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Hewlett-Woodmere Schools Set to Open Wednesday

District updates community on buildings, transportation and displaced students.

The Hewlett-Woodmere School District said it expected to resume classes on Wednesday after about a week break due to Hurricane Sandy if an anticipated nor'easter doesn’t hit the area too harshly.

“At this point, we’re acting like we’re opening tomorrow,” Dr. Joyce Bisso told an audience at the Woodmere Education Center on Tuesday. “We will handle this as we handle every weather event. You have a decision to make. If you feel the need to move, that’s a family decision.”

If school is canceled, the district will use its robo-call system, send out emails and update its website.

School administrators met with parents on Tuesday for the first time since the super storm swept through the area and knocked out many residents’ power and canceled school.

All after-school activities have been suspended for Wednesday.

Here are the other topics that were discussed:

Condition of schools

“The district buildings came through the storm in incredible condition,” said Superintendent of Business Dr. Peter Weber. “No building was breached in any way by storm water. In some cases, it was close. We’re in good shape. The buildings are ready and warm. We spent close to $15 million renovating buildings — it really paid off.”

The only structure that was damaged in the storm was the Woodmere Education Center’s bell tower, which has been on the building since 1915.

“We will be rebuilding it,” Weber assured the audience.

There was some minor damage at Ogden Elementary School, decorative woodwork is missing at Hewlett Elementary School, and the synthetic turf field at Woodmere Middle School took in water, Weber said. Everything will be covered by FEMA money.

One major concern is possible contamination found in the floodwater that reached the fields of Woodmere Middle School and Ogden Elementary. Students will be encouraged to walk on paved surfaces until the water is tested and confirmed safe.

Transportation

Bisso encouraged all parents to have students utilize the district’s transportation — even high school students, who she joked find riding the bus demeaning.

Traffic lights without power are a big concern for the district. Officials from the schools and the bus company are noting trouble areas and will adjust pickups accordingly.

Students staying at other students’ households will be able to ride the bus together, school officials said.

Parents without bus transportation are recommended to carpool.

Displaced students

School administrators say they do not yet know how many displaced students from outside the district will be attending Hewlett-Woodmere schools. State law allows displaced students to attend school in their temporary district or their home district.

“So far, no one has registered. I can’t predict how many will come in,” Bisso said. “People are in such distress, one of the best things that could happen to them is that their children have a bright place to come to.”

A couple of audience members asked if the district will seek proof that these new students are living in the district. Weber said that the district would, but the students can still go to school right away.

Other information

  • Bisso said they wouldn’t know how the district would make up the lost days until the state passes legislation about it.
  • “The expectation is special education students will not be without services,” she said.
  • The end of the quarter will be adjusted for middle and high school students.
  • Colleges and universities are well notified of the situation New York students are facing.
Bojames November 07, 2012 at 12:12 PM
School Board should take a public position on the implementation of NYS Real Property Law 460 which gives some property owners in Dist 14 HUGE exemptions on PRIVATE homes averaging over $12,000 when the figure in the law is $1500. 32 home owners under RP 460 pay no school taxes...you pay it for them. more info? write clergyexemption@gmail.com
Chris Albanese November 08, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Stephen, great article as always. I was at the meeting and you touched on all of the important points without getting sucked into the more "not the right time for this" portions of the evening. Keep up the good work.
Stephen J. Bronner November 09, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Thanks Chris! That's a lovely compliment that just made my night.

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