The East Hampton School Board last week named Joseph Lipani to the position of head bus driver, effective July 8.
He replaces Joel Freedman who had served in the position on an interim position since last September, and announced in March his intention to resign and return to his position as bus driver.
Mr. Lipani will also serve as the auto mechanic for the district and will be paid $110,000 in salary—$60,000 for his mechanic position and $50,000 as interim supervisor.
School Superintendent Richard Burns said school officials felt that eliminating one of two mechanic positions would be more efficient.
In July 2012, before the district’s transportation department underwent “much scrutiny,” according to Mr. Burns, the administrative costs for one bus supervisor and two mechanics was $269,907 for the school year. Now, with the personnel changes and reduction of positions, the district will only spend approximately $170,000 in administrative costs for the 2013-14 school year.
“We are looking forward to Mr. Lipani taking over,” Mr. Burns said. “He has broad experience in the field of running a transportation department and I think he is fair and honest. I think we will be able to move forward with the department in a meaningful way.”
Earlier this year, the board suspended five transportation workers, three bus drivers and two mechanics. According to Isabel Madison, the district’s business manager, the two mechanics resigned earlier this month. One bus driver will return in September, while the future of the other two bus drivers is pending.
Middle School SurveyEast Hampton middle schoolers, their parents and staff members may be asked to take an anonymous survey next school year to measure their perceptions of the school’s environment.
At the School Board meeting on June 18, board members and administrators were so pleased with how useful the results from a similar survey taken by high schoolers had been that they expressed a desire for middle schoolers to do the same next year.
East Hampton High School Principal Adam Fine again went over the results the high school survey, which students, parents and staff took in the wake of the suicide of David Hernandez, a junior, last fall.
“This is the most comprehensive study that I’ve ever seen in my life,” said board member Patricia Hope. “This is a beautiful thing.”
The survey assessed feelings about safety, relationships, learning and communication at the high school by analyzing answers to 70 questions. On a scale of 1 to 5, participants were asked to agree or disagree with such statements as “My school tries to get all families to be part of school activities.” Their answers were analyzed by the nonprofit National School Climate Center at a cost of $3,000, a number based on the size of the student population, which is 908.
All three groups of respondents—students, parents and staff—gave their lowest grade to what was called the “dimension” of social-emotional security.
Mr. Fine said that, starting in September, a steering committee made up of staff members, students and representatives of the East Hampton Clericus, a group of local ministers, will use the information to focus in on trouble areas and develop a plan to ameliorate them. He recommended that the board allow the middle school to administer the survey as well.