Peekskill officials have welcomed a proposal for students to be required to wear branded school shirts designed to encourage a spirit of team building at Peekskill Middle School but acknowledged that some loose ends need to be sewn up first.
“Now is the time” for shirts that build a sense of unity and loyalty among students, Dr. David Fine, principal, said during a presentation to the Board of Education Tuesday, June 19. He cited continuing cultural and academic focus as signs that “the time is right” for shirts.
Fine and others launched the shirt project around the beginning of 2012 and have developed a series of logos and colors, which are on display in the lobby of the 600-student school, which opened in 2009. Logos to date include generic art, music, athletics and a pitchfork for the Peekskill Red Devils mascot. Fine said 80, 75 and 60 percent of incoming sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, respectively, have placed advance orders for shirts, subject to board approval of the program. He said a manufacturer had agreed to provide a package of four shirts for $10; students would wear the shirts Mondays through Thursdays and dress according to their own discretion on Fridays.
Fine described the proposal as “positive for the students and financially palatable for the parents,” adding that funds were available to cover the cost for families that could not afford shirts. He said the orders would be finalized if the board approved the project.
Board members Douglas Glickert and Michael Simpkins described the shirts as “a great idea,” with Simpkins adding his hope that the project would spread throughout the district to promote pride and spirit.
Gregory Sullivan, assistant superintendent for business, interjected several notes of caution in an analysis of the proposal’s financial and material aspects. “We haven’t done anything like this before, and there are many things to consider,” he said. Concerns about entering “the murky area of merchandising” included financial statements, sales records, inventory storage, controls and security.
Fine acknowledged the “bear” of monitoring the program and noted that inventory at the school would be limited to shirts needed to fill orders plus a few extra; the remainder would be stored by the manufacturer until needed. In response to Sullivan’s concerns, “Let’s do this the right way,” he said.
Board President Joseph Urbanowicz congratulated Fine on the proposal and Sullivan on his “thorough analysis and fiscal guidance. … You are both doing what we want you to do. … We will work this out.”