Residents of the Mineola school district overwhelmingly voted against a $6.7 million bond referendum Tuesday night that would have paved the way for reconfiguring the district into a cluster model.
The consolidation plan called for the closing of the Hampton Street, Cross Street and Meadow Drive schools with $6.7 million spent on an addition to the Jackson Avenue school and the construction of a rooftop playground atop the Willis Avenue school.
If the bond had passed, Willis Avenue would have been used for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students; second, third and fourth grade students would have attended Jackson Avenue; fifth, sixth and seventh grade students would have gone to the middle school and eight through 12 students would have attended the high school.
However, voters rejected that proposal by a 2,234 - 469 margin. The bond was rejected in each of the four elementary schools where voting took place, with the following results:
Jackson Avenue: Yes - 213, No - 605
Hampton Street: Yes - 102, No - 397
Cross Street: Yes - 112, No - 471
Meadow Drive: Yes - 42, No - 761
"The large turnout and large number against it shows that it was definitely a bad idea," Meadow Drive parent Eric Treibman said.
Mineola has already decided to close schools in order to save money, but the board must now decide on a different configuration. The board has the option of placing another bond referendum before voters that includes a different plan for reconfiguration or go to the default option, known as "North-South."
Under the North-South configuration pre-k through second grade would be at both Meadow and Willis while Jackson would house third and fourth grades, grades five through seven would be at the middle school and grades eight through 12 would be at the high school.
"The people have spoken," school board trustee John McGrath said succinctly as the board called an executive session immediately after reading the results of the voting. McGrath has expressed his objections to the proposed school closings for some time.
The next meeting of the board of education is a workshop session on Thursday, November 4 at the Willis Avenue school.