Vote Tuesday on Springs School Bond

A Springs School hallway during a recent weekend activity. David E. Rattray

As Springs School District residents prepare to vote on Tuesday on $16.9 million in bonds for a major expansion plan, the outcome remains anyone's guess, and voters not already familiar with the proposal may find themselves confused as to what it actually entails.

The cost of the project is not to exceed $22.96 million. The district has the approximately $6 million balance beyond what it would get by selling the bonds in its capital reserve fund. Opposition to the proposal has been vigorous.

The proposal calls for a 24,000-square-foot addition and the renovation of 17,000 square feet of existing interior areas. There would be seven new classrooms, including a technology and science lab, a gym that is regulation-size for middle schools, locker rooms, and junior high regulation-size soccer and baseball fields.

The art and music rooms would be renovated to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and 17 small instructional spaces would also get renovations.

Also in the proposal are upgrades to the school's aging infrastructure, including new roofing and windows, as well as a new low-nitrogen septic system and parking and traffic improvements.

The district now has some classes in outbuildings on the school campus. If the bond is approved, the plan is to have all of the classrooms in the main school building. The school board and administration hope that construction would begin in July 2019 and be completed by 2021.

Some residents urged the school board in 2016 to consider using the now-empty Child Development Center of the Hamptons charter school building in East Hampton to alleviate overcrowding at the Springs School. In the leadup to Tuesday's vote, opponents of the project have again questioned why the district did not pursue that option.

After looking into the matter in 2016, the school district's attorneys determined that state education law would prohibit Springs from leasing or purchasing space outside district boundaries for its own educational programs, unless that space were leased from another school district. It is able to send its prekindergartners to the former Most Holy Trinity School in East Hampton Village because Scope Educational Services runs the program and leases the space.

Should the bond pass, district homeowners with a property valued at $600,000 would have approximately $163 added to their tax bills, or $14 a month, according the school's business administrator, Michael Henery. Properties valued at $800,000 would face an increase of $217, or $18 a month, and those valued around $1 million would pay an additional $272, or $23 a month.

Voting takes place from 1 to 9 p.m. in the school library.