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For First Time Ever, New Rochelle Building-Level Health & Safety Meetings Open to Public to Review 2015 Building Condition Survey

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For First Time Ever, New Rochelle Building-Level Health & Safety Meetings Open to Public to Review 2015 Building Condition Survey

February 01, 2016 - 04:59
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- For the first time ever, New Rochelle will hold open meetings of build-level Health & Safety Committees.

Starting Monday at Webster and Barnard, the current draft Building Condition Survey (BCS) will be reviewed during February public meetings of each school's Health and Safety Committee. Consultation with the committee is required to finalize the BCS.

The meetings will afford parents, staff and residents an excellent opportunity to prepare for the March Budget and Bond Review Sessions by having an opportunity to learn about the condition of each building. Talk of the Sound has been pressing the issue of properly appointed Health and Safety Committees for years in New Rochelle. For almost a decade these committees were not even staffed as required under New York State law and, obviously, did not meet. Since they began meeting in the wake of Sandy Hook, the meetings have been held in secret without agendas or meeting minutes (we know because when we FOIL'd for them last year we were told none existed). By law, these meetings are Open Meetings just like a school board meeting. Having fought to open these meetings to the public we strongly encourage parents and voters to attend, especially now given the substantial issues regarding building safety following the collapse of the ceiling at Webster School.

The recently released Draft Building Conversion Survey represents what Talk of the Sound believes to be the first honest attempt to evaluate the condition of facilities in the New Rochelle School District. The report revealed needed repairs totalling $71 million.

Meetings are as follows:

Webster - Monday, February 1, 1:30 p.m.

Barnard - Monday, February 1, 3:30 p.m.

Columbus - Tuesday, February 2, 1:30 p.m.

IEYMS - Thursday, February 4, 10:00 a.m.

ALMS - Friday, February 5, 2:00 p.m.

Trinity - Monday, February 8, 2:30 p.m.

Ward - Tuesday, February 9, 10:00 a.m.

Jefferson - Wednesday, February 10, 10:30 a.m.

NRHS - Thursday, February 11, 1:00 p.m.

Davis - Friday, February 12, 11:00 a.m.

There will also be a School Budget Community Input Forum on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the James L. Gaddy Library at New Rochelle High School

Download a copy of the Building Condition Survey for any school before the meeting:

BOE Presentation Building Condition Survey Update

2015 Building Condition Summary

2015 BCS New Rochelle High School

2015 BCS Campus School

2015 BCS Albert Leonard Middle School

2015 BCS Isaac E. Young Middle School

2015 BCS Henry Barnard School

2015 BCS Columbus Elementary School

2015 BCS George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School

2015 BCS Jefferson Elementary School

2015 BCS Trinity Elementary School

2015 BCS William B. Ward Elementary School

2015 BCS Daniel Webster Elementary School

2015 BCS Maintenance Facility

2015 BCS Grounds Shop

 

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What about having evening meetings for those of us who work?

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It is my recommendation that they try to have ONE meeting a year, at least, in the evening, as sort of an annual meeting tied to the annual hearings.

Let's recall that from about 2003 to 2012 these meetings did not take place AT ALL and that there were no people assigned to any of these meetings after the first year the law took effect. Further, there were no records kept -- no agenda, no minutes -- and they were not publicly announced nor made open to the public. So, we have come a long way. And I will say that it has been through my efforts that we have gotten this far.

So how about starting with giving credit for the new administration following the Open Meeting Law (finally) and having public meetings, announced in advance, with agendas, etc.

At this point they are following the law to the letter. There is no requirement as to when the meetings take place. If you look at the make up of the committee you will see that it is almost entirely school district personnel. Further, in many districts these SAVE Law Health and Safety Committee meetings are held in conjunction with the 155 Law meetings which are Worker Safety meetings which are entirely school district personnel (administrators and union members). These meetings can take place together so long as they have seperate agendas and seperate minutes. I have encouraged this take place to make it easier on everyone by reducing the total number of meetings.

Given that almost all members of these committees are district employees it makes sense to hold the meetings during the day. I would hope that these committees would understand why parents and other residents might want to have occassional meetings at night and work in a spirit of cooperation to have SOME meetings at night.

 

 

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