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Should Rocky Point Schools Spend $1M of Capital Reserves on AstroTurf?

Presentation on capital reserve projects includes synthetic turf, track restoration and reconstruction of instructional laboratories.

The Rocky Point School District recently held a community forum to introduce proposed capital projects, including the hotly debated topic of installing synthetic turf to the High School football field.

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 reconstruciton of instructional laboratories.

According to the presentation, all proposed projects, if approved by the Board of Education and voters, will be funded through the District’s Capital Projects Reserve Fund. The funding would not result in an increase in property taxes related, and if constructed as proposed, 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.

Arguments have been made both for and against the projects, specifically the astroturf. Supporters argue that it is a matter of safety for student athletes, while opponents feel that the money could either be better spent or shouldn't be spent at all. The powerpoint presentation and a turf field "fact sheet" are attached above.

What do you think of the proposed projects? Should the capital reserves be spent on these projects, on other projects or not at all at this time? Tell us in the comments below.

daj September 19, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Good bit of info on the link. Injuries are on the rise from the astro turf. Pro players prefer the real grass fields less injuries. http://turf.uark.edu/turfhelp/archives/021109.html RP doesn't need to keep up with the Joneses.
Justin Time September 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Go for it! If it isnt spent how can you get more next budget?? Budgets are passed every year anyway, think of all the jobs this project will create! The cost will exceed the estimate anyway, so, taxpayers, beware of next year's increase in budget!
chrisfred97 September 19, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I think the turf is bad for the kids knees - shouldn't we use the capital reserves for the upkeep of our buildings, etc. Also do we know the upkeep costs behind this installation - might be a good deal now but - what happens in 10 years from know and repairs need to be made, etc.
Ace Frehley September 19, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Rocky Point's football team sucks anyway. Why waist the money... I'm just saying..
DSmiley15 September 19, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I say upgrade the instructional laboratories that actually benefit our children's future and keep the real grass.
Mommy Roe September 19, 2012 at 03:10 PM
There are only three instructional labs left to do. The other seven have already been done.
LI Mom September 19, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I was unable to attend the meeting, but have heard from several that were there that it was rather onesided. I thought they were supposed to share grass vs. turf cost analysis and not just turf "turf is better" It pays to do some research into this, just make sure you don't check out turf company websites, obviously they are trying to sell their product. There are health and environmental concerns with turf. No one seems to think about the cost of removing it when it ends it's lifespan - which I've heard 8-10 years, but now have been reading closer to 12-15 for the newer kinds. The turf itself isn't as bad as the base, which is made of recycled tires. I've read once you've gone turf you can't go back to grass, well not until the entire site has been remediated from the toxins left behind, as the grass won't grow on it. Turf companies even come out and say that a con of turf is heat, an average of 30 degrees hotter on a sunny day and often more. That makes for 115-120 on a warm summer day, the football team already practices at crazy hours, what are they going to change it to - overnight?
mary kingston September 19, 2012 at 04:58 PM
That wasn't nice Ace.
KevinB September 19, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I'm w/ you, forget about the cost for one moment, unless there have been improvements that I dont know about, any synthetic surface puts more stress on the knees and other leg parts. STAY W/ NATURAL GRASS, your children will walk better in 20 years.
Sarah Frampton September 19, 2012 at 08:26 PM
The District’s Capital Projects Reserve Fund should not be used at this time, especially not on fake grass. If anything it should be spent for the reconstruciton of instructional labs. Where do they come up with the ideas of spending tax payers money?
Isabella September 19, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Seriously? It will always cost us something. they are (he is) taking advantage of the fact we always seem to pass the budget. when somehting is presented it means both sides are represented and not ..we should do this because look at all these positive aspects. there are 2 sides to everything! im quite disgusted. ring is to retire in a few years before we see repercussions of this project yet will be around for the accolades. he just wants to go out with a bang and set up next sup. for failure.
