Pat-Med passes prop; plans for greenhouse
Voters approved plans for a greenhouse and playgrounds, among other projects, by 80 percent during the Patchogue-Medford School District’s proposition vote on Oct. 16. The proposition sought authorization to spend $4.6 million of the newly established capital reserve to fund a series of capital projects, including new tracks at Saxton and Oregon middle schools, playground additions and renovations at all seven elementary schools, a bus loop at Medford Elementary School, security vestibule installation at Canaan Elementary School, ADA compliance additions district-wide, and dust collection systems and a greenhouse at the high school.
Despite a record approval percentage, superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes acknowledged a very low voter turnout at approximately 500. Past propositions to spend money from the capital reserve fund passed between 68 and 76 percent. All projects, according to the district, were completed on time and under budget.
“I am thrilled for our kids,” said Hynes. “What is so great about this is that it is for every kid at every level, including elementary, middle and high schools.”
The greenhouse, he explained, was included as part of his push to become more student-centric, with a vision of creating plants and vegetables for the use of boosters as well as the cafeteria. For now, he said, all grade levels, the Garden Club, as well as special-needs students will utilize the greenhouse.
Now that the proposition has been approved, plans for the projects will be submitted to the State Education Department for review. Once approved by the state, the district will go to bid on the projects and seek board approval. Projects will then be scheduled to be completed sometime in summer 2019.
The projects will be funded by the capital reserve; the district does not have to issue bonds, as funds are already available, and will not have to pay interest on the expense. The projects will come at no additional cost to the taxpayer and, if projects are awarded below the $4.6 million, any remaining funds will remain in the capital reserve, again requiring voter approval for later use.
About $300,000-$400,000 remains in the reserve fund and will be slowly replenished. According to the district, a total of 70 cents on the dollar will be returned to the district from the state.
Both tracks are anticipated to cost about $1 million and the playgrounds are expected to cost about $550,000. The parking loop should come in at about $500,000, as should the ADA renovations. The security vestibule is estimated at about $350,000, the dust collection system at about $200,000, and the greenhouse will cost about $500,000.
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