Parents dropping off children at Cloverbank Elementary School will find a new parking area in front of the building in September.
Frontier Central School Board members voted, 4-2, on Tuesday night to construct a new drop-off point and small parking area in front of the school, despite the concerns of some people about the loss of green space.
The new drop-off point solves a safety problem by separating students being dropped off and picked up by parents from school buses pulling up to load and unload children in the main parking area.
“I’ve got cars coming and going up at the front of the school trying to enter, and buses coming in,” said Cloverbank Principal Michelle L. Siebert. “There have been near-misses.”
Board members said they had received emails from Cloverbank stakeholders opposed to the plan, although Siebert said the plan had not been publicized at school because the board had not approved it. Board members also said that there was a meeting May 15 to get input from stakeholders and that one person showed up.
Board member Jack D. Chiappone said that when the capital project was being planned five years ago, the biggest concern at Cloverbank was increased parking. The plan approved by the board will add 31 parking spaces.
It also requires the removal of seven trees and moving the flagpole, said architect Shawn P. Wright. But he said the reading trees and memorial gardens would remain intact. He had hoped to get a decision Tuesday night so he could tell the contractor, he said, but since construction would not start until the end of the school year, it could wait until the next board meeting.
Board member Thomas M. Best Jr. said the board was not being transparent by acting Tuesday night without talking to the stakeholders who raised concerns. He trusts the judgment of the principal, he said, but there are staff members and others who have not been informed of the new plan.
“We’re not just addressing the parking issue here,” board member Larry J. Albert said. “We’ve been told we have a health and safety issue.”
“I’m in support of the plan,” Best said, but he added, “I’ll be voting no because of a lack of transparency on the board. It’s how we go about business.”
He was joined by board member Martin Lalka. Board President Janet MacGregor Plarr abstained because she said she was undecided.
“You are never going to come up with a plan that pleases everyone,” she said.