NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Taxpayers in Mineola went to the polls to vote inside the very schools that are being considered for the chopping block.
Three historic elementary schools — Meadow Drive in Albertson, Hampton Street in Mineola, and Cross Street in Williston Park, could soon be shuttered due to sagging enrollment and skyrocketing costs.
“I don’t want her school to close. It is a wonderful, beautiful school…and I just had a baby a month ago — it’s their future. It is very upsetting. completely upsetting,” parent Cathy Meehan told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Mineola public schools Superintendent Michael Nagler said the closure plan would save $42 million over ten years.
“Our voters are torn. Do we want to be financially and economically sound or do we want to keep our schools and take a chance that we pass our budgets,” Nagler said.
Pre-K through kindergarten would consolidate at Willis Avenue. Grades 2-4 would be bussed to Jackson Avenue. Both would require additional classrooms and that is part of the new $6.7 million bond proposal.
“I work in the schools, so I understand where the administration is coming from. They need to cut costs and ways to save money….but to close buildings? It is very upsetting,” parent Cheryl Glass said.
And because parking is scarce at Willis Avenue school, $850,000 would go for building a rooftop playground.
The Demaio’s, who have grandchildren in the schools spoke to McLogan.
“To think of my granddaughter playing on a rooftop? I don’t like it,” they said. “It’s a brand new school. Now they’re going to invest in putting a playground on top, I think it’s crazy.”
Residents who moved to the suburbs for good schools and small class sizes, worry they will pay more and get less. However, they said they don’t want a band-aid solution either. Polls are open until 9pm.
If the bond is rejected, voters will be gambling on having enough resources until the next budget vote — “Super Tuesday” — in May.