04/03/2001 - Tuesday
by Joie Tyrrell
Leslie Fridman wants to attend back-to-school nights and assemblies at her son's elementary school in New Hyde Park, but it's nearly impossible for her to maneuver her scooter into the building.
Fridman, who has multiple sclerosis, is hoping that residents of the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park district approve a $21.4-million bond up for a vote today so the district can make its schools handicapped-accessible.
"I can't go to any things in the classroom," said Fridman, who has a son in third grade and a daughter going into kindergarten at New Hyde Park Road School next year. "I can't go to any assemblies. But the worst part is I can't go to school for my kids ... It breaks my heart." If voters approve the bond, it will help the district make its four elementary schools comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Construction is expected to be completed within the 2003-2004 school year.
Also, if the bond is successful, it will pay to establish space for a full-day kindergarten, accommodate increasing enrollment and expand community access to the Hillside Public Library. The library is housed in the Manor Oaks School, shared by the school's students and the public. Should the bond pass, the district will build a new library in the school for its students, while expanding the hours of the public library.
Superintendent Joseph Rudaitis said that when school officials decided to propose a bond, it was also the appropriate time to address ADA compliance issues. There are about 1,700 students in the elementary district.
"I think everyone agrees it's time to ensure that our senior citizens and individuals with physical disabilities have access to our schools," he said.
"It is clearly the time to provide children and adults the opportunity to be part of their home school community." Residents with a home assessed at $5,400 would pay an additional $108.54 in school taxes a year over the 20-year life of the bond.
Polls will be open today from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Manor Oaks School, 1950 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park.
"We need to make
our schools ready to prepare these kids to learn and live in the 21st Century,
and we think, being an elementary school district, full-day kindergarten
is an absolute need," said Board President Lawrence Montreuil. "Doing this
bond is really, I think, an investment in the schools, which is an investment
in the community."
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