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Two LI school districts reject spending plans

Rockville Centre residents Thursday defeated a $31.8 million bond referendum while in Wyandanch, voters rejected spending $750,000 to replace a leaky roof for the high school.

The Rockville Centre Union Free School District proposition had called for improvements at the district's South Side High School.

The proposal included a 42,000-square-foot addition that would have allowed the district to eliminate five deteriorating portable classrooms and move all students into the main building.

The plan had also called for upgraded science laboratories, a new music room, new bathrooms, expanded cafeteria space and the synthetic turf ballfield. The vote was 1,465 against and 1,021 for the plan.

District officials had said approval would result in no additional taxes in the 2010-11 school year, followed by successive increases of $14, $12 and $12 the following three years.

Wyandanch residents voted down a plan to replace their high school's roof by a vote of 165-25.

School employees and students have long complained of leaks during rainstorms and of falling ceiling tiles there.

The district is one of several on Long Island with substantial pockets of poverty that have been targeted by state education officials for improvements in test scores, financial management and facilities.

However, the roof issue was muddied by an ongoing controversy over efforts by some school-board members to oust the district's superintendent. Some Wyandanch voters yesterday questioned whether renovation money, if approved, would be wisely spent.

"I don't feel good about it at all," said Grant McCorvey, a retired school maintenance manager, who formerly worked in another district. "I feel my taxes are high enough already."

But another resident, Claude Ervin, a retired teacher, said he voted with school safety in mind. "If they need a roof, they need a roof," he said.

Wyandanch officials said the roof project would raise taxes no more than 1 percent, and possibly by less, depending on financing arrangements.

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