EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- Eastchester School District residents passed a $12.8 million bond Wednesday by a margin of 1,498 to 1,407.
Just under 3,000 voters came out to support the bond, which will fund an addition that will provide some much needed space to the overcrowded middle school.
Board of Education President Paul Doyle said he was pleased voters passed the bond.
"In a difficult economic time, this community has stepped forward for its kids," Doyle said. " I am very grateful."
The $12.8 million bond will raise property taxes by roughly $133 per year or $11 per month for the average Eastchester family.
The bond will pay for a wrap-around addition to the gym side of the middle school that will add 14 classrooms--13 new classrooms, and one renovated classroom. Also included are two science labs and five bathrooms.
The cafeteria will be expanded, and an elevator, which is required as per the Americans with Disabilities Act, will be added.
"There are no bells and whistles to this project," Doyle said. "It's going to walls and ceilings. That's it."
The addition will provide some relief at the middle school, which is operating with 190 students more than capacity.
Middle School Principal Dr. Walter Moran has spoken of students who have 90 kids in their gym class, and kids who eat lunch in 20 minutes shifts in order to make room for their classmates.
Moran painted a picture of teachers sharing classrooms, arriving at the same time as their students and packing up before class ends so they can move to the next class.
Moran said he was enormously grateful. "The community has acknowledged the enormous need, and they gave us their support," he said.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Marilyn Terranova admitted she had a couple of tense moments when waiting for the results from the polling place on Garth Road. Before those results were calculated, the bond was down by about 50 votes.
"I was a lot calmer when (former Board of Education members) Toni Guccione and John Filiberti reassured me that we were going to be okay," she said.
Terranova praised the hard work of her staff and board members, who made a video, and attended numerous school meetings designed to reach out to parents.
"I am so grateful to the board for all of their hard work and, of course, to the community for their support," Terranova said.
This is the first time the school district has been able to get a bond passed since 2002, when voters okayed a $12 million bond to add space to Waverly and Greenvale elementary schools. A bond in 2006 and another in 2008 failed to win voter approval.
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