The Port Washington Board of Education convened on March 13 to pass a resolution regarding the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, on Feb. 14 and discuss budget updates.
“The trustees of the Port Washington Board of Education are shocked and horrified by the February 14 tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL,” said Board of Education President Karen Sloan, reading off the resolution. “We strongly denounce the policies that allow this senseless shooting, cutting short the lives of 14 students and three staff. This incomprehensible act of violence demands bold action by elected officials to end gun violence in our schools. Therefore, be it resolved that the Port Washington Board of Education calls on our federal, state and local officials to stand with our children and act immediately to protect all students here and throughout the United States. We call on all elected officials to enact meaningful firearm legislation and regulation, maintain schools as gun-free zones, provide funding for upgrades to school district facilities as deemed necessary for security and provide funding for security personnel needed to implement security plans. Additionally, we call on them to address the institutional and societal issues contributing to this epidemic by providing funds to schools and communities for adequate mental health, guidance and social services for the purpose of support prevention and response. Further, be it resolved that the Port Washington Board of Education stands with our students in adopting the Sandy Hook Promise.”
Also at the meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Business Mary Callahan discussed the updates made to the budget which is still in draft stages. Callahan explained that the draft budget increased from 2.85 percent to 2.92 percent, but the levy remained 3.15 percent, reflecting the total use of ERS Reserve funds, Unassigned Fund Balance and Debt Service Reserve funds totaling $2,812,228. The total draft budget is $155,638,960 with an increase of $4,188,225. The adjusted draft budget provides $400,000 toward the total requested $881,106 for staffing needs.
For most of the meeting, the boys lacrosse team stood in silence at the back of the Schreiber cafeteria to make a statement to the board about their program.
“Our boys are very upset about the current state of affairs,” said Schreiber alumni and resident Jim Dalimonte during public comment. “The start of the season was long anticipated, longed for feverishly, and after a first great week of bonding, they walked into practice Monday learning that their scrimmages were cancelled and missing their head coach Isaac Neal for the past two days with no explanation. So here, in front of the administration, we were hoping and now learning that we’re not going to get answers to what the situation really is. If it’s about Isaac, we’d wish you would hear us out on how we think very highly of him and would hate for something to happen to him. Maybe you cannot tell us now but maybe you can have the proper person to reach out to us to let us know where we sit. I think it’s unfair the boys are questioning everyday what’s going on with our head coach, why are our scrimmages being canceled.”
Sloan explained that the board is always excited to see students come to the meetings to make a statement about what’s going on in their school whether they speak or just be present.
“Even though there are certain matters we can’t discuss in a meeting like this, it is noted and we appreciate you came out to show us how you feel about what’s going on in your school,” said Sloan. “We will be getting back to this issue in another form and another way.”
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