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Glen Cove voters reject $78M bond proposals to finance school building repairs

A proposed $53.8 million bond would have been

A proposed $53.8 million bond would have been used to renovate the high school science labs and make other repairs. It was defeated 1,333-1,128. Credit: Danielle Silverman

For the second time this year, Glen Cove voters have rejected multimillion-dollar bond proposals to fund repairs to the district’s six schools.

Residents voted down two propositions Tuesday that would have provided $78 million in bonds to cover upgrades to the heating and air conditioning systems and other critical infrastructure repairs, Glen Cove school district Superintendent Maria Rianna said in a statement.

“While we are obviously deeply saddened and extremely concerned with the outcome of the vote, we thank all those who voted,” Rianna said. “However, the fact remains that despite misinformation circulating in our community to the contrary, our schools are in dire need of repairs and renovations that must still be addressed.”

A measure to approve a $53.8 million bond to replace all classroom doors, upgrade heating and air conditioning systems, renovate the high school science labs and make other repairs was defeated by a vote of 1,333-1,128.

The second proposition, which would have only moved forward if the first measure passed, was voted down 1,349-1,073. That measure would have authorized spending $23.5 million on upgrading the high school’s athletic field, replacing windows and other projects.

“A lot of parents were devastated by this result,” said school board vice president Monica Alexandris-Miller. “These are all critical infrastructure repairs. These are not cosmetic issues.”

Some residents said they think the repairs aren’t necessary and accuse the administration of not properly maintaining the buildings, which are all between 50 and 100 years old. A group called Fairness in School Taxation posted signs and sent out mailers to voters last week urging people to vote against the propositions and a tax increase. The group also organized against an $84 million bond proposal that was voted down in March.

“The school district forgot what you said in March when you rejected their $84,669,818.00 bond proposal, so now you have to remind them that NO! means NO!” the mailer reads.

If both propositions had passed Tuesday, residents with homes worth about $500,000 would pay $424 more in taxes annually for the duration of the 15-year bond.

Rick Smith, who owns a piano restoration store in the city, helped organize the opposition. He said he would support a bond that would fund hiring new teachers, but not one for replacing the school’s doors or ceiling tiles.

Maria Venturi, 53, has two children in the district and said she doesn’t feel students are safe in the buildings. Venturi said there have been instances where tiles and stage lighting have fallen from the ceiling, nearly injuring students.

“The buildings are old and things are crumbling,” Venturi said. “You can only do so much maintenance before you need to start replacing things.”

Alexandris-Miller said she’d like to put another bond up for a vote but has yet to discuss the district’s next move with the rest of the board.

Rianna said the administration will “immediately begin to work together to determine the best plan moving forward.”

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