Carney gets to set date for bond vote

The Riverhead school board voted Tuesday night to allow Superintendent Nancy Carney to set a date for the public to vote on a multimillion-dollar bond proposal to improve the district’s aging infrastructure.

The resolution also allows Ms. Carney to move forward with filing the paperwork necessary to secure the bond and directs the district to schedule the vote for “prior” to Sept. 30. Ms. Carney said the vote must be held by that date only if the state awards Riverhead a $5 million grant to subsidize interest payments on the bond.

The district plans to apply for the grant through the Qualified School Construction Bonds program.

The application deadline is May 6 and, under state guidelines, the bond vote date must be scheduled for sometime before Sept. 30 in order to be eligible, school officials said Tuesday afternoon.

“This is a very competitive program and the district would only be obliged to have the vote prior to Sept. 30, 2011 if we were awarded the grant,” Ms. Carney told the News-Review.

The board voted 5-0 in favor of the resolution. Board members Timothy Griffing Jr. and Angela DeVito were absent.

A committee of community members, teachers and administrators has been meeting monthly since last fall to devise a new plan to undertake capital improvements at the district’s buildings and grounds. Earlier this month, Ms. Carney and an architectural and engineering firm unveiled an $80 million plan that included additions to the high school, Roanoke Avenue Elementary, Riley Avenue Elementary and the middle school, among other upgrades.

The committee will officially recommend a plan to the school board in May. The board will then decide whether or not to adopt the plan as-is, or to make changes.

The committee will meet May 19 before formally presenting the proposal to the school board.

Last February, voters overwhelmingly rejected a $123 million bond proposal.

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