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It's been a long haul for everyone involved in the school facilities bond, which will expand and improve the school buildings in the district. Starting about three years ago, discussions began, ranging from finding reliable enrollment projections and maintaining or improving educational programs to looking at various equity issues in the schools and . Three different school boards considered many different and varied conceptual plans, with larger and smaller elementary and middle schools and one even including the construction of a new middle school. Two former school board presidents lost their bids for re-election because, essentially, they supported more expensive bonds.

That's all history now because on March 20, voters approved a bond referendum that totals $68,133,738. This figure includes proposition 1 for $66,539,792, which covers the major construction and renovation, and proposition 2 that will air condition the new classrooms and libraries at Schreiber High School and Weber Middle School, for a sum of $1,593,946. The votes tallied for the two propositions differed. For proposition 1, the count was 2,876 to 2,272. Proposition 2 passed 2,533 to 2,247.

The local cost of the bond issue to Port Washington residents is expected to be offset by state aid. The state is expected to fund approximately 18 percent of the project's eligible costs.

The timetable for the project, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Albert Inserra, begins with drawings of plans and specifications for each building, a process that will take approximately one year. Those plans and specifications must be submitted to the State Education Department for approval, taking an additional three to four months. The district hopes to break ground on or before July 1,2002. The superintendent adds that updates will be available both on the website and in the Port Report.

When asked to comment, a delighted Dr. Inserra said, "I think that the Board of Education did an excellent job of listening to the community in the wake of last year's defeated bond issue. The new bond addresses the educational needs of the district while respecting the community's mandate for lower costs. Tuesday's successful vote was a testament to how the district and the community can work together. It is notwtime to move forward, with a focus on rebuilding trust within the community and on serving the educational needs of present and future students."

However, it's no surprise that not everyone was thrilled with the results of the referendum, like Frank Russo who spoke out against the cost of the bond, and district spending in general.

Mr. Russo remarked, "I fully expected the bond to pass because the opposition was not organized this time. This is the key way to prevent astronomically high tax increases in the future. I see our taxes going up substantially primarily because of the viewpoint of the school administration on very small class sizes. This results in us having 40 more teachers than we really need. And, even if we had 40 fewer teachers, we would still have more teachers per 100 students than most other school districts on Long Island. In addition to our absurdly small class sizes, we also have too many administrators. Ordinary people have to pay attention or else the district will run out of control."

Mr. Russo is certainly correct in his assessment of the lack of campaigning from the opposition for this bond issue. (When both sides mounted rigorous campaigns, it failed in a vote of 4,805 to 2,953.) However, a no-vote phone campaign did take place.

But, this time around, the proponents of the bond were also muted. One of the strong supporters of both the $87 mil bond and the one passed, observed that the yes votes were approximately the same in both referendums. She concluded, "It doesn't really matter whether we put up lawn signs all over town, or do relatively little. There's a core group of approximately 2,800 voters who will come out and support various school expenditures."

Following is a list of the expansions, updates and improvements that the voters approved:

Schreiber High School

Additions:

Additional Parking Area

21 General Classrooms (3 Self-Contained Classrooms, Special Education)

5 Science Classrooms

Cafeteria Expansion/Renovation

New Auxiliary Gymnasium (Full Court Basketball)

New Expanded/Renovated Girls Locker Room

New PE Offices

New Ground Level Loading Ramp and Dock Area

Additional Portable Classrooms for Alternative Schools

New Ground Floor Level Corridor

Connections of Existing Science Wing

New Technology/Music Wing

o Choral Room/Multipurpose Room

o Auto CAD Classroom

o Tech 2000 Program Classroom

o Graphic Arts Program

o Music, Tech, Student Offices

o Prop, Instrument, Uniform Storage

o 2 New Toilets

o Multi-Purpose/Exhibition Corridor

Expansion to Existing Kitchen

New Library Media Center

New Staircases

Alterations:

