Five Board of Education members agreed unanimously last Thursday to put a $1.6 million bond issue up for a public vote on September 23. Board president Stephen Gessner and member Alfred Brigham Sr. were absent.
If approved, the money would be used to cover the costs of a new heating and ventilation system, replacement of a fuel tank and ancillary work, including demolition necessary to the project. It would also cover some re-pointing of building masonry.
But a no vote on the bond wouldn’t kill the project since the work is critical, former superintendent Michael Hynes told the board in June. It would only mean finding another way to finance it, likely through a school budget tax hike.
At the same time as that work is undertaken, the district plans to move forward with a project with Johnson Controls, a company that works with more than 60 Long Island school districts, to provide energy savings to the district by improving lighting, providing winterization, installing an energy management system via computers and new window treatments. The work would also involve installation of some solar panels.
There will be delays before work can get under way, awaiting approvals from the New York State Education Department that is seriously back-logged in terms of reviewing such projects. But it’s anticipated that all work should be completed by November 2015.
Assuming it passes, the bond and related interest payments would be repaid out of the school district’s annual budget in annual amounts to be determined by the Board of Education.
Should the bond fail, former superintendent Michael Hynes told the Board it would have to find a way to finance the work of Port Jefferson’s McClave Engineering is to perform on new heating and ventilation, because it’s essential to the ongoing use of the building.
The Board of Education will conduct two public presentations about the projects at its August 18 and September 15 meetings, both at 6:30 p.m. in the school conference room.
Those who aren’t yet registered to vote will have an opportunity to register at the school on September 11, between 3 and 7 p.m.
Voting by paper ballot on the bond takes place between noon and 9 p.m. Tuesday, September 20, in the school gymnasium.