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Brewster Board of Ed OKs Track Improvements; Plans to Spend $87,000

Funds from a non-profit and a grant will go toward the project, too.

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."

Thanks for reading! The following stories offer additional details:

  • School Board Looking to Rebid for Track Upgrade
bob cullen December 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I fully support this, but I think the voters should have decided.
Ken Harper December 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Here's the issue - unless the district was planning to simply let the track go to ruin then the money spent sooner will be a significant savings over the money we would need to spend later. The track seems to be a real asset to the community based on how many people in addition to students that I seen using it. Additionally, if the district can find the funds to make the improvements necessary for the entire facility to be certified for school track meets - the high jump pit, a pole vault area, etc. - we could save around half the costs we currently spend busing Brewster track teams to other schools and give them a chance to compete in front of home crowds. Anyway, great decision B of E.
Ann Fanizzi December 12, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Not to worry, while we expend money on jogging tracks, China is outracing us on the fast economic and scentific track. Just look at US standing vis-a-vis other countries. And on top of it we are facilitating visa to foreign students to study here and to provide incentives that they will stay here because we lack the skill sets to match the demands of the new economy.
Ann Fanizzi December 12, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Of course, here in Putnam our sights are really high - retail jobs galore await the graduate.
Jack Duncan December 12, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Brewster's High School track was a part of the facility that improvements had to be addressed. Ann, the "dumb jock" syndrome does not exist at Brewster. Look to the schools our student athletes are accepted ijn to. In contrast to persistent stereotypes of student athletes as uninterested in academics, high school students who participate in sports tend to perform better, on average, than students who do not, (according to a study by University of Minnesota sociologist Douglas Hartmann) And our track and cross country team members performance illustrates this. Great decision!
Cheryl Sacchetti December 12, 2012 at 05:45 PM
It's great to hear of improvements, etc. We need to also look at spending some money for the Varsity/JV girls softball JFK field. It needs a lot of work. As we continue to play games with local teams and more importantly making it to playoffs, sections, etc. and playing in conditions of this field is embarrassing to the district. Hope this will be looked at in future discussions in what else the district needs.
Ann Fanizzi December 12, 2012 at 10:36 PM
We got to get our priorities straight - either we have cadillac sports programs or we have A-1 educational facilities., There are lots of studies that correlate with one's favorite activity - be it sports, art, music, whatever with excellence but what cannot be denied is the evidence that America is falling behind academically. Statistics are published daily and I wish to repeat that employers are increasingly finding it difficult, if not impossible, to match the high skill sets needed for challenging work.
Ann Fanizzi December 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Just to add - the reason for support of sports programs is that they offer financially strapped middle class parents, the opportunity for their children to obtain college scholarships. It is a vicious circle with the colleges perpetuating this so that they will in turn obtain funds from their alumni.
Ashley Tarr (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Thanks for weighing in, everyone. I've updated the story with perspectives from other board members.
Jack Duncan December 13, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Ann; I cannot disagree with your position more. Sports and Athletics are an extension of our classrooms. They provide for the life lessons of physical-mental-emotional success and failure. Give the field opportunity for Leadership and the teach the ability to follow. And your proposal of the fallacy -that kids play sports to pay for college. This is the Reality Only 7.5 % of high school male athletes will compete at the college level. Only 7.9% of high school female athletes will compete at the college level. Since I can speak with more authority as a father of a high school and college wrestler Chances of competing in College Wrestling Number of High School Wrestlers 273,732 Number of College Wrestlers 8,970 % of high school Wrestlers competing in college 3.3% Maximum Wrestling Scholarships Available - per school NCAA I: 9.9 NCAA II: 9.0 NCAA III does not give athletic scholarships The “odds” of our high school athlete not only participating but having their education paid for by athletics is low. That is why -when one of our student athletes do get that “full ride” it’s a big deal.
Ann Fanizzi December 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
As an educator, I could attach the list you mentioned to a whole host of school activities. Could you give me the citation for your data, Jack? Who do you term an 'athlete?" The lack of phys ed in schools has been well documented but am opposed to "cadillac" sports who forment competition between schools as to who has the better track, equipment etc? Enough has been critically written about the relationship of high school sports to college admission. Odds never stopped anyone from competing and trying. What are the odds of winning the lottery?
Jack Duncan December 14, 2012 at 12:19 AM
http://www.scholarshipstats.com/varsityodds.html Ann; At Brewster it's not about who has the "better" track, but the state of an un-acceptable track. The state of the facility was the concern. I take exception to your position on high school athletics But I side with you on the trend of reduced PE, it is short sighted. I believe that athletics & sports are part of the educational process.

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