Meeting cancellations and a growing list of projects proved too much for Rocky Point school board trustees, who decided on Monday not to propose a capital improvements bond this May as they needed more time to sort through specifics of the proposal.
Chris Malone, the district’s plant facilities administrator, along with Larry Galante, a member of the facilities planning subcommittee and district architect John Grillo returned to the Rocky Point High School auditorium Monday night with an updated list of projects that totaled a little more than $20 million.
In January, the men presented a $17 million project list, which included installing new ceilings, windows and LED lighting; redoing bathrooms; upgrading security; installing turf fields and solar panels at the high school; and improving air-conditioning and heating systems, among other items.
Projects such as wrestling room renovations, redesigning the cafeteria at the Joseph A. Edgar school and new bleachers and sports lights at the lower fields were added into Monday’s presentation.
More than an hour into the presentation, and after numerous questions from the audience, school board President Susan Sullivan broke her silence and said if the board wanted the bond on the May ballot, everything would need to be final by Thursday.
“Quite honestly our heads are spinning and it’s not going to happen,” she said.
Later in the evening, the board tabled a State Environmental Quality Review Act resolution regarding the capital improvements. State law mandates SEQRA and governing bodies must approve the determination 45 days prior to a vote.
A few audience members said they were curious about how officials determined what items to include in the proposal. While they said they agreed updates are needed — original lockers, equipment and tiling exists in the schools — they questioned if some projects fell into more of a “wish” category.
Resident Jennifer Intravaia said she was a “little bit sticker shocked” after seeing the updated list.
“I think we need to seriously look at our priorities,” she said.
In response to Intravaia’s comment, Superintendent Michael Ring said it was a good point, and the school board would be reviewing the items, which were included based on feedback from many different individuals in the district.
Monday night’s presentation was delayed by nearly two months, as the school board’s meetings on Feb. 2, which was then rescheduled to March 3, were both cancelled due to snow.
While the board decided to not pitch the bond in May, it could still move to bring the proposal — or another version of it — to a vote in the future. Under the current plan, the bond would be separated into two different proposals: Priority I and Priority II. The latter would only pass if voters approve Priority I.