Six of the seven Brewster Board of Education trustees voted Tuesday in favor of moving forward with major improvements to the high school track.
"At this point in time we have serious concerns about the track," board President Dr. Stephen Jambor said. "...Unless it's addressed, the condition of this track will continue to deteriorate, and in fact, we'll be faced with an even bigger job."
The project will cost approximately $221,000, according to Joseph Charbonneau, vice president for the board. Thanks to a $100,000 grant secured by State Sen. Greg Ball, and roughly $35,000 from the Brewster Sports Foundation, the district's contribution will likely come in at roughly $86,000, or about 39 percent, he said.
"I recognize that we do everything in terms of budgetary impact, but we've got an opportunity here to supplement those other two sources of income and come out with a track that can be used not only by one of the most successful sports programs in the district but by gym classes, physical education endeavors," Charbonneau said, adding that he has "no reservations" about spending the money for a project that the "entire community will be able to utilize."
Here are a few thoughts from other trustees:
A. Gerald Schramek—"I usually don't like to vote on a project of this magnitude utilizing the fund balance. I'd much rather see something like this budgeted for. But when I looked over the documentation that was provided to us ... it mentions that field conditions impair the district's ability to carry out the track and field program and physical education instructional programs, and creates a heightened risk of injury for students. Also, being advised that the project may cost more in a few months because of the product, I will be voting in favor of this. But nevertheless, again, I do this with a heavy heart, because I don't like to take things that are not budgeted for and take it out of the fund balance for any kind of project. But this project clearly indicates to me that we're doing this for the right reasons, for the safety of our students, for the safety of the general public that also uses the track."
Alberta Kozma—"I stand in the minority very definitely here. I think that our track team has been wonderfully successful. I would like nothing more than to see a track where we could hold competitions. But, I really feel that in these economic times, with the cuts that we have been making in the past several years, and will continue to make, in instruction, to take almost $90,000 from the fund balance at this time to do this track, I cannot in good conscience vote for it."
S. Peter Pastore—"It's something that has to be done within the near future and I feel that with the money we got from Senator Ball and the Brewster Sports Foundation, this would be the best time for us to do it at the best value."
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