Sharon Springs Central School District officials have banned snowmobiles on school grounds at any time, except for those following a portion of a state trail.
The ban approved Monday night by the district’s Board of Education follows years of dispute over safety, as well as allegations by nearby resident Michael Whaling that noisy snowmobilers were crossing school grounds late at night to get to a nearby restaurant and bar.
School board President Karen Cookson said Monday’s decision followed several incidents this year where snowmobiles strayed during the day into areas where children were playing. Until today, snowmobiles were allowed on school grounds after 6 p.m.
“Not only is there a financial liability for us,” Cookson said today, “the basic safety of the kids was being affected.”
Whaling said today he was happy with the new policy.
“The school board should be commended for making this decision, which puts public safety and air quality concerns ahead of special interest recreation,” Whaling said.
District Superintendent Patterson Green and Business Manager Anthony DiPace said a temporary orange snowfence was put up this morning, blocking snowmobile access to the part of the school campus affected.
Snowmobilers will still be allowed to use the state trail that skirts the southwestern portion of the campus, DiPace said.
Violators of the new policy will be prosecuted, district officials said.