NHP-GCP BOE approves air-conditioning project for budget ballot

NHP-GCP BOE approves air-conditioning project for budget ballot
The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education discuss a proposed air-conditioning project during their meeting on Feb. 13. (Photo by Annabel Hofmann)

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education voted unanimously to include a proposed air-conditioning plan on the ballot for the 2023-24 budget during their meeting Monday. The budget for the new school year will be voted on by the community May 16.

The proposal was introduced during a board meeting in December 2022 and would cost almost $10.3 million. This project includes the installation of window air-conditioning units in all four schools in the district, along with improved ventilation and the cooling of large gathering spaces districtwide.

The money will come from the capital reserve funds available to the school district, so the community will not be taxed to pay for this project.

“We have the money. The community can decide how they want to use it,” said Jennifer Morrison, superintendent of the NHP-GCP school district.

Michael Frank, deputy superintendent of the district, emphasized that this proposal is also “an aidable project.”

“By doing this project, we will actually generate proximately 48%, 49% of the cost back to the district in a revenue stream called building aid,” he said.

This money would not be usable in the budget for textbooks or supplies, but it would be “an offset to one of the line items in the tax cap formula.”

The details of the building aid will be explained more thoroughly at the official budget presentation in May. If the budget is approved including this proposal, the board hopes construction will be started the following summer.

“This is a very extensive project,” said James Reddan, president of the NHP-GCP BOE. “This is not going to be we start and finish all buildings in a single season. It is going to be an ongoing project.”

The decision concerning which school will be first to receive the air-conditioning units has not yet been made but will be decided by bid if the measure is approved.

In other news, Kim LaRegina, principal of New Hyde Park Road School, was promoted to director of curriculum and instruction during the meeting on Monday.

“I am honored. I feel privileged, and I will do the best that I can. It’s all about the kids, and I think that’s the most important piece to it,” LaRegina said after the board voted unanimously to promote her.

The next Board of Education meeting will take place on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Manor Oaks, and it will be a work session.

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