By Samuel Glasser
Manhasset Public Schools Superintendent Vincent Butera met recently with representatives of Brookfield Properties to discuss the implications that a proposed development project for the Macy’s site could have on the school district.
The administration wants “to develop an understanding of the impact on the district,” he said at last Thursday’s Board of Education meeting. He said the meeting with the developers was “productive” and that another meeting was planned.
Brookfield Properties, an international development company, and Macy’s have designed plans for a mixed-use development on the department store’s Manhasset property at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Community Drive. The plan includes 355 rental apartments along with 72,000 square feet of office space and 73,400 square feet of retail space. The department store would remain open.
The apartments would require a variance from the Town of North Hempstead.
Board member Christine Monterosso said the school district is at full capacity and cannot accommodate more students.
“I don’t know where we would put the kids,” she said. Monterosso noted that three or four new elementary school classrooms are planned irrespective of the Macy’s project.
In other business, the board put off the new visitor policy that was unveiled in late March. The proposal would restrict access to the schools for those who are not faculty, staff or students. It would require parents who want to meet with a teacher to plan the meeting in advance so that they could be put on a list provided to campus security.
The policy would create limited windows of time for parents to drop off items for their children at school which would then be placed in a box at security. Food drop-offs would be prohibited.
At the March meeting, Butera said that “during the lunch periods at the secondary school last month when we did the count there were over 120, I believe, drop-offs [per day] of lunches and coffees and whatever else.”
During the time reserved for public comment, parents told the board that the changes were too limiting. The board needs to consider the unintended consequences, said Lisa Grygiel who has three children in the school system. There is a potential loss of “connectedness” with the school if access is too restrictive. “It’s hard to get volunteers now,” she said.
On the labor front, Butera said that the board and the Manhasset Educational Support Personnel Association reached an agreement on a new contract that takes effect July 1 and will run to 2023. He said the board and the union had been negotiating since the fall.
The contracts with the teachers and administrators expire in June 2020.
The meeting opened by recognizing student achievement. Eight seventh and eighth grade students from Manhasset Middle School were cited for outstanding achievement in reading. Seven 11th grade Manhasset Secondary School students, who were the top finishers in the Spoken Word Poetry contest, performed their work. Two hundred students participated in the contest.