Monticello Central School District STEM Coordinator Jeanine Nielson, showed Spectrum News how an outdated HVAC system has forced her to get creative — and at times risky — to teach using her classroom's fume hood.
"I have to run long gas lines from this table over into the hood," said Nielson, who has been teaching chemistry at Monticello High School for 18 years. "Then I have to tape them up because the weight pulls them out. This is a hazard in itself with the gas lines."
Administrators have had to be equally creative with problem spots in buildings all over the district. Beneath a stairwell in the high school they replaced a rotted-out floor with gravel, to absorb the moisture that tends to collect in the school's lower level.
District officials are now asking voters to approve a bond worth $54 million — which will be spread out over 30 years.
The funds would cover repairs to HVAC systems, roofs, boilers, windows and electrical systems district-wide.
The $54 million is about half of what was asked for in two previous elections, in which voters said "no."
In December 2017, a bond worth $100 million was rejected by 30 votes, and in April 2018 a bond worth $110 million was rejected by 88 votes.
Superintendent Tammy Mangus said because the district is about to finish payments on a bond that financed a new building in the year 2000, this bond could take it's place in the district's budget — making no difference to the current two percent property tax levy.
"We want better for our kids," Mangus said during an interview in her office on Tuesday. "It's been multiple years since we've had a capital improvement bond in the district so it's much overdue."
Monticello resident Harold Hardison said he would vote in favor of the bonds.
"The school's should get anything they need," Hardison said.
He does have concerns about voters who may decide differently due to principle, or may not see the value he sees.
"They care less about a good education because they never had a good education," said Hardison.
Administrators produced a series of online videos reinforcing that this bond would cover just the necessities, and not extras such as athletic facility upgrades that were included in past improvement projects and were voted down.
According to the most recent posts on the district's website, the district may ask voters for more funding for other improvement projects in 2019.
The bond election is on Wednesday, November 14.
Polling locations throughout the district will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.