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East Quogue voters brave snow, slush to vote for school repairs

Voters in the East Quogue school district on Wednesday took on icy roads and an unwanted wintry mix of weather to overwhelmingly approve an $8.4 million plan for upgrades at their K-6 school.

The vote passed 381 to 57 in favor of the project, which includes building upgrades and repairs, and will begin in the summer of 2019, Superintendent Robert Long said.

“It was a resounding victory,” he said.

Long said if the vote had been postponed because of the weather, it would have cost the district an additional $20,000 for a review from the state Department of Education and would push back the project’s start.

“We would have run the risk of losing the summer of 2019,” Long said, adding that it would be best to start the work when students are on summer break.

The South Fork was spared the worst of storm that lasted from Wednesday overnight into Thursday morning, receiving some of the lowest snow totals on the Island. The storm dumped 20.1 inches of snow on Patchogue, according to the National Weather Service, while West Hampton Dunes received just 4 inches, and 3.5 inches of snow fell in East Hampton.

School remained in session in East Quogue Wednesday despite slushy conditions, but opened two hours later than usual Thursday morning.

Residents slogged through a messy drive on Wednesday to cast their ballots.

“Granted, the snowfall wasn’t that vast here, but we were really pleased with the turnout and the community support,” Long said.

The project calls for installing a new security booth at the school’s entrance, masonry repairs, renovating the fifth- and sixth-grade bathrooms, and installing additional security cameras, among other upgrades. The repairs were recommended in a state-mandated 2016 building conditions survey, according to the district’s website.

District officials have said the bond will be tax neutral as existing debt is expiring and New York State is expected to fund 10 percent of the project.

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