Expansion/Renovation of all Departmental Offices and Resource Rooms

Expansion/Renovation of Administrative Offices, Conference and Guidance Areas

New Nurses Office

Expanded Photo Classroom

Expanded Orchestra and Band Rooms

New Faculty Dining Area

Minor Kitchen Equipment Upgrade

Expanded/Renovated P.E. Offices

Modified Auxiliary Gymnasium to Wellness Center with New Storage Area

Additional and Modified Toilet Areas (ADA Compliant)

New Student Union Area

5 Art Classrooms (Full Size)

New and Renovated Computer Rooms

Renovated and Expanded Special Ed and Resource Rooms

Weber Middle School

Additions:

2 Full School Houses

o 20 General Classrooms

(8) 6th Grade Classrooms,

(6) 7th Grade Classrooms,

(6) 8th Grade Classrooms

o 4 Science Rooms

Library Addition and Alterations

New Underground

Gymnasium/OT/PT Area

New Technology Computer Classroom

New Self-Contained Classroom (Special Education)

6 New ADA Toilet Rooms

New Office Area

Storage Room

Demolition of East Storage Addition, Creating Bus Access to Bogart Avenue

Revised Parking and Bus Drop Off Area in Rear

6 New Portable Classrooms

New 2nd Floor Corridor Connection of Weber to Flower Hill Wing of Middle School

New Staircase

Guggenheim School

Additions:

4 New Modular Classrooms (with Toilets)

1 Music Room

1 ELL Classroom

2 General Classrooms

Remove 1 Portable Music Classroom

Alterations:

Assistant Principal's Office

Reading Room

Renovate Library Mezzanine

Instrumental Music

Resource Rooms

Relocated Self-Contained Classroom

Psychologist's Office

OT/PT Area

Guidance Suite

Speech Room

Manorhaven School

Additions:

Parking Lot and Bus Circulation and Stacking

Modular General Classrooms

Gymnasium Addition (2 Full Size Gym Stations)

Alterations:

Expand Computer Room (Adjacent to Library/Media Center)

ELL Classrooms (1 Relocated)

Speech Rooms

Reading Rooms

New Nurse's Office/Toilet

New Psychologist's Office

Expanded Administration Area

New Principal's Office/Conference Area

Daly Elementary School

Additions:

New Parking Area

New/Renovated School Entrance

2 General Classrooms

1 New Music Room

2 New Instrumental Rooms

1 New Set of Bathrooms (ADA Compliant)

New/Expanded Gymnatorium with Lobby/Toilet (2 Gym Stations)

New P.E. Office, Storage

New OT/PT Area

New Custodial Area (Lower Level)

New Lower Level Administration and Building and Grounds Offices

New Expanded Boiler Room

Alterations:

3 Self-Contained Classrooms

Renovated Pre-K Classrooms (Portables)

Renovated ELL Rooms (Portables)

OT/PT Area (Portables)

Nurse's Office with New Toilet

Server Closet

Conference Room/Administration Area

Speech Suite (3 Units)

Faculty Dining Area

(All Portables will Remain)

Salem Elementary School

(Reopened as Elementary Facility)

Additions:

New Kindergarten Classrooms

3 New General Classrooms

Expansion of Existing Library/Media Center/Computer Room

Expansion of Gymnatorium ( Full-Size Gym Stations)

Expansion of Stage Area

Addition of Gymnasium Storage

Addition of OT/TO Stations

Parking Lot Expanded

New Playground Area

Alterations:

(The entire school as per State Education Department Mandates must be renovated to meet standards of new construction).

Asbestos Abatement and Contaminate Removal

1 Renovated Kindergarten Classroom

14 Renovated General Classrooms

1 Renovated Music/Instrumental Area

Renovated Art Classroom

Renovated PEP Room

Renovated Special Education/Resource Rooms

Renovated Speech Room

2 Renovated Reading Rooms

Renovated Kitchen/Servery

New ADA Elevator (Handicapped Accessible)

Renovated P.E. Office

Renovated Administration, Guidance, Psychologist's and Nurse's Office

Renovations of all Corridors and Toilets

New Insulated Washrooms

New Boiler/Heating System


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