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Rocky Point Approves Referendum to put Capital Reserve Projects to Vote

Three projects, to be put up as one vote, include a synthetic turf field and improvements to the track and instructional laboratories.

The Rocky Point Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved a referendum to put one proposal for three capital reserve projects up for vote in a public election on Nov. 19.

The estimated project costs include $1,010,000 for the replacement of the grass field with synthetic turf, $680,000 for the reconstruction of the existing track and $300,000 for the reconstruction of instructional laboratories. The projects would be submitted for building aid reimbursement from NYS at approximately 70 percent of the actual project costs. Reimbursement could potentially reduce the net cost to $597,000.

When a question of whether or not the projects could be proposed separately was raised, the board explained that building aid would not be received if the outdoor projects were not tied to indoor improvements.

“If we are going to do outside improvements, which are called site improvements, we need to have something done inside the building in order to get state aid,” Ring said. “Something outside would have to be linked to something inside. It couldn’t be a three-part vote unless it was noted that the other two parts can’t pass without the first passing.”

Board president Michael Nofi said the board made the final decision to put all three together. At the meeting, community members again voiced differing opinions on the matter.

“The one concern that I have is we should look at maybe refurbishing the bathrooms,” said Jennifer Intravaia. “A lot of them have not been updated since I went to high school here, which is a very long time ago. Not that I’m against artificial turf, I think we have to look at the actual needs in the school. My concern is the cost of the turf may eventually be pushed to the taxpayers.”

Ring mentioned that bathrooms have been worked on after a referendum approved in 2011, and they will continue to be worked on. With regards to future costs of the turf being put on the taxpayers, board vice president Diane Burke assured community members that all aid received would be put back into the reserves so that would not be the case.

“If the project passes and turf goes in, we know down the road in 10-15 years there’s going to be another expense to again improve [the turf],” she explained. “We have spoken to the administration and said that if this project gets passed, we want that money that’s coming back in aid to go back in to the capital reserve fund so that it’s not a hit on the taxpayer in 10-15 years when that turf needs to be replaced.”

Joe Spallina, who has been a coach at Rocky Point, Stony Brook University and with Major League Lacrosse, was vocal in his support for the turf field.

“I can tell you personally having been an athlete on that field and then for years being a phys-ed teacher on that field, the condition of the stadium field used to be the pride and joy of this community but it has deteriorated greatly,” he said. “How bad has it gotten the last five years? A lot worse, and with that being said…how bad is it going to get in the next five years? When you put those things together you’re going to have a situation where the field is going to become a major issue.

“The facility at Rocky Point, it’s not good enough for my kids and honestly, it’s not good enough for anyone in this room’s kids and it’s a situation that’s only going to get worse. I think this can help bring pride back into Rocky Point.”

If approved, construction would begin on June 22, 2013 and the planned completion date for all three projects would be Aug. 30 of next year.

“This is a decision for the community to make and we look forward to them making it,” he said. “Whatever the community decision is, whether it be for or against, we as a board will execute on their wishes to the best of our ability.”

