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Three Village

Landmark status is granted to The Jazz Loft building in Stony Brook. File photo

The following is an edited Town of Brookhaven public comment presentation made Sept. 1.

Good evening, Mr. Supervisor and town board members.

My name is John Broven, author of three books on American music history. I am privileged to live in a historic district of East Setauket, part of the beautiful Three Village area. My late father-in-law, Clark Galehouse, founded Golden Crest Records out of Huntington Station in 1956 and released many jazz albums among others — I think you know where I’m coming from.

I fully endorse the recommendation of Town Historian Barbara Russell and the Historic District Advisory Committee to accord The Jazz Loft building at 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook, landmark status. I would like to read my historical notes in support of my position.

The Jazz Loft building, in fact, consists of two historic structures: The Stone Jug and the 1921 firehouse. The building accommodated the first museum in Stony Brook, founded in 1935 by real estate broker and insurance agent O.C. (Cap) Lempfert, a keen hunter and taxidermist. At first, the museum was located in the home of Arthur Rayner where Saturday nature talks for children became a weekly event; naturalist Robert Cushman Murphy, of R.C. Murphy Jr. High School, led some of the nature walks.

Originally called the Suffolk County Museum of Natural History, it became known as the Little Museum in the Jug after it was moved to the Stone Jug storage building — a former tavern and social center of the village — with the backing of Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville. The museum was formally incorporated as the Suffolk Museum in 1939.

You may be amused by a quote from a history of the Museums at Stony Brook, a later name before it became today’s prestigious The Long Island Museum: “The move was no small task since by that time the collection include a 400-pound loggerhead turtle, an eagle with a 6-foot wingspread, a trumpeter swan, and hundreds of small collection items.”

I am aware that Mr. Lempfert’s granddaughters, Mary and Jane L’Hommedieu, who both now live on the West Coast, are delighted at the town’s potential recognition of their grandfather’s museum building — and thus his pioneering work. Jane tells me he also made and exhibited duck decoys, collected Native American artifacts from his property for the museum and even constructed a wigwam. A major achievement of the museum to this day was to collect and show the fabulous paintings of William Sidney Mount.

It is wonderful that the building has come alive this year after careful restoration as The Jazz Loft incorporating a museum — how appropriate! — live jazz and education facilities. What Tom Manuel, a talented jazz musician, educator and historian, his board and The Ward Melville Heritage Organization have done to date is very impressive, not only for the Three Village area but also for Long Island tourism — and jazz itself. I know Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) attended the opening. By granting The Jazz Loft building landmark status, in effect the town will be protecting and preserving our past, present and future heritage. I trust the town board will support its Historic District Advisory Committee because I consider all the historical and cultural boxes have been ticked.

The result: A unanimous vote in favor.

John Broven is a member of the editorial staff of this newspaper. He gives thanks to Joshua Ruff, director of collections and interpretation of The Long Island Museum, for providing historical detail by way of “The Carriage Museum” (1987) publication.

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Three Village booster club hosts eighth annual outing

Golfers take practice shots prior to the start of the the eighth annual golf outing at St. George’s Golf and Country Club. Photo by Kevin Redding

By Kevin Redding

Feeding upwards of 50 hungry, growing boys is a gigantic undertaking.

According to head coach Chris Boltrek, the Ward Melville football team receives a meal before each game.

“Before every game, we give them a meal, so that they don’t go through school all day without eating, and then have to play a game at night,” he said.

The school also provides the team with new equipment to make sure the players are properly suited up and stay safe each game.

None of that would be possible if not for the school’s booster club, and on Aug. 1, the Three Village community grabbed their golf clubs once more in an effort to raise money for the Patriots.

Golfers tee off in support of the Patriots. Photo by Kevin Redding
Golfers tee off in support of the Patriots. Photo by Kevin Redding

“It’s a great fundraiser for the kids,” said Boltrek, who is one of the event’s main organizers. “This helps provide us with things that we otherwise wouldn’t receive, whether it’s uniforms or meals or whatever else the athletes might need.”

The eighth annual golf outing at St. George’s Golf and Country Club commenced at 10 a.m., as roughly 100 parents, educators and community members hopped in their carts for a day of golfing, fundraising and friendly competition. They were all there with one thing in mind: supporting the football team.

