: use of school facilities outside operating hours by for-profit entities.
Mr. Comanda submitted a proposal for such an arrangement last Wednesday with a possible fee schedule. It wasn’t made public, but it will be a topic for discussion at future meetings after the board finishes its review.
In the past, requests have come from film companies and other for-profit entities to use the campus during off hours, and that could generate a little income for the district, Mr. Comanda said. As with any outside group using the school, the companies would have to provide insurance covering the district in the event of any claim.
The board heard requests from two sources last week to expand programs — one for adding business as a topic in the school’s curriculum and the other for an extracurricular drama adviser. Martha Tuthill and Yvonne Lieblein, who worked with the school’s fledgling DECA members to prepare for their recent success in a regional marketing competition, made the plea for a business program. Noting the enthusiasm and effort the students had put into the competition, Ms. Tuthill pointed out that many students pursue a college education in business and would be better prepared if they had some training in high school.
Both women raved about the commitment of the DECA team and bragged that its 16 members brought home seven trophies.
Former board member Diane Peterson, who worked with students on this month’s “Wizard of Oz” production, said a drama club adviser could expand the school’s program.
Ms. Tuthill said she understood the challenges the board faced in developing a budget for 2011-12, but said she hopes some consideration might be given to starting a formal business program.
Ms. Lieblein noted that the East End Arts Council is bringing more programs to Brecknock Hall and said there may be opportunities to get students involved in some of those programs.