Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 20 August 2010 00:00
The Mineola School Board of Education voted to opt for bond option two at its regular business meeting last week after the finance committee of the school district presented its findings. District Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler recommended to the board that it pursue bond option two during its July 22 meeting. The bond will be out for vote on Oct. 26.
However, if a successful bond referendum is not passed, the district will reconfigure the school district under reconfiguration option one. Option one consists of the closing of the Hampton Street School and Cross Street School with a pre-K-2 south model at the Willis Avenue School and a mirrored model at the Meadow Drive School but with a north jurisdiction.
Grades three and four would be at the Jackson Avenue School, with grades five through seven being at the middle school. Mineola High School would have an eighth through twelfth grade model under option one.
No bond would be needed for this configuration and it keeps four grades local and clusters one additional grade. However, the north/south split has been an issue to some residents and the number of transitions in this model has borne the brunt of parent and resident outcry. Option one would see the fifth and eighth grade move out of its current schools.
Bond option two is set under reconfiguration option three. This reconfiguration option would see three schools close.
Meadow Drive, Hampton and Cross Street would close under this configuration. The Willis Avenue School would have a pre-K-1 model and Jackson Avenue would be a grade two through four institution. The middle school would hold fifth through seventh grade while the high school would use an option one configuration. Under option three, Hampton may be retained for the use as the district’s central office.
This model would see a full cluster, optimizing staff and class sizes and would showcase three-year transitions for students. According to Nagler, this is the most cost-effective option in terms of savings.
The downside to this option is that all north/south students of the dividing line (Jericho Turnpike) would be traveling, and a bond would need to be passed. Nagler stated at the July 22 meeting that if bond option two fails, the district could still pursue bond option one.
Finance committee representative Doug Schumacher presented to the public a detailed analysis of the projected savings of the three reconfiguration options. The committee report concluded that option three had the most savings.
The committee’s findings were that of the three reconfiguration options, option one attains cost efficiencies without additional debt and within minimal construction while option two is the least cost efficient and requires additional debt. Furthermore, option three provides the most cost efficiency while requiring the most debt.
Under reconfiguration option one (no bond) the district would save $2.85 million annually after two years. Option two would save the district $2.420 million after two years with a 10-year term interest rate of 4.5 percent. Option three under the same interest rate would save the district $4.521 million after three years.
With the 10-year terms, option three included the most lucrative savings package. Over a decade, option three would save the district approximately $42 million. Option one would save over $37 million while option two would save over $26 million.