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Mineola School District to Meet with CHAP on January 26

Meeting with Architects, NYS to Follow

As the calendar pages turn, the Mineola School District is getting closer to the Feb. 8 bond vote and a clearer picture of next year, when schools will begin to close.

District Superintendent Michael Nagler stated at the last school board meeting that he met a newly formed Committee on the Hampton Addition Project (CHAP) on Jan. 5. The committee is comprised of parents, teachers and some “interested residents” and principals from the school district.

“The idea was to review the addition on Hampton, the project and make a laundry list of concerns and some wishes we want in there,” Nagler said.

Nagler said that architects from the H2M group were present at the meeting taking “diligent notes.” Nagler said that he would meet with CHAP and H2M on Jan. 26 to get a final feedback to present to the board on the Hampton Street School project.

“We are trying to incorporate everything that everyone came up with,” he said. “We’re trying to get a final project outline.”

The superintendent stated that he and Finance Superintendent Jack Waters would accompany H2M architects for a preliminary meeting with the State Education Department (SED) in Albany. This would be to review the project as well as the bond referendum, which would see an addition on the Jackson Avenue school and “get them aboard on what we’re facing with configurations and what we’re doing.”

The Jackson Avenue School project ($4.4 million) would see an eight-classroom addition to the existing facility and a new bus loop if the bond were to pass. The Hampton Street ($1.7 million) addition would be paid out of the districts pocket.

Trustee William Hornberger proposed at a meeting in December that the district use $1.7 million from the undesignated fund balance to finance the construction on Hampton Street without a bond. This would make Hampton the pre-K-2 school south of Jericho Turnpike, the dividing line in the district reconfiguration. Hornberger stated that he feels Willis Avenue School is not the right place for housing a pre-K-2 configuration.

Concerning the meeting with the SED, Nagler said he needs a “preliminary OK” on the ideas the district has in terms of reconfiguration.

“We need to do this before we file the official paperwork,” he said. “So that’s coming.”

If the bond were to fail, the school district would reconfigure under the default option one, which would see the fifth grade move to the middle school and the eighth grade to high school.

Over the school district’s winter break, Nagler was working with the central office on what a pre-K-2 model would look like and the cost structure and staffing requirements when reconfigurations commence. He said that he would present his findings to the board at tomorrow’s (Jan. 20) regular meeting at the Willis Avenue School.

“I will review the vision of a pre-K-2 building with the board on Jan. 20,” he said. “We’ll review what a schedule would look like for teachers and students and get some feedback. I will be holding “town hall” meetings for our staff as well to solicit their input.”