AnotherLocalMom September 26, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Sorry for all the spelling mistakes, but I'm getting so angry about this! To clarify, the propositions can be linked and still be refundable.
RP4Life September 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM
...... They didn't decide just to do it. They did the responsible thing and will let the community decide yes or no, to spend the taxpayers money. The fact that you claimed to be there at the meeting and missed key informations means that you need to spend less time complaining and more time actually listening to the people speaking. There is no comeback that you can post , you lied about what was said, period. You and some others are actually , knowingly, misleading and twisting what is happening. What really has happened is the board of education listening to all the "groups" and addressing it without favoritism the way they are supposed to. Additionally they grouped things together in a way that means that we will get maximum return for our dollars. Voting in three separate pieces is an outright gamble because a new track has to be installed anyway, without choice. Its been deemed unusable by Section 11- Thats 680,000 right there. RP would not get aid unless the inside project ,the Science labs, were also attached. If it was put up to a vote and the classrooms did not pass we would be stuck with 680,000 dollar bill as opposed to a 595,000 for all three projects including the Turf field. The bottom line is that the Board of Education is being fiscally responsible while you and your "peaNUT gallery" are irresponsibly posting rants on a public forum with no foundation in reality.
LI Mom September 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Turf is not exactly environmentally friendly.....I thought so too until I looked into it. The base is made of recycled tires and there are all sorts of contaminates in it. Once you go turf you can't go back to grass as it will not grown w/o a costly remediation to get rid of the contaminates in the soil. Turf also has annual upkeep costs. I originally thought it was a no brainier to get it, until I looked further into it. Turf also can easily reach temps of 120 in the summer and 160-190 is not unheard of on a particularly warm sunny day. Why can't we vote turf or grass and THEN bundle it with the labs to get $ back from the state as a indoor/outdoor project?
RP4Life September 26, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Did they lie or were you not told ? I am not really sure you even know what you mean because you are waffling back and forth ... before you said they lied , now you say you weren't told, which is it....They NEVER said you can't do it that .I respect you being able to disagree but to say that they lied or didn't say the truth is wrong. They stated you could do things that way but they chose to do it this way.. Bottom line this is AMERICA you get to say whatever you want choices get put to a vote,it's as fair as fair can be...
LI Mom September 26, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I feel your comments to Local Mom are out of hand. Since the track must be done, why can't that be the "outside" site improvement while the labs are the "inside" capital improvement they both need to be done anyway. Personally, I think they just don't want to do the bathrooms to discourage the kids from using them. Sure I read somewhere repairing/updating the kids bathrooms wouldn't benefit ALL - really but ALL kids get to use the turf field? I think not. I digress now, but make the teachers use the kids bathrooms, either the ones within the 1st grade classrooms or the main bathrooms by the gym and see how they like not having a door and hand dryers that are falling off the wall. Betcha fixing them would become a big contract issue for them.
RP Taxpayer September 26, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Reimbursement by the State of NY is not a guarantee in these economic times. So, what happens if we are not reimbursed? Where is the money going to come from to replensish the Capital Reserve Fund? Will we be "piercing the tax cap" again in May to replenish the fund? Or will we just threaten academics, kindergarten, and teacher aides again?
RP Taxpayer September 26, 2012 at 05:22 PM
It is all manipulating....bottom line, no matter how you twist or turn it, the taxpayers will pay for these improvements in May at budget time.
MatthewD September 26, 2012 at 05:24 PM
RPlife, I wasn't there but if they didn't give all the inforamtion that's a lie by omission. If they said that the vote needed to be a single proposition in order to be refunded, that's an out and out lie. I remember when this happened in Miller Place. They did exactly what's being talked about here. They linked building renovations to installation of turf--but they did it so the community could vote on each of two propositions. It was done exactly as localMom said. And, LocalMom, I understand your frustration. RPLife is only listening to what she's been told by the district. We all have to stop doing that. We cannot allow business as usual. And I'm with the comment above. Let's vote it down if they don't want to give us the choice.
RP4Life September 26, 2012 at 05:30 PM
