At the Hicksville Board of Education's Wednesday, July 24 meeting, board members discussed and amended policies of school board procedures and listened to residents' concerns regarding fees charged to the Hicksville Summer Lacrosse Camp.
During the first general public session of the meeting, residents questioned a proposal on the agenda calling for a Waiver of Facilities Use Fees for the Summer Lacrosse Camp's use of fields at the Old Country Road School. The waiver, which was unanimously approved by the board, eliminates fees charged to the organization. As a result, members of the lacrosse camp will pay only a registration fee to the non-profit Hicksville Summer Lacrosse Camp.
When asked what the operational expenses included, Superintendent Dr. Finn said the list "can be requested through FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) and [that the board] will respond accordingly."
Resident Rose Walker said, "I thank the board for approving it tonight...We're very lucky that we do have places in Hicksville where we can hold those camps and the district has always provided that spot for us and it certainly has been beneficial to all of our children ...."
In addition to residents' concerns about the camps, the board opened up for discussion of its procedures. Trustee James Pino asked that the three-minute time period, the rule allotting residents three minutes to respond to agenda items during general public sessions, operate past its scheduled three minutes.
Trustee Augustine Tornatore agreed, saying, "it is extremely important for us to have open communication with the public ... to cut somebody off when there is time for them to elaborate on their particular concern, I think would not be prudent to continue to develop better relations with the public."
Peggy Theiss, school board vice-president, stated that although she has always welcomed input from the public, a better solution to time constraints would be starting executive session promptly at 7 p.m., 30 minutes earlier to account for executive sessions that run longer than scheduled. "It is important that we have that time to get the advice from counsel ... so I have a little problem with Mr. Pino's proposal," she said.
School Board President Richard Pfaender suggested that time constraints could be addressed by allowing the chair to make the determination on a per meeting basis. "We can always amend these things," he said.
As a result, the board will adhere to the current 7:30 p.m. start time, yet return from executive session promptly at 8:30 p.m., regardless if members need more discussion time in executive session.
Theiss also suggested the board receive a monthly vandalism report, which was policy of the Hicksville school board several years ago. The suggestion was unanimously approved.
"It was helpful to know what was going on, how it was responded to ... it's helpful that the board knows exactly what our security people are doing with these cases that are out there," added Pfaender.
In addition to general procedural issues of the board, Deputy District Treasurer Alesia Somers proposed that the first committee meetings of the new school year, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 11, should be rescheduled.
Pfaender agreed, saying, "It has become a sensitive date." The new date for the meeting is Thursday, Sept. 12.
At the meeting, members of the board, along with Maureen Bright - who will assume the position of Hicksville Superintendent on Aug. 2 -agreed to schedule a short meeting on the matters of personnel for Wednesday, Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Also during the meeting, Pfaender honored Dr. Finn on behalf of the board, presenting him with a plaque for his years of service to the Hicksville School District.
"You worked diligently through some very trying times ... you did a good job," he said. Finn's last day as superintendent was Thursday, Aug. 1.