Written by Rich Forestano, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 27 March 2014 11:37
School district resident Christine Grincato is tired of the ongoing issues with the Sewanhaka Central High School District’s bond. She knows the district needs it, but at what cost? The district proposed a $99.5 million bond for various repairs to its five high schools in December, which failed by 293 votes.
“Perhaps, if you had listened to us, you’d be encouraged to provide a proposal that we can live with,” she told the Board of Education at a special meeting on March 18. “We need a bond, but we need one we can afford.”
The district is currently designing a new bond, with five options being discussed. The board expects to choose one this week and decide to either hold the referendum in May during the regular school board election or a special vote in the fall.
“The board of education has to analyze all the information that’s been provided to them and deliberate in regards to the scope of the revised referendum,” District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie said. “If the [vote] is on May 20, when we have the budget and election, the board has to approve a bond referendum resolution.”
The first option is a vote on a smaller version of the original bond for a second time, with elimination of electronic signs and some capital work. The second and third options would decrease the bond issue, to $84,606,691 in one case or $87,029,591 in another.
The fourth option would total $89,577,091. The fifth option is split into two: $73,567,876 in infrastructure repairs, improvements; and a separate $16,009,215 in athletic renovations and upgrades.
Grincato said the alternatives proposed are “an insult.” Furthermore, that none of the plans reduce the bond to $78 million, which was proposed by district architects before the first referendum. Sewanhaka has gone through three architects in the last seven years.
“There is very little difference between these and the original bond that was offered,” she stated. “Is it still your intention to present the original proposal and because a few minor things have changed, to make us believe we’re going to get a new and improved product?”
Forty-seven percent of the bond would be covered by New York State. Projects would be carried out in phases over three to four years.
Ferrie stressed a “district approach” toward the bond, meaning focusing on the needs of every school, rather than one building over another.
“As I said many times to the people on the ad hoc committee from all the communities, there was an awful lot of work done in terms of compromise when they went and looked at the schools that were not the school in which they lived near,” Ferrie said.
Sewanhaka has solicited proposals on performance energy contracts, which would let companies evaluate building lighting, windows, roofs, HVAC systems, etc. for renovation. Any savings would decrease any bond option’s amount by an estimated $10 million and increase building aid from New York State, according to Ferrie. Sewanhaka received bids, but did not reveal them at the meeting last week.
“We’re going to have some more intensified analysis on [performance contract],” Ferrie said.
Milton Brush of Floral Park thinks the district didn’t have its priorities in order. He felt the ad hoc committee formed to come up with bond solutions included “unnecessary items.”
“Every article written about this bond has an opening statement that is was for urgently needed school repairs," Brush said. “If this is true, then why did the referendum contain money for athletic facilities and the remodeling of school auditoriums, plus other renovations, instead of concentrating on reconstruction of roofs and buildings.”
Friday, 21 November 2014 00:00
At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, residents and community members joined with the Floral Park American Legion to honor veterans at the annual Veteran’s Day ceremonies at Memorial Park, following a march down Tulip Avenue to the park with the members of the veterans of the Legion post, American Legion Auxiliary members, Sons of the American Legion, Boy and Cub Scouts from Troops 482 and 678 and local officials.
During the ceremony, a plaque was dedicated in memory of General Kazimierz Pulaski and others of Polish heritage who have served in the U.S. military. The plaque dedication was led by members of the Polish American Congress, Long Island Division, President Grzegorz Worma and Honorary President Richard Brzozowski. An invocation was delivered by Father Peter Rozek of St. Hedwig Church, followed by a POW-MIA ceremony by Post 334 Vice Commander Matthew Cacciatore.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00
While parking around Long Island Rail Road train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town.
“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”