Superintendent Ward to Retire in 2019

Board of Ed Considers Night Games, Recognizes Merit Scholars

The Pawling Board of Education convened on Monday, October 22, at the Elementary School. The evening’s agenda included a discussion of the possibility of a series of special night games for district athletic teams, and presentations from the Pawling High School principal and the Director of Facilities and Operations. District officials would also announce the retirement of Pawling Central School District (PCSD) Superintendent William Ward, effective July of next year.

Board members opened the meeting with a discussion of proposed temporary lighting for district athletic fields. Last month, a group of parents came before the Board to express interest in renting light towers so that Pawling sports teams would be able to host a series of night games next autumn. The contests would feature girls’ soccer, boys’ soccer, field hockey, and football, with each team getting to host one game under the lights. The parents who proposed the idea also sought Board approval to begin fundraising toward this goal.

To consider this proposal, the Board asked Athletic Director John Bellucci and Director of Facilities and Operations Glen Freyer to examine the logistics of the events. For Pawling to host night games, officials estimate the need for ten to twelve portable light towers to provide adequate lighting for the fields, surrounding areas, and parking lots. Each light tower would cost $300 for the week, with a delivery cost of $200 each way. The estimated total cost for lighting would be approximately $4,000. To ensure that light rentals will be available for next fall, they must be reserved by July 1.

In addition to the rental cost for lighting, it is estimated that the series of night games would likely draw larger than average crowds and would thus incur additional expenses for extra supervision. For most home athletic contests, the district usually assigns two faculty members to assist with supervision at a cost defined by contract. For certain larger events, Dutchess County Sheriff’s Deputies are brought in and paid a predetermined overtime rate. The Board is still trying to determine whether the proposed games would be played over three or four nights, but it estimates that the cost of additional supervision would be between $1,500 and $3,000.

The Board of Ed’s attorney and New York Insurance Reciprocal (the district’s insurance and risk management provider) recommend that, should fundraising for the nighttime events take place, it should be done in conjunction with an established organization, such as the Pawling Tiger Club, so that that fundraising activities would be covered by that organization’s insurance policy.

After outlining the costs and logistical concerns, officials expressed their enthusiasm for the plan. The Board commended the parents involved and determined that fundraising would need to cover the costs of lighting and any supervision which would be above and beyond that of a normal school event.

During a presentation updating the Board on events at Pawling High School, Principal Helen Callan recognized two exceptional students. Brigid Barrick and Sean Walsh were recently named Commended Students in the National Merit Scholarship Program. To earn this designation, they placed among the top 50,000 scorers out of more than 1.6 millions students who took the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

In other business, Director of Facilities and Operations Glen Freyer provided an update on buildings throughout the district. Over the summer, Pawling Elementary School received a new fire shutter to separate the kitchen and cafeteria in the event of an emergency. The building also received new lighting. Pawling Middle School was the recipient of ventilation improvements, new security doors at the front entrance, and new telephone and data cables. Pawling High School had new smoke doors installed in upper hallways, and several classrooms received ventilation improvements. The school’s cafeteria and senior lounge received a refurbishment, and the district is awaiting the delivery of the new cafeteria furniture.

The Board of Education meeting ended with the announcement that Superintendent William Ward will be retiring at the end of the school year. Dr. Ward has served as PCSD Superintendent for the last five years. His final day is scheduled to be July 12, 2019. “We as a Board are going to miss you, Bill,” said Board of Education President Jeff Asher.

“I’m glad you had faith in Pawling,” added Board Member Harvey Matcovsky.

Before the meeting adjourned, Ward addressed the Board: “It’s been a very enjoyable time here. Overall, everyone has been very open to new opportunities and new ways of doing things, whether it’s been the teaching staff or the administrative staff. It’s been a very cooperative relationship. I also want to thank the Board. That teamwork allowed us to achieve what we were able to achieve. I look forward to the next nine months of working together.”

The next Board of Education Meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Pawling Elementary School, 7 Haight Street.