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Long IslandEducation

Port Jeff seeks $29.9M bond for facility, athletic upgrades

Varsity boys basketball on the court at

Varsity boys basketball on the court at Port Jefferson High School on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. A bond proposition for Port Jefferson schools would upgrade schools, athletic facilities and administration offices. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Port Jefferson school officials are proposing a $29.9 million bond proposition that would upgrade schools, athletic facilities and administration offices.

The plan, which would raise taxes by about 4.95 percent, would relocate classrooms and administrative offices while improving safety for students and staff, Superintendent Paul Casciano said in an interview.

It also would include improvements to auditoriums, sports fields, gymnasiums and locker rooms. District officials said schools don’t have enough locker room space for female athletes.

“We’re really looking to maintain what we have and keep it from crumbling,” Casciano said.

The district is holding a meeting to discuss the proposal at 7 p.m. Monday at Edna Louise Spear Elementary School, 500 Scraggy Hill Rd. The school board plans to prepare a final proposal on Oct. 10.

If approved, the bond would raise taxes by $198 annually for a home that currently pays $4,000 a year in school taxes.

The plan calls for demolishing the district’s administration building and moving those offices to what is now the technology education center at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School. New classrooms would be created at the high school.

Officials said they also would get rid of decades-old portable buildings that house music classes and offices.

The district has scheduled a Dec. 5 vote on the proposition. Port Jefferson village officials have asked the district to postpone the vote amid negotiations with the Long Island Power Authority over taxes on a power plant in the village.

Village trustee Bruce Miller said officials worry LIPA — which pays about 42 percent of taxes collected by the school district — may significantly cut its village and school tax payments.

“It’s not clear how much longer this kind of LIPA money is going to be available,” Miller said.

Casciano said the district does not plan to cancel the vote.

“We have heard the village’s concern and we understand where it’s coming from,” he said. “Regardless, it still needs an upgrade.”

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