Glen Cove residents are getting closer to the prospect of a bond that would improve the infrastructure of all six schools in the district—an act that would also help improve the quality of education, according to some students. After months of research by the district’s Bond Committee and weeks of detailed discussion by the Glen Cove Board of Education, the board voted to move the bond proposal forward for review by the bond counsel at last week’s meeting. Once the details are worked out, the bond would then be put up for a resolution at an upcoming board meeting. If the resolution passes, the bond would be put forth to the public for a vote in the coming months.
“Through the bond committee cuts, some items have come out, and additional cuts were made so the new proposal is $84.6 million,” said architect Michael Mark, principal of Mark Design Studios Architecture.
One item that was removed from the original bond proposal was an upgrade to the fire alarm system at the high school, which is currently not working and has to be fixed now. Superintendent Dr. Maria Rianna said that the building is currently under a 24-hour fire watch until the system is replaced.
“You don’t want to do something when things are at that level,” said Rianna. “You want to be able to plan appropriately and maximize state aid funding.”
During the meeting, there was discussion about whether or not to split the bond into two propositions. After hearing from the public, the board decided to move forward with a single proposition.
Board vice president Alexander Juarez asked for specifics about the bond counsel’s role.
Mark and Rianna both explained that the board must adopt the final scope of work and the bond counsel reviews the proposal and determines the timeline.
“The bond counsel makes sure the funds are used correctly and work is being done in accordance with the law,” said Mark. “The goal is to maximize state aid.”
Rick Smith noted that the district hires a full time maintenance staff, suggesting they should be able to do some of the needed repairs.
Rianna listed some of the major incidents that have happened within the last few years throughout the district: four fires, two ceilings that have come down, gas leaks and a flood due to an older system.
“They work hard and do a good a job,” said Rianna.
“We’ve kicked this thing too far down the road and our buildings are in extreme disrepair,” said Danielle Fugazy-Scagliola. “I’ve seen our maintenance people work very hard to make repairs, but you can’t keep patching a ceiling, you have to make change.”
Several students stood up and made the case for a bond.
“My experience at the high school has been alright, but could be a lot better,” said Glen Cove High School senior Glory Mayreis. “We are in favor of the bond because we want to have a better experience during school and be more excited to learn.”
She said the heat is “unbearable” in some classrooms and that some get so hot “you feel like you’re going to pass out.”
“It’s a dreadful way to go through the school day,” she said.
Senior class president Aamaiyah Vaughan agreed.
“The AC and ventilation need to be updated,” she said, equating some classrooms to “hot boxes.” “It’s not conducive to a learning environment.”
“This bond is imperative,” said Kim Velentzas, president of the middle school PTA, noting how the fundraising the PTA does provides extras for the students, but not the capital improvement projects that the bond money would go toward.
After the board approved moving forward with the bond, board president Gail Nedbor-Gross explained the next steps.
“We need a resolution to prepared for the board and then we will prepare for a public hearing and will arrange for tours for the public,” she said.