“Football is a sport I think few people understand unless they’re in it,” the head coach said. “They might not realize just how big a deal it is when we talk about practice equipment, or how much a sled costs, and how much a shoe costs. Those are huge expenses. It’s about trying to give these [athletes] the best possible experience they can have.”

Last year’s fundraising efforts bought the team new uniforms and practice equipment, and it’s a huge advantage. This year, the outing raised over $10,000, which will go toward sideline replay equiptment.

Before Boltrek took over the team, the Three Village Football booster club had been running the outing for six years with the previous coaches at the helm. For Boltrek, it’s important to build a football-friendly environment in an area that isn’t traditionally known as a football community, and this event shows Three Village’s strides to be a little more gridiron-oriented. It brings everybody together to rally behind a common bond.

Christina Stavropoulos, director of the booster club, couldn’t agree more. Doing everything under the sun to help benefit the football team, she loves seeing the community rally behind them in whatever way they can.

“What’s even better is so many alumni are here — some that played, and some that didn’t, but had friends who did,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see the kids all coming back from college just to play golf and help their school out.”

Gift certificates and bottles of wine donated from local businesses were raffled off.

Ward Melville head football coach Chris Boltrek gets in the zone during the golf tournament. Photo by Kevin Redding
Ward Melville head football coach Chris Boltrek gets in the zone during the golf tournament. Photo by Kevin Redding

“There are corporate sponsors here and, of course, we love all the corporate sponsors, but there are local businesses as well,” Stavropoulos said. “They have the 50/50 raffle; the Chinese auction baskets. We have donations from different restaurants, parents. It’s all part of the fundraising effort. Everything is for the kids.”

Before hitting the green, the golfers, donning Ward Melville’s green and gold logo on their hats and shirts, took some practice swings and shots in the warm-up section. Many talked football and the importance of playing multiple sports in school, and how the golf outing helps with that.

“My kids are in the district and one plays football,” said resident John Treder. “This is good for the school. I think the better teams the high school can put out, like with more money to buy equipment and extra coaches, the greater things will be for the kids. It will bring [them] more spirit, you’ll get more people at the games. It gives them the tools to win.”

A representative from Endzone Sports, a Seaford-based football equipment store and proud sponsor of the event, was especially supportive of the team.

“We’re for Melville football,” said Anthony Polo, a representative with the organization. “They have a good coach, nice people involved, and we’re excited for the kids. We’ll do anything for the kids. We want to give back to the school and make sure they’re well-equipped, well-supported in the program and encourage their extracurricular activities. It gives them something to look forward to.”

Beyond the football field, there’s a consistent overall feeling of unity among Three Village because of the team’s growing success.

Charlie Fernandez, coach of the girls’ varsity volleyball team at Ward Melville, wouldn’t have missed the outing for anything, extending his support for Boltrek and the team.

“The best thing that happens at Ward Melville is when we have a good football team,” said Fernandez. “It makes everything better for everybody. It just fires the school up, gets everybody excited. You start seeing all the green and gold around and as the coach of another team, it’s good for us, too.”

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Additions address safety for students who walk to school

Workers excavate the east side of Mud Road to prepare for sidewalk installation. Photo by Donna Newman

This fall, the streets near the Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School will be safer for students who walk to school. The Brookhaven Town Highway Department is nearly finished installing sidewalks on Mud Road, a frequently used route for students who walk to school.

“I am grateful to have finally brought this project to fruition, as residents have been requesting additional sidewalks in the area for the last decade,” Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said. “In 2014, a year after I took office, school district administrators requested a traffic study, while noting 118 students walked to and from Gelinas Jr. High School. Clearly, this pedestrian safety project was warranted.”

The entire project, which will include the paving of Mud Road, will cost $300,000 according to Losquadro, add ding the undertaking will ” help to ensure the safety of students and pedestrians.” The cost includes the sidewalks, retaining walls, a drainage system, a crosswalk and electrical signal work.

A decorative pole with flashing LED lights, activated by pushing a button, will enable pedestrians to halt traffic to cross the street.

Sidewalks were added in front of the school building and to the south. On the west side of Mud Road, sidewalks extend from the school to Brandywine Drive.

Previously, sidewalks had been installed in the fall of 2008 — heading north from the school and west along Christian Avenue to the spot where it meets Friends Road — to accommodate a blind child living in the neighborhood who walked that route to school.

