The fifth and eighth graders at the elementary and middle school levels in Mineola will be moving to new schools next year due to voters’ rejection of a $4.4 million bond.
With the defeat of the second school bond Tuesday night at the polls by a vote of 1,074 to 708, a margin of 366, the Mineola school district will . The bond would have provided funding onto to house grades three, four and five.
The board of education made the of moving the two grades at last Thursday’s workshop meeting at the if the bond failed, meaning the elementary level will now consist of a North-South configuration of and . Jackson Avenue will consist of grades three and four.
“The people spoke,” Board President Terence Hale said Tuesday night at Jackson Avenue after the tally had been read before going into executive session.
“We gave (voters) the opportunity and it is what it is,” Board vice-President Christine Napolitano said. “it’s done.”
The only school who voted in favor of the $4.4 million bond was Hampton Street by a 162-136 margin. Each of the other schools voted the measure down as follows: Jackson: 250-337; Meadow: 141-355; Cross Street: 155-246.
“It was a very small turnout,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler said of the numbers, estimating that there were 800 fewer residents voting in this poll than a on a bond which involved reconfiguring the district into a and closed three schools. That bond was also .
“I think the first one was viewed as radical by many people and the savings didn’t equate to what the community wanted,” Nagler said. “They looked and said ‘$42 million or $37 million? I’ll go less radical and save $5 million less’. This one, why send the $12 million if you don’t have to if everything will be fine with the eighth grade moving and the fifth grade moving.”
Election workers reported that there were approximately 800 people coming out to vote at the Jackson Avenue school alone.
“We did exactly what we said we were going to do, we gave the community an opportunity two different times to weigh in on configuration,” Nagler said, “or we were going to what we called a default. Starting tomorrow we’re making plans to actualize the default model.”
The addition to the Hampton Street school will continue as planned. The district is planning on spending some of its savings to finance the construction. “That will be in the budget for the voters to approve,” Nagler said. “So if the budget passes, that project will go on.”
The was slated to be closed in September regardless of whether the bond passed. The Willis Avenue School will be closed in September 2012. Nagler had stated that he would like to rent out the space but is limited in choice to a nonprofit private entity for nursery through pre-K children due to their still being payments left on the bond used to finance the school’s construction.
“I’m going to have to see what our viable rental options are and if it makes financial sense for (the administration) to move somewhere else to get a better rent on that building, we’ll consider it,” Nagler said. “There’s really no rush to find a renter and as soon as we’re set up for the following year we’ll start looking for a renter.”
The district is planning to sign a with and will be meeting with Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar in a few weeks over access to the fields among other details.
Nagler dismissed the notion that a flyer circulated to residents on Monday had any impact on the vote. “I think in these times it comes down to whether you want to spend money or not,” he said. “To someone who the fifth grade and the eighth grade moving wasn’t important, they say and looked and said ‘save $37 million or save $25 million.’ So it really was a matter of what was important to you when you voted. If you’re indifferent about the eighth grade and the fifth grade, why vote yes?”
In terms of logistics, both the seventh grade class (eighth graders in September) and current eighth graders (ninth graders in September) will be moving to the high school.
“You’re moving two grades and the new middle school, whatever we call that building, the five, six, seven building, will get two new grades as well,” Nagler said, “so there’s a lot of movement of children.”
At the high school, the old home economics room currently in use as a senior lounge and a faculty room will be converted to science classroom space to accommodate the new students. Six other rooms will be repurposed for the eight classrooms for the eighth grade.
“The physical move will be, in a short period of time will be the biggest challenge,” he said.Feb. 8, 2011 Bond Results Jackson Hampton Meadow Cross Total Yes 250 162 141 155 708 No 337 136 355 246 1,074 Margin 87 26 214 91 366