Schools seek public input for expansion

Anyone in the community with an opinion on expanding and improving the Riverhead School District’s facilities can come and join the conversation when the district’s first “bond committee” meeting is held next Thursday in the high school library at 6:30 p.m..

The district agreed to form the committee after residents overwhelming voted down a bond issue to pay for a $123 million expansion project in February, Superintendent Nancy Carney said. The bill would have been paid for with taxpayer money over 23 years.

Residents will most likely vote on a revised project this spring, Ms. Carney said, adding she hoped to keep the process transparent and to involve the community every step of the way.

“We want to get input from community members and as many people as possible,” Ms. Carney said of the bond committee.

The superintendent said about 35 people including teachers, administrators and community members have expressed an interest in joining the committee so far. She said that group will most likely be divided into three smaller groups. How often they will meet will be decided after the first meeting.

Anyone interested in joining the committee can contact Ms. Carney at 369-6717 or at [email protected].

“What we plan on doing is having a link on our website and posting the minutes” of the bond committee meetings, she said, “leaving a place for people to add their input and comment and keeping people informed.”

The original proposal called for 53 additional classrooms and included major renovations in every building, as well as new ballfields at the district’s main campus north of Pulaski Street. The Roanoke Avenue school would have been converted into administrative offices.

At that time, school officials said the construction would have raised property taxes from $200 to $250 a year over 23 years for a property valued at about $400,000.

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