In a squeaker of a vote, the $69.9 million bond to improve Port Washington schools passed on Tuesday, after months of heated debate in which proponents said it was an extreme necessity and opponents maintained that the work could be done from regular budget funds.
The vote, which took place Tuesday, was 2,294 in favor and 2,055 against, a less than 250 vote margin.
Potentially demonstrating how contentious the vote was, at least 22 Vote Yes signs were stolen from private property, according to Beth Weisburd, co-president of the Weber Middle School HSA. The theft could not be confirmed.
Voting took place from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Weber Middle School.
School security guards were stationed outside of Weber, on Campus Drive, because of the expected voter turnout, to direct traffic, and to ensure student safety as they walked to and from the Weber and nearby Schreiber High School during the day.
The school board hopes work can start the summer of 2016, depending on approval of the New York State Education Department.
About $50 million of the approved bond will fund new construction and major renovations to increase instructional space, auditorium renovations, upgrades to the science labs at Paul D. Schreiber High School and Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School, new science labs at each elementary school, music room renovations, replacement of all classroom portables with permanent structures, installation of air conditioning in one common location in each school, installation of two multipurpose athletic fields, and improvements in technology and security. The remaining amount of the bond will support needed repairs and renovations to bathrooms, windows, floors, ceilings, parking lots, doors and HVAC.
“We are extremely grateful to our parents and community residents for their support and confidence,” stated Board of Education President Karen Sloan. “We fully believe the approved bond addresses our facilities needs and represents the best interest of our children and our community.”