School security tops Board of Ed agenda

JULIE LANE PHOTO Celebrating her tenure appointment as an elementary school teacher at Shelter Island School Monday evening is Elizabeth Eklund with husband, Dominick Restani, and daughter, Evelyn. It was a family affair Monday night with Elizabeth’s mother, Linda Eklund, a member of the Board of Education, her father, James Eklund, younger brother, Andrew, and aunt, Jenifer Maxson, all in attendance.

JULIE LANE PHOTO
Celebrating her tenure appointment as an elementary school teacher at Shelter Island School Monday evening is Elizabeth Eklund with husband, Dominick Restani, and daughter, Evelyn. It was a family affair Monday night with Elizabeth’s mother, Linda Eklund, a member of the Board of Education, her father, James Eklund, younger brother, Andrew, and aunt, Jenifer Maxson, all in attendance.

Security is on the minds of the Board of Education and staff at Shelter Island School as they consider a proposal from A+ Technology & Security of Bay Shore to step up safety measures on campus.

Representatives of the company outlined plans at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting. Account executive Ed Schildt said if a decision is made quickly, installation of equipment could take place during the Christmas break.

The company has been serving New York school districts for 30 years and also maintains a satellite office in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where it provides security services for both government and school buildings.

The safety measures would include cameras around the exterior and interior of the building; computer hookups with national data bases for immediate searches of those entering the building presenting drivers licenses or other identification: and the ability to link the school to the Shelter Island Police Department

“We want to make this the safest zone possible,” Board of Education President Thomas Graffagnino said.

The school board is studying a proposed system. No cost has divulged the cost, but there would be a $480 maintenance contract each year.

At the same time, Mr. Schildt told the board that cost would be evaluated and could decrease if his company determined there were minimal calls for service. He also said unlike some contracts that increase annually, A+ maintenance contracts tend to be stable.

BUDGETING
The board adopted a calendar for its budget planning, beginning with a meeting on January 8 at 6 p.m. in the Board of Education Conference Room.

While numbers aren’t yet available, Business Leader Idowu Ogundipe told the board to expect increases in both health insurance premiums and payments to the Teachers Retirement System.

One upcoming budget issue is a request from some parents for combined sports programs with off-Island schools. Director of Athletics Todd Gulluscio said a few districts have shown some interest. The combined teams were scrapped a couple of years ago to save transportation costs, and that will be discussed as the new budget is crafted, he said.

Another issue is continuing the Anti-Defamation League Character Education Curriculum for students in preschool through grade five. Again, the full cost of the program is the hurdle. At $3,000, Superintendent Christine Finn said she would hope to budget for the program for the 2018-19 school term. But in the interim, students who engaged in the program in the past year might lead a program in this school year, Ms. Finn said.

In a similar vein, on Friday at 1:15 p.m. all students will participate in a special assembly where representatives of “Kait’s Angels” will present a Buddy Bench to the district.
Kait’s Angels was formed by friends of Kaitlyn Doré Doorhy who had graduated from Mattituck High School and was studying at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, when she was struck and killed by a vehicle in August 2014 as she walked near the campus.

In her honor, the organization has continued to follow her example of helping others and the Buddy Bench project is just one outreach the group has made to the community.

The buddy bench aims to eliminate loneliness on campus and foster friendships. A child sitting on the bench may be looking for a friend and it’s a signal to other students and staff to reach out to that child and include him or her in activities.

CELEBRATION
It was celebration time for elementary school teacher Elizabeth Eklund who was granted tenure Monday night with only board member Linda Eklund, her mom, having to recuse herself from the vote.

Elizabeth Eklund thanked the board for “making my dream come true” by enabling her to do what she loves to do among people who have become her best friends.
Ms. Finn, in recommending Ms. Eklund for tenure, called her “a wonderful teacher” who always goes above and beyond what is asked of her.

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