MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – Most will probably agree that the Westlake Middle/High School campus, which hasn’t seen major renovations since the 1960 and '70s, needs some serious upgrades.
However, some in the community might argue that the Mount Pleasant school district’s proposed bond is too expensive and too extravagant for taxpayers to shoulder.
“These improvements will address the 21st-century learning skills our students need,” said Schools Superintendent Susan Guiney. “This is an investment our community has in our schools and our students, so that’s a big deal.”
School district officials say the proposed $55.8 million bond not only includes work necessary to bring the facilities up to mandated code but will also offer a desperately needed modernization of the campus.
According to Guiney, New York state requires science labs to be at least 1,200 square feet, but Westlake’s currently measure only 1,000 square feet. Other bond items include a reconstructed auditorium and theater, as well as the construction of a synthetic turf field with lighting.
Click here for a full overview of work proposed in the bond, as well as an overview of the process the district took in proposing the capital improvements.
“I feel a bond of this size is irresponsible, excessive and out of touch with educational enrichments that are key to student success,” Mark Saracino said in a letter to the editor of Daily Voice .
Saracino, who was a member of the steering committee that came up with the bond proposal that the board unanimously approved, said though a bond does need to be passed to upgrade the facilities, which he says “are in dire need of repairs,” the district doesn’t needs a “wonderland campus” with “unnecessary luxuries.”
Click here for Daily Voice’s story on the cost of the bond to taxpayers.
Board of Education President James Grieco says that the upgrades aren’t excessive and can even help the district bring in revenue by letting outside groups in the community rent the auditorium and/or fields.
“I don’t feel that it’s extravagant. I think it’s modernizing,” said Grieco.
Taxpayers will vote on the bond on Saturday, Nov. 15. Click here for more information on voting. If the bond fails, the district could scrap the bond or modify the bond and put it back up for a vote within 90 days.
A final work session and tour of the school district will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Westlake library.
Click here for a virtual tour of the district’s facilities.