RVC BOE: Input Sought on School Improvement Bond

Board of ed wants to hear from parents before bond list is finalized.

The following letter was posted on the Rockville Centre School District website on Jan. 11. The last meeting on the bond will be held Jan. 22. The preliminary school improvement bond was set at $48 million at the Jan. 15 meeting:

Thank you to all community members, parents and students who joined us along with our school administrators and architects on January 8 as we discussed plans for renovations to South Side High School. We’re working to finalize the list of projects throughout the district to be funded by the School Improvement Bond.

We made good progress last Tuesday night but we have more to do. Please attend the Jan. 15 meeting where we’ll decide which middle school, elementary and district-wide projects will be included in the bond. If you can’t come next Tuesday, we’ll be meeting again on Jan. 22 to finalize the list and set the amount of the bond — just in time for the March 19 vote. We want to hear from you. These are your schools and they need your support.

At South Side High School, the main focus is to bring the 12 classrooms currently housed outside in three portable trailers and two converted garages into the building. The portables, originally intended to be temporary solutions, have been in service for more than 30 years. They’ve outlived their usefulness and have assuredly seen better days. Because students and teachers must travel to and from these trailers, doors in the main building remain unlocked. By bringing the classroom space inside, we are able to lock the building, dramatically tightening security.

The two-story additions in the plans, one to the north and one to the south side of the building, will provide our students with modern and appropriate-sized instructional and science lab space. The cafeteria will be doubled in size so our kids won’t have to eat lunch in the halls or classrooms. Congestion and safety issues are solved by the redistribution of classroom space within the building.

As it stands now, the high school portion of the bond will include the replacement of existing grass fields with synthetic turf inside the running track, on the softball field and on the practice field in back of the building. Turf fields will be able to withstand greater usage in all weather conditions, allowing more of our teams to practice and host games on their home fields. The bond will also fund new bleacher seating on the main field and lighting for the practice field, allowing more practices to take place at the high school saving on transportation costs and freeing up fields around Rockville Centre for use by village athletic groups. Strict guidelines for use of lights on evenings and weekends, already adopted by the school board, will be in force when the lights are installed.

The arts are not neglected in the plans. Envisioned auditorium upgrades include new lighting, sound and stage systems, as well as safe access to the lighting and sound booths at the rear of the theater.

Video of past meetings can be found by visiting www.rvcschools.org or on the School Channel, Cablevision channel 19 within the Village of Rockville Centre and on Verizon channel 36. And as we mentioned earlier, our discussion continues at two more meetings in January — on the 15th and the 22nd. Please let your views be known: you can post to this blog, email us at boe@rvcschools.org or come to our meetings. All meetings are held at the South Side High School at 7:30 p.m.

These are your schools and they need your support.

