Brewster School Board Talks Upcoming Construction, New Buses
School might be out for summer a little longer in Brewster this year, as impending construction should prove to provide plenty of activity on the district’s campus even without students.
There are a number of projects confirmed to start over the summer, Kevin Sawyer of Triton Construction reported to the Brewster Board of Education last week. Bids would be put out for the high school project, the administrative office project and concession stand project next month, and then CV Starr Intermediate School and JFK Elementary School, Sawyer revealed, with the hope of construction taking place over the summer.
Henry Wells Middle School is the only school in the district that won’t see substantial work on it.
Sawyer’s team has been meeting with various departments and staff to nail the planning down with what’s taking place, where staff will shuffle to during work, and what’s to be expected once school resumes in September.
Sawyer urged the school board and administrative office to make the summer vacation as long as possible.
“If there’s a possibility of extending a single day or two or five of the summer for us to do work it would benefit not only the construction in a great way,” Sawyer said. “You have certain expectation of what the buildings are supposed to look like in September when the kids come in and it takes a lot to do that.”
Superintendent of School Tim Conway, who will retire at the end of the school year, said originally, because of layoffs at the state Department of Education that need to approve the plans, it didn’t look like much work could be done this summer, but project architect Russ Davidson assured him projects would be green-lighted for the summer months.
Conway recommended Sep. 6 as the date teachers can get into their classroom to set up and students would report on Sep. 7. Without construction, that proposed schedule would usually be pushed up a week, Conway noted.
In order to make up for the extra week of summer, Conway said February break would only be one day and Memorial Day would only be the Monday the holiday falls on. Conway urged the school board to approve the calendar at its March 8 meeting because parents are beginning to call about next year’s schedule to make summer vacation plans.
“It’s clear to expand the summer vacation as much as we can is really important,” Conway said.
Brewster Makes Case for More Buses – After getting new school buses the last three years, the Brewster Central School District revealed plans to obtain another eight school buses next year, pending voter approval in May.
District Business Administrator Victor Karlsson made the case during the Board of Education’s March 1 meeting. With an aging bus fleet that could see several buses out of service sooner than later, the district has plans to obtain a variety of buses over the next several years, including eight new buses for next year.
Those eight buses include two 66-passenger buses, three 20-passenger buses, and three 7-passenger buses that would be purchased after the district borrowed $490,000. State aid would contribute 43.5 percent of the cost and first of five annual payments would start in 2017-18, not next school year. The projected annual cost would be $58,719 and the annual cost for Southeast and Patterson homeowners would be $5, and $4, respectively.
The necessity to bring in more buses comes from more than 20 in the bus fleet that are nearing the end of their life expectancy, according to Karlsson. He referenced how 23 buses were purchased in 2000-01 and then another 16 and 15 buses were purchased in 2005-06 and 2007-08, respectively. But no buses were bought from 2010-11 to 2013-14.