On Wednesday morning a sneak attack occurred in Glen Cove. A flier from an anonymous source was placed in with a daily newspaper delivery urging voters to vote against the school bond. Certainly, everyone enjoys free speech. However, free speech does not mean that anonymous sources can perpetuate lies and distort the facts. So, let's set the record straight.
Let's do the math. Legally, up to $13.9 million can be borrowed to pay for only the items that are listed in the referendum. It will be a 15-year bond, borrowed at interest rate between 4 percent and 4.5 percent. Let's assume we will pay back about $1 million per year over 15 years. The present operational budget for the school district is $67 million. Even if we borrowed the entire amount of money in the first year, which we will not, that would represent less than a 1.5 percent increase in the budget. The $1 million per year would represent a smaller and smaller percentage of the operational budget every year over time.
The school district will receive 27.3 percent of the cost of the bond back from the state. About $11 million will be aid-able. Therefore, about 25 percent of the increase will be paid for by the state.
Four roofing experts have all indicated that two-thirds of the high school roof, and the Deasy and Gribbin roofs will all need to be replaced within the next two to three years. As of this moment, the high school roof is leaking and the Gribbin School roof is leaking. We have been patching the high school roof for the last five years.
Until the voters pass this referendum, there is no need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on architectural plans.
We do have cost estimates on every one of the projects, which were developed by our architect. Our architect has specialized in school construction for 35 years and is among the most respected architects who do this kind of work. Their estimates have always proven to be within 5 percent of what the projects eventually cost. We cannot reveal the cost of each project to the public because we would signal our budgeted costs to contractors who will be bidding on these projects. In 2009 the air conditioning of auditoriums for the comfort of the public is no longer a luxury. Anyone who has attended a public gathering in the high school and middle school auditoriums knows the need for air conditioning.
We spend about $400,000 per year on capital improvements. How long would it take to pay for just $12 million of capital improvements out of our annual budget? Answer: 30 years. That would mean that we would not spend any additional money to improve any other aspect of our buildings and grounds for the next 30 years. Just do the numbers! Incidentally, the costs of the projects will only increase every year.
There are no consultants. Every school district has an architect. Architects are only paid on a commission basis. Their commission is based on a sliding scale. The larger the project, the smaller their percentage. Their commission averages about 7 percent. Architects, like anyone else, deserve to be paid for their services.
Dr. Laurence W. Aronstein, Superintendent of GC Schools