joe thrapp January 21, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Veronica, I agree, first it starts with people saying you can forgo a meal at George Martins for 200$. Its only one years tax increase. The reality is it is 200$ for thirty years 6000$. You will miss a lot of dinners at George Martins for years to come. In the next breath people say the cost of playing fields are only 2 million dollars, a mere bag a shells to the entitled few. Why not put the 2 million into a preforming art center? I know the entitled don't want to give up their George Martins dinner for that.
RealityCheck January 21, 2013 at 05:57 PM
This Bond is going to fail for so many reasons and I speak as a parent with three kids in the schools. First, the Administration needs to stop treating the community like dunces and rubber stamps. They send a flyer home saying the Bond will be set at $48 million but the Herald reports $32 million. Johnson’s opening gambit at $48 million was a snarky way to “allow” cuts to $32 million to show he was “flexible” and listening to the community. This nonsense is worthy of Albany and Washington DC. Not RVC. And then to rally support for this bond and raise the specter of what happened at Newtown is beyond disgusting. The problem with RVC schools and all schools is the unending overreach. $100 million dollars a year to educate 3500 students is simply astounding. Yes $$$ should support GREAT teachers and even GREAT teaching assistants but the simple fact is that there are way too many employees and administrators who do not have a direct hand in educating or even supporting educating. There are way too many employees with titles that no one even understands and aides who are little more than babysitters. Some of these folks are our neighbors. Drawing salaries, family healthcare coverage at little cost to them, pension contributions etc. They will argue their personal amounts are “small” and they contribute so much. But small amounts add up – two thirds of the school budget – almost $60 MILLION DOLLARS – goes to these costs.
RealityCheck January 21, 2013 at 05:57 PM
The only way to rein in school budgets is through the personnel but if that is raised all we hear is how the great teachers will be laid off. STOP the nonsense. Go through the personnel list with a fine tooth comb and you will find massive savings. Like Al Capone said about robbing the banks – that’s where the $$$ is. The same must be true now of the lowly taxpayer. The overreach mentality continues with the bond. Start with a plea to get rid of 30 year old trailers but then sneak in the whole kitchen sink. Let’s air condition every single square inch of school property – hell why don’t we air condition the new lighted turf field while we’re at it. We wouldn’t want our star athletes actually sweating in the hot sun would we? This is not the go go 90’s where the economy was humming along, everyone was fully employed, and home prices were rising to infinity. Many people in this community are struggling and fine tuning their budgets on a monthly basis. Depending on what politically connected company you chose to grieve your property taxes, your taxes either increased dramatically 2 months ago or decreased substantially. And now, the tone deaf School Board turns around and says hey can you spare $50 million more while you’re at it. The one thing lacking in this entire process is GOOD FAITH. And for that reason alone, my family will be voting a resounding NO on the Bond Issue.
veronica smith January 21, 2013 at 07:00 PM
By the way, the Roxen Road gang was supposed to go to court on Friday. Does anyone know what happened?
ptamember January 21, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Tomorrow night's meeting should be interesting. It will be a test of character. Up to now they haven't demonstrated much. It will be the last time to trim the fat in the bond. They wanted input from the community, I think they've read enough to realize that it will be defeated again. There is a ratio used when calculating the popular vote, one voice against represents a larger number than those for the bond. Residents will not speak at a BOE meeting because they have seen what happens to those who do. If the BOE is truly sincere about the infrastructure of the schools, & the "safety" of the children, then they will drop the sports complex idea, and do something about Wilson's portable. We don't want the field with lights and it's not warranted. We have Skelo's complex. We should all be grateful for that instead of snubbing it. Will the BOE keep in items that will surely lose it for them or are they counting on the PTA to get out in force dig up any breathing body to vote? The phone calls and emails have already started. Is the HS school going to give the students a hall pass on the day of the vote so that they can go and vote for the budget, because they are tax paying citizens who will be strapped for years to come with higher taxes, while they will have to move away after college because they can't afford to or don't want to move back to RVC.
Robert Riley January 21, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Is it just a coincidence that this bond issue is up for a vote in March when many older residents may be away from RVC and unable to vote or is it just my cinical nature to assume that this was planned move to hopefully lessen the chances of having more no votes????
Margaret January 21, 2013 at 09:53 PM
This is interesting... the Village Officials are involved in this and possibly footing the bill for the electrical upgrade for the lights at the high school. Years of this nonsense and they can't power the lights, sounds like our village taxes are going to be covering this or we are going to be paying LIPA prices. Sounds like we are screwed either way. Something to remember for the next election. http://rockvillecentre.patch.com/articles/boe-recap-2012-13-budget-sshs-field-lighting-update
joe thrapp January 21, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Margret, After years of open and honest discussions with the neighbors surrounding SSHS about the negative impact of light pollution on the taxpaying residents, Mayor Franny turned a deaf ear to these residents and stopped any type of impact studies which would address the residence concerned. He called this an unplanned project and declared there would be no need for a SEQR hearing cutting off all discussions. He just rubber stamps the elite 2% wants in our little village that contributed 60,000$ to his election campaign.
