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Countywide vote set on Nassau BOCES school purchase

Special education teacher Cathy Faithfull works with Julian

Special education teacher Cathy Faithfull works with Julian Pelaez, 7, of Mineola, in her primary 5-8 class at Nassau BOCES Carman Road School in Massapequa Park on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

Nassau BOCES is seeking countywide voter approval on Feb. 8 for the $9 million purchase of the Carman Road School in Massapequa Park, which the regional agency has used since 1979 for the education of students with severe disabilities.

The purchase, if approved, would save about $900,000 in annual rent, according to the Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The rental costs are shared by the 56 public school districts in Nassau County.

Nassau BOCES said it has enough in reserve funds to finance the proposal and the plan will entail no additional costs for local districts or taxpayers.

“It’s a good deal for kids. It’s a good deal for taxpayers,” said Robert Dillon, the BOCES superintendent.

More than 160 students with severe disabilities, from age 3 to 21, attend the Carman Road School. About 80 percent use wheelchairs. Nassau BOCES plans to continue using the school for the same purpose.

Under the plan, BOCES would acquire the school building and 6.2 acres of surrounding land. The local Massapequa district would retain 3.6 acres of adjoining athletic fields for student teams and community organizations.

Massapequa school officials said the $9 million would be placed in reserve and used to curb taxes during the next 10 years. The district’s current enrollment is about 6,970 students and the tax levy totals $152.4 million.

Local residents approved the plan Oct. 18 by a 707-99 vote. Under state law, voters countywide also must OK the purchase.

“This is a win-win for both sides,” said Lucille Iconis, superintendent of Massapequa schools.

Carman Road School was built in 1955 and used by local elementary students until the district closed it in the late 1970s because of declines in enrollment. BOCES then leased the building.

The proposed purchase reflects BOCES’ long-range move toward owning schools rather than leasing them. Dillon said ownership provides greater flexibility whenever his agency wants to renovate or expand a building.

The Feb. 8 referendum will be held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at six sites in the county: Carman Road School, 1 Carmans Rd., Massapequa Park; Iris Wolfson High School, 21 Chestnut St., Greenvale; Jerusalem Avenue Elementary School, 2351 Jerusalem Ave., North Bellmore; Joseph M. Barry Career & Technical Education Center, 1196 Prospect Ave., Westbury; Robert E. Lupinskie Center for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology, 1 Merrick Avenue, Westbury; and the Rosemary Kennedy Center, 2850 North Jerusalem Road, Wantagh.


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