Last week, after a tour of construction improvements that have been made at the Marlboro High School, the Board of Education opened their meeting with the Marlboro High School Chamber Choir singing the Star Spangled Banner, under the direction of Kathy Budryk.
A presentation followed, compiled by Principal Ryan Lawler and Assistant Principal Jena Thomas, with assistance from Athletic Director Jonnah O’Donnell, that touched upon the school’s enrollment, the building goals for this year, last summer’s student credit recovery, a snapshot of the class of 2021 and projections for the class of 2022.
The school board was also given a summary of the Vision 2020 construction project that is nearing completion: a new main entrance and office, a unified space for the school counseling services, cafeteria improvements, a new multi-purpose room, a new track and turf field along with a new student fitness center, an expanded nurse’s office, a new technology lab and a STEM lab that is slated for construction in late fall into the winter and a new Art Suite with dedicated 2D space for studio art, drawing and painting, a 3D lab with a focus on ceramics and a digital lab for photography and video production.
The proposed plan to revive a swim program for this year hit a snag over the $53,173 price tag. The program’s objectives are to teach a skill set aimed at safety and respect for water. It was noted that this low impact sport would provide students with a high-intensity cardio workout coupled with resistance training. The program would also enhance improved teamwork, individuality and socialization skills while providing students with skills for a healthy lifestyle.
The logistics of the program calls for 18 days of swimming for K-2 in May; for K-5 in October and November; for 6-8 with the boys in February and the girls in March/April. At the high school level, 31 days of swimming are planned with the boys in January and the girls in December.
In total there will be 67 days of instruction from Kindergarten through the 12th grade.
The $53,173 annual cost breaks down to $11,904 for the High School, $12,388 for the Middle School and $28,881 for the Elementary School grades K-5.
Even though Superintendent Michael Brooks assured the board that funding for the program could probably be secured, the board voted 4-3 to table the proposal until it can be definitely determined that money can be obtained to pay for the program. The members voting to table the proposal were John Cantone, Faith Nannini, Michael Connors and JoAnn Reed, while Patricia Benniger, Karen Brooks and James Mullen voted against tabling the motion.
During public input, former School Board President Frank Milazzo criticized the board’s decision to table the matter, pointing out that the district has more than enough money to pay for the swim program.
“The district projects a $1.4 million surplus from this year to next year, above and beyond where we are at today. A $43,000 program in a $58 million budget for students for safety, for athletics and physical fitness; I’m sorry it’s a no-brainer,” he said. “I just hope that this board at the next meeting goes ahead and approves it.” Milazzo’s $43,000 estimate is less than the $53,173 total because swimming is already running at the high school and is funded in the budget.
Milazzo’s comments were met with applause from the public in attendance.