School district update:

A buildings report, missed days and 600 unexpected guests


Although it wasn’t possible for students, administrators and teachers to reach their school buildings during the 10-day hiatus after Hurricane Sandy, the time off was anything but a vacation. A Board of Education meeting at the Steele School on Nov. 14 allowed parents, board trustees and other community members a chance to catch up on what’s been happening at Baldwin schools.

Unexpected guests are nonetheless welcome
At every school board meeting, a rote public reading of various motions is required. This is generally a dry, filibuster-style recitation approving the retiring of defunct pizza ovens or the acquisition of refurbished tubas for the marching band. Last Wednesday, however, a round of applause greeted the passage of a motion to allow the East Rockaway School District to use Baldwin’s defunct Milburn and Shubert school buildings while its own buildings are repaired. An emotional Kristin Ochtera, president of the East Rockaway Board of Education, was greeted warmly by approximately 60 Baldwin residents assembled in the Steele School gym.

“When we heard that 75 percent of our district was unstable, it was devastating,” Ochtera said. “We are so grateful. Your help is immeasurable. We look forward to being semi-Baldwin residents.”

The East Rockaway contingent comprises approximately 600 students in grades 7 through 12. The East Rockaway district will lease Baldwin’s buildings for $10 per square foot for three months, at the end of which a new lease will be negotiated, if necessary. East Rockaway will also pay all expenses at the schools other than night security, which is part of a pre-existing package covering Baldwin’s buildings. Because elementary schoolchildren previously occupied the Baldwin schools, the older East Rockaway group will provide their own, larger furniture.

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