LI Mom- seriously ? Out of hand? DID YOU READ????? Here I cut and pasted from the above article. Come on people I understand I am new to the blog but really???? Does anyone read or listen before they comment? “The one concern that I have is we should look at maybe refurbishing the bathrooms,” said Jennifer Intravaia. “A lot of them have not been updated since I went to high school here, which is a very long time ago. Not that I’m against artificial turf, I think we have to look at the actual needs in the school. My concern is the cost of the turf may eventually be pushed to the taxpayers.” Ring mentioned that bathrooms have been worked on after a referendum approved in 2011, and they will continue to be worked on RP Taxpayer you are wrong. Reimbursement is guaranteed when a project is submitted and approved. The non guaranteed monies are referred to as " estimated' when talking about the budget and state and national aid monies in regards to school budgets... two different animals.
RP4Life September 26, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Matt D , I WAS there and they didn't omit anything. That is my point. They( The Board) stated the ways it could be done and the way they chose to present it and why. The articles( not that anyone here seemingly reads ) also state as much. My single point is don't call people liars when they in fact did not lie. It's really a simple rule that my husband and I have tried to teach our children and now our grandchildren. I just don't think that to actually attack a persons credibility , to call them a liar on a blog is a acceptable thing to do when they did not lie. No if, ands or buts about it.......You each have a vote, so get out and vote and I will continue to support this great community the way I see fit.
LI Mom September 26, 2012 at 06:04 PM
This is what is out of hand, calling her the PeaNUT gallery, think what you want, but no reason to name call. Your quote: "RP would not get aid unless the inside project ,the Science labs, were also attached. If it was put up to a vote and the classrooms did not pass we would be stuck with 680,000 dollar bill as opposed to a 595,000 for all three projects including the Turf field. The bottom line is that the Board of Education is being fiscally responsible while you and your "peaNUT gallery" are irresponsibly posting rants on a public forum with no foundation in reality." Also you mention having to "add the lab work" to the turf to get reimbursed....so far I haven't heard anyone complain about doing the labs, it's more like they purposely didn't finish the labs, so they would have something to add as a capital improvement project to help get the turf. I still don't understand why not the track and the labs for now. I've never voted anything down in the budget, etc. before and yes, I voted to get this capital improvement pot of money - which I felt was forward thinking. Never did I think I would be forced to pay $680,000 for a turf field just so 3 science labs could get upgraded for $300,000. Maybe if the cost of turf wasn't more than twice the price of what really needs to get done I could vote for it, instead guess I will vote it down and hope my kids get the science classes in a lab that has already been updated.
Mercurio September 26, 2012 at 07:02 PM
i also was there and the woman who was trying to understand how this fund works ended with asking the board to put this up as three popositions. The answer she got is that it couldn't be done in order to get the 70% back. She wasn't told it could be done but the board decided not to--she was told it couldn't be done if they wanted to get the money back. I certainly walked out of there thinking it could not be done. Now we find out what happened at Miller Place. If this isn't lying I don't know what it is. If that's not the case, if they're not purposely misleading us, then perhaps the board doesn't know that the projects could be linked in a way to allow us to vote on each item separately--and how sad is that?
Wlodek September 26, 2012 at 07:06 PM
The title of this article is unfortunate. Rocky Point did not approve anything. It was the (irresponsible) BOE of the Rocky Point School District which approved construction projects for a vote.
Robin Senholzi September 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM
It is not more environmentally friendly . That field is less than a quarter of a mile from the pine barrens. There are many toxic chemicals in artificial grass . the padding has potentially dangerous amounts of lead, zinc and toxic metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium and selenium. This leaches into the groundwater and contibutes to the greenhouse effect. Think about it our water comes from the pine barrens. Do you want your family poisoned? This info comes from the Environment and Human health, Inc.Levels of zinc surrounding field like this were found to be inordinately high. This leads to cardiovscular damage. The CDC consistantly recommends elimination of all non-essential uses of lead because of potential health hazards to children -combination of age, weathering , exposure to sunlight and wear and tear can cause dust containing lead to be released from well used fields. A 2003 study of MRSA among the St. Louis footbal players found 8 MRSA infections beginning at turf burn sites among their players. Medical experts found staph and other bacteria can survive on the plastic used to make turf blades. Does this sound environmentally safe to you? Do you want your children exposed to this?
Robin Senholzi September 26, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Let's all keep in mind that it's really our children's Safety at sake which is even more important than the lying. Field Turf who is the largest artificial turf manufacurer in N. America. They sell lead free turf but only if a community asks for a custom made field. Are we getting a custom made field? Keep in mind that lead is linked to severe mental retardation, stunted growth and death. Is this what you want for your child? Jackie Lombardi who is a member of the Sierra National Toxic Committee says artificial turf contains toxic chemicals associated with asthma, learning disabilities and cancer. There are many chemicals in synthetic grass and we don't know what the effects are going to be on the children's health and also the groundwater. Artificial Fields drain after heavy rains and the runnoff leaches into the groundwater znd contaminates a communities ground drinking water. Once artificial turf needs to be replaced, it must be replaced with artificial turf because it kills an living organism in the subsoil.
