The Board of Cooperative Educational Services of Nassau County (Nassau BOCES) will hold a countywide Facilities Renovation Referendum on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The public educational service agency is asking voters to approve an expenditure of up to $14.9 million for the expansion and renovation of a school building in Greenvale. Funds for the renovation are available from existing Nassau BOCES appropriations, but the law requires a vote before the funds can be spent.
"It's important for Nassau County residents to understand that this renovation will come at no additional cost to local school districts or county taxpayers," says District Superintendent Dr. James D. Mapes.
The Greenvale building, located at 21 Chestnut St., is owned by Nassau BOCES. It currently houses the Alternative Learning Program (ALP), a special education high school for students who are academically capable but have difficulty with peer and adult relationships. This population includes a growing number of teenagers with autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger's syndrome. More classrooms, computer labs and offices for professional staff are needed to meet the changing requirements of these students' Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
"In the past, for example, the IEPs of many ALP students called for class sizes of nine or 12," says Karen Ellis, executive director of the Nassau BOCES Department of Special Education. "Now students who are on the autism spectrum and who are being referred to ALP require a smaller class size-six students-to be successful. This smaller class size is mandated by the students' IEPs, from their districts' Committees on Special Education (CSE). The CSEs determine what would best serve the students' needs educationally."
If the referendum is successful, Nassau BOCES will continue to serve ALP students while the Greenvale building is under construction. Arrangements will be made to lease appropriate central Nassau County space. Anticipating that the renovation project would take two years, there would be temporary rental costs associated with this relocation.
Since the Facilities Renovation Referendum is countywide, residents can vote at any one of five polling locations between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12:
* • Nassau BOCES Administrative Center, 71 Clinton Road, Garden City
* • Alternative Learning Program, 21 Chestnut St., Greenvale
* • Eagle Avenue School, 307 Eagle Ave., West Hempstead
* • Barry Tech, 1196 Prospect Ave., Westbury
* • Rosemary Kennedy Center, 2850 N. Jerusalem Road, Wantagh.
To cast a ballot, voters must be citizens of the United States, be 18 years of age or older, and have been Nassau County residents for at least 30 days.
Absentee ballots are available; call 396-2206 for information.