Tears of joy filled the hallways of the Glen Cove High School on Tuesday night as a new bond worth upward of $30.5 million became a reality with support from 58 percent of voters who turned out.
The Glen Cove City School District bond — earmarked to provide much-needed upgrades to aging campus facilities — passed 1,179-853, according to unofficial results.
Peter LaRocca, president of the district’s booster club, said he was ecstatic about the results.
“I think that the Glen Cove families and everyone that's been in support of this bond has changed the trajectory of our schools,” LaRocca said. “They've made a statement that we want things to be better for our children — for their future — and that we support our educators here in Glen Cove.”
Those educators teach 3,800 students between kindergarten and 12th grade in four elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. After two failed votes in 2019 and 2020, the school district can now move forward on some long-overdue changes that go beyond simple maintenance and repairs. The approved bond will now fund the most extensive infrastructure improvements in decades.
The projects include repairs to science rooms, the cafeteria and kitchen, and corridors. Exterior doors will be replaced, and restrooms reconstructed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Also planned is a replacement of the courtyard curtain wall, reconstruction of heating and air-conditioning systems, replacing corridor lockers as well as tennis and basketball courts, a parking lot, and curbs and walkways.
Administrators touted such changes as costing no more than $12.50 monthly for the city’s average homeowner.
Construction could begin as early as next year, and continue on until the start of the 2025-26 academic year. The projected timeline, however, takes into consideration concerns such as supply chain issues and availability of materials and labor.
“We've done a lot in this district, and we have a lot more to do,” said Maria Rianna, the school district superintendent. “But we've made a giant step forward this year.”
The projects will be financed over a 15-year period, and will ultimately be reimbursed through anticipated state aid.
Councilwoman Danielle Fugazy Scagliola — who has four children in the district — says she feels so good about the future of not only the school district, but Glen Cove as well.
“Your city is only as successful as its school district,” she said. “And we just proved that the people of this community care about our schools and our children. To me, there's nothing more important.”
The bond also focuses on safety and security issues. As mass shootings become more commonplace in schools, campuses have upgraded to eliminate blind spots and design failings. Now, more than 20 years after the first school mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, many holes remain in Glen Cove’s security measures, officials have said.
“The schools here needed so much, and we all knew it,” Assemblyman Charles Lavine said. “We all knew that we had to do everything we could to make sure that our schools were secure, so our precious children would be protected.”
The approved bond helps the city move further into a renaissance, the lawmaker added, citing the development at Garvies Point, which has brought an influx of new residents to the city. Improvements to the school district help further the city’s national rankings with reports like Moody’s, Lavine said, whose rankings take into consideration the cost of living, diversity, economic opportunity and education.
Moody’s places a strong emphasis on categories including health and safety, quality of life, and amenities.
Michael Israel, a former superintendent in the district, says his Glen Cove has already prepared his children for success, shaping them to become well-rounded members of society. During his time with the district, Israel was always unhappy with the districtwide facilities when compared to neighboring school districts.
“Now it's gratifying to know that we're going to be able to upgrade our facilities,” he said, “so that we're preparing the kids for the 21st century education that they deserve.”