by Kathleen Duff
The Grand Island Board of Education held its regular meeting at the district's own Eco Island Nature Preserve on Staley Road Monday evening. Members toured the facility and grounds first and then tended to regular agenda items.
Retired elementary teacher Diane Tiede continues as volunteer conservator of the facility, and told the board that Eco Island is well used by elementary school classes for numerous field trips through out the school year. The grounds saw 1,984 Grand Island students come through Eco Island in 2010-11.
In regular business, the board heard reports regarding capital project planning. Trustee David Goris, who chairs the planning committee, said that the members "...continue to appreciate all the participation we get from the community." Board member Emily Ciraolo pointed to a survey now on the district website that asks the public how it would like to receive information on how the project planning is progressing. The aim, Ciraolo explained, is for the committee to arrive at a "more concrete plan to see how our community members want to be communicated with." Ciraolo and Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann urge the public to visit the district's website, www.k12.ginet.org, look under the "District" section and click on "Possible Capital Project Information" to complete the brief survey.
The board and administration also discussed the recurring issue of safety on Ransom Road near the high school and middle school, especially at school start and dismissal times. Christmann warned that drivers going on the shoulder and going above the posted 25 mph speed limit will be aggressively ticketed by the Erie County Sheriff's Office.
"Drivers can't go on the shoulder. It's illegal. ... It's definitely a safety hazard. ... There are areas where there are no sidewalks," Christmann elaborated and said that this is a big concern especially as the seasons change.
In addition, Christmann said that unauthorized ATVs and snowmobiles are still a problem on school property.
"It is prohibited," he said. "We have had in the past a number of people arrested. ... They've really chewed-up the athletic fields." Signs that indicate such vehicles must stay off school grounds are posted in several areas on the Ransom Road complex.