Pictured Above: Riverhead’s Pulaski Street School is in need of a serious expansion.

The Riverhead Central School District agreed Tuesday to hold a public vote on two bond resolutions totalling $92 million on Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the following polling locations: Riley Avenue Elementary School, Phillips Avenue Elementary School, Roanoke Avenue Elementary School and Aquebogue Elementary School. 

The Riverhead Central School District Board of Education is continuing to develop the scope of work to be included in a bond referendum scheduled to go before voters in the community in early 2020, and will hold three public meetings this month to discuss the district’s plans.

The referendum includes two propositions totaling $96.5 million. The first proposition, for $87.75 million, would include a $12 million expansion of Pulaski Street School, which is currently operating at 114 percent capacity, 24 additional high school classrooms, a new Pupil Personnel Services building and space reconfiguration at Phillips Avenue and Roanoke Avenue elementary schools.

The second proposition, which could only be approved if the first proposition is approved, includes $8.8 million in upgrades and reconfigurations of the district’s athletic fields between the Pulaski Street School and the Riverhead High School on Harrison Avenue.

The district estimates Proposition 1 will cost the average homeowner $197 per year in additional property taxes, while Proposition 2 will cost an additional $36.

The school originally proposed a $100 million construction bond in mid-September, after considering a potential acquisition of the former Mercy-McGann High School on Roanoke Avenue. The Mercy-McGann project would have cost the district $126 million.

After public dismay at the $100 million bond, the district pared its proposal back to $73.5 million in mid-October, but that renovation would have hinged on having both Pulaski Street School and the Middle School educate fifth through eighth grade students to lessen the overcrowding burden at Pulaski. Currently, fifth and sixth grade students are educated at the Pulaski Street School and seventh and eighth graders are educated at the Middle School. 

The 5th through 8th grade two-building proposal met with much derision from parents, after which the district came up with a plan that revolved around expansion at Pulaski Street School.

Three public meetings have been scheduled for the community early this year to share their thoughts and ask questions about the scope of work to be included in the bond. 

The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at Noon in the Grand Room of the Riverhead Free Library. The second will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. in Room 133 at Riverhead High School The final meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., also in Room 133 at the high school.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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