Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 07 January 2011 00:00
The Mineola School District is in the process of completing a lease agreement with Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County for the use of the Cross Street School, which the board of education decided would be the first school to close in 2011.
At the board of education’s regular meeting at the Willis Avenue School, the board unanimously passed a resolution for the district’s administration to negotiate a lease in good faith for the Cross Street School. District Superintenent Dr. Mi-chael Nagler had mentioned in previous meetings that numerous parties were interested in leasing the buildings the district planned to close.
At one time or another, those schools included Meadow Drive and Cross Street. Under the new bond option, Cross Street and Willis Avenue will be closing.
The agreement calls for a five-year lease with an option to renew at the end of the contract. However, either side can opt out of the lease after two years.
“Basically this is an agreement in principle to lease the Cross Street School to the Solomon Schecter Day School,” Nagler said.
Nagler asked the board not to discuss the rental amount in public until the lease was finalized. “It would hurt further negotiations if we put the number out and for some reason, this lease doesn’t go through,” he said.
According to Dr. Nagler, the school holds sixth through 12th grade with approximately 250 students. The school is located in Glen Cove.
“They are looking for a different facility, more central in Long Island,” Nagler said. “They have children from all over Nassau County and Queens.”
There is some capital work that the Solomon Schechter School requires at the Cross Street School, most notably demolishing the stage in the gymnasium to make a full-court basketball court and repaving the parking lot, which calls for the elimination of the adjacent outdoor basketball court.
“We will be repaving the parking lot as well as doing some plumbing for some science rooms,” Nagler stated.
Nagler said the parking lot will be expanded as well. While the District will pay for the capital work up front, it will be fully reimbursed by the Solomon Schechter School in the form of higher rent payments during the first two years of the lease, according to Nagler.
The lease agreement was not finalized during the meeting as some details are still being negotiated, including field usage. Nagler mentioned that the school lets out at 4 p.m. and would like to use the field for soccer.
Trustee John McGrath voiced his concern over the number of buses that the site will have to accommodate. Board Vice-President Christine Napolitano suggested a cap of students who can attend the school be instituted in the agreement.
“I just want to make sure 250 students doesn’t turn into 350,” she said.
Another suggestion the board had was periodic access to the building with notice to the tenant and an ability to opt out of the lease each year after the second year.
“We can go back and discuss all of those things with them,” Nagler said.
The superintendent pointed out that there is some urgency on the part of Solomon Schechter since the school has to alert the parents of their students that they will be changing locations. The board will have to approve the lease agreement in the coming months before it becomes final.