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$7.5M Bond is Neither a Home Run Nor a Touchdown

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.

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.

Ernestine Franco March 09, 2014 at 09:36 AM
The one option the BOE has left voters with is to vote this bond down. And then residents need to pressure the Board to do the needed maintence/security needs. So, let your voice be heard. And I had another question: One of the maintence items is new roofs on all the school buildings: Well since the buildings were not all built at the same time, why do they need new roofs at the same time? Of, yes, that is becasuethe BOE solar panels installed on ALL the school buildings. So, even though they did take that wish list ietm out of this bond, rest assured you will see it resurface.
Wlodek March 09, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Redawn1. Is there a research showing that "This will also increase home values."? I hear such assertions a lot, in fact very often when a project is proposed the above argument is used but has never been demonstrated. A simple calculation tells me that since the real estate taxes are part of the loan calculation, the higher the the taxes the less of a house one can buy in general. Even though it is true that many home buyers look for nice athletic facilities, that does not mean that all of them do nor that they are in majority. I know many who are interested in AP courses and good academic curriculum mostly and are willing to pay premium taxes for that. Many simply look for affordable taxes. It is also known that high real estate taxes, driven mostly by our school taxes, are causing people to move off Long Island, including young families. The ripple effect of which is that families separate, grandparents are not where their grandchildren are. So there are many reasons why in order to preserve the community a balance between affordable taxes and good education needs to be kept. Sadly this bond proposal does not help that.
Frank Esposito March 10, 2014 at 06:53 AM
Wlodek, it looks like we are losing micro local focus at the Patch. Have you noticed the globs of "trending" news from other patch's and sudden huge influx of user names that appear new to us? Important local pieces like your blog here are getting buried in the mix. AOL (majority patch holder) pretty much bailed on micro local news concept and sold out to outside concern. One very upsetting thing is most of the trending news is of the "if it bleeds it leads" type of news. Hale Global running the show now. Lets hope this is just growing pains for them.
Captain Howard Hawrey March 10, 2014 at 10:09 PM
Though it is nice to see some familiar names posting about this very relevant topic to our community it is quite apparent that the Patch has become irrelevant to the community regarding the reporting of local issues. The change to the "new format" and the leaving of Rich Arleo as our editor really hurt the Patch and it's connection to the Miller Place - Rocky Point residents. It's a shame. The Patch has become difficult to navigate around and to write Blogs. I've just about given up. See you all during School Budget season. That's the only time anyone seems to care about the Patch.

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