Written by Eric Holden Friday, 01 July 2011 00:00
The Island Trees Board of Education convened on Wednesday, June 22 at the Karopczyc School for their final regular meeting of the 2010-11 school year.
Superintendent Charles Murphy opened the proceedings by recognizing Trustee Bob M. Condela, who is retiring after 24 years of service to the district.
“Bob attended approximately 600 board of education meetings and hundreds of events and ceremonies on behalf of the community,” said Murphy. “That’s a lot of personal time and time away from his family. On a personal note, it has been a real privilege working with Bob for two of the 24 years he’s been in the district. On behalf of the board of education and Island Trees community, we say thank you.”
“It’s been the people along the way that made the difference,” said Condela, addressing the Island Trees community one last time. “Professional hard-working administrators, caring teachers, dedicated staff, clerical and building ground workers, parents, students and community residents. And, of course, my colleagues who I worked with on the board over the years, including those in this meeting tonight, who have given so tirelessly of themselves. These people have and will continue to make Island Trees a special community.”
In the Public Be Heard segment of the evening, Levittown resident Brian Kelty questioned the agenda item that awarded the bid for heating and ventilation reconstruction at Island Trees High School to Thermo Tech Combustion.
“[They] were hired here about seven years ago operating out of a P.O. Box,” said Kelty. “I see that they were hired here once again to do about $61,000 worth of work. The reason this raises a red flag is because in the five or six jobs they did, they filed change orders with John O’Donnell in Albany for over $200,000. I’m going to look into this Thermo Tech Combustion and I’m going to want to know exactly how they did this job and what they’re doing back in my district.”
Kelty also noted that the first floor, second floor and basement at Island Trees High School is in need or repair and asked what would be done to have the problem fixed. “There are four areas in the school that, effective Sept. 1st, are not going to be inhabitable by students,” said Kelty. “Is that going to be remediated so that those four areas are available to be inhabited and it will no longer be a safety hazard?”
“The contractor to fix that was approved tonight and I hope this is going to be fixed ASAP before September 1st,” said Superintendent Murphy, in response to Kelty’s inquiry.
Island Trees resident John Fontana took to the podium next and discussed the track remediation contract. A large depression in the Island Trees High School track caused the Bulldogs to run all of their meets on the road this school year. New York State declared the track an emergency, which allowed the board to waive competitive bidding on the project. Fontana disagreed with the board’s assessment that the track was an emergency area and said it was unlawful to waive competitive bidding on the project. “This was not a complete emergency if it waited 62 days,” said Fontana. “I would have done a 10-cycle bid, six bids open to close. The only way to save taxpayer dollars is to bid.”
“We declared it an emergency as the state required,” responded Superintendent Murphy. “We were concerned about the pricing—that we got the best pricing.”
Later in the meeting, the board accepted a donation from Towne/WE Transport of two buses valued at $771.64 for the purpose of transporting students to a funeral service for one of their fallen classmates.
In additional business, the board approved an agreement with Textbook Central to provide textbook distribution services for district residents attending nonpublic schools for the 2011-12 school year and also granted the bid for summer transportation services to SENTCO.
The Bulldogs and Lady Dawgs will also soon be receiving more media attention, as an agreement with Verizon Corporate Services Group was reached. This deal was made with the purpose of exhibiting athletics and other school events on Fios1 and V Cast news.
Students at Island Trees High School will also soon be soaking in the sights and sounds of Canada, as the board approved a field trip to Quebec City that is scheduled for October of 2011.
Furthermore, Island Trees Soccer Club, Public Library, Youth Lacrosse, Youth Wrestling and Youth Football were granted approval to use the buildings and fields in the district for the upcoming school year.
The Island Trees school district will hold its annual reorganization meeting on Tuesday, July 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the conference room at the Stephen E. Karopczyc building at 74 Farmedge Road.