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Great Neck residents vote down $86M school bond referendum

Great Neck Village High School, located at 614

Great Neck Village High School, located at 614 Middle Neck Road in Great Neck, is shown on August 16, 2012. Credit: Brittany Wait

Great Neck residents have decided against a proposed $86 million school district bond referendum.

During a Tuesday vote, residents cast 1,677 votes against the bond, defeating 1,564 in support.

School board officials had said the bond was necessary to fund vital projects for the district’s future: more than 60 educational and building enhancements and 30 critical structural projects.

After the bond referendum results, Great Neck school board president Barbara Berkowitz said in a statement it was “clear that portions of the community who were not in favor have spoken.”

The vote followed a year of planning and discussions within the Great Neck community. More than 100 residents attended a final public presentation last week at Village Hall.

Roughly $52 million was slated for such building improvements as window, masonry and roof replacements. Another $44 million was budgeted for educational and building projects that included a $6.6 million renovation to an existing facility on Clover Drive to create an early childhood center to offer free prekindergarten.

The total proposed cost of $96 million would have been reduced by about $10 million with money the district holds in reserves.

Residents had expressed mixed opinions about the 20-year bond during heated discussions about tax increases, the bond’s substantial cost, the necessity of certain projects and the construction of a new prekindergarten center.

Berkowitz said that it was clear the bond had polarized the community and that it was necessary to repair the fracture before planning next steps within the district.

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