The groundwork for the current project predated the formation of a grass-roots advocacy group called Sidewalks for Safety, founded by Annemarie Waugh in July 2015.

“It’s really wonderful that the town is putting in the sidewalk outside Gelinas!” Waugh wrote in an email. “I hope the sidewalk will go all the way around the treacherous corner on Mud Road, so children walking to and from Gelinas will be safe. I really hope the town will put in many more sidewalks, especially around all the schools and on the busy main roads, so we can have a healthy walkable community.”

Sidewalks for Safety was established by Waugh to raise awareness for pedestrian concerns throughout the Three Village area and to lobby local politicians to affect change. The organization mounted a petition on Change.org to gather signatures from supporters for submission to Brookhaven Town. That website garnered nearly 700 signatures, and the group has obtained more than 500 others on paper.

“Annemarie has been very active in trying to get folks on board with helping improve walkability,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket). “I think she is certainly working hard on raising awareness. I talked to her about what I did on Nicolls [Road]. I think most people don’t understand that they drive on roadways that have different levels of government responsible for them.”

Waugh and her group have ramped up their awareness-raising efforts.

“More recently we have been engaged in educating local politicians, school officials and Three Village residents with a newsletter,” she said. “We attended Earth Day at Stony Brook University … and joined with Scout Troop 1911 to collect signatures at the shopping center on 25A.”

By Katelyn Winter

Water, sun, sand and rocks. West Meadow Beach in Setauket is made up of simple components, but stop by any day of the week, any hour of the day, and you’ll see a symphony of activity going on.

The 1,100-foot waterfront off Trustees Road is where beachgoers of all walks of life go — and some go just to walk! There is a wide two-mile trail that goes through an 88-acre wetlands preserve, where visitors can explore on bike or foot the beauty of the marsh area. At around the midpoint of the trail is the Dr. Erwin J. Ernst Marine Conservation Center, which features a small dock and beautiful views.

The trail is a popular spot for people looking to up their step counts, but this Town of Brookhaven beach is popular because it presents the opportunity for a wonderful day outdoors, no matter what you’re looking to do.

Purchasing a parking pass or paying a daily fee is necessary, and you can visit the website at www.brookhaven.org to find out more about what you’ll need to bring and how much you’ll have to pay. Regardless, the price is small compared to the summer of beach-day adventures it will unlock. 

“People love the sandbars,” says Jack Rachek, a town lifeguard working at West Meadow. “It’s our main attraction.” When low tide comes and the sandbars appear, you can expect to see young children and their parents heading out to wade in the shallow water and dig in the soft sand. Because the beach is part of the Long Island Sound, there aren’t big waves, and it’s small enough to keep that familiar hometown vibe.

Another lifeguard, Brittany, says she loves how “relaxed it is. There aren’t many saves; it’s just about keeping an eye out for the kids.” Lifeguards are on duty through Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends, so you can always be sure there is someone watching your children in the water and out. West Meadow is a beach for families. In addition to the calm waters, there are two playgrounds, checkerboard tables, a gazebo for shady picnics and a water sprinkler park.

Those features are why so many Three Village residents have happy memories of days spent at West Meadow. Beyond what the beach itself has on its grounds, though, there is so much that the people who work to make West Meadow the mecca of summer activity that it is have in store.

“People love the sandbars. It’s our main attraction.”

—Jack Rachek

Nancy Grant, of Friends of Flax Pond, is one of those people. She and her team of volunteers are working hard on the species conservation of the diamond-backed terrapin turtle, whose numbers are way down. “I have wonderful volunteers,” says Grant, who explained that while the turtles nest in the marshlands it is illegal to touch or pick them up. If you are interested in helping the diamond-back terrapins, there are meetings for new volunteers on the weekends, usually at around 9 a.m. Email ngrant@fpf.org for more information on how you can make a difference through volunteering.

The diamond-back terrapins aren’t the only cause you can support, though! Citizen Ranger meetings and beach clean-ups are scheduled for the summer, and for information on those or any other program you should email the park ranger, Molly Hastings, at mhastings@brookhaven.org, or call 631-751-6714.

