Smithtown Central School District voters approve $120M bond proposal, district officials say
Smithtown Central School District voters on Tuesday by nearly a 3-1 margin approved a $120 million bond proposal, the district’s first in 20 years, to fund a long list of improvements including building and safety upgrades.
The bond will replace expiring debt, so will not increase property taxes and will generate a potential savings of $100 per household over the first year because of lower interest rates, said Andrew Tobin, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, during a Sept. 14 Board of Education meeting.
New York State reimburses school districts for some capital spending, and district officials said they expect the state to reimburse 58% of its spending over the 15-year length of the bonds.
The vote total was 1,251 yes to 430 against, officials announced late Tuesday night.
"Thank you Smithtown!" Superintendent Mark Secaur tweeted Wednesday. "This is a great investment in our district’s future!"
The bond will fund installation of HVAC systems to improve fresh air intake for school buildings, replacement of windows and doors and upgrades to fire alarm systems, officials said. Some auditoriums would get new seats, lighting and sound systems. The bond will also fund replacement of tracks and synthetic turf fields at both district high schools, and install synthetic turf baseball and softball infields.
Officials plan to borrow in three tranches, starting with $37 million next year to fund construction in the 2022-2023 school year, Tobin said.
The Smithtown district’s $262,319,665 budget relies on a $204,979,539 tax levy. That levy increased 1.75% over the 2020-2021 school year.
With residents split over school diversity work, masking and other issues, district leaders engaged in voter outreach over the last month with in-person forums and videos on the district Facebook page featuring interviews with administrators who spoke favorably about the bond proposal.