BOE accepts donation of temporary lights
Another chapter in the ongoing portable light issue came to a close on Tuesday night, when the Darien Board of Education unanimously voted to accept a lighting system from the Darien Junior Football Team.
This August, when the district's administration decided to submit an application to the Planning and Zoning Commission requesting permission to operate temporary portable lights during the fall athletic system, the board stipulated that the cost of the proposed project would not come from the district's operating budget, according to Superintendent Donald Fiftal. The lights would instead come as an in-kind donation from the DJFL, who also used the system after P&Z's approval in October.
The total value of the donation is $46,055, which Fiftal said is higher than the original estimate due to an increase in cost of copper wiring.
The gift includes $20,543 worth of materials such as copper wiring, junction boxes and plugs; $16,622 for installation; $2890 worth of exterior removable window shades, which Fiftal said were used to "deal with glare and reflectivity back into the neighborhood;" and $6,000 worth of light towers rental and electrical retro-fitting.
The donation came from the DJFL, through its own funds and contributions from the community.
"To our good fortune, we had a total of six sources that have come together in this partnership to provide the funding," Fiftal said. The six organizations are: The Darien Technology and Community Foundation; The Darien High School Parents Association; The DHS Blue Wave Pride Club; The Darien High School Football Team; and the Kefalas-Pinto Foundation.
"We've had a lot of discussion in this room about the subject... . We'd like to express our great appreciation for those efforts and keeping this alive, and allowing our varsity athletes to do this," said BOE Chairwoman Kimberly Westcott. "It was a very short window in which this was put together and we appreciate that."
The next chapter in the lights tome will open on Monday, Dec. 14, when the Board of Education holds a special meeting with DHS neighbors to discuss the experience of the portable lights during the fall sports season.
The board also unanimously voted to establish a permanent full-day kindergarten program at the district's elementary schools, a program that launched in Darien this school year.
The vote comes two weeks after Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Judith Pandolfo presented a report to the board indicating that the majority of parents were pleased with the new program.
"The feedback from parents and administration was very positive," Westcott said. "The board was very inclined to approve full-day kindergarten as the only option for next year."