The following letter was posted by the Rockville Centre Board of Education on the RVC School District website on Feb. 4.
As you may already know, we finalized the School Improvement Bond at our Jan. 22 meeting in the amount of $45.9 million dollars. The vote will take place on March 19 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at South Side High School.
The bond provides for work in all seven of our schools. Structural additions at South Side High School and Watson Elementary School are included in the scope of work. Air conditioning of all instructional spaces throughout the district and main assembly areas in the elementary school is included. Security and safety upgrades in each building will also take place. The bond includes improvements for athletic and arts facilities throughout the district as well.
Our goals are to create a safer, healthier environment in which our students will flourish. The structural additions at South Side High School will incorporate the 12 classrooms presently housed in three aging portable trailers and two garages into the high school. Because these buildings are now outside of the main building, doors at the school must remain unlocked. These additions will now allow doors to be locked and establish one main entrance to the school, dramatically increasing building security.
Additionally, South Side’s science labs, some built in the 1950s and others converted from regular classrooms, will be renovated to meet 21st century learning standards. The cafeteria will be expanded to accommodate all students, ending the need for them to line hallway floors and stairwells while eating their lunch. The additions will also alleviate seriously congested hallways when students travel between classes.
There is one main athletic field at South Side High School that is in nearly constant use by school teams and village organizations. A grass field needs rest to rejuvenate and to maintain its integrity. Overuse has compacted and stripped the field, creating drainage problems and uneven playing surfaces. The addition of artificial turf on this field as well as turf and lights on a second small practice field addresses those issues and will also allow our teams to practice and play official games at home, alleviating congestion on village fields and saving the sistrict transportation costs.
Sound and lighting equipment will be upgraded in both the South Side High School and South Side Middle School auditoriums. The middle school’s auditorium will receive a much-needed facelift. The bond will also address safety and student access issues in the high school auditorium. These facilities are used by our schools’ performing arts groups, as well as many different community groups
Watson Elementary School has seen a population boom in recent years. Enrollment in first and second grades as well as the projected kindergarten enrollment for next year is above the district’s “trigger point.” There currently is no room for additional space in the school for a class to split. This bond will fund three new classrooms and a small-group instructional space to meet Watson’s growing needs.
Our school year begins in early September and ends in late June. As the buildings get hot, the focus on learning diminishes. The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. We believe that air conditioning will create a healthier and more conducive learning environment for our students.
We had mentioned the possible purchase of a house adjacent to South Side High School with plans to use it for students with disabilities. Unfortunately, the owners have decided not to sell at this time and therefore, no funds are allocated in this bond for this purchase.
The expected yearly tax increase to the average household in the district is $128. The bond will be financed over 20 and 30 years at a projected rate of 3.5 percent.
This bond funds necessary renovations and modernization throughout the district such as roof repairs, ventilation, environmental and building improvements (many of which are required by the State Education Department) beyond what our annual budgets can support. We certainly want to thank everyone who participated in our discussions about what this bond should include. For more information, visit www.rvcschools.org, post to this blog, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us at our meetings. We urge everyone to get informed and vote on March 19 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at South Side High School.