Robin Senholzi September 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Nearly 300 football players were infected with MRSA in a 2 year period.According to the US center of Disease Control , this is a rate of 517 for every 100,000 players. Do you want your child to be one of the 517? MRSA kills! Artificial turf clings to bacteria longer than grass opening the body up to infection.Artificial turf absorbs heat extremely quickly and raises the surface temp tp dangerous levels and causes heat illness. How many kids has LI lost during football workouts at the end of the summer? If the air temp is 96 Degrees the tuf temp could get as high as 120 degrees. Artificial fields need to behosed down to keep it cool ! Daytime games will need to be rescheduled to night games which now we are pays for artificial lighting besides.
RP Taxpayer September 27, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Well, that should be enough to make everyone think twice! "Natural" grass, "Artificial" turf... artificial usually equals chemicals.
Bea Ruberto September 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Mercurio, I'm the person who asked questions about the process. And what you said is exactly what happened. The last comment I made was to urge the board to please put the propositions up as three separate ones in order to give the community a fair way to make a choice. The answer I got was it "couldn't" be done for the district to get the reimbursement. I then repeated the question to make sure I understood what they were saying. And again they said it couldn’t be done. I walked out of there thinking just as you did. Then I found out that Miller Place had one proposition for the building renovations, a second for the turf, made passage of the second dependent on passage of the first, and then all pops. that passed would qualify for the reimbursement. Kudos to the MP BOE for giving their community the right to choose. At this point I can only assume that the RP BOE doesn’t believe that we should have the same right. At the community forum, Scott Reh went up several times in support of the turf, so did Diane Burke, and so did Kathleen Heggers. These are all Board members. Michael Nofi wasn’t there, so we know the majority of the board wants the turf.
Ernestine Franco September 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Thanks, Robin, for bringing the discussion back to the health and safety issues. The problem is that neither the Board members nor the supporters of the turf seemed to care about the safety or health of the kids. At the Public Information meeting Board members and supporters kept emphasizing how safe the turf would be. Two women did give a lot of information about the safety and health concerns. The only response one of them got was from Scott Reh, who identified himself as a board member, saying none of her facts were correct and he wondered where she got them.
Ernestine Franco September 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM
At Monday’s BOE meeting, I brought up several points from District’s Fact Sheet stating that NO DEFINITIVE STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE on some of the very same issues. For example (and these are quoted from the fact sheet): “NYS Department of Health is unaware of any studies that have examined the role of artificial turf in contributing to heat stress.” “Studies concluded that there were no major differences in overall injury rates between natural and synthetic turf.” “This possibility [of infection] has not been studied systematically and no definitive statements can be made about the differences in risk between the two surfaces.” No one seemed to care, and the only response I got was from Michael Nofi, who said he had no comment because he wasn't at that meeting. It's beyond me why no on seems to care, especially parents.
MatthewD September 27, 2012 at 04:09 PM
It's sad but they can do this. There's also nothing illegal about not telling us the whole truth. So, what I'm planning on doing is voting no on this proposition, and I urge everyone to do the same. If you're concerned about the labs not being renovated, remember seven have already been renovated. And if this doesn't pass the money will still be there and there's no reason they can't do just the labs after. Then there will still be money left for some of the other building renovations needed that will benefit all the students. In addition, they won't have to put any of the money they probably overbudgeted for this year in this fund and may be able to stay under the cap. This has shown that this board is not willing to be tranparent, so we also need to vote them out.
Jill Longisland September 27, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I will repeat part of what I said yesterday - let's vote them all out - from the Superintendent who seems to care more about toxic fake grass than educating the students so they are better prepared to take their place in the world, to the entire Board who also seem to be more concerned about getting this proposition passed. Please, review all the published scores - our children are not doing very well compared to neighboring districts. Let's vote down this proposition - no fake grass, no toxic waste in the environment, no harm to the children from this stuff. The Board has made misleading statements - they have lost credibility and should lose the trust of the community.
