Remsenburg

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On Friday, voters in the Remsenburg/Speonk School District overwhelmingly rejected the district’s proposed $14.9 million expansion project, an addition that would have doubled the size of the elementary school, both in terms of square footage and student capacity.

The $14.7 million bond that would have financed the project was rejected by a margin of 711-116, with almost 86 percent of district taxpayers opposing the proposed work. An extra $300,000 remaining from the school’s parking lot expansion project, completed earlier this year, would have been used to help finance the addition.

The expansion, if it had passed, would have been completed by the 2011-2012 school year and would have doubled the size of the elementary school to 60,000 square feet. The project would have added five new classrooms, a new cafeteria, a library/media center, a language lab and a music area onto the Mill Road school.

A number of small instructional rooms for special education services, such as occupational and physical therapy, would also have been constructed. The school would have been able to accommodate as many as 400 students with the renovations; about 185 students now attend the school.

If approved, the work would have increased taxes in the Remsenburg/Speonk School District—which runs as far south as West Hampton Dunes Village and as far north as County Road 51 in Speonk—by 53 cents of assessed valuation for the life of the 20-year bond.

This increase would have cost the average district taxpayer, whose home is assessed at $1 million, an additional $9.96 a year—or 83 cents a month—in new school property taxes in the 2009-2010 school year, according to school business official Brenda Petrolito. In the 2010-2011 school year, that figure would have climbed to $219.96 a year, or $18.33 per month, before jumping to $529.92 a year, or $44.16 per month, for the life of the bond starting in the 2011-2012 school year.

Besides the 53 cent tax increase, school property taxes would have increased another 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to cover the operating expenses associated with the school expansion. Those operating expenses would have started in the 2011-2012 school year and covered the hiring of two new teachers, a pre-K teacher, two custodians, and a projected 75 percent increase in utility costs.

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