With so much going on at West Meadow, it is amazing how relaxed the beach environment really is. “It’s a great lunchtime escape,” says beachgoer Jeff, “and it’s an awesome windsurfing beach in the fall.” Indeed, outside the green flags that indicate safe swim areas, you’ll see lots of people enjoying the water in different ways.

In recent years, paddle boarding has become a popular way to exercise and enjoy the tranquility of being out on the water. Ocean kayaking is another way to get on the water without actually getting in it.

For those who are looking to get in the water, you should stay between the green flags, and be sure to leave the inner tubes, rafts and snorkel gear at home. And for kids who still need to brush up on their swimming skills, or even teens and adults who want to improve, you can actually take swimming lessons at West Meadow Beach with certified Red Cross instructors. Session III starts on Aug. 1 and lasts for two weeks. You can learn more by calling 631-281-2866 or visiting the beach’s website.

West Meadow Beach is a great place to have fun, but it’s also a great place to learn — whether you want to be able to do the front crawl or learn more about wildlife and conservation. The beach and trail are speckled with informative signs about the beach’s ecosystem and the animals that thrive in it. West Meadow Beach is a beloved Three Village attraction, and because of that, there are so many local groups, like Friends of Flax Pond and the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, that want to see it stay clean, safe and hospitable for people and wildlife.

As she went on her daily jog down the trail at West Meadow, a resident named Eileen stopped to tell me why she loved this beach. “It’s a wonderful place to grow up,” she smiled, “And it’s a wonderful place to keep nature as it is. As you go down this trail, there are over twenty species of birds you can see. It’s a very inexpensive pass for such a great summer.”

Whether your favorite part is being in the water or walking along the shore, this beach holds a special place in the hearts of those who visit it all year round. And that’s why West Meadow is a treasure among us.

Author Katelyn Winter is a rising junior at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa.,  majoring in English and creative writing. She is from Stony Brook and hopes to one day work in the publishing industry.

Soon-to-be graduate proudly displays high school diploma at Ward Melville High School’s commencement on June 26, 2016. Photo by Andrea Moore Paldy

They came with cameras, air horns and even a graduate’s photo held high on sticks. These were the proud families and friends who came to celebrate the 618 students who graduated from Ward Melville High School on Sunday.

Before receiving their diplomas, graduating seniors listened to final pieces of advice from their peers, their principal Dr. Alan Baum and school board president William Connors.

Class salutatorian Ariel Long urged her classmates to take their experiences at Ward Melville and “look on new beginnings with excitement and not fear.” Jeffrey Michel, the class valedictorian, reminded them to not limit themselves to one talent or interest.

“Change starts with you,” said Dr. Baum, who quoted a number of artists, including Shakira, to remind students that failure is a part of life and a way to learn. He told the graduates to “challenge obstacles,” try again and move forward.

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Students from different classes pass each other as they arrive, leave, and pass by the Setauket Post Office during a visit earlier this month. Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

“I don’t like history, but I like this,” was what a Three Village fourth-grade student said during the Original Settlement Tour.

This past Wednesday and Thursday, all 450 Three Village fourth grade students came to the Setauket School auditorium in celebration of Brookhaven Town Founder’s Day and learned about the history of the Town of Brookhaven through the murals of Vance Locke. Then, for the next two hours, each class, led by guides from the Three Village Historical Society, explored the Original Settlement area of Setauket/Brookhaven. Students were introduced to William Sidney Mount and Abraham Woodhull at the Setauket Presbyterian Churchyard and to Emma S. Clark, Thomas Hodgkins and Ward Melville at the Caroline Church Cemetery. At the Village Green, students learned about the Setalcott Native Americans, Brookhaven’s original English settlers, and the diversity of immigrants who lived and worked here, as well as the varied ancestry of the Three Village-area soldiers whose wartime deaths are memorialized here.

In Frank Melville Memorial Park, the fourth grade students learned about gristmills, millers, blacksmiths, post offices, general stores and one of the original settlement’s 17th century homes. At the Setauket Neighborhood House, students heard about the structure of the building and how it progressed from a hotel, with stagecoach service from the Lakeland Railroad Station, to a tourist home with station wagon service from the Long Island Railroad’s Stony Brook station, and finally to its use as a meeting place for the entire community.

