Teacher: Drivers ed students should have permits

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Acting Superintendent Jennifer Rylott at Monday night's Board of Education meeting.

Acting Superintendent Jennifer Rylott at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Shelter Island could soon decide that students entering its drivers’ education program obtain New York State learners’ permits prior to taking the school’s free course.

It’s not a state law that students taking drivers ed have a learner’s permit, but there’s nothing to prohibit the district from setting a more stringent policy, teacher Jack Reardon told the Board of Education Monday night.

What state law does stipulate is that in addition to the 24 hours of training students receive during the course, they’re supposed to put in another 50 hours behind the wheel with a licensed driver to prepare them for taking a driver’s test.

Students without a permit can’t put in the additional hours and that means their skills aren’t up to par with those who have permits and get extra practice outside of school, Mr. Reardon told the board.

The BOE’s policy committee will consider the request and make a recommendation to colleagues, but a new policy wouldn’t kick in this fall since it’s too late for students without a permit to obtain one in time for the start of school on September 3.

Board clerk Jacqueline Dunning said she checked and couldn’t find a similar policy in place in other districts. If the board decides to endorse the requirement, it would have to write the policy from scratch.

One policy committee member, Elizabeth Melichar, noted that Shelter Island’s drivers’ education program is without cost, unlike many other districts.

The board distribute a revised Code of Conduct policy that is reviewed annually. In addition to changes in language that stress the importance of respect, dignity and supportive school environment, the revised proposed policy speaks to topics of cyber bullying and spells out in greater detail issues involving weapons, drug paraphernalia and alcohol abuse.

The proposed policy with changes indicated can be found on the school’s website at edline.net/pages/Shelter_Island_UFSD under the tab for community use. Copies can also be reviewed by visiting the school office.

If no major changes are required, the board could vote to accept the revisions at its September 15 regular meeting.

Shelter Island Public Library director Denise DiPaolo was on hand to remind the public that a vote on the library’s budget is slated for Saturday, October 25, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the library. Details on the proposed budget will be made public in September.

When Brian Doelger accepted a job as assistant principal at the Saxton Middle School in the Patchogue-Medford School District, he submitted a letter to the editor of the Reporter thanking the community for support during his years on Shelter Island. This past week he delivered a bag of individually written letters to his former colleagues here, thanking each of them for their support.

“He will be missed,” board President Stephen Gessner said about the popular social studies teacher, but that came after a pause in which another board member refused comment about the resignation, appearing angry by his decision to go to the same district that recently hired former Shelter Island Superintendent Michael Hynes as its new leader.

Acting Superintendent Jennifer Rylott said ads were run to attract possible successors and resumes are due by today, August 14, with the aim of hiring someone as soon as possible in the new school term. In the interim, Ms. Rylott said a substitute will be appointed to cover the classes Mr. Doelger would have been assigned.

In other actions, the Board of Education:

• Hired Brittney Bothwell as a physics and chemistry teacher at a salary of $59,413;

• Approved a leave of absence for Natalie Regan as a teacher’s assistant so she can become a leave replacement for Jennifer Gulluscio, a reading teacher, until December 12 at a prorated annual salary of $64,613.

• Approved extra compensation for Virginia Gibbs  to provide support instruction for students entering the math honors program;

• Approved salaries for non-contractual employees Lisa Goody at $12.56 per hour and Jerome Mundy at $11.65 per hour;

• Approved Rick Osmer to offer CPR/AED certification and first aid training at the rate of $30 per coach or employee or $57 per hour for health care providers and those needing first aid training;

• Appointed a large number of personnel as substitute teachers; substitute aides; to various co-curricular positions; as detention monitors; as nurse substitutes; and as cafeteria worker substitutes. The full list appears on the school website’s Board of Education agenda for August 18.