BIELC board welcomes new membersElects new slate of officers
At the Dec. 4 meeting of the Early Learning Center Board, the group welcomed new members Missy Lemoine and Chelsea Phelan. The board also voted to accept Stephen Land as a town representative to the board, pending appointment by the Town Council.
Though Land explained that he would be in the process of training at the Police Academy for six months beginning in January, the board voted to waive bylaws stipulating members must be present for three consecutive meetings, a move that allowed Land to be seated on the board. Land said he would submit a formal request to the Town Council.
The board also elected its officers: Lisa Robb was continued as President, Dave Turner elected Vice President, Deborah Hart continued as Secretary and Roberta Closter voted Treasurer.
BIELC director Christina Grele read an email from Stacy Henshaw, who had been working with the Planning Board and the Historic District Commission, for permission to rearrange the playground and to build a storage shed. Grele said Henshaw reported that the projects had been approved by both these island boards.
As a result, the ELC board concurred that members Roberta Closter and Dave Turner should contact acquaintances who had offered to make donations to the ELC and ask them to do so. Grele said that Henshaw had estimated that the lowest quote for redoing the playground was $14,000 and for the shed, $4,500.
The board agreed that if funding didn’t seem to be forthcoming, it should explore grant possibilities.
Acting Treasurer Closter reported on fundraising activities. The ELC has raised approximately $25,000 since July 1, which puts the organization on track for its annual fundraising goals. *
Grele reported that the BIELC website was still something of a work-in-progress, though “it was almost ready to go.” She also noted that the staff would soon be involved in a training program mandated for early childhood teachers. The professional development, which will take 18 hours, will stretch out over four days and is planned to take place in the Community Center section of the building shared with the BIELC.
Grele noted that Block Island Economic Development (BIED) was asking the BIELC for rent for the four-day program, though the amount had yet to be determined.
President Lisa Robb reported on the status of the BIED lease, which is held with the BIELC. She said that Attorney Eric Wallin was looking over the latest draft and details were being worked out. One new development Robb mentioned was that BIED was asking the BIELC to pay a security deposit on the first and last months of the lease, though this stipulation had never been imposed in the 10 years of the rental agreement. In the end, she pointed out there was a compromise, and the ELC was only required to pay one month’s security payment.
Robb added that BIED was also asking for a rental increase from $1,967 a month to $2,100. In a number of other areas the two groups were still in the midst of working out specifics, she added. When these are finalized, Robb said the BIELC would sign a one-year renewable lease with BIED.
Much of the following discussion concerned fundraising, with plans for an annual holiday gift basket raffle. The group also agreed to promote baskets at more future events. Robb suggested running craft nights to promote jewelry and ornament making.
The next meeting is set for Jan. 8 at 5:30 p.m.
*This article has been amended from the version that appeared in print in the Dec. 7. edition. Due to a reporter’s error, a statement that was included in a story about fundraising at the Block Island Early Learning Center (ELC) being “down approximately $50,000” was incorrect. Correctly stated, the ELC has raised approximately $25,000 since July 1, which puts the organization on track for its annual fundraising goals.