GLEN ROCK – The Board of Education has been deliberating the financial responsibility of field maintenance and a contribution towards a town-wide council traffic study.
Board President Bryon Torsiello said on Sept. 26 he hoped to have both issues resolved prior to the reorganizational meeting in January.
The consensus among the board was to have a timeline and a breakdown of who uses which fields and then determine the responsibility of who will maintain them. The board agreed that all of the towns’ fields are over-utilized, with Trustee Sharon Scarpelli saying each field should be examined before making a decision.
Interim Superintendent Bruce Watson suggested shared services.
“No matter where the money is coming from, from the town council, from the board of education, it’s still coming from the taxpayers,” he said. “… Ultimately, we’re responsible for our property and our buildings and they’re [the council] responsible for their buildings and property…. The fields are owned by two entities and I think we should … work with each other on shared services.”
In an email the following morning, Glen Rock Mayor Bruce Packer said that the governing body has not discussed implementing a fee for field maintenance at this time “so there is no request amount at this stage.”
Trustee Rona McNabola said there is over-usage of the schools’ fields, partly by recreation teams in town.
“…Is there any compromise as to the number of programs that are using our fields that don’t belong with us?” She questioned. "Just because the field is open, doesn’t mean there has to be another soccer clinic running because there is a field. I think our fields are being over-used.”
“There are many fields we own as a district that need to be addressed and Hamilton is one of them,” Scarpelli said.
Trustee Elizabeth Carr asked for a repair schedule, which she claims the board asked of the council two years ago after voters rejected a $3 million bond proposal as part of a referendum for a turf replacement project at Faber Field in 2015.
“The same conversation has been going on for two years. We asked two years ago for a repair schedule. I haven’t seen a timeline yet,” Carr said. “I just don’t understand. I feel like somewhere it’s being sat-on.”
She said Torsiello’s idea for the issue to be resolved by year’s end was a “great approach," but was hesitant.
“I’m so pessimistic it’s not going to happen,” she said. “If we can’t decide on a timeline, how are we going to decide on whose funding what? We’re missing the bigger picture here. I’m not comfortable discussing funding until I get a shared services and a timeline on what their [the council] intention is.”
Trustee Eileen Hillock agreed with Watson’s approach.
“I think that’s a fair approach," Hillock said, "to figure out who owes what to whom. I do think it’s really important that if we’re going to work together with the council, to come up with some kind of finalization and dust off the plan and do it.”
Members of the board also re-addressed the council’s $10,000 request for a contribution toward the $75,000 traffic study in Glen Rock.
Trustee Rona McNabola proposed coming up with cost-effective strategies before proceeding with the study, which included “educational ways to relieve congestion.”
“I am very reluctant to put forth money for this in advance because we might help congestion around the schools,” she said.
McNabola suggested asking students not to drive to school and instead walk or ride their bike.
Scarpelli said coming up with such a “common sense approach” would help eliminate school traffic.
The public agreed.
“I don’t think you should pay for the traffic study if you can’t address safety,” said resident Angela Crawford.
Another resident concurred, adding that the intersection of Radburn and Harristown roads “needs attention.”
“Someone will be hit soon,” she said.
Torsiello said Board Member Hillock will attend a council meeting on the board’s behalf on Tuesday, Oct. 3, which will be specific to the Byrd School portion of the study.
“We want our kids to get to school safely,” said Hillock. “We’re here for the kids… I think anything we can do short-term and cost-effective we should do sooner rather than later.”