School District Bond Proposal Goes to Vote on Tuesday

School board looking to help fix buildings, facilities for future generations.

Rowe Hall would see a stage extension and remodeling inside. Credit: Scott Moore
Rowe Hall would see a stage extension and remodeling inside. Credit: Scott Moore
The Babylon School District bond proposal will go to a public vote tomorrow as the school board asks the public to accept a $26.6 million major facilities improvement plan.

The district will hold a special district meeting for the vote on the proposed bond on December 10 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Babylon Memorial Grade School.

The plan, which has been heavily discussed for the past six to nine months at school board meetings, includes major upgrades to the district's three aging buildings including new roofing, redesigned and repurposed interior rooms, new cafeterias, new athletic fields and more.

A bond resolution such as can legally only be brought up once every five years – the last attempt brought up by the district failed. Board members have noted that failure left the district with the ability only to patch up some of the buildings' problems rather than completely correct them.

"For me, this has been a seven year project," said Roger Katz, the board president and only member to have served during the previous bond referendum vote in 2006-2007, during the project's full unveiling in October. "Ultimately, this has to be a community decision for what's done for the district."

The work for the project would be overseen by BBS Architecture of Patchogue, which has handled multiple district's revitalization and rebuilding efforts including those in Bay Shore and Southampton.

Under the most recent proposal, the average household in Babylon Village would owe roughly $2 a month in the first year of the bond increasing to $25.41 a month throughout the majority of the bond's term.

The district would be reimbursed, according to board members, to roughly 46.3 percent of the funds through New York State building aid.

During a recent media tour of the district buildings given to Patch, district officials displayed the issues with facilities, including the nearly 100 year old original portions of the high school – broken lockers, old equipment, a roof that requires replacing and athletic fields that have been worn down by major use.

(Some of the documented issues encountered along the tour have been included in a photo gallery above.)

"We need this stuff done, putting it off doesn't help us," Katz said during the October meeting. "In my opinion, waiting any longer is just not safe."

"The work needs to be done," echoed trustee Dominic Bencivenga at the same meeting. "Financially, the money is in our favor... and community support is critical. It’s time." 

We will have the results of the bond proposal vote tomorrow night on Patch.


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