The first step to creating a new bond referendum was completed on
Tuesday, Nov. 22 when the Port Chester Bond Advisory Committee (BAC) voted to send
their recommendation to the Board of Education. Out of the 23 people present,
20 voted for the recommendation. The roll call vote can be found in the
Now the BAC might be turning their work over to the Board of
Education, but that doesn’t mean their job is done. Many of the members vowed
to advocate for their proposed construction plan and a few of them claimed they
could bring 100 people or more to the polls if the Board of Education approved
“The pressure is surely going to rest on the board’s shoulders.
For me myself, I would like to renegotiate the whole deal,” Tom Ceruzzi said.
Tom Corbia shared similar feelings. Both men are concerned about
the cost of the project, which has more than doubled since the last school bond
went to the polls in December 2015 and failed. That bond only addressed
overcrowding at the high school while this plan also tackles space needs at the
“It’s important we help our students,” Corbia said. “One of the
things that hit me was the fact that you never just ask for the minimum and I
think [the board] overreached on exactly what they need.”
“We came in and almost doubled the last bond and it bothers me
what people are going to think,” he continued.
“We have given them exactly what they wanted,” he concluded. “I
think they overreached a little bit and hoped we would cut it back.”
He advocated again for Richard Hyman’s plan, which was concept 15
and only added 10-12 classrooms on the back of the wings on the Tamarack Road
side. Corbia said he wanted a new gym in the high school but stands by Hyman’s
plan because he is worried the cost of the gym would be too great. Hyman
predicted that his concept would cover about 80 percent of the Board of
Education’s charge to the BAC and would cut the cost of the work at the high
school in half.
Secretary Stephen Simmons thought it would be presumptuous to try
and predict whether or not the bond will pass, especially just looking at the
potential price tag.
“We were tasked with putting down a recommendation to meet the
needs, not 80 percent of the needs,” Simmons said in reference to Hyman’s proposed
plan. “You don’t know the voters won’t pass it until there’s something up there
to pass. This isn’t something for fun or something frivolous, this is something
that needs to happen.”
The BAC’s recommendation
As it stands now, the bond would cost an estimated $78.66 million
with about $29.76-30.85 million in state aid, depending on how much can be
aidable at John F. Kennedy Magnet School. These numbers are only estimates
given by School Construction Consultants (SCC) and Assistant Superintendent for
Business Maura McAward. The costs and the aidable amount are subject to change.
This plan is not set in stone until the Board of Education puts
it up for a vote.
Port Chester High School would
receive a floating addition built above the parking lot on Tamarack Road. It
would give the building better student foot traffic by creating a loop on the
second floor. In this two-story concept, there would be about 17-18 new rooms,
including classrooms, science labs, a band room, a choir room and a computer
lab. A competition sized gym would be added adjacent to the old gym on College
Avenue and the current gym would be renovated into new locker rooms that would
be on the same floor as the new gymnasium, a weight room and a multi-purpose
room. This project is estimated to cost around $49.9 million.
John F. Kennedy Magnet
School would get an addition to the lower building. Eight new classrooms would
be built inside the maintenance space behind the school and on the second story
above it. The maintenance area would be relocated below a new gymnasium, which would
be on the same side as the current gym. This idea is projected to cost $15.37
King Street School would
get a new gym so the cafeteria would be a separate space, two new classrooms
and a total of 64 parking spaces. In case future growth is needed, the new
classrooms would be built in such a way that there would be room for a new
two-story hall with about 26 classrooms. This plan would cost around $10.5
During a special meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 8, the Board of Ed was
impressed with the BAC’s and Fuller and D’Angelo P.C, Architects and Planners’
forward thinking, especially if the Early Learning Center were to close in a
Park Avenue School would
get four new classrooms and an updated media center for about $2.6 million.
Thomas A. Edison School would
not get new classrooms due to the lack of space on the site. The kids would get
a new turf field, which would cost around $291,000.
The Board of Education has scheduled a special meeting on
Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Port Chester Middle School to discuss the
The Port Chester Bond Advisory Committee is made up of 29 people.
They are Rosemarie Barone, Joan Carriero, Thomas Ceruzzi, Thomas Corbia,
Susan-Anne Cosgrove, Kenneth Force, George Ford, Ana Isabel Gonzalez, Stephen
Greto, Gregory Guarino, Jody Helmle, Richard Hyman, Maureen Josephson, Joseph
Lodato, Laura Luzzi, Heather Mateus, Kevin McFadden, Keith Morlino, Chrissie
Onofrio, Denise Quinn, Patricia Rinello, Eric Rios, Elizabeth Rotfeld, Lou
Russo, Jennifer Saunders, Debra Scocchera, Stephen Simmons, Patricia Sutton and
Gonzalez is the chairperson, Simmons is the secretary and Morlino
is the alternate chair.