The Ridgewood Board of Education said at its Monday meeting that it would need more time before making a decision on the council's.
New liaison to the Fields Committee Charlie Reilly reported to the education board that of the proposal and its new recommendations. The committee did, however, did bring some specifics to the table in response to the village.
The village–in contrast to the school board, which –objected to the lack of a concrete number of nights RHS Stadium Field could be in use until 10:00 p.m. In return, Reilly said, Ridgewood HS Director of Wellness Nick Szerbo and the Committee both agreed that no more than 20 nights out of the year would be reasonable. The Fields Committee and school board have long maintained that given how schedules change each year, , if not burdensome.
"It's a number they felt comfortable with," Reilly said. Still, he prefaced his remark by noting there's a worry that "the council will say it's too many [nights]."
The school board is also leaning toward adding the provision that an occasional Thursday may be in the 10 p.m. mix, as a result of the Jewish holidays altering the schedule.
When asked by Board President Michele Lenhard if neighbors had objected to the total of 20 nights at RHS Stadium, Reilly said only neighbor Jim Morgan was in attendance and he didn't object at the time.
[Editor's Note: The following three paragraphs were included late Tuesday, June 14 to include Jim Morgan's comments on the Fields Committee's proposal at RHS Stadium.]
However, the neighbors say they still absolutely object to the total of 20 nights, which Jim Morgan said appeared an arbitrary number.
In an e-mail sent to village and school officials, Morgan said: "No one asked the neighbors what their thoughts were on the 20 nights proposal so I am unaware of the basis for any conclusion that we will find it acceptable. I attended the FC [Fields Committee] meeting in question as an observer," adding that his comments were not "sought" and the reception he receives doesn't encourage speaking "to everything that is said."
Szerbo only "needed" six nights during the course of the year, so the number proposed is "excessive," Morgan said. "We object to the proposal and believe something like 8 nights per year would be appropriate. We are all energized by the prospect of night football games and are supportive for the use of the field for these purposes. Let's set the number at 8 and reexamine the issue if necessary in the future," Morgan concluded.
The Fields Committee's sports group representatives were also apparently miffed by what was called a "loss" of playing time on Veteran's Field.
The council had in its resolutions recommended that Veterans Field have a 9:45 p.m. end time Monday through Saturday. The current policy, which remains in effect until both the council and school board agree to revisions, allows games to be played until 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday but allows for 10 p.m. "lights off" times on Friday and Saturday.
School board members said, notably Sheila Brogan, said that is "inconsistent" with the council's recommendations to the school board-owned fields, specifically Stevens Field.
"I thought we were trying to match that with the exception of summer," Brogan said, comparing Vets and Stevens end times. The school-board approved plan allowed for a series of weekday nights to go until 10 p.m. to accommodate for the RBSA baseball and softball games.
Lenhard said she'd like the council to provide "clarification" as to the "inconsistency".
Board Vice President Bob Hutton mused that on the same day of The Ridgewood News cover on the council's rejection of the policy, The Record ran a story on the epidemic of childhood obesity.
"Wouldn't it be better to have a trade-off of one hour of additional exercise for a larger group of individuals instead of watching the TV?" Hutton asked.
"I think the challenge is how do we differentiate and work with the council on this?" Lenhard said, pointing out differences of opinion between the board and council.
"I think it's a question of how we move forward," Lenhard said.
"I personally would like to work together with the council. This relationship has been successful and what numbers we reach to do that . . . because we are so tightly bound with these facilities."
The board agreed to study the council recommendations and have a response on its June 26 meeting.