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Rocky Point School District Wants Astroturf

All money spent in our school district comes from taxes. It doesn't miraculously appear!

Tonight I went to the Rocky Point Board of Education meeting on the proposal to, among other things, use about $1 million to install astroturf on the football field. I'll be honest, I don't know if it's really needed, if, as was stated tonight, it's safer for the kids. What I do know, however, is that the dialogue about this was incomplete at best.

Here's what we kept hearing, we have the money, it's in the capital projects reserve fund, and it's not going to cost us anything. Well, I'm confused, didn't that money come from the taxpayer? Or did it miraculously appear out of nowhere? And when we need to replenish the fund, isn't it again going to come from the taxpayer?

The president of the parent-teacher association asked Dr. Ring how long it had taken to raise that money, to which Dr. Ring answered five years. OK, the proposal now is to use $900,00 of the reserve fund for the track, a little over $1 million for the astroturf on the field, and $300,000 for renovation to class labs. This comes to about $2.2 million. Divide this by 5 years and it comes to about $440,000.

Actually what was put in the reserve fund over the five eyars was more than that since some of it has already been used for other projects. But we'll ignore that. This means that if the district had not put in the $440,000 in this fund last year, it could have stayed under the cap without threatening to cut kindergarden.

I don't know if it's a good idea or a bad idea to spend this money on the turf, but to say it doesn't cost anything because we have it is ludicrous! We have it because tax money put it there and tax money will be needed to replenish it!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

