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Oct 12, 2011 9:06 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Riverhead School Voters Pass First Riverhead Bond Proposition; Nix Second

Oct 12, 2011 1:12 PM

The people of the Riverhead School District have spoken—and, by a narrow margin, have voted in favor of a $78.3 million bond proposition that will spruce up all seven schools in the district.

But, while Proposition 1, which focuses on various repairs, upgrades, and new classrooms, passed, Proposition 2, which would have green-lighted an additional gymnasium at the Riverhead High School, was voted down.

Riverhead School Superintendent Nancy Carney said, after the vote, that she was pleased with the outcome. “I’m just extremely excited. This is a great day for Riverhead—a commitment to the kids and a wonderful investment in the whole town’s future.”

Ms. Carney added that the crowd who came out to vote was heartening. “It was the largest turnout we’ve had in ages,” she said.

In total, 4,426 residents voted, and Proposition 1 passed by a slim margin, 2,330-2,096.

Proposition 2 failed, 2,570-1,760, nixing the plan for a new, second gymnasium.

“I think the community has spoken,” Ms. Carney said. “It’s not the right time for an addition like that. The focus was on what is really needed—infrastructure, health and safety concerns, and educational space.”

The $78.3 million project will fund various repairs, including replacing old roofs, rebuilding aging mechanical systems, eliminating temporary or portable classrooms, upgrading heating and ventilation systems, the expanding and reconfiguring of parking lots, and the addition of new science classrooms at the high school.

Ms. Carney said now that the community has given the plan the go-ahead, next steps include moving forward with the $78.3 million bond and working with BBS Architects and Engineers, who will draw up plans.

The goal is to break ground by March 2013 and complete work on the high school by September 2014 and the middle school and all other improvements by September 2015.

The work planned for the Phillips Avenue Elementary School—the only building located in the Southampton Town portion of the school district—would total just over $4 million and calls for the construction of a new drop-off area for students, in response to safety concerns.

The repairs at Phillips Avenue would also include replacing the main lobby’s ceiling and floors, sprucing up playgrounds and fields, installing new toilets in one wing of the building, replacing the roof in the older part of the school, and ventilation upgrades.

The projected impact on taxpayers, according to district calculations, will be the same for those living in Riverhead or Southampton towns. Those living in the hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton send their children to the Riverhead School District.

Under Proposition 1, taxpayers whose homes are assessed at $280,000 will not see an increase in their school property taxes for the first two years. Then, starting in 2013 and continuing for the next 23 years, the same homeowners will pay $182.78 per year, or $15.23 per month, to pay off the bond, according to district officials. According to district officials, the average homeowner with a house assessed at $280,000 in Southampton currently pays $3,459 in school tax per year.

The district will tap $3 million in its repair reserve funds to offset the cost of Proposition 1. Also, district estimates indicate that between $26 million and $29 million in state aid will be available to offset the costs of the construction work.

After residents voted down a prior referendum in February 2010, school officials convened the Community Partnership for Revitalization Committee, which worked to trim fat from the original plan. Their mantra was: “Only what’s needed, nothing more.”

On Tuesday morning, Ms. Carney had two words for those who voted; “Thank you.”

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Another 73 million dollars on the backs of homeowners. Meanwhile the illegals are sending their kids to public school for free, and paying no taxes. No one wants to face the issue of illegals, and taxes. Time to wake up!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 12, 11 1:09 PM
By Allergic2Stupidity (77), Riverhead on Oct 12, 11 3:15 PM