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Mar 12, 2018 2:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Quogue Residents Will Head To Polls On March 21 To Decide Fate Of $8.4 Million School Bond

East Quogue Elementary. FILE PHOTO
Mar 13, 2018 3:57 PM

East Quogue residents are scheduled to vote next week on a $8.4 million bond that, if approved, would fund an assortment of upgrades to the district’s elementary school.

Eligible district residents can head to the polls between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21, in the Central Avenue school’s gymnasium.

Board of Education President Chris Hudson will announce the results of the vote at that evening’s board meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the school cafetorium.

The 20-year bond calls for the replacement of the school’s 2,500-square-foot portable trailer, which dates back to the 1950s, with a 4,700-square-foot permanent structure. Other updates include installing a security vestibule in the main lobby, repaving the parking lot, as well as renovating classrooms, bathrooms and the gymnasium.

Bruce Singer, East Quogue’s business administrator, has said that the work can be completed without raising taxes because the district expects to retire a $6.9 million bond in December 2018 that was used to construct the north wing of the school in 1999.

If it finishes paying off the earlier bond without accumulating any additional debt, the district will no longer qualify for a $500,000 exemption, according to School Superintendent Robert Long. He explained that districts benefit when they have debt as they are then allowed certain exemptions that permit them to increase spending, with the state compensating for the costs.

East Quogue officials hosted a pair of school tours, one in late February and the most recent on Saturday, March 10, allowing residents to view the school’s needs firsthand. Mr. Long said on Monday that fewer than a half dozen people attended each event; however, he said those who took the tours said they were pleased with the district’s vision.

“They were able to see firsthand the reason that we’re proposing this work,” Mr. Long said. “If you put a pen on the floor, it actually rolls downhill toward the direction the [portable] is sinking.”

If the bond fails, the board reserves the option of putting it up a second time, though that must be done within 90 days of the initial rejection, according to John Grillo, the architect for the project. Also, the plans cannot be altered.

Mr. Hudson said he and his fellow board members are eager for next week’s bond vote. He also said they have not yet decided if they would put up the bond for a second vote should it fail on March 21.

“At this point, we’ve done all we can do, and we look forward to hearing the community’s decision,” Mr. Long said.

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