Hashing Out Facilities’ Use

    It was business as usual at Tuesday night’s three-hour meeting of the East Hampton School Board.

    After more than two years of back and forth, the board finally hashed out differences of opinion concerning the district’s policies insofar as the adult and student use of its buildings and facilities are concerned.

    “Never make a rule you can’t enforce,” Pat Hope, the board president, cautioned. “Are we going to restrict use of buildings and grounds to district residents? It’s a simple question and it’s huge in its implications.”

    For the majority of the meeting, board members pored over the six-page working document, debating whether 51 percent of students playing a sport on one of the fields should be residents of the Town of East Hampton.

    The board also weighed whether to impose a fee schedule, with nonprofits not required to pay fees, provided a majority of their participants are district residents. Meanwhile, for-profit organizations would be subject to hourly rates for use of the district’s athletic fields and gymnasiums, with not-for-profit organizations typically granted a discounted rate.

    The Sunday use of facilities became a heated topic of debate. “It’s not that we drag our heels,” Ms. Hope said. “It’s that we don’t agree.” Though the campus is closed on Sunday, adult use of the fields has proven contentious, particularly as large groups of residents descend upon the fields during weekends. In the future, permits will be required.

    A revised draft of the document will be presented at a meeting in two weeks. “We will look at the new draft and see how it all shakes out,” said Ms. Hope.

    In other news, David Spara from Toski, Schaefer & Co., a Rochester auditing firm, gave a presentation on a recent external audit. He said the district was in good financial standing. He also said a $2 million fund balance remained. A copy of the report, which was in draft form and not distributed at the meeting, will eventually be posted to the district’s Web site.

    The board also voted to suspend an unnamed teacher, effective Sept. 25, with pay. In addition, members voted to approve the appointment of Joel Freedman to the position of lead bus driver. Further, the board approved a $47.7 million tax levy for the 2013-14 school year and voted to acknowledge a recent security audit report, though the specifics of its findings were not discussed.

    Toward the end of the meeting, Ms. Hope passed out copies of the board’s newly revised goals. Topping its list of priorities for the coming year, the board hopes to improve academic achievement and maintain community communication, while also managing the district’s facilities and ensuring its fiscal responsibility.

    Capping off the night, Robert Tymann, the assistant district superintendent, updated audience members concerning the Annual Professional Performance Review, the New York State evaluation system for educators. Mr. Tymann said that parents would soon be allowed to find out the ratings of their children’s teachers and principals. The scores are based on a scale of 100. Specific names of teachers and administrators, however, will not be attached.

    “They will simply say your child’s ninth grade social studies teacher,” Mr. Tymann explained by way of example.