AnotherLocalMom September 19, 2012 at 11:25 PM
I was at this meeting that was supposed to be a forum for the community, and the more I think about it the angrier I get. The meeting was run by Dr. Ring. Mr. Nofi, the board president, wasn't there and it seems to me that he should have been the one running the meeting. Who's in charge? At least three of the "supporters" who spoke were board members! Scott Reh, who's on the board and been trying to get the turf for years, went up several times. So was this really a forum to hear what the community thinks or a way for board members that support this to express their views from the floor? I think the latter! I realize they're part of the community too, but I'm not sure it's appropriate for them to use their position to push through their agenda. Their personal views are one thing, but in their capacity as board members shouldn't they at least appear that they're willing to see all sides?
Justin Time September 20, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Who cares about the kids knees? Its the vibe from having something that other schools dont have! Who cares what it costs! Think about the prestigue it will give to the school and "Educators"..GO FOR IT Money is spent on useless projects, why should this be an exception!
Respect Everyone September 20, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Mr. Reh was horribly inappropriate in the way he spoke to the residents who had the courage to speak up. He bullied people and mocked them for questioning the wisdom of spending a million dollars on astroturf. He loaded the audience with teams of kids (who jeered anyone who opposed the plan) and invited his friends who coach (or are athletic directors) to speak at the meeting. It was very well orchestrated. Dr. Ring works for the Board of Ed, and therefore Mr. Reh. He was in a tough spot. They can fire him, or not renew him. I'm not sure what Dr. Ring really thinks about all of this. I do wish he had presented both sides of the proposal fairly though. The community deserves that.
daj September 20, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Reh has always been full of himself. Needs to stay in Mt. Sinai, but little does he know they are getting tired of him there too.
Gary B. September 20, 2012 at 02:29 PM
From an RP Alum point of view (living outside the district) it seems the cost outweighs the benefits to the District aka the students. Athletes would be the recipients of this improvement to an already beautiful complex. Would fan support and morale improve THAT much to justify the cost? What educational improvements could be made to benefit most of the students, not just the select few who play sports? Seems this is a bit narrow minded, even from an RP perspective.
Gary B. September 20, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I sense sarcasm... nice JT.
Gary B. September 20, 2012 at 02:33 PM
...And is anyone concerned as to how much money is in the 'reserve' fund if they're willing to spend $2mm+ on improvements that are bound to have overages. How high are your taxes?
Sandra September 20, 2012 at 03:33 PM
It is a runaway train in Rocky Point with the tax payers money. More emphasis should be put on education. How many graduates attend a 4 year college?
Anton September 20, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Just another example of how the priorities in this country are screwed up. I'm sure there must be a better way to spend this money on bettering the education of the students. What company would install the astroturf if this is improved? Someone should look into who will profit, and if there is a relationship with anyone on the school board.
Rich Arleo (Editor) September 20, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Ernestine - Point taken. My word choice could have been better. I made the change above. It wasn't my intent to offend either side.
Rich Arleo (Editor) September 20, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Yes, those interested can find Bea Ruberto's blog here - http://millerplace-rockypoint.patch.com/blog_posts/rocky-point-school-district-wants-astroturf
Justin Time September 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Better spend it...Use it or lose it. Ask for a bigger reserve next year so fun things can be added for all the "Students"
