Nov 25, 2008 Heather Crowley Uncategorized
After four months of work, Liverpool’s Stadium Committee presented its final recommendations to the Liverpool Central School District’s Board of Education at their regular meeting Monday night.
The plan recommended that the school install and eight lane all-weather track, an artificial turf field measuring 360 feet by 225 feet and create bleacher seating for 2,000 spectators.
Currently the bleachers do not meet U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Guidelines because of the large 14-inch gap through which a child could easily fall. The bleachers are also not ADA compliant as they are not wheelchair accessible. The current eight-lane track was deemed unsuitable for competition and the artificial turf field was taken offline because over 60 percent is unusable, Acting Athletic Director Mark Potter said.
“It’s very simple because we need three things,” Stadium Committee Chair Jackie Samora said. “We need a playing field, we need a track and we need a safe place for spectators to sit.”
The committee made its recommendation and the board aims to make a decision by the next meeting on Dec. 8. Two previous votes were defeated by the community. The committee has elected not to recommend changes to the lighting, scoreboard, restrooms and storage because they want to go bare bones and only address the necessities, Potter said.
“The current state of affairs is not acceptable,” Stadium Committee Chair Jim Stoddard said. “You get that feeling in my stomach when you are at these other facilities. It eats at you; our teams need to have a home field.”
Budget cuts could cost district over $2 million
Over the past few months Liverpool Central School District focused mainly on internal problems that beleaguered the school district. However, yesterday evening the members addressed an issue that is plaguing not just Liverpool but schools all across the state. Katherine Phillips gave the board the first look at the school’s 2009-2010 budget calendar, a yearly routine that has tremendous importance looking toward the future.
“The school currently receives $58.5 million in state aid, and approximately $40 million of that is foundation aid,” Phillips said. “In the past year one third of the school districts received a three percent increase. In Liverpool, one percent is equivalent to $688,281.”
On Nov. 12 New York State Governor David Paterson proposed a mid-year reduction in budgeted state aid for all school districts. The proposal results from the record-breaking deficit the state is facing for the current fiscal year. In September the state estimated the deficit was at approximately $1.2 billion and, if left untreated, would balloon to $47 billion over the next four years.
Liverpool and schools across the state face cuts to help ease the deficit. The administration estimates that if this new cutback proposal is passed by the state legislature, the district could lose approximately $2.6 million in state aid. As a result the school board is in the process of developing ideas for cutting funds in feasible areas, Superintendent Jan Matousek said in a release on the school’s website.
Even after the proposed $585 million in cuts for this year there are no signs of the financial troubles letting up. Paterson’s proposal calls for another $844 million in cuts next year. The district is currently attempting to find ways to target unnecessary spending, such as reduce energy usage, rather than cutting educational programs, Phillips said.
Law firms interviewed
The new district counsel for which the district is searching to replace the O’Hara, O’Connell & Ciotoli law firm was a topic of brief discussion. According to the state comptroller’s report the school district paid the firm $659,943 over an 18-month span and did not had a contract with the firm that represented the school for more than 40 years.
On Nov. 19 the school board held a special three-hour meeting to interview three law firms they are considering. Each firm was given and hour time slot for an interview and the three firms were Hiscock & Barclay, Ferrara, Fiorenza, Larrison, Barrett & Reitz, and lastly Bond, Schoeneck & King.
“The school is still in the process of making a decision,” Board of Education President J. Mark Lawson said. “But all of these firms could represent the school well.”