At the Amos Smith House (circa 1740) students learned about the eight generations that lived in the home and how it grew to accommodate the two generations that included seven and nine children. Each fourth grade class discussed the differences shown in the images of the house in 1740, 1900 and today. Donna Smith, Three Village Historical Society director of education and Founder’s Day Committee member heard from one of her tour group students, “ My favorite part was seeing the house Mr. Tyler grew up in and how it is so different. We got to wave to his mother who lives there and she’s 101!”

The stop at Patriot’s Rock, a remnant of the last glacier and a Native American meeting place, provided an opportunity to learn about the Revolutionary War Battle of Setauket and Caleb Brewster, who, as an artillery officer directed the cannon fire and who was an important member of the Setauket-based Culper Spy Ring.

“Founders Day is more than learning about our local history, it is an historical experience for our Three Village fourth grade students. … Learning that the Emma S. Clark Library is not just the place to find books or attend a program, but an architecturally interesting structure that was built by a local resident [Thomas Hodgkins] as a gift to the community, and there really was a person named Emma S. Clark, is enlightening to a fourth grader. Then they walk toward the Caroline Church and see the Hodgkins and Clark headstones — it all comes together in this fascinating look on a student’s face that they have just put it all together,” said Barbara Russell, Brookhaven Town historian and Founder’s Day Committee member.

At the end of the tour, each student received a copy of the walking tour guide prepared by the Three Village Historical Society, courtesy of Three Village Central School District.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the Three Village Historical Society.

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Above, the Playbill cover features the musical, “Hamilton.” Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

“A tailor spyin’ on the British government! I take their measurements, information and then I smuggle it!” (Hercules Mulligan, “Hamilton,” Act I)

We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we groaned, and we left the theater emotionally drained, but also intellectually invigorated. We had just been a part of a new, fast-paced, almost non-stop hip-hop musical that chronicles Alexander Hamilton’s life. Hamilton is portrayed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also wrote the script, music and lyrics. The historically accurate musical, adapted from the book of the same name by Ron Chernow, takes us from Hamilton’s rise from poverty to a position of power during the Revolutionary War, close to his commanding General, George Washington. It then moves to the forming of a new nation with Hamilton, the other founding fathers, and the people closest to him. The musical also includes his Royal Majesty King George III, portrayed magnificently by Jonathan Groff. “You say the price of my love’s not a price that you’re willing to pay. . . When you’re gone I’ll go mad, so don’t throw away this thing we had. ‘Cuz when push comes to shove, I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love.”

Only the swift tempo of rap speech could transport us through the myriad of historical events, social situations, and love-hate relationships that existed between these men and women, some well known and many deserving to be better known. From the start of the Revolutionary War, to the duel between Aaron Burr and Hamilton that resulted in his death and his elevation to a revered position in American history, we are transported, along with the cast, feeling more like a congregation than an audience, through the triumphs and tragedies of Hamilton’s life. A brief part of the story includes his relationship with Hercules Mulligan, a patriot and Revolutionary War spy who gathered information on British activity in Manhattan and forwarded the intelligence to Hamilton and General Washington through Robert Townsend (alias Samuel Culper Jr.) and the Culper Spy Ring.

“Hamilton” has deservedly been playing to sold-out audiences since it opened last year at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan. If you are looking for advance sale tickets, consider purchasing them now for next spring or summer. I saw the show on Wednesday, April 6, with tickets I purchased at the theatre box office last July.

Now the drama of the Revolutionary War and the Setauket-based Culper Spy Ring continues on Monday, April 25, with the start of the ten-episode, third season of “Turn” on AMC (channel 43 in this area). Lacking the historical accuracy and dramatic impact of “Hamilton”, “Turn” still has us watching the drama of ordinary Long Island men and women, working behind enemy lines, to free us from the domination of the British empire. Watch “Turn,” then come and learn the real and equally dramatic story of the actions and the lives of the people connected with the Culper Spy ring as detailed at the Three Village Historical Society exhibit, “SPIES!”

The exhibit and society headquarters are at 93 North Country Road in Setauket. The exhibit is open every Sunday from 1- to 4 p.m. Walking tours that include the spy story are conducted every month. Check the web site: www.tvhs.org for dates, times and locations.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the Three Village Historical Society.

P.J. Gelinas Junior High School. File photo

The Three Village School District is leaning on its counseling staff this week as it mourns a seventh-grader who collapsed in school last week and died, officials said.

