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Pine Bush improves school security

January 16th, 2013

The Pine Bush Central School District Board of Education began their first meeting of the new year by recognizing fall student athletes and watching a building showcase highlighting Pine Bush High School.

During the presentation, Principal Aaron Hopmayer announced that for the second year in a row, Pine Bush had been named to the list of top 2,000 high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. He said his goal is to eventually be among the top 1,500.

“I think it’s very possible we can reach this goal within three years,” he said.

Next, in his quarterly report, Director of Operations and Maintenance Jim Licardi explained that he was “moving forward actively” with plans for a future capital project referendum. He said he had begun touring the school buildings with the construction management and architectural firms and the next step would be to sit down with members of the school board to make sure they are all on the same page.

“I’d like to discuss it collectively to make sure everybody’s still on board,” he said.

Licardi then reported that a district-wide card access system had been implemented successfully. He explained that all paid administrators, faculty and staff received an access card and had been programmed into a system that will allow them to enter their respective buildings during a set period of time.

Later in the meeting, the school board approved an appropriation of fund balance for the installation of an air phone system at each school’s greeter desk. The system, which includes buzzers, video cameras and door release mechanisms, will provide an additional layer of efficiency and security, Licardi said.

Also during the meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Deborha Brush gave a long range planning report and demographic study update. At the end of the presentation, school board member Roseanne Sullivan asked how plans for a 396-unit townhouse development in the village of Bloomingburg would affect student enrollment come September.

“We might not have room for all those students,” Sullivan said. “We need to have a plan.”

In response, Superintendent Philip Steinberg said that he had spoken with developer Shalom Lamm recently and found out that he currently lacks the building permits and construction loans needed to begin the project.

“It seems to me very unlikely that any new homes could be occupied before September,” Steinberg said.

Still, school board members agreed that they should stay informed as things develop and take a proactive approach when planning for what might end up being a large influx of students.

By Jessica Murray

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