Herricks board develops safety team, discusses fact-finder report

Board member Henry Zanetti was sworn in as the board's new Vice President. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

The Herricks school district will update its safety plan and has appointed a broader based safety team including teachers, administrators and parents, school officials said Monday.

At a Board of Education meeting, trustees also spent time reorganizing and said there were no major updates about contract negotiations with the teachers union.

Juleigh Chin was unanimously re-elected to serve as president of the Herricks school board. Henry Zanetti, whose daughter graduated from Herricks High School at the June 27 ceremony, was chosen as vice president.

Officials announced the appointment of a districtwide safety team comprising teachers, administrators, parents, the high school head custodian and representatives from the Nassau County Police Department’s homeland security and problem oriented policing units.

“We’ve really tried to broaden the group,” said Lisa Rutkoske, assistant superintendent for business.

She said, “We will be updating [the safety plan] that is currently online.” However, specific information regarding safety protocols will remain confidential.

The drafted plans explain that state regulations require safety teams in school buildings to develop an emergency response plan and update it by July 1 each year so it can be incorporated into a districtwide safety plan.

The plan includes the development of a “go home plan” for getting children back to their homes and family as safely and quickly as possible.

Herricks also plans to develop a shelter plan. Herricks’ school buildings will be surveyed for the safest areas for occupants to stay in case of situations lasting as long as 24 hours.

The school will also assess its evacuation process for scenarios that could require students to be transported and housed temporarily in another building. The plan will include provisions for transportation and use of alternate sites.

Final arrangements for the safety plan will be revealed at August’s board meeting, Rutkoske said.

As the July meeting between the Herricks Teacher Association and district has not taken place yet, there were no major updates on negotiations. However, if the meeting does not lead to a solution, a fact finder appointed by the state will release a report.

A statement by the board on May 23 said the primary issue separating the parties is
compensation. In June, neither party would give details about the negotiations, but Superintendent Fino Celano said progress had been made.

“What’s happening is that the fact finder is trying to mediate the resolution between the district and teachers association,” Dr. Celano said.

“We continue to try to negotiate until it’s resolved,” he said.

The Herricks Teacher Association and district have been in contract negotiations since January 2018.


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