The Bellmore-Merrick Central District’s $49.89 million bond proposal to renovate the district’s five schools passed a public referendum on Monday with 56 percent of the vote, according to district officials.
The final tally was 3,441 yes votes to 2,717 no votes. The Central District comprises Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle schools and Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham high schools.
Susan Schwartz of Merrick, the Central District Board of Education president, said, “We are very, very pleased. The community really supported” the bond. “We can do a lot of good things.”
Schwartz had high praise for Bellmore-Merrick’s new superintendent, John DeTommaso, who, with the board, proposed the bond only weeks after assuming the superintendent’s post last summer. “We started off on the right foot with John DeTommaso,” Schwartz said, “and he’s just taking our district to new heights.
“Bellmore-Merrick has always had a good education,” Schwartz continued, “and now we’re doing everything we can to enhance it and make it that much better.”
Schwartz said the Board of Education will meet with the district’s architects at this Wednesday’s board meeting to discuss the next steps in Bellmore-Merrick’s capital plan. All renovation blueprints will require approval by the state Department of Education.
A little more than half of the bond amount — $26.89 million — will be returned to the school district in state building aid, which Bellmore-Merrick will receive over the bond’s 15-year life.
The bond will cost local taxpayers $104 per year, or $8.67 per month. Work will likely begin next summer, if all goes as planned, and most of the renovations will be done over the next three summers.
The bond proposal, prepared by BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers of Patchogue, includes $6.5 million for new artificial-turf athletic fields, $6 million for new bathrooms and $5 million for new science laboratories at all five schools, as well as monies for renovated music, art, faculty and guidance rooms, refinished gym floors, kitchen ceiling and lighting replacement, removal of vinyl asbestos titles, masonry work, new doors where needed, and air-conditioning units in all classrooms and auditoriums.