joe January 22, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Malverne, Freeport, Garden City are only a FEW of our surrounding towns that have beautiful new turf fields and lights @ the high schools. You don't think SS students deserve this? Instead SS kids should have glass, rocks and huge dirt holes to cut themselves and possibly really get hurt??? Really Margaret, Joe and all the other bashers?? Our kids deserve better!! It's amazing that people in this community especially some of the elder who all sent kids to this school are against this. When your kid was in school you would have been 100 pct behind these great additions. It should have great amenities. The HS does not and is NEEDED in all areas of the school. We should have the best available in Drama, Sports, Art and Music dept's to all our kids. If you don't want to be part of making the town better that you live in and only are concerned about saving $200 a year then my belief is find a town you can afford and move to it. Good riddance!! VOTE YES FOR THE KIDS!!!
chris January 23, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Couldn't agree more. Our kids deserve better.
joe thrapp January 23, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Joe, I always think its a good idea not to judge other people and especially if they have different opinions than me. Different ideas don't make bad people. In my opinion it is the intolerant and the elite who judge people who don't agree with them. They use terms like "get out, your different,your to old and our kids deserve better". I hope your children do get better and hopefully they will be more tolerate than their father. See you at the budget vote. My vote will be No for the 3,000 residents with special sports requirements and Yes for the rest of our community of 25,000 residents who are trying to pay their bills and get through these tough economic times. Good Night.
chris January 23, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Say you take the fields out of the Bond. Lets say the tax increase would be $180 each year instead of $200 a year. Not exactly sure if it is correct, but probably close. Your ok with everything but the field turf and lights on practice field, right? Is it ok then? Will you vote yes then? If you saved $20 a year would we get your vote? Would you vote yes for a savings of $20 a year? Money is money, right? Or are you using the field turf and lights on the practice field as an excuse to vote no to everything? If so, thats ok. just say it. Everyone understands what is going on economically in today's world. I would hate to see people vote no to everything just to save $20 because they dont want the main field and practice field turfed and practice lights for the practice field installed. The lights for the main field are already paid for and approved. I'm hoping it passes because I feel my kids deserve a much improved facility at all the schools and all the benefits that the Bond will bring. My kids don't know what the cost will be. That is my burden and I feel it is worth it. I moved here for my kids and will always do what I think will benefit them. Voting yes will benefit them. Maybe not my wallet, but them.
joe thrapp January 23, 2013 at 06:23 AM
Chris, I wish you and your children well. Good night
chris January 23, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Thanks Joe.
bea taylor January 23, 2013 at 04:07 PM
That $200 figure is very misleading. It may represent the total cost of bond plus interest for every taxpayer but homes pay more than businesses. If they bond is about 3 million a year to pay back with interest than thats about a 3% tax increase on top of at a minimum of 2% budget increase so we are looking at 5% more a year. That could be $1000 a year for a lot of homeowners. And we haven't even looked at replacing the portables at Wilson.
Donna Kraus January 23, 2013 at 04:25 PM
I have to wonder why the regular maintenance that should be done on the field has not been done. That goes for the buildings as well.
Donna Kraus January 23, 2013 at 04:34 PM
There is such a thing as budgeting for improvements each year on a rolling basis. This year we fix that, next year we fix this. That is how other districts do it without having to borrow gazillions of dollars. The problem isn't the supposed $200/year. It's all the OTHER increases to our taxes. My taxes are $14,000 a year and my house is now valued at below what i paid for it despite all of the upgrades and improvements we made. That's not the district's fault of course but it's just not a good time to spend $48 million on pie in the sky. I am all for fixing what needs fixing, including getting rid of the portables. But adding things for every school in the hopes of having more people vote yes is the school district equivalent of "pork"...just like Congress does when it wants to get a bill passed. Why not pare down to the bare necesseities? Why can't our facilities crew fix up the fields without the expense of the artificial turf? That's a big chunk of the budget.
RVC2013 January 23, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Spot on Bea. Why is it these numbers look pretty reasonable - "just skip a dinner at George Martin" - and then you get your tax bill and it bears no relationship in reality to the "guesstimates." Then we're kinda stuck for THIRTY YEARS! And another $1,000 increase after a similar one just months ago is going to have residents really freaking out over school taxes. $48 million dollars is a staggering sum to ask every struggling resident to just sign on for. How on earth do all the Parochial Schools manage to educate the kids with far less money, amenities and resources? Maybe we can send our administrators for financial training at those schools?
bea taylor January 23, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Thank you! There is a certain arrogance that the district assumes that the rest of the country is struggling but we of Rockville Centre are all still living large! The economy hasn't gotten much better since the last time they tried to pass this bond but one thing that has changed are prices. It used to cost me $30 a week to gas up now its $60. With 2 cars thats $3000 a year. Or maybe Dr. Johnson should go to the food store and buy some milk and bread. The cost of feeding our families has risen too. And I hate to see what our homeowner's insurance is going to be next year! So now they want another 48 million and instead of addressing some important priorities with that money they want to placate a small percentage of the residents with a 2million dollar sport complex or air condition all the classrooms which would be used maybe 6-7 weeks a year?
Matthew Hogan January 23, 2013 at 08:21 PM
A new story has been posted with the official school improvement bond numbers: http://rockvillecentre.patch.com/articles/rvc-board-of-ed-sets-bond-number-at-45-9-million -- Matthew Hogan Associate Regional Editor Nassau County
chris January 23, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Mike Lotis January 23, 2013 at 10:43 PM
