Board Accepts $70K FTK Donation

A spirit of community hope and pride was in the air as the East Islip Board of Education accepted a $70,000 donation from the For the Kids Foundation (FTK) at the Board's first monthly meeting of the 2012-2013 school year, held on Thursday, Sept. 13.  

Superintendent of Schools John J. Finello began his report to the Board by citing the terrific news and introducing FTK President Nancy Goldfader. She and the other members of the FTK board of directors presented a large ceremonial check to Board President Ken Cronin and Superintendent Finello.

FTK’s board had met on July 24, unanimously voting to donate the $70,000 sum for the benefit of the students of the East Islip School District for the 2012-2013 school year. The generous donation is being used to restore some of the clubs and activities that were not funded in this year's budget.

“Unfortunately, this year’s school budget did not allow for all clubs and activities to take place,” explained Goldfader. “FTK strongly believes in the importance of extracurricular activities. Leadership, membership, time management and contributing to a community are all benefits of being involved in an extracurricular activity. We worked collaboratively with Mr. Finello and the building principals to restore a wide variety of additional activities. It was our goal to provide an array of options to encourage student involvement.”

Among the restored services are boys and girls intramurals at JFK, and Drama Club and Art Club at Connetquot, RCK and Timber Point. Each of the four elementary schools also will receive a $750 stipend for their Families in Need of Services (FINS) assistance programs. At the middle school, reactivated programs include kickline, the school musical, Best Buddies, Renaissance Club, Fitness Club, and boys and girls intramurals. High school activities that will again take place include the school musical, kickline, STARS, Math League, Key Club, Boys Leaders Club, Girls Leaders Club, Environmental Club, Drama Club, Gay/Straight Alliance, art service, and the literary magazine.

“Our donations are thanks to the dedication and the continuous encouragement of this wonderful community,” added Goldfader. “When you support our carnival, golf outing and Black Tie Gala, you enable us to provide the highest quality of education to the students of East Islip, because remember, it’s ‘For the Kids…’”

In other news, the superintendent congratulated Timber Point for being named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education as well as a statewide Reward School (in the “high achieving school” category) by the New York State Education Department. Finello read aloud from the letter sent to Timber Point by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He also lauded East Islip High School for its achievement in also being named a New York State Reward School (in the “high progress school” category).

Lastly, Finello noted the high school’s gift to the district of a special decoration for the boardroom: a framed bronze casting proof of the “Freedom Is Never Free” plaque that was installed in the high school in memory of East Islip graduates who gave their lives in service to the country.

Personnel reports included numerous appointments, many in response to the restored programs from the FTK donation. Brian Heyanka, a technology teacher at East Islip Middle School, was one of the new staff in attendance.

Donations, aside from the aforementioned gift from FTK, included an air conditioning unit donated by Connetquot special education teacher Crystal Ann Chiari for the classroom use of students with special needs. Also noted was $5,000 provided to the district through the Island Harvest/Verizon "Heroes on Our Island" Sweepstakes, in which East Islip Middle School won first prize. The funds will go toward two Promethean interactive whiteboards.

The Board of Education approved the 2012-13 tax levy; a variety of contracts, including special education and consultant service contracts and BOCES agreements; and field trips for the high school kickline team to compete in Orlando, Fla. in March and for the Honors Italian class to travel to Italy next June.

Under new business, a Concussion Management policy was presented to the Board for adoption.

A special meeting of the Board was announced, to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m., as was the extension of the deadline for community members to sign up for districtwide committees (the new date is Oct. 5).

Just as the meeting was coming to a close, East Islip Athletic Booster Club President Sue Perini approached the Board to announce that the Booster Club was providing $4,752 for an intramural weight room. Perini presented a check to Assistant Superintendent for Business Carl Fraser, and the Board immediately approved the donation.

The East Islip Board of Education will hold its next regular monthly meeting on Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. The meeting will be held in the district office boardroom at 1 Craig B. Gariepy Avenue in Islip Terrace.