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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Rockville Centre bond referendum passes
Community approves $45.9 million to fund improvements
By Alex Costello and John Maher
Donovan Berthoud/Herald
Gina Dimare cast her ballot in the bond referendum.

The Rockville Centre School District’s $45.9 million bond proposal passed by a comfortable margin on Tuesday, with almost 60 percent of voters approving the measure.

Polls were open at South Side High School from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 3,543 residents came out to vote. Of those, 2,078 (59 percent) voted in favor, while 1,465 (41 percent) voted against the bond.

The bond was proposed to help fund new construction and renovations that the district would not otherwise be able to afford.

The multimillion dollar proposal will fund the construction of additions to both South Side High School and Watson Elementary school. The SSHS additions will not only give students more space and better classrooms, school officials said, but will also improve security — the building will no longer have to be open all day to give students access to the portable and converted classrooms outside the main building.

“I’m thrilled for two reasons,” said Superintendent Dr. William Johnson. “I’m thrilled for the kids who are in the pipeline now who will be the beneficiaries of these facilities, and I’m thrilled for a community that realized that this is an investment in their children, their schools and their future.”

Money was also included in the bond to bring air conditioning to every classroom in the district, as well as larger spaces in the elementary schools.

The average home will see a tax increase of about $128 per year for the 30-year life of the bond.

The bond will finance needed repairs: roof maintenance, masonry reconstruction, building code upgrades, floor repairs, band and chorus room renovations, security cameras, a boiler replacement and more.

The measure will also fund a controversial plan to install artificial turf fields, new lighting and new bleachers at the high school.

Supporters of the bond were understandably excited when the numbers were read off in the SSHS gym after the polls closed Tuesday night.

“I want to thank all residents who came out to support the bond,” said Board of Education President Liz Dion. “It shows how wonderfully supportive a community we live in — a community that cares about its schools and its students.”

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