In a seven to zero vote, the members of the Port Washington Board of Education adopted a long-term facilities plan, which also includes short-term solutions to the district's classroom space needs for September 2001. The cost of the bond will not exceed $66,539,792, a figure arrived at by Turner Construction Company, the construction manager hired by the district. (A document entitled "Conceptual Cost Estimates for the 2001 Bond Issue" is available for public inspection in the office of the District Clerk.)
Interestingly, after the countless hours of work, and time and energy expended by the members of the board, who tweaked, massaged, cut and deliberated for months on the plan, its final approval vote passed with no comments from any of the current seven school board members. They simply raised their hands when it came time to vote.
However, a pleased Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Al Inserra could not let this moment pass without comment. He first thanked the school board members, Board President Richard Sussman, Vice-President Bob Ferro, Julie Meyer, John Zimmerman, Peter Wezenaar, Dean Nardone and Alan Baer, for coming together to support the bond referendum. Speaking of the plan, he said, "It's not perfect. We wish some things could have been done differently." After the meeting, he told the Port News, "The plan meets our needs for both a growing population and is responsive to the demands of an increasingly complex educational agenda." He added, "I'm excited about the prospect of moving forward."
The superintendent also had high praise for his hardworking staff that worked "tirelessly" to help develop the information necessary to develop the bond.
A bond referendum is set for Tuesday, March 20, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Flower Hill All-Purpose Room.
An outline of the proposed alterations and additions were published in last week's issue. However, to recap in board terms, the project consists of the partial reconstruction of, and construction of additions and improvements to school buildings and facilities and the siters thereof; including, as and where necessary:additions to provide new classrooms, science rooms, library, computer spaces, spaces for special education and music, administration, gymnasium, cafeteria and other space; interior reconstruction and space reconfiguration; the acquisition and installation of modular and portable classrooms (two at Manorhaven, four at Guggenheim, six at Weber); improvements to enhance accessibility by the physically challenged, including the installation of an elevator; heating, ventilating and air conditioning system improvements; asbestos abatement; and improvements to parking areas.
All of the foregoing will include the original equipment, machinery, furnishings, apparatus, and all ancillary and related site and other work required in their connection.
A second proposition will be on the bond referendum ballot of March 20. If approved, it would authorize construction and installation of air conditioning at the new classroom addition and library at the Weber Middle School, and the new library/media center and classroom addition at Schreiber High School, for an estimated maximum cost of $903,022 and $690,924 respectively. This obviously is subject to voter approval of the first proposition that would okay the $66 million facilities bond.
Several regular BOE meeting attendees thanked each of the board members for supporting the bond.
Howeer, Larry Greenstein thinks that the plan does not adequately address the needs of the disabled in the district and feels this represents a form of discrimination.
Vita Dicker announced that an ad-hoc committee of residents has been formed to help pass the bond. She advised that the group meets at Schreiber High School on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. A representative from Turner Construction, Michael Conte, will be attending these meetings.
Board President Richard Sussman clarified Mr. Conte's role however. He noted that Mr.Conte will just be disseminating information. He will not be working toward passing the bond