School Board Notebook: District to save on health insurance

JULIE LANE PHOTO Students celebrated Board of Education members for their service with banners, letters and framed art work at Monday night’s meeting.

Students celebrated Board of Education members for their service with banners, letters and framed art work at Monday night’s meeting.

A previously agreed pact with the Shelter Island Faculty Association and the building and grounds unit to switch health insurance carriers will result in a savings of $111,500 in premiums beginning in January.
Figures were released by district business official Tim Laube at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting .

He noted that in the 2017-18 school year the switch from the East End Health Plan (EEHP) to the New York State Health Insurance Plan (NYSHIP) would save the district a projected $299,160.

The district had budgeted just over $1.9 million for premiums for the EEHP had it continued throughout the year. Instead, Shelter Island is paying $976,500 to EEHP for the first six months of coverage under its plan and then $865,000 for the second six months under the state plan.


Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik provided an overview of changes that have taken place during the last several months to the school building.

Solar panels on part of the building will be generating 28.5 kilowatts of power that over the 16-year life of a performance contract with Johnson Controls will pay for the installation and provide cheaper energy for years to come, lowering the district’s overall costs for electricity, Mr. Skuggevik said.

Johnson Controls has also changed lighting throughout the building, replacing fluorescent lighting with LED lights that, again, will use less energy and provide brighter lighting, he said.

Window films now keep sun from heating classrooms in warm weather while offering protection from the cold in winter, he said.

The old steam boilers that were installed in 1992 with pipes dating back to 1925 have been replaced with new pumps and piping. Unit ventilators have also been replaced and bricks on parts of the building have been repointed to prevent water getting into cracks and causing damage, Mr. Skuggevik said.


Because Shelter Island depends on well water, the school is required to test regularly to assure potable water is available to its students.

Testing was done recently and while most drinking fountains and sources of water used for cooking and similar needs proved to be fine there were a few places where the Ph level, the measure of acidity and alkalinity, was low and those have been closed to use while further testing is under way.

Mr. Skuggevik said he thinks the chemicals used to balance the Ph levels were added just before the test and hadn’t had their effect yet. He expects the results of a retest to be available shortly and they will be posted on the school’s website. If the levels are again unacceptable, steps will be taken to investigate and correct any problem, he said.


It was school board appreciation night and students of art teacher Stephanie Sareyani created gifts for each of the board members — framed artwork they had created.

“This is the nicest thing ever,” said board member Elizabeth Melichar-Lechmanski.

Banners created by other students and letters they wrote adorned the walls of the conference room, thanking the various board members for volunteer efforts.

In other business, the Board of Education:

• Announced that parents interested in joining the district’s shared decision-making committee provide their names to the PTSA for consideration whether or not they are PTSA members. Email [email protected] by Monday.

• Approved the National Honor Society’s request to hold a cardboard campout on school grounds the night before Election Day to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Students told the Board of Education they were also raising money for Sharon Gibbs, a beloved science teacher who is out on medical leave.

• Set the tax levy — the amount of the budget to be raised from taxpayers — for the 2016-17 school year at just over $10 million.

• Accepted an $800 contribution from Margaret and Norbert Doyle to be used for the music program.

• Approved field trips for eighth-grade students to see “The Nutcracker” December 21; for 10th graders to attend an opera January 30, 2017; and for students participating in music-related extra-curricular activities, a Broadway play on May 17, 2017.

• Appointed Christopher Kline as a substitute teacher at the rate of $110 per day and as a leave replacement for elementary school teacher Michael Cox between October 11 and November 10 at a prorated salary of $7,074.

• Accepted the resignation of Christopher Ruggi as a leave replacement for elementary school teacher Elizabeth Eklund and appointed Meagan Glenn to that position to serve between October 11 and December 16 at a prorated salary of $11,976.

• Accepted the resignation of Ian Kanarvogel as varsity softball coach for the 2016-17 school year because of a scheduling conflict.

• Appointed Cheryl Woods as a mentor to Meagan Glenn at a rate of $1,500.

• Appointed Ms. Glenn as varsity cheerleading coach at a rate of $3,652 for the school year.

The board also approved the following amended motions:

• A paid medical leave for Kerri Knipfing from September 6 through October 17 to be followed by unpaid child care leave from October 18 through November 28.

• A leave of absence for Elizabeth Eklund to run from September 19 through September 30 and an unpaid child care leave of absence from October 3 through December 16.

• An appointment of Janina Speece as a leave replacement for Ms. Knipfing from September 6 through November 28 at a prorated salary of $16,91.

• A paid medical leave of absence for Sharon Gibbs from September 6, 2016 through June 23, 2017.

• An appointment of Robert Miller as leave replacement for Ms. Gibbs from September 6, 2016 through June 23, 2017 at a salary of $61,510.

James Theinert, Michael Cox, Sean Brennan, Jessica Bosak, Lynn Colligan, Kerri Knipfing, Mary Kanarvogel and Elizabeth Eklund were all granted salary scale increases retroactive to September 1.

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