Editorial: Support the school bond proposals

12/01/2010 3:37 PM |

It’s a difficult economic time to ask taxpayers for more money. But that’s what Greenport Board of Education members are forced to do this month to support critical repairs to the 1932 school building.

They didn’t hide the fact that a bond issue was looming last May when they presented their $13.8 million budget. What they did do was keep their spending increase to a bare .11 percent — and they promise to do the same when they budget for the 2011-12 school year.

The district’s auditors commented that Greenport is operating on a budget tighter than that of any other district they’ve reviewed.

Anyone who has seen pictures of the damage the building has sustained from severe leaks, or watched video of rainwater running through light fixtures outside the school cafeteria, knows the money isn’t being spent on frills.

Students and teachers shouldn’t have to cover classroom materials with plastic bags and make funnels out of paper towels to run rainwater from leaking windows into pans on ledges. Kiddie swimming pools in the small gym shouldn’t be needed to collect rainwater. And boilers that are more than 38 years old and have outlived their usefulness are falling apart.

Proposition A calls for bonding $7.485 million for basic repairs. Its rejection by voters would threaten the long-term viability of the stately building. Board members would be forced to try again with new bond initiatives.

Interest rates and construction costs are low now. Delays would see increases in both, so if taxpayers say no to this bond they would face a heavier burden in the future.

Proposition B would provide another $1.27 million for a 50 kilowatt solar system and a 250 kilowatt wind-powered two-blade turbine. These green energy initiatives would save the school district money over time — and with the cost of traditional energy sources increasing, this is a perfect opportunity to spend a little to save a lot.

The two bonds would cost the average homeowner about $230 a year. Admittedly, that’s not chicken feed for a community with many impoverished residents struggling to put food on the table and pay the rent.

But it’s a lot less than it would cost for a new and not-so-stately building.

Sound fiscal management has left the Greenport School District carrying no other long-term debt. The responsible thing on Dec. 7 is to vote “yes” on both bonds.



6 Comment

  • So the IGA who wants the support of the local community wants to build housing to keep their NON LOCAL employees legal….hmmmm….This is outrageous. It shouldn’t even be considered. I can not and will not support a business who doesn’t support the community first and foremost through employment. I will most definately be shopping elsewhere!!

  • I’ve been in the big gym in Greenport and watched water come through the ceiling into kiddie pools and garbage cans to catch the water. There is no doubt this need to be fixed.

  • Double Shame on IGA

    If the new IGA owners had not fired most of the locals who worked for George’s IGA and caused
    some of the others to quit because of how they were treated, they wouldn’t have to worry about a dormitory for foreign employees. I also can’t find any law that states a foreign employee has to live within one mile of their workplace.

  • Triple shame on IGA! The nerve they have to even suggest this is mind boggling. After firing most of those who live here on Shelter Island and making life so miserable that the rest of us quit, and then accusing others of stealing and telling 14 year old’s that “you are lucky you’re not living in India, because your hands should be cut off for stealing” the fact that ANYONE even shops there is disgusting. And now you want to build a dormitory for foreign employees – REALLY??? I have not stepped foot into IGA since May of 2009 and will never again as long as Gino and Diane are the owners.

  • I watched the Town Bd. meeting. The IGA request to build on the property is MUCH more than a dormitory!
    It’s a 2-family home along with a boarding house! Housing wasn’t an issue in the past, perhaps, the new IGA owners should have kept the previous employees who were courteous and friendly unlike the present employees! If this needed housing is really for their summer help, then I agree with Hoot Sherman and others that they should hire the local teenagers and college kids that are looking for jobs. I, too, will doing my shopping elsewhere.