WOOD RIVER JUNCTION — Members of the Chariho School Committee, at their meeting Tuesday night, congratulated the district’s undefeated high school boys’ lacrosse team, which won the Division III championship for the second year in a row, and the baseball team, which recently won the Division II championship, its first title in 52 years.
Filling in for Superintendent Barry Ricci, who had surgery to remove a brain tumor less than a week ago, was Assistant Superintendent Jane Daly. She will lead the School Committee meetings until Ricci returns to work.
Daly read a message that Ricci had written to the teams.
“He’s sorry that he’s not able to be here tonight to celebrate with you, but you’ve brought great pride to your school and community, and while your athletic accomplishments are important tonight, it’s who you are as men that really matters,” Daly read.
In another matter connected with Ricci’s absence, the committee voted unanimously to accept Chariho attorney Jon Anderson’s offer to extend his agreement to serve as legal counsel for another month, from July 1 to July 31. Ricci is involved in contract negotiations with Anderson.
The committee also learned about a free smartphone app known as SafeStop, which provides information, updated every 30 minutes, on the progress of a student’s bus as it travels to or from school. After registering with SafeStop, parents will be able to receive expected arrival times for buses at school bus stops and a locator map showing where their child’s bus is.
Consideration of the app is a response to problems with the district’s school buses during a nor’easter in March. The storm created dangerous driving conditions as students were returning home, and one bus driver dropped off elementary schoolchildren at the Richmond Town Hall, provoking an outcry from parents and town officials.
Three School Committee members and eight Chariho parents are currently field testing the app, which Finance Director Susan Rogers said the district could also use to send notifications.
“They’ve been testing it for a month and a half,” she said. “It does allow us to put push notifications out.”
In other business, the committee received an update on the lead contamination of drinking water at Charlestown Elementary School. The well water was judged unsafe for consumption, even if boiled, after high levels of lead were detected in a water sample collected in May.
Students, teachers and staff members drank bottled water after the contamination was found and continued to do so until the end of school on Tuesday. The school district has hired an engineering firm, Northeast Water Solutions Inc., to locate the source of lead.
The committee also had its first look at a proposed design for a new facade for Chariho Tech, which is undergoing an aggressive rebranding to attract more students. The design would give a sleek, modern look to the exterior of the building. It was prepared by the Robinson, Green Beretta architectural firm, of Providence. The firm designed the new school for Chariho’s special needs students. The facade is still in the preliminary proposal stage.