SWR residents to vote on ‘Technology and Track proposition’ Oct. 2

FILE PHOTO | Residents will vote Oct. 2 on a $1.64 million technology and athletic facilities proposition.

[Editor’s Note: The headline in the print version of this story incorrectly stated the date of the vote as Oct. 1.]

Shoreham-Wading River School District residents are being asked to vote next Tuesday, Oct. 2, on what officials are calling a “Technology and Track proposition,” which includes plans to update the district’s computer systems to meet upcoming state testing requirements and work to resurface the high school’s track.

Voting will be held at the high school gym between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Two presentations supporting the proposition took place at Monday night’s regular school board meeting.

The plan, which would cost the school district $1.64 million, requires voter approval but involves no corresponding tax increase for residents, as the district would use prior year state aid money to complete budgeted projects.

At the meeting, technology committee member Anthony DeLouise made a presentation about the vote that gave a breakdown of the $1.64 million.

“The network we have right now is wired,” Mr. DeLouise said, “We do not have any wireless facilities to any great extent.”

About $449,000, he said, the highest cost included in the breakdown, would cover the creation of a districtwide wireless system and any necessary upgrades to conform with upcoming state-mandated testing requirements for the 2013-14 school year.

According to his PowerPoint presentation, 77 percent of classroom computers are more than five years old and run obsolete versions of Windows — like Windows 95 or Windows XP — that are incapable of running the latest educational software or maintaining streaming video.

“Two weeks ago my wife held a book discussion at our house and we were able to get the author to Skype in to us,” he said. “It was tremendous, really very exciting to watch. This is the type of technology we could afford to our students.”

The rest of the technology portion of the proposition breakdown is as follows: $267,000 to virtualize computer labs, $349,000 for classroom computing solutions, $86,000 for Microsoft licensing and $105,000 for Smartboards for classrooms.

Resurfacing and subsurface repairs to high school track would cost $286,000, Mr. DeLouise added.

Students Keith Steinbrecher, a junior, and Matt Gladysz, a sophomore, spoke at the meeting about the track portion of the vote.

The students said in the beginning of their presentation that tracks should be resurfaced every 10 years. The track at the high school has been resurfaced only once since it was built in 1973, they said, and so is a decade overdue at this point.

Waiting to repair the track has already driven repair costs up to $286,000 from $100,000, adding that the cost number stands to increase to $500,000 if the district waits until the underlying concrete completely gives way completely.

As it stands, the students said, the track is only narrowly passing inspection and in addition to complaints from sports officials about faded lines, cracks and uneven surfaces, they said, the condition of the track also presents a risk for injury.

“We can’t run too far into the first lane or we’ll twist our ankles,” Mr. Gladysz said during their presentation. “Soon our track won’t be able to pass inspection. If we put it off until later, we won’t be able to resurface it anymore.”

Nobody present spoke against the proposition, but board president W.J. McGrath supported it after the students completed their presentation.

“This is work that needs to be done and we’re looking to judiciously use prior state aid funds, and to couple that into projects where there’s some level of state aid reimbursement,” Dr. McGrath said, adding money the board receives in reimbursement will go into the general fund to be used to pay for other parts of the project, such as the Microsoft licensing.

“Everything we do is to return money to the district to maintain programs without taking money out of [the taxpayer’s] pockets,” Dr. McGrath added. “We have had an approach in the past to maintain programs at the cost of not maintaining our buildings … We’re at the tipping point, we can’t ignore them anymore.”

[email protected]