Jon Zimmerman and Richard Sussman asked the other board of education members to create a backup referendum, so that if the Port Washington's $90 million bond fails, the school district will be ready to place a less costly referendum on the ballot before the state's deadline of July 1. Zimmerman and Sussman offered their $30 million referendum as one alternative. The other five members voted them down.
In a sense, the majority of the board is gambling with our children's future because if the $90 million bond fails, Port automatically loses the 10 percent building incentive offered by New York State. The voters of Port Washington will understand the urgency of the July 1 deadline, but they also understand that they will be voting themselves a sizable tax increase. Are the majority of the board members playing "chicken" with our town?
This past Sunday's Newsday article "LI Districts Mad Dash for Building CASH" states that districts are rushing into referenda of huge amounts in order to qualify for the 10 percent state building incentive that ends July 1. Despite all of the hurry, the Bethpage $39.5 million bond failed. "People are still feeling fiscally conservative" said Bethpage Superintendent Hillburgh. Also, some readers of the article may feel that our $90 million referendum is not "whopping" compared to Sachem's $200 million referendum, but the Sachem school district serves almost four times the amount of pupils.
The voters may feel that a 10 percent incentive on $90 million is not enough to offset the tax hike. If this bond fails, the school board voted down any backup proposal. Is this wise?