MatthewD September 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM
Of course, they waited until they passed a budget above the tax cap to do this. Let's be clear this isn't so much about it being safer for the kids. This is about the frequency of use. While a number of individual theories exist regarding injuries on natural grass as opposed to synthetic turf, according to a number of national studies on athletic injuries there is no significant difference in the number of major injuries reported while participating on grass or artificial turf fields. A study by the NFL concluded that there were slightly fewer serious injuries on artificial turf compared to natural grass, though synthetic fields reported more minor injuries.
Ernestine Franco September 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM
I was at the meeting and it was not a presentation to the community. It was an informercial on artificial turf. It was not presented as a choice between renovating the grass fields and installing artificiall turf. Nothing was said about what it would cost to renovate the grass fields, only what the cost would be for the artificial turf. I had hoped that the superintendent's presentation would provide the pros and cons of both possibilities. All we heard was the pros of artificial turf and the cons of natural grass. Since many schools still use natural grass on their fields, are we to assume they do not care about their kids? Also another part of the presentation was spending $300,000 on upgrading some of the laboratories where academic activity goes on. One resident asked if we would be able to vote on the three items separately. Dr. Ring said he didn't know yet. Let's hope the Board doesn't force people who support upgrading the labs to have to vote for the turf, which they may not support.
LI Mom September 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM
The one thing I have to say is that while it would be nice to say, why not use this money to save jobs/kindergarten, etc., that can't be done because in government/schools most monies cannot be moved from one pot to another. If it is personnel money it has to be used for that, building maintenance for that, etc. It may be possible to reallocate some, but not usually. That said I don't support the turf field, I don't even support the track upgrade. I walk it and it seems pretty nice compared to others I've used, but I guess that's something to do with section 11 and saying it can't be patched anymore to be used for meets. I'm for upgrading the science rooms, maybe some more lighting in the HS, don't spend much time there,but heard its fairly dim. Unless some massive work was done this summer, some of the student bathrooms in FJC are atrocious...no doors on a toilet, hand dryer falling off the wall, only one sink works having a trickle of cold water (this is the bathroom near the gym). Then there are the bathrooms actually in the classrooms in the first grade wing. They all need to be gutted, revovated and better ventilation. I'm not looking for luxury, just to meet some basic needs. I have young kids and when we are at the school whether for a school related activity or off hours for something, I cringe if they need to use the bathroom. If the teacher ones are open, we use those instead.
AnotherLocalMom September 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM
LI MOM, you're right. The money has been allocated for capital improvements and can't be used for anything else. But before it's allocated it can be used for anything, so we should be selective about where to use it. But I think what what said above is that again the community isn't being told the whole story. I was there last night and it wasn't a community forum, it was a pep rally, with cheerleaders and all. A girl's team was there to tell us why they think they should have artificial turf. Since when do our kids decide these things? It was a show. Most of the people supporting the turf were board members. The one woman who got up there with a lot of information about the negative aspects of turf was ridiculed by Scott Reh, a board member whose been trying to get this done for years.
LI Mom September 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Yeah turf is great, but there are negative aspects which I wasn't aware of until more recently either, it's not exactly "put the turf down and be done with it for years". There are ongoing costs, maintenance.....how it compares to grass I really don't know, but I'd like to see the cost comparison. Hate to say it, but I really don't believe that the turf would be allowed to be used by others than varsity and maybe something special here and there. Maybe it's all schools, but I only know Rocky Point, and we seem to put WAY too much emphasis on atheletics....and yes, my kids play sports.
MatthewD September 13, 2012 at 06:46 PM
The problem with these people is that they don't live in the real world. At a time when people are losing their homes and can't afford the basic necessities, they think it makes sense to spend money on artificial grass! And, yes, the money is already there, but let's keep it in there and use it for things that really matter--like renovating the bathrooms and some of the things that LI Mon talks about. The time is going to come when these things will really need to be fixed and then where will that money come from? From us! Then they'll tell, well there's no money in the capital reseve fund, so we just have to get more from you. WE need to step up and tell them that they can't give doing things the same way. They have to think long term and spend the money on things that improve the education. Sports should be secondary.
LI Mom September 13, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Since I left my comments I've done a little research on turf vs. grass. There are good arguments for both. However, I never knew that turf lasts only 8-10 years. Grass lasts much longer if maintained.....and maintaining the grass in year 10 is cheaper than replacing the turf. That actually surprised me, I would have thought turf lasted longer. Never thought about this before either, but when the turf needs replacing it's not an "organic material" that is easy to get rid of. Don't forget about all the disposal costs in 10 years......that SHOULD figure into the numbers as well. It's not only the turf that you see that will need removing, but all of the base, which is basically the same as shredded tires.....which leads to the fact that people may think that turf is an environmentally better choice, but the materials that turf, esp. the base is made of can actually contaminate the soil. I also never realized how hot turf can get. On a warm sunny day about 90 degrees, the temperature of turf easily can reach 117 degrees and usually averages much higher around 140 and has been known to reach 170 or higher. Since the football teams practice in the summer and games start in Sept., outdoor temperatures of 85- 90 degrees are not unlikely. Granted grass might need to be treated with pesticides, but there are environmentally safer choices. Do a little research everyone so you can make an educated decision.
Alicia Palifka September 14, 2012 at 03:40 PM
So we had to deal with bus drivers telling kids there will be no rides for them to school if the contract with First Student Bus didn't go through and then we had the children coming home telling us we had to vote yes on the budget if we loved kindergarten teachers..really? Then we get graced with having to pay more taxes. God forbid the money was used for the teachers/jobs as stated above...My taxes went up over Astroturf? Really now?
Carol Frieri September 15, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Another Local Mom, I too was at the meeting. Not only was Mr Regh rude and condescending, but he showed a total lack of knowledge of how things work. When another speaker brought up the fact that during the last budget process the district wasn't able to stay under the cap while at the same time they threatened us with cutting kinderganten and now they wanted to spend almos $2 million on turf, Scott Regh said that was like apples and oranges. That staying under the tax cap had nothing to do with spending this money. Again--we have it--it won’t cost us anything! Where does he think the money came from? And this is the “genius” that this community elected to work on a $75 million dollar business. Does anyone know how much of the last surplus was put in to this fund? And, if what they were planning to do was use it for turf, why didn’t they use it to stay under the cap? We have to start demanding answers to these questions.
Mercurio September 16, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I was at the meeting also and I support getting the astroturf. I have a kid that plays football nad as far as I know it is better to play on turf. What I don't support, however, is what I saw at the meeting. I missed part of the interaction between Reh and the woman eveyone is talking about, so I don't really ahve much to say about that, but I was disheartened by what I heard in the hallway while I was waiting for a friend. I've heard Mrs. franco many times at the meetings and have at times disagreed, at times not. But I will defend her right to express her opinion. That is after all why we value this country. I hear someone inolved with the district--I'm not sure in what capacity--telling Mrs Franco that she's always complaining and if she doesn't like what's going on she should leave. I couldn't believe it! We all should be defending everyboy's right to their opinion--and cetainly our seducators should!
Wlodek September 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Mercurio, It is nice that you stand for a principle. The educators who tell community members to move out have no place in our education system and in our communities. What you heard is not limited to Rocky Point. One can hear this argument in other school districts as well. I do disagree with your opinion about the turf. The added value of turf is questionable. Especially now when the money is short and there must clearly be other priorities in the district. I second all the comments made about suspicious timing of the announcement. The right place and time to discuss this turf proposal was during the budget workshops where all the spending was on the table. Once again Dr. Ring, the BOE and the school administrators failed the community, they are wrong role models for the students. Their strategies must be condemned and must be rejected.
Respect Everyone September 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I think all of you have important comments. Please go to the Rocky Point Schools website and email the Board of Ed your comments. I'm not sure if they see this blog, but they should!
Respect Everyone September 17, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I agree with you. And I think Mr. Reh was very disrespectful. He does not represent Rocky Point in a professional manner.
AnotherLocalMom September 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I think what we can all agree on is, first, that the district needs to give us all the information, the pros and cons of all the issues. I went on the website and read the proposal for this, and many of the concerns that were brought up at the meeting by the woman everybody's talking about are in the proposal. Yet, Dr. Ring didn't geel the need to talk about any of them--only the advantages! Secone, there can't possibley be anyone out there who doesn't support the right of everyone expressing their opinion. If there is, then they're the ones that should leave--this country!!
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Zack Modine April 29, 2013 at 07:45 PM
As a student athlete at Rocky Point, I feel like I have to say we desperately NEED this new track and field.

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