Manhassed ed board finalizes capital reserve projects up for public vote May 21

Teri West
From left Manhasset Public Schools Deputy Superintendent for Business and Finance Rosemary Johnson, Superintendent Vincent Butera and Board President Regina Rule. (Photo by Teri West)

After about six months of discussion, the Manhasset Board of Education unanimously approved the list of school construction projects that it will put up for a public vote May 21 for a chance to earn $5.83 million in funding.

The majority of the funding comes from the district’s 2010 capital reserve, and the ballot will include seven items.

Three of them apply to the secondary school: a security vestibule near the gymnasium entrance, an elevator and a social-emotional learning wing.

For Munsey Park Elementary School, two items – a reconfiguration of the stage in the multipurpose room and a reconfiguration of space on the second floor – are intended to provide a net gain of four classrooms.

Shelter Rock Elementary School’s proposed projects are a renovation of the locker room, which includes the addition of a security vestibule, and a reconfiguration of the loading dock.

The culmination of months of work and the prospect of bringing the changes to the district’s schools brought tears to Board President Regina Rule’s eyes Thursday. 

“Obviously it has to pass on the 21st, but just the fact that we can put it in front of the community to be considered, to continue to invest in the infrastructure of our schools – I’m so happy,” she said.

The most recent item to make it onto the list is the social-emotional learning wing for the secondary school, which the district found $886,000 for through the positive balance in its general fund.

The wing would include offices for specialists such as a social worker and counselor. The intention is to make such resources more prominent and accessible for middle schoolers, many of whom are not aware they exist, said Superintendent Vincent Butera.

The board announced that it would prioritize the project over a similar science, technology, engineering and math wing in the school at its March 5 meeting.

Blueprints for the project, like the others, are in early draft stages, Butera said. However, it will be in a space mostly used by middle schoolers that the board members described as underutilized.

Plans Butera presented included a lobby area, psychologist’s office, social worker’s office, counselor’s office, nurse’s office and conference room.

A future project would potentially create a similar wing in a space more geared toward high schoolers.

“This we can do because we have the space,” Butera said. “The high school is a different matter, but it has come up. We don’t have a specific plan because we’re focused on this, but it has come up.”

The board also designated a recent gift of $19,344 from the Manhasset School Community Association Class of 2017 Frolic to support the safety vestibule project at the secondary school.

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