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Capital Reserve Spending Approved

Voters approved two propositions on Tuesday, Nov. 19 that will allow the Mineola School District to tap $3.8 million capital reserve funds to make various repairs at its schools and to fund its reserve up to $15 million.


Voter turnout was low; a rarity in Mineola’s case, which routinely showcases high voter participation, from the most recent contested school board election in May or dating back to school reconfiguration.


Proposition one, which lets the district use monies for improvements, passed 363 to 112. Windows and doors at Jackson, Hampton Avenue, Meadow Drive and Cross Street schools need to be replaced, according to District Superintendent Michael Nagler.


Other areas of concern include heating units at the elementary schools and the boiler at Mineola High School, which Nagler estimates is 52 years old.


“Voter turnout was low,” Nagler said. “It was atypical for what we normally have.”


The second proposition called for the district to increase its reserve fund to $15 million. It passed 295 to 169. This proposition allow the board to designate future monies toward other capital projects, according to school officials.


Mineola has until 2019 to fund the capital reserve.


“Every reserve has a dollar cap to it and a time limit,” Nagler said. “Proposition two is all about future planning. It really has nothing to do with now. We’re going to have our hands full with these projects coming up, but it gives us the

ability to plan and if we can save for capital work we will.”


Every five years, Mineola conducts a New York State-mandated building condition survey. The last one was completed during the 2010-11 school year. That survey prompted the district to create the capital reserve.


All of the masonry work at Mineola’s seven school buildings, especially the older ones, need updating. This is a primary concern, according to district officials.


Nagler anticipates masonry work to begin in the summer. School Board President Artie Barnett feels it makes sense for that part to come first.


“To get all the masonry work done...the windows are going to have to be built but there’s going to be a longer turnaround on that,” he said. “Getting the house all in order and sealed up before you put in all new fixtures makes sense. As far as I’m concerned, take care of your buildings.”


The New York State Education Department needs to review the plan, a process that could take six months. Nagler said Mineola plans to file with the state by Jan. 1, 2014.


“We’ll await their approval,” he said. “Hopefully it’s less than six months with a minimum of one month to bid [a project] and award [it].”