Robin Senholzi September 27, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Everyone needs to pass this info to everyone you know. This is being kept hush, hush except for the people on patch. I have spoken to many people who had no clue that this is going on.
Wlodek September 28, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Bea, Hold your kudos for MPSD for one moment. Let me explain. At the time MPSD had two propositions, of which #1 passed and #2 failed: Proposition #1 Administration Building & HS Classroom Proposition #2 Field Turf & Lights Keep in mind that what the BOE and administration cared most about then was new administration building. At the time of the proposal some were puzzled why one classroom was included in Proposition #1 after MPSD proposed and got approved a $25.4 Million space bond already. I even asked the question during the bond hearings. The one classroom in the Proposition #1 just did not make sense. Now we understand: "...in order to build something outside you need to build something inside..." as explained in Rocky Point. So if MPSD followed what is discussed here there would have been no bundling and three separate propositions: Proposition #1 HS Classroom Proposition #2 Administration Building Proposition #3 Field Turf & Lights One thing is clear: MPSD paid for a classroom that was really not needed in my opinion. Turf and lights were deemed a want not a need by the community. The conclusions regarding the rest are obvious.
Phillip September 28, 2012 at 10:40 AM
Ok, Wlodek. So, they all do it! This however doesn't change what's going on in Rocky Point. The Miller Place proposition read that that prop. 2 (the synthetic turf) was eleigible for state building aid. The only way the turf was linked to the indoor project was that it was dependent on passage of the indoor portion. Son in the case of RP it's still true that it doesn't need to be one vote in order for all of it to be eligivle. All that needs to be done is what was said above--link by making that vote dependent on the renovations of the labs. It may be legal, but it's still manipulation of our right to express our opinion by having a vote that really matters.
Phillip September 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I also agree with a few other commnets. We need to spread the word and we need to vote this down. They can't keep thinking that they can do these sorts of things. We've been critizing earmarks by the government. Isn't that what this is?
AnotherLocalMom September 28, 2012 at 12:38 PM
What we need is a strong grass roots campaign in Rocky Point. I know some of us (I'm one) are afraid to express our opinion publicly, but there's no reason that, through e-mail, talking to people one on one, that we can't let people know about this. I go to the board meetings as aften as I can, mostly because I'm really concerned about the rising costs of our taxes. I still have a child in the district, and I was told by another mother not to speak up because, when she did, it was taken out on her child. I've said this before, during the budget process, that my concern is that my children, one is in college now, won't be able to live here when they graduate. We've lived here all oru lives and I'm looking at my children having to move out at some point because they can't afford housing. There are a lot issues about the current proposition. One are the health issues that th district doesn't seem to even what to look at. The other is that if they deplete this fund they'll have to refund it. Some of it will come form the refund, yes, but soem of it will come from us!
Bea Ruberto September 28, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Wlodek, Thank you for clearing up what actually happened in Miller Place. I didn't realize what their intent was, but as Mercurio says, this doesn't change the objection that some of us have aobut the RP BOE. That they could allow a vote on the three propositions and still link them in a way so that all the props. that pass will be aidable.
Martha Prifte September 28, 2012 at 05:01 PM
When is the RP Community going to wake up. The JAEdgar building has never had new bathrooms put in.The roof leaks when it rains..... This building is a Historical landmark and should be treated as such. Since one of our board members is the athletes director at one of our neighboring districts, he just wants to keep up with the " Jones". Why isn't any of that money being used to offer more courses to our " Special Needs" population???? They to have to go out into the world and keep down a job that would allow these students a successful adult life. ITS NOT ALL ABOUT SPORTS and ADVANCED PLACEMENT programs. Its the Districts job to provide a successful education for the ENTIRE school population. YOU KNOW that money is going to come back and bite taxpayers in the BUTT , somewhere down the line. AND now the BOARD has set the vote up--- if you don't vote for one , you won't get the other!!!!!
HerbertC September 28, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Vote no, no, no, on this! If we don't spend close to $2 million on the turf, then we can fix the labs, the bathrooms, the roof, and maybe still have some left over. Don't be afraid to vote no because you want those labs fixed. That's the part that costs the least. They can be fixed after this is voted down. This community does need to wake up and speak out. Don't let them continue to hold us to hostage!

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