Vote for air conditioning and univents next month

Pat-Med seeks community approval for bond referendum

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The Patchogue-Medford School District is considering the feasibility of purchasing new univents with air conditioning, district-wide. The measure, according to the district, would provide both clean, cool air, and also safety, with closed windows. The board of education is now considering a bond referendum. The vote will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in polling locations.

According to board president Kelli Anne Jennings, over the past few years, several propositions have been placed on the ballot to either establish or spend monies from their capital reserve fund. Each of the propositions received overwhelming approvals ranging from 68 to 76 percent.

This project, she said, is in response to the COVID pandemic, climate change, and securing the buildings. The project will include air conditioning to improve the learning environment in classrooms during the warmer months. The project will also improve the quality of the fresh air intake and provide the ability to keep all classroom windows closed at all times.

The proposition will be presented to the voters to authorize a $45,000,000 bond referendum to be paid over 15 years with an estimated 3.5 percent interest rate. The estimated impact on the taxpayer will be approximately $23 per month for a home assessed at $3,000, before factoring in building aid.

The district plans to receive a return of more than 70 cents on every dollar spent, which significantly reduces the overall costs. This number was determined by the state aid ratio associated with the district’s building aid formula.

If approved, air filtration and heating systems would be replaced with new units throughout the entire district, in approximately 550 classrooms. The ventilators will be installed outside of heating season so that there is no interruption to the instructional day. Work is expected to begin in the summer of 2023. If the proposition fails, the district will seek alternative funding sources over multiple years.

According to superintendent of schools Dr. Donna Jones, the district will be hosting another informational meeting with a date and time to be announced to further discuss the project, costs, and reasons. 

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