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Turf Field Plan Sparks Controversy at Lynbrook BOE Meeting

Board must decide on capital projects plan by March 31.

Turf Field Plan Sparks Controversy at Lynbrook BOE Meeting Turf Field Plan Sparks Controversy at Lynbrook BOE Meeting

With less than three weeks before the deadline for an official decision, the Lynbrook Board of Education is still unsure of which capital projects the district will ask voters to approve at the May 15 budget vote. The issue sparked a lengthy debate at Wednesday night’s board of education meeting at Lynbrook High School. 

The original capital project plan, revealed at the Feb. 29 , called for a band and chorus room, elevator, external bathrooms, locker rooms, turf field at and a track replacement and turf field at . 

These projects would remove $6,125,000 from the capital reserve fund. That fund currently contains $6.9 million, according to Assistant Superintendent of Business Dr. Melissa Burak. 

A second project, a turf field at Marion Street Elementary, would follow the completion of the two middle school improvements. 

Those initial recommendations have caused concern among some in regards to the economic viability of long term field maintenance, according to Superintendent Santo Barbarino. Because of this, Barbarino has come up with an alternate potential plan. 

“All of these ideas are out there for discussion by the board of education,” Barbarino said. “What I was considering was going with the turf project at North [Middle School] together with the construction of the building at North, which they desperately need. Then, we would have turf put in at Marion Street, where we already have the large stands in place, and move the baseball field to South [Middle School].”

Barbarino claimed that putting a baseball field at South Middle School is more “practical” and “workable” than it had been during similar discussions in prior years. 

Various board members expressed concerns regarding Barbarino’s revised recommendation. Vice President Dr. William Kayen asked if the cost of long term turf replacement would affect the current or future job security of teachers. Barbarino assured him that it would not. 

“We’re not looking to lose any teacher for any reason,” Barbarino said. 

The board did acknowledge that money would have to be set aside each year for future replacement of the turf. 

“Clearly, as other districts have done, if we put a field in we have to commit ourselves to setting up a separate fund to save up money to replace that field,” Trustee William Belmont said.      

In response to the concern that putting in both fields simultaneously would be too large and risky a project, Secretary Ellen Marcus suggested installing turf at one school and gauging the results before moving forward with the second field. 

However, a significant amount of money is saved by completing both projects at the same time, according to Barbarino. 

Multiple options were floated throughout the night, with no indication of a consensus among members. The board must post a legal notice of its decision by March 31, according to Burak.            

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