A Plea for Full-Day Montauk Pre-K

    Jessica Vickers made a last-ditch effort on Tuesday to get the Montauk School Board to reverse the decision to change prekindergarten from a full-day program to a half-day one when the new school year starts in September.
    A reading teacher at the Springs School who was born and raised in Montauk and attended the Montauk School, Ms. Vickers questioned whether a two-and-a-half-hour program would be enough to fulfill the academic and social needs of preschoolers. She said that as a teacher she has a hard time preparing kindergarten students for first grade with a full-day program.
    “I’m really worried about it,” she said. “I’m coming here to beg you to reconsider.”
    During budget talks in March, the school board announced that the expected pre-K enrollment for next year was about 42 students, and as a result a third class would be needed to continue a full-day program. Budget constraints, which included the state’s 2-percent cap on tax levy increases, would, however, not accommodate that.
    If enrollment dropped would the board reconsider, Ms. Vickers asked. Jack Perna, the district superintendent, said the school can’t take that chance. He said if parents were to send their children elsewhere to school and then learned that the full program was reinstated, they might decide to return the students to Montauk. “We’d be in the same position we are now,” he said.
    “We made our decision,” Diane Hausman, the school board president, said. “We’ve had endless talks about it, and we’re backing up Mr. Perna.”
    Ms. Vickers wondered if the program would go back to full time next year and was told the board wouldn’t know that until the enrollment numbers came in at that time.
    “As of right now, this is a half-day program,” Mr. Perna said, ending the discussion.

Roof Worries
    Prior to that, two school custodians, Patrick Moloney and Kevin Mulligan, gave a rough estimate of the cost of replacing the roof and possibly installing solar panels in an area over the gym that is old and in some places rotting. The school has made efforts to be environmentally friendly since before it was the popular thing to do, but jaws dropped when the numbers for a high-efficiency solar roof were stated — almost $330,000. An available rebate of $87,500 would bring the cost down to about $240,000. Standard-efficiency panels with the same rebate would cost about $213,000.
    To replace the shingled roof, which should never have been shingled to begin with, Mr. Moloney said, the cost would be about $72,000, which the school has already set aside for the project.
    The gym roof, approximately 7,200 square feet, is now is pitched at 2/12, meaning that for every one foot, the roof rises two inches. The minimum pitch for a shingled roof should be 3/12, according to a report submitted to board members by Roof Services of Deer Park, one of only two companies that bid on the project.
    The new roof would be made of rubber and able to withstand winds of 75 miles per hour and heavy loads of snow. “Even if you don’t go solar, you should go to the rubber,” Mr. Moloney said.
    “I’d say strip it and do it now,” Lisa Ward, a board member, said.
    As the discussion ensued, the board decided to continue looking into the solar panels, the price of which could be included in next year’s budget proposal. Members also learned that the rubber roof comes in three colors, black, gray, or white, with black being the least expensive.
    “Well, black it is,” Ms. Ward said.
    Mr. Perna said he would submit the plans to the school’s attorney for consideration. “And then we’ll get started.”