Schools Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich took to the district’s website this week to commemorate student Gabriella Beals-Reid, who died at P..J. Gelinas Junior High School last Monday afternoon. Suffolk County police said they responded to calls from the school around 2 p.m. about a student in need of medical assistance.

Beals-Reid was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital soon after, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

In a statement, Pedisich said the district immediately implemented its crisis intervention plan and grief counselors to assist students and staff throughout the Three Village schools community.

“We are extremely saddened by this heartbreaking news,” she said. “A young person’s death is always tragic and a sudden loss like this can have a profound effect on the entire school community.”

In a letter penned to parents, students and staff throughout the Gelinas community, Pedisich and Principal William Bernhard described the seventh-grader as an aspiring writer and musician who exemplified hard work and dedication.

“Gabriella was a talented and avid creative writer, whose passion for the craft was inspiring to her classmates and teachers,” the letter said. “She was also a gifted musician who played the French horn with style and talent. A well-rounded young adult, Gabriella was respected among students and staff members alike and will be greatly missed.”

Upon Beals-Reid’s family’s approval, Bernhard said the district would keep the community updated with funeral arrangements and memorial services.

Cheryl Pedisich speaks at the podium after receiving the first-ever Administrator of the Year award from the New York State School Counselor Association. Photo by Andrea Moore Paldy

As New York State lawmakers wrapped up the budget last week, they approved the end of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, a measure that took money from school aid packages to supplement the state budget.

To the relief of school districts across the state, remaining Gap Elimination Adjustment funds will be restored to 2016-17 budgets.

For Three Village, which has lost $34.7 million to the GEA since its inception in 2009-10, the district will receive a total aid package of $46.5 million — a $6.6 million bump from last year. This amount includes the $3.3 million in restored funds, as well as a $2.9 million increase in building aid for the 2014 bond.

The district’s cap on the increase to the tax levy is 2.41 percent and will not require Three Village to cut programs to meet the cap. Instead, said Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services, the district will restore a number of positions. 

Speaking at last week’s school board meeting, Carlson said that at the secondary level, the district would bring back assistant coaches for junior varsity football and lacrosse, as well as for winter and spring track. These positions will enhance safety, supervision and instruction, he said.

At an earlier meeting, Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said administrators would reassign 3.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching positions to academic intervention services (AIS) at the elementary level and 1.6 FTEs at the secondary level to rebuild Ward Melville’s business department. There will also be a .4 FTE increase for American Sign Language. 

The board will adopt the budget for the upcoming school year at its April 13 meeting. The public vote will be on May 17. 

Also on the May ballot is a separate transportation proposition to eliminate minimum distance requirements for busing. The measure would allow the district to provide busing for all students.

Currently, all elementary students are bused. Junior high students must live at least a mile away from school and high schoolers a mile and a half away to get transportation. School administrators believe that offering transportation to all students will address safety concerns about narrow, winding streets without sidewalks and crossing busy roads like Nicolls Road. 

If the proposition passes, it would cost $160,000 to add two buses. The addition of the buses would generate $70,000 in transportation aid from the state, Carlson said. 

Taxpayers will also elect two trustees to the school board on May 17.  Following former board member Susanne Mendelson’s resignation last month, the board decided to keep the seat open until the May 17 vote.  Board president Bill Connors said the person with the highest votes would finish out Mendelson’s term, which ends June 30.   

In other financial news, district officials finalized a five-year contract with the Three Village Teachers Association. There will be no salary increase for the first year, 2016-2017, followed by a 1 percent raise each year after, as well as a 2.5 percent step increase for longevity for up to 30 years, Carlson said.

Department updates

The chairs of the foreign language departments at the three secondary schools gave an overview of the departments’ offerings, which now include American Sign Language in the ninth grade. The district also offers French, Italian and Spanish, beginning in seventh grade and continuing to the Advanced Placement level. 

The district hopes to add “one of the less commonly taught languages such as Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Farsi or Japanese” in the future, the administrators said. 

Social workers and school psychologists also outlined their roles within the school community. Each school has at least one full-time psychologist and a social worker, they said.  Dawn Mason, executive director of pupil personnel services, said district psychologists “partner with families and administrators and teachers to create safe, healthy, learning environments.”