A vote to approve the Glen Cove City School District’s $78 million bond on Oct. 22 is the only way to go. Passage of the bond would end the district’s long-time practice of making patch repairs and would ensure that all six schools were brought up to 21st century standards.
After an $84 million bond failed a vote in March, district officials did a commendable job of reducing the budget for it to its most essential items, paring spending by $6 million, or a little more than 7 percent.
Conditions observed by a Herald Gazette reporter during an Oct. 12 tour of Glen Cove High School were appalling. Ceilings tiles and bathroom mirrors had fallen off, fire doors were missing, and lab tables had not been upgraded since 1962. Some windows could not shut, and several rooms did not comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Oct. 12 was also the day of the high school’s annual Homecoming, and as band students walked around in their new uniforms, acquired by the Glen Cove Education Foundation, one couldn’t help but feel they were time travelers from the future, with their shiny uniforms juxtaposed against the antiquated surroundings.
Nowhere else was this feeling more evident than the school’s library, where half the ceiling tiles collapsed earlier this year. The outdated tiles, which are no longer manufactured, were replaced by more resilient tiles and LED light panels, but the improvements were only made to half of the library. The other part of the room, where students sit, still has outdated tiles. Students told the Herald Gazette last year that they are constantly annoyed and concerned by falling ceiling tiles, which no student should have to worry about.
There are safety and security issues as well. As mass shootings have become more frequent, school districts have upgraded school buildings to eliminate blind spots and design failings. Now, more than 20 years after the first school mass shooting at Columbine High, in Colorado, there remain many flaws in Glen Cove’s security measures, which should be fixed immediately.
Glen Cove High School students seemed happy and excited to celebrate Homecoming. The decorations created for the festivities spoke volumes about the students’ talent and pride in their school.
Residents should do right by these students and approve both propositions in the bond referendum. For a little more than $36 per month, residents hold the power to help district leaders bring sweeping changes to aid and protect students.