School improvement projects on Northport’s ballot

School improvement projects on Northport’s ballot

Northport Superintendent Robert Banzer speaks to the board about capital projects. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

The Northport Board of Education voted to include more than $3 million worth of capital projects on the ballot last Thursday. Improvements range from renovating the softball field at Northport High School to irrigation for the Pulaski Road school.

A total $1.639 million of the improvements are included in the budget, and the remaining approximate $2 million worth of improvements would have to be funded by a capital reserve fund, which the public would need to approve separately.

Superintendent Robert Banzer said the district is proposing $1 million in capital funds be spent on replacing a boiler at Ocean Avenue Primary School and upgrading the fire alarms at Dickinson Avenue Elementary.

“Over the last few years we have been replacing boilers, and so we can almost see the end with this project,” Banzer said at the meeting. As for the fire alarms at Dickinson, he said “we need to get to each of the classrooms the strobes with the alarms and the smoke heads. And that’s what this money would allow us to do.”

The boilers would come in at $800,000 and the fire alarms at $200,000.

According to the district, other projects not funded by the capital reserve could be funded through additional state aid.

With the state budget passing on Friday, it was confirmed that districts will be receiving full restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, a deduction of state aid taken from all New York school districts, enacted several years ago in an effort to close a state budget deficit.

“This is sort of saying if we receive more state aid, here are some projects that have emerged over the last few months,” Banzer said.

Totaling almost $640,000, these improvements include renovating the softball field at Northport High School, district wide door lock replacement and installing irrigation at the Pulaski Road fields.

“There has been a discussion about replacing our door locks … so that they can lock on both sides,” Banzer said. “This is a safety issue as well as helping us streamline our classroom’s keys and locks.”

As for the field repairs, Banzer said there has been a lot of talk about the conditions of Northport’s fields.

The $2 million capital reserve fund would go toward replacing the gymnasium ceiling at Northport Middle School, renovating the locker rooms at the middle school and replacing a boiler at the Pulaski Road school, among other improvements.

BOE Vice President David Badanes made a motion for all projects to go on the ballot, as well as an additional project: replacing the tennis courts at Northport Middle School.