In the Feb. 13 article in the Times Beacon Record “Miller Place bond will go up for vote next month,” the Miller Place School District Board of Education president is quoted as claiming that the $7.5-million bond that is being put to vote on March 24 and features $1.7 million in football stadium turf and lighting is, to use a mixed metaphor, “a home run for the district.”
Many within the community beg to differ regarding his assertion.
Our difference arises primarily due to one issue: The fact that this bond is a political bundle of necessary projects, such as security upgrades and maintenance, with the unnecessary — specifically $1.7 million in artificial turf and stadium lighting that were already rejected by 68 percent of the voters in March 2010.
The bundling of projects within this bond is an obvious ploy by its proponents to put undue pressure onto voters who know that the MPSD needs security upgrades and maintenance, but who do not want turf and lights and thus do not want to spend $1.7 million more for them in a bond.
Is it the bond proponents’ hope that by bundling turf and lights with security upgrades and maintenance, voters will buy the whole package out of fear that there is no other way to accomplish those necessary security upgrades and maintenance?
There is another way, and that is by voting down this bond proposal on March 24 and then demanding that the MPSD BOE put a security-and-maintenance-only bond on the ballot in May, when we vote on the budget and BOE candidates.
If the MPSD had provided the community with enough information and time for comments regarding the components and cost of its proposed bond, then the BOE would have gotten the message that its political bundling is unacceptable and, as a result, that the bond’s cost is too high. But, once again in the history of the MPSD bond-proposal packaging, there was only the facade of information and community involvement.
While this bond proposal was rushed so that it could be put for a vote in March, the community never got a clear answer to the question of whether the roofs must be replaced or can be just repaired, or why are we rushing with replacing the roofs now, not a few years from now.
More importantly, the entire MPSD district was only notified of the pend- ing bond proposal by direct mail the weekend before the Wednesday, Jan. 29, BOE meeting. Despite the modest community attendance at that meeting, the Board a week later approved the bond by a vote of 4-1. And, to add insult to injury, only after the bond’s approval was the full financial and tax impact of this proposed bond provided in writing to the community.
Those who want football stadium turf and lights at a cost of $1.7 million may call the $7.5-million bond proposal a “home run,” but many in the community disagree: The March 24 bond proposal is neither a touchdown nor a home run. So we say vote “no” and demand a new security-and-maintenance-only bond to be put before us for a vote in May.