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Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Dozens demand artificial-turf fields during Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District meeting
(Page 2 of 2)
Scott Brinton/Herald
oponents of installing synthetic-turf athletic fields at the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District’s three high schools came to the June 5 Board of Education meeting dressed in red as a show of solidarity. They protested the condition of the high schools’ fields, which have a number of barren patches, like this one at Calhoun High School in Merrick.

Four Nassau County districts have installed artificial-turf fields in the past year or will install them in the near future, including Freeport, Lynbrook, North Shore and Rockville Centre. The cost ranged from $1.5 million to more than $3 million per field.

Undeterred by the board’s past rejection of artificial-turf fields, about 70 residents attended the June 5 board meeting to express their support for replacing natural grass with artificial turf. Many wore red to signal their like-mindedness.

“It’s time for turf,” said Ellen Brach of Bellmore, a phys. ed. teacher, a mother of two sons who play football and lacrosse and the founder of the Facebook group called Bellmore Merrick Parents/Students in Favor of Turf Fields. “It’s time to put aside past animosities, personal agendas and try to move forward. It’s time to end the cycle of neglect, irresponsibility and failure.”

Most of the 14 people who spoke favored synthetic turf.

But Ross Shulman, a 2012 Kennedy High School graduate and former Herald student columnist who now attends Emory University, said he opposed the district’s spending money on new bleachers — the board approved replacing bleachers at Mepham for $96,000 on May 24 — or turf fields at a time when the 2013-14 district budget allocates no money for new instructional materials.

“I’m sure you can find parents and children from every part of the school community who want newer things for their respective programs,” Shulman said. “Clubs, drama, research, art, music — they all want new things, and they can all name things which are in need of replacement. The board is not hearing the entire community’s opinion. And I hope that a decision to replace the Mepham bleachers is not solely based on the voice of a few people, or else we will set a bad and costly precedent where groups come in with their own issues at every meeting and demand that they be fixed, despite it not being in the best interest of all the students.”

Comments

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Pitbull

The data is in, has been for 7 long years. Think about the Student Athletes that would benefit from doing it now. The Irondequoit school district upstate dissolved a reserve in February 2013, of 3.5 million because they felt they did not need it. Bellmore/Merrick has a reserve that they did not need for 80 years of school history. But started one called (EBLAR) in 2002 to pay employees there sick and vacation time when they retired. After starting it, from 2002 to 2009 the district did not spend one Pennie of the reserve to retires that left the district. So I ask the board, if you didn't need the reserve for 80 years and didn't use it for 5 years after you created it. Why do we have it. I say desolve it, ask the community to VOTE on it, take the 7million that is in it now and setup a capital reserve and due Science Labs, bathrooms, band rooms, roofs, windows and of course TURF FIELDS everybody wins the Taxpayer and the Kids. Comment as you may. WE CAN DO IT

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 | Report this
rs0719

Dear Bellmore Herald and Bellmore/Merrick Residents,

I would like to clarify a few things said about me in last week's article about turf fields. The article stated that I am against installing turf fields. This is not true. I concluded my statement by saying, "I am not against turf and bleachers, I just think we need to look at everything." Earlier in my speech, I had said, "I am all for spending more money on bleachers and turf fields if we support other areas." My speech's point was to highlight that there are many things that need to be improved in the district. If we choose to put additional money into athletics, we must, at the same time, put money into all of the other areas that make up the total school program and need to be updated. These improvements must be prioritized by the Board of Education and district officials. A few of the pro-turf field parents who spoke before me mentioned that they are also in favor of fixing everything, not just athletic-related problems. I was glad to hear that. I believe in doing whatever the elected Board of Education and administrative professionals think is best. I did not speak to completely oppose turf fields, but rather to make sure that the decision to install them would be an informed one that was not just based on one group's comments, especially because there are so many different groups each with their own interests. I am not in favor of doing nothing; I am in favor of spending wisely and fixing the most important things first. Even if nothing is improved in the district except for the fields, I will support that decision as long as the Board decides that installing turf fields is its top priority and must be done to enhance the total school program. I thank the Herald for reporting on what I said.

Sincerely,

Ross Shulman

Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Report this
FedUpRealist

I have a top-notch athlete for a child who is an All-County athlete as a FRESHMAN...She would excel at ANY sport she wanted to play...She asked to play lacrosse...However, I won't let her because I would never jeopardize her athletic career on the garbage our district calls athletic fields...It's been an embarassment for years and years...Hey, but lets have multiple superintendants whom have become fat-cats...Just look at their salaries...And here I thought education was a thankless profession where people were just 'enriched' by the minds they mold - not by the wallet they fill...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Report this
FedUpRealist

I have a top-notch athlete for a child who is an All-County athlete as a FRESHMAN basketballer...She would excel at ANY sport she wanted to play...She asked to play lacrosse...However, I won't let her because I would never jeopardize her athletic career on the garbage our district calls athletic fields...It's been an embarassment for years and years...Hey, but lets have multiple superintendants whom have become fat-cats...Just look at their salaries...And here I thought education was a thankless profession where people were just 'enriched' by the minds they mold - not by the wallet they fill...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Report this
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