Issuu on Google+ Vol. 15/Number 6 For Rhoda… Friends, family and former colleagues of the late Councilwoman Rhoda C. Quash gathered for a secondary street-naming ceremony in her honor April 18. For more, see page 6. Photo/Christina Cerone School security consultants share recommendations By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER Consultants retained by the New Rochelle Board of Education to assess the district’s school security shared some of their findings at the board’s Tuesday night meeting. “We were engaged by the su‑ perintendent and the board to do a safety assessment not because there were any glaring issues but because of the desire to make New Rochelle schools as safe as possible,” said Howard Safir, the former New York City police commissioner who is now chairman and CEO of the Manhattan-based Vigilant Resources International. As part of its assessment, the team examined New Rochelle school buildings and grounds, and the school district’s policies to see “what was written and what was complied with.” The consultants also evaluated potential threats, such as “active shooters” and vulnerabilities. Some challenges are immediately evident, according to VRI President Adam Safir. Sprawling school grounds and large school buildings with lots of doors call for enhanced perimeter surveillance and control, he said. “Visitor management,” or the ability to know who is in city schools and why they are there also need to be improved. “Right now there is a written sign-in system, and that’s fine, but it leaves room for human error,” Adam Safir said. “Someone could provide a fake license or provide a different name.” Screening systems are available that would not only allow a school April 26 & May 3, 2013 School board backs budget By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER The New Rochelle Board of Education on April 17 endorsed a proposed budget for 2013-2014 that calls for approximately $239 mil‑ lion in total expenditures and results in a 4.52 percent tax rate increase. According to Assistant Superintendent John Quinn, the proposed budget also includes ap‑ proximately $1.3 million in new revenue, the bulk of which is state aid. The new revenue allows for the restoration of 14 teaching positions among the 56 district-wide posi‑ tions slated for elimination in the preliminary budget. A maximum of six “content area” teaching positions could still be eliminated, said Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Korostoff. “We take every reduction very seriously,” said Board of Education President Chrisanne Petrone. “Every position has a name attached to it and we understand the hardship that these decisions create. We have never had to go into the classroom before.” The board still backed the pro‑ posed spending plan, however. “This is one of the most difficult challenges we have faced in my 30 years on the board. I deeply regret the loss of any teaching and nonteaching positions and hope some can be restored,” said Mary Jane Reddington. “I also regret any tax increase that may create a burden for senior citizens. But I shall be supporting this budget.” Although it isn’t perfect, board Vice President Deirdre Polow said the plan allows the school district to continue meeting student needs and community expectations. “The messages from you are clear,” Polow told the audience gathered in the New Rochelle High School library. “You want to raise the graduation rate and minimize the achievement gap. You want the best of the best.” Her colleague, David Lacher, said he would also be voting for the bud‑ get for “the citizens and the children of New Rochelle.” “In this year’s plan, we are los‑ ing valuable teachers and staff. I am not thrilled with the current fi‑ nancial situation as it has evolved. But [passing this budget] is the right thing to do.” At a prior budget session, Quinn said a dramatic increase in the New Rochelle City School District’s contribution to pension costs is a key factor in crafting next year’s spending plan. Those costs are ex‑ pected to go up by $4.7 million in 2013-2014, he said. Salaries alone are expected to BUDGET continued on page 9 SECURITY continued on page 12 Emotions still high as Gadsden flag dispute unfurls By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER Emotions are still flying free in a New Rochelle flag dispute. Tension between a local veter‑ ans group, their supporters and the city’s Democratic administration of Mayor Noam Bramson sur‑ faced soon after members of the United Veterans Memorial Patriotic Association raised a Gadsden flag– a yellow banner adorned with a coiled serpent and the words ‘Don’t Tread on Me’‑along with the American flag at the New Rochelle Armory last month. The veterans, who had permission to replace the tattered United States flag that had been flying above the East Main Street building, said Mayor Noam Bramson they also chose to hoist the donated Gadsden flag due solely to its historic and military significance. The Gadsden flag hoisted at the New Rochelle Armory remained aloft for only a week before a “majority” of the City Council decided it should be removed. “There was no formal FLAG continued on page 13 A proposed budget endorsed by the New Rochelle Board of Education includes enough new revenue to restore 14 teaching positions that had been slated for elimination. File photo

The Report, 4-26-2013

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