Jill Longisland September 23, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Fake grass? How about educating the students? Here are some interesting figures taken from Newsday, April 6, 2012: Earning Regents exams 35%; earning Advanced Diplomas: 33%; graduating from High School: 85%. All figures below our neighboring districts. Wait, it gets better (or worse) depending on your appreciation of sarcasm: passing Regents Algebra with an 85% - 16%; passing Regents Geometry with 85% - 28%; Passing Trigonomety with 85% - 12%. The figures for the lower grades are also less than impressive, but you get the point. Are our children less intelligent than other children or are we doing a poorer job in reaching the kids? How about spending some more money on hiring teachers, on highering teacher aides to help the slower children catch up, and encourage them to keep on trying and not give up, how about some ESL teachers to help the growing Hispanic population. How about some Social Workers to help the students. How about Dr. Ring proposes to hire some maintenace people to cut the grass and take care of the grounds. Remember a few years ago he wanted to charge parents a fee so the children could attend assemblies, by calling them field trips? I say, this man has his priorities wrong - his job is to educated students first. They don't need fake grass, they need teachers and whatever it takes to help and motivate students to succeed.
Bea Ruberto September 23, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Please go to the board meeting Monday night, 7PM, at the Caraseti school. These blogs are a grea way to keep the conversation going, which is important, but the board needs to hear our views at the meetings.
Stacy Golik-King September 24, 2012 at 07:27 PM
?
Stacy Golik-King September 24, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Ok the easiest way to make everyone understand...... .The money is in the budget. There will be no increase to your taxes. The budget is passed for a reason and put into all different areas for different uses. Increasing the modernization of our schools has funds allocated for use. The state reimburses modernization at 70%. The job will only cost about a third when all is said and done. OK ill ask you a question........ You want a new refrigeration for the kitchen the electric company says if you buy this efficient one for a $1000 we will give you back $700 dollars of your thousand Would you buy the refrigeration? Its a NO BRAINIER people keeping up with the times if we don't modernize as years go on the fixing or replacing of things cost will far supersede the expense now. And Really a 70% REIMBURSEMENT!!!!!!
Respect Everyone September 24, 2012 at 08:25 PM
We're the ones paying NY State taxes so that districts can have astroturf reimbursed at 70%. It's indirectly coming out of our pockets. If we're going to spend on capital improvements, let's spend it on more pressing needs - ask the parents, custodians, principals, maintenance workers, etc. instead of being bullied into a fancy field we don't need.
Bea Ruberto September 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM
Stacy Golick-King, you're assuming that getting the turf is the only way to go. Yes, if that were the case, you're right. But since we never got all the data, and we still don't, then your assessment doesn't make sense. It's like saying let's buy something we don't know if we really need because we'll get a 70% rebate. I don't think anybody with common sense would do that. At the "community" forum about the proposition to install the synthetic turf there was a lot said about all the advantages over grass and nothing said about the disadvantages. Here are some of the facts brought up last night taken directly from the District's fact sheet: At the firum it was stated that heat stress is not a problem: From the District fact sheet: “NYS Department of Health is unaware of any studies that have examined the role of artificial turf in contributing to heat stress.” So they really know! We didn't hear this from them. At the forum it was stated here that there are less injuries on artificial turf: From the fact sheet: “Studies concluded that there were no major differences in overall injury rates between natural and synthetic turf.”
Bea Ruberto September 25, 2012 at 10:29 AM
At the forum it was stated that there is less chance of infection on artificial turf: From the fact sheet: “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.” At the forum it was statedthat installing the artificial turf would allow for 24/7 use of the field. From the Fact Sheet: “Permitted use for synthetic turf field is 28 percent higher than for natural grass fields.” That doesn’t sound like 24/7 use. When these were brought up last night, Mr. Nofi's only answer was that he wasn't at the meeting and therefore had no commnet. No one else on the board responded to any of this. When I asked why, during the last budget process, rather than putting money aside to now use for the syntehtic turf they didn't use it to stay under the cap--Why they told us that they would need to cut kindergarden if we didn't pass the budget presented. This is what I was told. 1. Using it for kindergarden is a recurring expense whereas using it for the turf is a one-time expense--Again, this makes sense if the turf is a better way to go. 2. The funds are transferred after the budget is voted on--This doesn't make sense. The funds are transferred in June, one month after the budget vote, and they certainly knew then that they had the money. Other districts made changes to their budgets up to the time of the vote in order to work with the needs of the community.

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