South Huntington school officials are about to unveil a bold new plan 18 months in the making that is designed to transform the district for generations.
Enhanced academics, safety and security, athletics and health, and infrastructure form the plan known as Vision 2020: the Future Starts Now, with physical and academic improvements at every school building.
The bond to pay for the plans would come at a serious cost: school officials say the two propositions, one for $85,969,597 and the other for $28,830,902, will go before voters in October.
The average cost to the homeowner with a $3,300 assessed value and house of approximately $500,000 would be $117 a year additional throughout the seven-year scope of the work, the district said.
School officials will lay out their plans Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Walt Whitman High School.
“I have been in the field of education for 32 years and can honesty say that this Bond is the most exciting initiative I have ever seen,” Dr. David Bennardo, the school superintendent said. “It is really a rare and special privilege to work on a project that has the potential to forever transform a school district. Vision 2020 is our community’s special moment in time that our children and grandchildren will speak of for years to come.”
Among some of the proposals outlined by officials:
- Installation of enhanced security features at all schools, including vestibule and door lock safety
- Additional parking at Stimson Middle School
- Expand life/health programs
- The installation of air conditioning at each school, which is the second proposition on the ballot in October
- The addition of cameras on district-owned buses for elementary students
- Cybersecurity and marine biology academic programs
- STREAM– science, technology, research, engineering, art and math– labs at Countrywood, Birchwood, Maplewood and Oakwood
- TV studio
- Radio station
- An art gallery for both student and outside artists display
- The transition of the teen center to Wildcats Hall, adding a conservatory for performances while continuing programs already there.
- Life skills education for special needs students
- Replacement of portable classrooms at Countrywood, Oakwood, Birchwood and Maplewood.
- Redesign and upgrading of athletic facilities, including the addition of a turf field, putting softball and baseball fields together at Memorial, and rebuilding the stadium, bleachers and pressbox at Whitman.
- Creation of a new college-like look for several areas of the schools, including libraries, laboratories and performing art spaces.
In the last few days, the district has been dropping hints about its plans in a series of social media posts with the slogan, “Imagine a School District Ahead of Its Time…Far Ahead.”
Bennardo said the goal was to raise the quality of academics to a new level for every grade and every building.
“Equity means among buildings, that each building gets a special project. Everybody has something to look forward to,” he said.
The district has been talking with school staff, including teachers, administrators and custodians, to determine each building’s needs, over the last 18 months.South Huntington school district