The price of gas is crazy. No one seems to care. It has been out of control for the past 4 years. What do you expect. The economy is brutal. Don't expect it to get better for the next 4 years. what did you expect? Bea, would you vote yes if the sports complex wasn't in the bond? I doubt it based on your tone and comments. Thats fine. A new turf main field and practice field and new lights on the practice field is not a sports complex. Skelos is a sports complex. If you vote no at this point you are voting no for everything. All the improvements that will benefit all the students. Stop using the field as an excuse. Try and get past it or vote NO. You know you wouldnt vote yes if the field was removed anyway. Its ok. It's your vote. As far as the A/C in clasrooms. I can see how some would question if thats really needed. I can say this, kids have actually passed out in our schools in the recent past due to the excessive heat in the buildings. Some classrooms reach 98 degree's or higher during the time that the kids are in the room. Something to think about.
Mike Lotis January 23, 2013 at 10:46 PM
I believe Patti's comment about George Martin's was taken out of context. I wonder how many residents will vote "NO" for the kids will attend a beach club or country club this year or this summer? What a joke.
Patti Mullooly January 23, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Thanks Mike. All I was trying to convey was that for a relatively nominal amount the condition and future of RVC schools could be dramatically improved. I'm not naive enough to think I will change anyone's mind. I'm also not ignorant enough to believe that everyone is financially sound. No one has to tell me how so many people are struggling, but for less then a dollar a day we have it in our power to make a real difference. My children won't even be in the schools to enjoy the new classrooms or the field, but I support it because it is the right thing. I was so proud of the residents of RVC that came together in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The amount of donations that went through the Rec Center and St Agnes was staggering, Why is it that we are ready to help our neighboring communities but not our own? I hope that the very vocal and narrow minded people posting here are the minority and that the silent majority will prevail.
Margaret January 24, 2013 at 02:28 AM
You start by saying that your comment of $200 at George Martin was taken in the wrong way yet you end your comment calling people who don't agree with you narrow minded. Once again you have proved that you are narrow minded, a bully, you talk about those who are concerned about preserving our community, trying to keep the senior citizens in their homes of many years. The senior citizens of our community are to be thanked, not scared and worried that they are going to lose their homes because they can't afford it. They are the ones who preserved this town by keeping it desirable for others who want to raise their children. Not spending irresponsibly and then using the most obnoxious excuse, "it's for the children". We don't say to the seniors, "if you don't like it leave", how horrible. No wonder we are having such trouble with the children of this community, no respect for people, especially the elders. This would have been a great time to demonstrate to our children that we have to help our community by giving up what we want to help those who are suffering financially, but instead we demonstrate how to screw our neighbors who don't think like us. This situation is not at all like Hurricane Sandy, no comparison. This bond is going to hurt people in many ways and create irreparable damage. This bond should be voted down until the BOE has demonstrate responsible spending.
joe thrapp January 24, 2013 at 07:19 AM
Mike , You and Patti keep confirming that elitist entitlement mentality. The field improvements will not put one RVC student on any all American HS teams. Ability belongs to the individual. If we got Patti's 200$ comment out of context, you just confirmed the elitist sense of entitlement. There are 25,000 residents in this village and you only speak for a small minority. What do you care about all the residents who will be effected by light pollution. The only difference from them and you is they all don't have 8,000$ for the beach club and 15,000$ for the country club so you can keep children away from all the other children in the village of lesser means. Enjoy the summer.
chris February 01, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Your response is very inappropriate and unacceptable. I can't believe the Patch would allow it. Please don't use the word or describe people as Nazi's. And please don't mention teachers or staff by name and slander them. It is wrong. If you don't want to vote for the Bond it is ok and it is your choice. I would ask the Patch to get the email address and computer ID information and address the individual. Very easy to do.
chris February 01, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Margaret, when someone says "it is for their kids", it is not obnoxious. It is their personal opinion. For you or anyone else to tell someone how to spend their money is wrong. If someone wants to vote no it is ok. If someone wants to vote yes it is ok. If someone can't afford the tax hike it is unfortunate. Times are tough. They have been for the past 4 years and probably will be for the next 4. If someone doesn't mind the tax hike it is ok. It is their choice. Don't say that it is not ok for someone to be ok with the take hike. See all sides of the matter. Don't try and sway someone on their vote. Let people vote the way the want. I understand the vote may affect people that voted the other way economically. This is a great community with very good schools. We should be proud of that.
ThePresident February 03, 2013 at 04:23 AM
I actually agree with infamousfred, he actually goes to the school and I have spoken to people in the school and they all say the same thing, maybe you should take advice from kids in the school because they have knowledge of what's going on in the school. You clearly have no idea what your talking about Chris your probably just like most parents in this town who just gossip and know nothing. It's people like you that make this town worse.
Taxed high February 03, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Haha the president, you other parents have to realize how messed up this school system is, I would like to say whoever the infamousfred is knows what he's talking about, he has 1st hand experience of what is wrong but yes Chris he should not mention names but to compare them to a something bad, there's a point to that obviously, we must step back and realize what he's trying to say, maybe the administration is bad at sshs


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