Floral Park-Bellerose Administration
Proposes Schools Expansion Plan
Despite the bitter cold weather, more than 100 Floral Park-Bellerose School District parents and community residents attended the Jan. 18 Board of Education meeting held at John Lewis Childs Elementary School. During the meeting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Dantona presented the board with a proposal for their consideration to expand and renovate both elementary schools in the district.
For the past several years, the district’s Strategic Planning Committee, comprised of educators, parents and community leaders, has been diligently working to develop a solution to address the district’s growing enrollment, aging schools and current instructional space needs. The committee considered multiple options before finalizing their recommendations prior to the Jan. 18 meeting.
Dr. Dantona provided the board with an overview of the district’s current and projected enrollment growth based on a study conducted by Western Suffolk BOCES and current examples of the need for additional classrooms, instructional and support space and common spaces in each school. The proposed plan recommended expansion and renovation of existing space at both Floral Park-Bellerose and John Lewis Childs Elementary Schools.
Additional classrooms would be created and existing space would be renovated to provide science labs, technology labs and enlarged instructional spaces for art, chorus, band and orchestra. In addition, support space for special education and the creation of multipurpose auxiliary cafeterias, which could also be used for community rooms, are included in the proposed plan.
The need for redesigned and enhanced space for special services and improved and expanded pre-k space was also considered and is included in the plan. District athletic fields are used by students during physical education classes and by community athletic programs. To improve field quality, field irrigation has also been included.
“We are all proud of the fact that our community is growing because it is a desirable place to live and educate our children,” said Dr. Dantona. “The proposed recommendations represent the best solutions to address both our current and projected student needs, while at the same time preserving our community’s investment in our children’s education and our schools.”
While the board of education has made no decision regarding the proposed expansion and renovation plan, the estimated cost would be $17,483,290. The district would offset the cost by utilizing funds from a Smart Schools Grant and funds in the district’s Capital Reserve Fund (with voter approval). The remaining balance of $15,900,000 would be funded through a borrowing method known as a bond. The cost to the average homeowner would be approximately $98/annually or $8.17/monthly. Following the presentation, there was an opportunity for residents to ask questions regarding the proposed plan.
The board of education and administration plan to analyze the proposed plan and financial options. It is anticipated the board will vote on a resolution regarding the plan during the March 12, 2018 board of education meeting.
All residents are encouraged to attend the March 12 board meeting starting at 8PM at the John Lewis Childs Elementary School. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.floralpark.k12.ny.us.