Thursday, 15 May 2014 00:00
On May 20, residents of the Sewanhaka Central High School District (New Hyde Park Memorial HS, Elmont Memorial HS, Floral Park Memorial HS, H. Frank Carey HS, and Sewanhaka HS) will be asked to vote not only for the 2014-15 school budget, but also for a 20-year, $86.6 million school bond.
Before accepting this bond debt, voters should be aware of what the bond will cost them, and how their money will be spent.
1. The cost. The bond will increase the school tax levy each year for the next 20 years ($86.6 million + millions in interest on the bond). In effect, this is a “new bond tax” that will be levied on every taxpayer over the next 20 years, in addition to the annual school tax increase each year.
2. The expenditures. Voters must decide if all the projects indicated in the bond plan are really necessary, and if this bond is the only means to fund them.
To assist the public, the board needs to present a detailed bond plan that includes “work to be done” and “estimated cost.” The plan should indicate, by school, expenses that will be incurred for new construction (additions to Floral Park Memorial HS - 22,460 sq. ft., and
Sewanhaka HS – 33,032 sq. ft.); expanding/renovating infrastructure (roofs, gymnasiums, auditoriums, classrooms, guidance office); upgrading technology and security systems; refurbishing athletic fields at the five high schools; and renovating the Alva T. Sanforth Athletic
Complex, which includes plans to refurbish the current fields and install a new baseball field with warning track, bleachers, dugouts, and scoreboard.
In addition, the plan should specify a dollar amount to be used as a contingency fund for conditions that were not identifiable in the initial budgetary planning phase.
Voters have one week to determine if they can afford this bond, and if the projects planned are all really necessary at this time. Consider these two questions carefully before you cast your vote on May 20.
— Christine Grincato
New Hyde Park