Members of Grand Island’s School and Town boards Monday discussed several items of mutual interest.
Among them were the possibility of sharing a digital information sign, ending restrictions on parking around the high school and middle school complex, and clarifying the legality of police searches on school property.
The two boards meet jointly in months with a fifth Monday to update and get input from each other on school and town projects.
Interim School Superintendent Robert W. Christmann, for example, asked whether the town was interested in sharing the cost and use of a digital sign that would provide information on town and school district events.
Councilman Gary G. Roesch said he has a preliminary estimate of $23,000 for such a sign that could go on the Town Commons adjacent to Town Hall. The estimate also included the expense of extending electrical service to the site to also power flush-mounted outlets that could be used by vendors at town events.
He also said that West Palm Beach, Fla., had recently adopted the shared-sign concept with its school district and that he would forward information on that to town and school officials.
Supervisor Mary S. Cooke said there has been some community concern “about the aesthetics of this,” which “would take the Commons to a new era.”
The school district has been considering installing such a sign at the Ransom Road complex as part of the capital project.
Cooke asked if it was feasible to remove no-parking signs erected on streets around the complex several years ago when there was a shortage of parking spaces on school property.
She said she has had inquiries from some residents of those streets who would like to be able to have guests park in that area.
Joseph A. Giarrizzo, district financial director, said he would like to first consult with the managers on the capital project regarding how it will affect on-site parking. The capital project includes extensive work on the Ransom Road complex, including an addition to the technology wing, new athletic fields and parking lot improvements. Work is expected to begin next spring.
It was informally agreed among School Board members that aside from the needs of the capital construction project, there was now sufficient parking on school property.
Giarrizzo also confirmed reports that there will be some new restrictions on use of the athletic fields behind the Ransom Road complex once they’re renovated. The fields are used for other events aside from school sports, including Relay for Life. Some of these events involve putting up tents.
“You will not be able to put tent stakes into the turf,” Giarrizzo said.
Cooke noted that the town has granted the use of Veterans Park in 2013 for some events usually held at the athletic fields, which will be undergoing renovations.
Christmann also asked if the Town Board could let the Police Department know that searches of student cars on school property are legal under state law. He said the district consulted with its attorney recently after an Erie County sheriff’s deputy was reluctant to do such a search and was advised that it was legal.
The interim superintendent also asked that the state law banning the use of alcohol on school property be enforced. “We’d hope we’d be informed if a student was involved, and that there’s an arrest if an adult is involved,” Christmann said.