Following a plethora of presentations and public hearings over the past two months, all Greenport school board members voiced support regarding the district’s proposed $23.8 million Capital Improvement Project.
Construction for the bond project, which would modify and renovate the school building, could begin as early as summer 2020, Superintendent David Gamberg said. A previous $29.8 million version of the plan, proposed Feb. 5, included a turf field.
In the near future, Mr. Gamberg said, the scope of the project will be brought to the bond council, which will draft a resolution of the proposal to appear on ballots. If approved by the school board in late April or early May, voters can choose to approve the project June 20, district officials said.
The project would have at least two ballot items for voters: one would approve most of the interior changes, totaling $21.2 million; the second option, which adds an additional $2.6 million to the project, would include upgrades to the tennis courts and track. The second item cannot be approved without the first, Mr. Gamberg said at a previous board meeting.
Board member Daniel Creedon said he believes the project is necessary, but he’s concerned that the upgraded track would benefit community members, not students. He said all the money raised from taxes should go to students, not residents of the community.
Building and Grounds Committee and board member Heather Wolf was not present at the meeting. Board president Babette Cornine read a letter Ms. Wolf submitted: “ ‘Rather than proposing small projects, we, as committee members, felt it was fair to lay everything on the line so that taxpayers didn’t have to wonder what would be asked of them next,’ ” she wrote.
Ms. Cornine, who is also on the committee, said she supports the project. She said she’s listened to comments from the community for the last 18 months and knows what changes the district needs to see.
“We cannot save money fast enough to do what we need to do to help our children and give them what they deserve,” she said.
Board member Kirsten Droskoski said she’s “completely in support” of the bond project and noted the importance of the marine program.
Board member Tina Volinski offered a similar sentiment and said the project is a reflection of community comment.
“Everything that’s in the bond now is everything I heard over the past three months while I’ve been at the IGA, on my walk, via text and phone calls on the weekends,” she said. “I feel like we’ve listened to everybody, and I look forward to even more collaboration over the next few months.”
The school will hold a public tour of the building Saturday, April 13.