This story was updated.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains voters passed a $48.2 million school bond Tuesday with 73.7 percent approval, according to unofficial results. Thankful school board members and parents attended the vote-revealing event at the Education House that superintendent Chris Clouet described as “a heavy win.”
“I’m very happy with the results,” said Clouet. “I think that it shows a lot of hard work went into this in terms of our public presentations and our willingness to show people and take people on tours. This was a huge vote of support for this district and it says that people care about the school district and care about the kids and I appreciate that.”
The bond, set to fund various improvements throughout the White Plains school district, was passed with an unofficial tally of 755 supporting votes and 270 disapproving votes. It raises the school tax levy 0.72 percent, which results in a $65.12 increase in taxes for the average property owner.
Renovations include $22.5 million for Eastview School, $4.8 million to add Wi-Fi throughout the district, $200,000 to upgrade the elementary school playgrounds plus electrical work and plumbing.
“The roof at Eastview and the envelope of the building at Eastview is the biggest part – nearly 50 percent of the total, so that’s huge,” said Clouet. “Then there’s a lot of infrastructure stuff, including wireless technology, which will allow our kids access to digital resources, which is important.”
Clouet said he was “so happy people supported it” and as a result, White Plains will have “strong facilities for many years to come.”
The numbers were outstanding, said Fred Seiler, assistant superintendent for business, who lauded the community for its approval.
“Community always has been very supportive here in White Plains,” he said. “Once again they come out recognizing the need that we had here and gave us a very positive vote.” He added, “I think they saw we put together a responsible plan and came out and supported it, so it feels very good.”
Seiler was not “particularly nervous” leading up to the vote because he thought it would pass, but did not think it would reach a 73.7 percent approval.
A “very excited” School Board Vice President Charlie Norris said the renovations and improvements are needed in the schools.
“These are our critical assets and with this support, we can move forward in a timely fashion, spend the money frugally, and make the repairs and the additions that need to be made and really create a better environment for our kids,” he said.
Work will begin at Eastview next June with the rest of the work starting six to 12 months after that. Every building will have work done and it should be completed by September 2015, said Seiler.
The school district clerk said an official tally of Tuesday’s votes will be available by noon on Wednesday.